Mark Rowlands argues that, contrary to the dominant view, a Rawlsian theory of justice can legitimately be applied to animals. One of the implications of doing so, Rowlands argues, is an end to animal experimentation. I will argue, contrary to Rowlands, that under a Rawlsian theory there may be some circumstances where it is justifiable to use animals as experimental test subjects (where the individual animals are benefited by the experiments).
It is sometimes said that simulation can serve as epistemic substitute for experimentation. Such a claim might be suggested by the fast-spreading use of computer simulation to investigate phenomena not accessible to experimentation (in astrophysics, ecology, economics, climatology, etc.). But what does that mean? The paper starts with a clarification of the terms of the issue and then focuses on two powerful arguments for the view that simulation and experimentation are ‘epistemically on a par’. One is based (...) on the claim that, in experimentation, no less than in simulation, it is not the system under study that is manipulated but a system that ‘stands-in’ for it. The other one highlights the pervasive use of models in experimentation. It will be argued that these arguments, as compelling as they might seem, are each based on a mistaken interpretation of experimentation and that, far from simulation and experimentation being epistemically on a par, they do not have the same epistemic function, do not produce the same kind of epistemic results. (shrink)
This book focuses on experimentation that is carried out on human beings, including medical research, drug research and research undertaken in the social sciences. It discusses the ethics of such experimentation and asks the question: who defends the interests of these human subjects and ensures that they are not harmed? The author finds that ethical research depends on the adequacy of review by committee. Indeed most countries now rely on research ethics committees for the protection of the interests (...) of the human participants in research. Dr McNeill analyses how successful these committees are in balancing the interests of science with the interests of human subjects. (shrink)
Spectacular treatment disasters in recent years have made it clear that informal "let's-try-it-and-see" methods of testing new proposals are more risky now than ever before, and have led many to call for a halt to experimentation in clinical medicine. In this easy-tp-read, philosophical guide to human experimentation, William Silverman pleads for wider use of randomized clinical trials, citing many examples that show how careful trials can overturn preconceived or ill-conceived notions of a therapy's effectiveness and lead to a (...) clearer understanding of clinical anomalies. Because it gives careful guidance on setting up trials and avoiding conceptual pitfalls, this book will be of great interest to all epidemiologists and clinical statisticians, and to a wide varitey of clinicians, pharmacologists, and nurses. Since it requires no medical or statistical knowledge, it will also appeal to ethicists, lawyers, and the general public. (shrink)
This paper examines how experimental scientists choose theoretical frameworks as well as their experimental systems for doing research. I start out with Kuhn's claim that there are no (single) algorithms that could determine the choices made by individual scientists. Samir Okasha has recently provided an argument for this claim in terms of social choice theory, which I briefly discuss. Then, I show why this problem is not relevant in an experimental science. There are social mechanisms in place that make sure (...) the community chooses the best framework and a matching experimental system. As historical evidence for this claim, I present the case of classical genetics. (shrink)
The paper presents an argument for treating certain types of computer simulation as having the same epistemic status as experimental measurement. While this may seem a rather counterintuitive view it becomes less so when one looks carefully at the role that models play in experimental activity, particularly measurement. I begin by discussing how models function as “measuring instruments” and go on to examine the ways in which simulation can be said to constitute an experimental activity. By focussing on the connections (...) between models and their various functions, simulation and experiment one can begin to see similarities in the practices associated with each type of activity. Establishing the connections between simulation and particular types of modelling strategies and highlighting the ways in which those strategies are essential features of experimentation allows us to clarify the contexts in which we can legitimately call computer simulation a form of experimental measurement. (shrink)
What is artificial life? Much has been said about this interesting collection of efforts to artificially simulate and synthesize lifelike behavior and processes, yet we are far from having a robust philosophical understanding of just what Alifers are doing and why it ought to interest philosophers of science, and philosophers of biology in particular. In this paper, I first provide three introductory examples from the particular subset of artificial life I focus on, known as ‘soft Alife’ (s-Alife), and follow up (...) with a more in-depth review of the Avida program, which serves as my case study of s-Alife. Next, I review three well-known accounts of thought experiments, and then offer my own synthesized account, to make the argument that s-Alife functions as thought experimentation in biology. I draw a comparison between the methodology of the thought-experimental world that yields real-world results, and the s-Alife research that informs our understanding of natural life. I conclude that the insights provided by s-Alife research have the potential to fundamentally alter our understanding of the nature of organic life and thus deserve the attention of both philosophers and natural scientists. (shrink)
