Cancer-related electronic support groups (ESGs) may be regarded as a complement to face-to-face groups when the latter are available, and as an alternative when they are not. Advantages over face-to-face groups include an absence of barriers imposed by geographic location, opportunities for anonymity that permit sensitive issues to be discussed, and opportunities to find peers online. ESGs can be especially valuable as navigation aids for those trying to find a way through the healthcare system and as a guide to the (...) cancer journey. Outcome indicators that could be used to evaluate the quality of ESGs as navigation aids need to be developed and tested. Conceptual models for the navigator role, such as the Facilitating Navigator Model, are appropriate for ESGs designed specifically for research purposes. A Shared or Tacit Model may be more appropriate for unmoderated ESGs. Both conceptual models raise issues in Internet research ethics that need to be address. (shrink)
We propose to model preference change as the change of an agent’s preference state in response to the agent accepting a preference affect. The preference state of an agent is ruled by various inferential commitments. Accepting a preference affect will likely bring the preference state into inconsistency. The model shows how the preference state needs to be adjusted to restore consistency. In particular, it shows which path restoration will take, conditional on the previous preference state and the available dynamic information, (...) and it determines how the ensuing preference state will look like. (shrink)
The purpose of the work was to produce a framework to guide the development of meritorious clinical trial proposals. The framework consists of essential features of rigourous methodology, ethical acceptability, and a component referred to as "community context". These three domains were woven together in a checklist format under the headings of general, scientific and ethical considerations. Since texts concerning clinical trial methodology do not integrate ethics criteria and ethics guidelines do not provide detailed scientific criteria in obvious and practical (...) ways, we outline a more contemporary and comprehensive set of guidelines. (shrink)
Drawing on critical analyses of the internet inspired by Gilles Deleuze and the Marxist autonomia movement, this paper suggests a way of understanding the impact of the internet and digital culture on identity and social forms through a consideration of the relationship between controls exercised through the internet, new subjectivities constituted through its use and new labour practices enabled by it. Following Castells, we can see that the distinction between user, consumer and producer is becoming blurred and free labour is (...) being provided by users to corporations. The relationship between digital technologies and sense of community, through their relationship to the future, is considered for its dangers and potentials. It is proposed that the internet may be a useful tool for highlighting and enabling social connections if certain dangers can be traversed. Notably, current remedies for the lack of trust on the internet are questioned with an alternative, drawing on Zygmunt Bauman and Georg Simmel, proposed which is built on community through a vision of a ‘shared network’. (shrink)
Three of Zygmunt Bauman’s recent books are assessed to present insights into the recent development of his thought and the challenges it poses to the social sciences, humanities and the wider public. By reading Bauman’s recent work through the influence he takes from Georg Simmel, the former’s disparate recent work is understood as an attempt at the cultivation of critical and ethical engagement through the externalization and objectification of his own subjective culture. The more radical elements of Bauman’s work are (...) emphasized in his attempts to stimulate a counter-culture through encouraging critical analysis of society. It is proposed that he achieves this through ‘polylogic’ discourse and engagement with the public. Sociology is presented as a tool of freedom through ‘defamiliarizing the familiar’ and Bauman’s most powerful tool in this is the demonstration of his particular critical view of the world. The broad-ranging engagement with diverse topics in his recent books enables him to place this critical perspective, rather than a particular topic or issue, at the centre of his work. The metaphorical and other literary devices used by Bauman to stimulate critique and in particular to spur on the radical potential of youth are highlighted as some of his most powerful contributions. (shrink)
Standardly, mental properties like beliefs, desires, fears, etc. are analysed as relations between the agent, to whom the predicate is ascribed, and a proposition, which is the intentional content of this property. According to this relational analysis, having a thought implies having its content present to the mind. This has wide-ranging philosophical implications, e.g. for the possibility of children and animals having intentional mental properties, or for the problem of knowing one’s own thoughts. Further, according to the relational analysis, the (...) causal efficacy of mental properties must be in virtue of their content. This implies that folk-psychological explanations acquire a special status, for they employ mental properties as the explanans of behaviour. Mental properties can be conceived of as causally efficacious, and hence like standard scientific explanans, only if a satisfactory account is provided how they are causally efficacious in virtue of their semantic content. A successful account of this sort, I submit, does not exist as of yet; hence it seems, on the relational account, that folk psychological explanations are non-scientific, if they are explanations at all. (shrink)
Special issue. With contributions by Anouk Barberouse, Sarah Francescelli and Cyrille Imbert, Robert Batterman, Roman Frigg and Julian Reiss, Axel Gelfert, Till Grüne-Yanoff, Paul Humphreys, James Mattingly and Walter Warwick, Matthew Parker, Wendy Parker, Dirk Schlimm, and Eric Winsberg.
