Humanity and the very notion of the human subject are under threat from postmodernist thinking which has declared not only the 'Death of God' but also the 'Death of Man'. This book is a revindication of the concept of humanity, rejecting contemporary social theory that seeks to diminish human properties and powers. Archer argues that being human depends on an interaction with the real world in which practice takes primacy over language in the emergence of human self-consciousness, thought, emotionality (...) and personal identity - all of which are prior to, and more basic than, our acquisition of a social identity. This original and provocative new book from leading social theorist Margaret S. Archer builds on the themes explored in her previous books Culture and Agency (CUP 1988) and Realist Social Theory (CUP 1995). It will be required reading for academics and students of social theory, cultural theory, political theory, philosophy and theology. (shrink)
Creative accounting, which generally involves the preparation of financial statements with the intention of misleading readers of those statements, is prima facie a form oflying, as defined by Bok.1 This paper starts by defining and illustrating creative accounting. It examines and rejects the arguments for considering creative accounting, in spite of its deceptive intent, as not being a form of lying. It then examines the ethical issues raised by creative accounting, in the light of the literature on the ethics of (...) lying. This literature includes the evaluation of various excuses and justifications for lying, and these are examined here in relation to creative accounting. It is concluded that even in circumstances in which creative accounting would arguably serve a worthy purpose, that purpose would be at least as well served by honest communication. (shrink)
This article examines the convergence between Italian relational sociology, developed by Pierpaolo Donati and introduced here by Emmanuele Morandi, and critical realism. Whilst the latter is preoccupied with relations between people and structures, Donati sees the whole social order as a relational entity sui generis. Consequently, relational sociology can provide a fuller account of ‘social integration’ than critical realism, which concentrates upon ‘malintegration’ because of its transformative potential. This difference is viewed as a potential source of synergy between these two (...) versions of realism. (shrink)
Since the publication of Roy Bhaskar's A Realist Theory of Science in 1975, critical realism has emerged as one of the most powerful new directions in the philosophy of science and social science, offering a real alternative to both positivism and postmodernism. This reader makes accessible in one volume key readings to stimulate debate about and within critical realism, including: the transcendental realist philosophy of science elaborated in A Realist Theory of Science ; Bhaskar's critical naturalist philosophy of social science; (...) the theory of explanatory critique, which is central to critical realism; and the theme of dialectic, which is central to Bhaskar's most recent writings. The volume includes extracts from Bhaskar's most important books, as well as selections from all of the other most important contributors to the critical realist program. It also includes both a general introduction and original introductions to each section. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political economy', (...) 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
It has been claimed, by David Heyd, that in order for an act to count as supererogatory the agent performing the act must possess altruistic intentions (1982 p.115). This requirement, Heyd claims, allows us to make sense of the meritorious nature of acts of supererogation. In this paper I will investigate whether there is good reason to accept that this requirement is a necessary condition of supererogation. I will argue that such a reason can be found in cases where two (...) people act in the same way but with only the person who acted with altruistic intent counting as having performed an act of supererogation. In such cases Heyd’s intention requirement plays an important role in ruling out acts that intuitively are not supererogatory. Despite this, I will argue that we should reject Heyd’s requirement and replace it with a moral intention requirement. I will then investigate how to formulate this requirement and respond to two objections that might be raised against it. (shrink)
Atheism as a belief does not have to present intellectual credentials within academia. Yet to hold beliefs means giving reasons for doing so, ones which may be found wanting. Instead, atheism is the automatic default setting within the academic world. Conversely, religious belief confronts a double standard. Religious believers are not permitted to make truth claims but are instead forced to present their beliefs as part of one language game amongst many. Religious truth claims are expected to satisfy empiricist criteria (...) of evidence but when they fail, as they must, religious belief becomes subject to the hermeneutics of suspicion. This book explores religious experience as a justifiable reason for religious belief. It uniquely demonstrates that the three pillars of critical realism --ontological intransitivity, epistemic relativity and judgemental rationality -- can be applied to religion as to any other beliefs or theories. The three authors are critical realists by philosophical position. They seek to establish a level playing field between religion and secular ideas, which has not existed in the academic world for some generations, in order for reasoned debate to be conducted. (shrink)
In September 2008, 10 years after the untimely death of Pere Alberch (1954–1998), the 20th Altenberg Workshop in Theoretical Biology gathered a group of Pere’s students, col- laborators, and colleagues (Figure 1) to celebrate his contribu- tions to the origins of EvoDevo. Hosted by the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) outside Vienna, the group met for two days of discussion. The meeting was organized in tandem with a congress held in May 2008 at the Cavanilles Institute (...) for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology (ICBiBE) in Valencia, Spain. The talks at the KLI were equal parts: nostalgic remembrance, excitement over new ways of thinking about old problems, and an unrepressed vitriol against the resurgence of reductionist thinking in EvoDevo. Here we highlight some of the key aspects of Pere’s life and work that informed and infused the talks. (shrink)
Gangestad & Simpson's (G&S's) analysis of strategic pluralism is welcomed as a balance to the current emphasis on between-sex variation. It could have been clarified by acknowledging the extent to which males and females represent fundamentally different mating strategies, since this affects how we view within-sex strategic variation. The distinction between conditional and alternative strategies could also have been highlighted.
