Podcasts: BSPS Annual Conference

If you didn’t make it to this year’s BSPS annual conference in Oxford, we’ve teamed up with Philosophy Streaming to record the Presidential Address and the plenary discussions for your listening pleasure!

Christian Wüthrich’s ‘The Temporal and Atemporal Emergence of (Space-)Time’

Christian Wüthrich delivered one of the plenary talks at this summer’s BSPS conference in Edinburgh and lo! It was recorded (future is now!).

A Hot Mess: Inflation and Fine-Tuning | Casey McCoy

Given the suggested philosophical nature of cosmology, it may seem somewhat surprising that philosophers have paid relatively little attention to the physical study of cosmology, namely, what one might call the science of little ‘u’ physical universes. If philosophy aims at understanding the Universe, then surely an important piece of the complete story is to be found in its physics.

Sommerfeld’s Miracle: The Ultimate Challenge to Scientific Realism | Peter Vickers

A ‘no miracles’ argument is still prevalent in the scientific realism debate, even if a lot has changed since Hilary Putnam’s formulation of it, and even if the word ‘miracle’ is generally avoided. For example, realists think that if the most central ‘working’ parts of a scientific theory were not even approximately true (for any serious theory of ‘approximate truth’), then it would be incredibly unlikely (‘miraculous’) for that theory to deliver successful novel predictions with ‘perfect’ quantitative accuracy (e.g. to several significant figures). It would be like perfectly predicting the time and position of the next solar eclipse based on a completely false (not even approximately true) model of how the sun, moon, and earth interact. Here it is appropriate to talk in terms of ‘counterexamples’ to scientific realism: any historical case where a scientific theory delivered ‘perfect’ predictions but where the central working parts of the theory are now thought to be radically false would be a very serious thorn in the side of nearly every contemporary scientific realist position.

Weekend Reading

If our new virtual issue on the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science wasn’t enough to keep you busy, here are more new things for your reading pleasure.

Dark Matter: The New Neptune or Vulcan?

BJPS Co-Chief Editor Michela Massimi and Professor of Astronomy Ofer Lahav have written a piece for Astronomy & Geophysics on the Standard Model. Just how many anomalies are necessary for a paradigm shift? 

New on Advance Access

Some new additions to our advance access page for your perusal