Stephan Hartmann

Stephan Hartmann
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich | LMU · Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and the Study of Religion

PhD

About

197
Publications
36,308
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Introduction
Stephan Hartmann is Chair of Philosophy of Science at LMU Munich, Alexander von Humboldt Professor, and Co-Director of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP). His primary research and teaching areas are philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, formal epistemology, social epistemology and (Bayesian) cognitive science.
Additional affiliations
May 2007 - September 2012
Tilburg University
Position
  • Professor
May 2007 - September 2012
Tilburg University
Position
  • Managing Director
October 2006 - April 2007
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (197)
Article
Computational modeling should play a central role in philosophy. In this introduction to our topical collection, we propose a small topology of computational modeling in philosophy in general, and show how the various contributions to our topical collection fit into this overall picture. On this basis, we describe some of the ways in which computat...
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Meteorological conditions and the distribution of pollen sources are the two most decisive factors influencing the concentration of airborne grass pollen. However, knowledge about land-use types, their potential pollen emission, and the importance of local sources remains limited. In this study, wild grass pollen concentrations from 27 stations in...
Preprint
There is a deeply entrenched view in philosophy and physics, the closed systems view, according to which isolated systems are conceived of as fundamental. On this view, when a system is under the influence of its environment this is described in terms of a coupling between it and a separate system which taken together are isolated. We argue against...
Article
There is a deeply entrenched view in philosophy and physics, the closed systems view, according to which isolated systems are conceived of as fundamental. On this view, when a system is under the influence of its environment this is described in terms of a coupling between it and a separate system which taken together are isolated. We argue against...
Article
We analyze the implications of the closure of the physical for experiments in the scientific study of consciousness when all the details are considered, especially how measurement results relate to physical events. It turns out that the closure of the physical implies that no experiment can distinguish between two theories of consciousness that obe...
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Some naturalistic philosophers of mind subscribing to the predictive processing theory of mind have adopted a realist attitude towards the results of Bayesian cognitive science. In this paper, we argue that this realist attitude is unwarranted. The Bayesian research program in cognitive science does not possess special epistemic virtues over altern...
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A longstanding question is the extent to which "reasonable doubt" may be expressed simply in terms of a threshold degree of belief. In this context, we examine the extent to which learning about possible alternatives may alter one's beliefs about a target hypothesis, even when no new "evidence" linking them to the hypothesis is acquired. Imagine th...
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Conditionals and conditional reasoning have been a long-standing focus of research across a number of disciplines, ranging from psychology through linguistics to philosophy. But almost no work has concerned itself with the question of how hearing or reading a conditional changes our beliefs. Given that we acquire much—perhaps most—of what we believ...
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Deliberation is a standard procedure to make decisions in not too large groups. It has the advantage that the group members can learn from each other and that, at the end, often a consensus emerges that everybody endorses. But a deliberation procedure also has a number of disadvantages. E.g., what consensus is reached usually depends on the order i...
Article
This is a conversation about the application of modeling methods in philosophy and how modeling helps to address philosophical issues that are otherwise difficult to solve. We also talk about the role of mathematics and language in modeling. As an illustration, we analyze the No Alternatives Argument.
Article
According to orthodoxy, there are two basic moods of supposition: indicative and subjunctive. The most popular formalisations of the corresponding norms of suppositional judgement are given by Bayesian conditionalisation and Lewisian imaging, respectively. It is well known that Bayesian conditionalisation can be generalised (via Jeffrey conditional...
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The problem of old evidence, first described by Glymour (1980), is still widely regarded as one of the most pressing foundational challenges to the Bayesian account of scientific reasoning. Many solutions have been proposed, but all of them have drawbacks and none of them is considered to be definitive. Here, we introduce and defend a new kind of s...
Chapter
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A consistent finding in research on conditional reasoning is that individuals are more likely to endorse the valid modus ponens (MP) inference than the equally valid modus tollens (MT) inference. This pattern holds for both abstract task and probabilistic task. The existing explanation for this phenomenon within a Bayesian framework (e.g., Oaksford...
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Bayes nets are a powerful tool for researchers in statistics and artificial intelligence. This chapter demonstrates that they are also of much use for philosophers and psychologists interested in (Bayesian) rationality. To do so, we outline the general methodology of Bayes nets modeling in rationality research and illustrate it with several example...
Article
(Link: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/models-science/) Models are of central importance in many scientific contexts. The centrality of models such as inflationary models in cosmology, general-circulation models of the global climate, the double-helix model of DNA, evolutionary models in biology, agent-based models in the social sciences, and g...
