Mechanisms have become much-discussed, yet there is still no consensus on how to characterise them. In this paper, we start with something everyone is agreed on – that mechanisms explain – and investigate what constraints this imposes on our metaphysics of mechanisms. We examine two widely shared premises about how to understand mechanistic explanation: (1) that mechanistic explanation offers a welcome alternative to traditional laws-based explanation and (2) that there are two senses of mechanistic explanation that we call ‘epistemic explanation’ (...) and ‘physical explanation’. We argue that mechanistic explanation requires that mechanisms are both real and local. We then go on to argue that real, local mechanisms require a broadly active metaphysics for mechanisms, such as a capacities metaphysics. (shrink)
Appointment as a director of a company board often represents the pinnacle of a management career. Worldwide, it has been noted that very few women are appointed to the boards of directors of companies. Blame for the low numbers of women of company boards can be partly attributed to the widely publicized "glass ceiling". However, the very low representation of women on company boards requires further examination. This article reviews the current state of women's representation on boards of directors and (...) summarizes the reasons as to why women are needed on company boards. Given that more women on boards are desirable, the article then describes how more women could be appointed to boards, and the actions that organizations and women could take to help increase the representation of women. Finally, the characteristics of those women that have succeeded in becoming members of company boards are described from an international perspective. Unfortunately, answers to the vexing question of whether these women have gained board directorships in their own right as extremely competent managers, or whether they are mere token female appointments in a traditional male dominated culture, remains elusive. (shrink)
After a decade of intense debate about mechanisms, there is still no consensus characterization. In this paper we argue for a characterization that applies widely to mechanisms across the sciences. We examine and defend our disagreements with the major current contenders for characterizations of mechanisms. Ultimately, we indicate that the major contenders can all sign up to our characterization.
This paper argues against evidential decision-theory, by showing that the newest responses to its biggest current problem – the medical Newcomb problems – don’t work. The latest approach is described, and the arguments of two main proponents of it – Huw Price and CR Hitchcock – clearly distinguished and examined. It is argued that since neither new defence is successful, causation remains essential to understanding means-end agency.
Russo and Williamson claim that establishing causal claims requires mechanistic and difference-making evidence. In this article, I will argue that Russo and Williamson's formulation of their thesis is multiply ambiguous. I will make three distinctions: mechanistic evidence as type vs object of evidence; what mechanism or mechanisms we want evidence of; and how much evidence of a mechanism we require. I will feed these more precise meanings back into the Russo?Williamson thesis and argue that it is both true and false: (...) two weaker versions of the thesis are worth supporting, while the stronger versions are not. Further, my distinctions are of wider concern because they allow us to make more precise claims about what kinds of evidence are required in particular cases. (shrink)
This collection of essays analyzes relations of social inequality that appear to be logical extensions of a "natural order," and in the process demonstrates that a revitalized feminist anthropology of the 1990s has much to offer the field of feminist theory. Fashioned as a response to the lack of cultural analysis in feminist scholarship, the contributors question the category of gender within the inclusive context of the structural dynamics of inequality. They also examine how cultural identities, domains and institutions affect (...) our perception of gender in society. The first selection of essays addresses how ideas of family and kinship have fostered society's hierarchies and legitimized the status quo. In part two, the essays show how several dimensions of inequality are implicit in the construction of identities that are based upon ideas of social solidarity. Contributors: Susan McKinnon, University of Virginia; Kath Weston, Arizona State West; Rayna Rapp, New School for Social Research; Janet Dolgin, Hofstra University; Harriet Whitehead, Duke University; Carol Delaney, Stanford University; Brackette Williams, University of Arizona; Sylvia Yanagisako, Stanford University; Phyllis Chock, Catholic University; Sherry Ortner, University of Michigan; Anna Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz. (shrink)
The debate about the rational and the social in science has sometimes been developed in the context of a distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic values. Paying particular attention to two important discussion in the last decade, by Longino and by McMullin, I argue that a fuller understanding of values in science ultimately requires abandoning the distinction itself. This is argued directly in terms of an analysis of the lack of clarity concerning what epistemic values are. I also argue (...) that the philosophical import of much of the feminist work in philosophy of science is restricted by any kind of strict adherence to the distinction. (shrink)
The Recursive Bayesian Net (RBN) formalism was originally developed for modelling nested causal relationships. In this paper we argue that the formalism can also be applied to modelling the hierarchical structure of mechanisms. The resulting network contains quantitative information about probabilities, as well as qualitative information about mechanistic structure and causal relations. Since information about probabilities, mechanisms and causal relations is vital for prediction, explanation and control respectively, an RBN can be applied to all these tasks. We show in particular (...) how a simple two-level RBN can be used tomodel a mechanism in cancer science. The higher level of our model contains variables at the clinical level, while the lower level maps the structure of the cell’s mechanism for apoptosis. (shrink)
