•  432
    Inference from Absence: The case of Archaeology
    Palgrave Communications 5 (94): 1-10. 2019.
    Inferences from the absence of evidence to something are common in ordinary speech, but when used in scientific argumentations are usually considered deficient or outright false. Yet, as demonstrated here with the help of various examples, archaeologists frequently use inferences and reasoning from absence, often allowing it a status on par with inferences from tangible evidence. This discrepancy has not been examined so far. The article analyses it drawing on philosophical discussions conc…Read more
  •  187
    This article examines the effect of material evidence upon historiographic hypotheses. Through a series of successive Bayesian conditionalizations, I analyze the extended competition among several hypotheses that offered different accounts of the transition between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age in Palestine and in particular to the “emergence of Israel”. The model reconstructs, with low sensitivity to initial assumptions, the actual outcomes including a complete alteration of the scientific co…Read more
  •  115
    Several scholars observed that narratives about the human past are evaluated comparatively. Few attempts have been made, however, to explore how such evaluations are actually done. Here I look at a lengthy “contest” among several historiographic narratives, all constructed to make sense of another one—the biblical story of the conquest of Canaan. I conclude that the preference of such narratives can be construed as a rational choice. In particular, an easily comprehensible and emotionally evocat…Read more
  •  72
    This treatise covers the history, now more than 170 years long, of researches and debates concerning the biblical city of Ai. This archetypical chapter in the evolution of biblical archaeology and historiography was never presented in full. I use the historical data as a case study to explore a number of epistemological issues, such as the creation and revision of scientific knowledge, the formation and change of consensus, the Kuhnian model of paradigm shift, several models of discrimination be…Read more
  •  42
    Niche Construction Theory has been gaining acceptance as an explanatory framework for processes in biological and human evolution. Human cultural niche construction, in particular, is suggested as a basis for understanding many phenomena that involve human genetic and cultural evolution. Herein I assess the ability of the cultural niche construction framework to meet this explanatory role by looking into several NCT-inspired accounts that have been offered for two important episodes of human evo…Read more
  •  16
    Time Will Tell: Against Antirealism About the Past
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4): 539-554. 2022.
    Past entities, events, and circumstances are neither observable nor manipulatable. Several philosophers argued that this inaccessibility precludes a realistic conception of the past. I survey versions of antirealism and agnosticism about the past formulated by Michael Dummett, Leon Goldstein, and Derek Turner. These accounts differ in their motivations and reasoning, but they share the opinion that the reality of at least large swathes of the past is unknowable. Consequently, they consider state…Read more