John Evelyn (1620-1706) is best remembered for Sylva - his magnum opus - and his Diary . Alongside Pepys' diary, Evelyn's is as well known now as anything else written in their time. A connoisseur of architecture, painting, music, coins, and sermons, Evelyn was renowned for his practical knowledge on horticulture and arboriculture, and he was one of the original Fellows of the Royal Society. His Diary begins with an account of his early life and travels in (...) Europe. In addition to his own jottings of events, Evelyn drew on contemporary newspapers and pamphlets. (shrink)
"-Barbara Ehrenreich, Mother Jones "This book represents the expression of a particular feminist perspective made all the more compelling by Keller's evident commitment to and understanding of science.
An edition of the letters of Erasmus, regarded as one of the greatest humanist writers. All 12 volumes of this work have been reissued, complete with their scholarly apparatus of commentary and notes, as well as plates.
In _Beyond Prejudice_, Evelyn B. Pluhar defends the view that any sentient conative being—one capable of caring about what happens to him or herself—is morally significant, a view that supports the moral status and rights of many nonhuman animals. Confronting traditional and contemporary philosophical arguments, she offers in clear and accessible fashion a thorough examination of theories of moral significance while decisively demonstrating the flaws in the arguments of those who would avoid attributing moral rights to nonhumans. Exposing the (...) traditional view—which restricts the moral realm to autonomous, fully fledged "persons"—as having horrific implications for the treatment of many humans, Pluhar goes on to argue positively that sentient individuals of any species are no less morally significant than the most automomous human. Her position provides the ultimate justification that is missing from previous defenses of the moral status of nonhuman animals. In the process of advancing her position, Pluhar discusses the implications of determining moral significance for children and "abnormal" humans as well as its relevance to population policies, the raising of animals for food or product testing, decisions on hunting and euthanasia, and the treatment of companion animals. In addition, the author scrutinizes recent assertions by environmental ethicists that all living things or that natural objects and ecosystems be considered highly morally significant. This powerful book of moral theory challenges all defenders of the moral status quo—which decrees that animals decidedly do not count—to reevaluate their convictions. (shrink)
The aim of the article is to intervene in debates about the digital and, in particular, framings that imagine the digital in terms of epochal shifts or as redefining life. Instead, drawing on recent developments in digital methods, we explore the lively, productive and performative qualities of the digital by attending to the specificities of digital devices and how they interact, and sometimes compete, with older devices and their capacity to mobilize and materialize social and other relations. In doing so, (...) our aim is to explore the implications of digital devices and data for reassembling social science methods or what we call the social science apparatuses that assemble digital devices and data to ‘know’ the social and other relations. Building on recent work at CRESC on the social life of methods, we recommend a genealogical approach that is alive to the ways in which digital devices are simultaneously shaped by social worlds, and can in turn become agents that shape those worlds. This calls for attending to the specificities of digital devices themselves, how they are varied and composed of diverse socio-technical arrangements, and are enrolled in the creation of new knowledge spaces, institutions and actors. Rather than exploring what large-scale changes can be revealed and understood through the digital, we argue for explorations of how digital devices themselves are materially implicated in the production and performance of contemporary sociality. To that end we offer the following nine propositions about the implications of digital data and devices and argue that these demand rethinking the theoretical assumptions of social science methods: transactional actors; heterogeneity; visualization; continuous time; whole populations; granularity; expertise; mobile and mobilizing; and non-coherence. (shrink)
