Considerable controversy has recently arisen regarding the patenting of medical and surgical processes in the United States. One such patent, viz. for a "chevron" incision used in ophthalmologic surgery, has especially occasioned heated response including a major, condemnatory ethics policy statement from the American Medical Association as well as federal legislation denying patent protection for most uses of a patented medical or surgical procedure. This article identifies and discusses the major legal, ethical and public policy considerations offered by proponents and (...) opponents of such patents. The existing literature divides up into those who favor such patents essentially without qualification, and those who condemn and wish to outlaw them. We advance a compromise position where administrative and legislative action is called for to provide more specific guidelines regarding the patentability of such processes by the Patent and Trademark Office. Our position, in sum, will be that too much is at stake in this complicated area for either the blanket prohibition, or wholesale, uncritical acceptance, of the patenting of medical and surgical processes or techniques. (shrink)
Historiography in a metaphysical mode Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9524-6 Authors Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, CETCOPRA/Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, 17 Rue de la Sorbonne, 75231 Paris Cedex05, France Jan Golinski, Department of History, University of New Hampshire, 20 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824, USA Lissa L. Roberts, Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands John McEvoy, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Journal Metascience Online (...) ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
This Element considers the relationship between the traditional view of God as all-powerful, all-knowing and wholly good on the one hand, and the idea of human free will on the other. It focuses on the potential threats to human free will arising from two divine attributes: God's exhaustive foreknowledge and God's providential control of creation.
_Decolonizing Educational Research_ examines the ways through which coloniality manifests in contexts of knowledge and meaning making, specifically within educational research and formal schooling. Purposefully situated beyond popular deconstructionist theory and anthropocentric perspectives, the book investigates the longstanding traditions of oppression, racism, and white supremacy that are systemically reseated and reinforced by learning and social interaction. Through these meaningful explorations into the unfixed and often interrupted narratives of culture, history, place, and identity, a bold, timely, and hopeful vision emerges to (...) conceive of how research in secondary and higher education institutions might break free of colonial genealogies and their widespread complicities. (shrink)
Setting the thought of Robert Grosseteste within the broader context of the intellectual, religious, and social movements of his time, this study elucidates the evolution of his ideas on topics ranging from the mathematical laws that govern the movement of bodies, God as the mathematical Creator, and human knowledge, to religious experience and the place of humanity within the social, natural, and providential orders.
Democratic political theory often sees collective action as the basis for non-coercive social change, assuming that its terms and practices are always self-evident and accessible. But what if we find ourselves in situations where collective action is not immediately available, or even widely intelligible? This book examines one of the most intellectually substantive and influential Chinese thinkers of the early twentieth century, Zhang Shizhao, who insisted that it is individuals who must 'make the political' before social movements or self-aware political (...) communities have materialized. Zhang draws from British liberalism, democratic theory, and late-Imperial Confucianism to formulate new roles for effective individual action on personal, social, and institutional registers. In the process, he offers a vision of community that turns not on spontaneous consent or convergence on a shared goal, but on ongoing acts of exemplariness that inaugurate new, unpredictable contexts for effective personal action. (shrink)
Knowledge of one's own thoughts, character, and psychological states has long been a central focus of philosophical enquiry. Leading scholars explore the treatment of self-knowledge in ancient Greek thought, particularly in Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic thinkers, and Plotinus, showing how their perspectives differ from those of today.
Flaubert is a major writer, as popular in England as he is in France, and of an enduring fascination. This book examines his responses to pictorial art, from classical to popular, Eastern to Western, traditional to modern. Rival and foil, pictorial art emerges as one of the most powerful driving forces behind his own work.
