ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS

international conference for Students of Analytic Philosophy
satellite student event at the 3rd conference of the
East European Network for Philosophy of ScienceEENPS 2021

Date and venue

12/06/2021 [Sat]
Belgrade/Geneva/Zoom

Due to the COVID-19, the meeting will take place in Cyberspace via Zoom
Please, send us an e-mail at the philo.ic.soap@gmail.com with the subject “ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS REGISTRATION” to receive the link


Programme [TBC]

10h30Opening
10h45Bridge Laws are Analytic
Maximilian Schlederer – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany
11h30Ducks, Rabbits, and Progress in Science
Mary Peterson – University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
12h30Lunch break
14h00What is the geometry of nature?
Sebastian Gil – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany
14h45Field’s Nominalism and Infinite Cardinality
Maximilian Petrowitsch – Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
15h30Coffee break
15h45Vicious and Virtuous Selective Scrutiny
Jordan C. Myers – University of Pittsburgh, USA
16h30The Math Of Sleeping Beauty’s Morning
Garrett Credi – University Of Illinois, USA
17h15Closing remarks

Speakers

  • Garrett Credi – University Of Illinois, USA
    The Math Of Sleeping Beauty’s Morning
  • Sebastian Gil – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany
    What is the geometry of nature?
  • Jordan C. Myers – University of Pittsburgh, USA
    Vicious and Virtuous Selective Scrutiny
  • Mary Peterson – University of Edinburgh
    Ducks, Rabbits, and Progress in Science
  • Maximilian Petrowitsch – Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
    Field’s Nominalism and Infinite Cardinality
  • Maximilian Schlederer – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany
    Bridge Laws are Analytic

Abstracts

The Math Of Sleeping Beauty’s Morning
Garrett Credi – University Of Illinois, USA

Since its inception, the Sleeping Beauty Problem has caused much debate among philosophers. In this paper, I will put forth various arguments in favor of thirders, and discuss where competing arguments for halfers fall short. I focus on using mathematics to support my arguments while also discussing the philosophical validity in response to the major criticisms faced by thirders. I give a version of the standard argument for thirders that is more mathematically explicit, and that also introduces an important algebraic tool. I then use that tool to determine various probability distributions that P(Heads) would naturally follow, and use those to give evidence for the thirders position. I then discuss the process by which Sleeping Beauty changes her credences, which is point often brought up by halfers to cast doubt on thirders. Finally I provide a novel proof that any position other than being a thirder leads to a logical contradiction by constructing a Dutch Bet.

Cisewski, J., et al. “Sleeping Beauty’s Credences”. Philosophy of Science 83 (2016): 324–347. Print.
Elga, Adam. “Self-Locating Belief and the Sleeping Beauty Problem”. Analysis 60 (Dec. 2000). Print.
Lewis, David. “Sleeping Beauty: reply to Elga”. Analysis 61 (Dec. 2003): 171–76. Print.
Piccione, Michele and Ariel Rubinstein. “On the Interpretation of Decision Problems with Imperfect Recall”. Games and Economic Behavior 20.1 (1997): 3–24. Web.
Titelbaum, Michael G. “Ten Reasons to Care About the Sleeping Beauty Problem”. Philosophy Compass 8.11 (2013): 1003–1017. eprint: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/phc3.12080. Web.

Ducks, Rabbits, and Progress in Science
Mary Peterson – University of Edinburgh

This paper examines Mayo’s 1996 recasting of Kuhnian normal science against three ifferent views of progress in science: those of Thomas Kuhn (1965), Karl Popper (1963) and Alexander Bird (2007). First, I outline Mayo’s recasting of Kuhn, drawing out a contrast between progress as increased puzzle-solving and progress as growth in reliable experimental knowledge.
Next, I argue that Popper’s idea of progress as giving true solutions to problems fits into this Kuhnian picture. Third, I show that Mayo’s account of normal science saves Kuhn from the concerns about epistemic progress and anti-realism raised by Bird.
My overarching purpose in the paper is to further Bird’s discussion of progress in science by repurposing Mayo’s dialectic between Popper and Kuhn. Mayo writes that her project is distinctive because “while it justifies the very theses by which Kuhn effects the contrast with Popper, the picture that results is decidedly unKuhnian.”1 This paper makes a similar maneuver: using Mayo’s Popperian recasting of Kuhn, I justify the epistemic view of progress that Bird sets up in opposition to Kuhn and Popper.

1 Mayo, Deborah G. “Ducks, Rabbits, and Normal Science: Recasting the Kuhn’s-Eye View of Popper’s Demarcation of Science” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol. 47, No. 2 pp. 271-290, 1996, p. 272.

