I want in this paper to do two things. First, I want to respond to some studies that argue that people are often not rational: that people regularly and systematically depart from rationality. The conclusion itself does not worry me. I pressed for the same in a recent book. But the arguments seem to me wrong, and wrong in an interesting way. There may be something to be learned from seeing how and why they fail.
Our intuitive assumption that only organisms are the real individuals in the natural world is at odds with developments in cell biology, ecology, genetics, evolutionary biology, and other fields. Although organisms have served for centuries as nature’s paradigmatic individuals, science suggests that organisms are only one of the many ways in which the natural world could be organized. When living beings work together—as in ant colonies, beehives, and bacteria-metazoan symbiosis—new collective individuals can emerge. In this book, leading scholars consider the (...) biological and philosophical implications of the emergence of these new collective individuals from associations of living beings. The topics they consider range from metaphysical issues to biological research on natural selection, sociobiology, and symbiosis. -/- The contributors investigate individuality and its relationship to evolution and the specific concept of organism; the tension between group evolution and individual adaptation; and the structure of collective individuals and the extent to which they can be defined by the same concept of individuality. These new perspectives on evolved individuality should trigger important revisions to both philosophical and biological conceptions of the individual. -/- Contributors: Frédéric Bouchard, Ellen Clarke, Jennifer Fewell, Andrew Gardner, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Charles J. Goodnight, Matt Haber, Andrew Hamilton, Philippe Huneman, Samir Okasha, Thomas Pradeu, Scott Turner, Minus van Baalen. (shrink)
We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...) of the theory as one about populations exclusively. (shrink)
Despite growing evidence that a significant number of patients living with Parkison’s disease experience neuropsychiatric changes following Deep Brain Stimulation treatment, the phenomenon remains poorly understood and largely unexplored in the literature. To shed new light on this phenomenon, we used qualitative methods grounded in phenomenology to conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 17 patients living with Parkinson’s Disease who had undergone DBS. Our study found that patients appear to experience postoperative DBS-induced changes in the form of self-estrangement. Using the insights (...) from patients’ subjective perceptions of postoperative self-change provides a potent explanation of potential DBS-induced self-estrangement. (shrink)
Although an invasive medical intervention, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has been regarded as an efficient and safe treatment of Parkinson’s disease for the last 20 years. In terms of clinical ethics, it is worth asking whether the use of DBS may have unanticipated negative effects similar to those associated with other types of psychosurgery. Clinical studies of epileptic patients who have undergone an anterior temporal lobectomy have identified a range of side effects and complications in a number of domains: psychological, (...) behavioural, affective and social. In many cases, patients express difficulty adjusting from being chronically ill to their new status as ‘treated’ or ‘seizure free’. This postoperative response adjustment has been described in the literature on epilepsy as the ‘Burden of Normality’ (BoN) syndrome. Most of the discussion about DBS postoperative changes to self is focused on abnormal side effects caused by the intervention (ie, hypersexuality, hypomania, etc). By contrast, relatively little attention is paid to the idea that successfully ‘treated’ individuals might experience difficulties in adjusting to becoming ‘normal’. The purpose of this paper is (1) to articulate the postoperative DBS psychosocial adjustment process in terms of the BoN syndrome, (2) to address whether the BoN syndrome illustrates that DBS treatment poses a threat to the patient’s identity, and (3) to examine whether the current framework for rehabilitation after DBS procedures should be updated and take into account the BoN syndrome as a postoperative self-change response. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to shed light on Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) postoperative suicidality risk factors within Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) patients, in particular by focusing on the ethical concern of enrolling patient with history of self-estrangement, suicide attempts and impulsive–aggressive inclinations. In order to illustrate these ethical issues we report and review a clinical case associated with postoperative feelings of self-estrangement, self-harm behaviours and suicide attempt leading to the removal of DBS devices. Could prospectively identifying and excluding (...) patients with suicidality risk factors from DBS experimental trials—such as history of self-estrangement, suicide attempts and impulsive–aggressive inclinations—lead to minimizing the risk of suicidality harm? (shrink)
