Introduction to the Special Volume, “Method, Science and Mathematics: Neo-Kantianism and Analytic Philosophy,” edited by Scott Edgar and Lydia Patton. At its core, analytic philosophy concerns urgent questions about philosophy’s relation to the formal and empirical sciences, questions about philosophy’s relation to psychology and the social sciences, and ultimately questions about philosophy’s place in a broader cultural landscape. This picture of analytic philosophy shapes this collection’s focus on the history of the philosophy of mathematics, physics, and psychology. The following (...) essays uncover, reflect on, and exemplify modes of philosophy that are engaged with these allied disciplines. They make the case that, to the extent that analytic philosophers are still concerned with philosophy’s ties to these disciplines, we would do well to pay attention to neo-Kantian views on those ties. (shrink)
This comprehensive introduction to the thought of Jurgen Habermas covers the full range of his ideas from his early work on student politics to his recent work on communicative action, ethics and law. Andrew Edgar examines Habermas' key texts in chronological order, revealing the developments, shifts and turns in Habermas' thinking as he refines his basic insights and incorporates new sources and ideas. Some of the themes discussed include Habermas' early reshaping of Marxist theory and practice, his characterization of (...) critical theory, his conception of universal pragmatics, his theories of communicative action and discourse ethics, and his defence of the project of modernity. Edgar offers much more than a schematic run through of Habermas' big ideas. He deals in detail with Habermas' arguments in order to demonstrate how he weaves together multiple strands of thought, and he usefully situates Habermas' ideas within the contexts of the history of German philosophy, the history of sociology, and within contemporary debates in both continental and analytic philosophy. By engaging with some of Habermas' key critics and contrasting his views with the ideas of contemporaries, Edgar is able to give a clear sense of Habermas' place and importance in contemporary philosophy and social theory. (shrink)
The European birth of modern science: an exercise in macro and comparative history Content Type Journal Article Category Essay Review Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9645-6 Authors John A. Schuster, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science and Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
There is growing interest in clinical ethics. However, we still have sparse knowledge about what is actually going on in the everyday practice of clinical ethics consultations. This paper introduces a descriptive evaluation tool to present, discuss and compare how clinical ethics case consultations are actually carried out. The tool does not aim to define ‘best practice’. Rather, it facilitates concrete comparisons and evaluative discussions of the role, function, procedures and ideals inherent in clinical ethics case consultation practices. The tool (...) was developed during meetings of the European Clinical Ethics Network. Based on written reports and participation in the network meetings, the development and the content of the tool and the results of its application in presenting and discussing 10 case consultations are summarized. The tool facilitated understanding of the details of clinical ethics case consultations across individuals and institutions with various experiences and cultures, and comparison between various practices. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that developments in transhumanist technologies may have upon human cultures, and to do so by exploring a potential debate between Habermas and the transhumanists. Transhumanists, such as Nick Bostrom, typically see the potential in genetic and other technologies for positively expanding and transcending human nature. In contrast, Habermas is a representative of those who are fearful of this technology, suggesting that it will compound the deleterious effects of the colonisation of (...) the lifeworld, further constraining human autonomy and undermining the meaningfulness of the lifeworld by expanding the technological control and manipulation of humanity. It will be argued that these opposed positions are grounded in fundamentally different understandings of the consequences of scientific and technological advance. On one level, the transhumanists remain confident that the lifeworld has within it the resources necessary to find meaning and purpose in a society deeply infused by genetic technology. Habermas disagrees. On another level, the difference is articulated by Horkheimer and Adorno in Dialectic of Enlightenment, primarily by challenging what may be understood as a Baconian faith in science as a project for the domination of nature. While the transhumanists broadly embrace this faith, Habermas returns to something akin to Horkheimer and Adorno’s pessimistic scepticism. (shrink)
This paper considers George A. Reisch’s account of the role of Cold War political forces in shaping the apolitical stance that came to dominate philosophy of science in the late 1940s and 1950s. It argues that at least as early as the 1930s, Logical Empiricists such as Rudolf Carnap already held that philosophy of science could not properly have political aims, and further suggests that political forces alone cannot explain this view’s rise to dominance during the Cold War, since political (...) forces cannot explain why a philosophy of science with liberal democratic, anti-communist aims did not flourish. The paper then argues that if professionalization is understood in the right way, it might point toward an explanation of the apolitical stance of Cold War philosophy of science. (shrink)
Uniform sequential continuity, a property classically equivalent to sequential continuity on compact sets, is shown, constructively, to be a consequence of strong continuity on a metric space. It is then shown that in the case of a separable metric space, uniform sequential continuity implies strong continuity if and only if one adopts a certain boundedness principle that, although valid in the classical, recursive and intuitionistic setting, is independent of Heyting arithmetic.
