Although Bayesian methods are widely used in phylogenetic systematics today, the foundations of this methodology are still debated among both biologists and philosophers. The Bayesian approach to phylogenetic inference requires the assignment of prior probabilities to phylogenetic trees. As in other applications of Bayesian epistemology, the question of whether there is an objective way to assign these prior probabilities is a contested issue. This paper discusses the strategy of constraining the prior probabilities of phylogenetic trees by means of the Principal (...) Principle. In particular, I discuss a proposal due to Velasco (Biol Philos 23:455–473, 2008) of assigning prior probabilities to tree topologies based on the Yule process. By invoking the Principal Principle I argue that prior probabilities of tree topologies should rather be assigned a weighted mixture of probability distributions based on Pinelis’ (P Roy Soc Lond B Bio 270:1425–1431, 2003) multi-rate branching process including both the Yule distribution and the uniform distribution. However, I argue that this solves the problem of the priors of phylogenetic trees only in a weak form. (shrink)
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (...) (Erkenntnis). (shrink)
Theoria , the international Swedish philosophy journal, was founded in 1935. Its contributors in the first 75 years include the major Swedish philosophers from this period and in addition a long list of international philosophers, including A. J. Ayer, C. D. Broad, Ernst Cassirer, Hector Neri Castañeda, Arthur C. Danto, Donald Davidson, Nelson Goodman, R. M. Hare, Carl G. Hempel, Jaakko Hintikka, Saul Kripke, Henry E. Kyburg, Keith Lehrer, Isaac Levi, David Lewis, Gerald MacCallum, Richard Montague, Otto Neurath, Arthur N. (...) Prior, W. V. Quine, Nicholas Rescher, Ernest Sosa, Robert C. Stalnaker, P. F. Strawson, Patrick Suppes, Johan van Benthem, Georg Henrik von Wright and many others. Hempel's confirmation paradoxes, Ross's deontic paradox, Montague's universal grammar and Lindström's theorem are among the contributions to philosophy that were first published in Theoria. (shrink)
It is now generally agreed that we have to rely on value judgments to distinguish mental disorders from other conditions, but it is not quite clear how. To clarify this, we need to know more than to what extent attributions of disorder are dependent on values. We also have to know (1) what kind of evaluations we have to rely on to identify the class of mental disorder; (2) whether attributions of disorder contain any implicit reference to some specific evaluative (...) standard; and (3) whether the concept of mental disorder is value laden in the definitional or in the epistemic sense. I will argue that the evaluations we have to rely on are mainly considerations of harm, but that we also need to rely on other evaluations; that there should be no references to specific evaluative standards; and that even though mental disorders are necessarily undesirable, "mental disorder" may well be a descriptive phrase. (shrink)
All definitions of mental disorder are backed up by arguments that rely on general criteria (e.g., that a definition should be consistent with ordinary language). These desiderata are rarely explicitly stated, and there has been no systematic discussion of how different definitions should be assessed. To arrive at a well-founded list of desiderata, we need to know the purpose of a definition. I argue that this purpose must be practical; it should, for example, help us determine who is entitled to (...) publicly funded health care. I then propose eight conditions of adequacy that can be used to assess competing definitions (e.g., the ordinary language condition, the coherence condition, and the condition of normative adequacy). These conditions pull in different directions, however, and we must decide which are most important. I also suggest that there is no single definition that can help us deal with all the relevant practical issues. (shrink)
Bengt BrÃ¼lde in his article ``The Goals of Medicine. Towards a Unified Theory'' has proposed a normative theory of the goals of medicine within which the concept of quality of life plays a crucial role. In BrÃ¼lde's analysis, however, the very concept of medicine is deliberately left quite vague and it is therefore difficult to see how the goals of medicine are related to the goals of closely allied enterprises such as health promotion and social welfare. In this reply (...) I therefore propose an analysis of these related conceptual areas. I do this mainly in two respects. (1) Following the nomenclature in a previously published article (Nordenfelt, 1998) I propose a systematic conceptual framework for all varieties of health enhancement and distinguish different notions of medicine within this framework. A consequence of this analysis is, for instance, that the means and also the immediate goals of medicine in its broadest sense are more diversified than the means and immediate goals of medicine in its narrowest sense. (2) From this position I expand the topic further by comparing medicine and health enhancement with social welfare and try to trace the basic features between â as well as the common properties of â these different enterprises. (shrink)
Current anti-doping in competitive sports is advocated for reasons of fair-play and concern for the athlete's health. With the inception of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), anti-doping effort has been considerably intensified. Resources invested in anti-doping are rising steeply and increasingly involve public funding. Most of the effort concerns elite athletes with much less impact on amateur sports and the general public.