Ecological fitness has been suggested to provide a unifying definition of fitness. However, a metric for this notion of fitness was in most cases unavailable except by proxy with differential reproductive success. In this article, I show how differential persistence of lineages can be used as a way to assess ecological fitness. This view is inspired by a better understanding of the evolution of some clonal plants, colonial organisms, and ecosystems. Differential persistence shows the limitation of an ensemblist noncausal understanding (...) of evolution. Causal explanations are necessary to understand the evolution by natural selection of these biological systems. †To contact the author write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128, Station Centre‐Ville, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7 Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Although being generally safe, the use of Deep Brain Stimulation has been associated with a significant number of patients experiencing postoperative psychological and neurological harm within experimental trials. A proportion of these postoperative severe adverse effects have lead to the decision to medically prescribe device deactivation or removal. However, there is little debate in the literature as to what is in the patient’s best interest when device removal has been prescribed; in particular, what should be the conceptual approach to ethically (...) guide the decision to remove or maintain implants. The purpose of this article is to examine the ethical issues raised when patients refuse brain device explantation despite medical prescription. In order to illustrate these issues, we report and discuss a clinical case involving a patient suffering from treatment resistant depression who experienced forms of postoperative self-estrangement, as well as suicidal attempts, but who resists giving consent to device explantation. (shrink)
This book is a unique introductory overview of decision theory. It is completely non-technical, without a single formula in the book. Written in a crisp and clear style it succinctly covers the full range of philosophical issues of rationality and decision theory, including game theory, social choice theory, prisoner's dilemma and much else. The book aims to expand the scope and enrich the foundations of decision theory. By addressing such issues as ambivalence, inner conflict, and the constraints imposed upon us (...) by our attachments to others, Frederic Schick reveals that our thinking is often more subtle than standard theories of rationality allow. Only a theory that respects that subtlety can illumine what is otherwise puzzling. The book contains many examples drawn from history and literature dealing with subjects such as love, war, friendship, and crime. (shrink)
Following Wallace’s suggestion, Darwin framed his theory using Spencer’s expression “survival of the fittest”. Since then, fitness occupies a significant place in the conventional understanding of Darwinism, even though the explicit meaning of the term ‘fitness’ is rarely stated. In this paper I examine some of the different roles that fitness has played in the development of the theory. Whereas the meaning of fitness was originally understood in ecological terms, it took a statistical turn in terms of reproductive success throughout (...) the 20th Century. This has lead to the ever-increasing importance of sexually reproducing organisms and the populations they compose in evolutionary explanations. I will argue that, moving forward, evolutionary theory should look back at its ecological roots in order to be more inclusive in the type of systems it examines. Many biological systems can only be satisfactorily accounted for by offering a non-reproductive account of fitness. This argument will be made by examining biological systems with very small or transient population structures. I argue this has significant consequences for how we define Darwinism, increasing the significance of survival over that of reproduction. (shrink)
In this book Frederic Schick develops his challenge to standard decision theory. He argues that talk of the beliefs and desires of an agent is not sufficient to explain choices. To account for a given choice we need to take into consideration how the agent understands the problem, how he sees in a selective way the options open to him. The author applies his new logic to a host of common human predicaments. Why do people in choice experiments act so (...) often against expectations? Why do people cooperate in situations where textbook logic predicts that they won't? What exactly is weakness of will? What are people reporting when they say their lives have no meaning for them? This book questions the foundations of technical and philosophical decision theory and will appeal to all those who work in that field, be they philosophers, economists and psychologists. (shrink)
An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of "habitus," as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist (...) version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of "habitus" and "field." To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field. (shrink)
The article Deflating the "DBS causes personality changes" bubble, written by Frederic Gilbert, J. N. M. Viaña and C. Ineichen, was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal on 19 June 2018 without open access.