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Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science

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Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science

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Cognitive Models of Science

Ronald Giere

Cognitive Models of Science resulted from a workshop on the implications of the cognitive sciences for the philosophy of science held in October 1989 under the auspices of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. The workshop’s theme was that the cognitive sciences—identified for the purposes of this project with three disciplinary clusters: artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience—have reached sufficient maturity that they are now a valuable resource for philosophers of science who are developing general theories of science as a human activity.

The emergence of cognitive science has by no means escaped the notice of philosophers or philosophers of science. Within the philosophy of science one can detect an emerging specialty, the philosophy of cognitive science, which would be parallel to such specialties as the philosophy of physics or the philosophy of biology. But the reverse is also happening; that is, the cognitive sciences are beginning to have a considerable impact on the content and methods of philosophy, particularly the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, but also an epistemology. The underlying hope is that the cognitive sciences might now come to play the sort of role within the philosophy of science that formal logic played for logical empiricism or that the history of science played for the historical school. This development might permit the philosophy of science as a whole finally to move beyond the opposition between “logical” and “historical” approaches that has characterized the field since the 1960s. 

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History and Philosophy of Modern Mathematics

Volume XI

William Aspray and Philip Kitcher, Editors

History and Philosophy of Modern Mathematics was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The fourteen essays in this volume build on the pioneering effort of Garrett Birkhoff, professor of mathematics at Harvard University, who in 1974 organized a conference of mathematicians and historians of modern mathematics to examine how the two disciplines approach the history of mathematics. In History and Philosophy of Modern Mathematics, William Aspray and Philip Kitcher bring together distinguished scholars from mathematics, history, and philosophy to assess the current state of the field. Their essays, which grow out of a 1985 conference at the University of Minnesota, develop the basic premise that mathematical thought needs to be studied from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The opening essays study issues arising within logic and the foundations of mathematics, a traditional area of interest to historians and philosophers. The second section examines issues in the history of mathematics within the framework of established historical periods and questions. Next come case studies that illustrate the power of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mathematics. The collection closes with a look at mathematics from a sociohistorical perspective, including the way institutions affect what constitutes mathematical knowledge.

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The Language of Nature

Reassessing the Mathematization of Natural Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century

Geoffrey Gorham

Galileo’s dictum that the book of nature “is written in the language of mathematics” is emblematic of the accepted view that the scientific revolution hinged on the conceptual and methodological integration of mathematics and natural philosophy. Although the mathematization of nature is a distinctive and crucial feature of the emergence of modern science in the seventeenth century, this volume shows that it was a far more complex, contested, and context-dependent phenomenon than the received historiography has indicated, and that philosophical controversies about the implications of mathematization cannot be understood in isolation from broader social developments related to the status and practice of mathematics in various commercial, political, and academic institutions.

Contributors: Roger Ariew, U of South Florida; Richard T. W. Arthur, McMaster U; Lesley B. Cormack, U of Alberta; Daniel Garber, Princeton U; Ursula Goldenbaum, Emory U; Dana Jalobeanu, U of Bucharest; Douglas Jesseph, U of South Florida; Carla Rita Palmerino, Radboud U, Nijmegen and Open U of the Netherlands; Eileen Reeves, Princeton U; Christopher Smeenk, Western U; Justin E. H. Smith, U of Paris 7; Kurt Smith, Bloomsburg U of Pennsylvania.

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Origins Of Logical Empiricism

Ronald N. Giere

Logical empiricism remains a strong influence in the philosophy of science, despite the discipline's shift toward more historical and naturalistic approaches. This latest volume in the eminent Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science series examines the main features of the intellectual milieu from which logical empiricism sprang, providing the first critical exploration of this context by authors within the Anglo-American analytic tradition of philosophy. These articles challenge the idea that logical empiricism has its origins in traditional British empiricism, pointing instead to a movement of scientific philosophy that flourished in the German-speaking areas of Europe in the first four decades of the twentieth century. The intellectual refugees from the Third Reich who brought logical empiricism to North America did so in an environment influenced by Einstein's new physics, the ascension of modern logic, the birth of the social sciences as rivals to traditional humanistic philosophy, and other large-scale social, political, and cultural themes. The contributors, including some of our most distinguished philosophers and historians of science, emphasize the connections among members of the logical empiricist movement as well as their connections with members of other major intellectual movements of the time. Focusing on the continuing influence of logical empiricism and the vitality of the issues with which its proponents struggled, this important volume provides valuable context to contemporary philosophers of science. Contributors: Nancy Cartwright, London School of Economics; Jordi Cat; Richard Creath, Arizona State U; Michael Friedman, Indiana U; Peter Galison, Harvard U; Warren Goldfarb, Harvard U; Don Howard, U of Kentucky; Thomas Oberdan, Clemson U; Thomas Ricketts, U of Pennsylvania; Thomas Ryckman, Northwestern U; Joia Lewis Turner, U of San Diego; Thomas E. Uebel, London School of Economics.

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Testing Scientific Theories

John Earman, Editor

Testing Scientific Theories was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Since much of a scientist's work consists of constructing arguments to show how experiments and observation bear on a particular theory, the methodologies of theory testing and their philosophical underpinnings are of vital concern to philosophers of science. Confirmation of scientific theories is the topic of Clark Glymour's important book Theory and Evidence,published in 1980. His negative thesis is that the two most widely discussed accounts of the methodology of theory testing - hypothetico-deductivism and Bayesianism - are flawed. The issues Glymour raises and his alternative "bootstrapping" method provided the focus for a conference sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and for this book. As editor John Earman says in his preface, the papers presented in Testing Scientific Theories germinate so many new ideas that philosophers of science will reap the harvest for years to come.

Topics covered include a discussion of Glymour's bootstrapping theory of confirmation, the Bayesian perspective and the problems of old evidence, evidence and explanation, historical case studies, alternative views on testing theories, and testing particular theories, including psychoanalytic hypotheses and hypotheses about the completeness of the fossil record.

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