•  350
    How properties emerge
    Philosophy of Science 64 (1): 1-17. 1997.
    A framework for representing a specific kind of emergent property instance is given. A solution to a generalized version of the exclusion argument is then provided and it is shown that upwards and downwards causation is unproblematical for that kind of emergence. One real example of this kind of emergence is briefly described and the suggestion made that emergence may be more common than current opinions allow
  •  273
    Reasons are given to justify the claim that computer simulations and computational science constitute a distinctively new set of scientific methods and that these methods introduce new issues in the philosophy of science. These issues are both epistemological and methodological in kind.
  •  221
    The Grand Leap (review)
    with David Freedman
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1): 113-123. 1996.
  •  206
    Synchronic and diachronic emergence
    Minds and Machines 18 (4): 431-442. 2008.
    I discuss here a number of different kinds of diachronic emergence, noting that they differ in important ways from synchronic conceptions. I argue that Bedau’s weak emergence has an essentially historical aspect, in that there can be two indistinguishable states, one of which is weakly emergent, the other of which is not. As a consequence, weak emergence is about tokens, not types, of states. I conclude by examining the question of whether the concept of weak emergence is too weak and note that …Read more
  •  183
    Probabilistic Causality and Multiple Causation
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980. 1980.
    It is argued in this paper that although much attention has been paid to causal chains and common causes within the literature on probabilistic causality, a primary virtue of that approach is its ability to deal with cases of multiple causation. In doing so some ways are indicated in which contemporary sine qua non analyses of causation are too narrow (and ways in which probabilistic causality is not) and an argument by Reichenbach designed to provide a basis for the asymmetry of causation is re…Read more
  •  175
    Computational and conceptual emergence
    Philosophy of Science 75 (5): 584-594. 2008.
    A twofold taxonomy for emergence is presented into which a variety of contemporary accounts of emergence fit. The first taxonomy consists of inferential, conceptual, and ontological emergence; the second of diachronic and synchronic emergence. The adequacy of weak emergence, a computational form of inferential emergence, is then examined and its relationship to conceptual emergence and ontological emergence is detailed. †To contact the author, please write to: Corcoran Department of Philosophy, …Read more
  •  146
    Some considerations on conditional chances
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4): 667-680. 2004.
    Four interpretations of single-case conditional propensities are described and it is shown that for each a version of what has been called ‘Humphreys' Paradox’ remains, despite the clarifying work of Gillies, McCurdy and Miller. This entails that propensities cannot be a satisfactory interpretation of standard probability theory. Introduction The basic issue The formal paradox Values of conditional propensities Interpretations of propensities McCurdy's response Miller's response Other possibilit…Read more
  •  141
    Why propensities cannot be probabilities
    Philosophical Review 94 (4): 557-570. 1985.
  •  100
    Computational models
    Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3). 2002.
    A different way of thinking about how the sciences are organized is suggested by the use of cross‐disciplinary computational methods as the organizing unit of science, here called computational templates. The structure of computational models is articulated using the concepts of construction assumptions and correction sets. The existence of these features indicates that certain conventionalist views are incorrect, in particular it suggests that computational models come with an interpretation th…Read more
  •  98
    Reply in Book Symposium on James Ladyman, Don Ross: 'Everything must go: metaphysics naturalized', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  •  95
    Aleatory Explanations Expanded
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982. 1982.
    Existing definitions of relevance relations are essentially ambiguous outside the binary case. Hence definitions of probabilistic causality based on relevance relations, as well as probability values based on maximal specificity conditions and homogeneous reference classes are also not uniquely specified. A 'neutral state' account of explanations is provided to avoid the problem, based on an earlier account of aleatory explanations by the author. Further reasons in support of this model are give…Read more
  •  94
    Network Epistemology
    Episteme 6 (2): 221-229. 2009.