Reason has regularly been portrayed and understood in terms of images and metaphors that involve the exclusion or denigration of some element-body, passion, nature, instinct-that is cast as "feminine." Drawing upon philosophical insight into metaphor, I examine the impact of this gendering of reason. I argue that our conceptions of mind, reason, unreason, female, and male have been distorted. The politics of "rational" discourse has been set up in ways that still subtly but powerfully inhibit the voice and agency of (...) women. (shrink)
Global debates in approaches to HIV/AIDS control have recently moved away from a uniformly strong human rights-based focus. Public health utilitarianism has become increasingly important in shaping national and international policies. However, potentially contradictory imperatives may require reconciliation of individual reproductive and other human rights with public health objectives. Current reproductive health guidelines remain largely nonprescriptive on the advisability of pregnancy amongst HIV-positive couples, mainly relying on effective counselling to enable autonomous decision-making by clients. Yet, health care provider values and (...) attitudes may substantially impact on the effectiveness of nonprescriptive guidelines, particularly where social norms and stereotypes regarding childbearing are powerful, and where providers are subjected to dual loyalty pressures, with potentially adverse impacts on rights of service users. Data from a study of user experiences and perceptions of reproductive and HIV/AIDS services are used to illustrate a rights analysis of how reproductive health policy should integrate a rights perspective into the way services engage with HIV-positive persons and their reproductive choices. The analysis draws on recognised tools developed to evaluate health policies for their human rights impacts and on a model developed for health equity research in South Africa to argue for greater recognition of agency on the part of persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the development and content of policies on reproductive choices. We conclude by proposing strategies that are based upon a synergy between human rights and public health approaches to policy on reproductive health choices for persons with HIV/AIDS. (shrink)
By tracing a specific development through the approaches of Peirce, James, and Dewey I present a view of (classical) pragmatist epistemology that invites comparison with recent work in feminist epistemology. Important dimensions of pragmatism and feminism emerge from this critical dialectical relationship between them. Pragmatist reflections on the role of reason and philosophy in a changing world encourage us to see that philosophy's most creative and most responsible future must also be a feminist one.
The rising tide of corporate scandals and audit failures has shocked the public, and the integrity of auditors is being increasingly questioned. It is crucial for auditors and regulators to understand the main causes of audit failure and devise preventive measures accordingly. This study analyzes enforcement actions issued by the China Securities Regulatory Commission against auditors in respect of fraudulent financial reporting committed by listed companies in China. We find that auditors are more likely to be sanctioned by the regulators (...) for failing to detect and report material misstatement frauds rather than disclosure frauds. Further analysis of the material misstatements indicates that auditors are more likely to be sanctioned for failing to detect and report revenue-related frauds rather than assets-related frauds. In sum, our results suggest that regulators believe auditors have the responsibility to detect and report frauds that are egregious, transaction-based, and related to accounting earnings. The results contribute to our knowledge of auditors’ responsibilities for detecting frauds as perceived by regulators. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine what is to be said in defence of Machamer, Darden and Craver’s (MDC) controversial dualism about activities and entities (Machamer, Darden and Craver’s in Philos Sci 67:1–25, 2000). We explain why we believe the notion of an activity to be a novel, valuable one, and set about clearing away some initial objections that can lead to its being brushed aside unexamined. We argue that substantive debate about ontology can only be effective when desiderata for an (...) ontology are explicitly articulated. We distinguish three such desiderata. The first is a more permissive descriptive ontology of science, the second a more reductive ontology prioritising understanding, and the third a more reductive ontology prioritising minimalism. We compare MDC’s entities-activities ontology to its closest rival, the entities-capacities ontology, and argue that the entities-activities ontology does better on all three desiderata. (shrink)
This essay draws from the work of William James and three African American pragmatists, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison and Cornel West, to explore the moral relevance of the self as an empowered agent among African American youth. The focus is on Jamesian agency as a function of the individual's awareness of options in context, the self-empowerment that allows one to access those options, and the resulting behaviour that actualises perceived potentials. Case examples clarify how the awareness of self as (...) an active and choice-making agent normally has moral primacy for African Americans. These examples draw on both justice and care perspectives to clarify the possibilities of human development and social change through highly developed human agency. