Philosophical Perspectives on Evidence and Theory Construction
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019
Room 422, University of Montreal
10:00 – 11:00
“The Uncertain Method of Drops” : How a Non-uniform Fluid Unit Survived the Century of Standardization
Rebecca Jackson, Indiana University
11:00 – 12:00
Eran Tal, McGill University
measurement procedures, two sorts of explanation are open to scientists. Either (i) some of the outcomes are inaccurate or (ii) the procedures are not measuring the same quantity. I argue that, due to the possibility of systematic error, the choice between (i) and (ii) is underdetermined in principle by any possible evidence. Consequently, foundationalist criteria of quantity individuation are either empty or circular. I propose a coherentist, model-based account of measurement that avoids the underdetermination problem, and use this account to explain how scientists individuate quantities in practice.
12:00 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:30
Varieties of Robustness and Multiple Determination
Klodian Coko, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
I argue that the strategy of using multiple independent procedures to establish “the same” result is not a variant of robustness. There are many variants of robustness strategies, but multiple determination is not one of them. I claim that treating multiple determination strategy as a robustness variant mischaracterizes its structure and it is not helpful for understanding its epistemic role and import in scientific research. I argue that there are many features that distinguish multiple determination from the many robustness variants. I present these features and argue that they are related to the same central difference: whereas all the robustness variants can be construed as involving some sort of invariance (of the robust result) to different types of perturbations, multiple determination cannot be so construed. The distinguishing feature of the multiple determination strategy is its ability to support a specific type of a no-coincidence argument. Namely that it would be an improbable coincidence for multiple determination procedures, independently of one another, to establish “the same” result, and yet for the result to be incorrect or an artefact of the determination procedures. Under specific conditions, the no-coincidence argument from multiple determination–in addition to being used to argue for the validity of the result–can be also used to argue for the validity of the determination procedures. No such no-coincidence argument can be construed from simple invariance to perturbations. Robustness is a set of epistemic strategies better suited for discovering causal relations and dependencies.
Finally, I claim that, besides the philosophical reasons, there are also historical reasons to keep multiple determination and robustness distinct. Μultiple determination can be considered to be the historical descendant of William Whewell’s nineteenth century notion of consilience of inductions (a form of hypotheticodeductive reasoning). On the other hand, robustness strategies can be considered to be the descendants of John S. Mill’s nineteenth century methods of direct induction (a form of inductive reasoning).
2:30 – 3:30
Evidence Amalgamation Without Measurement of Evidential Strength
François Claveau, Université de Sherbrooke
V&C main thesis: Any instance of evidence amalgamation should meet MAP.
If this thesis is correct, the philosophy of meta-analysis would have made a step forward by having a principle to assess scientific practices. In this comment, we will however argue that the V&C thesis is no secure ground to advance the philosophy of meta-analysis.
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 5:00
On the Notion of Integration in Interdisciplinary Studies
Kevin Kaiser, Université de Montréal
Pour ce faire, le diverses familles de modèles d’intégration (néomécaniste, par unité coordonnée et interchamps) développés dans cette branche seront rapportées. Ensuite, leur capacité à clarifier ces imprécisions sera analysée de façon comparative afin d’isoler la ou les familles de modèle(s) les plus apte à être exportés en philosophie de l’interdisciplinarité. Pour finir, certaines critiques à ces modèles seront explorés.