Reading list

Special Journal Issue: The Philosophy of Howard Stein

Follow this link for a series of articles discussing Howard Stein’s groundbreaking work in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of physics. Some of these articles have been online for a while, but others just appeared:

A remark on ‘time machines’ in honor of Howard Stein
JB Manchak

An Examination of Some Aspects of Howard Stein’s Work
Chris Mitsch

Newton’s numerator in 1685: A year of gestation
George E. Smith

Howard Stein on sophisticated practice of philosophers/scientists
William L. Harper

Expanding theory testing in general relativity: LIGO and parametrized theories
Lydia Patton

Sensible quantum experiences: Encounters with Stein’s philosophy of quantum mechanics
Thomas Pashby

Absolute space and Newton’s theory of relativity
Robert DiSalle

“— It would be possible to do a lengthy dialectical number on this;”
Wayne C. Myrvold

Newtonian methodological abstraction
Michael Friedman

Some Philosophical Prehistory of the (Earman-Norton) hole argument
James Owen Weatherall

Some reflections on the structure of cosmological knowledge
Chris Smeenk

Newton’s early metaphysics of body: Impenetrability, action at a distance, and essential gravity
Elliott D. Chen

Research updates

Working draft of “Russell and Logical Empiricism”

See here for a working draft of my paper, “Russell and Logical Empiricism”. This paper has been written for the Oxford Handbook to Bertrand Russell, edited by Kevin Klement. I aim to discuss how Russell’s own epistemology and metaphysics were shaped through his philosophical interactions with Schlick, Neurath, Carnap and Reichenbach. 

Research updates

Preprint of “Concrete models” paper

My paper “Concrete Scale Models, Essential Idealization, and Causal Explanation” is now available through Advance Access at the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Here is the abstract of the paper:

This paper defends three claims about concrete or physical models: (i) these models remain important in science and engineering, (ii) they are often essentially idealized, in a sense to be made precise, and (iii) despite these essential idealizations, some of these models may be reliably used for the purpose of causal explanation. This discussion of concrete models is pursued using a detailed case study of some recent models of landslide generated impulse waves. Practitioners show a clear awareness of the idealized character of these models, and yet address these concerns through a number of methods. This paper focuses on experimental arguments that show how certain failures to accurately represent feature X are consistent with accurately representing some causes of featureY, even when X is causally relevant to Y. To analyse these arguments, the claims generated by a model must be carefully examined and grouped into types. Only some of these types can be endorsed by practitioners, but I argue that these endorsed claims are sufficient for limited forms of causal explanation.

Research updates

Review of volume 1 of Carnap’s Collected Works

See here for a preprint of my review of the first volume of Carnap’s Collected Works, which covers Carnap’s publications up through 1926.

For more information on the Collected Works project, see here and here

Research updates


This blog will provide updates and commentary on my research and related topics in the philosophy of science.