The failure to recognize a correlation as spurious can lead people to adopt strategies to bring about a specific outcome that manipulate something other than a cause of the outcome. However, in a 2008 paper appearing in the journal Analysis, Bert Leuridan, Erik Weber and Maarten Van Dyck suggest that knowledge of spurious correlations can, at least sometimes, justify adopting a strategy aiming at bringing about some change. This claim is surprising and, if true, throws into question the claim of (...) Nancy Cartwright and others that knowledge of laws of association is insufficient for distinguishing effective and ineffective strategies. This paper examines the nature of spurious correlations and their value in crafting strategies for change. The conclusion of the paper is that while knowledge of a spurious correlation may have practical value, the value depends on either having knowledge of the causal structure underlying the correlation or it depends on the use of ‘causal criteria’. (shrink)
According to HealthCare.gov, by improving access to quality health for all Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce disparities in health insurance coverage. One way this will happen under the provisions of the ACA is by creating a new health insurance marketplace (a health insurance exchange) by 2014 in which “all people will have a choice for quality, affordable health insurance even if a job loss, job switch, move or illness occurs”. This does not mean that everyone will have (...) whatever insurance coverage he or she wants. The provisions of the ACA require that each of the four benefit categories of plans (known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum) provides no less than the benefits available in an “essential health benefits package”. However, without a clear understanding of what criteria must be satisfied for health care to be essential, the ACA’s requirement is much too vague and open to multiple, potentially conflicting interpretations. Indeed, without such understanding, in the rush to provide health insurance coverage to as many people as is economically feasible, we may replace one kind of disparity (lack of health insurance) with another kind of disparity (lack of adequate health insurance). Thus, this paper explores the concept of “essential benefits”, arguing that the “essential health benefits package” in the ACA should be one that optimally satisfies the basic needs of the people covered. (shrink)
Although charismatic leadership theorists have long argued that leader–follower value congruence plays a central role in the development of charismatic relationships, few studies have tested this proposition. Using data from two studies involving a total of 329 CEOs and 1807 members of their top management teams, we tested the hypothesis that value congruence between leaders and their followers is empirically linked to follower perceptions of the charisma of their leader. Consistent with a relational perspective on charismatic leadership, strong support was (...) found for the hypothesis that perceived value congruence between leaders (CEOs) and their followers (members of their top management teams) is positively related to follower perceptions of the degree of charisma possessed by the leader. Conversely, only limited support was found for the hypothesis that actual value congruence is linked to perceptions of charismatic leadership. Implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
The Internet, as it exists today, is an outgrowth of the late 1960’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. During the 1980’s, the National Science Foundation established a high-speed, high-capacity network called NSFnet connecting many universities and government agencies. Finally, with the creation of the World Wide Web and the development and diffusion of inexpensive, reliable and easy to use public Internet access, electronic information technologies connect an increasingly large portion of the population. As a result, the communities with which we (...) are all familiar, communities based on geographic proximity, have changed. These sorts of changes raise many interesting but difficult questions. This paper focuses on two of those questions. First, what does the increasing use of and reliance on electronically mediated communications portend for our understanding of human communities, and second, what sorts of socio-political concepts and relationships best characterize the new “virtual community”? (shrink)
Since at least the 1938 publication of Hans Reichenbach’s Experience and Predication , there has been widespread agreement that, when discussing the beliefs that people have, it is important to distinguish contexts of discovery and contexts of justification. Traditionally, when one conflates the two contexts, the result is a “genetic fallacy”. This paper examines genealogical critiques and addresses the question of whether such critiques are fallacious and, if so, whether this vitiates their usefulness. The paper concludes that while there may (...) be one or more senses in which genealogical critiques are fallacious, this does not vitiate their value. (shrink)
