BackgroundMulti-centre studies generally cost more than single-centre studies because of larger sample sizes and the need for multiple ethical approvals. Multi-centre studies include clinical trials, clinical quality registries, observational studies and implementation studies. We examined the costs of two large Australian multi-centre studies in obtaining ethical and site-specific approvals.MethodsWe collected data on staff time spent on approvals and expressed the overall cost as a percent of the total budget.ResultsThe total costs of gaining approval were 38 % of the budget for (...) a study of 50 centres and 2 % for a study of 11 centres. Seventy-five and 90 % of time was spent on repeated tasks, respectively, and many time-consuming tasks, such as reformatting documents, did nothing to improve the study design or participant safety.ConclusionsImprovements have been made to the ethical approval application system, but more gains could be made without increasing risks of harm to research participants. We propose that ethical review bodies and individual sites publish statistics on how long they take to process approvals which could then be nationally benchmarked. (shrink)
In Feminist, Queer, Crip Alison Kafer imagines a different future for disability and disabled bodies. Challenging the ways in which ideas about the future and time have been deployed in the service of compulsory able-bodiedness and able-mindedness, Kafer rejects the idea of disability as a pre-determined limit. She juxtaposes theories, movements, and identities such as environmental justice, reproductive justice, cyborg theory, transgender politics, and disability that are typically discussed in isolation and envisions new possibilities for crip futures and feminist/queer/crip (...) alliances. This bold book goes against the grain of normalization and promotes a political framework for a more just world. (shrink)
Alison Wylie is one of the few full-time academic philosophers of the social and historical sciences on the planet today. And fortunately for us, she happens to specialise in archaeology! After emerging onto the archaeological theory scene in the mid-1980s with her work on analogy, she has continued to work on philosophical questions raised by archaeological practice. In particular, she explores the status of evidence and ideals of objectivity in contemporary archaeology: how do we think we know about the (...) past? Her other key interests include feminist initiatives in Anglo-American archaeology, and ethical conflicts in current archaeological practice. Kathryn Denning recently asked about her adventures in archaeology and academia and her thoughts on archaeology’s past, present, and future. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging interview with three members of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil) Wylie explains how she came to work on philosophical issues raised in and by archaeology, describes the contextualist challenges to ‘received view’ models of confirmation and explanation in archaeology that inform her work on the status of evidence and contextual ideals of objectivity, and discusses the role of non-cognitive values in science. She also is pressed to explain what’s feminist about feminist (...) research and in that connection outlines her account of feminist standpoint theory and the relevance of feminist analysis to science. (shrink)
I argue that understanding why p involves a kind of intellectual know how and differsfrom both knowledge that p and knowledge why p (as they are standardly understood).I argue that understanding, in this sense, is valuable.
We propose that children employ specialized cognitive systems that allow them to recover an accurate “causal map” of the world: an abstract, coherent, learned representation of the causal relations among events. This kind of knowledge can be perspicuously understood in terms of the formalism of directed graphical causal models, or “Bayes nets”. Children’s causal learning and inference may involve computations similar to those for learning causal Bayes nets and for predicting with them. Experimental results suggest that 2- to 4-year-old children (...) construct new causal maps and that their learning is consistent with the Bayes net formalism. (shrink)
John Fischer and Mark Ravizza defend in this book a painstakingly constructed analysis of what they take to be a core condition of moral responsibility: the notion of guidance control. The volume usefully collects in one place ideas and arguments the authors have previously published in singly or jointly authored works on this and related topics, as well as various refinements to those views and some suggestive discussions that aim to show how their account of guidance control might fit into (...) a more comprehensive account of moral responsibility. (shrink)
Understanding causal structure is a central task of human cognition. Causal learning underpins the development of our concepts and categories, our intuitive theories, and our capacities for planning, imagination and inference. During the last few years, there has been an interdisciplinary revolution in our understanding of learning and reasoning: Researchers in philosophy, psychology, and computation have discovered new mechanisms for learning the causal structure of the world. This new work provides a rigorous, formal basis for theory theories of concepts and (...) cognitive development, and moreover, the causal learning mechanisms it has uncovered go dramatically beyond the traditional mechanisms of both nativist theories, such as modularity theories, and empiricist ones, such as association or connectionism. (shrink)
The Beloved Self is about the holy grail of moral philosophy, an argument against egoism that proves that we all have reasons to be moral. Part One introduces three different versions of egoism. Part Two looks at attempts to prove that egoism is false, and shows that even the more modest arguments that do not try to answer the egoist in her own terms seem to fail. But in part Three, Hills defends morality and develops a new problem for egoism, (...) an epistemological problem. She shows that it is not epistemically rational to believe the most plausible versions of egoism. The first part of the book will be most relevant to those interested in moral theory, as it contains detailed discussions of recent interpretations of virtue ethics and especially of Kant's moral theory. The second and third part of the book turn to epistemology, particularly moral epistemology, and include an account of the relationship between knowledge and action, a new theory of moral understanding, and a discussion of the epistemically rational response to various kinds of disagreement. Hills also defends a new account of virtue and of morally worthy action. (shrink)
In this long-awaited compendium of new and newly revised essays, Alison Wylie explores how archaeologists know what they know. -/- Preprints available for download. Please see entry for specific article of interest.
