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Michael T. Stuart

Michael T. Stuart
National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University · Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition

PhD

About

37
Publications
7,583
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217
Citations
Introduction
CITABLE VERSIONS of all my publications are AVAILABLE ON MY WEBSITE: www.michaeltstuart.com. I am a philosopher at the Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition at NYCU in Taiwan. I do research in philosophy of science and epistemology, focusing on the roles of thought experiments, imagination, computer simulations, model-based reasoning, and AI in science.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - September 2022
University of Geneva
Position
  • Fellow
Education
September 2009 - August 2015
University of Toronto
Field of study
  • Philosophy of Science

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
Full-text available
Scientists imagine, and their imaginings can be better or worse. But what does it mean for an imagining to be better or worse? There are at least three metaepistemological frameworks that present different answers to this question: epistemological consequentialism, deontic epistemology, and virtue epistemology. This paper presents empirical evidenc...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the last decades it has become clear that medicine must find some way to combine its scientific and humanistic sides. In other words, an adequate notion of medicine requires an integrative position that mediates between the analytic-reductionist and the normative-holistic tendencies we find therein. This is especially important as these differen...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades it has become clear that medicine must find some way to combine its scientific and humanistic sides. In other words, an adequate notion of medicine requires an integrative position that mediates between the analytic-reductionist and the normative-holistic tendencies we find therein. This is especially important as these differen...
Article
Science funding policy is constantly evolving as a result of geopolitical, technological, cultural, social, and economic shifts. The last major upheaval of science funding policy happened in response to a catastrophic series of events: World War II. The newest worldwide catastrophe, the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted similar reflections on fundame...
Article
Full-text available
Metaphors are found all throughout science: in published papers, working hypotheses, policy documents, lecture slides, grant proposals, and press releases. They serve different functions, but perhaps most striking is the way they enable understanding, of a theory, phenomenon, or idea. In this paper, we leverage recent advances on the nature of meta...
Chapter
Full-text available
Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich (2001). To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretatio...
Article
While philosophers hold that it is patently absurd to blame robots or hold them morally responsible [1], a series of recent empirical studies suggest that people do ascribe blame to AI systems and robots in certain contexts [2]. This is disconcerting: Blame might be shifted from the owners, users or designers of AI systems to the systems themselves...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research shows-somewhat astonishingly-that people are willing to ascribe moral blame to AI-driven systems when they cause harm [1]-[4]. In this paper, we explore the moral-psychological underpinnings of these findings. Our hypothesis was that the reason why people ascribe moral blame to AI systems is that they consider them capable of entert...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent research shows -- somewhat astonishingly -- that people are willing to ascribe moral blame to AI-driven systems when they cause harm [1]-[4]. In this paper, we explore the moral-psychological underpinnings of these findings. Our hypothesis was that the reason why people ascribe moral blame to AI systems is that they consider them capable of...
Article
Full-text available
Sometimes we learn through the use of imagination. The epistemology of imagination asks how this is possible. One barrier to progress on this question has been a lack of agreement on how to characterize imagination; for example, is imagination a mental state, ability, character trait, or cognitive process? This paper argues that we should character...
Preprint
Full-text available
The concepts of blameworthiness and wrongness are of fundamental importance in human moral life. But to what extent are humans disposed to blame artificially intelligent agents, and to what extent will they judge their actions to be morally wrong? To make progress on these questions, we adopted two novel strategies. First, we break down attribution...
Article
Full-text available
The history of the philosophy of thought experiments has touched on the work of Kuhn, Popper, Duhem, Mach, Lakatos, and other big names of the 20th century. But so far, almost nothing has been written about Paul Feyerabend. His most influential work was Against Method, 8 chapters of which concern a case study of Galileo with a significant focus on...
Article
Full-text available
Imagination is important for many things in science: solving problems, interpreting data, designing studies, etc. Philosophers of imagination typically account for the productive role played by imagination in science by focusing on how imagination is constrained, e.g., by using self-imposed rules to infer logically, or model events accurately. But...
Article
Full-text available
John D. Norton is responsible for a number of influential views in contemporary philosophy of science. This paper will discuss two of them. The material theory of induction claims that inductive arguments are ultimately justified by their material features, not their formal features. Thus, while a deductive argument can be valid irrespective of the...
Chapter
Entry for the Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible
Chapter
Thought experiments are performed in the imagination. We set up some situation, we observe what happens, then we try to draw appropriate conclusions. In this way, thought experiments resemble real experiments, except that they are experiments in the mind.The terms “thought experiment,” “imaginary experiment,” and “Gedankenexperiment” are used inter...
Article
In this article, we analyse the evidential value of the corpus of experimental philosophy (x-phi). While experimental philosophers claim that their studies provide insight into philosophical problems, some philosophers and psychologists have expressed concerns that the findings from these studies lack evidential value. Barriers to evidential value...
Chapter
Full-text available
When philosophers discuss the possibility of machines making scientific discoveries, they typically focus on discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Observing the rapid increase of computer use in science, however, it becomes natural to ask whether there are any scientific domains out of reach for machine discovery. For example,...
Article
Imagination is necessary for scientific practice, yet there are no in vivo sociological studies on the ways that imagination is taught, thought of, or evaluated by scientists. This article begins to remedy this by presenting the results of a qualitative study performed on two systems biology laboratories. I found that the more advanced a participan...
Article
Full-text available
Computational systems biologists create and manipulate computational models of biological systems, but they do not always have straightforward epistemic access to the content and behavioural profile of such models because of their length, coding idiosyncrasies, and formal complexity. This creates difficulties both for modellers in their research gr...
Chapter
Full-text available
An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called...
Preprint
Full-text available
An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this article, we analyze the evidential value of the corpus of experimental philosophy (x-phi). While proponents of x-phi claim that its studies provide insight into philosophical problems, some philosophers and psychologists have expressed concerns that the findings from these studies lack evidential value. One reason for this could be selectio...
Chapter
Full-text available
This is the introduction for the Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.
Chapter
We might think that thought experiments are at their most powerful or most interesting when they produce new knowledge. This would be a mistake; thought experiments that seek understanding are just as powerful and interesting, and perhaps even more so. A growing number of epistemologists are emphasizing the importance of understanding for epistemol...
Article
What role does the imagination play in scientifi c progress? After examining several studies in cognitive science, I argue that one thing the imagination does is help to increase scientifi c understanding, which is itself indispensable for scientifi c progress. Then, I sketch a transcendental justification of the role of imagination in this process...
Article
Full-text available
John D. Norton defends an empiricist epistemology of thought experiments, the central thesis of which is that thought experiments are nothing more than arguments. Philosophers have attempted to provide counterexamples to this claim, but they haven’t convinced Norton. I will point out a more fundamental reason for reformulation that criticizes Norto...
Article
I claim that one way thought experiments contribute to scientific progress is by increasing scientific understanding. Understanding does not have a currently accepted characterization in the philosophical literature, but I argue that we already have ways to test for it. For instance, current pedagogical practice often requires that students demonst...
Article
The history of thought experiments is now gaining a great deal of attention, and this is due to the renewed interest of philosophers on the subject. This paper inquires into the history of the philosophy of thought experiments. We name the period to be examined in this paper the “forerun.” Its main stake-holders are Georg C. Lichtenberg, Novalis, a...
Article
Paul Thagard has recently argued that thought experiments are dangerous and misleading when we try to use them as evidence for claims. This paper refutes his skepticism. Building on Thagard’s own work in cognitive science, I suggest that Thagard has much that is positive to say about how thought experiments work. My last section presents some new d...
Article
Originally published in 1991, "The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences" is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purp...

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