Entries by Elizabeth Hannon

Contemporary Scientific Realism and the 1811 Gill Slit Prediction | Peter Vickers

How exactly are the history and philosophy of science supposed to come together? In the case of the scientific realism debate there is a relatively straight forward answer to this. In short, scientific realists are keen to make some sort of success-to-truth inference. Typically they state that when scientific success is sufficiently impressive, we ought to infer that the hypotheses (or parts or aspects of the theory) that generated this success are at least approximately true. This allows for the possibility that, in the history of science, one might find just that sort of success, born of a theory/set of hypotheses that are definitely not approximately true (whatever your take on ‘approximate truth’). Even allowing for one or two exceptions, the possibility arises that there might be many such cases in the history of science. This makes many scientific realist positions falsifiable—loosely speaking, at least. But as things stand, nobody knows which contemporary realist positions (if any) are indeed falsified because we just don’t have at hand the relevant historical ‘facts’ (again, speaking loosely). What we need to make progress is careful and detailed history of science, dealing with relevant historical episodes…

It’s Hard Being Popular…

Due to the very welcome fact of the BJPS’s ever increasing popularity, we’ve been forced to make some tough decisions. All print journals work with tight page budgets, which in our case has been fixed by joint agreement between the BSPS and our publishers, OUP. The upshot of this is that it’s often impossible to publish everything we would like to. Competition for space has always been fierce in the BJPS and, as the last few years have seen a 50% increase in submissions to the Journal, things have become that much tougher.

So Now You’re a Referee… | Beth Hannon

It hardly needs saying that referees are essential to the functioning of journals, and the discipline as a whole. Refereeing a paper is a service to the academic community. Those that take this duty seriously don’t just help the editors and the authors; we all benefit from having published papers be as polished as they can be. I’ve written before about the fact that the production of excellent papers is by no means an individualistic endeavour. It takes an academic village to raise a paper! And we all know how busy everyone is, and how refereeing has to be managed alongside all the other teaching, research, and administrative duties that demand attention. All this is to say that we in no way underestimate the hard work done by our referees; on the contrary, we are very grateful indeed.

All Is Change

There have been some changes in our editorial make up over the last couple of months. First, the sad news. Michael Wheeler and Marc Lange have both stepped down from their roles as Associate Editors for various reasons, including the pressure of other responsibilities. Both have been with this editorial team from the word go and have put a lot of time and energy into supporting the journal. We’d like to thank them both for all their support, and for their careful and thorough reports that helped not just us but also many authors.On a happier note, we have two new additions to the team: Alyssa Ney and Lara Buchak! We are delighted to have both on board.

How to Avoid a Desk Rejection | Steven French

This is the first in our new ‘how to’ series. Various members of our editorial team will be sharing their dos and don’ts for authors hoping to have their papers published with us, or elsewhere. Along the way, the mechanics of academic journals in general, and the BJPS in particular, should become plain. In this series, we’ll cover common questions we are asked, and we welcome suggestions for topics you would like to hear more about. Our first installment comes from Co-Chief Editor Steven French, with advice on how to dodge the dreaded desk rejection.


The lone philosopher, working in a dingy attic by the scrap end of a guttering candle might have some cultural purchase, and certainly the working conditions might sometimes be a little Dickensian, but what’s apparent from working behind the curtains at the BJPS is that good philosophy is not the result of the heroic efforts of single individuals. We are lucky enough here to receive submissions from the best and brightest in our field, but the distance between that first submission and the finished product should not be underestimated. That gap is bridged by the time, hard work, and thoughtfulness of our referees, in conversation with our authors. For myself, I have learnt more about how to do philosophy in reading the back-and-forth between author and referee than I could ever have imagined, and it has been a huge privilege to be able to eavesdrop on these conversations.