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Reid and Hume on the Possibility of Character--James A. Harris * Adam Smith's Rhetorical Art of Character--Stephen McKenna * The Moral Education of Mankind: Character and Religious Moderatism in the Sermons of Hugh Blair--Thomas Ahnert * The Not-So-Prodigal Son: James Boswell and the Scottish Enlightenment--Anthony La Vopa * Character, Sociability and Correspondence: Elizabeth Griffith and The Letters between Henry and Frances--Eve Tavor Bannet * Smellie's Dreams: Character and Consciousness in the Scottish Enlightenment--Phyllis Mack William (...) * Aspects of Character and Sociability in Scottish Enlightenment Medicine--Neil Vickers * The 'Peculiar Colouring of the Mind': Character and Painted Portraiture in the Scottish Enlightenment--Viccy Coltman * National Characters and Race: A Scottish Enlightenment Debate--Silvia Sebastiani * Character and Cosmopolitanism in the Scottish-American Enlightenment--Hannah Spahn * Historical Characters: Biography, the Science of Man, and Romantic Fiction--Susan Manning * Necessity, Freedom, and Character Formation from the Eighteenth Century to the Nineteenth--Jerrold Seigel. (shrink)
Foreword -- Prologue -- Attorney Eileen Fitzpatrick -- Dr. Jeanne Fitzpatrick -- section 1. Death and dying in America -- 1. The need for change : the cautionary tale of Phyllis Shattuck -- Dr. Fitzpatrick tells Phyllis Shattuck's story -- Reflections -- How this book will help -- Lessons to learn -- New name, old concept -- 2. Your right to die -- Your right to die is born : the case of Karen Ann Quinlan -- The Supreme (...) Court weights in : the case of Nancy Cruzan -- Advance directive forms : an imperfect solution -- The more things change, the more they stay the same : the case of Terri Schiavo -- Moving forward : comfort care only and the Compassion Protocol -- A personal choice -- section 2. Who can use the Compassion Protocol -- 3. The competent elderly -- Dr. Fitzpatrick tells Willa Simpson's story -- Learning from Willa -- The Compassion Protocol increases choice and control at the end of lie -- The Compassion Protocol and the competent elderly -- 4. The terminally ill -- Dr. Fitzpatrick tells Melissa Blackburn's story -- Terminal illness and the Compassion Protocol -- Current practices -- Compassion Protocol practices -- 5. Alzheimer's dementia and the Compassion Protocol -- Dr. Fitzpatrick tells Carl Novack's story -- Alzheimer's dementia and the Compassion Protocol -- Is this really legal? -- Updating time-honored advice -- section 3. How the Compassion Protocol works -- 6. Step one : know your options -- Option one : don't go to the hospital again -- Option two : refuse antibiotics -- Option three : discontinue your usual medications -- Option four : refuse hydration and nutrition -- Health care options summary -- Choosing when your options take effect -- Step one summary -- 7. Step two : make your decisions -- Introduction to step two -- The Compassion Protocol worksheet -- Your list of pros and cons -- A story of our own worst fears -- Step two and the Alzheimer's patient -- Selecting a health care decision maker -- Review -- 8. Step three : communicate your decisions -- The importance of full and adequate communication : the story of Ray Sullivan -- What constitutes effective communication? -- Tell your health care decision maker -- Tell your doctor and other health care providers -- Tell your family -- Tell your friends -- Dr. Fitzpatrick talks about her end-of-life choices -- Attorney Fitzpatrick talks about her end-of-life choices -- Step three summary -- 9. Step four : do the paperwork -- Introduction to the Contract for Compassionate Care -- Legal basis of the Compassion Protocol -- The long and short of legal forms -- And never forget the "people" part -- 10. Step five : plan the kind of death you want -- Changing society one death at a time -- 11. Hospice and the Compassion Protocol -- The importance of fighting for life and of letting go : Dr. Fitzpatrick tells the story of one patient's experience with hospice -- The team approach -- Paying for hospice -- Hospice and the Compassion Protocol -- 12. Everyone's worst fear : the nursing home -- Dr. Fitzpatrick relates the story of Sean O'Connor : a regrettably common nursing home experience -- Understanding you nursing home option -- Nursing homes : a growth business -- The home health care alternative -- When the system works : Dr. Fitzpatrick tells the story of Sally Forest -- Reflections -- 13. Looking ahead -- Appendix A. Contract for Compassionate Care -- Appendix B. Tools for the Compassion Protocol -- Glossary. (shrink)
There is a need for integrated thinking about causality, probability and mechanisms in scientific methodology. Causality and probability are long-established central concepts in the sciences, with a corresponding philosophical literature examining their problems. On the other hand, the philosophical literature examining mechanisms is not long-established, and there is no clear idea of how mechanisms relate to causality and probability. But we need some idea if we are to understand causal inference in the sciences: a panoply of disciplines, ranging from epidemiology (...) to biology, from econometrics to physics, routinely make use of probability, statistics, theory and mechanisms to infer causal relationships. -/- These disciplines have developed very different methods, where causality and probability often seem to have different understandings, and where the mechanisms involved often look very different. This variegated situation raises the question of whether the different sciences are really using different concepts, or whether progress in understanding the tools of causal inference in some sciences can lead to progress in other sciences. The book tackles these questions as well as others concerning the use of causality in the sciences. (shrink)
Specific methodological limitations of traditional sex differences research are uncovered by feminist psychologists who argue for a shift toward a theoretical appropriation of gender that reveals its significance as a site of ongoing situated social regulation. I argue that such a shift has important implications for studies on gender and cognition, and that such studies have the potential to significantly expand our understanding of the contextual and situated nature of both social and "non-social" cognition.