On one conception of "best interest" there can only be one course of action in a given situation that is in a person's best interest. In this paper we will first consider what theories of "best interest" and rational decision-making that can lead to this conclusion and explore some of the less commonly appreciated implications of these theories. We will then move on to consider what ethical theories that are compatible with such a view and explore their implications. In the (...) second part of the paper we will explore a range of possible criticisms of these views. And in the third part we will criticise the view that a court is always or even often in a good position to decide what the patient's best interest is. In the fourth and final part we will put forward a reconstructive proposal aimed at saving whatever is sound in the "best interest" conception. (shrink)
The Dedekind cuts in an ordered set form a set in the sense of constructive Zermelo—Fraenkel set theory. We deduce this statement from the principle of refinement, which we distill before from the axiom of fullness. Together with exponentiation, refinement is equivalent to fullness. None of the defining properties of an ordering is needed, and only refinement for two—element coverings is used. In particular, the Dedekind reals form a set; whence we have also refined an earlier result by Aczel and (...) Rathjen, who invoked the full form of fullness. To further generalise this, we look at Richman's method to complete an arbitrary metric space without sequences, which he designed to avoid countable choice. The completion of a separable metric space turns out to be a set even if the original space is a proper class; in particular, every complete separable metric space automatically is a set. (shrink)
Professionalism is initially understood as a historical process, through which certain commercial services sought to improve their social status (and economic reward) by separating themselves from mere crafts or trades. This process may be traced clearly with the aspiration of British portrait painters (headed by Sir Joshua Reynolds), in the eighteenth century, to acquire a social status akin to that of already established professionals, such as clerics and doctors. This may be understood, to a significant degree, as a process of (...) gentrification. The values of the professional thereby lie as much in the etiquette and other social skills with which they deal with their clients, than with any distinctive form of skill or value. Professionalisation as gentrification seemingly says little about the nature of modern professionalism. However, if this process is also construed as one in which the goals and achievements of the profession come to be subject to radical reflection, then something significant about professional values emerges. On this account, the profession is distinguished from craft or trade on the grounds that the goals of the profession, and the effectiveness of any attempt to realise them, are not transparent to the client. While a lay person will typically have the competence necessary to judge whether or not a craft worker has achieved their goal, that person will not necessarily be able to recognise the values that determine the success of a medical operation. It will be concluded that the values of a profession are articulated intrinsically to the profession, in terms of the contested understanding that the professionals themselves have of the meaning of the profession and the narratives within which its history is to be told. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to provide a normative model for the assessment of the exercise of power by Big Pharma. By drawing on the work of Steven Lukes, it will be argued that while Big Pharma is overtly highly regulated, so that its power is indeed restricted in the interests of patients and the general public, the industry is still able to exercise what Lukes describes as a third dimension of power. This entails concealing the conflicts of interest (...) and grievances that Big Pharma may have with the health care system, physicians and patients, crucially through rhetorical engagements with Patient Advocacy Groups that seek to shape public opinion, and also by marginalising certain groups, excluding them from debates over health care resource allocation. Three issues will be examined: the construction of a conception of the patient as expert patient or consumer; the phenomenon of disease mongering; the suppression or distortion of debates over resource allocation. (shrink)
It is folklore that if a continuous function on a complete metric space has approximate roots and in a uniform manner at most one root, then it actually has a root, which of course is uniquely determined. Also in Bishop's constructive mathematics with countable choice, the general setting of the present note, there is a simple method to validate this heuristic principle. The unique solution even becomes a continuous function in the parameters by a mild modification of the uniqueness hypothesis. (...) Moreover, Brouwer's fan theorem for decidable bars turns out to be equivalent to the statement that, for uniformly continuous functions on a compact metric space, the crucial uniform “at most one” condition follows from its non-uniform counterpart. This classification in the spirit of the constructive reverse mathematics, as propagated by Ishihara and others, sharpens an earlier result obtained jointly with Berger and Bridges. (shrink)
I respond to Lennart Nordenfelt's analysis of dignity by questioning his attempt to establish an objective standard by which dignity can be determined. I approach this by considering the way in which claims to dignity may be contested and defended. This leads, in the cases of dignity of merit and dignity of moral status, to an apparent relativism. This relativism is checked by further consideration of dignity of identity, and in particular by consideration of the nature of the processes that (...) serve to humiliate people. It is suggested that acts of humiliation attack certain competences that human beings develop as embodied, social beings. Menschenwürde may then be articulated as an account of human nature, in terms of the human potential to develop a series of core competences. This account of human nature aspires to universality, and as such offers an objective ground to dignity. This paper is a product of the research project on Dignity and Older Europeans Programme, Contract No QLG6, 2001, 00888). (shrink)
