BackgroundKnowledge development depends on an unbiased representation of the available evidence. Selective citation may distort this representation. Recently, some controversy emerged regarding the possible impact of swimming on childhood asthma, raising the question about the role of selective citation in this field. Our objective was to assess the occurrence and determinants of selective citation in scientific publications on the relationship between swimming in chlorinated pools and childhood asthma.MethodsWe identified scientific journal articles on this relationship via a systematic literature search. The (...) following factors were taken into account: study outcome, other content-related article characteristics, content-unrelated article characteristics, author characteristics, and citation characteristics. To assess the impact of these factors on citation, we performed a series of univariate and adjusted random-effects logistic regressions, with potential citation path as unit of analysis.ResultsThirty-six articles were identified in this network, consisting of 570 potential citation paths of which 191 were realized. There was strong evidence that articles with at least one author in common, cited each other more often than articles that had no common authors 5.2, 95% confidence interval 3.1–8.8). Similarly, the chance of being cited was higher for articles that were empirical rather than narrative, that reported a large sample size, and that were written by authors with a high authority within the network. Further, there was some evidence for citation bias: articles that confirmed the relation between swimming and asthma were cited more often, but this finding was not robust.ConclusionsThere is clear evidence of selective citation in this research field, but the evidence for citation bias is not very strong. (shrink)
Citing of previous publications is an important factor in knowledge development. Because of the great amount of publications available, only a selection of studies gets cited, for varying reasons. If the selection of citations is associated with study outcome this is called citation bias. We will study determinants of citation in a broader sense, including e.g. study design, journal impact factor or the funding source of the publication. As a case study we assess which factors drive citation in the human (...) literature on phthalates, specifically the metabolite mono phthalate. A systematic literature search identified all relevant publications on human health effect of MEHP. Data on potential determinants of citation were extracted in duplo. Specialized software was used to create a citation network, including all potential citation pathways. Random effect logistic regression was used to assess whether these determinants influence the likelihood of citation. 112 Publications on MEHP were identified, with 5684 potential citation pathways of which 551 were actual citations. Reporting of a harmful point estimate, journal impact factor, authority of the author, a male corresponding author, research performed in North America and self-citation were positively associated with the likelihood of being cited. In the literature on MEHP, citation is mostly driven by a number of factors that are not related to study outcome. Although the identified determinants do not necessarily give strong indications of bias, it shows selective use of published literature for a variety of reasons. (shrink)
IntroductionBisphenol A is highly debated and studied in relation to a variety of health outcomes. This large variation in the literature makes BPA a topic that is prone to selective use of literature, in order to underpin one’s own findings and opinion. Over time, selective use of literature, by means of citations, can lead to a skewed knowledge development and a biased scientific consensus. In this study, we assess which factors drive citation and whether this results in the overrepresentation of (...) harmful health effects of BPA.MethodsA citation network analysis was performed to test various determinants of citation. A systematic search identified all relevant publications on the human health effect of BPA. Data were extracted on potential determinants of selective citation, such as study outcome, study design, sample size, journal impact factor, authority of the author, self-citation, and funding source. We applied random effect logistic regression to assess whether these determinants influence the likelihood of citation.ResultsOne hundred sixty-nine publications on BPA were identified, with 12,432 potential citation pathways of which 808 citations occurred. The network consisted of 63 cross-sectional studies, 34 cohort studies, 29 case-control studies, 35 narrative reviews, and 8 systematic reviews. Positive studies have a 1.5 times greater chance of being cited compared to negative studies. Additionally, the authority of the author and self-citation are consistently found to be positively associated with the likelihood of being cited. Overall, the network seems to be highly influenced by two highly cited publications, whereas 60 out of 169 publications received no citations.ConclusionIn the literature on BPA, citation is mostly driven by positive study outcome and author-related factors, such as high authority within the network. Interpreting the impact of these factors and the big influence of a few highly cited publications, it can be questioned to which extent the knowledge development in human literature on BPA is actually evidence-based. (shrink)
This collection of papers in epistemic logic is oriented towards applications to game theory and individual decision theory. Most of these papers were presented at the inaugural conference of the LOFT (Logic for the Theory and Games and Decisions) conference series, which took place in 1994 in Marseille. Among the notions dealt with are those of common knowledge and common belief, infinite hierarchies of beliefs and belief spaces, logical omniscience, positive and negative introspection, backward induction and rationalizable equilibria in game (...) theory. (shrink)
