Many recent cognitive studies reveal that human cognition is inherently perceptual, sharing systems with perception at both the conceptual and the neural levels. This paper introduces Barsalou's theory of perceptual symbols and explores its implications for philosophy of science. If perceptual symbols lie in the heart of conceptual processing, the process of attribute selection during concept representation, which is critical for defining similarity and thus for comparing taxonomies, can no longer be determined solely by background beliefs. The analogous nature of (...) perceptual symbols and the spatial nature of intraconceptual relations impose new constraints on attribute selection. These constraints help people with different background beliefs select compatible attributes, which constitute a common "platform" for taxonomy comparison. (shrink)
This paper argues that the many and various conceptions of consciousness propounded by cognitive scientists and philosophers can all be understood as constituted with reference to four fundamental sorts of criterion: epistemic (concerned with kinds of consciousness), semantic (dealing with orders of consciousness), physiological (reflecting states of consciousness), and pragmatic (seeking to capture types of consciousness). The resulting four-fold taxonomy, intended to be exhaustive, suggests that all of the distinct varieties of consciousness currently encountered in cognitive neuroscience, the philosophy (...) of mind, clinical psychology, and other related fields ultimately refer to a unified natural process, analysed under four general aspects. The proposed taxonomy will, it is hoped, possess sufficient clarity to serve as a sound theoretical framework for further scientific studies, and to count as a significant step in the direction of a properly formulated unified concept of consciousness. (shrink)
Three recent, influential critiques (Stich 1978; Fodor 1981c; Block 1980) have argued that various tasks on the agenda for computational psychology put conflicting pressures on its theoretical constructs. Unless something is done, the inevitable result will be confusion or outright incoherence. Stich, Fodor, and Block present different versions of this worry and each proposes a different remedy. Stich wants the central notion of belief to be jettisoned if it cannot be shown to be sound. Fodor tries to reduce confusion in (...) computational psychology by dismissing some putative tasks as impossible. Block argues that the widespread faith in functionalism is just not warranted. I argue that all these critiques are misguided because they depend on holding cognitive psychology to taxonomic standards that other sciences routinely rise above. (shrink)
Amidst the many brain events evoked by a visual stimulus, which are specifically associated with conscious perception, and which merely reflect non-conscious processing? Several recent neuroimaging studies have contrasted conscious and non-conscious visual processing, but their results appear inconsistent. Some support a correlation of conscious perception with early occipital events, others with late parieto-frontal activity. Here we attempt to make sense of those dissenting results. On the basis of a minimal neuro-computational model, the global neuronal workspace hypothesis, we propose a (...)taxonomy which distinguishes between vigilance and access to conscious report, as well as between subliminal, preconscious and conscious processing. We suggest that these distinctions map onto different neural mechanisms, and that conscious perception is systematically associated with a sudden surge of parieto-frontal activity causing top-down amplification. (shrink)
When, if ever, can healthcare provider's lay claim to knowing what is best for their patients? In this paper, I offer a taxonomy of clinical disagreements. The taxonomy, I argue, reveals that healthcare providers often can lay claim to knowing what is best for their patients, but that oftentimes, they cannot do so *as* healthcare providers.
I argue that a virtue ethics takes virtue to be more basic than rightness and at least as basic as goodness. My account is Aristotelian because it avoids the excessive inclusivity of Martha Nussbaum's account and the deficient inclusivity of Gary Watson's account. I defend the account against the objection that Aristotle does not have a virtue ethics by its lights, and conclude with some remarks on moral taxonomy.