Bird, Alexander “What Is Scientific Progress?” Nous Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 64-89, 2007.
Kuhn, Thomas “Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?” Criticism and the Growth of
Knowledge: Proceedings of the International Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science, London, 1965, Vol. 4 Eds. Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.
Mayo, Deborah G. “Ducks, Rabbits, and Normal Science: Recasting the Kuhn’s-Eye View of
Popper’s Demarcation of Science” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 271-290, 1996.
Niiniluoto, Ilkka “Scientific Progress” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [2002] 2019
(accessed 18 April, 2021).
Popper, Karl R. Conjectures and Refutations London: Routledge Classics [1963] 2002.
Popper, Karl R. The Logic of Scientific Discovery London: Routledge Classics [1935] 2002.

What is the geometry of nature?
Sebastian Gil – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany

Should we commit to only one geometry being the best fit for the objects of nature, including space-time? Or would we be better off allowing for whatever geometrical system best fits the scientific application we have in mind? Since antiquity and up to the mid 19th Century, there was no room for the second option. Scientists and philosophers only had one tool available for their investigations: Euclidean geometry. When mathematicians started to go beyond the constraints of its axioms, they were met with strong resistance from philosophers refusing to accept the possibility that non-Euclidean geometry could help describe nature. The bitter controversy that ensued culminated with General Relativity’s explicit use of Riemannian geometry in Einstein’s theory of gravitation. (Friedman, 2002) This marked a great revolution in thought: physical space is not globally flat as Euclidean geometry would suggest, but rather has a variable curvature. With the development of new geometries, we may be on the verge of another revolution.
Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry departs both from Euclidean and Riemannian geometry by dropping their shared commitment to the smoothness of space. It deals explicitly with shapes that are inherently rough, like the coast of Britain (Mandelbrot 1967). It also describes shapes whose basic features repeat themselves across multiple scales, such as tree branches and the bronchioles of a lung (Mandelbrot 1982). This success where Euclidean geometry failed inspired Mandelbrot to assert that “there is a fractal face to the geometry of nature.” (Rouvray, 1996) But Mandelbrot’s proposal has also met resistance from philosophers. In 1994, Orly Shenker argued strongly against the effect that fractal geometry could be the geometry of nature, claiming that the mathematical descriptions of naturally occurring objects using the tools of fractal geometry are not, in fact, genuine fractals (Shenker, 1994).
I refute Shenker’s claim that fractal geometry is not the geometry of nature by arguing that her chosen definition of a fractal is wholly unpragmatic to the empirical reality of working scientists. Indeed, the way in which physicists continued to use the terminology of fractals in their models despite Shenker’s criticisms shows a reappropriation of these concepts to fit the phenomena they encountered in the laboratory. (Avnir et al., 1998) As far as many physical and biological systems are concerned, fractal geometry offers the best description possible. Whether fractal geometry may revolutionize our understanding of physical space like what happened with General Relativity is of course a different matter. But this possibility has already been dealt with seriously in proposals to unify this theory with quantum mechanics such as Scale Relativity (Nottale 2011). Thus, the jury is still out on whether the geometry of nature really has a fractal face to it or not. But we may rest assured that, as far as many natural-occurring objects are concerned, fractal geometry really is the right geometry for them.

Avnir, David, Ofer Biham, Daniel Lidar, and Ofer Malcai. “Is the Geometry of Nature Fractal?” Science 279, no. 5347 (1998): 39–40.
Mandelbrot, Benoit B. Science New Series, Vol. 156, No. 3775 (May 5, 1967), pp. 636-638.
Mandelbrot, Benoit B. The fractal geometry of nature. Vol. 1. WH Freeman New York, 1982.
Nottale, Laurent. Scale relativity and fractal space-time: a new approach to unifying relativity and quantum mechanics. World Scientific, 2011.
Rouvray, Dennis H. “The geometry of nature.” Endeavour 20, no. 2 (1996): 79–85.
Shenker, Orly R. “Fractal Geometry is Not the Geometry of Nature.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25, no. 6 (1994): 967–981.

