Summary Influenced by the account of K. Popper and, moreover, of C. G. Hempel and P. Oppenheim, it is generally assumed, that a prediction can be logically deduced from hypotheses, i. e. lawlike propositions, and initial conditions. It is not clear, in which respect a prediction can correctly be supposed to be a proposition which is either true or false. From a logical point of view, serious difficulties arise in assuming that the deductive-nomological model consists of a valid argument. Further (...) objections to this account are developed with regard to lawlike propositions. Since a lawlike proposition is â by definition â not true or definitely true, but only supposed to be true, it cannot function as a true premise among other true premises for the purpose of deduction. Special difficulties arise with regard to predictions: A predictive argument does not give any reason for the truth of the predictionK, but only â if at all â for the prediction of the truth ofK. In the latter case, the conclusion K clearly does not consist of a proposition (which could be either true or false) but rather of a predicting proposition. (shrink)
Is there any argument for scepticism? The epistemic problem of the possibility of error. Arguments for scepticism rest on the assumption that knowledge claims are fallible. For this reason the concept of knowledge appears to be questionable. Since it is necessary to distinguish doubts from possible doubts, the arguments for scepticism appear to be unconvincing. If we take it into account that we know something that is immune to doubt, we should draw the conclusion that, contrary to scepticism, knowledge claims (...) have to be compatible with being fallible. Thus any knowledge claim is capable of being doubted. (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.
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)
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)
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)
The Difference between Belief and Knowledge. The assumption that knowledge can be defined in terms of belief is considered to be mistaken. Since Gettier problems are shown to be misconstrued, the question cannot arise whether his conditions for knowledge are sufficient for claiming ``knowledge is justified true belief''. Ayers' conditions for knowledge in addition with a specific stipulation proof to be instructive for elaborating the differences between knowledge and belief.
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)
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)
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)
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.
Media attention to retracted research suggests that a substantial number of papers are corrupted by misinformation. In reality, every paper contains misinformation; at issue is whether the balance of correct versus incorrect information is acceptable. This paper postulates that analysis of retracted research papers can provide insight into medical misinformation, although retracted papers are not a random sample of incorrect papers. Error is the most common reason for retraction and error may be the principal cause of misinformation as well. Still, (...) one-quarter of retracted papers are fraudulent, and misinformation may also arise through fraud. This paper hypothesises that error and fraud are the main sources of misinformation and that error is more common than fraud. Retraction removes misinformation from the literature; bias is non-retracted misinformation. Bias arises when scientific impropriety results in false research findings. Impropriety can involve experimental design, data collection, data analysis, or data presentation. Yet impropriety also arises through earnest error or statistical naiveté; not all bias is fraud. Several measures are proposed to minimise misinformation in the medical literature, including: greater detail in the clinical trial registry, with rigorous definition of inclusion and exclusion criteria and primary endpoints; clear statistical criteria for every aspect of clinical trials, especially sample size; responsibility for data integrity that accrues to all named authors; increased transparency as to how the costs of research were paid; and greater clarity as to the reasons for retraction. Misinformation can arise without malicious intent; authors of incorrect papers are owed a presumption of incompetence, not malice. (shrink)
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.
Background Clinical papers so flawed that they are eventually retracted may put patients at risk. Patient risk could arise in a retracted primary study or in any secondary study that draws ideas or inspiration from a primary study. Methods To determine how many patients were put at risk, we evaluated 788 retracted English-language papers published from 2000 to 2010, describing new research with humans or freshly derived human material. These primary papers—together with all secondary studies citing them—were evaluated using ISI (...) Web of Knowledge. Excluded from study were 468 basic science papers not studying fresh human material; 88 reviews presenting older data; 22 case reports; 7 papers retracted for journal error and 23 papers unavailable on Web of Knowledge. Overall, 180 retracted primary papers (22.8%) met the inclusion criteria. Subjects enrolled and patients treated in 180 primary studies and 851 secondary studies were combined. Results Retracted papers were cited over 5000 times, with 93% of citations being research related, suggesting that ideas promulgated in retracted papers can influence subsequent research. Over 28 000 subjects were enrolled—and 9189 patients were treated—in 180 retracted primary studies. Over 400 000 subjects were enrolled—and 70 501 patients were treated—in 851 secondary studies which cited a retracted paper. Papers retracted for fraud (n=70) treated more patients per study (p<0.01) than papers retracted for error (n=110). Conclusions Many patients are put at risk by retracted studies. These are conservative estimates, as only patients enrolled in published clinical studies were tallied. (shrink)
Does ethics have adequate general theories? Our analysis shows that this question does not have a straightforward answer since the key terms are ambiguous. So we should not concentrate on the answer but on the question itself. “Ethics” stands for many things, but we let that pass. “Adequate” may refer to varied arrays of methodological principles which are seldom fully articulated in ethics. “General” is a notion with at least three meanings. Different kinds of generality may be at cross-purposes, so (...) we must not expect theories to be general in sundry senses. “Theory,” for that matter, is itself ambiguous. Some thinkers say that ethics cannot have theories, while others deny it. We doubt whether opposing parties are talking about the same things.No wonder, then, that controversies in ethics are long-lasting and unproductive. We hope that the methodology we have presented will alleviate some of them. The examples we chose show that this is feasible. Views such as Hare's and Jonsen and Toulmin's which are seemingly wide apart, show convergence if we put them in a methodological perspective.Our analysis also suggests that many alleged differences between science and ethics could fade away if methodology is brought to bear on them. Specifically, the idea that ethics compares poorly with science in view of limited generality, or poor means of justification, is unfounded. Those who defend this view over-rate the powers of science. (shrink)
Philosophy of medicine and its daughter bioethics seldom undertake a critical analysis of live medical science. That is a serious shortcoming since some forms of bias in medical science have a negative impact on health care. Most notably, many areas of medicine focus on a restricted area of biology to the exclusion of ecology. Ecological thinking should lead to fundamental changes in medicine and the philosophy of medicine.