Two decades of critique have sensitized historians and philosophers of science to the inadequacies of conventional dichotomies between theory and practice, thereby prompting the search for new ways of writing about science that are less beholden than the old ways to the epistemological mores of theoretical physics, and more faithful to the actual practices not only of physics but of all the natural sciences. The need for alternative descriptions seems particularly urgent if one is to understand the place of theory (...) (and, in parallel, the role of modeling) in contemporary molecular biology, a science where, until now, no division between theory and experiment has obtained, and where distinctions between representing and intervening, and more generally, between basic and applied science, are daily becoming more blurred. Indeed, the very division between theory and experiment threatens to slight the extensive and sophisticated theoretical analyses (and even modeling) on which experimental work in contemporary molecular biology so often depends. My aim in this paper is to find a way of talking about theoretical practices in biology that is directly rooted in the mix of conceptual and material work that biologists do. As an example of such theoretical practices, I choose for the focus of my analysis the development of a model for gene regulation out of the experimental work of Eric Davidson and his colleagues at Cal Tech. (shrink)
Scientists have shown that the practice of factory farming is an increasingly urgent danger to human health, the environment, and nonhuman animal welfare. For all these reasons, moral agents must consider alternatives. Vegetarian food production, humane food animal farming, and in-vitro meat production are all explored from a variety of ethical perspectives, especially utilitarian and rights-based viewpoints, all in the light of current U.S. and European initiatives in the public and private sectors. It is concluded that vegetarianism and potentially in-vitro (...) meat production are the best-justified options. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the problematic relation between sex and gender in parallel with the equally problematic relation between nature and science. I also offer a provisional analysis of the political dynamics that work to polarize both kinds of discourse, focusing especially on their intersection (i.e., on discussions of gender and science), and on that group most directly affected by all of the above considerations (i.e., women scientists).
The ways in which the various activities of synthetic biology connect to those of conventional biology display both a multiplicity and variety that reflect the multiplicity and variety of meanings for which the term synthetic biology has been invoked, today as in the past. Central to this variety, as well as to the connection itself, is the complex relationship between knowing and making that has prevailed in the life sciences. That relationship is the focus of this article. More specifically, my (...) aim is to explore the different assumptions about how knowing is related to making that have prevailed, implicitly or explicitly in the various activities—now or in the past—subsumed under the name synthetic biology. (shrink)
In business and government, databases contain large quantities of digital transactional data . The data can be understood as ongoing and dynamic measurements of the activities and doings of people. In government, numerous database devices have been developed to connect such data across services to discover patterns and identify and evaluate the performance of individuals and populations. Under the UK’s New Labour government, the development of such devices was part of a broader policy known as ‘joined-up thinking and government’. Analyses (...) of this policy have typically understood joining up as an operation of adding together distributed data about subjects, which can then be used in the service of government surveillance, the database state or informational capitalism. But rather than such technical or managerialist analytics, I argue that topological analytics capture what these database devices enact and do: they materialize the ‘individuality’ of subjects in intensified, distributed and fluctuating ways and materialize and intensify a logic of what Deleuze describes as modulating controls. Through examples of UK New Labour social policy initiatives over the past decade, I argue that topological analytics can account for these as immanent rather than exceptional properties of database devices and, as such, part and parcel of a governmental logic and ontology of subjects. (shrink)