: William James's "The Will to Believe" has been criticized for offering untenable arguments in support of belief in unvalidated hypotheses. Although James is no longer accused of suggesting we can create belief ex nihilo, critics continue to charge that James's defense of belief in what he called the "religious hypothesis" confuses belief with hypothesis adoption and endorses willful persistence in unvalidated beliefs—not, as he claimed, in pursuit of truth, but merely to avoid the emotional stress of abandoning them. I (...) argue that James's position in "The Will to Believe" can be defended provided we give up thinking of it as ethics of belief and think of it instead as an ethics of self-experimentation. Subjective data (including wants, needs, and desires) are relevant to rational consent to participation in research. (shrink)
Starting with some illustrative examples, I develop a systematic account of a specific type of experimentation--an experimentation which is not, as in the "standard view", driven by specific theories. It is typically practiced in periods in which no theory or--even more fundamentally--no conceptual framework is readily available. I call it exploratory experimentation and I explicate its systematic guidelines. From the historical examples I argue furthermore that exploratory experimentation may have an immense, but hitherto widely neglected, epistemic (...) significance. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that it is wrong to conduct any experiment on a nonhuman which we would regard as immoral were it to be conducted on a human, because such experimentation violates the basic moral rights of sentient beings. After distinguishing the rights approach from the utilitarian approach, I delineate basic concepts. I then raise the classic “argument from marginal cases” against those who support experimentation on nonhumans but not on humans. After next replying to six (...) important objections against that argument, I contend that moral agents are logically required to accord basic moral rights to every sentient being. I conclude by providing criteria for distinguishing ethical from unethical experimentation. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the issue of to what extent the theory-dominated view of scientific experimentation describes scientific practice. I rely on a time period from the history of High Energy Physics (HEP), which spans from early 1960s to early 1970s. I argue that theory-ladenness of experimentation (TLE), which grounds theory-dominated conception of experimentation is too coarse-grained inasmuch as it prevents us from seeing the correct relationship that exists between theorizing and experimenting in the scientific practice (...) of HEP. I articulate that in order to be able to get a better understanding of scientific practice, a revision needs to be made in the general conception of TLE. I propose that such a revision is possible if we abandon the commitment that experimentation is always driven by theory. I consider what I call “theory-drivenness” of experimentation (TDE) as a form of theory-ladenness, which amounts to the claim that experiments, from their initial design up to their final stage, are carried out under the framework of a prevailing theory for the purpose of providing definite answers to specific questions already posed by the same theory. I argue that electron-proton inelastic scattering experiments in HEP were firstly carried out without having any recourse to a phenomenological model. From here, I claim that these experiments are not theory-laden in the sense implied by TDE. On the other hand, I argue, inelastic scattering experiments are theory-laden due to the fact that the scientists who perform them are committed to background theories of HEP. That is, I admit the validity of TLE as a philosophical claim, but I attribute a weaker status to it as opposed to its general conception. That is, I propose to differentiate TDE from TLE by claiming that TLE does not entail TDE. (shrink)
Abstract: My aim in this article is to introduce readers to the topic of exploratory experimentation and briefly explain how the three articles that follow, by Richard Burian, Kevin Elliott, and Maureen O’Malley advance our understanding of the nature and significance of exploratory research. I suggest that the distinction between exploratory and theory-driven experimentation is multidimensional and that some of the dimensions are continuums. I point out that exploratory experiments are typically theory-informed even if they are not theory-driven. (...) I also distinguish between research programs and experiments. Research programs that are largely exploratory, such as the ones discussed in these case studies, can involve both exploratory and theory-driven experimentation. (shrink)
In Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (Doubleday, 2008), Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen argue that human embryo-destructive experimentation is morally wrong and should not be supported with state funds. I argue that their arguments fail.