This paper considers two recent arguments that structure should not be regarded as the fundamental individuating property of proteins. By clarifying both what it might mean for certain properties to play a fundamental role in a classification scheme and the extent to which structure plays such a role in protein classification, I argue that both arguments are unsound. Because of its robustness, its importance in laboratory practice, and its explanatory centrality, primary structure should be regarded as the fundamental distinguishing characteristic (...) of protein taxonomy. (shrink)
Many types of part-whole relations have been proposed in the literature to aid the conceptual modeller to choose the most appropriate type, but many of those relations lack a formal specification to give clear and unambiguous semantics to them. To remedy this, a formal taxonomy of types of mereological and meronymic part-whole relations is presented that distinguishes between transitive and intransitive relations and the kind of entity types that are related. The demand to use it effectively brings afore new (...) requirements for automated reasoning over a hierarchy of relations. To ensure logically and ontologically correct inferencing over both the class and role hierarchy, the new reasoning service RBox compatibility for Description Logics reasoners is introduced. The proposed combination of formal semantics and the new reasoning service will improve the representation of the application domain when using part-whole relations in conceptual models and ontologies. (shrink)
Mary Winsor (2003) argues against the received view that pre-Darwinian taxonomy was characterized mainly by essentialism. She argues, instead, that the methods of pre-Darwinian taxonomists, in spite of whatever their beliefs, were that of clusterists, so that the received view, propagated mainly by certain modern biologists and philosophers of biology, should at last be put to rest as a myth. I argue that shes right when it comes to higher taxa, but wrong when it comes the most important category (...) of all, the species category. (shrink)
The question of whether biologists should continue to use the Linnaean hierarchy is a hotly debated issue. Invented before the introduction of evolutionary theory, Linnaeus's system of classifying organisms is based on outdated theoretical assumptions, and is thought to be unable to provide accurate biological classifications. Marc Ereshefsky argues that biologists should abandon the Linnaean system and adopt an alternative that is more in line with evolutionary theory. He traces the evolution of the Linnaean hierarchy from its introduction to the (...) present. He illustrates how the continued use of this system hampers our ability to classify the organic world, and then goes on to make specific recommendations for a post-Linnaean method of classification. Accessible to a wide range of readers by providing introductory chapters to the philosophy of classification and the taxonomy of biology, the book will interest both scholars and students of biology and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Ethical challenges that arise within healthcare delivery institutions are currently categorized as either clinical or organizational, based on the type of issue. Despite this common binary issue-based methodology, empirical study and increasing academic dialogue indicate that a clear line cannot easily be drawn between organizational and clinical ethics. Disagreement around end-of-life treatments, for example, often spawn value differences amongst parties at both organizational and clinical levels and requires a resolution to address both the case at hand and large-scale underlying system-level (...) confounders. I refer to issues that contain elements of both clinical and organizational issues as hybrids and propose a new taxonomy to characterize hybrid cases. I contend that salient contextual features of an ethical issue, such as where it is identified, who it impacts and where it is ideally resolved in relation to its scope of impact, should inform procedure. Implementation of a Hybrid taxonomy viewing ethical issues as existing on a continuum furthers that end. The primary goals are to 1) systematize thinking about ethical issues that arise within healthcare delivery institutions and 2) allow the content of the ethical challenge to drive the process, rather than continuing to rely on the traditional binary issue-based choice. Failure to capture the complexity of hybrid situations perpetuates incomplete information and ultimately an inchoate resolution that creates more questions than answers. (shrink)
Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered (...) within the context of the other due to the unmatchable taxonomic structures underlying them. So constructed, Kuhn's mature interpretation of incommensurability does not depend upon the notion of truth-preserving (un)translatability, but rather depends on the notion of truth-value-status-preserving cross-language communication. The reconstruction makes Kuhn's notion of incommensurability a well grounded, tenable and integrated notion. (shrink)
