•  745
    Theories: Tools versus models
    with Nancy Cartwright
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (1): 62-81. 2008.
    In “The Toolbox of Science” (1995) together with Towfic Shomar we advocated a form of instrumentalism about scientific theories. We separately developed this view further in a number of subsequent works. Steven French, James Ladyman, Otavio Bueno and Newton Da Costa (FLBD) have since written at least eight papers and a book criticising our work. Here we defend ourselves. First we explain what we mean in denying that models derive from theory – and why their failure to do so should be lamented. S…Read more
  •  373
    Causal processes and propensities in quantum mechanics
    Theoria 19 (3): 271-300. 2004.
    In an influential article published in 1982, Bas Van Fraassen developed an argument against causal realism on the basis of an analysis of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations of quantum mechanics. Several philosophers of science and experts in causal inference -including some causal realists like Wesley Salmon- have accepted Van Fraassen’s argument, interpreting it as a proof that the quantum correlations cannot be given any causal model. In this paper I argue that Van Fraassen’s article can…Read more
  •  356
    The tool box of science: Tools for the building of models with a superconductivity example
    with Nancy Cartwright and Towfic Shomar
    Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 44 137-149. 1995.
    We call for a new philosophical conception of models in physics. Some standard conceptions take models to be useful approximations to theorems, that are the chief means to test theories. Hence the heuristics of model building is dictated by the requirements and practice of theory-testing. In this paper we argue that a theory-driven view of models can not account for common procedures used by scientists to model phenomena. We illustrate this thesis with a case study: the construction of one of th…Read more
  •  346
    Scientific representation: A long journey from pragmatics to pragmatics (review)
    with James Ladyman, Otávio Bueno, and Bas van Fraassen
    Metascience 20 (3): 417-442. 2011.
    Scientific representation: A long journey from pragmatics to pragmatics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9465-5 Authors James Ladyman, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TB UK Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Mauricio Suárez, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francis…Read more
  •  333
    Fictions, inference and realism
    In J. Woods (ed.), Fictions and Models: New Essays, Philosophia Verlag. 2010.
    Abstract: It is often assumed without argument that fictionalism in the philosophy of science contradicts scientific realism. This paper is a critical analysis of this assumption. The kind of fictionalism that is at present discussed in philosophy of science is characterised, and distinguished from fictionalism in other areas. A distinction is then drawn between forms of fictional representation, and two competing accounts of fiction in science are discussed. I then outline explicitly what I tak…Read more
  •  322
    Scientific representation: Against similarity and isomorphism
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3): 225-244. 2003.
    I argue against theories that attempt to reduce scientific representation to similarity or isomorphism. These reductive theories aim to radically naturalize the notion of representation, since they treat scientist's purposes and intentions as non-essential to representation. I distinguish between the means and the constituents of representation, and I argue that similarity and isomorphism are common but not universal means of representation. I then present four other arguments to show that simil…Read more
  •  245
    Experimental Realism Defended: How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound
    Contingency and Dissent in Science Project, Cpnss, London School of Economics and Political Science. 2005.
    On a purely epistemic understanding of experimental realism, manipulation affords a particularly robust kind of causal warrant, which is – like any other warrant – defeasible. I defend a version of Nancy Cartwright’s inference to the most likely cause, and I conclude that this minimally epistemic version of experimental realism is a coherent, adequate and plausible epistemology for science.
  •  238
    Quantum propensities
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2): 418-438. 2006.
    This paper reviews four attempts throughout the history of quantum mechanics to explicitly employ dispositional notions in order to solve the quantum paradoxes, namely: Margenau's latencies, Heisenberg's potentialities, Maxwell's propensitons, and the recent selective propensities interpretation of quantum mechanics. Difficulties and challenges are raised for all of them, and it is concluded that the selective propensities approach nicely encompasses the virtues of its predecessors. Finally, som…Read more
  •  204
    We separate metaphysical from epistemic questions in the evaluation of models, taking into account the distinctive functions of models as opposed to theories. The examples a\are very varied.