Background Medical research so flawed as to be retracted may put patients at risk by influencing treatments. Objective To explore hypotheses that more patients are put at risk if a retracted paper appears in a journal with a high impact factor (IF) so that the paper is widely read; is written by a ‘repeat offender’ author who has produced other retracted research; or is a clinical trial. Methods English language papers (n=788) retracted from the PubMed database between 2000 and 2010 (...) were evaluated. Only those papers retracting research with humans or freshly derived human material were included; 180 retracted primary papers (22.8%) met inclusion criteria. Subjects enrolled and patients treated were tallied, both in the retracted primary studies and in 851 secondary studies that cited a retracted primary paper. Results Retracted papers published in high-IF journals were cited more often (p=0.0004) than those in low-IF journals, but there was no difference between high- and low-IF papers in subjects enrolled or patients treated. Retracted papers published by ‘repeat offender’ authors did not enrol more subjects or treat more patients than papers by one-time offenders, nor was there a difference in number of citations. However, retracted clinical trials treated more patients (p=0.0002) and inspired secondary studies that put more patients at risk (p=0.0019) than did other kinds of medical research. Conclusions If the goal is to minimise risk to patients, the appropriate focus is on clinical trials. Clinical trials form the foundation of evidence-based medicine; hence, the integrity of clinical trials must be protected. (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)
In this essay several virtues are discussed that are needed in people who work in participatory design (PD). The term PD is used here to refer specifically to an approach in designing information systems with its roots in Scandinavia in the 1970s and 1980s. Through the lens of virtue ethics and based on key texts in PD, the virtues of cooperation, curiosity, creativity, empowerment and reflexivity are discussed. Cooperation helps people in PD projects to engage in cooperative curiosity and cooperative (...) creativity. Curiosity helps them to empathize with others and their experiences, and to engage in joint learning. Creativity helps them to envision, try out and materialize ideas, and to jointly create new products and services. Empowerment helps them to share power and to enable other people to flourish. Moreover, reflexivity helps them to perceive and to modify their own thoughts, feelings and actions. In the spirit of virtue ethics—which focuses on specific people in concrete situations—several examples from one PD project are provided. Virtue ethics is likely to appeal to people in PD projects because it is practice-oriented, provides room for exploration and experimentation, and promotes professional and personal development. In closing, some ideas for practical application, for education and for further research are discussed. (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.
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.
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)
In this article we review research in our laboratory on auditory hallucinations using behavioral and MRI measure. The review consists of both previously published and new data that for the fi rst time is presented together in a cohesive way. Auditory hallucinations are among the most common symptoms in schizophrenia, affecting more than 70% of the patients. We here advance the hypothesis that auditory hallucinations are internally generated speech perceptions that are lateralized to the left temporal lobe, in the peri-Sylvian (...) region. From this we predict that hallucinating patients should have problems identifying a simultaneously presented external speech sound, as measured through performance on the dichotic listening (DL) paradigm with consonant-vowel syllables, since this technique lateralizes the stimulus input. Across a series of behavioral experiments, we have shown that patients with schizophrenia who experience frequent auditory hallucinations fail to demonstrate an expected right ear advantage on the dichotic listening test. Absence of a right ear advantage is indicative of a functional defi cit in the left peri-Sylvian region. The results also revealed that patients with ongoing auditory hallucinations were more impaired than patients with previous hallucinations, and that a higher score on the hallucination item in a standard symptom rating scale (BPRS) correlated negatively with number of correct reports for the right ear stimulus. Moreover, we have found that schizophrenia patients fail to shift attention to the left ear stimulus, when explicitly instructed to focus on the right or left ear stimulus only, thus showing a defi cit in inhibition of attention and response-inhibition. The behavioral DL data are substantiated in two MR morphometry studies that revealed signifi cant reductions in grey matter density in the left peri-Sylvian region in hallucinating patients, and patients with reduced left temporal lobe grey matter density. Hallucinating patients also failed to show a right ear advantage in the dichotic listening test. Ongoing fMRI studies are focused on the underlying synaptic and molecular mechanisms by investigating the effects of the glutamate antagonist drug memantine on auditory perception and speech lateralization, and examination of temporal cortex-specifi c gene expression in the left peri-Sylvian region. (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)