First, I'd like to thank Professors Van Till, Pun, and McMullin for their careful and thoughtful replies. There is a deep level of agreement among all four of us; as is customary with replies and replies to replies, however, I shall concentrate on our areas of disagreement. In the cases of Van Till and McMullin, this may give an impression of deeper disagreement than actually exists. In the case of Pun it leaves me with little to say except (...) Yea and Amen; I find no serious disagreement between us. (shrink)
It is argued that one can learn from minimal economic models. Minimal models are models that are not similar to the real world, do not resemble some of its features, and do not adhere to accepted regularities. One learns from a model if constructing and analysing the model affects one’s confidence in hypotheses about the world. Economic models, I argue, are often assessed for their credibility. If a model is judged credible, it is considered to be a relevant possibility. Considering (...) such relevant possibilities may affect one’s confidence in necessity or impossibility hypotheses. Thus, one can learn from minimal economic models. (shrink)
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't." Hamlet , act II, scene ii Abstract: Inherent normativity is the claim that intentional action explanations necessarily have to comply with normatively understood rationality constraints on the ascribed propositional attitudes. This paper argues against inherent normativity in three steps. First, it presents three examples of actions successfully explained with propositional attitudes, where the ascribed attitudes violate relevant rationality constraints. Second, it argues that the inference rules that systematise propositional attitudes are qualitatively (...) different from rationality constraints both in their justification and their recipients. Third, it rejects additional conditions on propositional attitudes, which purport to necessitate a normative commitment. Thus, inherent normativity is rejected; and with it the claim that intentional action explanations differ substantially from other explanations because they are inherently normative. (shrink)
When social scientists began employing evolutionary game theory (EGT) in their disciplines, the question arose what the appropriate interpretation of the formal EGT framework would be. Social scientists have given different answer, of which I distinguish three basic kinds. I then proceed to uncover the conceptual tension between the formal framework of EGT, its application in the social sciences, and these three interpretations. First, I argue that EGT under the biological interpretation has a limited application in the social sciences, chiefly (...) because strategy replication often cannot be sensibly interpreted as strategy bearer reproduction in this domain. Second, I show that alternative replication mechanisms imply interpersonal comparability of strategy payoffs. Giving a meaningful interpretation to such comparisons is not an easy task for many social situations, and thus limits the applicability of EGT in this domain. Third, I argue that giving a new interpretation both to strategy replication and selection solves the issue of interpersonal comparability, but at the costs of making the new interpretation incompatible with natural selection interpretations of EGT. To the extent that social scientists seek such a natural selection interpretation, they face a dilemma: either face the challenge that interpersonal comparisons pose, or give up on the natural selection interpretation. By identifying these tensions, my analysis pleas for greater awareness of the specific purposes of EGT modelling in the social sciences, and for greater sensitivity to the underlying microstructure on which the evolutionary dynamics and other EGT solution concepts supervene. (shrink)
Economists evaluate their models in terms of credibility. For example, Rothschild and Stiglitz argued from a model of a completive insurance market that under the “plausible” (632) assumption of information asymmetry, one can “credibly” infer the non-existence of equilibria in specific situations – despite the fact that, as they admit, the real ‘market … for insurance is probably not competitive’ (648).1 Another example is Richard Thaler’s column on anomalies of (micro-) economic theory. From 1987 to 2001, he headed every article (...) with the following sentence: ‘An empirical result is anomalous if it is difficult to rationalize, or if implausible assumptions are necessary to explain it within the paradigm’.2 Or, yet another example, Hans Lind concludes in a survey of mathematical models of rent control that ‘what is shown in the model[s]…is just one type of argument…for why a certain story is more credible than a competing story. (shrink)
Philosophers of science studying scientific practice often consider it a methodological requirement that their conceptualization of "model" closely connects with the understanding and use of models by practicing scientists. Occasionally, this connection has been explicitly made (Hutten 1954, Suppes 1961, Morgan and Morrison 1999, Bailer-Jones 2002, Lehtinen and Kuorikoski 2007, Kuorikoski 2007, Morgan 2012a). These studies have been dominated by a focus on the—relatively similar forms of—mathematical models in physics and economics. Yet it has become increasingly evident that the way (...) models are conceptualized is very different in some other sciences, where philosophers' accounts of models' characteristics and .. (shrink)
Howard Van Till's review of my book No Free Lunch exemplifies perfectly why theistic evolution remains intelligent design's most implacable foe. Not only does theistic evolution sign off on the naturalism that pervades so much of contemporary science, but it justifies that naturalism theologically -- as though it were unworthy of God to create by any means other than an evolutionary process that carefully conceals God's tracks.
