In this volume, leading philosophers of psychiatry examine psychiatric classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, asking whether current systems are sufficient for effective diagnosis, treatment, and research. Doing so, they take up the question of whether mental disorders are natural kinds, grounded in something in the outside world. Psychiatric categories based on natural kinds should group phenomena in such a way that they are subject to the same type of causal explanations and respond similarly to (...) the same type of causal interventions. When these categories do not evince such groupings, there is reason to revise existing classifications. The contributors all question current psychiatric classifications systems and the assumptions on which they are based. They differ, however, as to why and to what extent the categories are inadequate and how to address the problem. Topics discussed include taxometric methods for identifying natural kinds, the error and bias inherent in DSM categories, and the complexities involved in classifying such specific mental disorders as "oppositional defiance disorder" and pathological gambling. -/- Contributors George Graham, Nick Haslam, Allan Horwitz, Harold Kincaid, Dominic Murphy, Jeffrey Poland, Nancy Nyquist Potter, Don Ross, Dan Stein, Jacqueline Sullivan, Serife Tekin, Peter Zachar. (shrink)
Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from "below" by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from "above" by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, (...) if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior. Contributors: George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. ZawidzkiDon Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Finance, Economics, and Quantitative Methods at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Harold Kincaid is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. G. Lynn Stephens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. (shrink)
From iPhones and clothing to jewelry and food, the products those of us in the developed world consume and enjoy exist only through the labor and suffering of countless others. In his new book Bruce Robbins examines the implications of this dynamic for humanitarianism and social justice. He locates the figure of the "beneficiary" in the history of humanitarian thought, which asks the prosperous to help the poor without requiring them to recognize their causal role in the creation of the (...) abhorrent conditions they seek to remedy. Tracing how the beneficiary has manifested itself in the work of George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, Naomi Klein, and others, Robbins uncovers a hidden tradition of economic cosmopolitanism. There are no easy answers to the question of how to confront systematic inequality on a global scale. But the first step, Robbins suggests, is to acknowledge that we are, in fact, beneficiaries. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each participant (...) tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
This article applies general ideas from contemporary philosophy of science--chief among them that much good science proceeds without theories and laws--to the science of medicine. I claim that traditional philosophical debates over the nature of disease make demands on medicine that are mistaken. I demonstrate this philosophical error by applying the perspective of the philosophy of science to understanding the nature of disease in two concrete cases, cancer and depression. I first argue that cancer research produces various kinds of piecemeal (...) causal explanation and does so without any well-developed theory of normal and malignant functioning, despite the rhetoric of some leading cancer researchers. I then defuse doubts about the scientific status of psychiatry, by demonstrating that it is not necessary to have a theory of normal functioning in order to understand and treat depression. (shrink)
In the recent methodological individualism-holism debate on explanation, there has been considerable focus on what reasons methodological holists may advance in support of their position. We believe it is useful to approach the other direction and ask what considerations methodological individualists may in fact offer in favor of their view about explanation. This is the background for the question we pursue in this paper: Why be a methodological individualist? We start out by introducing the methodological individualism-holism debate while distinguishing two (...) forms of methodological individualism: a form that says that individualist explanations are always better than holist accounts and a form that says that providing intervening individualist mechanisms always makes for better explanations than purely holist ones. Next, we consider four lines of reasoning in support of methodological individualism: arguments from causation, from explanatory depth, from agency, and from normativity. We argue that none of them offer convincing reasons in support of the two explanatory versions of individualism we consider. While there may well be occasions in which individualists’ favorite explanations are superior, we find no reason to think this always must be the case. (shrink)
Scientific realism is usually a thesis or theses advanced about our best natural science. In contrast, this book defends scientific realism applied to the social and behavioral sciences. It does so, however, by applying the same argument strategy that many have found convincing for the natural sciences, namely, by arguing that we can only explain the success of the sciences by postulating their approximate truth. The particular success that Trout emphasizes for the social sciences is the effective use of statistical (...) testing. Social scientists apply diverse statistical measurement tools to social reality; they are able to refine and improve those measurements over time. The best explanation for such success is that the social sciences give us an approximately true account of some of the laws and entities of the social world. (shrink)
This 1996 book defends the prospects for a science of society. It argues that behind the diverse methods of the natural sciences lies a common core of scientific rationality that the social sciences can and sometimes do achieve. It also argues that good social science must be in part about large-scale social structures and processes and thus that methodological individualism is misguided. These theses are supported by a detailed discussion of actual social research, including theories of agrarian revolution, organizational ecology, (...) social theories of depression, and supply-demand explanations in economics. Professor Kincaid provides a general picture of explanation and confirmation in the social sciences and discusses the nature of scientific rationality, functional explanation, optimality arguments, meaning and interpretation, the place of microfoundations in social explanation, the status of neo-classical economics, the role of idealizations and non-experimental evidence, and other specific controversies. (shrink)
It has long been thought that science is our best hope for realizing objective knowledge, but that, to deliver on this promise, it must be value free. Things are not so simple, however, as recent work in science studies makes clear. The contributors to this volume investigate where and how values are involved in science, and examine the implications of this involvement for ideals of objectivity.
