Philosophy and Archaeology

Philosophy and Archaeology

1st Edition - December 28, 1982

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  • Author: Merrilee H. Salmon
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483295770

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Studies in Archaeology: Philosophy and Archaeology presents the circumstances under which archeological hypotheses can be considered confirmed or disconfirmed. This book discusses the role of analogy in archeological reasoning, particularly in ascribing functions to archeological items. Organized into seven chapters, this book begins with an overview of the relationship between archeology and philosophy. This text then examines the importance of laws for archeology and discusses some essential features of law statements. Other chapters consider the strong claims for the hypothetico–deductive method of confirmation in various works by archeologists. This book discusses as well the different uses of analogical reasoning in archeology and provides a discussion of the structure of analogical arguments, criteria for evaluating them, and their relations to the Bayesian arguments for confirmation. The final chapter deals with several issues related to the development of a theory of archeology. This book is a valuable resource for archeologists and philosophers.

Table of Contents

  • Preface


    One. Introduction

    Two. Laws in Archaeology

    Introduction and Examples

    Some Features of Laws: Generality and Truth

    Determinism and Statistical Laws

    Methodological Determinism

    Differences Between Laws of Physics and Laws of the Biological and Behavioral Sciences

    Are There Any Laws of Archaeology?

    The Importance of Laws for Archaeology

    Are There Any Nontrivial Laws of Archaeology?

    An Attempt to Employ Laws in an Archaeological Explanation


    Three. Confirmation in Archaeology


    The Logic of Confirmation

    The Hypothetico-Deductive Method

    Relative Confirmation and Absolute Confirmation

    Inadequacy of the H-D Method as a Model of Confirmation in Archaeology

    Prior Probabilities

    An Alternative Pattern for Confirmation

    Bayes' Method

    Alternative Hypotheses


    Four. Analogy and Functional Ascription


    Form and Function


    Analysis and Evaluation of Arguments from Analogy

    An Attempt to Provide a General Method for Ascribing Functions

    Criticism of the Attempt

    Ethnoarchaeology and Analogy


    Five. Functional Explanation

    Introduction and Examples of Functional Explanations

    Functional Explanations Versus Functionalist Theories of Anthropology

    The Consistency of Functional Explanations with Scientists' Understanding of Causality

    Some Connections Between Functional Explanations and Systems

    Models of the Phenomena and Models, or Patterns, of Explanation

    Difficulties in Fitting Functional Explanations with Some Standard Models of Scientific Explanation

    Some Inadequacies in the Standard Philosophical Models, or Patterns, of Scientific Explanation

    An Attempt to Preserve Causal Features in Functional Explanations

    An Attempt to Preserve Structure and Causality


    Six. Structure of Archaeological Explanation


    Explaining the Character of a Faunal Assemblage

    Structure of the Explanation

    Deductive-Statistical Explanation—Explaining Regularities

    Explaining the Occurrence of a Pattern

    Problems with the High Probability Requirement

    Causal Relevance and Statistical Relevance

    Probabilistic Causes

    Common Causes


    Seven. Theory Building in Archaeology


    The Definitional Approach

    Operational Definition


    Formal Theories

    Mathematical Modeling

    Constructing Theories by Borrowing

    General Assumptions, Common-Sense Hypotheses, Induction, and Theories


    Concluding Remarks


    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 203
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1982
  • Published: December 28, 1982
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483295770

About the Author

Merrilee H. Salmon

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