Malcolm R. Forster

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—William Whewell's philosophy of scientific discovery is applied to the problem of understanding the nature of unification and explanation by the composition of causes in Newtonian mechanics. The essay attempts to demonstrate: (1) The sense in which 'approximate' laws (e.g. Kepler's laws of planetary motion) successfully refer to real physical systems(More)
Akaike's framework for thinking about model selection in terms of the goal of predictive accuracy and his criterion for model selection have important philosophical implications. Scientists often test models whose truth values they already know, and they often decline to reject models that they know full well are false. Instrumentalism helps explain this(More)
An evolutionary view of rationality as an adaptive toolbox of fast and frugal heuristics is sometimes placed in opposition to probability as the ideal of enlightened rational human inference. Indeed, this opposition has become the cornerstone of an ongoing debate between adherents to theories of normative as opposed to bounded rationality. On the one hand,(More)
The theory of fast and frugal heuristics, developed in a new book called Simple Heuristics that make Us Smart (Gigerenzer, Todd, and the ABC Research Group, in press), includes two requirements for rational decision making. One is that decision rules are bounded in their rationality—that rules are frugal in what they take into account, and therefore fast in(More)
Some quantum mechanical phenomena are notoriously hard to explain in causal terms. But what prior motivation is there for seeking a causal explanation in the first place, other than the fact that they have been used successfully to explain unrelated phenomena? The answer is twofold. First, the agreement of independent measurements of probabilities is the(More)
William Whewell and J. S. Mill disagreed about the role of conceptual innovation in the evolution of science. For Mill, concepts, correctly constructed, are determined by the empirical facts. They are born fully warranted, free from prejudice and bias. For Whewell, concepts are introduced conjecturally, and the process of testing in science is largely(More)