This paper is devoted to an examination of the discovery, characterization, and analysis of the functions of microRNAs, which also serves as a vehicle for demonstrating the importance of exploratory experimentation in current (post-genomic) molecular biology. The material on microRNAs is important in its own right: it provides important insight into the extreme complexity of regulatory networks involving components made of DNA, RNA, and protein. These networks play a central role in regulating development of multicellular organisms and illustrate the (...) importance of epigenetic as well as genetic systems in evolution and development. The examination of these matters yields principled arguments for the historicity of the functions of key biological molecules and for the indispensability of exploratory experimentation in contemporary molecular biology as well as some insight into the complex interplay between exploratory experimentation and hypothesis-driven science. This latter result is not only of importance for philosophy of science, but also of practical importance for the evaluation of grant proposals, although the elaboration of this latter claim must be left for another occasion. (shrink)
This is the first re-publication and first English translation of regulations concerning Human Experimentation which were binding law prior to and during the Third Reich, 1931 to 1945. The introduction briefly describes the duties of the Reichsgesundheitsamt, which formulated these regulations. It then outlines the basic concept of the Richtlinien for protecting subjects and patients on the one hand and for encouraging New Therapy and Human Experimentation on the other hand. Major issues, like personal responsibility of the physician (...) or researcher, teaching of ethics of research and therapy, and research and therapy on vulnerable populations, are compared with the regulations in the Nuremberg Code and subsequent regulations influenced by the Nuremberg Code. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
There has been relatively little effort to provide a systematic overview of different forms of exploratory experimentation (EE). The present paper examines the growing subdiscipline of nanotoxicology and suggests that it illustrates at least four ways that researchers can engage in EE: searching for regularities; developing new techniques, simulation models, and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing large swaths of data using new experimental strategies (e.g., computer-based simulation and “high-throughput” instrumentation); and structuring an entire disciplinary field around exploratory research agendas. In (...) order to distinguish these and other activities more effectively, the paper proposes a taxonomy that includes three dimensions along which types of EE vary: (1) the aim of the experimental activity, (2) the role of theory in the activity, and (3) the methods or strategies employed for varying experimental parameters. (shrink)
Millions of animals are used every year in oftentimes extremely painful and distressing scientific procedures. Legislation of animal experimentation in modern societies is based on the supposition that this is ethically acceptable when certain more or less defined formal (e.g. logistical, technical) demands and ethical principles are met. The main parameters in this context correspond to the “3Rs” concept as defined by Russel and Burch in 1959, i.e. that all efforts to replace, reduce and refine experiments must be undertaken. (...) The licensing of animal experiments normally requires an ethical evaluation process, oftentimes undertaken by ethics committees. The serious problems in putting this idea into practice include inter alia unclear conditions and standards for ethical decisions, insufficient management of experiments undertaken for specific (e.g. regulatory) purposes, and conflicts of interest of ethics committees’ members. (shrink)
This paper asks (a) how new scientific objects of research are onceptualized at a point in time when little is known about them, and (b) how those conceptualizations, in turn, figure in the process of investigating the phenomena in question. Contrasting my approach with existing notions of concepts and situating it in relation to existing discussions about the epistemology of experimentation, I propose to think of concepts as research tools. I elaborate on the conception of a tool that informs (...) my account. Narrowing my focus to phenomena in cognitive neuropsychology, I then illustrate my thesis with the example of the concept of implicit memory. This account is based on an original reconstruction of the nature and function of operationism in psychology. (shrink)
One important lesson of Roberts' target article may be potentially obscured for some by the title's reference to “self-experimentation.” At the core of this work, the key investigative resource is sustained and systematic observation, not experimentation, and it is deployed in a fashion not necessarily restricted to self-examination. There is an important reminder here of a strategically important, but neglected, relationship between observation and experiment.
This article explores Michael Faraday’s “Historical Sketch of Electro‐Magnetism” as a fruitful source for understanding the epistemic significance of experimentation. In this work Faraday provides a catalog of the numerous experimental and theoretical developments in the early history of electromagnetism. He also describes methods that enable experimentalists to dissociate experimental results from the theoretical commitments generating their research. An analysis of the methods articulated in this sketch is instructive for confronting epistemological worries about the theory‐dependence of experimentation. †To (...) contact the author, please write to: 10289 Saint Katherine Lane, Saint Ann, MO 63074; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
According to a multivariate approach on creativity, self-experimentation may well provide many of the conditions that allow for new ideas to occur. This research method is valuable in particular because the researcher's high level of participation in the search for a solution fosters the involvement of the necessary cognitive skills and conative traits.
Based on the historical case of galvanic experimentation in Germany, I identify five types of experimentation which explored and shaped the new phenomenon rather than tested theoretical predictions. Verification evaluated initial reports of Galvani's phenomenon. Simplification reduced the experimental protocol to the fewest and most basic steps. Optimization found experimental conditions that magnified the observed effect. Exploration tested a wide variety of metals, animals or configurations. Application modified the experiment to address unresolved related problems. Attempts to derive laws (...) of the phenomenon or establish its underlying causes were unsuccessful primarily due to the great variability of the experimental results. (shrink)
Some important meta-theoretical insights about experimental psychology are integrated into the "conjectures and refutations" framework in order to reinforce a realist's view of scientific methodology. Some issues which may be difficult for the realist's position are discussed. It is argued that there is no need for the evidential observation to mimic the phenomenon of interest; such a mimicry may even be counter-productive. A case is also made that questions about ecological validity are not relevant to the rationale of experimentation.