The presentation of analogical arguments in the critical thinking literature fails to reflect cognitive research on analogy. Part of the problem is that these treatments of analogy do not address counterarguments, an important aspect of the analysis of analogical argumentation. In this paper, I present a taxonomy of four counterarguments, false analogy, misanalogy, disanalogy, and counteranalogy, analyzed along two dimensions, orientation and effect. The counterarguments are treated in the framework of the multiconstraint theory of analogy (Holyoak and Thagard, 1995). (...) This framework is also extended to account for the evidence brought to light by the consideration of counterarguments. The result is a psychologically motivated treatment of analogical arguments that will be useful both for critical and pedagogical purposes. (shrink)
There has been a significant amount of uncertainty and controversy over the prospects for general knowledge in ecology. Environmental decision makers have begun to despair of ecology's capacity to provide anything more than case by case guidance for the shaping of environmental policy. Ecologists themselves have become suspicious of the pursuit of the kind of genuine nomothetic knowledge that appears to be the hallmark of other scientific domains. Finally, philosophers of biology have contributed to this retreat from generality by suggesting (...) that there really are no laws in biology. This paper addresses these issues by providing a framework for thinking about general knowledge claims in ecology. It introduces a philosophical taxonomy that classifies generalizations into three broad categories – phenomenological, causal and theoretical. It then turns to the difficult problem of laws, arguing that, while there are probably no laws as that term has been understood in philosophy of science, it doesn't follow that everything in ecology is equally contingent. A mechanism for recognizing degrees of contingency in ecological generalizations is developed. The paper concludes by examining the implications of the analysis for the controversies noted at the outset. (shrink)
We discuss the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on phylogenetic reconstruction and taxonomy. We review the power of HGT as a creative force in assembling new metabolic pathways, and we discuss the impact that HGT has on phylogenetic reconstruction. On one hand, shared derived characters are created through transferred genes that persist in the recipient lineage, either because they were adaptive in the recipient lineage or because they resulted in a functional replacement. On the other hand, taxonomic patterns (...) in microbial phylogenies might also be created through biased gene transfer. The agreement between different molecular phylogenies has encouraged interpretation of the consensus signal as reflecting organismal history or as the tree of cell divisions; however, to date the extent to which the consensus reflects shared organismal ancestry and to which it reflects highways of gene sharing and biased gene transfer remains an open question. Preferential patterns of gene exchange act as a homogenizing force in creating and maintaining microbial groups, generating taxonomic patterns that are indistinguishable to those created by shared ancestry. To understand the evolution of higher bacterial taxonomic units, concepts usually applied in population genetics need to be applied. (shrink)
Although naming biological clades is a major activity in taxonomy, little attention has been paid to what these names actually refer to. In philosophy, definite descriptions have long been considered equivalent to the meaning of names and biological taxonomy is a scientific application of these ideas. One problem with definite descriptions as the meanings of names is that the name will refer to whatever fits the description rather than the intended individual (clade). Recent proposals for explicit phylogenetic definitions (...) of clade names suffer from similar problems and we argue that clade names cannot be defined since they lack intension. Furthermore we stress the importance of tree-thinking for phylogenetic reference to work properly. (shrink)
Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné (1707–1778) became known during his lifetime as a "second Adam" because of his taxonomic endeavors. The significance of this epithet was that in Genesis Adam was reported to have named the beasts—an episode that was usually interpreted to mean that Adam possessed a scientific knowledge of nature and a perfect taxonomy. Linnaeus's soubriquet exemplifies the way in which the Genesis narratives of creation were used in the early modern period to give religious legitimacy to (...) scientific activities and to taxonomy in particular. Allusions to Adam's work in the Garden of Eden thus became a way of investing the vocation of the naturalist with religious significance. (shrink)
Two periods in the history of logic and philosophy are characterized notably by vivid interest in self-referential paradoxical sentences in general, and Liar sentences in particular: the later medieval period (roughly from the 12th to the 15th century) and the last 100 years. In this paper, I undertake a comparative taxonomy of these two traditions. I outline and discuss eight main approaches to Liar sentences in the medieval tradition, and compare them to the most influential modern approaches to such (...) sentences. I also emphasize the aspects of each tradition that find no counterpart in the other one. It is expected that such a comparison may point in new directions for future research on the paradoxes; indeed, the present analysis allows me to draw a few conclusions about the general nature of Liar sentences, and to identify aspects that would require further investigation. (shrink)
