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Historical Reconstruction: Gaining Epistemic Access to the Deep Past

Forber, Patrick and Griffith, Eric (2011) Historical Reconstruction: Gaining Epistemic Access to the Deep Past. Philosophy and Theory in Biology, 3 (201306). pp. 1-19. ISSN 1949-0739

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We discuss the scientific task of historical reconstruction and the problem of epistemic access. We argue that strong epistemic support for historical claims consists in the consilience of multiple independent lines of evidence, and analyze the impact hypothesis for the End-Cretaceous mass extinction to illustrate the accrual of epistemic support. Although there are elements of the impact hypothesis that enjoy strong epistemic support, the general conditions for this are strict, and help to clarify the difficulties associated with reconstructing the deep past.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Griffith, Eric
Keywords: consilience, epistemology, evidence, evolutionary biology, geology, mass extinction
Depositing User: Users 15304 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2014 16:53
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2014 16:53
Item ID: 10743
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy and Theory in Biology
Publisher: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3998/ptb.6959004.0003.003
Date: August 2011
Page Range: pp. 1-19
Volume: 3
Number: 201306
ISSN: 1949-0739

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