Theoretical models for patient-physician communication in clinical practice are frequently described in the literature. Respecting patient autonomy is an ethical problem the physician faces in a medical emergency situation. No theoretical physician-patient model seems to be ideal for solving the communication problem in clinical practice. Theoretical models can at best give guidance to behavior and judgement in emergency situations. In this article the premises of autonomous treatment decisions are discussed. Based on a case-report we discuss different genuine efforts the physician (...) can do to uncover treatment refusal and respect patient autonomy in an emergency situation. Autonomy requires competence and in emergency medicine time does not allow intimate exploration of patient competence and reasons for treatment refusal. We find that the physician must base her decision on a firm theoretical base combined with a practical and realistic view of the patient's situation on a case to case basis. (shrink)
Whether meaning is compositional has been a major issue in linguistics and formal philosophy of language for the last 2 decades. Semantic holism is widely and plausibly considered as an objection to the principle of semantic compositionality therein. It comes as a surprise that the holistic peculiarities of scientific language have been rarely addressed in formal accounts so far, given that semantic holism has its roots in the philosophy of science. For this reason, a model-theoretic approach to semantic holism in (...) the language of science is presented here. This approach preserves compositionality to a large extent. *Received September 2009; revised February 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Seminar for Philosophy, Logic, and Theory of Science, Hauspostfach 49, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich 80539, Germany; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
A standard response to the problem of diachronic vagueness is ‘the semantic solution’, which demands an abundant ontology. Although it is known that the abundant ontology does not logically preclude endurantism, their combination is rejected because it necessitates massive coincidence between countless objects. In this paper, I establish that the semantic solution is available not only to perdurantists but also to endurantists by showing that there is no problem with such ubiquitous and principled coincidence.
Psychological Altruism (PA) is the view that everyone, ultimately, acts altruistically all the time. I defend PA by showing strong prima facie support, and show how a reinterpretive strategy against supposed counterexamples is successful. I go on to show how PA can be argued for in ways which exactly mirror the arguments for an opposing view, Psychological Egoism. This shows that the case for PA is at least as plausible as PE. Since the case for PA is not plausible, neither (...) is that for PE. (shrink)
Ned Markosian argues (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76:213-228, 1998a; Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82:332-340, 2004a, The Monist 87:405-428, 2004b) that simples are ‘maximally continuous’ entities. This leads him to conclude that there could be non-particular ‘stuff’ in addition to things. I first show how an ensuing debate on this issue McDaniel (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81(2):265-275, 2003); Markosian (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82:332-340, 2004a) ended in deadlock. I attempt to break the deadlock. Markosian’s view entails stuff-thing coincidence, which I show (...) is just as problematic as the more oft-discussed thing-thing coincidence. Also, the view entails that every particular is only contingently so. If there is a world W like our own, but with ether, then there would be only one object in W. But, since merely adding ether to a world does not destroy the entities in it, then W contains counterparts of all the entities in the actual world—they just are not things. Hence, if simples are maximally continuous, then every actual particular is only contingently so. This in turn entails the following disjunction: (i) identity is contingent or intransitive, or (ii) there are no things at all in the actual world, or (iii) the distinction between stuff and things is one without a difference. I recommend that we reject this stuff-thing dualism. (shrink)
The concept of measurement is fundamental to a whole range of different disciplines, including not only the natural and engineering sciences, but also laboratory medicine and certain branches of the social sciences. This being the case, the concept of measurement has a particular relevance to the development of top-level ontologies in the area of knowledge engineering. For this reason, the present paper is concerned with ontological aspects of measurement. We are searching for a list of concepts that are apt to (...) characterize measurement methods in a general manner. To establish such means of characterization, we will primarily deal with the semantics of measurement values. (shrink)
In this paper, a new account of empirical claims in structuralism is developed. Its novelty derives from the use that is made of the linguistic approach to scientific theories despite the presumed incompatibility of structuralism with that approach. It is shown how the linguistic approach can be applied to the framework of structuralism if the semantic foundations of that approach are refined to do justice to the doctrine of indirect interpretation of theoretical terms. This doctrine goes back to Carnap but (...) has been advanced until the present day without a proper semantic explanation. (shrink)