Nancy Cartwright begins her recent book, Hunting Causes and Using Them, by noting that while a few years ago real causal claims were in dispute, nowadays “causality is back, and with a vengeance.” In the case of the social sciences, Keith Morrison writes that “Social science asks ‘why?’. Detecting causality or its corollary—prediction—is the jewel in the crown of social science research.” With respect to the health sciences, Judea Pearl writes that the “research questions that motivate most studies in the (...) health sciences are causal in nature.” However, not all data used by people interested in making causal claims come from experiments that use random assignment to control and treatment groups. Indeed, much research in the social and health science depends on non-experimental, observational data. Thus, one of the most important problems in the social and health sciences concerns making warranted causal claims using non-experimental, observational data; viz., “Can observational data be used to make etiological inferences leading to warranted causal claims?” This paper examines one method of warranting causal claims that is especially widespread in epidemiology and the health sciences generally—the use of causal criteria. It is argued that cases of complex causation generally, and redundant causation—both causal overdetermination and causal preemption—specifically, undermine the use of such criteria to warrant causal claims. (shrink)
This paper develops and tests a model of fingerpointing behaviors that board members experience because of regulatory reforms. We present the partial results of a large study of 138 board members on 54 publicly traded boards in the United States. We found that recent governance reforms that mandate increased accountability of board members are associated with less board cohesion and thatlower board cohesion is associated with fingerpointing behaviors. These findings suggest that the stages of institutionalization following regulatory shock falter when (...) negative group behaviors develop under scrutiny. (shrink)
On the standard reading of Hume, the belief that the necessity associated with the causal relation is “an entirely mind-independent phenomenon” in the world isunjustified. For example, Jonathan Bennett writes that necessary connections of the sort that Hume allows are not “relations which hold objectively between the ‘objects’ or events which we take to be causally related.” Similarly, Barry Stroud writes that, according to Hume, we believe falsely “that necessity is something that ‘resides’ in the relation between objects or events (...) in the objective world.” In this paper I argue that this reading of Hume is mistaken and that there is a sense of justification (viz., justification qua “proof”) according to which human beings are justified in holding the belief that the necessity associated with the causal relation is “an entirely mind-independent phenomenon” in the world. (shrink)
In their recent book, Is Inequality Bad for Our Health?, Daniels, Kennedy, and Kawachi claim that to “act justly in health policy, we must have knowledge about the causal pathways through which socioeconomic (and other) inequalities work to produce differential health outcomes.” One of the central problems with this approach is its dependency on “knowledge about the causal pathways.” A widely held belief is that the randomized clinical trial (RCT) is, and ought to be the “gold standard” of evaluating the (...) causal efficacy of interventions. However, often the only data available are non-experimental, observational data. For such data, the necessary randomization is missing. Because the randomization is missing, it seems to follow that it is not possible to make epistemically warranted claims about the causal pathways. Although we are not sanguine about the difficulty in using observational data to make warranted causal claims, we are not as pessimistic as those who believe that the only warranted causal claims are claims based on data from (idealized) RCTs. We argue that careful, thoughtful study design, informed by expert knowledge, that incorporates propensity score matching methods in conjunction with instrumental variable analyses, provides the possibility of warranted causal claims using observational data. (shrink)
The nature of health care, a multifaceted system of reimbursements, subsidies, levels of care, and trade-offs between economics, values and social goods, makes it both a problematic area of policy and critical to the well-being of society. In the United States, provision of health care is not a right as in some countries, but occurs as a function of a complex set of cross-subsidized mechanisms that, according to some analysts, exclude from coverage those who may be in the most need (...) of it. Accordingly, this article examines some of the issues involved in making decisions on how to justly expand health insurance. (shrink)
A defence of the view that the introduction of transendental idealism, in the Dialectic of Aesthetic Judgment, plays a central role in resolving the antinomy which, as Kant contends, exists in our pure judgments of taste. It is further argued that the link that he holds to exist between the realms of nature and morality (or freedom) can only be successfully made out if transcendental idealism is accepted as underpinning our judgments concerning the beauties of nature.
