In this paper I draw on the French philosopher Michel Foucault for a viewpoint on aspects of EBM. This means that I develop his idea of the spaces occupied by disease. I give much of the paper to only one of these spaces, the space of perception of disease, in order to major on the medical gaze, one of Foucault’s best-known contributions to the philosophy of medicine. As I explain what I mean by each of the spaces of disease, I (...) configure EBM into this space. The conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. Evidence-based clinical practice requires integration of individual clinical expertise and patient preferences with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research and consideration of available resources. EBM can be considered a subcategory of evidence-based healthcare, which also includes other branches of health-care practice such as evidence-based nursing or evidence-based physiotherapy. EBM subcategories include evidence-based surgery and evidence-based cardiology (Guyatt et al. 2008 , 783). (shrink)
Objectives of socially responsible investment (SRI) are discussed with reference to the two main mechanisms of the SRI ‘movement’: shareholder advocacy and managed investments. We argue that in their current forms, both mechanisms lack the power to create significant corporate change. Shareholder advocacy has been largely unsuccessful to date. Even if resolutions were successful, shareholder advocacy may still be ineffective if underlying economic opportunities remain. Marketing material and investment prospectuses issued by socially responsible mutual funds (SRI funds) commonly contain the (...) claim that, by affecting corporations' access to capital funding, SRI funds can change corporate practices. This paper makes a contribution by presenting the market share of SRI funds in the regions where they are most developed, being Europe, the U.S. and Australia, to show that this claim is unlikely to eventuate. SRI funds also commonly claim that they will outperform conventional active mutual funds. That the economic performances of both are similar might be explained by their similar portfolio compositions. The paper makes an innovation in the SRI literature by adopting a legitimacy framework to explain the continued presence of SRI funds. To achieve desired social and environmental outcomes, SRI funds are urged to address issues at a more systemic level. A suggested mechanism is the collective lobbying of corporations and, especially, governments. (shrink)
Denis Walsh has written a striking new defense in this journal of the statisticalist (i.e., noncausalist) position regarding the forces of evolution. I defend the causalist view against his new objections. I argue that the heart of the issue lies in the nature of nonadditive causation. Detailed consideration of that turns out to defuse Walsh’s ‘description‐dependence’ critique of causalism. Nevertheless, the critique does suggest a basis for reconciliation between the two competing views. *Received December 2009; revised December 2009. (...) †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 599 Lucas Hall, One University Boulevard, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO 63121; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
In the preface to his book God the Problem , Gordon Kaufman writes ‘Although the notion of God as agent seems presupposed by most contemporary theologians … Austin Farrer has been almost alone in trying to specify carefully and consistently just what this might be understood to mean.’.
This paper argues for a Husserlian account of phenomenal intentionality. Experience is intentional insofar as it presents a mind-independent, objective world. Its doing so is a matter of the way it hangs together, its having a certain structure. But in order for the intentionality in question to be properly understood as phenomenal intentionality, this structure must inhere in experience as a phenomenal feature. Husserl’s concept of horizon designates this intentionality-bestowing experiential structure, while his concept of motivation designates the unique phenomenal (...) character of this structure as it is experientially lived through. The way experience hangs together is itself a phenomenal feature of experience. (shrink)
We consider whether public corporations can be ethical, using the notion of corporate social responsibility . We distinguish between ‘weak’ CSR and ‘strong’ CSR and consider four possible positions in relation to strong CSR. First, CSR is unnecessary – good ethics is synonymous with good business. Second, CSR is unethical as the government is responsible for intervention in markets. Third, CSR is ethical and is being implemented by corporations. We find none of these positions convincing and argue a fourth position (...) – CSR is ethical but impossible for corporations to implement due to competitive markets and the legal requirements of the corporate form. We conclude that public corporations are best considered amoral entities. In order to alleviate the inevitable negative social and environmental outcomes arising from corporate activities, we suggest strengthening the regulatory environment and using alternate organizational forms to conduct economic activities. (shrink)