The computer metaphor of the brain is frequently criticized by scientists and philosophers outside the computational paradigm. Proponents of the metaphor may then seek to defend its explanatory merits, in which case the metaphor functions as a standpoint. Insofar as previous research in argumentation theory has treated metaphors either as presentational devices or arguments by analogy, this points to hitherto unexplored aspects of how metaphors may function in argumentative discourse. We start from the assumption that the computer metaphor of the (...) brain constitutes an explanatory hypothesis and set out to reconstruct it as a standpoint defended by a complex argumentation structure: abduction supported by analogy. We then provide three examples of real arguments conforming to our theoretically motivated construction. We conclude that our study obtains proof-of-concept but that more research is needed in order to further clarify the relationship between our theoretical construct and the complexities of empirical reality. (shrink)
Educating the Virtues David Carr Routledge, 1991. Pp. 304. ISBN 0?415?05746?9. £35. The Philosophical Theology of St Thomas Aquinas By Leo J. Elders E. J. Brill, 1990. Pp. 332. ISBN 0?04?09156?4. $74.36. The State and Justice: An Essay in Political Theory By Milton Fisk Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. x + 391. ISBN 0?521?38966?6. £10.95 pbk. Perspectives on Language and Thought: Interrelations in Development Edited by S. A. Gelman and J. P. Byrnes Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. xii + 524. (...) ISBN 0?521?37497?9. £50. Aristotle's First Principles By T. H. Irwin Oxford University Press, 1989. Pp. xviii + 702. ISBN 0?198?24717?6. £17.50 Pbk. Truth and Eros: Foucault, Lacan, and the Question of Ethics By John Rajchman Routledge, 1991. Pp. 155. ISBN 0?415?90380?7. £10.99. Logical Forms By Mark Sainsbury Blackwell, 1991. Pp. 408. ISBN 0?631?17777?9. £11.95. Form and Transformation. A Study in the Philosophy of Plotinus By Frederic M. Schroeder McGill?Queen's University Press, 1992. Pp. xiv + 136. ISBN 0?7735?1016?8. £34.95. Did The Greeks Believe Their Myths? An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination By Paul Veyne, translated by Paula Wissing The University of Chicago Press, 1988. Pp. 161. ISBN 0?226?85434?5. £8.75 Pbk. What is Philosophy? By Dietrich von Hildebrand Routledge, 1991. Pp. lvii + 242. ISBN 0?415?02584?2. £12.99. (shrink)
That brings me to the crux of my disagreement with Hillis Miller. The central contention is not simply that I am sometimes, or always, wrong in my interpretation, but instead that I—like other traditional historians—can never be right in my interpretation. For Miller assents to Nietzsche's challenge of "the concept of 'rightness' in interpretation," and to Nietzsche's assertion that "the same text authorizes innumerable interpretations : there is no 'correct' interpretation."1 Nietzsche's views of interpretation, as Miller says, are relevant to (...) the recent deconstructive theorists, including Jacques Derrida and himself, who have "reinterpreted Nietzsche" or have written "directly or indirectly under his aegis." He goes on to quote a number of statements from Nietzsche's The Will to Power to the effect, as Miller puts it, "that reading is never the objective identifying of a sense but the importation of meaning into a text which had no meaning 'in itself.'" For example: "Ultimately, man finds in things nothing but what he himself has imported into them." "In fact interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something."2 On the face of it, such sweeping deconstructive claims might suggest those of Lewis Carroll's linguistic philosopher, who asserted that meaning is imported into a text by the interpreter's will to power: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things.""The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all." But of course I don't believe that such deconstructive claims are, in Humpty Dumpty fashion, simply dogmatic assertions. Instead, they are conclusions which are derived from particular linguistic premises. I want, in the time remaining, to present what I make out to be the elected linguistic premises, first of Jacques Derrida, then of Hillis Miller, in the confidence that if I misinterpret these theories, my errors will soon be challenged and corrected. Let me eliminate suspense by saying at the beginning that I don't think that their radically skeptical conclusions from these premises are wrong. On the contrary, I believe that their conclusions are right—in fact, they are infallibly right, and that's where the trouble lies. · 1. "Tradition and Difference," Diacritics 2 : 8, 12.· 2. Ibid. M. H. Abrams’s contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Rationality and Imagination in Cultural History: A Reply to Wayne Booth" and "Behaviorism and Deconstruction: A Comment on Morse Peckham's 'The Infinitude of Pluralism'". (shrink)
The text of the tract De arcubus similibus was published for the first time by M. Curtze in 1887. However, after examining some more Latin manuscripts and the Arabic MS Oxford, Bodleian Library, Marsh 663 it appeared, that Curtze's edition was rather an adaptation. Also Curtze's suggestion that Jordanus Nemorarius was the author was very probably wrong. The author of the tract was the Egyptian mathematician Ahmed ibn Jusuf as appears from the Latin manuscripts, and its translator, very probably, (...) class='Hi'>Gerard of Cremona. In the tract Ahmed tried to prove, that the assertion ‘similar arcs are also equal arcs’ was wrong . His starting points were the propositions Euclid III, 20 and 21. Consequently, the tract can be looked upon as a commentary on the third book of the Elements. (shrink)