Concerns of ontological parsimony have driven some philosophers to defend the view that there are absolutely no things at all (or, at most one—the World). I examine these (given their counterintuitiveness) surprisingly well-motivated views and diagnose their errors. Both Spinoza’s ‘field metaphysic’ (attributed to him by Bennett), and Cortens and Hawthorne’s feature-placing based ‘ontological nihilism’ surreptitiously re-introduce ‘things’ or ‘substances’ into their systems. Alan Sidelle’s stuff-ontological object nihilism either has to re-admit objects back into his system, or, perhaps incoherently, and (...) certainly counterintuitively, hold that we create objects ex nihilo by a process of conceptualization. (shrink)
Evolutionary epistemology takes various forms. As a philosophical discipline, it may use analogies by borrowing concepts from evolutionary biology to establish new foundations. This is not a very successful enterprise because the analogies involved are so weak that they hardly have explanatory force. It may also veil itself with the garbs of biology. Proponents of this strategy have only produced irrelevant theories by transforming epistemology's concepts beyond recognition. Sensible theories about knowledge and biology should presuppose that various long-standing problems concerning (...) relations between the mental and the physical are solved. Such problems are wrongly disregarded by evolutionary epistemologists. (shrink)
In this paper, a solution to the problem of theoretical terms is developed that is based on Carnap’s doctrine of indirect interpretation of theoretical terms. This doctrine will be given a semantic, model-theoretic explanation that is not given by Carnap himself as he remains content with a syntactic explanation. From that semantic explanation, rules for the truth-value assignment to postulates, i.e. sentences that determine the meaning of theoretical terms, are derived. The logical status of postulates will be clarified thereby in (...) such a way that the problem of theoretical terms disappears. (shrink)
Roderick Chisholm changed his mind about ordinary objects. Circa 1973-1976, his analysis of them required the positing of two kinds of entities—part-changing ens successiva and non-part-changing, non-scatterable primary objects. This view has been well noted and frequently discussed (e.g., recently in Gallois 1998 and Sider 2001). Less often treated is his later view of ordinary objects (1986-1989), where the two kinds of posited entities change, from ens successiva to modes, and, while retaining primary objects, he now allows them to survive (...) spatial scatter. Also (to my knowledge) not discussed is why he changed his mind. This paper is mostly intended to fill in these gaps, but I also give some additional reasons to prefer Chisholm's later view. Also, I discuss how mereological essentialism can be further defended by how it informs a theory of property-inherence which steers between the excesses of the bare particularists and bundle theorists. (shrink)
Modal logic has been applied in many different areas, as reasoning about time, knowledge and belief, necessity and possibility, to mention only some examples. In the present paper, an attempt is made to use modal logic to account for the semantics of theoretical sentences in scientific language. Theoretical sentences have been studied extensively since the work of Ramsey and Carnap. The present attempt at a modal analysis is motivated by there being several intended interpretations of the theoretical terms once these (...) terms are introduced through the axioms of a theory. (shrink)
Philosophical theories about reduction and integration in science are at variance with what is happenign in science. A realistic approach to science show that possibilities for reduction and integration are limited. The classical ideal of a unified science has since long been rejected in philosophy. But the current emphasis on interdisciplinary integration in philosophy and in science shows that it survives in a different guise. It is necessary to redress the balance, specifically in biology. Methodological analysis shows that many of (...) the grand interdisciplinary theories involving biology actually represent pseudo-integration covered up by inappropriate, overgeneral concepts. Integrationism is not bad, but it must be kept within reasonable bounds. If the present analysis is appropriate, there will have to be fundamental changes in research strategy both in science and in the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The impact of philosophy of science on biology is slight. Evolutionary biology, however, is nowadays an exception. The status of the neo-Darwinian (synthetic) theory of evolution is seriously challenged from a methodological perspective. However, the methodology used in the relevant discussions is plainly defective. A correct application of methodology to evolutionary theory leads to the following conclusions. (a) The theory of natural selection (the core of neo-Darwinism) is unfalsifiable in a strict sense of the term. This, however, does not militate (...) against the theory, because no scientific theory whatever is testable in this way. Under a more liberal testability criterion, the theory is surely testable. None the less, certain (not all) research programs may tend to make the theory untestable in practice. (b) It has often been argued that the tautologous character of the principle of natural selection, allegedly the focus of evolutionary theory, makes the theory untestable through circular reasoning. Actually, the principle is only a tautology if fitness is wrongly defined in terms of actual survival. But even then circular reasoning need not ensue. (c) Evolutionary principles do not permit, without additional information, the derivation of statements about evolutionary events concerning particular species or populations. If this were a reason to criticize the theory (as has been argued in the literature), any other scientific theory would be inadequate by the same token. (shrink)
