•  17
    Ernst Mach’s defense of relativist theories of motion in Die Mechanik involves a well-known criticism of Newton’s theory appealing to absolute space, and of Newton’s “bucket” experiment. Sympathetic readers (Norton 1995) and critics (Stein 1967, 1977) agree that there’s a tension in Mach’s view: he allows for some constructed scientific concepts, but not others, and some kinds of reasoning about unobserved phenomena, but not others. Following Banks (2003), I argue that this tension can be interp…Read more
  •  2
    Perspectivalism in the Development of Scientific Observer-Relativity
    In Martin Kusch, Katherina Kinzel, Johannes Steizinger & Niels Jacob Wildschut (eds.), The Emergence of Relativism, Routledge. pp. 63-78. 2019.
    Hermann von Helmholtz allows for not only physiological facts and psychological inferences, but also perspectival reasoning, to influence perceptual experience and knowledge gained from perception. But Helmholtz also defends a version of the view according to which there can be a kind of “perspectival truth” revealed in scientific research and investigation. Helmholtz argues that the relationships between subjective and objective, real and actual, actual and illusory, must be analyzed scientific…Read more
  •  84
    Laws of Thought and Laws of Logic after Kant
    In Sandra Lapointe (ed.), Logic from Kant to Russell, Routledge. pp. 123-137. 2018.
    George Boole emerged from the British tradition of the “New Analytic”, known for the view that the laws of logic are laws of thought. Logicians in the New Analytic tradition were influenced by the work of Immanuel Kant, and by the German logicians Wilhelm Traugott Krug and Wilhelm Esser, among others. In his 1854 work An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities, Boole argues that the laws of thought acquire normative force wh…Read more
  •  22
    Intuitions and Assumptions in the Debate over Laws of Nature
    with Walter Ott
    In Walter Ott & Lydia Patton (eds.), Laws of Nature, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-17. 2018.
    The conception of a ‘law of nature’ is a human product. It was created to play a role in natural philosophy, in the Cartesian tradition. In light of this, philosophers and scientists must sort out what they mean by a law of nature before evaluating rival theories and approaches. If one’s conception of the laws of nature is yoked to metaphysical notions of truth and explanation, that connection must be made explicit and defended. If, on the other hand, one’s aim is to disentangle laws from truth …Read more
  •  31
    Ernst Cassirer’s focus on the expressive function of language should be read, not in the context of Carnap’s debate with Heidegger, but in the context of the earlier work of Chajim (Heymann) Steinthal. Steinthal distinguishes the expressive form of language, when language is studied as a natural phenomenon, from language as a logical, inferential system. Steinthal argues that language always can be expressed in terms of logical inference. Thus, he would disagree with Heidegger, just as Carnap do…Read more
  •  21
    Francesca Biagioli: Space, Number, and Geometry from Helmholtz to Cassirer (review)
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (2): 311-315. 2019.
    Francesca Biagioli’s Space, Number, and Geometry from Helmholtz to Cassirer is a substantial and pathbreaking contribution to the energetic and growing field of researchers delving into the physics, physiology, psychology, and mathematics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book provides a bracing and painstakingly researched re-appreciation of the work of Hermann von Helmholtz and Ernst Cassirer, and of their place in the tradition, and is worth study for that alone. The contribution…Read more
  •  2
    Laws of Nature
    with Walter Ott
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    What is the origin of the concept of a law of nature? How much does it owe to theology and metaphysics? To what extent do the laws of nature permit contingency? Are there exceptions to the laws of nature? Is it possible to give a reductive analysis of lawhood, or is it a primitive? Twelve brand-new essays by an international team of leading philosophers take up these and other central questions on the laws of nature, whilst also examining some of the most important intuitions and assumptions tha…Read more
  •  146
    (2005). Hermann Cohen and the Renewal of Kantian philosophy2. Angelaki: Vol. 10, continental philosophy and the sciences the german traditionissue editor: damian veal, pp. 95-108.
  •  14
    In Memoriam
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (1). 2018.
    A partial listing of researchers in the history and philosophy of science who passed away in 2015-2018.
