HPS 2101/Phil 2600 Philosophy of Science Fall 2022

Schedule of Readings

Back to course documents.

Week Date Topic/Reading Event Presented by
1 Aug. 30
Introduction to the seminar Norton

Machine Learning

Is machine learning bringing the next revolution in science? Norton

Sep. 6 Warm up exercise due before seminar.
Sept. 6
Discussion: Has machine learning brought the next revolution in science?

Philosophers of science writing about machine learning:

Suzanne Kawamleh, "Can Machines Learn How Clouds Work? The Epistemic Implications of Machine Learning Methods in Climate Science," Philosophy of Science, 88 (December 2021) pp. 1008–1020.

Emily Sullivan, "Understanding from Machine Learning Models," The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 73, number 1, March 2022.

David S. Watson, "Conceptual challenges for interpretable machine learning," Synthese (2022) 200:65

Mel Andrews "The Debate" (15 min)



Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap," The Scientific Conception of the World [by?] the Vienna Circle. (1929) Trans. in M. Neurath & R. Cohen (Eds.), Empiricism and Sociology. Dordrecht: Reidel,1973.(pp. 298–318). Norton

Rudolf Carnap, "Testability and Meaning," Philosophy of Science , 3 (1936) pp. 419-471. Norton

Falsificationism and the Demarcation of Science.
3 Sep. 13 Karl Popper, "Science: Conjectures and Refutations"
Sections I-III only, pp. 33-41 in Conjectures and Refutations. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963.

For interesting background see:
"Einstein-Besso Manuscript on the Motion of the Perihelion of Mercury," Headnote in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Vol. 4. pp. 345+. Or here.
Albert Einstein, "Induction and Deduction in Physics," Berliner Tageblatt, 25 December, 1919. The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Vol. 7. Doc. 28.  German. English. Or here:  German English.


Wesley Salmon, "Rational Prediction,"
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 32 (1981), pp. 115-25.
Kamyar Asasi

Larry Laudan, "The Demise of the Demarcation Problem,"
in Physics, philosophy, and psychoanalysis: essays in honor of Adolf Grünbaum. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. 76, Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1983, pp. 111–127.
Hong Hui Choi

4 Sep. 20
Carl G. Hempel, "Empirical Criteria of Cognitive Significance: Problems and Changes,"
Ch. 4 in Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. New York: Macmillan, 1965
Zhonghao Lu

Bas C. Van Fraassen, "To Save the Phenomena,"
Ch. 3 in The Scientific Image. Oxford: Clarendon, 1980.
Konstantinos Konstantinou

Boyd, Nora “Evidence Enriched,” Philosophy of Science 85(3)(2018), pp. 403-421.
Kabir Bakshi

Realism and Antirealism
Sep. 27
Larry Laudan, "A Confutation of Convergent Realism,"
Philosophy of Science, 48, (1981), pp. 19-49.
Zhonghao Lu

Section 3.4: "The Metaphysics of Relations and Section" 3.5: "Objections to Ontic Structural Realism."
In Chapter 3, "Ontic Structural Realism and the Philosophy of Physics," James Ladyman and Don Ross, Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press, 2007.
Konstantinos Konstantinou

Michela Massimi, "Four Kinds of Perspectival Truth,"  Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2016/2018 Kamyar Asasi

Oct. 4
Partial isomorphism.
Steven French (2003), "A Model-Theoretic Account of Representation (Or, I Don't Know Much About Art ... But I Know It Involves Isomorphism)," Philosophy of Science, 70 (5), pp. 1472 - 1483.
Madeleine Potoskie

Inferential account.
Suárez, Mauricio (2004). "An Inferential Conception of Scientific Representation," Philosophy of Science, 71, pp. 767–779.
Kabir Bakshi

Models and Idealizations

Ernan McMullin, "Galilean Idealization,"
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science,16 (1985),pp. 247-273.
Kabir Bakshi (4th choice)
7 Oct. 11
Michael Weisberg, “Three Kinds of Idealization,”
The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 104, No. 12 (Dec.), 639-659.
Mel Andrews

Mary S. Morgan and Tarja Knuuttila, "Models and Modelling in Economics," Preprint for U. Mäki (ed) Handbook of the Philosophy of Economics in Handbook of the Philosophy of Science Maxwell Poitier

Inductive Inference

John D. Norton, "A Little Survey of Induction,"
in P. Achinstein, ed., Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories and Applications. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. pp. 9-34.

