Web scraping involves using computer programs for automated extraction and organization of data from the Web for the purpose of further data analysis and use. It is frequently used by commercial companies, but also has become a valuable tool in epidemiological research and public health planning. In this paper, we explore ethical issues in a project that “scrapes” public websites of U.S. county jails as part of an effort to develop a comprehensive database to enhance HIV surveillance and improve continuity (...) of care for incarcerated populations. We argue that the well-known framework of Emanuel et al. provides only partial ethical guidance for the activities we describe, which lie at a complex intersection of public health research and public health practice. We suggest some ethical considerations from the ethics of public health practice to help fill gaps in this relatively unexplored area. (shrink)
Background Bioethical debates about privacy, big data, and public health surveillance have not sufficiently engaged the perspectives of those being surveilled. The data justice framework suggests that big data applications have the potential to create disproportionate harm for socially marginalized groups. Using examples from our research on HIV surveillance for individuals incarcerated in jails, we analyze ethical issues in deploying big data in public health surveillance. -/- Methods We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 24 people living with HIV who had (...) been previously incarcerated in county jails about their perspectives on and experiences with HIV surveillance, as part of a larger study to characterize ethical considerations in leveraging big data techniques to enhance continuity of care for incarcerated people living with HIV. -/- Results Most participants expressed support for the state health department tracking HIV testing results and viral load data. Several viewed HIV surveillance as a violation of privacy, and several had actively avoided contact from state public health outreach workers. Participants were most likely to express reservations about surveillance when they viewed the state’s motives as self-interested. Perspectives highlight the mistrust that structurally vulnerable people may have in the state’s capacity to act as an agent of welfare. Findings suggest that adopting a nuanced, context-sensitive view on surveillance is essential. -/- Conclusions Establishing trustworthiness through interpersonal interactions with public health personnel is important to reversing historical legacies of harm to racial minorities and structurally vulnerable groups. Empowering stakeholders to participate in the design and implementation of data infrastructure and governance is critical for advancing a data justice agenda, and can offset privacy concerns. The next steps in advancing the data justice framework in public health surveillance will be to innovate ways to represent the voices of structurally vulnerable groups in the design and governance of big data initiatives. (shrink)
Despite numerous benefits, a dark side exists in human and veterinary caregiving professions that can negatively impact caregiver mental health. It was postulated that other nonhuman animal caregivers, animal welfare employees, might experience mental health outcomes similar to those in analogous caregiving occupations. This study investigated employee mental health at a Canadian animal welfare organization using five validated mental health instruments: Perceived Stress Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Professional Quality of Life Scale, Maslach Burnout Inventory Scale, and Connor-Davidson Resilience (...) Scale. Front-line and support staff tended to have poorer mental health outcomes relative to the study population mean, potential for burnout was a notable concern, and resilience was below normal for most employees. These results shed light on the mental health of an animal caregiving occupation that has largely been ignored. Strategies for building employee resilience are discussed. (shrink)
This paper describes an AFOSR-supported basic research program that focuses on developing a new framework for combining hard with soft data in order to improve space situational awareness. The goal is to provide, in an automatic and near real-time fashion, a ranking of possible threats to blue assets (assets trying to be protected) from red assets (assets with hostile intentions). The approach is based on Conceptual Spaces models, which combine features from traditional associative and symbolic cognitive models. While Conceptual (...) Spaces are revolutionary, they lack an underlying mathematical framework. Several such frameworks have attempted to represent Conceptual Spaces, but by far the most robust is the model developed by Holender. His model utilizes integer linear programming in order to obtain an overall similarity value between observations and concepts that support the formation of hypotheses. This paper will describe a method for building Conceptual Spaces models for threats that utilizes ontologies as a means to provide a clear semantic foundation for this inferencing process; in particular threat ontologies and space domain ontologies are developed and employed in this approach. A space situational awareness use-case is presented involving a kinetic kill scenario and results are shown to assess the performance of this fusion-based inferencing framework. (shrink)
Criticized as a nostalgic anachronism by those who oppose her version of political theory and lauded as symbol of direct democratic participation by those who favor it, the Athenian polis features prominently in Hannah Arendt's account of politics. This essay traces the origin and development of Arendt's conception of the polis as a space of appearance from the early 1950s onward. It makes particular use of the Denktagebuch, Arendt's intellectual diary, in order to shed new light on the historicity of (...) one of her central concepts. The article contends that both critics and partisans of Arendt's use of the polis have made the same mistake: they have presumed that the polis represents a space of face-to-face immediacy. In fact, Arendt compared the polis to a series of analogues, many of which are not centered on direct exchanges between political actors and spectators. As a result, Arendt's early work on the polis turns out to anticipate many of the concerns of her later work on judgment, and her theory of the polis becomes a theory of topics. (shrink)
To many it seems obvious that any reduction of the nature of man to purely physical components involves an indirect attack on the doctrine of human immortality. To so reduce human nature, it may be argued, is to eliminate the soul and it is this essential component of man, rather than his body, which is the foundation of his immortality. This seems to me an altogether mistaken notion. My purpose in this paper, therefore, is to clarify the relation of physicalism (...) and immortality and thereby to reveal the error in this alleged incompatibility. (shrink)