Given the centrality of arguments from vicious infinite regress to our philosophical reasoning, it is little wonder that they should also appear on the catalogue of arguments offered in defense of theses that pertain to the fundamental structure of reality. In particular, the metaphysical foundationalist will argue that, on pain of vicious infinite regress, there must be something fundamental. But why think that infinite regresses of grounds are vicious? I explore existing proposed accounts of viciousness cast in terms of contradictions, (...) dependence, failed reductive theories and parsimony. I argue that no one of these accounts adequately captures the conditions under which an infinite regress—any infinite regress—is vicious as opposed to benign. In their place, I suggest an account of viciousness in terms of explanatory failure. If this account is correct, infinite grounding regresses are not necessarily vicious; and we must be much more careful employing such arguments to the conclusion that there has to be something fundamental. (shrink)
Economies are complicated systems encompassing micro behaviors, interaction patterns, and global regularities. Whether partial or general in scope, studies of economic systems must consider how to handle difficult real-world aspects such as asymmetric information, imperfect competition, strategic interaction, collective learning, and the possibility of multiple equilibria. Recent advances in analytical and computational tools are permitting new approaches to the quantitative study of these aspects. One such approach is Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), the computational study of economic processes modeled as dynamic (...) systems of interacting agents. This chapter explores the potential advantages and disadvantages of ACE for the study of economic systems. General points are concretely illustrated using an ACE model of a two-sector decentralized market economy. Six issues are highlighted: Constructive understanding of production, pricing, and trade processes; the essential primacy of survival; strategic rivalry and market power; behavioral uncertainty and learning; the role of conventions and organizations; and the complex interactions among structural attributes, institutional arrangements, and behavioral dispositions. (shrink)
Leigh Van Valen was an American evolutionary biologist who made major contributions to evolutionary theory. He is particularly remembered for his groundbreaking paper “A New Evolutionary Law” where he provided evidence from fossil record data that the probability of extinction within any group remains essentially constant through time. In order to explain such an unexpected result, Van Valen formulated a very influential idea that he dubbed the “Red Queen hypothesis.” It states that the constant decay must be a consequence (...) of evolutionary interactions among connected species within ecological networks. In Van Valen’s picture, species do not merely evolve: they also coevolve with other species. As a consequence, when thinking about adaptation to an external environment, the other species must be considered as part of such an external world. Van Valen’s law provided the first complex systems theory of coevolutionary dynamics and inspired a whole range of theoretical and experimental developments from very diverse fields, percolating far beyond its original formulation. Red Queen arms races are nowadays considered a widespread feature of complex adaptive systems. (shrink)
In “Global Knowledge Frameworks and the Tasks of Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” Leigh Jenco searches for the conception of knowledge that best justifies the judgment that one can learn from non-local traditions of philosophy. Jenco considers four conceptions of knowledge, namely, in catchwords, the esoteric, Enlightenment, hermeneutic, and self- transformative conceptions of knowledge, and she defends the latter as more plausible than the former three. In this critical discussion of Jenco’s article, I provide reason to doubt the self-transformative conception, and also (...) advance a fifth, pluralist conception of knowledge that I contend best explains the prospect of learning from traditions other than one’s own. (shrink)
Southern Africa, where most of these book chapters originate, has been identified as one of regions of the world most at risk of the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. At the same time, it is still seeking ways to overcome the century long ravages of colonial and apartheid impositions of structural and epistemic violence. Research deliberations and applied research case studies in environmental education and activism from this region provide an emerging contextualized engagement that is related to a (...) wider internationally articulated quest to achieve social-ecological justice, resilience and sustainability through educational interventions. This book introduces a decade of mainly southern African critical realist environmental education research and thinking that asks the question: "How can we facilitate learning processes that will lead to the flourishing of the Earth’s people and ecosystems in more socially just ways?" The environmental education research topics represented in this book are wide-ranging. However, they all exhibit the common theme of social justice and wanting to create change towards a better future. All the authors have used critical realist or critical realist-influenced research methodologies. Offering contributions from a small but growing community of researchers working with critical realism in the global South, this book will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners in the areas of environmental education, sustainability, development and the philosophy of critical realism in general. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the superiority of a critical realist understanding of interdisciplinarity over a mainstream understanding of it. I begin by exploring the reasons for the failure of mainstream researchers to achieve interdisciplinarity. My main argument is that mainstream interdisciplinary researchers tend to hypostatize facts, fetishize constant conjunctions of events and apply to open systems an epistemology designed for closed systems. I also explain how mainstream interdisciplinarity supports oppression and gross inequality. I argue that mainstream interdisciplinarity is (...) not true interdisciplinarity and refer to it accordingly as ‘condisciplinarity’. By way of example, I examine the condisciplinarity of the World Health Organization’s ecological model applied to the issue of men’s violence against women. Specifically, I argue that critical realist interdisciplinarity is preferable because it acknowledges inter alia the empirical, actual and real layers of reality, which allows it to develop depth-explanations of phenomena. In practice, this means that critical realist interdisciplinarity can potentially provide explanations that, compared to condisciplinarity, are broader and deeper. In the World Health Organization’s example of the causes of men’s violence against women, condisciplinarity resulted in the absence of historical, global and unconscious aspects of the problem. It is also restricted the analysis to reductive, constant-conjunction based theories of the causes of the problem, specifically ‘risk factors’, thereby providing a relatively shallow explanation for the problem. (shrink)
The Internet has drastically changed how people interact, communicate, conduct business, seek jobs, find partners, and shop. Millions of people are using social networking sites to connect with others, and employers are using these sites as a source of background information on jobapplicants.Employers report making decisions not to hire people based on the information posted on social networking sites. Few employers have policies in place to govern when and how these online character checks should be used and how to ensure (...) that the information viewed is accurate. In this article, we explore how these inexpensive, informal online character checks are harmful to society. Guidance is provided to employers on when and how to use these sites in a socially responsible manner. (shrink)
Seven lectures graced the second in the annual series at the Irish college devoted to the 13th-century saint and theologian. The topics include friendship and love, the desire for happiness as a way to God, the separated soul's natural knowledge, and truth as a good. Appended is a guide to consultat.
