This volume addresses fundamental issues in the philosophy of science in the context of two most intriguing fields: biology and economics. Written by authorities and experts in the philosophy of biology and economics, Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics provides a structured study of the concepts of mechanism and causality in these disciplines and draws careful juxtapositions between philosophical apparatus and scientific practice. By exploring the issues that are most salient to the contemporary philosophies of biology and economics and (...) by presenting comparative analyses, the book serves as a platform not only for gaining mutual understanding between scientists and philosophers of the life sciences and those of the social sciences, but also for sharing interdisciplinary research that combines both philosophical concepts in both fields. -/- The book begins by defining the concepts of mechanism and causality in biology and economics, respectively. The second and third parts investigate philosophical perspectives of various causal and mechanistic issues in scientific practice in the two fields. These two sections include chapters on causal issues in the theory of evolution; experiments and scientific discovery; representation of causal relations and mechanism by models in economics. The concluding section presents interdisciplinary studies of various topics concerning extrapolation of life sciences and social sciences, including chapters on the philosophical investigation of conjoining biological and economic analyses with, respectively, demography, medicine and sociology. (shrink)
It is claimed in the structural realism in philosophy of science that scientists aim to preserve the true structure, represented by the equations in their models. We reinterpret structural realism as a doctrine involving representation. Proving the existence of a representation theorem secures the problem of lacking independent criteria for identification between structure and non?structure. This paper argues that a similar realist view of structure can be found in the theory of consumption in which the Fisherian framework of intertemporal choices (...) is regarded as the true structure of the consumption function. Unlike the passive strategy of inducing the structure contained in structural realism, economists define structure in terms of invariance under intervention. Such a definition serves as a crucial device to examine and develop models for the adequacy of representing the structure of the consumption functions. JEL Classification: B22, B41, C50, E21. (shrink)
This chapter provides an introduction to the study of the philosophical notions of mechanisms and causality in biology and economics. This chapter sets the stage for this volume, Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics, in three ways. First, it gives a broad review of the recent changes and current state of the study of mechanisms and causality in the philosophy of science. Second, consistent with a recent trend in the philosophy of science to focus on scientific practices, it in (...) turn implies the importance of studying the scientific methods employed by researchers. Finally, by way of providing an overview of each chapter in the volume, this chapter demonstrates that biology and economics are two fertile fields for the philosophy of science and shows how biological and economic mechanisms and causality can be synthesized. (shrink)
Davis argues that Suppe's semantic conception provides a better understanding of the problem of theory?data confrontations. Applying his semantic methodology to the LSE (London School of Economics) approach of econometrics, he concludes that the LSE approach fails to address the issue of bridging the theory?data gap. This paper suggests two other versions of the semantic view of theories in the philosophy of science, due to Suppes and van Fraassen, and argues that the LSE approach can be construed under these two (...) versions of the semantic view in terms of structure and representation. (shrink)
This book provides a methodological perspective on understanding the essential roles of econometric models in the theory and practice. Offering a comprehensive and comparative exposition of the accounts of models in both econometrics and philosophy of science, this work shows how econometrics and philosophy of science are interconnected while exploring the methodological insight of econometric modelling that can be added to modern philosophical thought. The notion of structure is thoroughly discussed throughout the book. The studies of the consumption function of (...) Trygve Haavelmo, Richard Stone, Milton Friedman, David Hendry and Robert Lucas are taken as the case studies to investigate their methodological implications of model and structure. In addition to the semantic view of the scientific theories, various philosophical accounts concerning scientific models are used to shed light on the methodological nature of these consumption studies in economics. This book will be of great interest to scholars and students of methodology of economics and econometrics as well as anyone interested in the philosophy of science in an economic context. (shrink)
This research examines the extent to which similarities and differences exist in the codes of professional conduct of certified (chartered) accountants across the following countries: the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Ontario (Canada), Australia, India, and Hong Kong. These eight countries exemplify some of the diversity in economic, political, legal, and cultural environments in which public accountants practice. The professional codes of ethics establish the ethical boundary parameters within which professional accountants must operate and they are a function of (...) these environments.The results of the study reveal that commonalities exist on some ethical rules indicating that some rules are indeed "culture free". Cross-country variations, however, exist as to the specificity and elaborateness of the rules. Such variations can be attributed to cultural and legal differences, as well as the length of time each professional organization has been in existence. An understanding of the similarities and differences in the codes is important to individuals who may work in these countries. Professional accountants involved in international business must understand the implications of the decisions they make in light of the ethical codes and moral values of their counterparts in foreign countries. After a discussion of the similarities and differences in the codes, the implications of these comparisons for accounting practice are discussed. (shrink)
For many philosophers working in the area of Population Ethics, it seems that either they have to confront the Repugnant Conclusion , or they have to confront the Non-Identity Problem . To them it seems there is no escape, they either have to face one problem or the other. However, there is a way around this, allowing us to escape the Repugnant Conclusion, by using what I will call Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism – which though similar to anti-frustrationism, has some (...) important differences in practice. Current “positive” forms of utilitarianism have struggled to deal with the Repugnant Conclusion, as their theory actually entails this conclusion; however, it seems that a form of Negative Average Preference Utilitarianism easily escapes this dilemma. (shrink)
ExcerptAt first glance, the title of Kalb's new book The Tyranny of Liberalism seems to be an oxymoron. How can a theory of liberalism result in something illiberal? Liberalism is designed to give people freedom, so how can it be tyrannical? This is what Kalb attempts to show: the paradoxical nature of liberalism, and how it is self-defeating. To Kalb there are two main problems with contemporary liberalism: first, liberalism is tyrannical, insofar as it does not allow for any dissension (...) or criticism of itself; and second, the logic of liberalism is based on the false assumption that human societal…. (shrink)
To understand the gaps between current bioethics education and the requirements of practicing nurses, a semistructured questionnaire was used to invite the directors of nursing departments at all 82 teaching hospitals in Taiwan to participate in this survey. The response rate was 64.6%. Through content analysis we obtained information about previous bioethical training, required themes and content, recommended teaching strategies, and difficulties with education and its application. The results suggest that Taiwanese nursing personnel need to be instilled with both self-cultivation (...) of morality and mental cultivation to acquire nursing virtues and the right attitudes toward bioethical issues. Good communication skills to prevent damage to the harmonious relationships between patients, their families and medical team members, policies that support the provision of systematic formal knowledge of ethics, small group training, and clarification of values were also shown to be important in bioethics education. (shrink)
The author proposes to add another dichotomy to the list of essential tensions proposed by Professor Duda, namely beauty and ugliness. Physicists believe that only beautiful theories describe the world correctly, and that General Relativity is one of the most beautiful physical theories. The author explains why physicists regard this theory as beautiful.
