Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States of America
  •  268
    I summarise certain aspects of Paul Feyerabend’s account of the development of Western rationalism, show the ways in which that account is supposed to run up against an alternative, that of Karl Popper, and then try to give a preliminary comparison of the two. My interest is primarily in whether what Feyerabend called his ‘story’ constitutes a possible history of our epistemic concepts and their trajectory. I express some grave reservations about that story, and about Feyerabend’s framework, fin…Read more
  •  99
    The place of Heinrich Hertz’s The principles of mechanics in the history of the philosophy of science is disputed. Here I critically assess positivist interpretations, concluding that they are inadequate.There is a group of commentators who seek to align Hertz with positivism, or with specific positivists such as Ernst Mach, who were enormously influential at the time. Max Jammer is prominent among this group, the most recent member of which is Joseph Kockelmans. I begin by discussing what Hertz…Read more
  •  95
    Kuhn, instrumentalism, and the progress of science
    Social Epistemology 17 (2-3): 259-265. 2003.
    Steve Fuller seeks to blame Kuhn for the present state of the philosophy of science. It has become ‘Kuhniferous’, he argues, both in structure and in content. I begin by taking issue with this judgement, suggesting that Kuhn wasn’t as influential as his realist and naturalist opponents. I then proceed to argue that Fuller fails to clinch one of his central charges, that Kuhn disconnected the philosophical defence of scientific progress from any substantive ends of science. Kuhn has a story to te…Read more
  •  49
    Positivist and post-positivist philosophy of science
    Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Theory. 2014.
    Interactions between archaeology and philosophy are traced, from the ‘New Archaeology’s’ use of ideas from logical empiricism, the subsequent loss of confidence in such ideas, the falsificationist alternative, the rise of ‘scientific realism’, and the influence of the ‘new’ philosophies of science of the 1960s on post-processual archaeology. Some recent ideas from philosophy of science are introduced, and that discipline’s recent trajectory, featuring debate between realists and anti-realists, a…Read more
  •  40
    Bird, Kuhn and positivism
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (2): 327-335. 2004.
    I challenge Alexander Bird’s contention that the divergence between Kuhn’s views and recent philosophy of science is a matter of Kuhn having taken a wrong turn. Bird is right to remind us of Kuhn’s naturalistic tendencies, but these are not clearly an asset, rather than a liability. Kuhn was right to steer clear of extreme referential conceptions of meaning, since these court an unacceptable semantic scepticism. Although he eschewed the concepts of truth and knowledge as philosophers of science …Read more
  •  28
    Explication, description and enlightenment
    Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 22 106-120. 2019.
    Rudolf Carnap introduced and endorsed a philosophical methodology which he called the method of ‘explication’. P.F. Strawson took issue with this methodology, but it is currently undergoing a revival. In a series of articles, Patrick Maher has recently argued that explication is an appropriate method for ‘formal epistemology’, has defended it against Strawson’s objection, and has himself put it to work in the philosophy of science in further clarification of the very concepts on which Carnap ori…Read more
  •  27
    Lutzen on Hertz's mechanics
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1): 260-7. 2007.
  •  26
    Harre on Hertz and the Tractatus
    Philosophy 81 (2): 357-364. 2006.
    The literature on Heinrich Hertz’s influence on Wittgenstein goes back some way. Not all the main commentators discuss or even notice that influence, although it has been particularly emphasised by James Griffin, by Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin, and by Leonard Goddard and Brenda Judge
  •  22
    I set out the factors which tempt people into reading Ernst Mach's book The Analysis of Sensations as putting forward either a version of phenomenalism or a version of neutral monism, and then assess the strengths and weaknesses of these two readings. I present an ‘internal’ view of that text, showing that it by no means mandates the phenomenalist reading, and that a case for something more like the neutral monist reading can be made from within that book, indeed largely from within its famous f…Read more
  •  22
    The extended mind, the concept of belief, and epistemic credit
    In R. Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind, . pp. 355-369. 2010.
    This chapter poses a challenge to the extended mind thesis that Andy Clark and David Chalmers propose for beliefs, upon which their thesis is largely based. Clark and Chalmers present two related theses in their exposition of the extended mind. First they present “active externalism,” which states that a cognitive system is achieved when humans are appropriately linked with external entities; second, they present “the extended mind thesis,” which states that some, if not all, of a subject’s ment…Read more
  •  16
    Explication, Description and Enlightenment
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 22 (1): 106-120. 2019.
    In the first chapter of his book Logical Foundations of Probability, Rudolf Carnap introduced and endorsed a philosophical methodology which he called the method of ‘explication’. P.F. Strawson took issue with this methodology, but it is currently undergoing a revival. In a series of articles, Patrick Maher has recently argued that explication is an appropriate method for ‘formal epistemology’, has defended it against Strawson’s objection, and has himself put it to work in the philosophy of scie…Read more
  •  14
    Roles and representations of women in early Chinese philosophy: a survey
    with Sarah Craddock
    Frontiers of Philosophy in China 15 (2): 198-222. 2020.
    An understanding of the roles and representations of women in classical Chinese philosophy is here derived from central texts such as the Analects, the Lienu Zhuan, and the I Ching. We argue that the roles of women during the classical period of Chinese philosophy tended to be as part of the “inner,” working domestically as a housewife and mother. This will be shown from three passages from the Analects. Women were represented as submissive and passive, as with the qualities ascribed to yin ener…Read more
  •  13
    Hertz, Wittgenstein and the instrumentalist turn in the philosophy of science
    In G. Wolfschmidt (ed.), Heinrich Hertz and the Development of Communication: Proceedings of the Symposium for History of Science, . pp. 80-93. 2008.
  •  3
    Mach, Wittgenstein, science and logic
    In Friedrich Stadler (ed.), Ernst Mach - Life, Work, Influence, . pp. 63-90. 2019.
  •  3
  •  2
    Is your mobile part of your mind?
    In K. Nyiri (ed.), Mobile Understanding: The Epistemology of Ubiquitous Communication, . pp. 67-77. 2006.
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  • Interpreting Mach: Critical Essays (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2021.
    This volume presents new essays on the work and thought of physicist, psychologist and philosopher Ernst Mach. Moving away from previous estimations of Mach as a pre-logical positivist, the essays reflect his rehabilitation as a thinker of direct relevance to debates in the contemporary philosophies of natural science, psychology, metaphysics and mind. Topics covered include Mach's work on acoustical psychophysics and physics; his ideas on analogy and the principle of conservation of energy; the…Read more
  • Read, R. and Sharrock, W.-Kuhn
    Philosophical Books 44 (3): 292-292. 2003.