In this paper I draw on the French philosopher Michel Foucault for a viewpoint on aspects of EBM. This means that I develop his idea of the spaces occupied by disease. I give much of the paper to only one of these spaces, the space of perception of disease, in order to major on the medical gaze, one of Foucault’s best-known contributions to the philosophy of medicine. As I explain what I mean by each of the spaces of disease, I (...) configure EBM into this space. The conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. Evidence-based clinical practice requires integration of individual clinical expertise and patient preferences with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research and consideration of available resources. EBM can be considered a subcategory of evidence-based healthcare, which also includes other branches of health-care practice such as evidence-based nursing or evidence-based physiotherapy. EBM subcategories include evidence-based surgery and evidence-based cardiology (Guyatt et al. 2008 , 783). (shrink)
In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...) it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
The Modern Philosophical Revolution breaks new ground by demonstrating the continuity of European philosophy from Kant to Derrida. Much of the literature on European philosophy has emphasized the breaks that have occurred in the course of two centuries of thinking. But as David Walsh argues, such a reading overlooks the extent to which Kant, Hegel, and Schelling were already engaged in the turn toward existence as the only viable mode of philosophizing. Where many similar studies summarize individual thinkers, this (...) book provides a framework for understanding the relationships between them. Walsh thus dispels much of the confusion that assails readers when they are only exposed to the bewildering range of positions taken by the philosophers he examines. His book serves as an indispensable guide to a philosophical tradition that continues to have resonance in the post-modern world. (shrink)
We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...) of the statistical interpretation of selection for various debates within the philosophy of biologythe `explananda of selection' debate and the `units of selection' debate. (shrink)
There are two competing interpretations of the modern synthesis theory of evolution: the dynamical (also know as ‘traditional’) and the statistical. The dynamical interpretation maintains that explanations offered under the auspices of the modern synthesis theory articulate the causes of evolution. It interprets selection and drift as causes of population change. The statistical interpretation holds that modern synthesis explanations merely cite the statistical structure of populations. This paper offers a defense of statisticalism. It argues that a change in trait frequencies (...) in a population can be attributed only to selection or drift against the background of a particular statistical description of the population. The traditionalist supposition that selection and drift are description‐independent causes of population change leads the dynamical interpretation into a dilemma: it must face a contradiction or accept the loss of explanatory power. (shrink)
According to a prominent view of evolutionary theory, natural selection and the processes of development compete for explanatory relevance. Natural selection theory explains the evolution of biological form insofar as it is adaptive. Development is relevant to the explanation of form only insofar as it constrains the adaptation-promoting effects of selection. I argue that this view of evolutionary theory is erroneous. I outline an alternative, according to which natural selection explains adaptive evolution by appeal to the statistical structure of populations, (...) and development explains the causes of adaptive evolution at the level of individuals. Only together can a statistical theory of selection and a mechanical theory of development explain why populations of organisms comprise individuals that are adapted to their conditions of existence. (shrink)
According to historical theories of biological function, a trait's function is determined by natural selection in the past. I argue that, in addition to historical functions, ahistorical functions ought to be recognized. I propose a theory of biological function which accommodates both. The function of a trait is the way it contributes to fitness and fitness can only be determined relative to a selective regime. Therefore, the function of a trait can only be specified relative to a selective regime. Apart (...) from its desirable pluralism, only this view of relational function can support the function/accident and function/malfunction distinctions commonly thought to be part of the concept of function. Furthermore, only relational function correctly characterizes the explanatory consequences of function attributions in evolutionary biology. (shrink)
We outline our central reasons for pursuing the project of equality studies and some of the thinking we have done within an equality studies framework. We try to show that a multi-dimensional conceptual framework, applied to a set of key social contexts and articulating the concerns of subordinate social groups, can be a fruitful way of putting the idea of equality into practice. Finally, we address some central questions about how to bring about egalitarian social change.