The case of women radium dial painters â women who tipped their brushes while painting the dials of watches and instruments with radioactive paint â has been extensively discussed in the medical and historical literature. Their painful and abhorrent deaths have occupied the interest of physicians, lawyers, politicians, military agencies, and the public. Hardly any discussion has concerned, however, the use of those women as experimental subjects in a number of epidemiological studies that took place from 1920 to 1990. This (...) article addresses the neglected issue of human experimentation in relation to the radium dial painters. Although womenâs medical examinations have been classified as simple, routine measurements of radiation burden on the body and presented as a great offer to humanity, for more than fifty years those women had been repeatedly used as experimental subjects without proper consent. I argue that through this case it becomes obvious that the issue of defining what counts as human experimentation shifts from an epistemological to a serious ethical and political question, concerning the making of scientific knowledge while issues of gender related to this process are also discussed. (shrink)
Preliminary results of an empirical study of human experimentation practices are presented and contrasted with those of a survey conducted a hundred years ago when clinical research, although tolerated, was culturally deviant. Now that biomedical research is both authorized and controlled, its actors (sponsors, committees, investigators, subjects) come out with heterogeneous rationalities, and they appear to be engaged in a transactional process of negotiating their rationales with one another. In the European context protective of subjects, surprisingly the subjects we (...) interviewed (and especially patient-subjects) were creative and revealed an aptitude for integrating experimental medicine into common culture. (shrink)
This paper points to the need in ape language research to shift from experimentation to ethnography. We cannot determine what goes on inside the head of an ape when it communicates with a human being, but we can learn about the nature and content of the communication that occurs in such face-to-face interaction. This information is fundamental for establishing a baseline for the abilities of an ape-human common ancestor.
This article provides a material enactment of educational theory to explore how we might do educational theory differently by defamiliarising the familiar. Theory is often assumed to be abstract, located solely in the realm of ideas and separate from practice. However, this view of theory emerges from a set of ontological and epistemological assumptions of separating meaning from matter that are taken to be foundational, when this need not be the case. Drawing upon what variously might be termed materialist, performative (...) or post-human positions, the article suggests that it is possible to re-enact theory as a matter-ing practice—of matter and meaning. The assumption of a separation that divides theory from practice is challenged in this article, which suggests that theory matters by being entangled with the material and that a separation of matter from meaning is an effect. This approach enacts things as matters of concern by contrast with the representation of objects as matters of fact. In this way, educational theory becomes a form of responsible experimentation rather than simply a representation of others. Some implications for education are outlined. (shrink)
To some, a misguided Lamarckian and a fraud, to others a martyr in the fight against Darwinism, the Viennese zoologist Paul Kammerer (1880-1926) remains one of the most controversial scientists of the early 20th century. Here his work is reconsidered in light of turn-of-the-century problems in evolutionary theory and experimental methodology, as seen from Kammerer's perspective in Vienna. Kammerer emerges not as an opponent of Darwinism, but as one would-be modernizer of the 19th-century theory, which had included a role for (...) the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Kammerer attempted a synthesis of Darwinism with genetics and the chromosome theory, while retaining the modifying effects of the environment as the main source of favorable variation, and he developed his program of experimentation to support it. Kammerer never had a regular university position, but worked at a private experimental laboratory, with sidelines as a teacher and a popular writer and lecturer. On the lecture circuit he held forth on the significance of his science for understanding and furthering cultural evolution and he satisfied his passion for the arts and performance. In his dual career as researcher and popularizer, he did not always follow academic convention. In the contentious and rapidly changing fields of heredity and evolution, some of his stances and practices, as well as his outsider status and part-Jewish background, aroused suspicion and set the stage for the scandal that ended his career and prompted his suicide. (shrink)
Background: The experimental method to acquire knowledge about efficacy and efficiency of medical procedures is well established in evidence-based medicine. A method to attain evidence about the significance of diseases and interventions from the patients' perspectives taking into account their right to self-determination about their lives and bodies has however not been sufficiently characterized.Design: Identification of a method to acquire evidence about the clinical significance of disease and therapeutic options from the patients' perspectives.Arguments: Communication between patient and physician is analyzed (...) as the method to attain evidence about what is at stake for individual patients in disease and therapy. It is the method that enables physicians to directly take into account patients' disease experiences and their aims regarding treatments. These patients' perspectives in turn determine the clinical significance of diagnoses and therapeutic options, if patient-autonomy is taken seriously.Conclusions: A full account of evidence-based medicine needs to include experimentation and communication between physician and patient as equally important methods to attain evidence necessary to practice patient-oriented medicine. The communicative method is especially important for primary physicians as they direct patients within the medical system to have their medical problems most effectively and efficiently addressed. (shrink)
Many people involved in the life sciences and related fields and industries routinely cause mice, rats, dogs, cats, primates and other non-human animals to experience pain, suffering, and an early death, harming these animals greatly and not for their own benefit. Harms, however, require moral justification, reasons that pass critical scrutiny. Animal experimenters and dissectors might suspect that strong moral justification has been given for this kind of treatment of animals. I survey some recent attempts to provide such a justification (...) and show that they do not succeed: they provide no rational defense of animal experimentation and related activities. Thus, the need for a rational defense of animal experimentation remains. (shrink)
This essay explores some moral problems raised by experimentation involving the human fetus. In the first part of the essay three examples of fetal experimentation from the medical literature are described in some detail. Next, the ethical and legal arguments employed in the two major existing public policy-documents on fetal experimentation are analyzed. Finally, the author seeks to identify four fundamental presuppositions which underlie divergent normative positions on the problem of fetal experimentation.
