School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Induction and Natural Kinds Revisited
    Sankey, H ; Hill, B ; Lagerlund, H ; Psillos, S (Oxford University Press, 2021)
    Howard Sankey reconsiders a special issue closely connected with causal powers—the problem of induction. He addresses a deep version of problem of circularity originally raised by Psillos, and argues that the circularity can be avoided. The key is recognizing certain epistemically externalist results of the Megaric consequences of the commitment to dispositional essentialism. Circularity can be avoided, Sankey argues, because it is the way the world is, rather than the inductive inference itself, that grounds the reliability of the inductive inference in his previous account. What are doing the work for Sankey here are the Megaric consequences of his adoption of Ellis’s dispositional essentialism. The uniformity in question is one that stretches across possible worlds: nature is uniform in the precise sense that there are natural kinds whose members all possess a shared set of essential properties. The significance of this commitment lies in how the possible and the temporal intersect through restrictions placed on the accessibility relation between the actual and the possible. Ipso facto, when considering questions about the future behaviours of objects, which is how Sankey understands the problem of induction to be, the uniformity of nature can ground the reliability of beliefs about those future behaviours precisely because the domain of possibility is restricted to those worlds accessible to the actual world, which is fixed by the commitments of dispositional essentialism.
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    The Relativistic Legacy of Kuhn and Feyerabend
    Sankey, H ; Kusch, M (Routledge, 2020)
    Thomas S. Kuhn (1922–1996) and Paul K. Feyerabend (1924–1994) were central figures in the historical turn that took place in the philosophy of science in the latter half of the twentieth century. In a break with positivist orthodoxy, advocates of the historical approach sought to understand the sciences in terms of the developmental processes which underlie scientific change. With growing recognition of the extent to which science is subject to change, the suggestion that the sciences may be approached in relativistic terms came increasingly to the fore. In no small part, the work of Feyerabend and Kuhn was responsible for this trend.
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    Scientific Realism and the Conflict with Common Sense
    Sankey, H ; Gonzalez, W (De Gruyter, 2020)
    The aim of this paper is to identify and resolve a tension between scientific realism and commonsense realism that arises due to a purported conflict between science and common sense. It has sometimes been held that common sense is antiquated theory which is found to be false and eliminated with the advance of science. In this paper, a distinction is proposed between three kinds of common sense: practical skill; widely held belief; basic common sense. It is agreed that common sense in the sense of widely held belief does succumb to the advance of science. It is left open to what extent practical skill varies with scientific change. It is argued that basic common sense is by and large resistant to change due to scientific change. Epistemological aspects of basic common sense are explored. A number of objections to the proposal about basic common sense are considered. It is suggested that basic common sense is sufficiently epistemologically robust to provide a foundation both for scientific knowledge and for scientific realism.
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    SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Sankey, H ; Psillos, S ; Curd, M (ROUTLEDGE, 2008-01-01)
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    Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence
    SANKEY, H ; Carrier, M ; Roggenhoffer, J ; Kuppers, G ; Blanchard, P (Springer Verlag, 2004)
    This paper describes the position of scientific realism and presents the basic lines of argument for the position. Simply put, scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is knowledge of the truth about observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent, objective reality. Scientific realism is supported by several distinct lines of argument. It derives from a non-anthropocentric conception of our place in the natural world, and it is grounded in the epistemology and metaphysics of common sense. Further, the success of science entitles us to infer both the approximate truth of mature scientific theories and the truth-conduciveness of the methods of science.
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    Why is it rational to believe scientific theories are true?
    Sankey, H ; Cheyne, C ; Worrall, J (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2006-12-01)
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    Realism, method, and truth
    SANKEY, H ; MARSONET, M (Ashgate, 2002)
    Rational scientific inquiry is governed by the rules of scientific method. Adherence to the rules of scientific method warrants the rational acceptance of experimental results and scientific theory. Scientists who accept results or theories licensed by the rules of method do so on a rational basis. This chapter assumes a traditional view of the relation between scientific method and rational justification in science. On such a view, there is a close connection between scientific method and the rational acceptance of scientific theories and experimental results. In particular, compliance by a scientist with the rules of scientific method rationally justifies the scientist's acceptance of a theory or result. The chapter discusses a realist bridge between method and truth. Scientific theories make claims about both observable and unobservable states of affairs. Among the claims which theories make about observable states of affairs are predictions of observable phenomena that are made on the basis of hypotheses about unobservable portions of reality.