While the biomedical model is still theleading paradigm within modern medicine and healthcare, and people with generalised chronicmusculoskeletal pain are frequent users of health careservices, their diagnoses are rated as having thelowest prestige among health care personnel. Anepistemological framework for understanding relationsbetween body, emotions, mind and meaning is presented.An approach based on a phenomenological epistemologyis discussed as a supplement to actions based on thebiomedical model.Within the phenomenological frame of understanding,the body is viewed as a subject and carrier ofmeaning, and therefore (...) chronic pain can be interpretedas a rational reaction to the totality of a person'slife situation. Search for possible hidden individualmeanings in painful muscles presupposes meeting healthpersonnel who view the person within a holistic frameof reference. (shrink)
Methodological analysis shows that the concepts of fitness and adaptation are more complex than the literature suggests. Various arguments against adaptationism are inadequate since they are couched in terms of unduly simplistic notions.
Grime (1979) in a recently developed theory distinguished three basic plant strategies: stress tolerance,ruderality and competition. He relates them to environments characterized in terms of stress and disturbance. Classifications of strategies and environments both are ultimately defined in terms of production. This tends to make the theory tautological. If the theory is to make sense, environments had better be defined in independent terms.
On Choice of Time Metric. What criteria ought to be satisfied by those observable processes which, accompanied by a function assigning values to intervals of that processes, serve as the standard for measurement of time? In how far do the criteria which can reasonably be established admit of an unambigous definition of time metric? That are the questions to which I have addressed myself in the paper. Peter Janich has aimed at solving the problem with careful avoidance of any reference (...) to physical theory. Although this paper owes a great deal to his ‘Protophysik der Zeit’, reasons will be ad-vanced that it is in principle impossible to give a foundation of time metric without any reference to physical theory. It follows that taking results of physical theory into account is unavoidable as far as a definite decision concerning the choice of time metric is aspired. At first sight reference to law-like assertions on the duration of temporal intervals appears to be paradoxical for it means to take something which originally ought to be submitted to experimental test as the standard for measurement. Poincaré is fairly conscious of this problem, yet explicitly acknowledges that there is a mutual relationship between definition of time metric and physical theory. It will be shown that this kind of mutual relationship which even might be termed as circular does not void physical theory of empirical content. Thus in the final part I am concerned to free the position which recommends reference to physical theory from its paradoxical image in order to advance a conventionalist account as a sceptical, but nevertheless fully satisfying solution. (shrink)
One of the major criticisms of optimal foraging theory (OFT) is that it is not testable. In discussions of this criticism opposing parties have confused methodological concepts and used meaningless biological concepts. In this paper we discuss such misunderstandings and show that OFr has an empirically testable, and even well-confirmed, general core theory. One of our main conclusions is that specific model testing should not be aimed at proving optimality, but rather at identifying the context in which certain types of (...) behaviour are optimal. To do this, it is necessary to be aware of the assumptions made in testing a model. The assumptions that are explicitly stated in the literature up to now do not completely cover the actual assumptions made in testing OFT models in practice. We present a more comprehensive set of assumptions. Although all the assumptions play a role in testing models, they are not of equal status. Crucial assumptions concern constraints and the relation between fitness and currency. Therefore, it is essential to make such assumptions testable in practice. We show that a more explicit relationship between OFT modelling and evolutionary theory can help with this. Specifically, phylogeny reconstruction and population dynamic modelling can and should be used to formulate assumptions concerning constraints and currencies. (shrink)
Apparently factual disagreement on the level(s) at which selection operates often results from different interpretations of the term selection. Attempts to resolve terminological problems must come to grips with a dilemma: a narrow interpretation of selection may lead to a restricted view on evolution; a broader, less precise, definition may wrongly suggest that selection is the centre of a unified, integrated theory of evolution. Different concepts of selection, therefore, should carefully be kept apart.