Multiple different understandings and uses exist of what granularity is and how to implement it, where the former influences success of the latter with regards to storing granular data and using granularity for reasoning over the data or information. We propose a taxonomy of types of granularity and discuss for each leaf type how the entities or instances relate within its granular level. Such unambiguous distinctions can guide a conceptual modeler to better distinguish between the types of granularity and (...) the software developer to improve on implementations of granularity. (shrink)
Much recent scholarly treatment of the theoretical and practical underpinnings of biological taxonomy from the 16 th to the 18 th centuries has failed to adequately consider the importance of the mode of generation of some living entity in the determination of its species membership, as well as in the determination of the ontological profile of the species itself. In this article, I show how a unique set of considerations was brought to bear in the classification of creatures whose (...) species membership was thought to be entirely determined by descent from parents of the same kind, in contrast with creatures whose generation could proceed spontaneously or through budding. Concretely, the relevance of mode of generation to the practice of taxonomy means that we must rethink the role of the early modern botanists in the development of a universal science of applied taxonomy. I argue that the task of classifying ‘higher’ biological kinds—those united, in Kant’s language, through their generative power—is one with its unique set of problems, arising as much from classical anthropology as from natural philosophy, and that the conception of zoological species that emerged in the early modern period was a consequence of these problems, and not primarily of the ‘applied metaphysics’ of classificatory practice. (shrink)
Benjamin S. Bloom and a large committee of educators did extensive research to develop a taxonomy of global educational goals and of ways to measure their achievement in the classroom. The result was a taxonomy of three domains: Cognitive, Affective, and Motor Skills. This paper examines the cognitive and affective domains and applies them to teaching business ethics. Each of the six levels of the cognitive domain is explained. A six-step case method model is used to illustrate how (...) the six cognitive levels might be used and tested in the classroom. The five levels of the affective domain are also described. They are illustrated behaviorally in terms of a student's increasing interest, motivation and commitment to business ethics. (shrink)
Since Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, the idea of descent with modification came to dominate systematics, and so the study of morphology became subgugated to the reconstruction of phylogenies. Reinstating the organism in the theory of evolution (Ho & Saunders, 1979; Webster & Goodwin, 1982) leads to a project inrational taxonomy (Ho, 1986, 1988a), which attempts to classify biological forms on the basis of transformations on a given dynamical structure.Does rational taxonomy correspond to thenatural system that (...) Linnaeus and his contemporaries as well as all pre-Darwinian morphologists had in mind? Here, we examine how rational taxonomy and the natural system can coincide in the dynamics of processes generating forms during development, which conferexclusivity, genericity androbustness to the forms that do exist. We use the example of segmentation, especially inDrosophila, as an illustration to explore the implications of rational taxonomy for evolution and systematics, and the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny. (shrink)
Overcoming our disciplinary aversion to assessment mechanisms allows more possibilities for students to achieve fundamental philosophical skills. My essay discusses the use of Bloom’s taxonomy in a Feminist Philosophy course with detailed examples that demonstrate its efficacy as a learning and assessment tool that is particularly suited to philosophy, as well as how critical philosophy in general, and feminist philosophy in particular, is an ideal subject to help students gain critical thinking skills.
Taxonomy Based modeling was applied to describe drivers’ mental models of variable message signs (VMS’s) displayed on expressways. Progress in road telematics has made it possible to introduce variable message signs (VMS’s). Sensors embedded in the carriageway every 500m record certain variables (speed, flow rate, etc.) that are transformed in real time into “driving times” to a given destination if road conditions do not change. VMS systems are auto-regulative Man-Machine (AMMI) systems which incorporate a model of the user: if (...) the traffic flow is too high, then drivers should choose alternative routes. In so doing, the traffic flow should decrease. The model of the user is based on suppositions such as: people do not like to waste time, they fully understand the displayed messages, they trust the displayed values, they know of alternative routes. However, people also have a model of the way the system functions. And if they do not believe the contents of the message, they will not act as expected. (shrink)
This paper introduces current acoustic theories relating to the phenomenology of sound as a framework for interrogating concepts relating to the ecologies of acoustic and landscape phenomena in a Japanese stroll garden. By applying the technique of Formal Concept Analysis, a partially ordered lattice of garden objects and attributes is visualized as a means to investigate the relationship between elements of the taxonomy.