The ethical treatment of animals has become an issue of serious moral concern. Many people are challenging long-held assumptions about animals and raising questions about their status and their treatment. What is the relationship between humans and animals? Do animals have moral standing? Do we have direct or indirect duties to animals? Does human benefit always outweigh animal suffering? The use of animals for experimentation raises all of these questions in a particularly insistent way. Donna Yarri offers an overview (...) of the current state of the discussion, and presents an argument for significantly restricted animal experimentation. She points to the important similarities between humans and animals, arguing that the actual differences are differences of degree rather than kind. For that reason, she says, we must rethink our use of animals in experimentation. Animal cognition and animal sentiency together are the basis for the argument that experimental animals do have rights, which Yarri here enumerates. Christian theology, she shows, supports the existence of animal rights and contains additional resources within which a more humane animal experimentation can be worked out. Animal experimentation is not completely ruled out, and Yarri provides a model for what benign experimentation would look like. She concludes with a concrete burden-benefit analysis that can serve as the foundation for informed decision-making. (shrink)
The case for the value of self-experimentation in advancing science is convincing. Important features of the method include (1) repeated measures of individual behavior, over extended time, to discover cause/effect relations, and (2) vivid graphical presentations. Large-scale research on Pavlovian conditioning and weight control is needed because verification could result in easy and inexpensive mitigation of a serious public health problem.
We argue that the self-experimentation espoused by Roberts as a means of generating new ideas, particularly in the area of mood, may be confounded by the experimental procedure eliciting those affective changes. We further suggest that ideas might be better generated through contact with a broad range of people, rather than in isolation.
Little is known about how to generate plausible new scientific ideas. So it is noteworthy that 12 years of self-experimentation led to the discovery of several surprising cause-effect relationships and suggested a new theory of weight control, an unusually high rate of new ideas. The cause-effect relationships were: (1) Seeing faces in the morning on television decreased mood in the evening (>10 hrs later) and improved mood the next day (>24 hrs later), yet had no detectable effect before that (...) (0–10 hrs later). The effect was strongest if the faces were life-sized and at a conversational distance. Travel across time zones reduced the effect for a few weeks. (2) Standing 8 hours per day reduced early awakening and made sleep more restorative, even though more standing was associated with less sleep. (3) Morning light (1 hr/day) reduced early awakening and made sleep more restorative. (4) Breakfast increased early awakening. (5) Standing and morning light together eliminated colds (upper respiratory tract infections) for more than 5 years. (6) Drinking lots of water, eating low-glycemic-index foods, and eating sushi each caused a modest weight loss. (7) Drinking unflavored fructose water caused a large weight loss that has lasted more than 1 year. While losing weight, hunger was much less than usual. Unflavored sucrose water had a similar effect. The new theory of weight control, which helped discover this effect, assumes that flavors associated with calories raise the body-fat set point: The stronger the association, the greater the increase. Between meals the set point declines. Self-experimentation lasting months or years seems to be a good way to generate plausible new ideas. Key Words: breakfast; circadian; colds; depression; discovery; fructose; innovation; insomnia; light; obesity; sitting; standing; sugar. (shrink)
Self-experimentation is a valuable companion to self-management in the benefit of pharmaco-cognitive-behavior combination therapies. However, data on individuals participating as active therapeutic agents are sparse. Smoking cessation therapy is an example. Roberts' self-experimentation suggests trying more diversity in research to generate new ideas. This may inform current approaches to the cessation of smoking.
By 1900 most biologists accepted experimentation as appropriate for at least parts of biology. Some claimed experimentation as the best or only proper approach to biology, while others regarded it as an acceptable addition to existing methodologies. Different researchers defined experimentation in different ways, and they held different aspirations for their experimental programs. This paper explores three sets of ideas, represented respectively by the French in the 1870s, the Germans in the 1880s, and the Americans in the (...) 1890s. It examines what an experiment was thought to be, what experimentation was, and what the goals of experimentation were for each group, revealing suggestive differences. (shrink)
Experimentation in the face of uncertainty is a complex systems answer to the established notions of risk and loss avoidance in the financial arena. Bay and Bäckius are adding to the traditional conceptions of experimentation the notions of mental models and ontology. They argue that experimentation is the creation of something new in the face of uncertainty and risk. The emergent, derived from a set of adjacent possibles, is allowed to redefine both "that which is" and "the (...) yet to be." Bay and Bäckius illustrate this with examples drawn from the field of financial derivatives and the Swedish region of Gotland. (shrink)
The topics discussed in this response are in four broad areas: (1) Idea generation, including the failure to discuss and teach idea generation and how to nurture new ideas (sect. R2), sources of ideas worth testing with self-experimentation (sect. R3), and unusual features of the situation that may have increased the discovery rate (sect. R4); (2) Miscellaneous methodological issues, such as the value of mental experiments (sect. R5) and the limitations of double-blind experiments (sect. R6); (3) Subject-matter issues, including (...) the relationship of this work to other evolutionary psychology studies and a new way to test evolutionary explanations (sect. R7), as well as questions about the mood results (sect. R8) and the weight results (sect. R9); and (4) Self-experimentation, including its difficulty (sect. R10) and future (sect. R11). (shrink)
According to Roberts, self-experimentation is a viable tool for idea generation in the behavioral sciences. Here we discuss some limitations of this assertion, as well as particular design and data-analytic shortcomings of his experiments.