Optional background reading:
John D. Norton, "Hempel's Satisfaction Criterion of Confirmation"
pp.66-82 in A Survey of Inductive Generalization Manuscript.
Oct. 18
Paul Thagard, "The Best Explanation: Criteria for Theory Choice,"
Journal of Philosophy, 75 (1978): 76-92.
Kamyar Asasi

Bayesian Confirmation Theory

Joyce, James, "Bayes' Theorem", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Mel Andrews

John D. Norton, "The Material Theory of Induction, Briefly," Chapter 1. in The Large-Scale Structure of Inductive Inference. manuscript
(Background: John D. Norton, The Material Theory of Induction.)
Oct. 25
Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann, "Variation 1: Confirmation and Induction," in Sprenger and Hartmann, Bayesian Philosophy of Science.
Kabir Bakshi

For a dissenting view, see John D. Norton, "Why Not Bayes," Ch. 10 in The Material Theory of Induction -------


Larry Laudan and Jarrett Leplin, "Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination," Journal of Philosophy, 87 (1991), pp. 449-472. Sameera Singh

Kyle Stanford, "The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives,"
Ch.2 in Exceeding Our Grasp Science, History and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. Oxford University Press. 2006.
Konstantinos Konstantinou

Values in Philosophy of Science
10 Nov. 1
Thomas S. Kuhn "Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice,"
Ch. 13, pp. 320-339 in The Essential Tension. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.
Madeleine Potoskie (4th choice)

Heather Douglas, "Origins of the Value-Free Ideal for Science," Ch. 3 in Science Policy and the Value-Free Ideal. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. Maxwell Poitier

Feminist Philosophy of Science

Helen Longino, "Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Values in Science: Rethinking the Dichotomy," in L. H. Nelson and J. Nelson, Feminism, Science, and Philosophy of Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996, pp. 39-58.

Optional background reading
Helen Longino, "Research on Sex Differences," Ch. 6 in Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
Konstantinos Konstantinou (4th choice)

(Alternative Kamyar Asasi, also 4th choice)
Nov. 8
Elizabeth Anderson,  “Uses of Value Judgments in Science: A General Argument, with Lessons from a Case Study of Feminist Research on Divorce”, Hypatia, 19(1) (2004): pp. 1–24.
Hong Hui Choi

Revolutions and Meaning Change

Paul K. Feyerabend, "Problems of Empiricism,"
pp. 145-261 in R. G. Colodny, ed., Beyond the Edge of Certainty: Essays in Contemporary Science and Philosophy. Lanham, NY: University Press of American, 1965, 1983.
This is a long article. Focus on how Feyerabend arrives at the failure of "meaning invariance."

Optional background
Howard Sankey, "Kuhn's Changing Concept of Incommensurability," The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 44 (1993), pp. 759-774.
Sameera Singh

Imre Lakatos, “History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions,”
in PSA 1970. Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1970 (1970), pp. 91-136. (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science VIII.)
Maxwell Poitier

Experiment and Simulation
Nov. 15
Allan Franklin and Sobodan Perovic, "Experiment in Physics",
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
This is a long article. Concentrate on Section 1. Experimental Results, which includes a positive epistemology of experiment.
Zhonghao Lu

Wendy Parker, "Does Matter Really Matter? Computer Simulations, Experiments, and Materiality" Synthese, 169 (2009) pp. 483-496. Madeleine Potoskie

Margaret Morrison, “Models, measurement and computer simulation: The changing face of experimentation,”  Philosophical Studies, 143(2012), pp. 33–57. Sameera Singh

Nov.  22 No class. Pitt fall break

Nov. 29
James Woodward, Section 2.3 "Counterfactual Theories" and Section 2.4 "Interventionist Theories" in Ch. 2 "Theories of Causation" in Causation with a Human Face: Normative Theory and Descriptive Psychology Oxford University Press, 2021. Zhonghao Lu

Richard Scheines, "An Introduction to Causal Inference,"
pp. 185-199 in V. R. Kim and S. P. Turner, eds., Causality in Crisis? University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.
Hong Hui Choi (4th choice)

Reduction and Emergence

Ernest Nagel, "Reduction of Theories," (Reduction: pp.336-366 only)
Ch. 11 in The Structure of Science: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation. New York: Harcour, Brace and World, 1962.
Sameera Singh (4th choice)
14 Dec. 6
J. A. Fodor, "Special Sciences (Or: The Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis),"
Synthese, 28 (1974), pp. 97-115.
Madeleine Potoskie


    DN, DS, IS and SR models of explanation.
Wesley C. Salmon,"Scientific Explanation,"
pp. 7-41 of Ch. 1 in in Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. M. Salmon (Ed.), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hong Hui Choi

Paul W. Humphreys, "Scientific Explanation: The Causes, Some of the Causes, and Nothing But the Causes" in P. Kitcher and W. C. Salmlon, eds., Scientific Explanation: Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XIII. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989., Maxwell Poitier (4th choice)

Background reading
Philip Kitcher, "Explanation as Unification," Section 4 (pp. 430-48) of "Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World," in P. Kitcher and W. C. Salmlon, eds., Scientific Explanation: Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XIII. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989

Dec. 13
Comprehensive Exam (HPS PhD Program only)

Number of presentations committed by student:

Mel Andrews   2 (+ ML presentation)
Kamyar Asasi   3 (+1 inadvertant duplication)
Kabir Bakshi   4
Hong Hui Choi   4
Konstantinos Konstantinou   4
Zhonghao Lu   4
Maxwell Poitier   4
Madeleine Potoskie  4
Sameera Singh   4