Clinicians' work depends on sincere and complete disclosures from their patients; they honour this candidness by confidentially safeguarding the information received. Breaching confidentiality causes harms that are not commensurable with the possible benefits gained. Limitations or exceptions put on confidentiality would destroy it, for the confider would become suspicious and un-co-operative, the confidant would become untrustworthy and the whole climate of the clinical encounter would suffer irreversible erosion. Excusing breaches of confidence on grounds of superior moral values introduces arbitrariness and (...) ethical unreliability into the medical context. Physicians who breach the agreement of confidentiality are being unfair, thus opening the way for, and becoming vulnerable to, the morally obtuse conduct of others. Confidentiality should not be seen as the cosy but dispensable atmosphere of clinical settings; rather, it constitutes a guarantee of fairness in medical actions. Possible perils that might accrue to society are no greater than those accepted when granting inviolable custody of information to priests, lawyers and bankers. To jeopardize the integrity of confidential medical relationships is too high a price to pay for the hypothetical benefits this might bring to the prevailing social order. (shrink)
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a famous dystopia, frequently called upon in public discussions about new biotechnology. It is less well known that 30 years later Huxley also wrote a utopian novel, called Island. This paper will discuss both novels focussing especially on the role of psychopharmacological substances. If we see fiction as a way of imagining what the world could look like, then what can we learn from Huxley’s novels about psychopharmacology and how does that relate to the (...) discussion in the ethical and philosophical literature on this subject? The paper argues that in the current ethical discussion the dystopian vision on psychopharmacology is dominant, but that a comparison between Brave New World and Island shows that a more utopian view is possible as well. This is illustrated by a discussion of the issue of psychopharmacology and authenticity. The second part of the paper draws some further conclusions for the ethical debate on psychopharmacology and human enhancement, by comparing the novels not only with each other, but also with our present reality. It is claimed that the debate should not get stuck in an opposition of dystopian and utopian views, but should address important issues that demand attention in our real world: those of evaluation and governance of enhancing psychopharmacological substances in democratic, pluralistic societies. (shrink)
Let us call an integer part of an ordered field any subring such that every element of the field lies at distance less than 1 from a unique element of the ring. We show that every real closed field has an integer part.
Clinical and research practices designed by developed countries are often implemented in host nations of the Third World. In recent years, a number of papers have presented a diversity of arguments to justify these practices which include the defence of research with placebos even though best proven treatments exist; the distribution of drugs unapproved in their country of origin; withholding of existing therapy in order to observe the natural course of infection and disease; redefinition of equipoise to a more bland (...) version, and denial of post-trial benefits to research subjects. These practices have all been prohibited in developed, sponsoring countries, even though they invariably have pockets of poverty where conditions comparable to the Third World prevail. Furthermore, the latest update of the Declaration of Helsinki clearly decries double ethical standards in research protocols. Under these circumstances, it does not seem appropriate that First World scholars should propose and defend research and clinical practices with less stringent ethical standards than those mandatory in their own countries. Recent years have witnessed frequent reports of less stringent ethical standards being applied to both clinical and research medical practices, for the most part in the field of drug trials and drug marketing, initiated by developed countries in poorer nations. Still more unsettling, a number of articles have endorsed the policy of employing ethical norms in these host countries, which would be unacceptable to both the legislations and the moral standards of the sponsor nations. Also, these reformulations often contravene the Declaration of Helsinki or one of its updates. This paper is not so much concerned with the actual practices, which have been subjected to frequent scrutiny and publicly decried when gross misconduct occurred. Rather, my concern relates to the approval and support such practices have found in the literature on bioethics from authors who might be expected to use their energy and scholarship to explore and endorse the universalisability of ethics rather than to develop ad hoc arguments that would allow exceptions and variations from accepted moral standards. To this purpose, issue will be taken with arguments in three fields: medical and pharmaceutical practices, research strategies, and local application of research results. (shrink)
The themes, problems and challenges of developmental systems theory as described in Cycles of Contingency are discussed. We argue in favor of a robust approach to philosophical and scientific problems of extended heredity and the integration of behavior, development, inheritance, and evolution. Problems with Sterelny's proposal to evaluate inheritance systems using his `Hoyle criteria' are discussed and critically evaluated. Additional support for a developmental systems perspective is sought in evolutionary studies of performance and behavior modulation of fitness. -/- .