  •  29
    Moti Mizrahi has argued that Thomas Kuhn does not have a good argument for the incommensurability of successive scientific paradigms. With Rouse, Andersen, and others, I defend a view on which Kuhn primarily was trying to explain scientific practice in Structure. Kuhn, like Hilary Putnam, incorporated sociological and psychological methods into his history of science. On Kuhn’s account, the education and initiation of scientists into a research tradition is a key element in scientific training a…Read more
  •  36
    Kantian Essentialism in the Metaphysical Foundations
    The Monist 100 (3): 342-356. 2017.
    Ott (2009) identifies two kinds of philosophical theories about laws: top-down, and bottom-up. An influential top-down reading, exemplified by Ernst Cassirer, emphasized the ‘mere form of law’. Recent bottom-up accounts emphasize the mind-independent natures of objects as the basis of laws of nature. Stang and Pollok in turn focus on the transcendental idealist elements of Kant’s theory of matter, which leads to the question: is the essence of Kantian matter that it obeys the form of law? I argu…Read more
  •  35
    Frederick C. Beiser, The Genesis of Neo-Kantianism, 1796-1880 (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015. 2015.
    In this intricately crafted history by Frederick C. Beiser, the neo-Kantian philosophy is not merely a doctrine or an approach to philosophical questions; it is also a strategy. From the beginning, the neo-Kantians were concerned to establish the independence, relevance, and power of philosophy. The historical situation of the neo-Kantian tradition is distinct from ours. On Beiser's telling, the historical context only puts into sharper focus how much their predicament is ours and how many of th…Read more
  •  899
    German supporters of the Kantian philosophy in the late 19th century took one of two forks in the road: the fork leading to Baden, and the Southwest School of neo-Kantian philosophy, and the fork leading to Marburg, and the Marburg School, founded by Hermann Cohen. Between 1876, when Cohen came to Marburg, and 1918, the year of Cohen's death, Cohen, with his Marburg School, had a profound influence on German academia.
  •  95
    Psillos, Kitcher, and Leplin have defended convergent scientific realism against the pessimistic meta-induction by arguing for the divide et impera strategy. I argue that DEI faces a problem more serious than the pessimistic meta-induction: the problem of accretion. When empirically successful theories and principles are combined, they may no longer make successful predictions or allow for accurate calculations, or the combination otherwise may be an empirical failure. The shift from classical m…Read more
  •  81
    Ontology & Methodology
    with Benjamin C. Jantzen and Deborah G. Mayo
    Synthese 192 (11): 3413-3423. 2015.
    Philosophers of science have long been concerned with the question of what a given scientific theory tells us about the contents of the world, but relatively little attention has been paid to how we set out to build theories and to the relevance of pre-theoretical methodology on a theory’s interpretation. In the traditional view, the form and content of a mature theory can be separated from any tentative ontological assumptions that went into its development. For this reason, the target of inter…Read more
  •  31
    Review: Watkins (ed.), Immanuel Kant, Natural Science (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. 2013.
    Natural Science is a new volume of the Cambridge translations of Kant's works. It makes available some of the most significant texts of Kant's pre-Critical period, some appearing for the first time in English translation. The translations are largely clear and accurate. Eric Watkins is a sure and knowledgeable editor, and provides concise and informative introductions to each text.
  •  98
    Review: Hyder, The Determinate World: Kant and Helmholtz on the Physical Meaning of Geometry (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (7). 2010.
    Hyder constructs two historical narratives. First, he gives an account of Helmholtz's relation to Kant, from the famous Raumproblem, which preoccupied philosophers, geometers, and scientists in the mid-19th century, to Helmholtz's arguments in his four papers on geometry from 1868 to 1878 that geometry is, in some sense, an empirical science (chapters 5 and 6). The second theme is the argument for the necessity of central forces to a determinate scientific description of physical reality, an abi…Read more
  •  1063
    Hermann Cohen's history and philosophy of science
    Dissertation, McGill University. 2004.
    In my dissertation, I present Hermann Cohen's foundation for the history and philosophy of science. My investigation begins with Cohen's formulation of a neo-Kantian epistemology. I analyze Cohen's early work, especially his contributions to 19th century debates about the theory of knowledge. I conclude by examining Cohen's mature theory of science in two works, The Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History of 1883, and Cohen's extensive 1914 Introduction to Friedrich Lange's History…Read more
  •  58
    Hilbert's Objectivity
    Historia Mathematica 41 (2): 188-203. 2014.
