The range and types of performance metrics has recently proliferated in academic settings, with bibliometric indicators being particularly visible examples. One field that has traditionally been hospitable towards such indicators is biomedicine. Here the relative merits of bibliometrics are widely discussed, with debates often portraying them as heroes or villains. Despite a plethora of controversies, one of the most widely used indicators in this field is said to be the Journal Impact Factor. In this article we argue that much of (...) the current debates around researchers’ uses of the JIF in biomedicine can be classed as ‘folk theories’: explanatory accounts told among a community that seldom get systematically checked. Such accounts rarely disclose how knowledge production itself becomes more-or-less consolidated around the JIF. Using ethnographic materials from different research sites in Dutch University Medical Centers, this article sheds new empirical and theoretical light on how performance metrics variously shape biomedical research on the ‘shop floor.’ Our detailed analysis underscores a need for further research into the constitutive effects of evaluative metrics. (shrink)
How are “interesting” research problems identified and made durable by academic researchers, particularly in situations defined by multiple evaluation principles? Building on two case studies of research groups working on rare diseases in academic biomedicine, we explore how group leaders arrange their groups to encompass research problems that latch onto distinct evaluation principles by dividing and combining work into “basic-oriented” and “clinical-oriented” spheres of inquiry. Following recent developments in the sociology of valuation comparing academics to capitalist entrepreneurs in pursuit of (...) varying kinds of worth, we argue that the metaphor of the portfolio is helpful in analyzing how group leaders manage these different research lines as “alternative investment options” from which they were variously hoping to capitalize. We argue portfolio development is a useful concept for exploring how group leaders fashion “entrepreneurial” practices to manage and exploit tensions between multiple matrices of valuation and conclude with suggestions for how this vocabulary can further extend analysis of epistemic capitalism within science and technology studies. (shrink)
This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths.
This paper discusses two passages from Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary on Aristotle’s Topics that are transmitted in Ps-Jābir’s Kitāb al-Nukhab. It argues that the Arabic translation of Alexander’s commentary may have been made from a fuller version than what came down to us in Greek. Especially since the author of the Jābir-corpus form a tradition different from the school of Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq and authors associated to the ‘Baghdad school’, whose earliest figure is Abū Bishr Mattā b. Yūnus, (...) the Arabic fragments of Alexander’s commentary preserved in the Kitāb al-Nukhab promise to shed more light on the early reception of the Topics and the different contexts in which Aristotelian dialectic was studied in the Islamic world. (shrink)
This volume contains the Arabic translations of a lost treatise by Alexander of Aphrodisias "On the Principles of the Universe" with English translation, introduction and commentary. It also includes an Arabic and Syriac glossary. The introduction and commentary deal in detail with the manuscripts, the translators and the exegetical tendencies of the text, as well as with its reception in Arabic philosophy. The main theme of the work is the motion of the heavenly bodies and their influence on the (...) physical world. (shrink)
This book presents some of the most recent trends and developments in Presocratic scholarship. A wide range of topics are covered - from the metaphysical to the moral to the methodological - as well as a broad a range of authors: from recognized figures such as Heraclitus and Parmenides to Sophistic thinkers whose place has traditionally been marginalized, such as Gorgias and the author of the Dissoi Logoi. Several of the pieces are concerned with the later reception and influence of (...) the Presocratics on ancient philosophy, an area of study important both for the light it sheds on our evidence for Presocratic thought and for understanding the philosophical power of their ideas. Drawing together contributions from distinguished authorities and internationally acclaimed scholars of ancient philosophy, this book offers new challenges to traditional interpretations in some areas of Presocratic philosophy and finds new support for traditional interpretations in other areas. (shrink)
This paper discusses two passages from Alexander of Aphrodisias’s commentary on Aristotle’s _ Topics _ that are transmitted in Ps-Jābir’s _ Kitāb al-Nukhab _. It argues that the Arabic translation of Alexander’s commentary may have been made from a fuller version than what came down to us in Greek. Especially since the author(s) of the Jābir-corpus form a tradition different from the school of Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (d. 873) and authors associated to the ‘Baghdad school’, whose earliest figure (...) is Abū Bishr Mattā b. Yūnus (d. 940), the Arabic fragments of Alexander’s commentary preserved in the _ Kitāb al-Nukhab _ promise to shed more light on the early reception of the _ Topics _ and the different contexts in which Aristotelian dialectic was studied in the Islamic world. (shrink)
A recombinationist like the earlier Armstrong (1989) claims that logically possible worlds are recombinations of items found in the actual world, with some items reduplicated if need be and others deleted. An immediate consequence of this is that if an..