Pluralism is a sound strategy in classifying disciplines of biology. The relevance of a particular classification depends on various methodological issues, on the way in which the scientist's problems are specified, and on factual matters.
Interdisciplinary integration has fundamental limitations. This is not sufficiently realized in science and in philosophy. Concerning scientific theories there are many examples of pseudo-integration which should be unmasked by elementary philosophical analysis. For example, allegedly over-arching theories of stress which are meant to unite biology and psychology, upon analysis, turn out to represent terminological rather than substantive unity. They should be replaced by more specific, local theories. Theories of animal orientation, likewise, have been formulated in unduly general terms. A natural (...) history approach is more suitable for the study of animal orientation. The tendency to formulate overgeneral theories is also present in evolutionary biology. Philosophy of biology can only deal with these matters if it takes a normative turn. Undue emphasis on interdisciplinary integration is a modern variant of the old unity of science ideal. The replacement of the ideal by a better one is an important challenge for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
From five plausible premises about ordinary objects it follows that ordinary objects are either functions, fictions or processes. Assuming that the function and fiction accounts of ordinary objects are not plausible, in this paper I develop and defend a (non-Whiteheadian) process account of ordinary objects. I first offer an extended deduction that argues for mereological essentialism for masses or quantities, and then offer an inductive argument in favor of interpreting ordinary objects as processes. The ontology has two main types of (...) entities, masses of matter and processes. A cat, for instance, is shown to be a ‘catting’ process that migrates through distinct portions of matter, much like how a wave passes through distinct portions of water. I also show how the account solves the paradox of coincidence, the Ship of Theseus, fusion cases (e.g. Tib/Tibbles), and answers the Special Composition Question. (shrink)
Animal liberation ethics and environmental ethics have recently come of age. Concerning concrete moral rules considered by researchers in these areas there is much consensus. Highly general theories formulated to justify the rules are more problematic. However, the search for such theories may well be misguided.
This book presents a comprehensive treatment of basic mathematical logic. The author's aim is to make exact the vague, intuitive notions of natural number, preciseness, and correctness, and to invent a method whereby these notions can be communicated to others and stored in the memory. He adopts a symbolic language in which ideas about natural numbers can be stated precisely and meaningfully, and then investigates the properties and limitations of this language. The treatment of mathematical concepts in the main body (...) of the text is rigorous, but, a section of 'historical remarks' traces the evolution of the ideas presented in each chapter. Sources of the original accounts of these developments are listed in the bibliography. (shrink)
Rosenberg has rightly argued that fitness is supervenient. But he has wrongly assumed that this makes The fittest survive nontautologous. Supervenience makes strict reduction impossible. It sheds light on disputes concerning the testability of evolutionary theory.
Various philosophers and evolutionary biologists have recently defended the thesis that species are individuals rather than sets. A decade of debates, however, did not suffice to settle the matter. Conceptual analysis shows that many of the key terms involved (individuation, evolutionary species, spatiotemporal restrictedness, individual) are ambiguous. Current disagreements should dissolve once this is recognized. Explication of the concepts involved leads to new programs for philosophical research. It could also help biology by showing how extant controversies concerning evolution may have (...) conceptual rather than factual roots. (shrink)
Sober (1992) and Brandon et al. (1994) disagree about the role of screening-off in the appraisal of theories of naturalselection. Some problems disregarded by them are unearthed in this discussion note.