    Detlefsen (1986) reads Hilbert's program as a sophisticated defense of instrumentalism, but Feferman (1998) has it that Hilbert's program leaves significant ontological questions unanswered. One such question is of the reference of individual number terms. Hilbert's use of admittedly "meaningless" signs for numbers and formulae appears to impair his ability to establish the reference of mathematical terms and the content of mathematical propositions (Weyl (1949); Kitcher (1976)). The paper trace…Read more
  •  147
    Kant's account of space as an infinite given magnitude in the Critique of Pure Reason is paradoxical, since infinite magnitudes go beyond the limits of possible experience. Michael Friedman's and Charles Parsons's accounts make sense of geometrical construction, but I argue that they do not resolve the paradox. I argue that metaphysical space is based on the ability of the subject to generate distinctly oriented spatial magnitudes of invariant scalar quantity through translation or rotation. Th…Read more
  •  62
    Philosophy, Science, and History: A Guide and Reader is a compact overview of HOPOS that aims to introduce students to the groundwork of the field. Part I of the Reader begins with classic texts in the history of logical empiricism, including Reichenbach's discovery-justification distinction. With careful reference to Kuhn's analysis of scientific revolutions, the section provides key texts analyzing the relationship of HOPOS to the history of science, including texts by Santayana, Rudwick, and …Read more
  •  48
    In the nineteenth century, the separation of naturalist or psychological accounts of validity from normative validity came into question. In his 1877 Logical Studies (Logische Studien), Friedrich Albert Lange argues that the basis for necessary inference is demonstration, which takes place by spatially delimiting the extension of concepts using imagined or physical diagrams. These diagrams are signs or indications of concepts' extension, but do not represent their content. Only the inference as …Read more
  •  15
    Russell’s method of analysis and the axioms of mathematics
    In Sandra Lapointe Christopher Pincock (ed.), Innovations in the History of Analytical Philosophy, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 105-126. 2017.
    In the early 1900s, Russell began to recognize that he, and many other mathematicians, had been using assertions like the Axiom of Choice implicitly, and without explicitly proving them. In working with the Axioms of Choice, Infinity, and Reducibility, and his and Whitehead’s Multiplicative Axiom, Russell came to take the position that some axioms are necessary to recovering certain results of mathematics, but may not be proven to be true absolutely. The essay traces historical roots of, and mot…Read more
  •  104
    That the history and the philosophy of science have been united in a form of disciplinary marriage is a fact. There are pressing questions about the state of this union. Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science is a state of the union address, but also an articulation of compelling and well-defended positions on strategies for making progress in the history and philosophy of science.
  •  93
    Hermann von Helmholtz
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) participated in two of the most significant developments in physics and in the philosophy of science in the 19th century: the proof that Euclidean geometry does not describe the only possible visualizable and physical space, and the shift from physics based on actions between particles at a distance to the field theory. Helmholtz achieved a staggering number of scientific results, including the formulation of energy conservation, the vortex equations for fluid d…Read more
  •  37
    On the divisibility and subtlety of matter
    with Émilie du Châtelet
    In L. Patton (ed.), Philosophy, Science, and History, Routledge. pp. 332-42. 2014.
    Translation for this volume by Lydia Patton of Chapter 9 (pages 179-200) of Émilie du Châtelet's Institutions de Physique (Foundations of Physics). Original publication date 1750. Paris: Chez Prault Fils.
  •  66
    Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) established results both controversial and enduring: analysis of mixed colors and of combination tones, arguments against nativism, and the analysis of sensation and perception using the techniques of natural science. The paper focuses on Helmholtz’s account of sensation, perception, and representation via “physiological psychology”. Helmholtz emphasized that external stimuli of sensations are causes, and sensations are their effects, and he had a practical and…Read more
  •  601
    Review: Makkreel and Luft (eds.), Neo-Kantianism in Contemporary Philosophy (review)
    Philosophy in Review 30 (4): 280-282. 2010.
    A volume dealing seriously with the influence of the major schools of Neo-Kantian thought on contemporary philosophy has been needed sorely for some time. But this volume of essays aims higher: it 'is published in the hopes that it will secure Neo-Kantianism a significant place in contemporary philosophical discussions' (Introduction, 1). The aim of the book, then, is partly to provide a history of major Neo-Kantian thinkers and their influence, and partly to argue for their importance in contem…Read more