The doctrine (or principle) of double effect is often invoked to explain the permissibility of an action that causes a serious harm, such as the death of a human being, as a side effect of promoting some good end. According to the principle of double effect, sometimes it is permissible to cause a harm as a side effect (or “double effect”) of bringing about a good result even though it would not be permissible to cause such a harm as a (...) means to bringing about the same good end. Does the principle of double effect play the important explanatory role that has been claimed for it? To consider this question, one must be careful to clarify just what the principle is supposed to explain. Three misinterpretations of the principle’s force or range of application are common. 1. To ensure that Double Effect is not misunderstood as principle issuing a blanket permission on causing any unintended harm that yields a benefit, applications must require that the agent seek to minimize the harm involved. 2. Since it is widely accepted that it is wrong to aim to produce harm to someone as an end, to rule this out is not part of double effect’s distinctive content. 3. Harms that were produced regretfully and only for the sake of producing a good end may be prohibited by double effect because they were brought about as part of the agent’s means to realizing the good end. (shrink)
We standardly evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms—by keeping the past fixed and holding the future open. Only future events depend counterfactually on what happens now. Past events do not. Conversely, past events are relevant to what abilities one has now in a way that future events are not. Lewis, Sider and others continue to evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms, even in cases of backwards time travel. I’ll argue that we need more temporally neutral methods. (...) The past shouldn’t always be held fixed, because backwards time travel requires backwards counterfactual dependence. Future events should sometimes be held fixed, because they’re in the causal history of the past, and agents have evidence of them independently of their decisions now. We need temporally neutral methods to maintain connections between causation, counterfactuals and evidence, and if counterfactuals are used to explain the temporal asymmetry of causation. (shrink)
Abstract: If anger is the emotion of injustice, and if most injustices have prominent epistemic dimensions, then where is the anger in epistemic injustice? Despite the question my task is not to account for the lack of attention to anger in epistemic injustice discussions. Instead, I argue that a particular texture of transformative anger – a knowing resistant anger – offers marginalized knowers a powerful resource for countering epistemic injustice. I begin by making visible the anger that saturates the silences (...) that epistemic injustices repeatedly manufacture and explain the obvious: silencing practices produce angry experiences. I focus on tone policing and tone vigilance to illustrate the relationship between silencing and angry knowledge management. Next, I use María Lugones’s pluralist account of anger to bring out the epistemic dimensions of knowing resistant anger in a way that also calls attention to their histories and felt textures. The final section draws on feminist scholarship about the transformative power of angry knowledge to suggest how it might serve as a resource for resisting epistemic injustice. (shrink)
There are temporal asymmetries in our attitudes towards the past and future. For example, we judge that a given amount of work is worth twice as much if it is described as taking place in the future, compared to the past :796–801, 2008). Does this temporal value asymmetry support a tensed metaphysics? By getting clear on the asymmetry’s features, I’ll argue that it doesn’t. To support a tensed metaphysics, the value asymmetry would need to not vary with temporal distance, apply (...) equally to events concerning oneself and others, and be rational and judged to be so. But evidence suggests the value asymmetry lacks these features. There are, moreover, independent arguments against its rationality. The asymmetry’s features suggest instead that it arises as an emotion-driven generalisation from a temporal bias concerning our future actions. This explanation points towards mechanisms that can play a role in explaining other instances where we generalise about the past and future, and why we’re tempted towards metaphysical pictures of time. (shrink)
This short article argues that an adequate response to the implications for governance raised by ‘Big Data’ requires much more attention to agency and reflexivity than theories of ‘algorithmic power’ have so far allowed. It develops this through two contrasting examples: the sociological study of social actors used of analytics to meet their own social ends and the study of actors’ attempts to build an economy of information more open to civic intervention than the existing one. The article concludes with (...) a consideration of the broader norms that might contextualise these empirical studies, and proposes that they can be understood in terms of the notion of voice, although the practical implementation of voice as a norm means that voice must sometimes be considered via the notion of transparency. (shrink)