"Es gibt Gegenstände, von denen gilt, daß es dergleichen Gegenstände nicht gibt." Dieser Satz hat dem Österreicher Alexius Meinong nicht nur Berühmtheit, sondern auch vernichtende Urteile beschert. Hindern konnten sie ihn jedoch keinesfalls daran, die weltweit bekannte Schule der Grazer Gegenstandstheorie zu etablieren. Wertphilosophische, erkenntnistheoretische sowie psychologische Schriften und die Gründung des ersten experimentalpsychologischen Laboratoriums in Österreich komplettieren das Schaffen dieses Philosophen. Meinongs Lebensgeschichte ist die Verquickung der "Geschichte seiner Publikationen und der akademischen Aktivitäten seiner kleinen Schule von Schülern". Platz (...) für private Belange schien in jenem Leben, das sich nahezu vier Jahrzehnte in der steiermärkischen Universitätsstadt Graz abspielte, kaum zu sein. Eine äußerst starke Sehschwäche, die Meinong vor Kollegen, Freunden und sogar seiner Frau auf ungewöhnliche Weise zu verbergen suchte, lastete schwer auf ihm.In der ersten vollständigen Biographie Meinongs zeichnet Evelyn Dölling das leidenschaftliche Ringen dieses Denkers um höchste wissenschaftliche Präzision nach. Aus der Recherche des umfangreichen Nachlaßmaterials sowie der zahlreichen Korrespondenzen entsteht ein Bild von Meinongs Familienleben und seinen Beziehungen zu Freunden, wie man es so bislang nicht kannte. (shrink)
Complex environmental problems require well-researched policies that integrate knowledge from both the natural and social sciences. Epistemic differences can impede interdisciplinary collaboration, as shown by debates between conservation biologists and anthropologists who are working to preserve biological diversity and support economic development in central Africa. Disciplinary differences with regard to 1) facts, 2) rigor, 3) causal explanation, and 4) research goals reinforce each other, such that early decisions about how to define concepts or which methods to adopt may tilt research (...) design and data interpretation toward one discipline’s epistemological framework. If one of the contributing fields imposes a solution to an epistemic problem, this sets the stage for what I call disciplinary capture. Avoiding disciplinary capture requires clear communication between collaborators, but beyond this it also requires that collaborators craft research questions and innovate research designs which are different from the inherited epistemological frameworks of contributing disciplines. (shrink)
Kathryn Paxton George has recently argued that vegetarianism cannot be a moral obligation for most human beings, even if Tom Regan is correct in arguing that humans and certain nonhuman animals are equally inherently valuable. She holds that Regan's liberty principle permits humans to kill and eat innocent others who have a right to life, provided that doing so prevents humans from being made worse off. George maintains that obstaining from meat and dairy products would in fact make most humans (...) worse off. I argue that Regan's liberty principle either contradicts his equal rights view or does not permit the slaughter of another for food. I show that a different view recognizing the moral rights of nonhumans but according them less value than normal adult humans, the unequal rights view, would permit such action if human survival or health depended upon it. However, it would also permit the slaughter of innocent humans in the same circumstances. Finally, I argue that current nutritional research does not support George's contention that most humans would suffer if they ceased eating other animals and their products. (shrink)
Among Bryan Norton’s most influential contributions to environmental philosophy has been his analysis and evaluation of democratic processes for environmental decision-making. He examines actual cases of environmental decision-making in their legal, political, ethical and scientific contexts, and, with contextual constraints and goals in mind, he theorizes concerning what they accomplish and how they can be improved. Informed by the political theories of both John Dewey and Jürgen Habermas, Norton’s pragmatist approach holds that appropriate democratic decision procedures will generate broadly defensible (...) decisions. Thus, his view of environmental decision-making is based in—and requires—inclusive, democratic, empirical inquiry. While accepting these criteria, I examine how, in practice, it is difficult to identify when these conditions have been adequately met. I investigate the limitations of Norton’s proceduralist approach through a case study in community-based forest management in a New York State urban old-growth park. I argue that Norton’s procedural priorities are too rigid given the contextual constraints of local decision-making. While they are useful for guiding an ideal, high standards sense of the decision-making process, less rigid Deweyan considerations of social learning and community engagement often provide sufficient guidelines for evaluating success. (shrink)
Distinguishing intentional behavior from accidental behavior is a crucial component of social cognition and a major developmental achievement. It has often been assumed that developmental changes in intentional reasoning result from a gradual sophistication in the ability to discern intentions in action. We take issue with this notion, demonstrating that data from cognitive, developmental, and social psychology are more consistent with the hypothesis that it is instead a gradual sophistication in the ability to understand accidents that drives developmental change.
