This essay explores the role of informal logicand its application in the context of currentdebates regarding evidence-based medicine. This aim is achieved through a discussion ofthe goals and objectives of evidence-basedmedicine and a review of the criticisms raisedagainst evidence-based medicine. Thecontributions to informal logic by StephenToulmin and Douglas Walton are explicated andtheir relevance for evidence-based medicine isdiscussed in relation to a common clinicalscenario: hypertension management. This essayconcludes with a discussion on the relationshipbetween clinical reasoning, rationality, andevidence. It is argued that (...) informal logic hasthe virtue of bringing explicitness to the roleof evidence in clinical reasoning, and bringssensitivity to understanding the role ofdialogical context in the need for evidence inclinical decision making. (shrink)
Most of us have grown up with faces on television that look back at us, talk to us, even whenwe ignore them. They smile at us, and seem to address us personally. But they cannot seeor hear us, and we may or may not know who they are. Increasingly, in societies wherescreens are prevalent , our encounters with fellow humanbeings are mediated in ways such as this. Has the ubiquitous intervention of screens in ourlives thus made it harder to understand (...) and communicate directly with one another? Or,have screens extended our capacity to empathise and ‘socialise’, bringing us face-to-facewith people and points of view that we otherwise would never have encountered? In thisessay, I examine the idea that cinematic perception enables us to see the social world froma radically different perspective, and that an experience of this perspective may in itself beethical. I focus on the use of ‘direct address’, and discuss two documentaries by Errol Morriswhere the technique of direct address is used in ways that complicate ideas of mediationand empathy: Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. and The Fog of War:Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara . I also draw on the philosophyof Emmanuel Levinas, particularly his work on ethics and the face, to analyse the effects ofMorris’s techniques. The essay highlights the importance of responsibility in human communication, and maintains that by reflecting on the viewing situation we are betterpositioned to empathise with Morris’s controversial subjects. (shrink)
This volume contains ten original essays by leading philosophers in America, Britain and Europe, all addressed to the dialectical holist philosophical position developed by the contemporary philosopher Errol Harris; it also contains an extensive introduction outlining and defending the general contours of that position. It serves not only as a Festschrift for Professor Harris, but also as a comprehensive, critical exposition of the neo-Hegelian system of philosophical thought for which Harris is widely known, a position which is attracting the (...) particular interest of contemporary physical cosmologists and philosophers of science, as well as that of other metaphysicians and students of the history of philosophy. (shrink)
The term ‘Empiricism’ has had at least two different, though not unconnected, applications in modern thought, one to scientific method and the other to philosophical theory. My intention in this lecture is to try to show that, while these two applications of the term have a common source, their actual referents are widely divergent and in large measure even mutually incompatible.
What, normatively speaking, are the grounds of rational choice? This paper defends ‘comparativism’, the view that a comparative fact grounds rational choice. It examines three of the most serious challenges to comparativism: 1) that sometimes what grounds rational choice is an exclusionary-type relation among alternatives; 2) that an absolute fact such as that it’s your duty or conforms to the Categorial Imperative grounds rational choice; and 3) that rational choice between incomparables is possible, and in particular, all that is needed (...) for the possibility of rational choice is that one alternative is not worse than the others. Each challenge is questioned. If comparativism is correct, then no matter what normative theory you favor, your answer to the question, ‘What makes my choice rational?’ must be comparative in form. In this way, comparativism provides a framework for normative theorizing. (shrink)