_Nature and Normativity _argues that the problem of the place of norms in nature has been essentially misunderstood when it has been articulated in terms of the relation of human language and thought, on the one hand, and the world described by physics on the other. Rather, if we concentrate on the facts that speaking and thinking are activities of organic agents, then the problem of the place of the normative in nature becomes refocused on three related questions. First, is (...) there a sense in which biological processes and the behavior of organisms can be legitimately subject to normative evaluation? Second, is there some sense in which, in addition to having ordinary causal explanations, organic phenomena can also legitimately be seen to happen _because_ they _should_ happen in that way, in some naturalistically comprehensible sense of ‘should’, or that organic phenomena happen _in order to_ achieve some result, because that result should occur? And third, is it possible to naturalistically understand how human thought and language can be legitimately seen as the normatively evaluable behavior of a particular species of organism, behavior that occurs in order to satisfy some class of norms? This book develops, articulates, and defends positive answers to each of these questions. (shrink)
It has frequently been argued that there must be a necessary and important difference between the methods of the natural and social sciences, or that an empirical method in social science must be supplemented by or is inferior to an interpretative method. Often these claims have been supported by arguments using premises derived from the early Heidegger or the late Wittgenstein. These arguments, in turn, tend either to be transcendental in form or to follow a hermeneutic argument strategy. This paper (...) argues that neither of these types of argument, based on Heideggerian or Wittgensteinian premises, can be used successfully to show an important or essential difference between natural and social science. It does this by examining arguments proposed by Peter Winch and Hubert Dreyfus, showing how they are fallacious and misconstrue the import of the premises upon which they are based, and generalizing these objections to the transcendental and hermeneutic styles of argument in this field as such. The paper concludes with a consideration of Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, which reaches conclusions in this area which are similar to those of this paper but which, it is argued, misconstrues the character of its own argument. (shrink)
Recently there has been a revival of philosophic interest in, and discussion of, ‘relativism’. Debates concerning relativism, however, tend to have an odd air of unreality. It is odd that while most everyone wants to refute relativism, just about no one wants to be identified as a relativist. There is even a tendency to use ‘relativist’ as an epithet of abuse. But, if relativism is universally acknowledged to be refuted, even self-refuting, then why is there so much discussion of it, (...) and why is there such a temptation to accuse opponents of this sin? The answer to this question which I wish to propose in this paper is that there are two sources for this situation. First, the fact that while no one sees themselves as relativists, many are seen as relativists suggests that there is a fair amount of current confusion in regard to what precisely ‘relativism’ is. Whenever there is a high degree of disagreement about the extension of a term, especially a term used to describe a philosophical position, it is reasonable to investigate whether there is some equivocation in the use of that term. Such an equivocation by itself, however, would not account for the present state of affairs. That ‘relativism’ is only applied to opponents suggests that there is some similarity between ‘relativist* positions, in at least some senses of that word, and some other positions that people are interested in defending. (shrink)
In a recent article Richard Rorty has attempted to juxtapose Heidegger and Dewey. While finding significant points of agreement between the two, and by implication praising much of Heidegger’s work, Rorty also suggests a series of criticisms of Heidegger. The problems which Rorty finds with Heidegger can, I think, all be reduced to one basic criticism, which has two main sides. In Rorty’s view Heidegger can not really differentiate between Being and beings in the way that he wants, and thus (...) can give no sense to the word ‘Being’ other than the old metaphysical one. That is, Being and the ontological difference are metaphysical remnants, the last evaporating presence of the Platonic distinction of the real world and the apparent world. This is indicated in two ways. First, Rorty feels that Heidegger can make no real distinction between philosophy, which they both agree has ended, and ‘thinking’ in the specifically Heideggerian sense. Second, Rorty claims that it is impossible to distinguish ontic from ontological becoming. That is, the various epochs of Being which Heidegger distinguishes are, for Rorty, parasitic upon and reducible to the ordinary history of man’s activity in relation to things, material and social. As such, Heidegger’s account of ontological epochs is a species of idealistic reflection upon the history of man’s activity upon things. (shrink)
While avoiding relativism, Rorty claims that: (1) truth is just for a time and a place; (2) ?truth? and ?rationality? are indexed to a community's standards of warranted assertibility; and (3) there is nothing more to be said about truth and rationality than is contained, in a community's procedures for evaluating claims. He makes these assertions because he believes that the cautionary uses of ?true? and ?rational? crucially depend upon the endorsing uses of these terms. I argue that Rorty is (...) wrong in this belief and that the principle of charity assures us that in their cautionary uses ?true? and ?rational? are independent of any idiosyncracies associated with any community's current standards of justification. (shrink)
_Rational Animals: The Teleological Roots of Intentionality_ offers an original account of the intentionality of human mental states, such as beliefs and desires. The account of intentionality in _Rational Animals_ is broadly biological in its basis, emphasizing the continuity between human intentionality and the levels of intentionality that should be attributed to animal actions and states. Establishing the goal-directed character of animal behavior, Mark Okrent argues that instrumentally rational action is a species of goal-directed behavior that is idiosyncratic to (...) individual agents and is distinguished by its novelty and flexibility. He also argues that some nonlinguistic animals are capable of instrumental rationality and that in the first instance, the contents of beliefs and desires are individuated by the explanatory role of those states in rationally accounting for such instrumentally rational behavior. The account of instrumental rationality offered in Rational Animals allows for understanding the practical rationality of linguistically competent human beings as a distinctive capacity of social animals capable of undertaking roles governed by socially sanctioned norms. Rational Animals will be of interest to cognitive scientists, philosophers of mind, philosophers of biology, philosophers of action, ethologists, and those interested in the debates concerning animal intelligence. (shrink)