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other kinds of (...) reasoning, that is, the judge can reach the required decision without recourse to nonlegal normative considerations of morality or political philosophy. I also note that “formalism” is sometimes associated with the idea that judicial decision-making involves nothing more than mechanical deduction on the model of the syllogism—Beccaria, for example, expresses such a view. I call the latter “Vulgar Formalism” to emphasize that it is not a view to which anyone today cares to subscribe. (shrink)
I argue that recent advances in developmental biology demonstrate the inadequacy of suborganismal mechanism. The category of the organism, construed as a ’natural purpose’ should play an ineliminable role in explaining ontogenetic development and adaptive evolution. According to Kant the natural purposiveness of organisms cannot be demonstrated to be an objective principle in nature, nor can purposiveness figure in genuine explain. I attempt to argue, by appeal to recent work on self-organization, that the purposiveness of organisms is a natural phenomenon (...) and, by appeal to the apparatus of invariance explanation, that biological purposiveness provides genuine, ineliminable biological explanations. (edited). (shrink)
In ‘The ethics of belief and Christian faith as commitment to assumptions’, Rik Peels attacks the views that I advanced in ‘Christianity and the ethics of belief’. Here, I rebut his criticisms of the claim that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence, of the contention that Christians are committed to that claim, and of the notion of that faith is not belief but commitment to assumptions in the hope of salvation. My original conclusions still stand.
This paper applies a utilitarian analysis to corporate political donations. Unlike the more common rights-based analyses, it is argued that the optimal policy is the one that best satisfies society’s rational preferences concerning donor influence, adequate financing, donor pressure and the cost of maintaining and enforcing the democratic system. This analysis suggests that a ban is best if it would be generally observed and sufficient financing from other sources is available, otherwise a donation cap is a better option. Further, lobbyists (...) should be banned from donating small gifts and drafting bills for candidates. The impact of disclosure and other risk management mechanisms are also considered. (shrink)
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...) it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Espen Hammer’s exceptionally fine book explores modern temporality, its problems and prospects. Hammer claims that how people experience time is a cultural/historical phenomenon, and that there is a peculiarly modern way of experiencing time as a series of present moments each indefinitely leading to the next in an ordered way. Time as measured by the clock is the paradigmatic instance of this sense of time. In this perspective time is quantifiable and forward-looking, and the present is dominated by the future. (...) Hammer argues that this manner of experiencing time provides a way of living that brings with it not only the basis for great successes in technology, but also great costs—specifically, what he calls the problems of transience and of meaning. Hammer goes about his task by considering the ways some of the great modern philosophers have characterized present-day temporality and have responded to the problems he has identified. Specifically, he considers what Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, Bloch, and Adorno provide in response to our peculiarly modern predicaments. The book is remarkable for its clarity and perceptiveness, but in the process in crucial places it simplifies the matters at hand or fails to push its insights as far as it ought, and in the end promises more than it can deliver. In this it betrays a rationalist confidence in the power of reason that founders on what in many ways remains a mystery. (shrink)
We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...) of the statistical interpretation of selection for various debates within the philosophy of biologythe `explananda of selection' debate and the `units of selection' debate. (shrink)
There are two competing interpretations of the modern synthesis theory of evolution: the dynamical (also know as ‘traditional’) and the statistical. The dynamical interpretation maintains that explanations offered under the auspices of the modern synthesis theory articulate the causes of evolution. It interprets selection and drift as causes of population change. The statistical interpretation holds that modern synthesis explanations merely cite the statistical structure of populations. This paper offers a defense of statisticalism. It argues that a change in trait frequencies (...) in a population can be attributed only to selection or drift against the background of a particular statistical description of the population. The traditionalist supposition that selection and drift are description‐independent causes of population change leads the dynamical interpretation into a dilemma: it must face a contradiction or accept the loss of explanatory power. (shrink)