We present an analysis of work completion couched in terms of an effective completion decision identified by its characteristic contents and functions. In our proposal, the artist's completion decision can take a number of distinct forms, including a procedural variety referred to as an ‘extended completion decision’. In the second part of this essay, we address ourselves to the question of whether collaborative art-making projects stand as counterexamples to the proposed analysis of work completion.
We discuss our surgical philosophy concerning the subtle interplay between the size of the surgical margin taken and the resultant morbidity from ablative oncological. procedures, which is ever more evident in the treatment of head and neck malignancy. The extent of tissue resection is determined by the "trade off" between cancer control and the perioperative, functional and aesthetic morbidity and mortality of the surgery. We also discuss our dilemmas concerning recent minimally invasive endoscopic microsurgical. techniques for the trans-oral laser removal. (...) or co-ablation of aero-digestive tract tumours, which result in a minimal. surgical margin of oncological clearance. By a process of inductive argument as to the nature of the surgical margin, we consider whether the risks of taking a lesser margin with adjuvant therapy is justified by the attendant gain in reduced surgical morbidity and the possible costs in tumour control. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Mazur & Booth fail to consider the conceptual complexities of dominance; it is unlikely that there is a motive to dominate in animals. Also, the lack of empirical evidence for a causal link between testosterone and dominance is obscured by the narrative reviewing procedure, which is prone to bias.
The present study assessed business students’ responses to an innovative interactive presentation on academic integrity that employed quoted material from previous students as launching points for discussion. In total, 15 business classes ( n = 412 students) including 2nd, 3rd and 4th year level students participated in the presentations as part of the ethics component of ongoing courses. Students’ perceptions of the importance of academic integrity, self-reports of cheating behaviors, and factors contributing to misconduct were examined along with perceptions about (...) the presentation. Discussion sessions revealed that academic misconduct is a complex issue. For example, knowledge of what constitutes misconduct was not consistent across domains (e.g. exam contexts versus group work), penalties were not wholly known, and there was variation in perceived responsibility for reporting and representing academic integrity. Survey measures revealed that self-reported academic misconduct was more prevalent than expected with only 7.5% of students indicating they had never cheated in any way. Furthermore, results showed gender and year of study as predictive factors for issues related to academic misconduct. In general, students were receptive to this form of presentation. The implications of such instructional interventions for enhancing ethical behaviors in higher education classrooms are discussed. (shrink)
Campbell's analysis of the evolution of human sex differences to include selection pressures on the female is generally welcomed. This commentary raises some specific issues about the evidence cited: the impact of paternal death on survival prospects; a possible mechanism underlying a sex difference in fear; the selective advantage of dominance hierarchies; and the absence of evidence that testosterone causes human aggression.