Vicious and Virtuous Selective Scrutiny
Jordan C. Myers – University of Pittsburgh, USA

Thomas Kelly has defended a specific view of how belief polarization emerges and why it is rational to see this phenomenon occur. Kelly defines belief polarization as being more confident in one’s opinion after examining a body of mixed evidence. He has argued that belief polarization specifically due to selective scrutiny is practically rational, where selective scrutiny is the act of asymmetrically analyzing contradictory evidence to your beliefs while accepting confirming evidence. This view ties Kelly to asserting that selective scrutiny is a rational practice. He reaches this view by juxtaposing selective scrutiny to its much-maligned alternative, Kripkean Dogmatism, which is the act of simplistically and reflexively dismissing any evidence that conflicts with one’s existing belief.
While Kelly’s views are interesting and provocative, I believe they are misguided in their reach; I aim to create a differentiation between what I coin vicious and virtuous scrutiny, and argue that vicious scrutiny is irrational for the same reasons as dogmatism. Virtuous selective scrutiny is the sort which does conform to Kelly’s praise; it is contingent upon the state of mind in which a generous evaluation of counterevidence is possible. The act of virtuously scrutinizing, then, must have the very real possibility of the counterevidence in question lowering one’s confidence in one’s currently held belief. Vicious selective scrutiny, on the other hand, lacks this generosity – one’s mind is made up, doxastically closed, and without the possibility that incoming counterevidence will be fairly evaluated and may have the real potential to lower one’s credence in what one already believes. Viciously scrutinizing entails nothing more than a performance of evaluating counterevidence – the agent merely fools herself into thinking she has fairly examined the evidence or argumentation from the other side, while actually having given it no real chance to persuade her. Her mind was unavailable from the start.
Kelly is rather nonspecific when explaining why Kripkean dogmatism is irrational. So, in order to understand why vicious selective scrutiny is no better than dogmatism, we might ask, what is the problem with Kripkean dogmatism? First, it makes the dogmatist ignorant of potentially belief-altering information – not knowing what the other side thinks or why theythink as they do makes it impossible to change one’s mind if one was in fact wrong – because the dogmatist could not ever examine the relevant counterevidence that might change her mind!
Dogmatism also precludes the use of the totality of an agent’s available evidence. And finally, both dogmatism succumbs to an irrational self-predictability – the agent can know what evidence she will dismiss before knowing any details about it, simply by being told if it conflicts or confirms her current belief. The issue for Kelly’s account, however, is that these problems corrupt vicious selective scrutiny in the same way as dogmatism. I conclude that these irrationalities in vicious scrutiny thus temper Kelly’s optimism about the rationality of selective scrutiny and its resulting belief polarization.

Anderson, C. A. (2007). Belief perseverance. In R. F. Baumeister, & K. D. Vohs (Eds.) Encyclopedia of social psychology (pp. 109-110). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Anglin, S.M. (2019). Do beliefs yield to evidence? Examining belief perseverance vs. change in response to congruent empirical findings. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82, 176-199.
Kaplan, J., Gimbel, S.I., & Harris, S. (2016). Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. Scientific Reports, 6.
Kelly, T. (2008). Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarization. The Journal of Philosophy,  105, 611-633.  
McWilliams, Emily C. (forthcoming). Evidentialism and belief polarization. _Synthese_:1-32. 
O’Connor, C., & Weatherall, J. (2017). Scientific polarization. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 8, 855-875. 
Sanderson, C. (2010). Social Psychology (1st ed.) Hoboken: Wiley.    

Field’s Nominalism and Infinite Cardinality
Maximilian Petrowitsch – Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland

In his Science Without Numbers Hartry Field provides us with a defence of nominalism in philosophy of mathematics and science that stands out from other nominalist accounts. It maintains that there is an infinite amount of physical objects such as points in spacetime. This infinitism is on Field’s view not an objection to nominalism. I will show that infinitism is indeed incompatible with nominalist theories which agree with Field that mathematics, despite being a false but useful theory, is a conservative extension of nominalist science. The thesis that mathematics is a conservative extension of nominalist science means that any nominalist assertion that can be derived from nominalist premises utilizing the theorems of mathematics can also be derived from those premises utilizing the theorems of nominalist science alone. I will show that when it comes to nominalist assertions about infinite cardinalities, assertions that maintain that there is an infinite amount of certain objects, Field’s thesis of conservativeness does not hold. While assertions about finite cardinalities can be easily nominalized I will show, that there is no nominalistically acceptable way to account for them in the infinite case. Hence, there are inferences from nominalist premises to nominalist conclusions that can be made employing platonist mathematics but cannot be made employing any nominalist theory. This provides a counterexample to the conservativeness of mathematics over nominalist science. I will conclude that this leaves infinitary nominalist accounts `a la Field with two options. Either one has to accept the existence of certain abstract mathematical objects such as one-to-one correspondences or one has to reject infinitism about physical objects.

