The most immediate reason why chemists are unenthusiastic about the philosophy of science is the historic hostility of important philosophers, to the concept of atoms. (Without atoms, discovery in chemistry would have proceeded with glacial slowness, if at all, in the last 200 years.) Other important reasons include the anti-realist influence of the philosophical dogmas of logical positivism, instrumentalism, of strict empiricism. Though (as has been said) these doctrines have recently gone out of fashion, they are still very influential.A diagram (...) of the methodology of experimental research is proposed, in the form of a flow sheet, with feedback. The model is developed as a multi-level expansion of a diagram of the hypothetico-deductive model. It recognizes that strong mutual support, or interlocking, of research endeavors is important, at the underlying level or levels where explanatory causation contributes to scientific understanding. (Mutual support at the laboratory level is generally weak or trivial.) The multiplicity of explanatory levels, and the interlocking, point to solutions to some well-known problems, such as the origin of the hypotheses, and even a resolution to the underdetermination problem. (shrink)
It is shown by means of a simple example that a good explanation of an event is not necessarily corroborated by the occurrence of that event. It is also shown that this contention follows symbolically if an explanation having higher "explicativity" than another is regarded as better.
... Press for their editorial perspicacity, to the National Institutes of Health for the partial financial support they gave me while I was writing some of the chapters, and to Donald Michie for suggesting the title Good Thinking.
Good expresses agreement that the controversy between Bayesian and non-Bayesian statistics is more fundamental than that between Carnap and Popper, and points out that his own position is a Bayes/non-Bayes compromise.
This paper attempts to define Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) more precisely than usual, and to produce the beginnings of a philosophy of this topical and somewhat novel branch of statistics. A data set is, roughly speaking, a collection of k-tuples for some k. In both descriptive statistics and in EDA, these k-tuples, or functions of them, are represented in a manner matched to human and computer abilities with a view to finding patterns that are not "kinkera". A kinkus is a (...) pattern that has a negligible probability of being even partly potentially explicable. A potentially explicable pattern is one for which there probably exists a hypothesis of adequate "explicativity", which is another technical probabilistic concept. A pattern can be judged to be probably potentially explicable even if we cannot find an explanation. The theory of probability understood here is one of partially ordered (interval-valued), subjective (personal) probabilities. Among other topics relevant to a philosophy of EDA are the "reduction" of data; Francis Bacon's philosophy of science; the automatic formulation of hypotheses; successive deepening of hypotheses; neurophysiology; and rationality of type II. (shrink)
The form of argument used by Popper and Miller to attack the concept of probabilistic induction is applied to the slightly different situation in which some evidence undermines a hypothesis. The result is seemingly absurd, thus bringing the form of argument under suspicion.
This study investigates specific behavioral perceptual differences of ethics between practitioners and students enrolled in sales classes. Respondents were asked to indicate their beliefs to issues related to ethics in sales. A highly significant difference was found between mean responses of students and sales personnel. Managers indicated a greater concern for ethical behavior and less attention to sales than did the students. Students indicated a strong desire for success regardless of ethical constraints violated.
The use of a concept called "explicativity", for (provisionally) accepting a theory or Hypothesis H, has previously been discussed. That previous discussion took into account the prior probability of H, and hence implicitly its theoretical simplicity. We here suggest that a modification of explicativity is required to allow for what may be called the pragmatic simplicity of H, that is, the simplicity of using H in applications as distinct from the simplicity of the description of H.
