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Ideas of J.J.C. Smart, by Text

[Australian, b.1920, Born in Scotland, and educated in Britain. Professor at Australian National University.]

1990 Explanation - Opening Address
p.02 p.2 Explanation of a fact is fitting it into a system of beliefs
p.02-3 p.2 If scientific explanation is causal, that rules out mathematical explanation
p.03 p.3 Unlike Newton, Einstein's general theory explains the perihelion of Mercury
p.06 p.6 Coherence is consilience, simplicity, analogy, and fitting into a web of belief
p.07 p.7 We need comprehensiveness, as well as self-coherence
p.07 p.7 An explanation is better if it also explains phenomena from a different field
p.07-8 p.8 I simply reject evidence, if it is totally contrary to my web of belief
p.09 p.9 Explanations are bad by fitting badly with a web of beliefs, or fitting well into a bad web
p.11 p.11 Scientific explanation tends to reduce things to the unfamiliar (not the familiar)
p.13 p.13 Deducing from laws is one possible way to achieve a coherent explanation
p.14 p.14 The height of a flagpole could be fixed by its angle of shadow, but that would be very unusual
p.15 p.15 Universe expansion explains the red shift, but not vice versa
2008 The Tenseless Theory of Time
1 p.227 Metaphysics should avoid talk of past, present or future
3 p.233 Special relativity won't determine a preferred frame, but we can pick one externally
3 p.233 The past, present, future and tenses of A-theory are too weird, and should be analysed indexically
5 p.235 If time flows, then 'how fast does it flow?' is a tricky question