The Statements on Responsibilities in Tax Practice (SRTPs) provide guidance to the CPA when making decisions in tax practice. Many of these decisions are ethical in nature and have implications for tax compliance. In this study, a survey methodology is used to test whether the SRTPs affect decisions that CPAs make. The findings suggest that a clear majority of CPAs follow the SRTPs when making ethical decisions relating to tax return preparation and that CPAs follow the SRTPs more often than (...) unlicensed preparers on half the issues tested. However, a statistically significant number of CPAs do not follow the SRTPs and, CPAs do not follow the SRTPs any more often than unlicensed tax preparers on three issues. (shrink)
Contemporary critical instincts, in early modern studies as elsewhere in literary theory, often dismiss invocations of mind and cognition as inevitably ahistorical, as performing a retrograde version of anachronism. Arguing that our experience of time is inherently anachronistic and polytemporal, we draw on the frameworks of distributed cognition and extended mind to theorize cognition as itself distributed, cultural, and temporal. Intelligent, embodied action is a hybrid process, involving the coordination of disparate neural, affective, cognitive, interpersonal, ecological, technological, and cultural resources. (...) Because the diverse elements of such coupled systems each have their own histories and dynamics, many distinctive or competing times are built in to the very mechanisms of remembering and reasoning. We make this argument by means of two distinct case histories: a reading of the site-specific audio walk of Canadian artist Janet Cardiff; and an extended discussion of a famously anachronistic moment in William Shakespeare’s King Lear. These readings reveal the inherent polytemporalities of human mental and social life. (shrink)
While scientific terms lack the stability of physical objects, they are generally far more stable than the various meanings associated with them. As a consequence, they tend to carry older conceptions alongside those more recently acquired, thereby exerting an effective drag against conceptual change. I illustrate this claim with an analysis of the shifting meanings of the term genome, originally used to refer to a collectivity of genes, but more recently to an organism’s complement of DNA. While genes were originally (...) regarded as effectively autonomous formal agents, and DNA as collections of genes, contemporary research suggests that an organism’s DNA constitutes a far more complex system designed to adapt and respond to the environment in which it finds itself. (shrink)
I recently took issue with Kathryn George's contention that vegetarianism cannot be a moral obligation for most human beings, even assuming that Tom Regan's stringent thesis about the equal inherent value of humans and many sentient nonhumans is correct. I argued that both Regan and George are incorrect in claiming that his view would permit moral agents to kill and eat innocent, non-threatening rights holders. An unequal rights view, by contrast, would permit such actions if a moral agent's health or (...) life is at stake. I then argued that current nutritional research does not support Professor George's claim that some wealthy adult males (and many fewer wealthy women) are the only persons whose health does not require the consumption of nonhuman animals and their products. In her 1992 response to my critique, George did not address my moral argumentation. She concentrated her entire paper on a wholesale rejection of my discussion of nutrition. Although she now takes a somewhat more moderate position on who can safely contemplate strict vegetarianism, she still believes that most people are not in a position to follow such a diet. In my counter-reply, I argue that her rejection is based upon numerous distortions, omissions, and false charges of fallacy. She even devotes a substantial section of her paper to criticizing me for saying the opposite of what I actually wrote. As I did in my earlier paper, I cite current research, including George's own preferred source on the topic of vegetarianism, to support my view. I conclude that Professor George has still not shown that for most human beings it is dangerous to follow a diet that omits nonhuman animals and their products. Moral agents who take the rights of humansand nonhumans seriously will find vegetarianism well worth considering. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that it is wrong to conduct any experiment on a nonhuman which we would regard as immoral were it to be conducted on a human, because such experimentation violates the basic moral rights of sentient beings. After distinguishing the rights approach from the utilitarian approach, I delineate basic concepts. I then raise the classic “argument from marginal cases” against those who support experimentation on nonhumans but not on humans. After next replying to six important objections (...) against that argument, I contend that moral agents are logically required to accord basic moral rights to every sentient being. I conclude by providing criteria for distinguishing ethical from unethical experimentation. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores the relation between feminist epistemology and the problem of philosophical skepticism. Even though feminist epistemology has not typically focused on skepticism as a problem, I argue that a feminist contextualist epistemology may solve many of the difficulties facing recent contextualist responses to skepticism. Philosophical skepticism appears to succeed in casting doubt on the very possibility of knowledge by shifting our attention to abnormal contexts. I argue that this shift in context constitutes an attempt to exercise unearned (...) social and epistemic power and that it should be resisted on epistemic and pragmatic grounds. I conclude that skepticism is a problem that feminists can and should take up as they address the social aspects of traditional epistemological problems. (shrink)