The causal propensity of an event F to cause another event E is explicated as the weight of evidence against F if E does not occur, given the state of the universe just before F occurred. This definition, first given in 1961, is sharpened, defended, and applied to several examples. In this definition the concept of weight of evidence in favor of a proposition, provided by another one, is to be understood in a technical sense that is intended to capture (...) its most customary informal meaning. (shrink)
Since Peter Geach coined the phrase in 1966 there has been much discussion among scholars of the "Socratic fallacy." No consensus presently exists on whether Socrates commits the "Socratic fallacy"; almost all scholars agree, however, that the "Socratic fallacy" is a bad thing and that Socrates has good reason to avoid it. I think that this consensus of scholars is mistaken. I think that what Geach has labeled a fallacy is no fallacy at all, but a perfectly innocent consequence (...) of Platonic epistemology. The "Socratic fallacy" arises from the "Priority of Definition" principle (PD). Plato is committed to (PD) in the Meno. The Meno also contains a famous discussion of the difference between episteme and doxa (97a ff.). If we understand what Plato meant by episteme we can see that he must be committed to (PD); but we can also see that (PD) has none of the harmful consequences Geach attributes to it. Geach's view is indebted to Wittgenstein's philosophy of language. (PD) is implausible on this reading of the verb "to know," but not on Plato's. Plato claims that a demand for an explanation is appropriate wherever a claim to knowledge is made. Plato links the concept of episteme explicitly with the concept of logos; the connection between the terms may have been analytic. It does not follow from the Platonic conception of knowledge, as Geach argues, that it is "no use" using examples to establish general definitions. All that follows is that one cannot know that an alleged example of a term T is a genuine example until one has a general account of what it is to be T. Without the stronger conclusion, Geach cannot establish that the "Socratic fallacy" is a fallacy. (shrink)
Surgical devices are often marketed before there is good evidence of their safety and effectiveness. Our paper discusses the ethical issues associated with the early marketing and use of new surgical devices from the perspectives of the six groups most concerned. Health Canada, which is responsible for licensing new surgical devices, should amend their requirements to include rigorous clinical trials that provide data on effectiveness and safety for each new product before it is marketed. Industry should comply with all (...) Health Canada requirements to obtain licenses for new products. Until Health Canada requires effectiveness and safety data, industry should cooperate with physicians in appropriate studies before releasing new products and should make balanced presentations of all the available evidence. Surgeons should, before using a new surgical device, assess the evidence on its effectiveness and safety and ensure they are properly trained and competent in using the device. Surgeons should provide their patients with an evaluation of the available evidence and inform them about possible complications and the surgeon's level of experience with the new device. Patients, who should be given an honest evaluation of the available evidence, possible complications, and the surgeon's experience, should be encouraged to evaluate the evidence and information to their own satisfaction to ensure that fully informed consent is given. Health institutions, responsible for regulating practice within their walls, should review new devices for safety, effectiveness, and economic impacts, before allowing their use. They should also limit the use of new surgical devices to surgeons trained and competent in the new technology. Professional societies should provide guidance on the early adoption of new surgical devices and technologies. We urge all those involved in the development, licensing, and use of new surgical devices to aim for higher ethical standards to protect the health and safety of patients requiring surgery. The lowest acceptable ethical standard would require device manufacturers to provide surgeons with accurate and timely information on the efficacy and safety of their products, allowing surgeons and patients to evaluate the evidence (and the significance of information not yet available) before surgery. (shrink)
Robert Audi’s The Good in the Right undertakes the magisterial work of reviving the intuitionism of W.D. Ross, rescuing Ross from the overlapping shadows of Henry Sidgwick, G. E. Moore, and, to a lesser extent, H. A. Prichard, marrying Ross to Kant, and so working to produce "a full-scale moral philosophy providing both an account of moral principles and judgments—a metaethical account—and a set of basic moral standards" that might be employed in moral reasoning. The book is magnificent (...) in ambition and impressive in detail. (shrink)
This book collects essays considering the full range of Robert Sokolowski's philosophical works: his vew of philosophy; his phenomenology of language and his account of the relation between language and being; his phenomenology of moral action; and his phenomenological theology of disclosure.
Critical notice of Robert Audi's The Good in the Right in which doubts are raised about the epistemological and ethical doctrines it defends. It doubts that an appeal to Kant is a profitable way to defend Rossian normative intuitionism.