This paper discusses the nature and the status of inference to the best explanation. We outline the foundational role given IBE by its defenders and the arguments of critics who deny it any place at all ; argue that, on the two main conceptions of explanation, IBE cannot be a foundational inference rule ; sketch an account of IBE that makes it contextual and dependent on substantive empirical assumptions, much as simplicity seems to be ; show how that account avoids (...) the critics ' complaints and leaves IBE an important role ; and sketch how our account can clarify debates over IBE in arguments for scientific realism. (shrink)
Jewish law takes an approach to self-defense that differs dramatically from the conventional assumptions of Western secular legal systems. The central theme of Talmudic jurisprudence is that self-defense rests on a duty not to stand idly by while one's neighbor suffers. “Do not stand on the blood of one's neighbor,” as the point is cryptically put in Leviticus 19:16. This way of thinking about self-defense departs in two significant ways from common Western assumptions. First, it stresses that the roots of (...) self-defense are a duty rather than a right to act; second, it treats the case of third-party defense as logically prior to the first-party case of self -defense. (shrink)
George A. Olah, Alain Goeppert and G. K. Surya Prakash (eds): Beyond oil and gas: the methanol economy, 2nd updated and enlarged edition Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9141-x Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
This paper contributes to the recently renewed debate over methodological individualism (MI) by carefully sorting out various individualist claims and by making use of recent work on reduction and explanation outside the social sciences. My major focus is on individualist claims about reduction and explanation. I argue that reductionist versions of MI fail for much the same reasons that mental predicates cannot be reduced to physical predicates and that attempts to establish reducibility by weakening the requirements for reduction also fail. (...) I consider and reject a number of explanatory theses, among them the claims that any adequate theory must refer only to individuals and that individualist theory suffices to explain fully. The latter claim, I argue, is not entailed by the supervenience of social facts on individual facts. Lastly, I argue that there is one individualist restriction on explanation which is far more plausible and significant than one would initially suspect. (shrink)
After sorting different structuralist claims, I argue that structural realist ideas are instantiated in the social sciences, providing both clarification of social science research and support for some components of structural realism. My main focus is on three distinct ways that the social sciences can be about structural relations—exemplified by claims about social structure, reduced form structures in causal modeling, and equilibrium explanations—and on the implication of structuralist ideas for thinking about issues concerning causal explanation and nonreductive pictures of the (...) unity of the science. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 900 13th Street South, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems in contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics, with real causal powers at its center. Molnar's eagerly anticipated book setting out his theory of powers was almost complete when he died, and has been prepared for publication by Stephen Mumford, who provides a context-setting introduction.
This article defends laws in the social sciences. Arguments against social laws are considered and rejected based on the "open" nature of social theory, the multiple realizability of social predicates, the macro and/or teleological nature of social laws, and the inadequacies of belief-desire psychology. The more serious problem that social laws are usually qualified ceteris paribus is then considered. How the natural sciences handle ceteris paribus laws is discussed and it is argued that such procedures are possible in the social (...) sciences. The article ends by arguing that at least some social research is roughly as well as confirmed as good work in evolutionary biology and ecology. (shrink)
George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems of contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics. This alternative would have real causal powers at its centre. Molnar set about developing a thorough account of powers that might persuade those who remained, perhaps unknowingly, in the grip of Humean assumptions. He succeeded in producing something both highly focused and at the same time wide-ranging. He showed both that the notion (...) of a power was central and that it could serve to dispel a number of long-standing philosophical problems.Molnar's account of powers is as realist as any that has so far appeared. He shows that dispositions are as real as any other properties. Specifically, they do not depend for their existence on their manifestations. Nevertheless, they are directed towards such manifestations. Molnar thus appropriates the notion of intentionality, from Brentano, and argues that it is the essential characteristic of powers. He offers a persuasive case for there being some basic and ungrounded powers, thus ruling out the reducibility of the dispositional to the non-dispositional. However, he does allow that there are non-power properties as well as power properties. In this respect, his final position is dualistic.This is contemporary metaphysics of the highest quality. It is a work that was almost complete when its author died. It has been edited for publication by another specialist in the subject, Stephen Mumford, who has also provided an introduction that will allow non-specialists to become acquainted with the issues. David Armstrong, one of the greatest living metaphysicians and personal friend of George Molnar, has provided a Foreword. (shrink)