Given the recent increase in hate crimes against Arab Americans, there are growing concerns over the mental health needs of Arab Americans and a pressing need for psychologists’ competence in treating this group. Although there are several clinical guidelines for other health care professions, there remains a paucity of information on the ethical issues that may arise for psychologists treating this Arab Americans. This article briefly provides background information on Arab Americans, highlights elements of Arab culture that might influence psychological (...) treatment, discusses ethical issues that might arise when psychologists provide services to Arab Americans, and provides recommendations to address these issues. (shrink)
Over the last couple of decades, a call has begun to resound in a number of distinct fields of inquiry for a reattachment of form to matter, for an understanding of ‘information’ as inherently embodied, or, as Jean-Marie Lehn calls it, for a “science of informed matter.” We hear this call most clearly in chemistry, in cognitive science, in molecular computation, and in robotics—all fields looking to biological processes to ground a new epistemology. The departure from the values of a (...) more traditional epistemological culture can be seen most clearly in changing representations of biological development. Where for many years now, biological discourse has accepted a sharp distinction between information and matter, software and hardware, data and program, encoding and enactment, a new discourse has now begun to emerge in which these distinctions have little meaning. Perhaps ironically, much of this shift depends on drawing inspiration from just those biological processes which the discourse of disembodied information was intended to describe. (shrink)
Meinongs Leben vollzog sich in engen räumlichen Grenzen. Es scheint kaum von besonderen Höhepunkten gekennzeichnet zu sein. Als neunjähriger, im Jahre 1862, verließ er seine Geburtsstadt Lemberg und ging nach Wien, um dort die Schule zu besuchen und später deutsche Philologie und Geschichte zu studieren. Nach Abschluß einer Dissertation über Arnold von Brescia wandte er sich der Philosophie zu und habilitierte sich auf Empfehlung von Franz Brentano mit einer Arbeit über David Hume. Ein schweres Augenleiden, das sehr zeitig schon zu (...) einer fast vollständigen Blindheit führte und das er mit großem Erfindungsreichtum vor Familie, Freunden und administrativen Einrichtungen zu verbergen suchte, hat sein Leben maßgeblich bestimmt. Meinongs weitere akademische Karriere, die Beziehungen zu seiner Frau Doris, zu seinen Freunden und Studenten werden unter besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner Sehschwäche nachgezeichnet. (shrink)
What I suggest we can see in this brief overview of the literature is an extensive interpenetration on both sides of these debates between scientific, political, and social values. Important shifts in political and social values were of course occurring over the same period, some of them in parallel with, and perhaps even contributing to, these transitions I have been speaking of in evolutionary discourse. The developments that I think of as at least suggestive of possible parallels include the progressive (...) encroachment of public values into the private domain of post-World War II American life, the cold war, the rise of consumerism, and the flowering of what Christopher Lasch calls a “narcissistic individualism.”35 In popular language, the 1960s gave birth to the “me” generation. Perhaps the most tantalizing analogue is suggested by Barbara Ehrenreich's argument for the emergence of a new meaning of masculinity — an ideal of masculinity measured not by commitment, responsibility, or success as family provider, but precisely by the strength of a man's autonomy in the private sphere, his resistance to the demands of a hampering female.36 It is tempting to speculate about possible connections between changes in scientific discourse and developments in the social and political spheres, but such connections, however suggestive, would clearly have to be demonstrated.For now, however, I want to focus on another kind of change —a transformation not so much in the social or political sphere as in the scientific sphere. I make this turn, or return, in support of a more complex account of scientific change that incorporates reverberations within the scientific communty along with social and political changes.In the 1960s, all of biology was