Throughout his philosophical career at Michigan, UCLA, Yale, and Oxford, Robert Merrihew Adams's wide-ranging contributions have deeply shaped the structure of debates in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, and ethics. Metaphysics and the Good: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams provides, for the first time, a collection of original essays by leading philosophers dedicated to exploring many of the facets of Adams's thought, a philosophical outlook that combines Christian theism, neo-Platonism, moral realism, metaphysical (...) idealism, and a commitment to both historical sensitivity and rigorous analytic engagement. Tied together by their aim of exploring, expanding, and experimenting with Adams's views, these eleven essays are coupled with an intellectual autobiography by Adams himself that was commissioned especially for this volume. As the introduction to the volume explains, the purpose of Metaphysics and the Good is to explore Adams's work in the very manner that he prescribes for understanding the ideas of others. By experimenting with Adams's conclusions, "pulling a string here to see what moves over there, so to speak," as Adams puts it, our authors throw into greater relief what makes Adams such an original and stimulating philosopher. In doing so, these essays contribute not only to the exploration of Adams's continuing interests, but they also advance original and important philosophical insights of their own. (shrink)
Abstract In Understanding Moral Obligation: Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Robert Stern argues that Hegel has a social command view of obligation. On this view, there is an element of social command or social sanction that must be added to a judgment of the good in order to bring about an obligation. I argue to the contrary that Hegel's conception of conscience, and thus the individual's role in obligation, is more central to his account than the social dimension. While agreeing (...) with Stern that Hegel's conception of Sittlichkeit does preserve a role for obligation, and that the social plays an important part in that account, I argue that there is no extra social component that converts the morally good into obligation. Rather, Hegel's conception of Sittlichkeit as the ?living good? means that judgments of the moral facts are simultaneously judgments of obligation. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational in (...) a number of circumstances. If expected utility theory is the correct account of practical rationality, then having faith can be both epistemically and practically rational if the costs associated with gathering further evidence or postponing the decision are high. If a more permissive framework is adopted, then having faith can be rational even when there are no costs associated with gathering further evidence. (shrink)
The Western Tradition has long struggled to define and understand evil, yet definitive answers continue to elude us. So, too, the role of evil in Goethe's Faust remains problematic. With the help of Mephistopheles, Faust acquires a forbidden ,,knowledge of good and evil“, evoking the biblical story of the Fall. This study uncovers important layers of meaning in that story and reveals its special and unrecognized significance for Faust.
For over thirty years, Robert Audi has produced important work in ethics, epistemology, and the theory of action. This volume features thirteen new critical essays on Audi by a distinguished group of authors: Fred Adams, William Alston, Laurence BonJour, Roger Crisp, Elizabeth Fricker, Bernard Gert, Thomas Hurka, Hugh McCann, Al Mele, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Raimo Tuomela, Candace Vogler, and Timothy Williamson. Audi's introductory essay provides a thematic overview interconnecting his views in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of action. The volume concludes (...) with his comprehensive response essay that yields an illuminating dialog with all his critics and often extends his previous work. (shrink)
Kant’s body offered a constant target for his own remarks, both in correspondence and during his lunchtime conversations. Several good descriptions of Kant’s body have come down to us over the centuries, as well as a number of visual representations, but these are remarkably limited, given his stature in the world of ideas. A new description of Kant, written by a novelist who visited Kant while passing through Königsberg, has recently come to light. It is reproduced here — in (...) English translation as well as the original German — and earlier descriptions of Kant are briefly recounted. (shrink)
Amartya Sen is a renowned economist who has also made important contributions to philosophical thinking about distributive justice. These contributions tend to take the form of criticism of inadequate positions and insistence on making distinctions that will promote clear thinking about the topic. Sen is not shy about making substantive normative claims, but thus far he has avoided commitment to a theory of justice, in the sense of a set of principles that specifies what facts are relevant for policy choice (...) and determines, given a full characterization of any situation in terms of these relevant facts, what ought to be done in that situation. Moreover, Sen has expressed skepticism about the existence of a fully adequate theory in this sense. According to Sen there is a plurality of moral considerations that bear on choice of action and policy and no particular reason to think that weights can be attached nonarbitrarily to each consideration to yield a theory. (shrink)