In the preface of this book, Loscerbo states that "the work has no pretense to 'criticize' in the sense of 'refuting'--which task we leave to those more able". In fact, Loscerbo makes little attempt either to criticize or evaluate critically Heidegger's work on technology. Rather, the book gives us a general reading of Heidegger's thought as a whole which focuses loosely on the question concerning the essence of technology. Loscerbo organizes his interpretation of Heidegger according to two principles, one microscopic, (...) the other macroscopic. Microscopically the book is a series of elucidative essays, each of which concentrates almost exclusively on a single Heideggerian text. It is one of the virtues of this book that the range of texts considered is quite broad, and many of the texts discussed relate only tangentially to technology. On the other hand, this series of interpretive essays is arranged according to a three-fold division. The first part of the book consists of an examination of the historical origins of modern technology, the second part attempts a "metaphysical" exposition of the Being of beings in the modern, technological world, and the third part considers technology "out of Being as its own self- sending, which expression means as much as Being as 'die Lichtung des Sichverbergenden'". In practice, this division amounts to a section which considers a group of Heideggerian texts which focus on the history of philosophy, or the history of Being, a section which focuses directly on Heidegger's work specifically concerning technology, and a section which deals with Heideggerian texts which concentrate on the "truth-untruth" structure of Being. For the real subject of this book is neither Being nor technology, but rather, primarily, Heidegger's thought concerning Being, and secondarily, his thought concerning technology. (shrink)
Genomic research results and incidental findings with health implications for a research participant are of potential interest not only to the participant, but also to the participant's family. Yet investigators lack guidance on return of results to relatives, including after the participant's death. In this paper, a national working group offers consensus analysis and recommendations, including an ethical framework to guide investigators in managing this challenging issue, before and after the participant's death.
It is unclear whether the regulatory distinction between non-identifiable and identifiable information—information used to determine informed consent practices for the use of clinically derived samples for genetic research—is meaningful to patients. The objective of this study was to examine patients' attitudes and preferences regarding use of anonymous and identifiable clinical samples for genetic research. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,193 patients recruited from general medicine, thoracic surgery, or medical oncology clinics at five United States academic medical centers. Wanting to know (...) about research being done was important to 72% of patients when samples would be anonymous and to 81% of patients when samples would be identifiable. Only 17% wanted to know about the identifiable scenario but not the anonymous scenario. Curiosity-based reasons were the most common among patients who wanted to know about anonymous samples. Of patients wanting to know about either scenario, approximately 57% would require researchers to seek permission, whereas 43% would be satisfied with notification only. Patients were more likely to support permission in the anonymous scenario if they had more education, were Black, less religious, in better health, more private, and less trusting of researchers. The sample, although not representative of the general population, does represent patients at academic medical centers whose clinical samples may be used for genetic research. Few patients expressed preferences consistent with the regulatory distinction between non-identifiable and identifiable information. Data from this study should cause policy-makers to question whether this distinction is useful in relation to research with previously collected clinically derived samples. (shrink)
In addition to considering sociocultural, political, economic, and ethical factors, effectively engaging socioscientific issues requires that students understand and apply scientific explanations and the nature of science. Promoting such understandings can be achieved through immersing students in authentic real-world contexts where the SSI impacts occur and teaching those students about how scientists comprehend, research, and debate those SSI. This triangulated mixed-methods investigation explored how 60 secondary students’ trophic cascade explanations changed through their experiencing place-based SSI instruction focused on the Yellowstone (...) wolf reintroduction, including scientists’ work and debates regarding that issue. Furthermore, this investigation determined the association between the students’ post place-based SSI instruction trophic cascade explanations and NOS views. Findings from this investigation demonstrate that through the place-based SSI instruction students’ trophic cascade explanations became significantly more accurate and complex and included more ecological causal mechanisms. Also, significant and moderate to moderately large correlations were found between the accuracy and contextualization of students’ post place-based SSI instruction NOS views and the complexity of their trophic cascade explanations. Empirical substantiation of the association between the complexity of students’ scientific explanations and their NOS views responds to an understudied area in the science education research. It also encourages the consideration of several implications, drawn from this investigation’s findings and others’ prior work, which include the need for NOS to be forefront alongside and in connection with science content in curricular standards and through instruction focused on relevant and authentic place-based SSI. (shrink)
We applaud Dienes & Perner's efforts while raising some concerns regarding their assimilation of diverse data into a unifying framework. Some of the findings need not fit the framework they suggest. It is also not always clear what, above logico-semantic consistency, assimilation adds to the data that do fit their framework. These concerns are highlighted with reference to their arguments regarding the developmental data and the neuropsychological data, respectively.