•  203
    Functionalism and the meaning of social facts
    Philosophy of Science 66 (3): 323. 1999.
    This paper defends a social functionalist interpretation, modeled on psychological functionalism, of the meanings of social facts. Social functionalism provides a better explanation of the possibility of interpreting other cultures than approaches that identify the meanings of social facts with either mental states or behavior. I support this claim through a functionalist reinterpretation of sociological accounts of the categories that identify them with their collective representations. Taking …Read more
  •  55
    Science and the Social Contract in Renouvier
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (1): 73-100. 2011.
    Renouvier criticized Comte’s positivist philosophy of science and proposed a social contract approach for dealing with normative questions in philosophy of science as well as moral philosophy. Renouvier then questioned Kant’s distinction between practical and theoretical reason and argued that judgments concerning epistemic warrant must be freely made in the same way that moral judgments are made. What counts as scientific knowledge depends on a consensus within the scientific community that dev…Read more
  •  51
    : It has been said that Kant's critical philosophy made it impossible to pursue either the Cartesian rationalist or the Lockean empiricist program of providing a foundation for the sciences (e.g., Guyer 1992). This claim does not hold true for much of nineteenth century French philosophy, especially the eclectic spiritualist tradition that begins with Victor Cousin (1792-1867) and Pierre Maine de Biran (1766-1824) and continues through Paul Janet (1823-99). This tradition assimilated Kant's tran…Read more
  •  46
    The empirical character of methodological rules
    Philosophy of Science 63 (3): 106. 1996.
    Critics of Laudan's normative naturalism have questioned whether methodological rules can be regarded as empirical hypotheses about relations between means and ends. Drawing on Laudan's defense that rules of method are contingent on assumptions about the world, I argue that even if such rules can be shown to be analytic in principle (Kaiser 1991), in practice the warrant for such rules will be empirical. Laudan's naturalism, however, acquires normative force only by construing both methods and e…Read more
  •  44
    A Manifesto
    with Ullica Segerstrale and Douglas Jesseph
    Social Epistemology 6 (3): 243-265. 1992.
    No abstract
  •  43
    In defense of historical laws
    Philosophy of Science 50 (1): 146-150. 1983.
  •  38
    Evolutionary and Neuroscience Approaches to the Study of Cognition
    Philosophy of Science 72 (5): 675-686. 2005.
    There is a lack of connection between the cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary approaches to the study of the mind, in philosophy as well as the sciences. For instance, although Millikan may display a thorough understanding of evolutionary theory in her arguments for the adaptive value of substance concepts, she gives scant attention to what could be the neural substrates of these concepts. Neuroscience research calls into question her assumption that substance concepts play a role in practic…Read more
  •  32
    Is Durkheim the enemy of evolutionary psychology?
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (1): 25-52. 2003.
    an exemplar of an approach that takes the human mind to be largely the product of social and cultural factors with negligible contributions from biology. The author argues that on the contrary, his sociological theory of the categories is compatible with the possibility of innate cognitive capacities, taking causal cognition as his example. Whether and to what extent there are such innate capacities is a question for research in the cognitive neurosciences. The extent to which these innate capac…Read more
  •  26
    Durkheim, Jamesian pragmatism and the normativity of truth
    History of the Human Sciences 23 (5): 1-16. 2010.
    In his lectures on pragmatism presented in the academic year 1913—14 at the Sorbonne, Durkheim argued that James’s pragmatist theory of truth, due to its emphasis on individual satisfaction, was unable to account for the obligatory, necessary and impersonal character of truth. But for Durkheim to make this charge is only to raise the question whether he himself could account for the morally obligatory or normative character of truth. Although rejecting individualism may be necessary for explaini…Read more
  •  25
    Henri Poincaré and Charles Renouvier on Conventions; or, How Science Is Like Politics
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (2): 182-198. 2017.
  •  24
    The Concept of Analysis in Comte’s Philosophy of Mathematics
    Philosophy Research Archives 8 205-222. 1982.
    This paper traces August Comte’s attempts to get clear about the concept of mathematical analysis at various stages in his intellectual development. Comte was especially concerned with distinguishing a method of analysis for the resolution of complex prolems from analysis in the sense of a method of drawing inferences. Geometrical analysis serves as his model for the former. In his attempt to get clear about this notion, he discovers an historical succession of different methods all of which may…Read more
  •  24
    Renouvier and the method of hypothesis
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1): 132-148. 2007.
    Renouvier was among the first philosophers in France to break with the nineteenth-century inductivist tradition and defend the use of hypotheses in science. Earlier in the century, the humanistically-educated eclectic spiritualist philosophers who dominated French academic life had followed Reid in proscribing the use of hypotheses. Renouvier, who was educated in the sciences, took up the Comtean positivist alternative and developed it further. He began by defending hypotheses that anticipate la…Read more
  •  23
    A Reappraisal Of Comte's Three-state Law
    History and Theory 21 (2): 248-266. 1982.
    Comte's three-state law concerns the historical development of our methods of cognitive inquiry. Comte believes he can defend his three-state law either by :,rational proofs" based upon our knowledge of the human mind or upon 'historical verifications." Comte then uses the three-state law of scientific progress to argue for the existence of industrial and multistate political laws of progress. Here Comte strays from his positivism. He attributes a kind of causal efficacy to scientific progress w…Read more
  •  22
    Words of welcome to our new allies
    with Ullica Segerstrale and Douglas Jesseph
    Social Epistemology 6 (3). 1992.
    No abstract
  •  17
    Whither social epistemology? A reply to Fuller
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21 (2): 196-202. 1991.
  •  17
    Sociology and Hacking's Trousers
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992. 1992.
    For Hacking, the word "real", like the sexist expression "wear the trousers", takes its meaning from its negative uses. In this essay, I criticize Hacking's reasons for believing that the objects of study of the social sciences are not real. First I argue that the realism issue in the social sciences concerns not unobservable entities but systems of social classification. I then argue that Hacking's social science nominalism derives from his considering social groups in isolation from the entire…Read more
  •  16
  •  15
    Although standpoint theorists tend to characterize a scientist’s social situation in terms of her position in a hierarchy of power within the larger society, her social situation could also be characterized in terms of the degree to which she is integrated into the scientific community. The latter concept of social location may prove helpful in explaining a scientist’s potential for contributing to the growth of knowledge. It may also provide an independent measure of marginalization that makes …Read more
  •  15
    Changing conceptions of the philosophy of science
    with Cassandra L. Pinnick
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (2). 2001.
    (2001). Changing conceptions of the philosophy of science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 127-131. doi: 10.1080/02698590120058997
  •  13
    From positivism to conventionalism: Comte, Renouvier, and Poincaré
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80 102-109. 2020.
    Considered in its historical context, conventionalism is quite different from the way in which it has been caricatured in more recent philosophy of science, that is, as a conservative philosophy that allows the preservation of theories through arbitrary ad hoc stratagems. It is instead a liberal outgrowth of Comtean positivism, which broke with the Reidian interpretation of the Newtonian tradition in France and defended a role for hypotheses in the sciences. It also has roots in the social contr…Read more
  •  12
    Book Review: What’s So Social about Social Knowledge? (review)
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1): 98-125. 2005.
    Although Longino and Solomon are interested in what social conditions will produce better science, neither philosopher has provided a sufficient analysis of the social character of science. For instance, neither considers the social character of discovery as well as that of justification, or that an individual scientist’s social status and social relations may be important for understanding her role in both processes. The contributors to Schmitt’s volume are interested in whether the terms that …Read more