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In this article, we address a major outstanding question of probabilistic Bayesian epistemology: `How should a rational Bayesian agent update their beliefs upon learning an indicative conditional?'. A number of authors have recently contended that this question is fundamentally underdetermined by Bayesian norms, and hence that there is no single up...
Article
Conditionals pervade every aspect of our thinking, from the mundane and everyday such as ‘if you eat too much cheese, you will have nightmares’ to the most fundamental concerns as in ‘if global warming isn’t halted, sea levels will rise dramatically’. Many decades of research have focussed on the semantics of conditionals and how people reason from...
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We present a Bayesian analysis of the epistemology of analogue experiments with particular reference to Hawking radiation. Provided such experiments can be ‘externally validated’ via universality arguments, we prove that they are confirmatory in Bayesian terms. We then provide a formal model for the scaling behaviour of the confirmation measure for...
Chapter
The No Miracles Argument (NMA) is perhaps the most prominent argument in the debate about scientific realism. It contends that the truth of our best scientific theories is the only hypothesis that does not make the astonishing predictive and explanatory success of science a mystery. However, the argument has been criticized from a Bayesian point of...
Book
“Bayesian Philosophy of Science” addresses classical topics in philosophy of science, using a single key concept—degrees of beliefs—in order to explain and to elucidate manifold aspects of scientific reasoning. The basic idea is that the value of convincing evidence, good explanations, intertheoretic reduction, and so on, can all be captured by the...
Chapter
Confirmation of scientific theories by empirical evidence is an important element of scientific reasoning and a central topic in philosophy of science. Bayesian Confirmation Theory—the analysis of confirmation in terms of degree of belief—is the most popular model of inductive reasoning. It comes in two varieties: confirmation as firmness (of belie...
Chapter
Convincing scientific theories are often hard to find, especially when empirical evidence is scarce (e.g., in particle physics). Once scientists have found a theory, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to it. Is this belief justified? We model how the failure to find a feasible alternative can increase the degree of bel...
Chapter
According to Popper and other influential philosophers and scientists, scientific knowledge grows by repeatedly testing our best hypotheses. However, the interpretation of non-significant results—those that do not lead to a “rejection” of the tested hypothesis—poses a major philosophical challenge. To what extent do they corroborate the tested hypo...
Chapter
In this final chapter, we look back on the results of the book and the methods we used. In particular, we enter a discussion whether Bayesian philosophy of science can and should be labeled a proper scientific philosophy due to its combination of formal, conceptual, and empirical methods. Finally, we explore the limitations of the book and we sketc...
Chapter
How does Bayesian inference handle the highly idealized nature of many (statistical) models in science? The standard interpretation of probability as degree of belief in the truth of a model does not seem to apply in such cases since all candidate models are most probably wrong. Similarly, it is not clear how chance-credence coordination works for...
Chapter
Subjective Bayesianism is often criticized for a lack of objectivity: (i) it opens the door to the influence of values and biases, (ii) evidence judgments can vary substantially between scientists, (iii) it is not suited for informing policy decisions. We rebut these concerns by bridging the debates on scientific objectivity and Bayesian inference...
Chapter
This chapter sets the stage for what follows, introducing the reader to the philosophical principles and the mathematical formalism behind Bayesian inference and its scientific applications. We explain and motivate the representation of graded epistemic attitudes (“degrees of belief”) by means of specific mathematical structures: probabilities. The...
Chapter
Learning indicative conditionals and learning relative frequencies have one thing in common: they are examples of conditional evidence, that is, evidence that includes a suppositional element. Standard Bayesian theory does not describe how such evidence affects rational degrees of belief, and natural solutions run into major problems. We propose th...
Chapter
We reconsider the Generalized Nagel-Schaffner (GNS) model of reduction and argue that, contrary to a widely held view, it is the right analysis of intertheoretic reduction. In particular, it provides a convincing analysis of the reductive relationship between statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Then we proceed to a Bayesian analysis of the ep...
Chapter
This chapter motivates why, and under which circumstances, the explanatory power of a scientific hypothesis with respect to a body of evidence can be explicated by means of statistical relevance. This account is traced back to its historic roots in Peirce and Hempel and defended against its critics (e.g., contrasting statistical relevance to purely...
Chapter
Is simplicity a virtue of a good scientific theory, and are simpler theories more likely to be true or predictively successful? If so, how much should simplicity count vis-à-vis predictive accuracy? We address this question using Bayesian inference, focusing on the context of statistical model selection and an interpretation of simplicity via the d...
Chapter
In science, phenomena are often unexplained by the available scientific theories. At some point, it may be discovered that a novel theory accounts for this phenomenon—and this seems to confirm the theory because a persistent anomaly is resolved. However, Bayesian confirmation theory—primarily a theory for updating beliefs in the light of learning n...