Descriptive accounts of the nature of explanation in neuroscience and the global goals of such explanation have recently proliferated in the philosophy of neuroscience (e.g., Bechtel, Mental mechanisms: Philosophical perspectives on cognitive neuroscience. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007; Bickle, Philosophy and neuroscience: A ruthlessly reductive account. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 2003; Bickle, Synthese, 151, 411–434, 2006; Craver, Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) and with them new understandings of the <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> (...) practices of neuroscientists have emerged. In this paper, I consider two models of such practices; one that takes them to be reductive; another that takes them to be integrative. I investigate those areas of the neuroscience of learning and memory from which the examples used to substantiate these models are culled, and argue that the multiplicity of <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> protocols used in these research areas presents specific challenges for both models. In my view, these challenges have been overlooked largely because philosophers have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to fundamental features of <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> practice. I demonstrate that when we do pay attention to such features, evidence for reduction and integrative unity in neuroscience is simply not borne out. I end by suggesting some new directions for the philosophy of neuroscience that pertain to taking a closer look at the nature of neuroscientific experiments. (shrink)
The thesis of theory-ladenness of observations, in its various guises, is widely considered as either ill-conceived or harmless to the rationality of science. The latter view rests partly on the work of the proponents of New Experimentalism who have argued, among other things, that experimental practices are efficient in guarding against any epistemological threat posed by theory-ladenness. In this paper I show that one can generate a thesis of theory-ladenness for experimental practices from an influential New Experimentalist account. The notion (...) I introduce for this purpose is the concept of ‘theory-driven data reliability judgments’ (TDR), according to which theories which are sought to be tested with a particular set of data guide reliability judgments about those very same data. I provide various prominent historical examples (among others, the confirmation of Einstein’s prediction of star light bending in 1919) to show that TDRs are used by scientists to resolve data conflicts. I argue that the rationality of the practices which employ TDRs can be saved if the independent support of the theories driving TDRs is construed in a particular way. (shrink)
This article discusses the ethical and methodological issues associated with boredom experienced by human participants during psychological experiments. Ways are suggested in which informed consent, briefing, and debriefing can be used to prevent or remedy boredom induced during experiments. We address methodological and ethical concerns, and we discuss the advantages of the proposed approach for experimenters' practice and training of undergraduate students. Future directions for much needed research on these topics are also emphasized.
In this paper I contest Ian Hacking’s claim that astronomers do not experiment. Riding on this thesis is a re-evaluation of his view that astronomers are less justified than other natural scientists in believing in the existence of the objects they study, and that astronomers are not proper natural scientists at all. The defense of my position depends upon carefully examining what, exactly, is being manipulated in an experiment, and the role of experimental effects for Hacking’s experimental realism. I argue (...) that Hacking’s experimental realism is not adequately defended, and even if we accept it in good grace, the case can be still made that astronomers experiment by Hacking’s account. (shrink)
Animals have moral standing; that is, they have properties (including the ability to feel pain) that qualify them for the protections of morality. It follows from this that humans have moral obligations toward animals, and because rights are logically correlative to obligations, animals have rights.