This paper argues that Spinoza does not take extension in space to be a fundamental property of physical things. This means that when Spinoza calls either substance or a mode “an Extended thing”, he does not mean that it is a thing extended in three dimensions. The argument proceeds by showing, first, that Spinoza does not associate extension in space with substance, and second, that finite bodies, or physical things, are not understood through the intellect when they are conceived as (...) extended in space. I conclude by articulating some suggestions about where we should go from here in trying to understand Spinoza’s account of the attribute of extension and of the physical world. (shrink)
I argue that explanation should be thought of as the phenomenological mark of the operation of a particular kind of cognitive system, the theory-formation system. The theory-formation system operates most clearly in children and scientists but is also part of our everyday cognition. The system is devoted to uncovering the underlying causal structure of the world. Since this process often involves active intervention in the world, in the case of systematic experiment in scientists, and play in children, the cognitive system (...) is accompanied by a theory drive, a motivational system that impels us to interpret new evidence in terms of existing theories and change our theories in the light of new evidence. What we usually think of as explanation is the phenomenological state that accompanies the satisfaction of this drive. However, the relation between the phenomenology and the cognitive system is contingent, as in similar cases of sexual and visual phenomenology. Distinctive explanatory phenomenology may also help us to identify when the theory-formation system is operating. (shrink)
I will introduce six constraints that should guide the formulation and use of DE. One goal in listing them is to engage in dialectical fair play by ruling out criticisms of the doctrine that are directed at misformulations of DE or that result from misapplications of it. Each of these constraints should be acceptable to any proponent of DE. Yet when these constraints on the application of DE are respected, it becomes clear that many of the examples provided as illustrations (...) of DE actually illustrate other, more interesting uses of the contrast between intention and foresight. (shrink)
This paper argues that there are powerful similarities between cognitive development in children and scientific theory change. These similarities are best explained by postulating an underlying abstract set of rules and representations that underwrite both types of cognitive abilities. In fact, science may be successful largely because it exploits powerful and flexible cognitive devices that were designed by evolution to facilitate learning in young children. Both science and cognitive development involve abstract, coherent systems of entities and rules, theories. In both (...) cases, theories provide predictions, explanations, and interpretations. In both, theories change in characteristic ways in response to counterevidence. These ideas are illustrated by an account of children's developing understanding of the mind. (shrink)
Analysis of online mathematics forums can help reveal how explanation is used by mathematicians; we contend that this use of explanation may help to provide an informal conceptualization of simplicity. We extracted six conjectures from recent philosophical work on the occurrence and characteristics of explanation in mathematics. We then tested these conjectures against a corpus derived from online mathematical discussions. To this end, we employed two techniques, one based on indicator terms, the other on a random sample of comments lacking (...) such indicators. Our findings suggest that explanation is widespread in mathematical practice and that it occurs not only in proofs but also in other mathematical contexts. Our work also provides further evidence for the utility of empirical methods in addressing philosophical problems. (shrink)
Background Planning for the next pandemic influenza outbreak is underway in hospitals across the world. The global SARS experience has taught us that ethical frameworks to guide decision-making may help to reduce collateral damage and increase trust and solidarity within and between health care organisations. Good pandemic planning requires reflection on values because science alone cannot tell us how to prepare for a public health crisis. Discussion In this paper, we present an ethical framework for pandemic influenza planning. The ethical (...) framework was developed with expertise from clinical, organisational and public health ethics and validated through a stakeholder engagement process. The ethical framework includes both substantive and procedural elements for ethical pandemic influenza planning. The incorporation of ethics into pandemic planning can be helped by senior hospital administrators sponsoring its use, by having stakeholders vet the framework, and by designing or identifying decision review processes. We discuss the merits and limits of an applied ethical framework for hospital decision-making, as well as the robustness of the framework. Summary The need for reflection on the ethical issues raised by the spectre of a pandemic influenza outbreak is great. Our efforts to address the normative aspects of pandemic planning in hospitals have generated interest from other hospitals and from the governmental sector. The framework will require re-evaluation and refinement and we hope that this paper will generate feedback on how to make it even more robust. (shrink)
Alison Stone investigates how human existence is conditioned by the fact that it begins with birth. How does birth shape the way we are in the world, and the meaning of our lives? Philosophers have written much about death, but neglected birth. Stone brings natality into philosophical view, offering fascinating insights into the human condition.