The word ``deme'' was coined by the botanists J.S.L. Gilmour and J.W.Gregor in 1939, following the pattern of J.S. Huxley's ``cline''. Its purposewas not only to rationalize the plethora of terms describing chromosomaland genetic variation, but also to reduce hostility between traditionaltaxonomists and researchers on evolution, who sometimes scorned eachother's understanding of species. A multi-layered system of compoundterms based on deme was published by Gilmour and J. Heslop-Harrison in1954 but not widely used. Deme was adopted with a modified meaning byzoologists (...) leading the evolutionary synthesis – Huxley, Simpson, Wright,and Mayr. Connections are shown between Gilmour's ideas around definingthe deme, his role in founding the Systematics Association, and his chapter``Taxonomy and Philosophy'' in the book The New Systematics. Thishistorical episode raises questions about the role of carefully-definedwords in scientific practice. (shrink)
Even as philosophers increasingly apply their analytical acumen to other subjects of intellectual study, technology is one area relegated to the sidelines. To help dispel such prejudice, this exercise in applied ontology explains why technology invites critical examination, enumerates the generic needs and perceived wants that it fulfills, and then supplies a taxonomy of technological devices individuated in terms of the functional roles that their designers or consumers intend for them. In light of the classificatory scheme developed, I conclude (...) that everything in space and time may be used to realize technological goals, necessitating a more inclusive understanding of technology and thereby a heightened awareness of its pervasive character. (shrink)
Page is to be congratulated for challenging some misconceptions about neural representation. However, his target article, and the commentaries to it, highlight that the terms “local” and “distributed” are open to misinterpretation. These terms provide a poor description of neural coding strategies and a better taxonomy might resolve some of the issues.
A reading of a sample of taxonomical papers leads to the conclusion that new species identification is both taxonomically plausible and philosophically incoherent. As a result, taxonomy becomes a science that apparently violates a necessary condition of its rationality. It is this apparent violation that is the focus of the philosophical debate, a debate whose goal for taxonomy is theoretical coherence at a global level. In this paper, I assess the appropriateness of this goal.
We provide a full characterization of computational error states for information systems. The class of errors considered is general enough to include human rational processes, logical reasoning, scientific progress and data processing in some functional programming languages. The aim is to reach a full taxonomy of error states by analysing the recovery and processing of data. We conclude by presenting machine-readable checking and resolve algorithms.
Atran proposes that humans have a unique, innate, domain-specific tendency to create taxonomies of biological kinds. We show that: (1) in ontogenesis, children develop a notion Atran claims to be innate; (2) what Atran claims is unique to biological kinds may be found in artifact kinds; and (3) although Atran proposes a domain-specific mental construct for biological rank, it can be explained in domain- general terms.