Morrison points out many similarities between the roles of simulation models and other sorts of models in science. On the basis of these similarities she claims that running a simulation is epistemologically on a par with doing a traditional experiment and that the output of a simulation therefore counts as a measurement. I agree with her premises but reject the inference. The epistemological payoff of a traditional experiment is greater (or less) confidence in the fit between a model and a (...) target system. The source of this payoff is the existence of a causal interaction with the target system. A computer experiment, which does not go beyond the simulation system itself, lacks any such interaction. So computer experiments cannot confer any additional confidence in the fit (or lack thereof) between the simulation model and the target system. (shrink)
What role does the concept of representation play in the contexts of experimentation and explanation in cognitive neurobiology? In this article, a distinction is drawn between minimal and substantive roles for representation. It is argued by appeal to a case study that representation currently plays a role in cognitive neurobiology somewhere in between minimal and substantive and that this is problematic given the ultimate explanatory goals of cognitive neurobiological research. It is suggested that what is needed is for representation (...) to instead play a more substantive role. (shrink)
Since the late 1950s one of the most important and influential views of post-positivist philosophy of science has been the theory-ladenness of observation. It comes in at least two forms: either as a psychological law pertaining to human perception (whether scientific or not) or as conceptual insight concerning the nature and functioning of scientific language and its meaning. According to its psychological form, perceptions of scientists, as perceptions of humans generally, are guided by prior beliefs and expectations, and perception has (...) a peculiar holist character. In its conceptual form it maintains that scientists’ observations rest on the theories they accept and that the meaning of the observational terms involved depends upon the theoretical context in which they occur. Frequently, these two versions are combined with each other and give rise to a constructivist view of scientific knowledge (I shall use the term “constructivism” roughly in the same way as Golinski [1998, chap. 1]). According to this outlook, our experience is categorized and preconditioned by prior belief since the process of gaining knowledge through science always involves the use of concepts from some theory or other. This view can easily be strengthened to serve as the cornerstone of a constructivist and anti-empiricist account of science: The categories in terms of which we carve up our experience are not read off from the external world but follow from prior theoretical commitments. (shrink)
Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidemiological studies; and (c) his conclusion (...) that experiments on nonhuman animals were, "entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man". We examine some negative consequences of Bernardianism for twentieth century medicine, and argue that physio/ogy's continued adherence to Bernardianism has caused it to diverge from the other biological sciences which have become increasingly infused with evolutionary theory. (shrink)
Frey sets the challenge for the other authors: to explain why, morally, no humans can be subject to the kinds of experiments that animals are subject to and to explain how researchers can reliablyuse animal models to understand and cure human disease. He thinks that the first challenge has not been met; the second challenge is, unfortunately, not directly addressed in this book. Adrian Morrison states that he “abhors” positions like Frey’s, Peter Singer’s and Tom Regan’s. He asserts that all (...) “human beings stand apart in a moral sense from all other species” (51) and that all are worthy of “special consideration” (50). Regrettably he fails to defend his view by identifying the morally-relevant characteristics that all humans (even those with less intelligence, sentience and autonomy than animals) possess and all animals lack that might make his claim true. That omission prevents him from rationally criticizing opposing views. (shrink)
The theory of evolution has beenused in arguments regarding animalexperimentation. Two such arguments areanalyzed, one against and one in favor. Eachargument stresses the relevance of the theoryof evolution to normative ethics but attemptsexplicitly to avoid the so-called naturalisticfallacy.According to the argument against animalexperimentation, the theory of evolution`undermines' the idea of a special humandignity and supports `moral individualism'. Thelatter view implies that if it is wrong to usehumans in experiments, then it is also wrong touse animals, unless there are relevantdifferences between (...) them that justify adifference in treatment. No such differencescan be found with regard to animals which lead`biographical lives'.The argument in favor of animal experimentationis based on evolutionary psychology. It statesthat humans, as all social animals, arespeciesist by nature and stresses that thisshould be taken seriously in normative ethics.This does not mean that animal interests shouldnot be considered, only that vital humaninterests may outweigh them.In order to assess the arguments, one has totake a stand on certain more basic issues: `is'versus `ought', impartiality versus specialobligations, and feelings/intuitions versusreason. Given the author's own position withregard to these more basic considerations, theevolutionary argument in favor of animalexperimentation is judged to be more convincingthan the one against but not decisive. It isalso maintained that not all animal experimentsare acceptable. Which animal experiments areacceptable and which are not has to be decidedon a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
"This book . . . is everything a philosophical tome should be: timely, important, factually informed, responsive to the scholarly literature, analytical, scrupulously fair, and rigorously, vigorously argued. It is, if I may say so, a model specimen of practical ethics." Keith Burgess-Jackson Ethics and the Environment).