Many scientific models are non-representational in that they refer to merely possible processes, background conditions and results. The paper shows how such non-representational models can be appraised, beyond the weak role that they might play as heuristic tools. Using conceptual distinctions from the discussion of how-possibly explanations, six types of models are distinguished by their modal qualities of their background conditions, model processes and model results. For each of these types, an actual model example – drawn from economics, biology, psychology (...) or sociology – is discussed. For each case, contexts and purposes are identified in which the use of such a model offers a genuine opportunity to learn – i.e. justifies changing one’s confidence in a hypothesis about the world. These cases then offer novel justifications for modelling practices that fall between the cracks of standard representational accounts of models. (shrink)
It is often claimed that artificial society simulations contribute to the explanation of social phenomena. At the hand of a particular example, this paper argues that artificial societies often cannot provide full explanations, because their models are not or cannot be validated. Despite that, many feel that such simulations somehow contribute to our understanding. This paper tries to clarify this intuition by investigating whether artificial societies provide potential explanations. It is shown that these potential explanations, if they contribute to our (...) understanding, considerably differ from potential causal explanations. Instead of possible causal histories, simulations offer possible functional analyses of the explanandum . The paper discusses how these two kinds explanatory strategies differ, and how potential functional explanations can be appraised. (shrink)
Modelling cannot be characterized as isolating, nor models as isolations. This article presents three arguments to that effect, against Uskali Mäki's account of models. First, while isolation proceeds through a process of manipulation and control, modelling typically does not proceed through such a process. Rather, modellers postulate assumptions, without seeking to justify them by reference to a process of isolation. Second, while isolation identifies an isolation base?a concrete environment it seeks to control and manipulate?modelling typically does not identify such a (...) base. Rather, modellers construct their models without reference to concrete environments, and only later seek to connect their models to concrete situations of the real world. Third, Mäki argues that isolation employs idealization to control for disturbing factors, but does not affect the factors or mechanisms that are supposed to be isolated. However, models typically make idealizing assumptions about the factors and mechanisms that are the focus of investigation. Thus, even the product of modelling often cannot be characterized as isolation. (shrink)
For Jari-Erik Nurmi, the practice of model-making in psychology is a complex process operating on different levels simultaneously. At first sight, his account seems to reflect Suppes' (1962) notion of a hierarchy of models: from low-level data models to high-level theoretical models, where at each level the model represents "structure" at a different degree of abstraction, and the levels are connected through structural isomorphism.1In this commentary, I want to complement and perhaps somewhat redirect Nurmi's analysis of his own modeling efforts—away (...) from the idea of an interconnected hierarchy of isomorphic structures, towards more autonomous roles of the models at different levels, each with its own .. (shrink)
This paper discusses the meaning of expressed preference statements. A holistic explanation of preferences is proposed: preference relations between propositions are explained by preference relations over worlds. Only those world-preferences function as explanans which are maximally similar to the actual world, and which are maximally similar to each other. The concept of similarity as intuitive is rejected, and is interpreted instead with reference to causal structure: 'closest to the actual world' is interpreted as compatible with the causal structure of the (...) actual world, and 'most similar to each other' as sharing the same causal background conditions. (shrink)
Game?theoretic models consist of a formal game structure and an informal model narrative or story. When game theory is employed to model economic situations, the stories play a central role in interpreting, constructing and solving game structures. We analyse the architecture of game theory and distinguish between game models and the theory proper. We present the different functions of the model narrative in the application of game models to economic situations. In particular, we show how model narratives support the choice (...) of solution concepts defined and provided by the theory proper. We further argue that the narrative's role in interpretation, construction and solution makes it a necessary part of a game model that is intended to be a model of an economic situation. We conclude that game theory is not a universal theory of rationality, but only offers tools to model specific situations at varying degrees and kinds of rationality. (shrink)