It is argued that political democracyand citizenship should not be taken as primarygoals within university education. Instead theauthor argues for a notion of ``academicdemocracy'' with the overall goal or ethos oflearning together. Moreover it is argued that``learning'' then should be understood accordingto ``practical traditions of knowledge'', whichmeans that truth is not the ultimate goal. Theultimate goal is practices that lead to thegood of men and women.
The basic theory of preference relations contains a trivial part reflected by axioms A1 and A2, which say that preference relations are preorders. The next step is to find other axims which carry the theory beyond the level of the trivial. This paper is to a great part a critical survey of such suggested axioms. The results are much in the negative — many proposed axioms imply too strange theorems to be acceptable as axioms in a general theory of preference. (...) This does not exclude, of course, that they may well be reasonable axioms for special calculi of preference. I believe that many axioms which are rejected here may be plausible if their range of application is restricted by conditions which are possible to formulate only in a language richer than that of the propositional calculus, e.g. in one containing modal operators or probabilistic concepts. (shrink)
A so called “weak value” of an observable in quantum mechanics (QM) may be obtained in a weak measurement + post-selection procedure on the QM system under study. Applied to number operators, it has been invoked in revisiting some QM paradoxes (e.g., the so called Three-Box Paradox and Hardy’s Paradox). This requires the weak value to be interpreted as a bona fide property of the system considered, a par with entities like operator mean values and eigenvalues. I question such an (...) interpretation; it has no support in the basic axioms of quantum mechanics and it leads to unreasonable results in concrete situations. (shrink)
Recently, Bengt Hansson presented a paper about dyadic deontic logic,2 criticizing some purely axiomatic systems of dyadic deontic logic and proposing three purely semantical systems of dyadic deontic logic which he confidently called dyadic standard systems of deontic logic (DSDL1–3). Here I shall discuss the third by far most interesting system DSDL3 which is operating with preference relations. First, I shall describe this semantical system (Sections 1.1–1.3). Then I shall give an axiomatic system (Section 1.4) which is proved to (...) be correct (Section 2) and complete (Section 3) with respect to Hansson's semantics. Finally, in face of these results Hansson's semantics will be discussed from a more intuitive standpoint. After emphasizing its intuitive attractiveness (Section 4.1) I will show that two objections often discussed in connection with preference relations do not apply to it (Section 4.2 and 4.3); more precisely, I will show that the connectedness condition for preference relations can be dropped and that, in a sense, it is not necessary to compare two possible worlds differing in infinitely many respects. (What exactly is meant by this, will become clear later on.) Yet there is a third objection to Hansson's semantics which points to a real intuitive inadequacy of DSDL3. A way of removing this inadequacy, which corresponds to Hansson's own intuitions as well as to familiar metaethical views, is suggested, but not technically realized (Section 4.4). In the last section (section 4.5) I shall briefly show that DSDL3 is decidable, as expected. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to present a normative theory of the goals of medicine (a theory that tells us in what respects medicine should benefit the patient) that is both comprehensive and unified. A review of the relevant literature suggests that there are at least seven plausible goals that are irreducible to each other, namely to promote functioning, to maintain or restore normal structure and function, to promote quality of life, to save and prolong life, to help the (...) patient to cope well with her condition, to improve the external conditions under which people live, and to promote the growth and development of children. However, it seems that all these goals need to be qualified in different ways, e.g. it does not seem reasonable to improve physiological function or functional ability unless this is expected to have positive effects on quality of life and/or length of life, or to improve the quality of life in any respect, or by any means. These qualifications all suggest that the proposed goals are, as goals, conceptually, and not just causally, related to one another, and that they should therefore not be regarded in isolation. Instead, we should think of the medical enterprise as having a multidimensional goal structure rather than a single goal. In order to depict clearly how the different goals are related to one another, a multidimensional model is constructed. (shrink)