This is just a beginning categorization. I claim no 'objective correctness' for it. And of course the categories can be fluid, and the same joke can be a member of more than one category (and perhaps it will be funnier if it is). But thinking about the jokes which I can recall from the Humour Weekend, most seem to fall squarely into one or another category, indicating that perhaps this is a useful way of dividing jokes. It seems to me (...) that the "causes of humour" in all 4 classes are different, coming from different parts of the brain. (shrink)
Homeostatic Property Cluster (HPC) theory suggests that species and other biological taxa consist of organisms that share certain similarities. HPC theory acknowledges the existence of Darwinian variation within biological taxa. The claim is that “homeostatic mechanisms” acting on the members of such taxa nonetheless ensure a significant cluster of similarities. The HPC theorist’s focus on individual similarities is inadequate to account for stable polymorphism within taxa, and fails properly to capture their historical nature. A better approach is to treat distributions (...) of traits in species populations as irreducible facts, explained in terms of selection pressures, genealogy, and other evolutionary factors. We call this view Population Structure Theory (PST). PST accommodates the view, implicit in biological systematics, that species are identified by reference to particular historical populations. (shrink)
The current widespread belief that taxonomic methods used before Darwin were essentialist is ill-founded. The essentialist method developed by followers of Plato and Aristotle required definitions to state properties that are always present. Polythetic groups do not obey that requirement, whatever may have been the ontological beliefs of the taxonomist recognizing such groups. Two distinct methods of forming higher taxa, by chaining and by examplar, were widely used in the period between Linnaeus and Darwin, and both generated polythetic groups. Philosopher (...) William Whewell congratulated pre-Darwinian taxonomists for not adhering to the rigid ideal of definition used in the mathematical sciences. What he called the method of types is here called the method of exemplars because typology has been equated with essentialism, whereas the use of a type species as the reference point or prototype for a higher category was a practice inconsistent with essentialism. The story that the essentialism of philosophers dominated the development of systematics may prove to be a myth. (shrink)
Abstract: Each affective state has distinct motor-expressions, sensory perceptions, autonomic, and cognitive patterns. Panksepp (1998) proposed seven neural affective systems of which the SEEKING system, a generalized approach-seeking system, motivates organisms to pursue resources needed for survival. When an organism is presented with a novel stimulus, the dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS) is released. The DA circuit outlines the generalized mesolimbic dopamine-centered SEEKING system and is especially responsive when there is an element of unpredictability in forthcoming rewards. (...) We propose that when the outcome of this interaction is unexpected or unanticipated then Panksepp’s “cognitive or expectancy reset” mechanism involving the cognitive dissonance would yield the subjective emotion of surprise. In order to appropriately react to the environment’s stimuli one needs fundamental processes that would enable one to distinguish between what is novel and what has been already experienced, as well as the different degrees of novelty. Novel events are those whose essential features of the representation (visceral and perceptual) are altered and being discrepant provoke more sustained attention. Novelty arises from salient and arousing events and the organism experiences surprise, as coming out of a habitual state. In this framework, we shall look at established theories of emotions and propose a different approach to their taxonomy. (shrink)
The paper criticizes standard functionalist arguments for multiple realization. It focuses on arguments in which psychological states are conceived as computational, which is precisely where the multiple realization doctrine has seemed the strongest. It is argued that a type-type identity thesis between computational states and physical states is no less plausible than a multiple realization thesis. The paper also presents, more tentatively, positive arguments for a picture of local reduction.
What Is Biodiversity? is a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued. Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and (...) Sterelny also explore the case for the conservation of these biodiversities using option value theory, a tool borrowed from economics. (shrink)
A set of parameters for classifying composition operations is introduced. These parameters determine whether a composition operation is 1) universal, 2) determinate, 3) whether there is a difference between possible and actual compositions, 4) whether there can be singleton compositions, 5) whether they give rise to a hierarchy, and 6) whether components of compositions can be repeated. Philosophical implications of these parameters (in particular in relation to set theory) and mereology are discussed.
