Abstract. Bird reveals an important problem at the heart of Armstrong’s theory of laws of nature: to explain how a law necessitates its corresponding regularity, Armstrong is committed to a vicious regress. In his very brief response, Armstrong gestures towards an argument that, as he admits, is more of a “speculation.” Later, Barker and Smart argue that a very similar problem threatens Bird’s dispositional monist theory of laws of nature and he is committed to a similar vicious regress. In this paper, first, I construct Armstrong’s would-be argument in response to Bird. Second, I argue that his response makes his account of laws and natural properties incompatible with science. Finally, I argue that Armstrong’s strategy to address Bird’s criticism can be used, quite ironically, to defuse Barker and Smart’s argument against Bird.
This paper is part of a book symposium on John D. Norton's The Material Theory of Induction. I primarily focus on Chapter 5 "Epistemic Virtues and Epistemic Values: A Skeptical Critique." The paper will appear in Metascience with a response from the author.
(2021). “Theoretical Virtues and Theorizing in Physics: Against the Instrumentalist View of Simplicity.” Synthese 199 (1): 4819–28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-03004-4.
Abstract: I argue that if (a) simplicity is a theoretical virtue and (b) some theoretical virtues are the constituents of the aims of theorizing in physics—i.e., theory choice and theory development in physics—and (c) scientific rationality is instrumental rationality, then simplicity cannot be a mere means to achieve the aims. I do this by showing that considering simplicity as a mere means brings about counterintuitive ramifications concerning scientific rationality. These counterintuitive ramifications can be avoided if we consider simplicity a constituent of the aims of theorizing in physics.
Abstract: The relationship between Peircean abduction and the modern notion of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a matter of dispute. Some philosophers, such as Harman and Lipton claim that abduction and IBE are virtually the same. Others, however, hold that they are quite different and there is no link between them. In this paper, I argue that neither of these views is correct. I show that abduction and IBE have important similarities as well as differences. Moreover, by bringing a historical perspective to the study of the relationship between abduction and IBE—a perspective that is lacking in the literature—I show that their differences can be well understood in terms of two historic developments in the history of philosophy of science: first, Reichenbach’s distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification—and the consequent jettisoning of the context of discovery from philosophy of science—and second, underdetermination of theory by data.
Abstract: Many non-physicalists, including Chalmers, hold that the zombie argument succeeds in rejecting the physicalist view of consciousness. Some non-physicalists, including, again, Chalmers, hold that quantum collapse interactionism (QCI), i.e., the idea that non-physical consciousness causes collapse of the wave function in phenomena such as quantum measurement, is a viable interactionist solution for the problem of the relationship between the physical world and the non-physical consciousness. In this paper, I argue that if QCI is true, the zombie argument fails. In particular, I show that if QCI is true, a zombie world physically identical to our world is impossible because there is at least one law of nature, a fundamental law of physics in particular, that exist only in the zombie world but not in our world. This shows that philosophers like Chalmers are committing an error in endorsing the zombie argument and QCI at the same time.
(2019). “Beyond the Instinct-Inference Dichotomy: A Unified Interpretation of Peirce’s Theory of Abduction.” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 55 (2): 138–60. https://doi.org/10.2979/trancharpeirsoc.55.2.03.
Abstract: I examine and resolve an exegetical dichotomy between two main interpretations of Peirce’s theory of abduction, namely, the Generative Interpretation and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation. According to the former, abduction is the instinctive process of generating explanatory hypotheses through a mental faculty called insight. According to the latter, abduction is a rule-governed procedure for determining the relative pursuitworthiness of available hypotheses and adopting the worthiest one for further investigation—such as empirical tests—based on economic considerations. It is shown that the Generative Interpretation is inconsistent with a fundamental fact of logic for Peirce—i.e., abduction is a kind of inference—and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation is flawed and inconsistent with Peirce’s naturalistic explanation for the possibility of science and his view about the limitations of classical scientific method. Changing the exegetical locus classicus from the logical form of abduction to insight and economy of research, I argue for the Unified Interpretation according to which abduction includes both instinctive hypotheses-generation and rule-governed hypotheses-ranking. I show that the Unified Interpretation is immune to the objections raised successfully against the Generative and the Pursuitworthiness interpretations.
In Progress (selection; drafts are available upon request.)
(R&R). On natural selection and the problem of evil for atheists.
(Under Review). On Ibn Sina's (Avicenna's) Flying Man Thought Experiment.
(In Progress). Introducing and defending an account of the epistemic aim(s) of science in terms of theoretical virtues of scientific theories.
(In Progress). A paper on the role of theoretical virtues in theory choice in metaphysics.
(In Progress). A review of T. L. Short's Charles Peirce and Modern Science.