  •  176
    Scientific representation
    Philosophy Compass 5 (1): 91-101. 2010.
    Scientific representation is a currently booming topic, both in analytical philosophy and in history and philosophy of science. The analytical inquiry attempts to come to terms with the relation between theory and world; while historians and philosophers of science aim to develop an account of the practice of model building in the sciences. This article provides a review of recent work within both traditions, and ultimately argues for a practice-based account of the means employed by scientists …Read more
  •  169
    The many Metaphysics within Physics. Essay review of 'The Metaphysics within Physics' by Tim Maudlin
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (3): 273-276. 2009.
    Essay Review of Tim Maudlin's "The Metaphysics within Physics", Oxford University Press, 2007
  •  142
    Quantum Selections, Propensities and the Problem of Measurement
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2): 219-255. 2004.
    This paper expands on, and provides a qualified defence of, Arthur Fine's selective interactions solution to the measurement problem. Fine's approach must be understood against the background of the insolubility proof of the quantum measurement. I first defend the proof as an appropriate formal representation of the quantum measurement problem. The nature of selective interactions, and more generally selections, is then clarified, and three arguments in their favour are offered. First, selection…Read more
  •  140
    An inferential conception of scientific representation
    Philosophy of Science 71 (5): 767-779. 2002.
    This paper defends an inferential conception of scientific representation. It approaches the notion of representation in a deflationary spirit, and minimally characterizes the concept as it appears in science by means of two necessary conditions: its essential directionality and its capacity to allow surrogate reasoning and inference. The conception is defended by showing that it successfully meets the objections that make its competitors, such as isomorphism and similarity, untenable. In additi…Read more
  •  137
    Causal inference in quantum mechanics: A reassessment
    In Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality and Probability in the Sciences, College Publications. pp. 65-106. 2007.
    There has been an intense discussion, albeit largely an implicit one, concerning the inference of causal hypotheses from statistical correlations in quantum mechanics ever since John Bell’s first statement of his notorious theorem in 1966. As is well known, its focus has mainly been the so-called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (“EPR”) thought experiment, and the ensuing observed correlations in real EPR like experiments. But although implicitly the discussion goes as far back as Bell’s work, it is only…Read more
  •  125
    Interventions and Causality in Quantum Mechanics
    Erkenntnis 78 (2): 199-213. 2013.
    I argue that the Causal Markov Condition (CMC) is in principle applicable to the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR) correlations. This is in line with my defence in the past of the applicability of the Principle of Common Cause to quantum mechanics. I first review a contrary claim by Dan Hausman and Jim Woodward, who endeavour to preserve the CMC against a possible counterexample by asserting that the conditions for the application of the CMC are not met in the EPR experiment. In their view the CMC i…Read more
  •  125
    It is still a matter of controversy whether the Principle of the Common Cause (PCC) can be used as a basis for sound causal inference. It is thus to be expected that its application to quantum mechanics should be a correspondingly controversial issue. Indeed the early 90’s saw a flurry of papers addressing just this issue in connection with the EPR correlations. Yet, that debate does not seem to have caught up with the most recent literature on causal inference generally, which has moved on to c…Read more
  •  116
    Scientific Realism, the Galilean Strategy, and Representation
    Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 101 (1): 269-292. 2009.
    This paper critically reviews Philip Kitcher's most recent epistemology of science, real realism . I argue that this view is unstable under different understandings of the term 'representation', and that the arguments offered for the position are either unsound or invalid depending on the understanding employed. Suitably modified those arguments are however convincing in favor of a deflationary version of real realism, which I refer to as the bare view . The bare view accepts Kitcher's Galilean …Read more
  •  113
    Review: Science Without Laws (review)
    Mind 111 (441): 111-114. 2002.
