Based on a survey of some popularintroductory anthologies and texts, I arguefrom my experience as a philosopher oftechnology that environmental philosophy mightbe conceived by some researchers in the fieldin terms of an overly narrow theoreticalfoundation. Many of the key figures in thefield take as a basic assumption that theenvironmental crisis is fundamentally bestexplained in terms of some failing in themetaphysical outlooks of most people. However,philosophers of technology typically present atleast two additional types of generalexplanation of the crisis. Environmentalethicists might benefit (...) from consideration ofthese alternative ways of explaining the rootcauses of the ecological crisis. (shrink)
The traditional vision of the role science should play in policy making is of a two stage process of scientists first finding out the facts, and then policy makers making a decision about what to do about them. We argue that this two stage process is a fiction and that a distinction must be drawn between pure science and science in the service of public policy. When science is transferred into the policy realm, its claims to truth get undermined because (...) we must abandon the open-ended nature of scientific inquiry. When we move from the sphere of science to the sphere of policy, we pick an arbitrary point in the open-ended scientific process, and ask our experts to give us the answer. The choice of the endpoint, however, must always be arbitrary and determined by non-scientific factors. Thus, the two stages in the model of first finding the facts, and then making a decision about what to do, cannot be clearly separated. The second stage clearly affects the first. This conclusion will have implications about existing scientific policy institutions. For example, we advocate that the environmental assessment process be radically overhauled, or perhaps even let go. It will be our position that ultimately a better model for the involvement of scientists in public policy debates is that of being participants in particular interest groups (“hired guns”), rather than as supposedly unbiased consultants to decision-makers. (shrink)
James Rachels has argued on Utilitarian grounds that since removing life-sustaining treatment and physician-assisted suicide both aim at the very same end,hastening death to limit suffering, there are no morally significant moral distinctions between them. Others have argued for maintaining this distinction based on various forms of deontological and rights-based ethical theories that maintain that all acts of killing are inherently wrong. I argue that the enduring controversy over physician-assisted suicide might not be caused by such fundamental differences of (...) opinion about moral theory, such as that which exists between Utilitarianism and Deontology, so much as by a commonly held misunderstanding of technology. In particular, the conclusion that there are no relevant ethical distinctions between killing and letting die can only be drawn by a Utilitarian, such as Rachels, by ignoring the recent work of philosophers of technology on the non-neutrality thesis. (shrink)
Blair's account, like the intelligence field in general, treats many distinct constructs as if they were practically interchangeable – this is not self-evident. Paradigm integration and rationalization of redundant nomenclature are important for the continued development of understanding. The prior task is to demonstrate where synonymity of constructs across paradigms occurs, and where it fails. We present arguments why this is the case. (Published Online April 5 2006).
Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) exhibit deficits in executive control, which may impact their reasoning abilities. Analogical reasoning requires working memory and inhibitory abilities. In this study, we tested adolescents with moderate to severe TBI and typically-developing (TD) controls on a set of picture analogy problems. Three factors were varied: complexity (number of relations in the problems), distraction (distractor item present or absent), and animacy (living or non-living items in the problems). We found that TD adolescents performed significantly better (...) overall than TBI adolescents. There was also an age effect present in the TBI group where older participants performed better than younger ones. This age effect was not observed in the TD group. Performance was affected by complexity and distraction. Further, TBI participants exhibited lower performance with distractors present than TD participants. The reasoning deficits exhibited by the TBI participants were correlated with measures of executive function that required working memory updating, attention, and attentional screening. Using MRI-derived measures of cortical thickness, correlations were carried out between task accuracy and cortical thickness. The TD adolescents showed negative correlations between thickness and task accuracy in frontal and temporal regions consistent with cortical maturation in these regions. This study demonstrates that adolescent TBI results in impairments in analogical reasoning ability. Further, TBI youth have difficulty effectively screening out distraction, which may lead to failures in comprehension of the relations among items in visual scenes. Lastly, TBI youth fail to show robust cortical-behavior correlations as observed in TD individuals. (shrink)
Institutionalism has become one of the dominant strands of theory within contemporary political science. Beginning with the challenge to behavioral and rational choice theory issued by March and Olsen, institutional analysis has developed into an important alternative to more individualistic approaches to theory and analysis. This body of theory has developed in a number of ways, and perhaps the most commonly applied version in political science is historical institutionalism that stresses the importance of path dependency in shaping institutional behaviour. The (...) fundamental question addressed in this book is whether institutionalism is useful for the various sub-disciplines within political science to which it has been applied, and to what extent the assumptions inherent to institutional analysis can be useful for understanding the range of behavior of individuals and structures in the public sector. The volume will also examine the relative utility of different forms of institutionalism within the various sub-disciplines. The book consists of a set of strong essays by noted international scholars from a range of sub-disciplines within the field of political science, each analyzing their area of research from an institutionalist perspective and assessing what contributions this form of theorizing has made, and can make, to that research. The result is a balanced and nuanced account of the role of institutions in contemporary political science, and a set of suggestions for the further development of institutional theory. (shrink)
Some writers appear to believe that a theory of justice must somehow pick people up by the scruff of the neck and force them to behave justly, regardless of their beliefs or inclinations. This is an absurd demand... (B. Barry, Justice as Impartiality).