I argue that an examination of the analogy between the notion of a bug and that of a genetic defect supports an analogy not just between a computer program and DNA, but between a computer program designed by a programmer and DNA. This provides an analogical teleological argument for the existence of a highly intelligent designer.
It is widely accepted that divine creation of human beings is compatible with evolutionary theory, except perhaps in regard of the human soul, and that neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory provides an explanation of speciation and of complex features of organisms that undercuts Paley-style teleological arguments, whether or not the evolutionary mechanisms are truly random or deterministic. I will argue that a plausible understanding of the doctrine of creation of human beings is either logically or rationally incompatible with full evolutionary theory, even (...) if one does not take souls into account. Consequently, a theist needs to move to a weaker version either of the creation doctrine or of evolutionary theory, or both. (shrink)
I argue that standard functionalism leads to absurd conclusions as to the number of minds that would exist in the universe if persons were duplicated. Rather than yielding the conclusion that making a molecule-by-molecule copy of a material person would result in two persons, it leads to the conclusion that three persons, or perhaps only one person, would result. This is absurd and standard functionalism should be abandoned. Social varieties of functionalism fare no better, though there is an Aristotelian variety (...) of functionalism that accepts irreducible finality that escapes this particular reductio. (shrink)
“Ex nihilo nihil fit,” goes the classic adage: nothing comes from nothing. Parmenides used the Principle of Sufficient Reason to argue that there was no such thing as change: If there was change, why did it happen when it happened rather than earlier or later? “Nothing happens in vain, but everything for a reason and under necessitation,” claimed Leucippus. Saint Thomas insisted in the.
The production of a number of vaccines involves the use of cell-lines originally derived from fetuses directly aborted in the 1960s and 1970s. Such cell-lines, indeed sometimes the very same ones, are important to on-going research, including at Catholic institutions. The cells currently used are removed by a number of decades and by a significant number of cellular generations from the original cells. Moreover, the original cells extracted from the bodies of the aborted fetuses were transformed to produce the cell (...) lines, since otherwise they would be incapable of the kind of culturing that is required. (shrink)
The cosmos is filled with evil that seemingly has no redeeming value. Granted, some evils do lead to greater goods, sometimes goods that could not exist without the evils. Thus, the exercise of courage is a good that requires either an actual evil to stand firm in the face of or the illusion of an evil—and an illusion is a kind of evil, too. But many evils appear to serve no such purpose. Philosophers call an evil that a supremely good (...) God would have insufficient reason to permit to exist a gratuitous evil. A particularly powerful form of the argument from evil against the existence of the God of Western monotheism is, thus, that there.. (shrink)
Mill predicted that “[t]he Liberty is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written … because the conjunction of [Harriet Taylor’s] mind with mine has rendered it a kind of philosophic text-book of a single truth, which the changes progressively taking place in modern society tend to bring out in ever greater relief.” Indeed, _On Liberty_ is one of the most influential books ever written, and remains a foundational document for the understanding of vital political, philosophical and (...) social issues. In addition to its many useful appendices, this new edition includes a chronology, bibliography, and a substantial introduction which outlines Mill’s life and works, and sets this central work of 1859 in the context of both his own intellectual development and of the play of ideas and political forces in Victorian society. (shrink)
Die Untersuchung analysiert deswegen nach einem einleitenden Vorschlag zur Bestimmung des Verhältnisses von Logik und Metaphysik im Anschluss an Leibniz Baumgartens Erkenntnistheorie in ihrer charakteristischen Komplementarität von Ästhetik und Logik, die das gesamte Feld aller möglichen Gewissheit, d. h. des Bewusstseins der Wahrheit der verschiedensten Erkenntnisse, abdecken. Darüber hinaus erörtert sie auch deren mögliche Gegenstände, nämlich die Beschaffenheit der Dinge, wie sie das Wissen Gottes als eine ideale Metaphysik enthielte. Auf der Grundlage einer Ontologie teilweise unbestimmer aktualer Existenz kommt Baumgarten (...) zu einer kosmologischen Theorie monadischer Bewegtheit aller körperlichen Dinge. Sie führt zu einer Psychologie des Erkennens und Handelns, aus der ein indeterministischer Begriff menschlicher Willensfreiheit folgt, die auch von Gottes Allwissen nicht beschränkt wird. (shrink)