What does it mean “to put an idea in context”? Does it mean explaining the idea as the effect of a certain set of causes? Or articulating the range of responses to an issue that are recognizably conventional in a particular place and time so that the force of any given response can be assessed? Something else? Intellectual historians answer this question about context in a variety of ways, but I think all would recognize that this is a particularly important (...) question for intellectual history as a field of inquiry. The book under review here may seem to be beyond the purview of Modern Intellectual History. After all, Robert Brandom's A Spirit of Trust: A Reading of Hegel's Phenomenology is a book written by a philosopher for philosophers. Perhaps it could be called history of philosophy, but it is certainly not intellectual history. Nevertheless, I think this is a book that intellectual historians should be dealing with. Why? Because, among other things, the book offers a compelling and illuminating answer to the question of what it is to put an idea in context. This is not because the book itself does contextual work. Brandom ignores almost everything that intellectual historians would regard as contextual for Hegel. Kant is a figure in the book, yet the broader tableau of early nineteenth-century German philosophy, politics, and culture is almost completely absent. But the book does offer a theory of concepts. In doing so, A Spirit of Trust also gives us an account of context. Here, I'll be arguing that this account of context is important for intellectual historians and helps us to understand more clearly debates that we have been having recently about how we do our work. In particular, I think Brandom helps us see that there is no necessary tension between putting ideas in historical contexts, on the one hand, and developing them critically, on the other. And this helps us overcome a binary between context and critique reinforced by a recent debate between Peter Gordon and Ian Hunter. (shrink)
"Legend is overdue for replacement, and an adequate replacement must attend to the process of science as carefully as Hull has done. I share his vision of a serious account of the social and intellectual dynamics of science that will avoid both the rosy blur of Legend and the facile charms of relativism. . . . Because of [Hull's] deep concern with the ways in which research is actually done, Science as a Process begins an important project in the study (...) of science. It is one of a distinguished series of books, which Hull himself edits."—Philip Kitcher, Nature "In Science as a Process, [David Hull] argues that the tension between cooperation and competition is exactly what makes science so successful. . . . Hull takes an unusual approach to his subject. He applies the rules of evolution in nature to the evolution of science, arguing that the same kinds of forces responsible for shaping the rise and demise of species also act on the development of scientific ideas."—Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review "By far the most professional and thorough case in favour of an evolutionary philosophy of science ever to have been made. It contains excellent short histories of evolutionary biology and of systematics (the science of classifying living things); an important and original account of modern systematic controversy; a counter-attack against the philosophical critics of evolutionary philosophy; social-psychological evidence, collected by Hull himself, to show that science does have the character demanded by his philosophy; and a philosophical analysis of evolution which is general enough to apply to both biological and historical change."—Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement "Hull is primarily interested in how social interactions within the scientific community can help or hinder the process by which new theories and techniques get accepted. . . . The claim that science is a process for selecting out the best new ideas is not a new one, but Hull tells us exactly how scientists go about it, and he is prepared to accept that at least to some extent, the social activities of the scientists promoting a new idea can affect its chances of being accepted."—Peter J. Bowler, Archives of Natural History "I have been doing philosophy of science now for twenty-five years, and whilst I would never have claimed that I knew everything, I felt that I had a really good handle on the nature of science, Again and again, Hull was able to show me just how incomplete my understanding was. . . . Moreover, [Science as a Process] is one of the most compulsively readable books that I have ever encountered."—Michael Ruse, Biology and Philosophy. (shrink)
Henry Thoreau boasted that he was widely travelled in Concord, Massachusetts. He was born there on 12 July 1817, and he died there on 6 May 1862, of tuberculosis, at the age of forty-four years. In 1837 he graduated from Harvard College, and in 1838 he joined Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and others in the informal group that became known as the New England Transcendentalists. The author of four books, many essays and poems, and a voluminous journal, he is (...) best known for the book Walden and the essay ‘Civil Disobedience’, and for the circumstances attending these two milestones in American thought and literature. (shrink)
The advent of formal definitions of the simplicity of a theory has important implications for model selection. But what is the best way to define simplicity? Forster and Sober () advocate the use of Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC), a non-Bayesian formalisation of the notion of simplicity. This forms an important part of their wider attack on Bayesianism in the philosophy of science. We defend a Bayesian alternative: the simplicity of a theory is to be characterised in terms of Wallace's Minimum (...) Message Length (MML). We show that AIC is inadequate for many statistical problems where MML performs well. Whereas MML is always defined, AIC can be undefined. Whereas MML is not known ever to be statistically inconsistent, AIC can be. Even when defined and consistent, AIC performs worse than MML on small sample sizes. MML is statistically invariant under 1-to-1 re-parametrisation, thus avoiding a common criticism of Bayesian approaches. We also show that MML provides answers to many of Forster's objections to Bayesianism. Hence an important part of the attack on Bayesianism fails. (shrink)
One way to understand science is as a selection process. David Hull, one of the dominant figures in contemporary philosophy of science, sets out in this 2001 volume a general analysis of this selection process that applies equally to biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, operant learning, and social and conceptual change in science. Hull aims to distinguish between those characteristics that are contingent features of selection and those that are essential. Science and Selection brings (...) together many of David Hull's most important essays on selection in one accessible volume. (shrink)
“Hildebrand has constructed a well-paced and historically informative evaluation of neopragmatism. . . . This book makes an excellent companion for courses in both contemporary epistemology and American philosophy.” –Choice How faithful are the Neopragmatists' reformulations of Classical Pragmatism? Can their Neopragmatisms work? In examining the difficulties in Neopragmatism, David L. Hildebrand is able to propose some distinct directions for Pragmatism.