The goal of research in social epidemiology is not simply conceptual clarification or theoretical understanding, but more importantly it is to contribute to, and enhance the health of populations (and so, too, the people who constitute those populations). Undoubtedly, understanding how various individual risk factors such as smoking and obesity affect the health of people does contribute to this goal. However, what is distinctive of much on-going work in social epidemiology is the view that analyses making use of individual-level variables (...) is not enough. In the spirit of Durkheim and Weber, S. Leonard Syme makes this point by writing that just “as bad water and food may be harmful to our health, unhealthful forces in our society may be detrimental to our capacity to make choices and to form opinions” conducive to health and well-being. Advocates of upstream (distal) causes of adverse health outcomes propose to identify the most important of these “unhealthful forces” as the fundamental causes of adverse health outcomes. However, without a clear, theoretically precise and well-grounded understanding of the characteristics of fundamental causes, there is little hope in applying the statistical tools of the health sciences to hypotheses about fundamental causes, their outcomes, and policies intended to enhance the health of populations. This paper begins the process of characterizing the social epidemiological concept of fundamental cause in a theoretically respectable and robust way. (shrink)
Immanuel Kants three critiques the Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment are among the pinnacles of Western Philosophy. This accessible study grounds Kants philosophical position in the context of his intellectual influences, most notably against the background of the scepticism and empiricism of David Hume. It is an ideal critical introduction to Kants views in the key areas of knowledge and metaphysics; morality and freedom; and beauty and design. By examining the Kantian (...) system in the light of contemporary arguments, Ward brings the structure and force of Kants Copernican Revolution in Philosophy into sharp focus. Kant is often misrepresented as a somewhat dry thinker, yet the clarity of Wards exposition of his main themes, science, morality and aesthetics, through the three critiques brings his writings and theories to life. Lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand Kants immense influence. (shrink)
In a 2002 speech, Mark McClellan, a member of the Council of Economic Advisors at the White House, said that "[I]n the president's vision, all Americans should have access to high-quality and affordable healthcare." However, many healthcare researchers believe that a growing number of Americans are underinsured. Because any characterization of underinsurance will refer to the value judgments of people about what counts as "adequate" and "inadequate" healthcare, the goal of characterizing and measuring the underinsured is difficult to achieve. In (...) this article, I examine the various dimensions of underinsurance, and propose a typology incorporating those dimensions. (shrink)
This essay argues for a pragmatist notion of inquiry which ties together science and morality into a seamless whole, pace David Hume, Gilbert Harman, and others who would separate science and morality as different kinds of inquiry.
If the rhetorical and economic investment of educators, policy makersand the popular press in the United States is any indication, thenunbridled enthusiasm for the introduction of computer mediatedcommunication (CMC) into the educational process is wide-spread.In large part this enthusiasm is rooted in the hope that throughthe use of Internet-based CMC we may create an expanded communityof learners and educators not principally bounded by physicalgeography. The purpose of this paper is to reflect critically uponwhether students and teachers are truly linked together (...) as a``community'' through the use of Internet-based CMC. The paper usesthe writings of Kierkegaard, and Hubert Dreyfus's exploration ofKierkegaardian ideas, to look more closely at the prospects andproblems embedded in the use of Internet-based CMC to create ``distributed communities'' of teachers and learners. It is arguedthat from Kierkegaard's perspective, technologically mediatedcommunications run a serious risk of attenuating interpersonalconnectivity. Insofar as interpersonal connectivity is an integralcomponent of education, such attenuation bodes ill for some, andperhaps many instances of Internet-based CMC. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor begins chapter one of The Language of Thought with two claims. The first claim is that “[T]he only psychological models of cognitive processes that seem remotely plausible represent such processes as computational.” The second claim is that “[C]omputation presupposes a medium of computation: a representational system.” Together these two claims suggest one of the central theses of many contemporary representationalist theories of mind, viz. that the only remotely plausible psychology that could succeed in explaining the intentionally characterized abilities (...) and activities of sentient creatures must refer to computationally related representations. Although “[R]emotely plausible theories are”, according to Fodor, “better than no theories at all”, representationalism is not universally regarded as a “remotely plausible theory”. In what follows I will consider what many people believe to be a significant problem facing representationalism. I will then examine two different ways that this problem can be resolved, one based on the writings of Daniel Dennett, the other on ideas found in the later writings of Wittgenstein. I will conclude that although the resolution based on Dennett’s writings fails, a resolution based on ideas found in the later writings of Wittgenstein succeeds. (shrink)
In the “Introduction” to his Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel suggests that the establishment of an adequate epistemological foundation is a necessary condition for Philosophy to realize the form of Science. At the same time, Hegel says that the epistemological foundation wiIl not be something imposed from without, rather it will develop from a study of cognition itself. This paper examines the nature of Hegel’s attempt to establish an adequate epistemological foundation for Philosophy to realize the form of Science.
In his book Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind, Paul Churchland suggests that the singular terms for prepositional attitude predicates serve an adverbial function as elements of complex predicates. This view, called monadic adverbialism, has three problems. First the monadic predicates cannot be semantic primitives because this would compromise the learnability of the language containing them. Second, the account has no way to analyze general de dicto beliefs that does not compromise the language being learnable. Third, the account requires (...) that de re behefs be treated as instances of general de dicto beliefs, which leads back to the second problem. The conclusion is that monadic adverbialism ought to be rejected. (shrink)