In Violence and the Sacred (henceforth, V&S), Rene Girard remarks that when we think of siblings, we often think of affectionate relationships.1 He then proposes, however, that the stories that have come down to us through mythology and sacred scriptures often tell us otherwise. Warring siblings are embedded deeply in history, religion, and literature: Girard lists Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Eteocles and Polyneices, Romulus and Remus, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland as just a few examples of the (...) fraternal rivalry in our collective consciousness. We might add the biblical Isaac and Ishmael and Joseph and his brothers to this list. The rivalries are so pervasive that Girard declares: “the theme itself is .. (shrink)
The issue of this paper is the extent to which historicism excludes metaphysics in the contemporary revival of American philosophical pragmatism. I have isolated three types of neo-pragmatism: philosophical, theological, and religious. My theisis is that religious pragmatism is a dialectical compromise between theological pragmatism and philosophical pragmatism. William Dean is correct that Rorty’s commitment to human solidarity implies a metaphysics, for human solidarity is valuable only because natural reality is so harsh. Jeffrey Stout, though, is correct that theistic naturalism (...) is “relevant but redundant,” for God is identical to creative natural experiences. Religious pragmatism is an unjustly neglected alternative in this contemporary revival of classical pragmatism. It is a union of the naturalistic conception of religion from theological pragmatism and the non-theistic metaphysics of philosophical pragmatism . By preserving what is true in each type of pragmatism, religious pragmatism makes constructive dialogue possible. (shrink)
The present paper outlines the main points of Heidegger’s philosophical program starting from his early lectures of Freiburg. This program is founded in two fundamental questions. On the one hand, a thematic question: the phenomenon of life and its different forms of manifestation and apprehension. On the other hand, an eminently methodological question, namely the question of how it is possible to access in a correct manner to the primary sphere of life. This last issue conducts the young Heidegger to (...) a first and deep questioning of Husserl’s reflexive phenomenology that ends up in his hermeneutic turn of phenomenology. (shrink)
This purely theoretical paper examines the relationship between the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunity and environmental impact. Specifically, we attempt to more effectively define environmentally-relevant entrepreneurship through comparisons of different extant definitions in the literature, and to extend Schumpeterian theory through the inclusion of environmental entrepreneurship within his framework. By doing so, we contribute to the entrepreneurship literature through a more encompassing and specified definition of environmental entrepreneurship, and by incorporating environmental entrepreneurship into Schumpeter’s (1934) theoretical framework. We propose that (1) (...) Waste-Equals-Food, (2) Public Goods, and (3) Externalities each demonstrate thatenvironmental entrepreneurship is the act of creating future goods and services with positive environmental consequences. Finally, we assert that Schumpeter would likely characterize the pursuit of any such opportunity as “opening up a new source of supply.”. (shrink)
The Global Competitiveness Report raises ethical issues on multiple levels. The traditional high ranking accorded the US is largely attributable to fallacies, poor science and ideology. The ideological bias finds expression in two ways: the inclusion of indices that do not provide competitive advantage, but that fit the Anglo/US ideology; and the exclusion of indices that are known to offer competitive advantage, but that do not fit the Anglo/US ideology. This flaw is compounded by methodological problems that raise further doubt (...) as to the reliability and validity of the survey results. The resultant false high ranking of the US, a strong proponent of Anglo/US capitalism, pseudo-legitimizes the propensity of US-dominated institutions and entities to persuade, coerce and, in the worst-case force other countries and their constituents to adopt Anglo/US practices and behaviours. This is ethically reprehensible because research shows that these practices and behaviours, when compared with other approaches, are sub-optimal in the results they produce for individuals, corporations and nations. The report also unjustly and unnecessarily stigmatizes entire groups of countries with little conceivable benefit to anyone. Given the report’s gravitas through the profound global influence it exerts on the decisions of top government and business leaders, these are serious ethical and economic issues. (shrink)
This article evaluates the structural conception of interests developed by Margaret Archer as part of her dualist version of critical realism. It argues that this structural analysis of interests is untenable because, first, Archer’s account of the causal influence of interests on agents is contradictory and, second, Archer fails to offer a defensible account of her claim that interests influence agents by providing reasons for action. These problems are explored in relation to Archer’s theoretical and empirical (...) work. I argue for an alternative account of interests that focuses on agents’ understandings of their interests and problems with these understandings. (shrink)