Alison Stone offers a feminist defence of the idea that sexual difference is natural, providing a new interpretation of the later philosophy of Luce Irigaray. She defends Irigaray's unique form of essentialism and her rethinking of the relationship between nature and culture, showing how Irigaray's ideas can be reconciled with Judith Butler's performative conception of gender, through rethinking sexual difference in relation to German Romantic philosophies of nature. This is the first sustained attempt to connect feminist conceptions of embodiment (...) to German idealist and Romantic accounts of nature. Not merely an interpretation of Irigaray, this book also presents an original feminist perspective on nature and the body. It will encourage debate on the relations between sexual difference, essentialism, and embodiment. (shrink)
At least since Augustine, philosophers have constructed developmental just-so stories about the origins of certain concepts. In these just-so stories, philosophers tell us how children must develop these concepts. However, philosophers have by and large neglected the empirical data about how children actually do develop their ideas about the world. At best they have used information about children in an anecdotal and unsystematic, though often illuminating, way.
Do time travellers retain their normal freedom and abilities when they travel back in time? Lewis, Horwich and Sider argue that they do. Time-travelling Tim can kill his young grandfather, his younger self, or whomever else he pleases—and so, it seems can reasonably deliberate about whether to do these things. He might not succeed. But he is still just as free as a non-time traveller. I’ll disagree. The freedom of time travellers is limited by a rational constraint. Tim can’t reasonably (...) deliberate on killing his grandfather, certain that he’ll fail. If Tim follows his evidence, and appropriately self-predicts, he will be certain he won’t kill his grandfather. So if Tim is both evidentially and deliberatively rational, he can’t deliberate on killing his grandfather. This result has consequences. Firstly, it shows how evidential limits in the actual world contribute to our conception of the future as open. Secondly, it undercuts arguments against the possibility of time travel. Thirdly, it affects how we evaluate counterfactuals in time travel worlds, as well as our own. I’ll use the constraint to motivate an evidential and temporally neutral method of evaluating counterfactuals that holds fixed what a relevant deliberating agent has evidence of, independently of her decision. Using this method, an agent’s local abilities may be affected by what happens globally at other times, including the future. (shrink)
What is the relationship between evolutionary contingency and diversity? The evolutionary contingency thesis emphasizes dependency relations and chance as the hallmarks of evolution. While contingency can be destructive of, for example, the fragile and complex dynamics in an ecosystem, I will mainly focus on the productive or causal aspect of contingency for a particular sort of diversity. There are many sorts of diversities: Gould is most famous for his diversity-to-decimation model, which includes disparate body plans distinguishing different phyla. However, structural (...) diversity construed more broadly spans scales, such as organization in and among cells, structural arrangements and biomechanics on various scales, and even the profile of ancestor-descendent relationships or community structure of interactions within ecosystems. By focusing on stochastic processes in contingent evolution, I argue that contingency causes structural diversity. Specifically, I focus on the plurality of structural types of cells, genetic codes, and phyla diversity as case studies. (shrink)
Obesity is one of several targets of public health efforts related to availability of and access to healthy foods. The tension between individual food decisions and social contexts of food production, preparation, and consumption makes targeting individuals deeply problematic and yet tempting. Such individualization of responsibility for obesity and nutrition is unethical and impractical. This article warns public health campaigns against giving into the temptation to individualize responsibility, and presents an argument for why they should proceed with all due caution, (...) advising providers and public health organizations to keep in mind structural factors rather than aiming at individuals. (shrink)