[SydPhil] Reminder: Kirsten Walsh @ Thu 15 May 2014 15:00 - 16:00 (Current Projects)

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Wed May 14 14:59:50 AEST 2014

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Title: Kirsten Walsh
Newton's Laws and 'Epistemic Amplification'
Kirsten Walsh, Philosophy Otago

Newton claimed his laws of motion are certainly true, and yet his  
justification was surprisingly weak: he merely cited a handful of  
experiments and the 'agreement of mathematicians'.  Surely then these laws  
are probable at best.
I examine the experimental evidence Newton provides and argue that, while  
this evidence gives strong support for the laws in limited cases, and  
justifies their use in Newton's mathematical system, it does not justify  
such strong epistemic claims.  In modern Bayesian terms, we might say that  
Newton's laws have high subjective priors.  This does not make them certain.
I then suggest that Newton's laws might earn epistemic warrant in another  
way: via a process I call 'epistemic amplification'.  On this account,  
Newton's laws, as the axioms of the theory, gain epistemic status by virtue  
of the theory's success.  In some places, this looks like straightforward  
confirmation: since the motions of the planets confirm Newton's theory,  
they must also confirm the laws.  But in other cases, Newton's mathematical  
model seems to provide a crucial test of the laws.  I sketch an account of  
this notion of epistemic gain.

When: Thu 15 May 2014 15:00 - 16:00 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Muniment Room, University of Sydney
Calendar: Current Projects
     * Kristie Miller- creator

Event details:  

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