Peer review is an important component of scholarly research. Long a black box whose practical mechanisms were unknown to researchers and readers, peer review is increasingly facing demands for accountability and improvement. Numerous studies address empirical aspects of the peer review process. Much less consideration is typically given to normative dimensions of peer review. This paper considers what authors, editors, reviewers, and readers ought to expect from the peer review process. Integrity in the review process is vital if various (...) parties are to have trust, or faith, in the credibility of peer review mechanisms. Trust in the quality of peer review can increase or diminish in response to numerous factors. Five core elements of peer review are identified. Constitutive elements of scholarly peer review include: fairness in critical analysis of manuscripts; the selection of appropriate reviewers with relevant expertise; identifiable, publicly accountable reviewers; timely reviews, and helpful critical commentary. The F.A.I.T.H. model provides a basis for linking conceptual analysis of the core norms of peer review with empirical research into the adequacy and effectiveness of various processes of peer review. The model is intended to describe core elements of high-quality peer review and suggest what factors can foster or hinder trust in the integrity of peer review. (shrink)
Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein (1993) is one of the very few films made about a philosopher’s life. Almost a parody of a late twentieth-century art-house movie, it contains a mimetic performance by Karl Johnson in the title role, plus cameos by Michael Gough (Bertrand Russell) and the ubiquitous Tilda Swinton (Russell’s lover, Ottoline Morrell). There is a green Martian (played by Nabil Shaban) who quizzes the young Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a collection of handsome young men sitting on deckchairs, looking puzzled and (...) gazing adoringly at the Master. The action, such as it is, takes place against a theatrical black background with a few props, and the whole thing lasts a brisk seventy minutes... (shrink)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rationale for supporting the development and approval of BiDil for heart failure specifically in black patients was based on under-powered, post hoc subgroup analyses of two relatively old trials , which were further complicated by substantial covariate imbalances between racial groups. Indeed, the only statistically significant difference observed between black and white patients was found without any adjustment for potential confounders in samples that were unlikely to have been adequately randomized. Meanwhile, because (...) the accepted baseline therapy for heart failure has substantially improved since these trials took place, their results cannot be combined with data from the more recent trial amongst black patients alone. There is therefore little scientific evidence to support the approval of BiDil only for use in black patients, and the FDA's rationale fails to consider the ethical consequences of recognizing racial categories as valid markers of innate biological difference, and permitting the development of group-specific therapies that are subject to commercial incentives rather than scientific evidence or therapeutic imperatives. This paper reviews the limitations in the scientific evidence used to support the approval of BiDil only for use in black patients; calls for further analysis of the V-HeFT I and II data which might clarify whether responses to H-I vary by race; and evaluates the consequences of commercial incentives to develop racialized medicines. We recommend that the FDA revise the procedures they use to examine applications for race-based therapies to ensure that these are based on robust scientific claims and do not undermine the aims of the 1992 Revitalization Act. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article ““Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance” by Tom Scholte. Upshot: What von Foerster accomplished in raising the specter of second-order cybernetics now requires experimental design and the heavy lifting of theory to complete his quest for new ways of thinking. Scholte’s “black box theatre” points to research into non-trivial systems as a formal means of grasping living systems.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, advances in experimental psychology and the physiology of the sense organs inspired so-called "Back to Kant" Neo-Kantians to articulate robustly psychologistic visions of Kantian epistemology. But their accounts of the thing in itself were fraught with deep tension: they wanted to conceive of things in themselves as the causes of our sensations, while their own accounts of causal inference ruled that claim out. This paper diagnoses the source of that problem in views of (...) one Neo-Kantian, F. A. Lange, and argues that it is solved only by Ernst Mach. No less than Lange and other Neo-Kantians, Mach was inspired to develop a psychologistic account of the foundations of knowledge, but his account also includes a coherent denial of things in themselves' existence. Finally, this paper uses this account of Lange and Mach on things in themselves to illuminate Mach's relation to a certain strain of the Neo-Kantian philosophy of his own time: his views constitute a more fully coherent version of the psychologistic theory of knowledge Back to Kant figures tried to articulate. (shrink)
This paper gives an account of the debate between F.A. Hayek and J.M. Keynes in the 1930s written for the general public. The purpose of this is twofold. First, to provide the general reader with a narrative of what happened, … More ›.
Hayek’s social theory of evolution suggests that market liberal morality is adaptive for social groups. He justified the evolutionary superiority of market liberalism by asserting that groups operating under a market liberal morality would have a higher capacity to expand and reproduce than groups with alternative tribal moralities. Thus, market liberal groups would be favoured through cultural and genetic group selection. But in fact, market liberal morality reveals maladaptive tendencies and remains insufficiently powerful to create adaptive social groups. Hayek’s dismissal (...) of moral tribalism in favour of market liberal morality is found to underestimate the importance of tribal goals in the evolutionary system. (shrink)