The papers collected in this volume are the proceedings of the 1999 Royal Institute of Philosophy conference: the theme of the conference, the same as the title of this collection, Naturalism, Evolution and Mind. The essays collected here cover a wide array of disparate themes in philosophy, psychology, evolutionary biology and the philosophy of science. They range in subject matter from the mind/body problem and the nature of philosophical naturalism, to the naturalization of psychological norms to the naturalization of phenomenal (...) and intentional content, from the methodology cognitive ethology to issues in evolutionary psychology. They are united by the simple thought that the great promise of current naturalism in philosophy of mind resides in its potential to reveal mental phenomena as continuous with other phenomena of the natural world, particularly with other biological phenomena. (shrink)
Hume's explicit pronouncements about truth are few and unenlightening. In a well-known passage near the beginning of Book III of the Treatise he writes that ‘Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact.’ Hume's main concern in this passage, however, is not with the concept of truth, but with his thesis that moral distinctions are not derived (...) from reason: he introduces his reference to truth only with a view to showing that our ‘passions, volitions and actions … being original facts and realities, complete in themselves,’ are not susceptible of the agreement and disagreement spoken of, and therefore cannot be said to be true or false, in conformity with or contrary to reason. The account of truth given here is not elaborated, and perhaps not even thought to need elaboration. Similarly with another passage a few pages earlier in which Hume says that ‘Truth is of two kinds, consisting either in the discovery of the proportions of ideas, considered as such, or in the conformity of our ideas of objects to their real existence’ . Here again his interest is not in truth itself but in ‘curiosity, or the love of truth,’ the passion which, Hume says, ‘was the first source of all our inquiries’ . Hume seems to take it for granted that nothing more needs to be said about what it is to discover ‘the proportions of ideas, considered as such,’ or about the circumstances in which we can speak of there being ‘conformity’ or the lack of it between our ideas of objects and their real existence. So far as he is concerned the central point to grasp is the distinction between propositions which have to do with relations of ideas and those which express, or purport to express, matters of fact. Once this distinction is clear, the nature of truth is supposed to be plain. (shrink)
Few major philosophers show evidence of having studied the works of their predecessors with special care, even in cases where they were subject to particular influences which they were ready to acknowledge. Hume knew that he was working in the tradition of ‘some late philosophers in England, who have begun to put the science of man on a new footing’—‘Mr Locke, my Lord Shaftsbury, Dr Mandeville, Mr Hutchinson, Dr Butler, &c.’ But there is not much sign in the Treatise or (...) elsewhere in Hume's writings of any close acquaintance with the works of these authors; the presumption must be that he had read them at some time and extracted the main ideas, but was not in the habit of returning to their texts. He had something more important to do, namely to work at philosophical problems of his own. Similarly Kant, though he said that the Critique of Pure Reason was not meant to be ‘a critique of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general’, had clearly felt the impact of the thought of some important past philosophers, but equally had never spent much time in finding out just what these philosophers had to say. Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz and Hume all get fairly frequent mention in his pages. But Kant takes his knowledge of Plato and Aristotle from J. J. Brucker's Historia critica philosophiae , a six-volume compilation which first appeared in 1742, or from doubtful sources such as Mendelssohn's doctored translation of the Phaedo , and though he doubtless knew the more recent authors at first hand clearly felt no need to study them in any depth. This was true even of writers to whom he attributed a particular importance, such as Leibniz and Hume. The references to Hume in the Critique and Prolegomena are all disappointingly general, and though the summary of Leibniz's philosophy in the section called ‘The Amphiboly of Concepts of Reflection’ has a certain force, it is not documented with references to Leibnizian texts. Kant knows that there is a difference between the views of the historical Leibniz and those which constituted the ‘Leibnizian-Wolffian system’ of his successors. But he is not very curious about the difference, or inclined to explore it. (shrink)
The apparently distinct aesthetic values of naturalism and neoclassicism came together in creative tension and fusion in much late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century sculptural theory and practice. The hybrid styles that resulted suited the requirements of the European sculpture-buying public. Both aesthetics, however, created difficulties for the German Idealists who represented a particularly uncompromising strain of Romantic theory. In their view, naturalism was too closely bound to the observable, familiar world, while neoclassicism was too wedded to notions of clearly defined (...) forms. This article explores sculptural practice and theory at this time as a site of complex debates around the medium's potential for specific concrete representation in a context of competing Romantic visions of modernity. (shrink)