The value of a statistical life (VSL) is an important tool for cost?benefit analysis of regulatory policies that concern fatality risks. Its proponents claim that it measures people's risk preferences, and that VSL therefore is a tool of vicarious governance. This paper criticizes the revealed preference method for measuring VSL. It specifies three minimal conditions for vicarious governance: sensitivity, fairness and hypothetical compromise, and shows that the VSL measure, in its common application in policy formation and analysis, violates these conditions. (...) It therefore concludes that the revealed preference VSL measure, in its current form, is not a tool of vicarious governance. (shrink)
We construct a model of rational choice under risk with biased risk judgement. On its basis, we argue that sometimes, a regulator aiming at maximising social welfare should affect the environment in such a way that it becomes ‘less safe’ in common perception. More specifically, we introduce a bias into each agent’s choice of optimal risk levels: consequently, in certain environments, agents choose a behaviour that realises higher risks than intended. Individuals incur a welfare loss through this bias. We show (...) that by deteriorating the environment, the regulator can motivate individuals to choose behaviour that is less biased, and hence realises risk levels closer to what individuals intended. We formally investigate the conditions under which such a Beneficial Safety Decrease—i.e. a deteriorating intervention that has a positive welfare effect—exists. Finally, we discuss three applications of our model. (shrink)
Ever since game theory has become a dominant mode of investigation in economics, critics have pointed out that it is a formally strong but empirically weak, if not empty, practice.1 We argue against the empirical irrelevance of game theory by investigating the architecture of game theoretic explanations more closely. In particular, we study the role of game models, and ﬁnd that they assume the role of mediators as autonomous relaters of theory and phenomena. We further argue that stories play an (...) essential part in the mediating function of models: stories that recount the phenomena in such a way that it becomes compatible with the theoretical framework. Contrary to some claims, these stories are subject to evaluation by various criteria, some of which are criteria derived from intuitive judgment. These criteria provide the means to judge whether a model represents a phenomenon or not. Through good stories, phenomena can therefore be related to highly abstract models. Applied game theory, we conclude, has therefore empirical content by representing phenomena in an abstract fashion. (JEL B4,C7. Keywords: Economic methodology, Game theory.). (shrink)
This response to Reiss ?explanatory paradox? argues that some economic models might be true, and that many economic models are not intended for providing how-actually explanations, but rather how-possibly explanations. Therefore, two assumptions of Reiss? paradox are not true, and the paradox disappears.
In pretending therefore to explain the principles of human nature, we in effect propose a compleat system of the sciences, built on a foundation almost entirely new, and the only one upon which they can stand with any security.
In my previous paper, "Howard J. Van Till's 'robust formational economy principle' as a Critique of Intelligent Design Theory," I argued that Howard Van Till's Robust Formational Economy Principle (RFEP) does not have a firm theological basis, and cannot serve to pre-empt a consideration of the empirical arguments for intelligent design in nature. In his response, Van Till has simply reiterated his position, without engaging my arguments in any detail. So it is fair to conclude that my (...) original arguments against his RFEP still stand. (shrink)
This paper explores the educational significance of the critique of representationalism. As it includes the notion of non-representational knowledge, Rudolf Steiner’s epistemology is introduced and further linked to elements in Bergson and Deleuze. Humboldt’s idea of Menschenbildung as the central function of knowledge is brought in, since both Humboldt and Steiner emphasise knowledge as mediating the interplay between self and world, producing a deeper sense of reality. Such an education must respect the living nature of genuine concepts as well as (...) the aesthetic aspects of learning. After a note on the educational abuse of language in discursive closures, some traits of Steiner’s practical pedagogy are presented as possible practical implications. (shrink)