  •  110
    Table of Contents: Preface.- 1. Introduction; Mauricio Suárez.- PART I: PROBABILITIES.- 2. Probability and time symmetry in classical Markov processes; Guido Bacciagaluppi.- 3. Probability assignments and the principle of indifference: An examination of two eliminative strategies; Sorin Bangu.- 4. Why typicality does not explain the approach to equilibrium; Roman Frigg; PART II: CAUSES.- 5. From metaphysics to physics and back: The example of causation; Federico Laudisa.- 6. On explanation in re…Read more
  •  105
    The Contextual Character of Causal Evidence
    Topoi 33 (2): 397-406. 2014.
    I argue for the thesis that causal evidence is context-dependent. The same causal claim may be warranted by the same piece of evidence in one context but not another. I show this in particular for the type of causal evidence characteristic of the manipulability theory defended by Woodward (Making things happen: a theory of causal explanation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003). My thesis, however, generalises to other theories—and at the end of the paper I outline the generalization to count…Read more
  •  104
    Science is popularly understood as being an ideal of impartial algorithmic objectivity that provides us with a realistic description of the world down to the last detail. The essays collected in this book—written by some of the leading experts in the field—challenge this popular image right at its heart, taking as their starting point that science trades not only in truth, but in fiction, too. With case studies that range from physics to economics and to biology, _Fictions in Science_ reveals th…Read more
  •  92
    On the analogy between cognitive representation and truth
    with Albert Solé
    Theoria 21 (1): 39-48. 2006.
    In this paper we claim that the notion of cognitive representation (and scientific representation in particular) is irreducibly plural. By means of an analogy with the minimalist conception of truth, we show thatthis pluralism is compatible with a generally deflationary attitude towards representation. We then explore the extent and nature of representational pluralism by discussing the positive and negative analogies between the inferential conception of representation advocated by one of us an…Read more
  •  78
    Review of Bas Van Fraassen, Scientific Representation, Oxford University Press, 2008.
  •  72
    Sumario analitico/summary
    with Dowe Phil
    Theoria 15 (1): 37-123. 2000.
  •  71
    Deflationary representation, inference, and practice
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49 36-47. 2015.
    This paper defends the deflationary character of two recent views regarding scientific representation, namely RIG Hughes’ DDI model and the inferential conception. It is first argued that these views’ deflationism is akin to the homonymous position in discussions regarding the nature of truth. There, we are invited to consider the platitudes that the predicate “true” obeys at the level of practice, disregarding any deeper, or more substantive, account of its nature. More generally, for any conce…Read more
  •  71
    On quantum propensities: Two arguments revisited
    Erkenntnis 61 (1): 1-16. 2004.
    Peter Milne and Neal Grossman have argued against Popper's propensity interpretation of quantum mechanics, by appeal to the two-slit experiment and to the distinction between mixtures and superpositions, respectively. In this paper I show that a different propensity interpretation successfully meets their objections. According to this interpretation, the possession of a quantum propensity by a quantum system is independent of the experimental set-ups designed to test it, even though its manifest…Read more
  •  70
    Propensities and Pragmatism
    Journal of Philosophy 110 (2): 61-92. 2013.
    : This paper outlines a genuinely pragmatist conception of propensity, and defends it against common objections to the propensity interpretation of probability, prominently Humphreys’ paradox. The paper reviews the paradox and identifies one of its key assumptions, the identity thesis, according to which propensities are probabilities. The identity thesis is also involved in empiricist propensity interpretations deriving from Popper’s influential original proposal, and makes such interpretations…Read more
  •  65
    Bohmian dispositions
    Synthese 192 (10): 3203-3228. 2015.
    This paper argues for a broadly dispositionalist approach to the ontology of Bohmian mechanics . It first distinguishes the ‘minimal’ and the ‘causal’ versions of Bohm’s theory, and then briefly reviews some of the claims advanced on behalf of the ‘causal’ version by its proponents. A number of ontological or interpretive accounts of the wave function in BM are then addressed in detail, including configuration space, multi-field, nomological, and dispositional approaches. The main objection to e…Read more