    A comparison is made between some epistemological issues arising in computer networks and standard features of social epistemology. A definition of knowledge for computational devices is provided and the topics of nonconceptual content and testimony are discussed
  •  93
    Computational science and scientific method
    Minds and Machines 5 (4): 499-512. 1995.
    The process of constructing mathematical models is examined and a case made that the construction process is an integral part of the justification for the model. The role of heuristics in testing and modifying models is described and some consequences for scientific methodology are drawn out. Three different ways of constructing the same model are detailed to demonstrate the claims made here.
  •  92
    Computer Simulations
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990. 1990.
    This article provides a survey of some of the reasons why computational approaches have become a permanent addition to the set of scientific methods. The reasons for this require us to represent the relation between theories and their applications in a different way than do the traditional logical accounts extant in the philosophical literature. A working definition of computer simulations is provided and some properties of simulations are explored by considering an example from quantum chemistr…Read more
  •  85
    Are there algorithms that discover causal structure?
    with David Freedman
    Synthese 121 (1-2): 29-54. 1999.
    There have been many efforts to infer causation from association byusing statistical models. Algorithms for automating this processare a more recent innovation. In Humphreys and Freedman[(1996) British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47, 113–123] we showed that one such approach, by Spirtes et al., was fatally flawed. Here we put our arguments in a broader context and reply to Korb and Wallace [(1997) British Journal for thePhilosophy of Science 48, 543–553] and to Spirtes et al.[(1997) Br…Read more
  •  78
    Knowledge transfer across scientific disciplines
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 77 112-119. 2019.
  •  64
    Wesley Salmon provided three classic criteria of adequacy for satisfactory interpretations of probability. A fourth criterion is suggested here. A distinction is drawn between frequency‐driven probability models and theory‐driven probability models and it is argued that single case accounts of chance are superior to frequency accounts at least for the latter. Finally it is suggested that theories of chance should be required only to be contingently true, a position which is a natural extension o…Read more
  •  62
    Dynamical emergence and computation: An introduction (review)
    with Philippe Huneman
    Minds and Machines 18 (4): 425-430. 2008.
  •  60
    Abstract and Concrete (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (1): 157. 1995.
  •  58
    Computational empiricism
    Foundations of Science 1 (1): 119-130. 1995.
    I argue here for a number of ways that modern computational science requires a change in the way we represent the relationship between theory and applications. It requires a switch away from logical reconstruction of theories in order to take surface mathematical syntax seriously. In addition, syntactically different versions of the same theory have important differences for applications, and this shows that the semantic account of theories is inappropriate for some purposes. I also argue agains…Read more
  •  57
    Speculative Ontology
    In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. pp. 51. 2013.
  •  49
    Explanation as Condition Satisfaction
    Philosophy of Science 81 (5): 1103-1116. 2014.
    It is shown that three common conditions for scientific explanations are violated by a widely used class of domain-independent explanations. These explanations can accommodate both complex and noncomplex systems and do not require the use of detailed models of system-specific processes for their effectiveness, although they are compatible with such model-based explanations. The approach also shows how a clean separation can be maintained between mathematical representations and empirical content
  •  48
    Data Analysis: Models or Techniques? (review)
    Foundations of Science 18 (3): 579-581. 2013.
    In this commentary to Napoletani et al. (Found Sci 16:1–20, 2011), we argue that the approach the authors adopt suggests that neural nets are mathematical techniques rather than models of cognitive processing, that the general approach dates as far back as Ptolemy, and that applied mathematics is more than simply applying results from pure mathematics
  •  46
    Unknowable Truths
    Logos and Episteme 2 (4): 543-555. 2011.
    This paper addresses a solution due to Michael Fara to the Church/Fitch paradox of knowability. Fara’s solution has significant interest but the paradox can beresurrected within his approach by considering a slightly more complex sentence. The issue of what counts as an epistemological capability for enhanced agents is then discussed with some emphasis on the developmental heritage of agents and their ability to transcend conceptual frameworks.