•  734
    This paper defends David Hume's "Of Miracles" from John Earman's (2000) Bayesian attack by showing that Earman misrepresents Hume's argument against believing in miracles and misunderstands Hume's epistemology of probable belief. It argues, moreover, that Hume's account of evidence is fundamentally non-mathematical and thus cannot be properly represented in a Bayesian framework. Hume's account of probability is show to be consistent with a long and laudable tradition of evidential reasoning goin…Read more
  •  196
    When a scientist is the first to perform a difficult type of observation and correctly interprets the result as a significant challenge to then-widely accepted core theories, and the result is later recognized as seminal work in a field of major importance, it is a surprise to find that that work was essentially ignored by the scientific community for thirty years. Such was the fate of the doctoral research on the rotations of the Andromeda Nebula (M31) conducted by Horace Welcome Babcock (1912–…Read more
  •  101
    Dark Matters in Contemporary Astrophysics: A Case Study in Theory Choice and Evidential Reasoning
    Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada). 2001.
    This dissertation examines the dynamical dark matter problem in twentieth century astrophysics from the point of view of History and Philosophy of Science. The dynamical dark matter problem describes the situation astronomers find themselves in with regard to the dynamics of large scale astrophysical systems such as galaxies and galaxy clusters: The observed motions are incompatible with the visible distribution matter given the accepted law of gravitation. This discrepancy has two classes of po…Read more
  •  55
    The dark matter problem in astrophysics exposes an underappreciated weakness in the evidential warrant for General Relativity (GR). The "dark matter double bind" entails that GR gets no differential evidential support from dynamical phenomena occurring at scales larger than our solar system, as compared to members of a significant class of rival gravitation theories. These rivals are each empirically indistinguishable from GR for phenomena taking place at solar system scales, but make prediction…Read more
  •  43
    This paper compares four techniques for measuring the masses of galaxies and larger astrophysical systems from their dynamics. The apparent agreement of these techniques is sometimes invoked as reason for hypothesizing the existence of huge quantities of “dark matter” as the best solution to “the dynamical discrepancy”, the 100-fold disparity between the amount of mass visible in large scale astrophysical systems and the amount calculated from dynamics. This paper argues that the agreement, thou…Read more
  •  41
    Quantitative Parsimony, Explanatory Power and Dark Matter
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2): 317-327. 2014.
    Baker argues that quantitative parsimony—the principle that hypotheses requiring fewer entities are to be preferred over their empirically equivalent rivals—is a rational methodological criterion because it maximizes explanatory power. Baker lends plausibility to his account by confronting it with the example of postulating of the neutrino in order to resolve a discrepancy in Beta decay experiments. Baker’s account is initially attractive, but I argue that its details are problematic and that it…Read more
  •  30
    On the interpretive role of theories of gravity and ‘ugly’ solutions to the total evidence for dark matter
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47 62-67. 2014.
    Peter Kosso discusses the weak gravitational lensing observations of the Bullet Cluster and argues that dark matter can be detected in this system solely through the equivalence principle without the need to specify a full theory of gravity. This paper argues that Kosso gets some of the details wrong in his analysis of the implications of the Bullet Cluster observations for the Dark Matter Double Bind and the possibility of constructing robust tests of theories of gravity at galactic and greater…Read more
  •  28
    Hume says we never have grounds to believe in miracles. He’s right, but many commentators misunderstand his theory of probability and therefore his argument. This book shows that Humean probability descends from Roman law, and once properly contextualized historically and philosophically, Hume’s argument survives the criticisms leveled against it.
  •  19
    John Broome , Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World . Reviewed by (review)
    Philosophy in Review 33 (1): 20-22. 2013.
  •  13
    The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought (review)
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (1). 2012.
    Ethics, Policy & Environment, Volume 15, Issue 1, Page 131-132, March 2012
  •  7
    Saving the World is a Universal Duty: Comment on Baer
    Ethics, Place and Environment 12 (3): 309-312. 2009.