Permanent link for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/2022/26063

Integrated History and Philosophy of Science: Third Conference

23–26 September, 2010

Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University at Bloomington, USA


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Resolving a Controversy: The Non-Classical Ion Debate
    (2010) William Goodwin; wgoodwin@usf.edu; Grant Ramsay
    This paper examines a scientific controversy that raged for twenty years in physical organic chemistry during the second half of the twentieth century. After explaining what was at stake in the Non-Classical Ion Debate, I attempt—by examining the methodological reflections of some of the participants—a partial explanation of why this debate was so difficult to resolve. Instead of suggesting a breakdown of scientific method or the futility of appeals to evidence, the endurance of this controversy instead reveals the heuristic character of many of the explanations and predictions generated by theoretical organic chemistry. The results in this case are used to suggest a new role for the study of scientific controversies in revealing the economics of inquiry in scientific fields.
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    Ways of Integrating History and Philosophy of Science
    Theodore Arabatzis; Jutta Schickore; tarabatz@phs.uoa.gr
    This special issue presents selected contributions to the conference “Integrated History and Philosophy of Science” (&HPS3) held at Indiana University in September 2010. The introduction revisits a previous special issue on History and Philosophy of Science, published in Perspectives on Science (2002), and reflects on the recent development of HPS as a field. Ten years ago, scholars expressed concern about the growing distance between mainstream history of science and mainstream philosophy of science. Today, we have good reason to be optimistic. The papers assembled in this special issue demonstrate that we now have a whole spectrum of combinations of historical, philosophical, and other perspectives to study science, ranging from augmenting historical studies by philosophical perspectives and vice versa to historicist reflection on methodological, epistemological, or scientific concepts and practices. This plurality of approaches to combining the historical and the philosophical perspectives on science is a hopeful sign that integrated HPS is here to stay.
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    Philosophy of stem cell biology: an integrated approach
    (2010) Melinda Fagan; mel.fagan@utah.edu; Grant Ramsay
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    The referential convergence of gene concepts based on classical and molecular analyses
    (2010) Tudor Baetu; tudor-mihai.baetu@uqtr.ca; Grant Ramsay
    Kenneth Waters and Marcel Weber argue that the joint use of distinct gene concepts and the transfer of knowledge between classical and molecular analyses in contemporary scientific practice is possible because classical and molecular concepts of the gene refer to overlapping chromosomal segments and the DNA sequences associated with these segments. However, while pointing in the direction of coreference, both authors also agree that there is a considerable divergence between the actual sequences that count as genes in classical genetics and molecular biology. The thesis advanced in this paper is that the referents of classical and molecular gene concepts are coextensive to a higher degree than admitted by Waters and Weber, and therefore coreference can provide a satisfactory account of the high level of integration between classical genetics and molecular biology. In particular, I argue that the functional units/cistrons identified by classical techniques overlap with functional elements entering the composition of molecular transcription units, and that the precision of this overlap can be improved by conducting further experimentation.
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    Dirac’s “fine-tuning problem”: A constructive use of anachronism?
    (2010) Kent Staley; staleykw@gmail.com; Amit Hagar
    In order to shed light on contemporary arguments about "fine-tuning" in cosmology, I examine a possible historical precedent for fine-tuning from the early years of Quantum Electrodynamics: the divergent self-energy of the electron in Dirac's theory. I argue that viewing this problem as a fine-tuning problem involves an anachronistic reconstruction, but that such reconstructions can be philosophically useful so long as they are not confused with real historical understanding. I relate how, historically, this problem really was conceived, and show how one important step toward its solution drew upon an interpretation of Dirac's formalism in terms of "hole theory." In light of the subsequent demise of hole theory, I argue that my anachronistic reconstruction can serve as a cautionary tale that should considerably weaken the conclusions that might otherwise be drawn from attempts to give theistic or multiverse solutions to cosmological fine-tuning problems.
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    Understanding Embryos: Changing Assumptions
    (2010) Jane Maienschein; maienschein@asu.edu; Sandy Gliboff
    The case of embryo research provides insight into the challenges for historians and philosophers of science who want to engage social issues, and even more challenges in engaging society. Yet there are opportunities in doing so. History and philosophy of science research demonstrates that the public impression of embryos does not fit with our scientific understanding. In cases where there are competing understandings of the phenomena and public impacts, we have to negotiate social responses. Historians and philosophers of science can both inform and learn from engaging in the process, by helping to recognize underlying assumptions and by demonstrating changing ideas over time and what factors have caused the changes.