The fact that Oswald T. Avery (1877-1955) did not become a Nobel Laureate for his discovery of DNA as the genetic material has frequently been cited as a prime example of a mistake made in the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. The late Nobel Laureate Arne Tiselius explained the oversight away by saying that Avery "was an old man when he made his discovery" (Litell 1967)—although Avery was actually younger than several others who won the Nobel Prize (...) around the same time. Later, in somewhat of a contradiction, Tiselius said that Avery was the most deserving scientist not to have received the Nobel Prize for his work (Judson 2003).The opening of the Nobel archives 50 years after Avery's name was cited gives insights into .. (shrink)
I give a response to Adrian Wüthrich’s critical review of my analysis of the Higgs mechanism, in which I try to clarify some possible misunderstandings. I concede that, as Wüthrich points out, many physicists see the Higgs mechanism as the roll-over from a symmetrical potential in the initial Lagrangian to a symmetry-breaking potential, while my former analysis had basically focused on the gauge-invariant transformation of the initial Lagrangian into the intended form. My main contention, however, still is that neither (...) Higgs story has (as yet) much explanatory power. (shrink)
Hugh Everett III died of a heart attack in July 1982 at the age of 51. Almost 26 years later, a New York Times obituary for his PhD advisor, John Wheeler, mentioned him and Richard Feynman as Wheeler’s most prominent students. Everett’s PhD thesis on the relative state formulation of quantum mechanics, later known as the “Many Worlds Interpretation”, was published (in its edited form) in 1957, and later (in its original, unedited form) in 1973, and since then has given (...) rise to one of the most radical schools of thought in the foundations of quantum theory. Several years ago two conferences held in Oxford and in the Perimeter Institute celebrated the occasion of 50 years to the first publication of Everett’s thesis. The book Many worlds? grew out from contributions to these conferences, but, as its editors emphasize, it is more than mere conference proceedings. Instead, an attempt was made to assemble an impressive collection of papers which together illustrate the promise of the many worlds interpretation and the obstacles it faces. 23 papers divided into six sections follow an introduction by Simon Saunders, one of Oxford’s fiercest Everettians. The first four sections cover two thorny issues that have been flagged by contemporary opponents to the many worlds interpretation, namely, the problem of ontology and the problem of probability, while the fifth discusses alternatives to Everett such as Bohmian mechanics and information–theoretic approaches to quantum theory. The sixth section seems to be a wild card, hosting several papers unrelated to each other, including one of the most interesting contributions to this volume on the history of Everett’s thesis and his (some may say all too) short academic career. Each section concludes with transcripts of the discussion session that took place after the talks, thus giving an additional emphasis to the points of contention. Apart from general comments on the volume, in what follows I would like to concentrate on few papers I found especially illuminating. Start with ontology.. (shrink)
The first use of the term “information” to describe the content of nervous impulse occurs in Edgar Adrian's The Basis of Sensation (1928). What concept of information does Adrian appeal to, and how can it be situated in relation to contemporary philosophical accounts of the notion of information in biology? The answer requires an explication of Adrian's use and an evaluation of its situation in relation to contemporary accounts of semantic information. I suggest that Adrian's concept (...) of information can be to derive a concept of arbitrariness or semioticity in representation. This in turn provides one way of resolving some of the challenges that confront recent attempts in the philosophy of biology to restrict the notion of information to those causal connections that can in some sense be referred to as arbitrary or semiotic. (shrink)
Critical realists argue that the condition of possibility of the sciences is that they are based on a correct set of ontological assumptions or definitions. The task of philosophy is to underlabor for the sciences, by ensuring that the explanations developed are congruent with the ontological condition of possibility of the sciences. This requires critical realists to justify their claims about ontology and, to do this, they turn to ontological assumptions that are held to obtain in natural scientific knowledge and (...) social agents’ lay knowledge. A number of problems with this approach are discussed and a problem-solving alternative is advocated. (shrink)
The chemical characterization of the substance responsible for the phenomenon of “transformation” of pneumococci was presented in the now famous 1944 paper by Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty. Reception of this work was mixed. Although interpreting their results as evidence that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the molecule responsible for genetic changes was, at the time, controversial, this paper has been retrospectively celebrated as providing such evidence. The mixed and changing assessment of the evidence presented in the paper was due to (...) the work’s interpretive flexibility – the evidence was interpreted in various ways, and such interpretations were justified given the neophytic state of molecular biology and methodological limitations of Avery’s transformation studies. I argue that the changing context in which the evidence presented by Avery’s group was interpreted partly explains the vicissitudes of the assessments of the evidence. Two less compelling explanations of the reception are a myth-making account and an appeal to the wartime historical context of its publication. (shrink)