There are grave issues with how the U.K. government approaches the issue of wellbeing. Specifically, policy interventions that might improve the material conditions of citizens are being down-played, and at times out-rightly dismissed. Instead, an individualist, instrumental message is being promoted, namely, that the best way to improve wellbeing is by improving individual happiness and mental health. I argue that this instrumental message – which in practice blames the victims for their lack of happiness and removes state responsibility – can (...) be made to sound feasible because of a reliance on positivist-based research, whether obtained objectively or subjectively. In this paper, I therefore detail the failings of mainstream wellbeing research and its policy conclusions, and argue that critical realism offers solutions. (shrink)
ABSTRACTEmpirical realist ecologists, such as C. S. Holling, face significant methodological contradictions; for instance, they must cope with the problem that ecological models and theories of climate change, resilience and succession cannot make predictions in open systems. Generally, they respond to this problem by supplementing their empirical realism with transcendental idealism: they therefore say that their models are simply metaphorical or heuristic, that is, 'not true' in that they are not empirical. Thus, they explicitly deny an ontology for what their (...) models are about. Nevertheless, in their practice, ecologists act as if their theories do have an ontology and thus tell us something truthful about the real world. This discrepancy leaves ecology vulnerable to unnecessary critique, such as that climate science is not real science. Transcendental realism offers a solution because it releases ecologists from the requirement to make predictions; but it does so without denying ontology. This provides several advantages to ecologists. (shrink)
The Internet has drastically changed how people interact, communicate, conduct business, seek jobs, find partners, and shop. Millions of people are using social networking sites to connect with others, and employers are using these sites as a source of background information on job applicants. Employers report making decisions not to hire people based on the information posted on social networking sites. Few employers have policies in place to govern when and how these online character checks should be used and how (...) to ensure that the information viewed is accurate. In this article, we explore how these inexpensive, informal online character checks are harmful to society. Guidance is provided to employers on when and how to use these sites in a socially responsible manner. (shrink)
Hume maintained that, philosophically speaking, there is no difference between exiting a room out of the first-floor window and using the door. Nevertheless, Hume’s reason and common sense prevailed over his scepticism and he advocated that we should always use the door. However, we are currently living in a world that is more seriously committed to the Humean philosophy of empiricism than he was himself and thus the potential to act inappropriately is an ever-present potential. In this paper, I explore (...) how Hume’s two versions of causality have detrimentally affected our ability both to arrive at and to use research to improve human well-being. I illustrate my argument with an example of what I think is an incorrect yet supposedly scientifically sound assumption: that absenteeism causes poor school attainment. Instead I make the interdisciplinary argument that absenteeism is better understood as an aggravating symptom of a number of other causes of poor attainment, such as poverty and individual psychological factors. I suggest that an instrumental, punitive policy against parents whose children tend to be absent from school may be ineffectual or even counterproductive if the objective is to improve the well-being of those children. To support my argument, I introduce the critical realist idea of transfactuality. Using the example of research into moon rocks, I show how mainstream science uses transfactuality despite its empiricist aversion to it. I also suggest that it is our honesty, integrity, and stoicism that lead us to the extreme overthrow of reason and common sense that we see today in many of the UK’s social policies; an overthrow that Hume himself did not achieve. Metaphorically speaking, British professionals, stoically and honestly believing in the ability of their trusted research correlations to guide their action, are exiting out of the first-floor window rather than using the door. This is a significant barrier to our ability to devise and implement social policy. (shrink)
: Many bioethicists assume that morality is in a state of wide reflective equilibrium. According to this model of moral deliberation, public policymaking can build upon a core common morality that is pretheoretical and provides a basis for practical reasoning. Proponents of the common morality approach to moral deliberation make three assumptions that deserve to be viewed with skepticism. First, they commonly assume that there is a universal, transhistorical common morality that can serve as a normative baseline for judging various (...) actions and practices. Second, advocates of the common morality approach assume that the common morality is in a state of relatively stable, ordered, wide reflective equilibrium. Third, casuists, principlists, and other proponents of common morality approaches assume that the common morality can serve as a basis for the specification of particular policies and practical recommendations. These three claims fail to recognize the plural moral traditions that are found in multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith societies such as the United States and Canada. A more realistic recognition of multiple moral traditions in pluralist societies would be considerably more skeptical about the contributions that common morality approaches in bioethics can make to resolving contentious moral issues. (shrink)
The explosive growth in computational power over the past several decades offers new tools and opportunities for economists. This handbook volume surveys recent research on Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), the computational study of economic processes modeled as open-ended dynamic systems of interacting agents. Empirical referents for “agents” in ACE models can range from individuals or social groups with learning capabilities to physical world features with no cognitive function. Topics covered include: learning; empirical validation; network economics; social dynamics; financial markets; innovation (...) and technological change; organizations; market design; automated markets and trading agents; political economy; social-ecological systems; computational laboratory development; and general methodological issues. (shrink)