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1. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Fernando Rudy-Hiller Orcid-ID

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Reductionists about testimony think that testimony is never a basic source of justification. By contrast, anti-reductionists claim that, at least in some paradigmatic cases, testimony is a basic and independent source of justification. In support of their position, anti-reductionists usually claim that paradigmatic testimony-based beliefs are non-inferential in that recipients of testimony usually don’t reason their way from the fact that they were told that p to the belief that p —they simply come to believe that p. In this paper I explore in detail the idea that paradigmatic testimony-based beliefs are non-inferentially justified and conclude that it is grounded on an overly simplistic characterization of inferential relations. Then, and taking my cue from Malmgren’s (2018) proposal about the varieties of inferential relations, I defend the view that paradigmatic testimony-based beliefs are inferentially justified after all.
2. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Manuel Almagro Orcid-ID

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Current discussions in the political arena tend to be very unproductive and difficult to resolve. Recent literature suggests that this is the case because most of our political discussions are instances of deep disagreement. Against this story, this paper explores an alternative route: deep disagreements don’t tend to be more unfruitful than other types of disagreement. But then, why many real-life cases of political deep disagreement seem to be so unproductive and difficult to resolve? To address this question, I first distinguish two senses in which a discussion can be considered “deep”, and call them deep disagreement and deep conflict. Second, I argue that most of our current political discussions are unfruitful not because they are instances of deep disagreement, but of deep conflict.
3. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Pío García Orcid-ID

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In this article we propose an analysis of the controversy between Geoffrey Jefferson and Alan Turing in terms of a Kuhnian account of thought experiments. In this account, the main task is not to evaluate intuitions or (only) to rearrange concepts. Instead, we propose that the main task is to construct scenarios by proposing relevant experiences in which shared assumptions and conflicting lines of inquiry can be made explicit. From this perspective, we can understand the arguments and assumptions in the Jefferson-Turing thinking machine controversy.
4. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Zili Dong Orcid-ID

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Despite being a milestone in the history of statistical causal inference, Sewall Wright’s 1918 invention of path analysis did not receive much immediate attention from the statistical and scientific community. Through a careful historical analysis, this paper reveals some previously overlooked philosophical issues concerning the history of causal inference. Placing the invention of path analysis in a broader historical and intellectual context, I portray the scientific community’s initial lack of interest in the method as a natural consequence of relevant scientific and philosophical conditions. In addition to Karl Pearson’s positivist refutation of causation, I contend that the acceptance of path analysis faced several other challenges, including the introduction of a new formalism, conceptual barriers to causal inference, and the lack of model-based statistical thinking. The presence of these challenges shows that the delayed progress in causal inference in the early twentieth century was inevitable.
5. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Cristina Villegas, Orcid-ID Felipe Morales Carbonell Orcid-ID

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The use of dispositions has been put into question many times in the philosophical literature, especially with regards to how dispositional attributions can be justified. Yet, dispositions are an important part not only of our everyday talk but also of our scientific practices. In this paper, we develop an argument that infers the epistemic justification of dispositional talk from its indispensability for carrying out basic epistemological projects, and we apply it to the use of dispositions in evolutionary biology. For doing this, we first advocate for a function-based strategy for the epistemic justification of dispositional attributions. We next review the functional role of some key dispositional notions in evolutionary biology, such as fitness and evolvability. Then, we show that alternative non-dispositional substitutes of these dispositions fail to fulfill their roles to the same degree. We conclude that the use of dispositions is justified in evolutionary biology.
6. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Bohang Chen Orcid-ID

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This article adopts a minimal definition of biological usage to demonstrate that the debate over biological function encompasses two distinct dimensions: descriptive and prescriptive. In the descriptive dimension, biological usage serves as the final arbiter for evaluating different accounts of biological function. Conversely, in the prescriptive dimension, accounts are formulated despite biological usage. The main thesis of this article is that the descriptive/prescriptive distinction helps make better sense of the biological function debate from a novel perspective. This is elucidated by meticulously analyzing the two dimensions and subsequently providing a global overview of the debate.

7. Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1

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