The success of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) worldwide has led to an accumulation of frozen embryos that are surplus to the reproductive needs of those for whom they were created. In these situations, couples must decide whether to discard them or donate them for scientific research or for use by other infertile couples. While legislation and regulation may limit the decisions that couples make, their decisions are often shaped by their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, health professionals, scientists and policy-makers are often (...) unaware of the way in which faith traditions view ART and decisions concerning the ‘fate’ of surplus embryos. In this paper scholars representing six major religious traditions provide a commentary on a hypothetical case concerning the donation or destruction of excess ART embryos. These commentaries provide a rich account of religious perspectives on the status of the human embryo and an insight into the relevance of faith to health and policy decisions, particularly in reproductive medicine, ART and embryo research. (shrink)
Justifying the existence, position, and relevance of academic humanities scholarship may be difficult in the face of chronic practical needs in health care. Such scholarship may seem parasitic on human activity and performance that directly contributes to human wellbeing and health care. Here, a possible and partial justification for the importance of scholarship in the humanities as a critical resource for practice and performance is undertaken by two humanities scholars. Human identity and emotion are reflected and defined by performances, both (...) in the traditional disciplines of the humanities, such as art and literature, and in the sciences and medicine. The critical attitude that such performances might inadvertently undermine is sustained by the humanities. The humanities disciplines ask the question: “What is it to be human?” Uncritical emotion and expression, arising, for example, from understanding developments in medicine and science, which might exclude or corrupt much that is of value in the healthcare sector and other areas of practical performance, can be constrained by this. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the role that modernism in the arts might have in articulating the uselessness and incomprehensibility of physical and mental suffering. It is argued that the experience of illness is frequently resistant to interpretation, and as such, it will be suggested, to conventional forms of artistic expression and communication. Conventional narratives, and other beautiful or conventionally expressive aesthetic structures, that presuppose the possibility and desirability of an harmonious and meaningful resolution to conflicts and (...) tensions, may fundamentally misrepresent the patients experience. By drawing on the work of Emmanuel Levinas (on useless suffering) and the aesthetic theories of Nietzsche and T. W. Adorno, it will be argued first that a faith in the possibility of harmonious resolution of suffering is misplaced and does violence to the experience of suffering. Second, it will be argued that the expression of suffering lies not in finding words, images or sounds that communicate the experience of that suffering to others, but rather in the persistent and radical disruption of any illusion of meaning and coherence that might be imposed upon the experience, so that the very possibility of communication is also disrupted. (shrink)
Summary Descartes' two treatises of corpuscular-mechanical natural philosophy?Le Monde (1633) and the Principia philosophiae (1644/1647)?differ in many respects. Some historians of science have studied their significantly different theories of matter and elements. Others have routinely noted that the Principia cites much evidence regarding magnetism, sunspots, novae and variable stars which is absent from Le Monde. We argue that far from being unrelated or even opposed intellectual practices inside the Principles, Descartes' moves in matter and element theory and his adoption of (...) wide swathes of novel matters of fact, were two sides of the same coin?that coin being his strategies for improving the systematic power, scope and consistency of the natural philosophy presented in the Principia. We find that Descartes' systematising strategy centred upon weaving ranges of novel matters of fact into explanatory and descriptive narratives with cosmic sweep and radical realist Copernican intent. Gambits of this type have recently been labelled as ?cosmographical? (the natural philosophical relating of heavens and earth in contemporary usage). Realist Copernican natural philosophers, from Copernicus himself, through Bruno, Gilbert and Galileo did this to varying degrees; but, we suggest, Descartes presented in Books III and IV of the Principia the most elaborate and strategically planned version of it, underneath the ostensible textbook style of the work. (shrink)
The existence and uniqueness of a maximum point for a continuous real—valued function on a metric space are investigated constructively. In particular, it is shown, in the spirit of reverse mathematics, that a natural unique existence theorem is equivalent to the fan theorem.
A form of Kripke's schema turns out to be equivalent to each of the following two statements from metric topology: every open subspace of a separable metric space is separable; every open subset of a separable metric space is a countable union of open balls. Thus Kripke's schema serves as a point of reference for classifying theorems of classical mathematics within Bishop-style constructive reverse mathematics.