Keith Douglas' Web Page

About me Find out who I am and what I do.
My resumé A copy of my resumé and other documentation about my education and work experience for employers and the curious.
Reviews, theses, articles, presentations A collection of papers from my work, categorized and annotated.
Current research projects What I am currently working on, including some non-research material.
Interesting people People professionally "connected" to me in some way.
Interesting organizations Organizations I am "connected" to. (Some rather loosely.)
Intellectual/professional influences Influences on my work, including an organization chart. Here you can also buy many good books on philosophy and other subjects via I have included brief reviews of hundreds of books.
Professional resources Research sources, associates programs, etc.
What is the philosophy of computing? A brief introduction to my primary professional interest.
My intellectual heroes A partial list of important people. Limited to the dead.
My educational philosophy As a sometime teacher I've developed one. Includes book resources.

Book Influences: Philosophy of Science - Scientific Reasoning

By Parallel Reasoning: The Construction and Evaluation of Analogical Arguments Bartha

This is (apparently) the first full book length study of analogical arguments in fourty years. Long overdue, it sets a high standard to follow. Bartha constructs many useful examples of analogical reasoning - successful, unsuccessful, historical, contemporary, etc. to build features of this novel account. The key insight is examing more of the structure of the source domain, rather than focusing purely on source-target similarities and differences. Along the way, the work of cognitive scientists (who are more interested in description, but whose vies still must be examined for compatibility) and other philosophers are carefully analyzed and borrowed from as necessary. The chief weakness of the book is scope: although the target is (factual) science and mathematics, most examples are physics, biochemistry and biology. Very few social science examples are discussed, though case law and the principle of stare decisis do make an appearance. This weakness is acknowledged (hence is not much of a weakness) and serves to limit the size of the book; it will be interesting to see if it can be generalized or made use of in other domains. Bartha also restricts scope to analogical arguments for much the same reason.

Potentially interested readers might also profitably read Kenny Easwaran's review in NDPR.

The Cognitive Basis of Science Carruthers, Stich, Siegal (eds.) A fascinating collection of papers on what cognitive resources are used by scientific research and by other human activities.
The Cognitive Science of Science Thagard This book was, regrettably, a disappointment. I am in large agreement with many of Thagard's positions (realism, materialism, non-theism, emergentism, etc.) and yet I found the chapters in this volume unsatisfying. Since I largely agree with much of what is said, I wondered if it was simply due to a blasé attitude towards the positions I already hold. However, I convinced myself eventually that this was not the case. Instead, the problem is that each chapter (suitable for a tiny article in Philosophy of Science or the like) is way too short. Every time I read things which sounded introductory, a bit of something new and then wham, the piece would end. All of the topics: conceptual change in medicine, cross-cultural commeasurability of concepts, creativity in computing, neurocomputational models of scientific modelling, etc. are fascinating and deserve careful study. I hope they all obtain at least a monograph eventually. I am also pleased to see that Thagard and (I take it) one of his students (who he is citing) agree with me that Putnam's Twin Earth thought experiment is vitiated by its lack of attention to chemical and biochemical detail. Unfortunately, even this is argued a bit quickly. No appeal to ex falso or the like is made.
Understanding Scientific Reasoning Giere A textbook of scientific reasoning, including interesting case studies, elementary statistics, etc.

Finished with this section? Go back to the list of book subjects here.