Bridge Laws are Analytic
Maximilian Schlederer – Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, Germany

Inter-theoretic reduction is an important part of scientific explanation. When a more specialized theory B is reduced to a more general/fundamental theory A, it is said that A explains B. But it is currently not perfectly clear how this reduction relation should be explicated. The most popular proposal, originally due to Nagel (1970) and refined by Schaffner (1976) and Dizadji-Bahmani et al. (2010), assumes that any reduction requires some form of deductive entailment. Ideally the more fundamental theory A, together with suitable boundary conditions C, imply the less fundamental theory B. However, B can only be the deductive consequence of A, C if all general terms of B also occur in A.
In most actual cases of reduction this is not the case. For example, thermodynamics is considered to be reducible to statistical mechanics, but many terms of thermodynamics (temperature, pressure etc.) do not appear in statistical mechanics. For this reason, additionally so-called bridge laws need to be assumed. They relate the terms of the reduced theory B to the terms of the reducing theory A. These bridge laws ensure that deductive entailment can be achieved.
But the metaphysical nature of these bridge laws remains elusive. According to received opinion, bridge laws cannot be analytic, i.e. they can’t be true in virtue of their meaning. The argument is that otherwise one could find out, by a priori analysis alone, that e.g. temperature is mean kinetic energy. Since this was an empirical discovery, bridge laws, so the argument goes, need some substantial synthetic interpretation. A second common assumption is that bridge laws have the form of universally quantified biconditionals.
Based on several examples, I argue that both these assumptions are wrong: Bridge laws are analytic after all; their metaphysical status is therefore unproblematic. Bridge laws also do not have the form of universally quantified bi-conditionals. Instead, they are merely universally quantified conditionals. I argue that this blocks the possibility of reduction via a priori analysis. Additionally, it solves a related issue of the received view: highly disjunctive “unnatural” bridge laws in cases of multiple realizability.
The present proposal appears to be new for philosophy of science, but related ideas have already been discussed for some years in metaphysics. They are put forward by proponents of what is known as the “Canberra Plan”. The ideas of the Canberra Plan in turn originated not in metaphysics, but in philosophy of mind. My thesis thus constitutes an example of the fruitfulness of working with new ideas from different areas of philosophy.

Dizadji-Bahmani, F., R. Frigg, and S. Hartmann (2010). Who’s afraid of nagelian reduction? Erkenntnis 73 (3), 393–412.
Nagel, E. (1970). Issues in the logic of reductive explanations. In H. E. Kiefer and M. K.
Munitz (Eds.), Mind, Science, and History, pp. 117–37. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Schaffner, K. F. (1976). Reductionism in biology: Prospects and problems. In K. F.
Schaffner and R. S. Cohen (Eds.), PSA 1974, pp. 613–632. Dordrecht: Springer.


Call for Abstracts

ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS student satellite conference
International Conference for Students of Analytic Philosophy/EENPS student satellite conference
Date: 12/06/2021
Place: Online [Zoom] / Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Topics: Philosophy of science (broadly construed) and related disciplines (epistemology, metaphysics of science, formal methods, etc.).

Abstract: 250-500 words
Deadline: 07/05/2021 [extended]
Sessions: 30min + 15min Q&A
Target audience: Master and advanced Bachelor students, with participation of PhD students

email: philo.ic.soap@gmail.com
web: https://icsoap.wordpress.com/

Please, send us an anonymised document with the title and the abstract and in your e-mail with the subject “ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS”, indicate your name, university affiliation, level of study (Ba/Ma/etc).


The ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS, similarly to the ic.SoAP.2021, is organised for advanced Bachelor and Master students (or students who have received their degree within the last year) who would like to present their research and receive a feedback from their peers and PhD students following the presentations.

Unlike the traditional ic.SoAP events, which are not topically restricted, this event focuses on philosophy of science (broadly construed) and related disciplines (metaphysics of science, formal methods, etc.).

The ic.SoAP.2021/EENPS should take place as a student satellite event to the biannual conference of the East European Network for Philosophy of ScienceEENPS 2020/2021 in Belgrade (which was supposed to take place in 2020, but due to the Covid-19, was rescheduled for 2021). The EENPS 2021 conference is scheduled for 9-11/06/2021 and should take place at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia. The satellite conference will take place in a parallel session to the main event and will be accessible online via Zoom.


Poster


Organisation

Michal Hladky – Phileas – University of Geneva

Kyryll Khromov – Phileas – University of Geneva

Federico Donato – Ratio – Università della Svizzera italiana – Lugano

with the support of the EENPS 2021 organisers – Duško Prelević, Vlasta Sikimić