Biology deals, notoriously, with complex systems. In discussing biological methodology, all three papers in this symposium honor the complexity of biological subject matter by preferring models and theories built to reflect the details of complex systems to models based on broad general principles or laws. Rheinberger's paper, the most programmatic of the three, provides a framework for the epistemology of discovery in complex systems. A fundamental problem is raised for Rheinberger's epistemology, namely, how to understand the referential continuity of the (...) theoretical terms and concepts employed in typical case studies involving complex systems. (shrink)
(Total word count 2,647) I. Introduction. Given the work of Robert MacArthur and his followers, some skeptical ecologists charge that theoretical modeling building has gone evidentially unconstrained. That is, models are often constructed which resist empirical testing. In this essay, I argue that “bottle experiments” do provide model building with important evidential constraints using an example of chaos producing models that have been tested against the dynamics of flour beetle populations. Critics reply however that this and other bottle experiments are (...) importantly unlike and irrelevant to non-manipulated systems in nature. I provide two possible responses to this view. Finally, I provide a practical suggestion for how to move the debate forward. (shrink)
While Ludwik Fleck's Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact is mainly concerned with social elements in science, a central argument depends on his case study of the development of a serum test for syphilis, the Wasserman Reaction, which Fleck argues was the product of skill and of laboratory practice, not a simple discovery. Ian Hacking interprets the creation of new phenomena in science very differently, arguing that it can seen as an argument for scientific realism. Hacking's argument shows that (...) Fleck's case study does not lead to the conclusion Fleck expects, and may solve one of the main problems in Fleck's work, how to define an objective element of knowledge. (shrink)
I come before you today at the invitation of your Colloquium Chair, Professor Claes Lundgren. It was his thought that a colloquium session devoted to some of the foundational questions, or presuppositions, of animal might prove interesting. Such an examination may have several aims. 1) It provides an opportunity to reflect on and review together a common activity that, in the perceptions of some concerned fellow citizens and in the history of the discipline of physiology, has had some highly questionable (...) periods and prima facie objectionable practices. 2) It allows us to become more articulate about what we do, that we may speak effectively on its behalf to our critics. 3) Similarly, it enables us to speak to the concerns of our students, both of medicine and of physiology, whom we may initiate into the uses of animals without clarifying to them our perceptions of those uses and their rationale and justification. 4) Finally, such a stock-taking may occasion our own self-evaluation of our practices, with a possible result being the improvement of those practices from a moral point of view. And I suppose that Professor Lundgren asked me to speak with some of those aims in mind. (shrink)
The new familialists argue that the decline of the intact two-parent family is responsible for our most pressing social problems and advocate public policies designed to promote family stability and discourage divorce and nonmarital births. This essay defends the freedom of intimate association and argue that family stability, while an important good, must be balanced with other goods such as equality and justice within the family, happiness, and individual self-development.
It is common to argue that animal experimentation is justified by its essential contribution to the advancement of medical science. But note that this argument actually contains two premises: an empirical claim that animal experimentation is essential to the advancement of medical science and an ethical claim that if research is essential to the advancement of medical science, then it is justified. Both claims are open to challenge, but in the logic of the case, only one of them (...) needs to be shown false or moot in order to refute the argument. I argue that the ethical claim does not withstand scrutiny. In addition, the main so-called “alternatives” to animal research do not merit that label since they still involve the use of nonhuman animals. (shrink)
Relatively subtle forms of exploitation of human subjects may arise from the inefficiency or incompetence of a researcher, from the existence of a power imbalance between principal and subject, or from the uneven distribution of research risks among various segments of the population. A powerful and knowledgeable person (or institution) may perpetrate the exploitation of an unempowered and ignorant individual even without intending to. There is an ethical burden on the former to protect the interests of the vulnerable. Excessive or (...) insufficient compensation may be exploitative. However, genuine economic imperatives motivating needy volunteers have to be considered. These forms of exploitation should be appreciated in the context of social and cultural factors suggesting that the relationship between researcher and subject cannot properly be appraised as a contractual undertaking. While compliance with pertinent codes and regulations minimises the exploitative potential, they cannot be enforced in a way that does not recognise a society's peculiar characteristics. The experience with some Filipino cultural traits illustrates this point. (shrink)
The method of the philosophers of the future that Nietzsche heralds, but does not self-identify with, has not received the attention it deserves in the secondary literature. In this essay, I address this lacuna with an interpretation of the roles of the philosophers of the future that explains in what sense they are and are not (at)tempters. As free spirits, cultural physicians, and legislators, the philosophers of the future undertake experiments to acquire knowledge; hence, the philosophers of the future are (...) attempters. Nevertheless, it is also wrong to call them attempters; as educators, the philosophers of the future are tempters. (shrink)
Historians and philosophers of science have examined the relationship between language and practice for a long time. Scholars have made important contributions to the field by attending to the social, cultural and economic contexts in which scientific paradigms are created and re-created. However, this article posits that while it is true that scientific practice and the artifacts they generate are both socially and discursively constructed and therefore, inextricable from the human contexts that produce them, these artifacts are not only texts (...) to be deciphered, but material things. This essay shows that the recalcitrant material dimension of my case study, a robotic moth, shapes the results of an experiment into the laws of aerodynamics in ways incommensurate with exclusively textual and/or rhetorical critiques. (shrink)
Hertwig and Ortmann suggest paying participants contingent upon performance in order to increase the thoroughness they devote to a decision task. We argue that monetary incentives can yield a number of unintended effects including distortions of the subjective representation of the task and impaired performance. Therefore, we conclude that performance-contingent payment should not be generally employed in judgment and decision research.