A central subject is the main strand around which the fabric of an historical narrative is woven. Such a subject must possess both spatial and temporal continuity. It is integrated into an historical entity through the relationship between those properties which make it an individual, and their interaction with the historical event. Scientific theory is useful in the reconstruction of past events and the definition of the central subject. Ideas used as central subjects present the problem of finding internal principles (...) of integration which will make the idea continuous over time. The purpose of narratives is to explain an event by integrating it into an organized whole. (shrink)
Drawing on work of the past decade, this volume brings together articles from the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, and many other branches of the biological sciences. The volume delves into the latest theoretical controversies as well as burning questions of contemporary social importance. The issues considered include the nature of evolutionary theory, biology and ethics, the challenge from religion, and the social implications of biology today (in particular the Human Genome Project).
Biological species have been treated traditionally as spatiotemporally unrestricted classes. If they are to perform the function which they do in the evolutionary process, they must be spatiotemporally localized individuals, historical entities. Reinterpreting biological species as historical entities solves several important anomalies in biology, in philosophy of biology, and within philosophy itself. It also has important implications for any attempt to present an "evolutionary" analysis of science and for sciences such as anthropology which are devoted to the study of single (...) species. (shrink)
Will democracy figure prominently in China's future? If so, what kind of democracy? In this insightful and thought-provoking book, David Hall and Roger Ames explore such questions and, in the course of answering them, look to the ideas of John Dewey and Confucius.
Considered the most original thinker in the Italian philosophical tradition, Giambattista Vico has been the object of much scholarly attention but little consensus. In this new interpretation, David L. Marshall examines the entirety of Vico's oeuvre and situates him in the political context of early modern Naples. He demonstrates Vico's significance as a theorist who adapted the discipline of rhetoric to modern conditions. Marshall presents Vico's work as an effort to resolve a contradiction. As a professor of rhetoric at (...) the University of Naples, Vico had a deep investment in the explanatory power of classical rhetorical thought, especially that of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. Yet as a historian of the failure of Naples as a self-determining political community, he had no illusions about the possibility or worth of democratic and republican systems of government in the post-classical world. As Marshall demonstrates, by jettisoning the assumption that rhetoric only illuminates direct, face-to-face interactions between orator and auditor, Vico reinvented rhetoric for a modern world in which the Greek polis and the Roman res publica are no longer paradigmatic for political thought. (shrink)
The claim that conceptual systems change is a platitude. That our conceptual systems are theory-laden is no less platitudinous. Given evolutionary theory, biologists are led to divide up the living world into genes, organisms, species, etc. in a particular way. No theory-neutral individuation of individuals or partitioning of these individuals into natural kinds is possible. Parallel observations should hold for philosophical theories about scientific theories. In this paper I summarize a theory of scientific change which I set out in considerable (...) detail in a book that I shall publish in the near future. Just as few scientists were willing to entertain the view that species evolve in the absence of a mechanism capable of explaining this change, so philosophers should be just as reticent about accepting a parallel view of conceptual systems in science evolving in the absence of a mechanism to explain this evolution. In this paper I set out such a mechanism. One reason that this task has seemed so formidable in the past is that we have all construed conceptual systems inappropriately. If we are to understand the evolution of conceptual systems in science, we must interpret them as forming lineages related by descent. In my theory, the notion of a family resemblance is taken literally, not metaphorically. In my book, I set out data to show that the mechanism which I propose is actually operative. In this paper, such data is assumed. (shrink)
Authors frequently refer to gene-based selection in biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, and operant learning as exemplifying selection processes in the same sense of this term. However, as obvious as this claim may seem on the surface, setting out an account of “selection” that is general enough to incorporate all three of these processes without becoming so general as to be vacuous is far from easy. In this target article, we set out such a general (...) account of selection to see how well it accommodates these very different sorts of selection. The three fundamental elements of this account are replication, variation, and environmental interaction. For selection to occur, these three processes must be related in a very specific way. In particular, replication must alternate with environmental interaction so that any changes that occur in replication are passed on differentially because of environmental interaction. One of the main differences among the three sorts of selection that we investigate concerns the role of organisms. In traditional