Community diversity has been studied extensively in relation to its effects on ecosystem functioning. Testing the consequences of diversity on ecosystem processes will require measures to be available based on a rigorous conceptualization of their very meaning. In the last decades, literally dozens of measures of diversity have been proposed. However, rather than using unrelated metrics, we need to identify their separate components so that possible links between them and ecosystem functioning can be examined using an agreed-upon language. In this (...) paper, first, a short overview on new and old measures of community diversity is presented. Next, I propose a general framework in which most of the existing measures of diversity are sorted into four interrelated semantic classes: richness, abundance-weighted diversity, evenness and divergence. In this view, this paper constitutes an attempt to organize the very large number of existing diversity measures avoiding ambiguities in the meaning of the different facets of community diversity. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for three theses. First, most philosophical analyses of the problem of normative conflict, being based on the impossibility-of-joint-compliance test for conflict, are inadequate. Second, expanding on suggestions made by H. L. A. Hart and Stephen Munzer, I develop an understanding of normative conflict which is not tied to the concept of obedience. Such an understanding of normative conflict is expressly functional: normative (...) conflicts arise when one norm interferes with the intended functioning of another. Third, working from a functional concept of normative conflict, I develop a taxonomical classification scheme for the phenomenon of normative conflict. Normative conflict is the genus within which there are three species: normative contradiction, normative collision, and normative competition. Department of Philosophy, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, U.S.A. (shrink)
The vast majority of biological taxonomists use the Linnaean system when constructing classifications. Taxa are assigned Linnaean ranks and taxon names are devised according to the Linnaean rules of nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Linnaean system has become theoretically outdated. Moreover, its continued use causes a number of practical problems. This paper begins by sketching the ontological and practical problems facing the Linnaean system. Those problems are sufficiently pressing that alternative systems of classification should be investigated. A number of proposals for an (...) alternative system are introduced and evaluated. The best aspects of those proposals are brought together to form a post-Linnaean system, and a comparison of the Linnaean and post-Linnaean systems is conducted. The final section of this paper considers not only the theoretical reasons for replacing the Linnaean system, but also the practical feasibility of adopting an alternative system. (shrink)
Sunstein advocates a more systematic approach to the study of moral decision-making, namely the heuristics-and-biases paradigm. We offer two concerns and suggest that a focus on decision processes can add value. Recent research on decision modes suggest that it is useful to distinguish between the qualitative differences in the ways in which moral decisions can be made when they are not made by reflective, consequentialist reasoning.
Several authors have argued for taxonomic pluralism in biology -the position that there is a plurality of equally legitimate classifications of the organic world. Others have objected that such pluralism boils down to a position of anything goes. This paper offers a response to the anything goes objection by showing how one can be a discerning pluralist. In particular, methodological standards for choosing taxonomic projects are derived using Laudan's normative naturalism. This paper also sheds light on why taxonomic pluralism (...) occurs in biology as well as illustrates the usefulness of normative naturalism. (shrink)
Among biological kinds, the most important are species. But species, however defined, have vague boundaries, both synchronically owing to hybridization and ongoing speciation, and diachronically owing to genetic drift and genealogical continuity despite speciation. It is argued that the solution to the problems of species and their vague boundaries is to adopt a thoroughgoing nominalism in regard to all biological taxa, from species to domains. The base entities are individual organisms: populations of these compose species and higher taxa. This accommodates (...) all the important biological facts while avoiding the legacy problems of pre-evolutionary typological taxonomy, which saw species and other taxa as prior to their members. Species are however not individuals: they are spatiotemporally bounded collections, which are plural particulars. (shrink)
This paper analyses the traditionally recognized dependence between observation statements and theories. The analysis proceeds by working out the interrelationship between classification systems and theoretical frameworks. Cuvier's and Darwin's theories are used as examples to illustrate this issue. The second part of the paper develops a model designed to give an account of the historical development of this interrelationship. It is argued that the interdependence is not circular and that it is an integral part of scientific research. It is suggested (...) that an interdependence of the type reflected in the model can be helpful in evaluating research programmes in the history of all the sciences. (shrink)
