In the literature on scientific explanation, there is a classical distinction between explanations of facts and explanations of laws. This paper is about explanations of facts. Our aim is to analyse the role of unification in explanations of this kind. We discuss five positions with respect to this role, argue for two of them and refute the three others.
The traditional organizational boundaries between healthcare, social work, police and other non-profit organizations are fading and being replaced by new relational patterns among a variety of disciplines. Professionals work from their own history, role, values and relationships. It is often unclear who is responsible for what because this new network structure requires rules and procedures to be re-interpreted and re-negotiated. A new moral climate needs to be developed, particularly in the early stages of integrated services. Who should do what, with (...) whom and why? Departing from a relational and hermeneutic perspective, this article shows that professionals in integrated service networks embark upon a moral learning process when starting to work together for the client’s benefit. In this context, instrumental ways of thinking about responsibilities are actually counterproductive. Instead, professionals need to find out who they are in relation to other professionals, what core values they share and what responsibilities derive from these aspects. This article demonstrates moral learning by examining the case of an integrated social service network. The network’s development and implementation were supported by responsive evaluation, enriched by insights of care ethics and hermeneutic ethics. (shrink)
Complex fear learning procedures might be better suited than the common differential fear conditioning paradigm for detecting individual differences related to vulnerability for anxiety disorders. Two such procedures are the blocking procedure and the protection-from-overshadowing procedure. Their comparison allows for the examination of discriminatory fear learning under conditions of ambiguity. The present study examined the role of individual differences in such discriminatory fear learning. We hypothesized that heightened trait anxiety would be related to a deficit in discriminatory fear learning. Participants (...) gave US-expectancy ratings as an index for the threat value of individual CSs following blocking and protection-from-overshadowing training. The difference in threat value at test between the protected-from-overshadowing CS and the blocked CS was negatively correlated with scores on a self-report tension-stress scale that approximates facets of generalized anxiety disorder (DASS-S), but not with other individual difference variables. In addition, a behavioral test showed that only participants scoring high on the DASS-S avoided the protected-from-overshadowing CS. This observed deficit in discriminatory fear learning for participants with high levels of tension-stress might be an underlying mechanism for fear overgeneralization in diffuse anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder. (shrink)
The prospect of increasingly autonomous military robots has raised concerns about the obfuscation of human responsibility. This papers argues that whether or not and to what extent human actors are and will be considered to be responsible for the behavior of robotic systems is and will be the outcome of ongoing negotiations between the various human actors involved. These negotiations are about what technologies should do and mean, but they are also about how responsibility should be interpreted and how it (...) can be best assigned or ascribed. The notion of responsibility practices, as the paper shows, provides a conceptual tool to examine these negotiations as well as the interplay between technological development and the ascription of responsibility. To illustrate the dynamics of responsibility practices the paper explores how the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles has led to (re)negotiations about responsibility practices, focusing particularly on negotiations within the US Armed Forces. (shrink)
For the past several years patients have been expected to play a key role in their recovery. Self management and disease management have reached a hype status. Considering these recent trends what does this mean for the division of responsibilities between doctors and patients? What kind of role should healthcare providers play? With findings based on a qualitative research project of an innovative practice for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) we reflect on these questions. In-depth interviews conducted with (...) people with COPD, physiotherapists and a pulmonologist show that shifting responsibilities require a supportive attitude from healthcare providers and a dialogical communication between patients and professionals. Our findings show more is needed in order to motivate people with COPD to take responsibility and become co-owners in a process of recovery. The case example illustrates that people with COPD need support from fellow patients to learn to accept their disabilities. Awareness that COPD is more than just a lack of air, that mind and body interact, is a first step to investigate other potential problems and to enhance one’s quality of life. (shrink)