biological evolution, organisms play a central role with respect to environmental interaction. Although environmental interaction can occur at other levels of the organizational hierarchy, organisms are the primary focus of environmental interaction. In the functioning of the immune system, organisms function as containers. The interactions that result in selection of antibodies during a lifetime are between entities (antibodies and antigens) contained within the organism. Resulting changes in the immune system of one organism are not passed on to later organisms. Nor are changes in operant behavior resulting from behavioral selection passed on to later organisms. But operant behavior is not contained in the organism because most of the interactions that lead to differential replication include parts of the world outside the organism. Changes in the organism's nervous system are the effects of those interactions. The role of genes also varies in these three systems. Biological evolution is gene-based (i.e., genes are the primary replicators). Genes play very different roles in operant behavior and the immune system. However, in all three systems, iteration is central. All three selection processes are also incredibly wasteful and inefficient. They can generate complexity and novelty primarily because they are so wasteful and inefficient. Key Words: evolution; immunology; interaction; operant behavior; operant learning; replication; selection; variation. (shrink)
With increasing awareness of environmental issues, there has been rising demand for environmental-friendly business practices. Prior research has shown that the implementation of environmental management practices is influenced by existing and potential stakeholder groups in the form of external pressures from legislators, environmental groups, financial institutions and suppliers, as well as internally by employees and owner/manager attitudes and knowledge. However, it has been reported that despite business owner/managers having strong “green” attitudes, the level of implementation of environmental-friendly practices is low. (...) In order to explore the connection between pressures for improved practices and the management actions taken, this article examines how influence from various stakeholders is related to awareness of environmental issues, and how this awareness relates to actions taken within the businesses to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. The results indicate that legislation does result in general environmental awareness, and that organizations are then willing to␣change their business processes and environmental strategies. However, despite their actions they have little awareness of the benefits that might arise from cost reductions from their environmental-friendly practices. Those influenced by their suppliers act to reduce waste, but do not put into place formal environmental management systems, or use environmental messages to market their goods or services. Nevertheless, it can be argued that they have a real commitment to environmental issues, as evidenced by a willingness to voluntarily contribute to environmental organizations. (shrink)
The headlines at the outset of 1987 told of Howard Beach, where a group of blacks had been chased, and one killed, because they had unwittingly entered a white enclave in New York City. And they told of Forsythe County, Georgia, where the mere presence of civil rights marchers, in a place from which blacks had been driven three-quarters of a century earlier, brought out depths of antagonism unknown since an earlier era of civil rights marches. Behind both events – (...) indeed, behind almost every question of race to arise in recent years – was the specter of affirmative action. Even as, during the late 1960s, some blamed urban riots on the federal government's failure to achieve equal opportunity between the races by equalizing life outcomes, so in 1987 white antagonisms were regarded in some quarters as a crude reflection of the Reagan administration's hostility towards affirmative action. The rhetoric and the policies of that administration, it was said, contributed to a sentiment that blacks already had their share – indeed, more than their share. Official word and deed contributed also, it was argued, to a resentment against blacks who, because of quotas, had been unfairly advantaged. (shrink)
Classroom cases and decision making models used in the teaching of business ethics may be inconsistent with the actual needs of practicing manager students. Three summary cases written by practicing manager students are included in this paper as well as evidence that concerns a focus more on interpersonal dilemmas rather than top management decisions. As well, the relevancy of philosophical perspectives of ethical decision models is questioned. More practical, hands-on models for ethical decisions are provided. Finally, conclusions of relevancy for (...) the field are drawn. (shrink)
Karl Popper has been one of the few philosophers of sciences who has influenced scientists. I evaluate Popper's influence on our understanding of evolutionary theory from his earliest publications to the present. Popper concluded that three sorts of statements in evolutionary biology are not genuine laws of nature. I take him to be right on this score. Popper's later distinction between evolutionary theory as a metaphysical research program and as a scientific theory led more than one scientist to misunderstand his (...) position on evolutionary theory as a scientific theory. In his later work Popper also introduced what he took to be improvements of evolutionary theory. Thus far these improvements have had almost no influence on evolutionary biology. I conclude by examining the influence of Popper on the reception of cladistic analysis. (shrink)