The Units of Selection debate is a dispute about the causes of population change. I argue that it is generated by a particular `dynamical'' interpretation of natural selection theory, according to which natural selection causes differential survival and reproduction of individuals and natural selection explanations cite these causes. I argue that the dynamical interpretation is mistaken and offer in outline an alternative, `statistical'' interpretation, according to which natural selection theory is a fancy kind of `bookkeeping''. It explains by citing the (...) statistical structure of a population and not by citing the causes of survival and reproduction. From the perspective of the statistical interpretation there is no substantive Units of Selection issue. (shrink)
Wide content and individualist approaches to the individuation of thoughts appear to be incompatible; I think they are not. I propose a criterion for the classification of thoughts which captures both. Thoughts, I claim, should be individuated by their teleological functions. Where teleological function is construed in the standard way - according to the aetiological theory - individuating thoughts by their function cannot produce a classification which is both individualistic and consistent with the principle that sameness of wide content is (...) sufficient for sameness of psychological state. There is, however, an alternative approach to function, the relational theory, which is preferable on independent grounds. A taxonomy of thoughts based on these functions reconciles wide content with individualism. One consequence of individuating thoughts in this way is that intentional content is context sensitive. I discuss some of the implications of context sensitive content. (shrink)
The axiom of comparability has been a fundamental part of mathematical choice theory from its beginnings. This axiom was a natural first assumption for a theory of choice originally constructed to explain decision making where other assumptions such as continuous divisibility of choice spaces could legitimately also be made. Once the generality of application of formal choice theory becomes apparent, it also becomes apparent that both continuity assumptions and the axiom of comparability may be unduly restrictive and lead to the (...) neglect of decision situations which are important and which can be handled on a modified axiom set. These considerations bear on the philosophical analysis of the concept of rational decision. (shrink)
Much of the Mill-Whewell dispute was purely verbal, but much was not. Mill did not understand Whewell; the true character of the non-verbal aspect of the controversy emerges only upon adequate analysis of Whewell's actual position. Such analysis shows that Mill's objections to Whewell were misdirected, although suggestive of other which might, if prosecuted, carry. Ultimately, the dispute has to do with the given; neither man gives an adequate account of it. For this reason, the controversy cannot be resolved definitively (...) in favor of either of them. (shrink)
: This essay discusses the implications of Irigaray's readings of the Antigone in the construction of a feminist ethics. By focusing on the gaps and intersections between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian phenomenology as formulative of Irigaray's eventual call for an ethics of sexual difference, I emphasize the inevitability of rethinking the functions of historicity, femininity, and maternity in the formation of new models of intersubjectivity.
Psychological individualism is motivated by two taxonomic principles: (i) that psychological states are individuated by their causal powers, and (ii) that causal powers supervene upon intrinsic physiological state. I distinguish two interpretations of individualism--the 'orthodox' and the 'alternative'--each of which is consistent with these motivating principles. I argue that the alternative interpretation is legitimately individualistic on the grounds that it accurately reflects the actual taxonomic practices of bona fide individualistic sciences. The classification of homeobox genes in developmental genetics provides an (...) illustration. When applied to the taxonomy of psychological kinds, alternative individualism has some surprising consequences. In particular, externalist taxonomies of thought are consistent with the alternative interpretation, and hence consistent with individualism. I conclude, on this basis, that the individualism/externalism dispute which has long preoccupied philosophy of psychology is an empty one. (shrink)
We reply to discussions of Equality: From Theory to Action by Harry Brighouse, Joanne Conaghan, Cillian McBride and Stuart White. We find many of their points helpful and treat them as a useful contribution to a continuing dialogue on egalitarianism.
It is generally not recognized that Whewell's conception of necessary truth evolved only gradually; his early statements are misleading. For this reason, and because of certain peculiarities in his expository style over his publishing history, he is commonly thought to have used the term "necessary" in the sense of "absolutely necessary". I argue that, on the contrary, the term is essentially relational in his mature view. This conclusion leads, in turn, to a re-interpretation of his doctrine of "fundamental ideas". Here (...) I argue that the crux of his position is that cognitive principles which are initially regulative become, through invention, repeated employment, and stipulative definition, constitutive ones. (shrink)
Objectives of socially responsible investment (SRI) are discussed with reference to the two main mechanisms of the SRI ‘movement’: shareholder advocacy and managed investments. We argue that in their current forms, both mechanisms lack the power to create significant corporate change. Shareholder advocacy has been largely unsuccessful to date. Even if resolutions were successful, shareholder advocacy may still be ineffective if underlying economic opportunities remain. Marketing material and investment prospectuses issued by socially responsible mutual funds (SRI funds) commonly contain the (...) claim that, by affecting corporations' access to capital funding, SRI funds can change corporate practices. This paper makes a contribution by presenting the market share of SRI funds in the regions where they are most developed, being Europe, the U.S. and Australia, to show that this claim is unlikely to eventuate. SRI funds also commonly claim that they will outperform conventional active mutual funds. That the economic performances of both are similar might be explained by their similar portfolio compositions. The paper makes an innovation in the SRI literature by adopting a legitimacy framework to explain the continued presence of SRI funds. To achieve desired social and environmental outcomes, SRI funds are urged to address issues at a more systemic level. A suggested mechanism is the collective lobbying of corporations and, especially, governments. (shrink)
This paper examines one nascent entrepreneurial endeavour intended by Canada's Stem Cell Network to catalyze the commercialization of stem cell research: the creation of a company called "Aggregate Therapeutics". We argue that this initiative, in its current configuration, is likely to result in a breach of public trust owing to three inter-related concerns: conflicts of interest; corporate influence on the university research agenda; and the failure to provide some form of direct return for the public's substantial tax dollar investment. These (...) concerns are common to many efforts to commercialize academic science but are rendered particularly acute in this case given the therapeutic promise of stem cell research and the considerable number of resources related to stem cell research in Canada, which Aggregate Therapeutics is expected to pool. We do, however, believe that the company can be altered to guard against a violation of the public's trust, and so we present concrete modifications to its structure, which we contend should be given immediate consideration. (shrink)