Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

One or Two Puzzles about Knowledge, Probability and Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Moritz Schulz
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

Rothschild and Spectre (2018b) present a puzzle about knowledge, probability and conditionals. This paper analyzes the puzzle and argues that it is essentially two puzzles in one: a puzzle about knowledge and probability and a puzzle about probability and conditionals. As these two puzzles share a crucial feature, this paper ends with a discussion of the prospects of solving them in a unified way.

Towards a Unified Theory for Conditional Sentences [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Elena Nulvesu
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

A unified shared theory of conditionals does not still exist. Some theories seem suitable only for indicative but not for counterfactual ones (or vice versa), while others work well with simple conditionals but not compound ones. Ernest Adams’ approach—one of the most successful theories as far as indicative conditional are concerned—is based on a reformulation of Ramsey’s Test in a probabilistic thesis known as “The Equation”. While the so-called Lewis’ Triviality Results support Adams’ view that conditionals do not express genuine statements, the problem arises whether these results lead inevitably…

On Compound and Iterated Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Angelo Gilio, Giuseppe Sanfilippo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

We illustrate the notions of compound and iterated conditionals introduced, in recent papers, as suitable conditional random quantities, in the framework of coherence. We motivate our definitions by examining some concrete examples. Our logical operations among conditional events satisfy the basic probabilistic properties valid for unconditional events. We show that some, intuitively acceptable, compound sentences on conditionals can be analyzed in a rigorous way in terms of suitable iterated conditionals. We discuss the Import-Export principle, which is not valid in our approach, by also examining the inference from a material…

Discovering Early de Finetti’s Writings on Trivalent Theory of Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Jean Baratgin
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

The trivalent and functional theory of the truth of conditionals developed by Bruno de Finetti has recently gathered renewed interests, particularly from philosophical logic, psychology and linguistics. It is generally accepted that de Finetti introduced his theory in 1935. However, a reading of his first publications indicates an earlier conception of almost all his theory. We bring to light a manuscript and unknown writings, dating back to 1928 and 1932, detailing de Finetti’s theory. The two concepts of thesis and hypothesis are presented as a cornerstone on which logical connectives…

Introduction: COVID-19 Models and the Difficult Balance between Methods and Values [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Margherita Benzi, Francesco Barone-Adesi, Raffaella Campaner
Topics: Introduction, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Agent-Based Models as Etio-Prognostic Explanations [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Olaf Dammann
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Agent-based models (ABMs) are one type of simulation model used in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast to equation-based models, ABMs are algorithms that use individual agents and attribute changing characteristics to each one, multiple times during multiple iterations over time. This paper focuses on three philosophical aspects of ABMs as models of causal mechanisms, as generators of emergent phenomena, and as providers of explanation. Based on my discussion, I conclude that while ABMs cannot help much with causal inference, they can be viewed as etio-prognostic explanations of…

KISSing in the Time of COVID-19: Some Lessons for Model Choice [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Till Grüne-Yanoff
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of science

I present and analyze the case of COVID-19 modeling at the Public Health Agency of Sweden (FoHM) between February 2020 and May 2021. The analysis casts the case as a decision problem: mod­elers choose from a strategically prepared menu that model which they have reasons to believe will best serve their current purpose. Specifically, I argue that the model choice at FoHM concerned a trade-off between model-target similarity and model simplicity. Five reasons for choosing to engage in such a trade-off are discussed: lack of information, avoiding overfitting, avoiding fuzzy…

Modeling Pandemic: Proximate and Ultimate Causes [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Federico Boem
Topics: Ecology, Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

In the understanding and prediction of a pandemic phenomenon, epidemiology is obviously the dedicated discipline. However, epidemiological models look at what we might call the proximate causes of the pandemic. On the other hand, the ultimate causes, those of an ecological, evolutionary, and socio-economic nature, are often too simplified or reduced to “minor” variables in epidemiological models. In this article, in dealing with a pandemic, we want to support the need to extend the study and design of responses to the ultimate causes and the disciplines that investigate them, with…

Vaccination Uptake Interventions: An EBM+ Approach [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Daniel Auker-Howlett, Jon Williamson
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, barriers to vaccination uptake are heterogeneous and vary according to the local context. We argue that a more systematic consideration of local social and behavioural mechanisms could improve the development, assessment and refinement of vaccination uptake interventions. The EBM+ approach to evidence appraisal, which is a development of a recent line of work on the epistemology of causality, provides a means to evaluate mechanistic studies and their role in assessing the effectiveness of an intervention. We argue that an EBM+ methodology offers several potential…

The Strange Numbers of Covid-19 [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Annibale Biggeri, Andrea Saltelli
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

Never as with the present pandemics, numbers and the attendant activities of measuring and modelling have taken centre-stage. Yet these numbers, often delivered by academicians and media alike with extraordinary precision, rely on a rich repertoire of assumptions, including forms of bias, that can significantly skew both the numbers per se and the trust we repose in them. We discuss the issue in relation to a particular case relative to the numbers on excess mortality during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy. We conclude with some considerations…
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