In the biomedical field, calls for the generation of new regulations or for the amendment of existing regulations often follow the emergence of apparently new research practices (such as embryonic stem cell research), clinical practices (such as facial transplantation) and entities (such as Avian Influenza/’Bird Flu’). Calls for regulatory responses also arise as a result of controversies which bring to light longstanding practices, such as the call for increased regulation of human tissue collections that followed the discovery of unauthorised post-mortem (...) organ retention. Whilst it seems obvious that new regulations should only be generated if existing regulations are inadequate (a practice referred to in this paper as ‘regulatory syncretism’), this does not always occur in practice. This paper examines the conceptual steps involved in generating regulatory responses to emerging phenomena. Two decision points are identified. First, a stance is taken as to whether the emerging phenomenon raises unique ethical or legal issues (exceptionalism versus non-exceptionalism). Second, the decision is made as to whether new regulation should be generated only for truly unique phenomena (syncretism versus asyncretism). It is argued here that it is important to make a careful assessment of novelty, followed by a reflective and deliberate choice of regulatory syncretism or asyncretism, since each type of regulatory response has advantages which need to be harnessed and disadvantages which need to be managed—something that can only occur if regulators are attentive to the choices they are making. (shrink)
Uncertainty is pervasive in ecology where the difﬁculties of dealing with sources of uncertainty are exacerbated by variation in the system itself. Attempts at classifying uncertainty in ecology have, for the most part, focused exclusively on epistemic uncertainty. In this paper we classify uncertainty into two main categories: epistemic uncertainty (uncertainty in determinate facts) and linguistic uncertainty (uncertainty in language). We provide a classiﬁcation of sources of uncertainty under the two main categories and demonstrate how each impacts on applications in (...) ecology and conservation biology. In particular, we demonstrate the importance of recognizing the effect of linguistic uncertainty, in addition to epistemic uncertainty, in ecological applications. The signiﬁcance to ecology and conservation biology of developing a clear understanding of the various types of uncertainty, how they arise and how they might best be dealt with is highlighted. Finally, we discuss the various general strategies for dealing with each type of uncertainty and offer suggestions for treating compounding uncertainty from a range of sources. (shrink)
Abstract This paper seeks to place a neglected dimension of John Dewey's work into its proper context??and in so doing define four domains of moral education. An examination of the influence of F. Matthias Alexander on Dewey reveals that these writers clearly anticipated the research and ideas which Daniel Goleman has recently sought to popularise in his book Emotional Intelligence.Among Goleman's conclusions is the recommendation that the education of moral character needs to consciously address the development of ?emotional habits? and (...) foster ?emotional literacy?. An examination of the contributions of Dewey, Alexander and Goleman points toward an internal as well as an external domain of moral education and development: each of which may be approached directly or indirectly. Consequently, a truly comprehensive model of moral education must address each of these four domains:Direct External, Indirect External, Direct Internal and Indirect Internal. (shrink)
Biological evolution allegedly requires a genealogical conception of species (i.e., that species are descent-based "historical entities" rather than similarity-based "natural kinds"). After considering David Hull's arguments for this view, this paper opts instead for individuating species primarily via genetic similarities, but in a way which avoids charges of "Essentialism". It is suggested that a genealogical conception of species actually derives from a biological version of Behaviorism plus an interrelated pair of confusions regarding evolution and identity. Current taxonomic method may favor (...) the genealogical conception, but evolutionary theory-- as well as genetics and molecular biology--count against it. (shrink)
In this paper we propose a formal theory of partitions (ways of dividing up or sorting or mapping reality) and we show how the theory can be applied in the geospatial domain. We characterize partitions at two levels: as systems of cells (theory A), and in terms of their projective relation to reality (theory B). We lay down conditions of well-formedness for partitions and we define what it means for partitions to project truly onto reality. We continue by classifying well-formed (...) partitions along three axes: (a) degree of correspondence between partition cells and objects in reality; (b) degree to which a partition represents the mereological structure of the domain it is projected onto; and (c) degree of completeness and exhaustiveness with which a partition represents reality. This classification is used to characterize three types of partitions that play an important role in spatial information science: cadastral partitions, categorical coverages, and the partitions involved in folk categorizations of the geospatial domain. (shrink)