In What’s Wrong With Microphysicalism?, Andreas H üttemann argues against the ontological priority of the microphysical, in favour of a ‘pluralism’ that accepts physical systems of all scales as interdependent equals. This is thoughtful and original work, deploying an understanding of the relevant physics to mount a serious challenge to the dominant microphysicalist view.
A fundamental assumption of theories of decision-making is that we detect mismatches between intention and outcome, adjust our behavior in the face of error, and adapt to changing circumstances. Is this always the case? We investigated the relation between intention, choice, and introspection. Participants made choices between presented face pairs on the basis of attractiveness, while we covertly manipulated the relationship between choice and outcome that they experienced. Participants failed to notice conspicuous mismatches between their intended choice and the outcome (...) they were presented with, while nevertheless offering introspectively derived reasons for why they chose the way they did. We call this effect choice blindness. (shrink)
Political candidates often believe they must focus their campaign efforts on a small number of swing voters open for ideological change. Based on the wisdom of opinion polls, this might seem like a good idea. But do most voters really hold their political attitudes so firmly that they are unreceptive to persuasion? We tested this premise during the most recent general election in Sweden, in which a left- and a right-wing coalition were locked in a close race. We asked our (...) participants to state their voter intention, and presented them with a political survey of wedge issues between the two coalitions. Using a sleight-of-hand we then altered their replies to place them in the opposite political camp, and invited them to reason about their attitudes on the manipulated issues. Finally, we summarized their survey score, and asked for their voter intention again. The results showed that no more than 22% of the manipulated replies were detected, and that a full 92% of the participants accepted and endorsed our altered political survey score. Furthermore, the final voter intention question indicated that as many as 48% (69.2%) were willing to consider a left-right coalition shift. This can be contrasted with the established polls tracking the Swedish election, which registered maximally 10% voters open for a swing. Our results indicate that political attitudes and partisan divisions can be far more flexible than what is assumed by the polls, and that people can reason about the factual issues of the campaign with considerable openness to change. (shrink)
As early as 1941, George Allen Morgan wrote that Nietzsche’s thought is “saturated with the historical point of view.” It is breathtaking how long it has taken scholarly writing on Nietzsche to catch up with Morgan and pay this aspect of Nietzsche’s thought the serious attention it deserves. Marcus Andreas Born’s study is therefore a very welcome development as a serious and engaged examination of Nietzsche’s “historical thought.” As his subtitle indicates, Born’s approach focuses on Nietzsche’s concept of genealogy. (...) He ties genealogy closely to history by suggesting that Nietzsche proposes genealogy as his way of revising, and improving on, existing approaches to history (18). For Born, as for .. (shrink)
Whereas liberals tend to emphasize harm as the decisive criterion for legitimizing criminalisation, moralists take a qualified notion of wrongfulness as sufficient even when no harm is at hand. This comment takes up Andreas von Hirsch’s “dual element approach” requiring both harm and wrongfulness as necessary conditions for criminalisation and argues that Joel Feinberg’s account of harming as violation of moral rights is perfectly compatible with it. Subsequently, two issues from the liberalism-moralism debate on criminalisation are examined: The difficulty (...) of how to determine wrongfulness beyond the scope of harming, and the so far disregarded question of whether the democratic legislator is free within the framework of constitution to criminalise whatever conduct he wants to prevent irrespective of philosophical constraints. (shrink)
Francisco Valles, also known as ‘The Divine Valles’, was most probably the greatest Spanish physician of the Renaissance and succeeded Andreas Vesalius, whom he knew well, as the personal doctor of Philip II of Spain. Valles studied in Alcalá and wrote several works, among which the influential Controversiarum medicarum et philosophicarum. The importance of Valles’s contribution to the debate concerning the number, the specific tasks, and the localization of the internal senses in Aristotle and in Galen is attested by (...) Pedro da Fonseca’s appreciation of his contribution and by the relevance of Valles’s works to the study of the history of philosophy and of anatomy, in antiquity, in the Renaissance and in scholasticism. (shrink)