Chapter
The question “When is C a cause of E?” is well-studied in philosophy—much more than the equally important issue of quantifying the causal strength between C and E. In this chapter, we transfer methods from Bayesian Confirmation Theory to the problem of explicating causal strength. We develop axiomatic foundations for a probabilistic theory of causa...
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Scientists use a variety of methods to assess their theories. While experimental testing remains the gold standard, several other more controversial methods have been proposed, especially in fundamental physics. Amongst these methods are the use of analogue experiments and so-called non-empirical ways of theory-assessment such as the No Alternative...
Article
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Intertheoretic relations are an important topic in the philosophy of science. However, since their classical discussion by Ernest Nagel, such relations have mostly been restricted to relations between pairs of theories in the natural sciences. This paper presents a case study of a new type of intertheoretic relation that is inspired by Montague's a...
Article
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We often make arguments based on uncertain premises. In such cases, the conclusion of the argument does not follow with certainty, even if the underlying argument pattern is deductively valid. This raises the questions`what is so special about deductively valid arguments?', and `what advantage do we gain by using them?'. We will provide a novel ans...
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According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument (NMA) is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson's argument only applies to one of two versions of the NMA. The other, more considerate version remains unaffected by his line of reasoning. We provide a formal reconstr...
Article
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Does y obtain under the counterfactual supposition that x? The answer to this question is famously thought to depend on whether y obtains in the most similar world(s) in which x obtains. What this notion of ‘similarity’ consists in is controversial, but in recent years, graphical causal models have proved incredibly useful in getting a handle on co...
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McGee (1985) argues that it is sometimes reasonable to accept both x and x->(y->z) without accepting y->z, and that modus ponens is therefore invalid for natural language indicative conditionals. Here, we examine McGee's counterexamples from a Bayesian perspective. We argue that the counterexamples are genuine insofar as the joint acceptance of x a...
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Toy models are highly idealized and extremely simple models. Although they are omnipresent across scientific disciplines, toy models are a surprisingly under-appreciated subject in the philosophy of science. The main philosophical puzzle regarding toy models is that it is an unsettled question what the epistemic goal of toy modeling is. One promisi...
Preprint
According to the Bayesian paradigm in the psychology of reasoning, the norms by which everyday human cognition is best evaluated are probabilistic rather than logical in character. Recently, the Bayesian paradigm has been applied to the domain of argu-mentation, where the fundamental norms are traditionally assumed to be logical. Here, we present a...
Article
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There are various ways to reach a group decision on a factual yes-no question. One way is to vote and decide what the majority votes for. This procedure receives some epistemological support from the Condorcet Jury Theorem. Alternatively, the group members may prefer to deliberate and will eventually reach a decision that everybody endorses - a con...
Article
The technique of imaging was first introduced by Lewis (1976), in order to provide a novel account of the probability of conditional propositions. In the intervening years, imaging has been the object of significant interest in both AI and philosophy, and has come to be seen as a philosophically important approach to probabilistic updating and beli...
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We give a probabilistic justification of the shape of one of the probability weighting functions used in Prospect Theory. To do so, we use an idea recently introduced by Herzog and Hertwig (2014). Along the way we also suggest a new method for the aggregation of probabilities using statistical distances.
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We provide a Bayesian justification of the idea that, under certain conditions, the absence of an argument in favour of the truth of a hypothesis H constitutes a good argument against the truth of H.
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It is often claimed that the greatest value of the Bayesian framework in cognitive science consists in its unifying power. Several Bayesian cognitive scientists assume that unification is obviously linked to explanatory power. But this link is not obvious, as unification in science is a heterogeneous notion, which may have little to do with explana...
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We provide a novel Bayesian justification of inference to the best explanation (IBE). More specifically, we present conditions under which explanatory considerations can provide a significant confirmatory boost for hypotheses that provide the best explanation of the relevant evidence. Furthermore, we show that the proposed Bayesian model of IBE is...
Chapter
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In this paper, we compare several popular rank aggregation methods by the accuracy of finding the true (correct) ranked list. Our research reveals that under most common circumstances simple methods such as the average or majority actually tend to outperform computationally-intensive distance-based methods. We then conduct a study to compare how ac...
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A widely shared view in the cognitive sciences is that discovering and assessing explanations of cognitive phenomena whose production involves uncertainty should be done in a Bayesian framework. One assumption supporting this modelling choice is that Bayes provides the best approach for representing uncertainty. However, it is unclear that Bayes po...
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We present a study of the spreading of trends in artificial social influence networks using agent based models. We concentrate on basic properties of the agents which describe their individual attitudes towards a trend, as well as the influence which they exert in their social neighbourhood. Using a simple random network, we investigate the impact...
