Explanation and Realism (Spring 2004 | UCB | Philosophy)
- 04/28/04: I have posted Luke's handout on Psillos and Laudan. And, I have added Horwich's paper "Realism and Truth" to this week's readings. Horwich argues that the realism debate floats free from the question of how one interprets truth. I'm not sure he addresses Paul's worry, though, since he doesn't address truth's role in IBE arguments for realism. I have also posted Paul's notes on approximate truth. This is a nice, concise presentation of some examples I'll discuss next week.
- 04/27/04: I have added Psillos's chapter on Laudan's Pessimistic Induction Argument to this week's readings.
- 04/23/04: I have posted Andy's handout on Brown, Lipton, and HLIBE.
- 04/21/04: I have updated the syllabus, to indicate that we'll be reading both Psillos and Laudan for next week. The following week will be truthlikeness, and the last week will be beer.
- 04/16/04: I have added three recent papers on IBE in arguments for scientific realism by Turner, Stanford, and Lange to the week 14 and 15 readings.
- 04/14/04: I have added Joseph's handout on Glymour and Hitchcock to the notes page. I've also Hempel's classic paper "The Theoretician's Dilemma" to this week's readings.
- 04/06/04: I have added Aaron's handout on van Frassen's overview of the realism debate to the notes page. I've also added van Fraasen's reply to Teller's criticisms, and a paper by van Fraassen and Monton on empiricism and modal nominalism to this week's readings.
- 04/06/04: We have a couple more weeks left in the term than I thought! So, I have spread out the readings by Psillos and Laudan over weeks 14 and 15, and I have added a Week 16 on "Closeness to Truth" (aka., verisimilitude, or truthlikeness). See the Weeks 14–16 readings. This means we have one or two more student presentations possible. Otherwise, my plan is to just do a "group discussion" for week 15 (perhaps, at a bar??), and then to present some stuff myself on "truthlikeness" in the last week. By the way, Paul Teller's excellent paper concerning truthlikeness now appears in the Week 16 readings.
- 04/05/04: I have added a nice paper by Paul Teller on Van Fraassen's Constructive Empiricism (to this week's readings).
- 03/31/04: I have added Kristina's handout to our notes page. Also, all the readings for the course are now up.
- 03/16/04: I have added lots of readings to our list. Almost all of the readings for the course are now up. It would be helpful if those who have not yet presented could volunteer for one of the remaining weeks. We already have a volunteers for weeks 10, 11, and 13, but we still need volunteers weeks 12 and 14. Erica's handout on Unification will be posted soon.
- 03/04/04: I have added Josh's handout on Lewis' "Causal Explanation", Fabrizio's handout on Van Fraassen and Salmon/Kitcher, and some notes of my own on Van Fraassen and Salmon/Kitcher to our notes page. I have also added a neat paper by Patrick Maher on prediction versus accommodation to the readings for this week.
- 02/25/04: I have added a nice little paper by I.J. Good on his likelihood-ratio based account of explanation (see the readings for "week 4"). The last two pages of this explain how to do Railton's radioactive decay example using likelihood ratios (and fully probabilistically). Remember to come prepared next week with questions about Lewis's "Causal Explanation".
- 02/24/04: I have added a few extra readings on causation by Davidson, Lewis, and Schaffer. I found these to be helpful for next week's readings on causal explanation. I will be taking a "volunteer" in the next few days for next week's meeting…
- 02/18/04: I have added a second paper by Railton on D–N–P explanation to the reading list for next week. This paper is more recent, and it clarifies some of the issues we discussed in connection with D–N–P. We'll discuss Railton and Harman next time, and then we'll move on to causal accounts. I'm taking volunteers for student presenters, beginning with the readings on causal explanation!
- 02/01/04: Almost all of the readings for the first half of the semester (on scientific explanation) have now been posted. As long as we can make-up one of the canceled seminar meetings, we should be fine (time-wise).
- 01/20/04: Because of scheduling conflicts with job talks, the seminar will not meet during the first two weeks of classes [we will make-up at least one of these two meetings soon]. So, the first meeting will be on Tuesday, February 3. For the first meeting, you should do the readings for both week 1 and week 2. See our tentative schedule for all readings. We will dive right into the material at our first meeting, and we won't waste much time on administrative stuff – see the syllabus page for all administrative information (and feel free to email me if you have any questions). I will not be holding office hours this week.