We have investigated the nonlinear low-frequency microwave absorption of an ensemble of small metallic grains. Earlier Zhou et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 1958 (1996)] have proved that linear absorption by such a system is due to a mesoscopic relaxation mechanism for which important contribution is from the grains with small level spacings between the ground state and the first excited state. Here we have shown further that such grains are anomalously sensitive to the field amplitude and the distribution of (...) level spacings. Since such a behavior depends on external magnetic field, we expect the appearance of a giant nonlinear magnetoresistance, as well as a very strong temperature dependence of the nonlinear microwave conductivity. (shrink)
One of the major arguments against Act consequentialism is that it has counterintuitive implications in many kinds of cases. One of the methods of avoiding these counterintuitive verdicts is through the use of a “Generalization Argument” such as that proposed by Marcus Singer in his (1961) book Generalization in Ethics, which is intended to be an improved version of the traditional “What if everyone did that?” approach to moral theory. This Generalization Argument, however, also has counterintuitive implications due to over-generalizing. (...) In the spirit of his nomenclature, I thus propose that a form of consequentialism that partially generalizes, in a sense explained below, can avoid some of these counterintuitive results. The purpose of my proposing this new theory is to explore the idea of using some filter to sort actions into the categories of permissible vs. impermissible, and then use a consequentialist maximizing framework to choose between only the permissible options. (shrink)
While the current generative paradigm in linguistics leans heavily toward computation, investigations on conscious representations are much welcome. The SOC model examines the acquisition of complex representations in individuals. We note that heterogeneity of representation in populations is a central issue that must be addressed as well. In addition to the self-organizing processes proposed for the individual, interactions among individuals must be incorporated in any comprehensive account of language.
The fluctuation-dissipation theorem is a central theorem in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics by which the evolution of velocity fluctuations of the Brownian particle under a fluctuating environment is intimately related to its dissipative behavior. This can be illuminated in particular by an example of Brownian motion in an ohmic environment where the dissipative effect can be accounted for by the first-order time derivative of the position. Here we explore the dynamics of the Brownian particle coupled to a supraohmic environment by considering (...) the motion of a charged particle interacting with the electromagnetic fluctuations at finite temperature. We also derive particle’s equation of motion, the Langevin equation, by minimizing the corresponding stochastic effective action, which is obtained with the method of Feynman-Vernon influence functional. The fluctuation-dissipation theorem is established from first principles. The backreaction on the charge is known in terms of electromagnetic self-force given by a third-order time derivative of the position, leading to the supraohmic dynamics. This self-force can be argued to be insignificant throughout the evolution when the charge barely moves. The stochastic force arising from the supraohmic environment is found to have both positive and negative correlations, and it drives the charge into a fluctuating motion. Although positive force correlations give rise to the growth of the velocity dispersion initially, its growth slows down when correlation turns negative, and finally halts, thus leading to the saturation of the velocity dispersion. The saturation mechanism in a supraohmic environment is found to be distinctly different from that in an ohmic environment. The comparison is discussed. (shrink)
This article argues that the credibility of both theoretical and empirical models in economics is best understood through their connection with the empirical aspects of the real world. The discussion herein demonstrates that the similarity between the model and the real world is not enough to justify a theoretical model’s explanatory power. The best way to secure the model’s credibility is to prove the existence of representation theorems.
The point of Judith Jarvis Thomson's violinist example is to establish that one person, A, can acquire a right to use the body of another person, B, if and only if B performs some kind of affirmative act that gives A such a right. On her view, the reason it is permissible for you to unplug yourself from the violinist is that you did nothing to give the violinist a right to use your body: the violinist was plugged into you (...) without your consent. Thus it follows that the mere fact that A needs use of B's body to survive is not enough to give rise to a right in A to use B's body. Accordingly, Thomson concludes, the claim that the fetus has a right to life does not imply abortion is morally impermissible. (shrink)