The paper discusses how the oldest manuscripts (L, C, V) of De civitate Dei are related to the more recent ones. The problems that emerge concern theexistence of an archetype; the relationship between L and C; the question whether the earlier manuscripts may be right (they sometimes are). In quite a few passages the readings preferred by editors are questionable, and others are proposed. It is shown that interpolation and revision of the text play an important role, and that the (...) context must take priority in attempting to establish the text. We should not put excessive trust in the older manuscripts, yet, at the same time, we should be aware of the uncertainty of our choices. (shrink)
Arrow's theorem is really a theorem about the independence condition. In order to show the very crucial role that this condition plays, the theorem is proved in a refined version, where the use of the Pareto condition is almost avoided.A distinction is made between group preference functions and group decision functions, yielding respectively preference relations and optimal subsets as values. Arrow's theorem is about the first kind, but some ambiguities and mistakes in his book are explained if we assume that (...) he was really thinking of decision functions. The trouble then is that it is not clear how to formulate the independence condition for decision functions. Therefore the next step is to analyse Arrow's argument for accepting the independence condition.The most frequent ambiguity depends on an interpretation of A as the set of all conceivable alternatives, while the variable subset B is the set of all feasible or available alternatives. He then argues that preferences between alternatives that are not feasible shall not influence the choice from the set of available alternatives. But even if this principle is accepted, it only forces us to require independence with respect to some specific set B and not to every B simultaneously. Therefore the independence condition cannot be accepted on these grounds.Another argument is about an election where one of the candidates dies. On one interpretation this argument can be taken to support an independence requirement which leads to a contradiction. On another interpretation it is a condition about connexions between choices from different sets.The so-called problem of binary choice is found to be different from the independence problem and it plays no essential role in Arrow's impossibility result. Other impossibility results by Sen, Batra and Pattanaik and by Schwartz are of a different character.In the last section, several weaker independence conditions are presented. Their relations to Arrow's condition are stated and the arguments supporting them are discussed. (shrink)
Measurement invariance (MI) is a prerequisite for comparing latent variable scores across groups. The current paper introduces the concept of approximate measurement invariance building on the work of Muthén and Asparouhov and their application of Bayesian Structural Equation Modeling (BSEM) in the software Mplus. They showed that with BSEM exact zeros constraints can be replaced with approximate zeros to allow for minimal steps away from strict MI, still yielding a well-fitting model. This new opportunity enables researchers to make explicit trade-offs (...) between the degree of MI on the one hand, and the degree of model fit on the other. Throughout the paper we discuss the topic of approximate MI, followed by an empirical illustration where the test for MI fails, but where allowing for approximate MI results in a well-fitting model. Using simulated data, we investigate in which situations approximate MI can be applied and when it leads to unbiased results. Both our empirical illustration and the simulation study show approximate MI outperforms full or partial MI In detecting/recovering the true latent mean difference when there are (many) small differences in the intercepts and factor loadings across groups. In the discussion we provide a step-by-step guide in which situation what type of MI is preferred. Our paper provides a first step in the new research area of (partial) approximate MI and shows that it can be a good alternative when strict MI leads to a badly fitting model and when partial MI cannot be applied. (shrink)