undergoing a major transformation in direct response to the dramatic successes of molecular biology. These successes seemed to completely vindicate the values on which the molecular revolution was premised — namely, simplicity and mechanism. Following the victory of Watson and Crick, and of others after them, the fever of that endeavor swept through biology leaving in its wake a new standard of science, and of scientific discourse — one predicated on clarity, simplicity, and analyzability; on the definition of legitimate questions as those capable of clear and unambiguous answers. Every biological discipline felt it — even evolutionary biology, which in some respects was at the furthest pole. Perhaps precisely because it seemed conceptually so remote, evolutionary biology may have felt it most of all. Lewontin inadvertently provides us with some direct support for this view. Indeed, he begins his introduction to Population Biology and Evolution with the following remarks: The twenty years since World War II have seen a vindication in biology of our faith in the Cartesian method as a way of doing science. Some of the most fundamental and interesting problems of biology have been solved or are very nearly solved by an analytic technique that is now loosely called “molecular biology.” But it is not specifically the “molecular” aspect of biology of the last twenty years that has led to its success. It is, rather, the analytic aspect, the belief that by breaking systems down into their component parts, by simplifying them or using simpler organisms, one can learn about more complex systems. As it happens, the problems that were attacked and are being attacked by this method lead to answers in terms of molecules and cell organelles.... There is a host of problems in biology, however, that has been much neglected in these twenty exciting years, because the answers to them cannot be meaningfully framed in molecular and cellular terms.37Lewontin is referring, of course, to problems in evolution. The remainder of his remarks is devoted to an argument for the applicability of the method, if not the content, of molecular biology to these problems. He writes, “It is not the case that molecular biology is Cartesian and analytic while population biology is holistic. Population biology is properly analytic and operates, within the framework of its own problems, by the process of simplification, analysis, and resynthesis.”38 With these remarks, he leads into the criticism of the “holists” who have “held up progress.”This new ethic of simplicity, clarity, and mechanism — embodying the very virtues lauded by Williams — was explicitly carried into evolutionary biology in the name of scientific progress. As it happened, the values implied also fit conveniently well with other values — each set of values providing crucial support for the other.However substantive the scientific gains may have been in some respects, the net effect of this ethic has also been a systematic “perceptual bias” — a bias with profound practical consequences for the entire program of methodological individualism in evolutionary biology, if not elsewhere as well. It may well be that the whole is equivalent to the reconstituted aggregate of its parts, if, in the process of aggregation or summation, all possible interactions among the parts are included. But if certain kinds of interactions are systematically excluded, our confidence in that program necessarily founders. My claim here is that such systematic exclusion does occur, and that it occurs on a number of different levels. To briefly review the interlocking kinds of “bias” that I see occurring in practice, I suggest the following schematic listing:On the most general level: The ethic of simplicity — the privileging of certain values, even certain methodologies, as having an a priori superior claim to scientific credibility.Only slightly less general, and crucially related, is the equation of “scientific” with “tractible”: Given the techniques of analysis available, the equation of science with what we can do inevitably leads to a systematic technical bias favoring simplicity. That is, because we don't know how to model complex dynamics, nonlinear interactions are systematically biased against because of the limitations of our technical know-how. The consequences of this equation of the scientific with the tractible are greatly compounded by the additional equation between what we can do and what is — that is, by our temptation to confuse tractibility with reality.Finally, and also closely related, a further kind of elision occurs even within the confines of tractibility. This kind of elision — taking the form almost of inferring tractibility from one's prior assumptions of what is real — is exemplified by the history of a mathematical ecology of mutualism. Even when mutualism can be introduced into the same technical machinery, it is still not pursued. The basic assumption is that competition is what is real, not because it is easier to model, but because it is what we expect. When the actual difficulties of modeling competition are then in turn suppressed, as in the Robert May story, what we have, given the temptation to equate the tractible with the real, is the possibility of a truly self-fulfilling prophecy. (shrink)