Article
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Analogue simulation is a novel mode of scientific inference found increasingly within modern physics, and yet all but neglected in the philosophical literature. Experiments conducted upon a table-top 'source system' are taken to provide insight into features of an inaccessible 'target system', based upon a syntactic isomorphism between the relevant...
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In this discussion note, we explain how to relax some of the standard assumptions made in Garber-style solutions to the Problem of Old Evidence. The result is a more general and explanatory Bayesian approach. © 2015 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.
Research
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We present a new way of applying Garber's strategy for handling the old evidence problem.
Article
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In this work, we present a mathematical model for the emergence of descriptive norms, where the individual decision problem is formalized with the standard Bayesian belief revision machinery. Previous work on the emergence of descriptive norms has relied on heuristic modeling. In this paper we show that with a Bayesian model we can provide a more g...
Article
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Intertheoretic relations are an important topic in the philosophy of science. However, since their classical discussion by Ernest Nagel, such relations have mostly been restricted to relations between pairs of theories in the natural sciences. In this paper, we present a model of a new type of intertheoretic relation, called 'Montague Reduction', w...
Article
Full-text available
Scientific theories are hard to find, and once scientists have found a theory, H, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to H. But is this belief justified? What should scientists believe about the number of alternatives to H, and how should they change these beliefs in the light of new evidence? These are some of the ques...
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Life-science phenomena are often explained by specifying the mechanisms that bring them about. The new mechanistic philosophers have done much to substantiate this claim and to provide us with a better understanding of what mechanisms are and how they explain. Although there is disagreement among current mechanists on various issues, they share a c...
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A descriptive norm is a behavioral rule that individuals follow when their empirical expectations of others following the same rule are met. We aim to provide an account of the emergence of descriptive norms by first looking at a simple case, that of the standing ovation. We examine the structure of a standing ovation, and show it can be generalize...
Book
This volume sheds light on still unexplored issues and raises new questions in the main areas addressed by the philosophy of science. Bringing together selected papers from three main events, the book presents the most advanced scientific results in the field and suggests innovative lines for further investigation. It explores how discussions on se...
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The aggregation of consistent individual judgments on logically interconnected propositions into a collective judgment on those propositions has recently drawn much attention. Seemingly reasonable aggregation procedures, such as propositionwise majority voting, cannot ensure an equally consistent collective conclusion. In this paper, we motivate th...
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Quantum master equations are an important tool in quantum optics and quantum information theory. For systems comprising a small to medium number of atoms (or qubits), the non-truncated equations are usually solved numerically. In this paper, we present a group-theoretical superoperator method that helps solving these equations. To do so, we exploit...
Book
This is a collection of high-quality research papers in the philosophy of science, deriving from papers presented at the second meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association in Amsterdam, October 2009.
Book
This volume, the third in this Springer series, contains selected papers from the four workshops organized by the ESF Research Networking Programme “The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective” (PSE) in 2010: Pluralism in the Foundations of Statistics Points of Contact between the Philosophy of Physics and the Philosophy of Biology The Deba...
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In a famous experiment by Tversky and Kahneman (1983), featuring Linda the bank teller, the participants assign a higher probability to a conjunction of propositions than to one of the conjuncts, thereby seemingly committing a probabilistic fallacy. In this paper, we discuss a slightly different example featuring someone named Walter, who also happ...
Article
Erhaltungssätze haben fundamentale Bedeutung in der Physik. Die wichtigsten Erhaltungssätze in der Mechanik beziehen sich auf die Energie, den Impuls und den Drehimpuls eines Systems.
Article
Synthese 180:1 (2011). Special issue ed. with Roman Frigg and Cyrille Imbert. With contributions by Alisa Bokulich, Uskali Mäki, Christopher Pincock, Stathis Psillos, and Jan Sprenger. Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-009-9562-4
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Different pairs of scientific theories stand in different relations. The present paper identifies a new type of intertheoretic relation, Integrative Reduction, that is instantiated in linguistic syntax and semantics. We show its commonalities with Nagelian reduction and establish their salient differ-ences. To assess the epistemic value of Integrat...
Article
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Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the r...
Chapter
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in: C.F. Gethmann (ed.), Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie, Vol. 2: Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft. Hamburg: Meiner 2011, 1151-1162.
Book
Many theories and models from physics are probabilistic. This observation raises several philosophical questions: What are probabilities in physics? Do they reflect objective chances which exist independently of the human mind? Or do they only express subjective credences and thus capture our own uncertainty about the world? Finally, which metaphys...
Book
This volume, the second in the Springer series Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective, contains selected papers from the workshops organised by the ESF Research Networking Programme PSE (The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective) in 2009. Five general topics are addressed: 1. Formal Methods in the Philosophy of Science; 2. Philos...