Edmund Husserl, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology: From the Lectures, Winter Semester, 1910--1911. Translated by Ingo Farin and James G. Hart Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10743-010-9073-7 Authors Colin J. Hahn, Department of Philosophy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, USA Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 3.
A study of the orations of the Roman statesman Cicero . Ingo Gildenhard does not treat them simply as models of eloquence, as previous critics have done, but as repositories for Cicero's most profound thinking on such perennial questions as the ethics of happiness, the notion of conscience, and the problem of divine justice.
The paper works towards an account of explanatory integration in biology, using as a case study explanations of the evolutionary origin of novelties-a problem requiring the integration of several biological fields and approaches. In contrast to the idea that fields studying lower level phenomena are always more fundamental in explanations, I argue that the particular combination of disciplines and theoretical approaches needed to address a complex biological problem and which among them is explanatorily more fundamental varies with the problem pursued. (...) Solving a complex problem need not require theoretical unification or the stable synthesis of different biological fields, as items of knowledge from traditional disciplines can be related solely for the purposes of a specific problem. Apart from the development of genuine interfield theories, successful integration can be effected by smaller epistemic units (concepts, methods, explanations) being linked. Unification or integration is not an aim in itself, but needed for the aim of solving a particular scientific problem, where the problem's nature determines the kind of intellectual integration required. (shrink)
The paper discusses how systems biology is working toward complex accounts that integrate explanation in terms of mechanisms and explanation by mathematical models—which some philosophers have viewed as rival models of explanation. Systems biology is an integrative approach, and it strongly relies on mathematical modeling. Philosophical accounts of mechanisms capture integrative in the sense of multilevel and multifield explanations, yet accounts of mechanistic explanation have failed to address how a mathematical model could contribute to such explanations. I discuss how mathematical (...) equations can be explanatorily relevant. Several cases from systems biology are discussed to illustrate the interplay between mechanistic research and mathematical modeling, and I point to questions about qualitative phenomena, where quantitative models are still indispensable to the explanation. Systems biology shows that a broader philosophical conception of mechanisms is needed, which takes into account functional-dynamical aspects, interaction in complex networks with feedback loops, system-wide functional properties such as distributed functionality and robustness, and a mechanism’s ability to respond to perturbations. I offer general conclusions for philosophical accounts of explanation. (shrink)
Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...) and critique, it remains underdeveloped and is often misrepresented by its critics (section 8). (shrink)
This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...) to different levels of organismal organization and use contributions from different biological disciplines. The essay lays out one model that views explanatory integration across different disciplines as being structured by scientific problems. I emphasize the philosophical need to take the explanatory aims pursued by different groups of scientists into account, as explanatory aims determine whether different explanations are competing or complementary and govern the dynamics of scientific practice, including interdisciplinary research. I distinguish different kinds of pluralism that philosophers have endorsed in the context of explanation in biology, and draw several implications for science education, especially the need to teach science as an interdisciplinary and dynamic practice guided by scientific problems and explanatory aims. (shrink)
Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of natural kinds in biology, epistemological considerations are at least as important. By revisiting the debate as to whether taxa are kinds or individuals, I argue that both accounts are metaphysically compatible, but that one or the other approach can be pragmatically preferable depending on the epistemic context. Recent objections against construing species as homeostatic property cluster kinds are also addressed. The second part of the paper broadens the perspective by considering (...) homologues as another example of natural kinds, comparing them with analogues as functionally defined kinds. Given that there are various types of natural kinds, I discuss the different theoretical purposes served by diverse kind concepts, suggesting that there is no clear-cut distinction between natural kinds and other kinds, such as functional kinds. Rather than attempting to offer a unique metaphysical account of ‘natural’ kind, a more fruitful approach consists in the epistemological study of how different natural kind concepts are employed in scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Research on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has tended to focus on external stakeholders and outcomes, revealing little about internal effects that might also help explain CSR-firm performance linkages and the impact that corporate marketing strategies can have on internal stakeholders such as employees. The two studies ( N = 1,116 and N = 2,422) presented in this article draw on theory from both corporate marketing and organizational behavior (OB) disciplines to test the general proposition that employee trust partially mediates the (...) relationship between CSR and employee attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Both studies provide evidence in support of these general relationships. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed in the context of CSR and corporate marketing research. (shrink)
Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relation of different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically one about lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science, including the structure of (...) scientific theories, the relations between different scientific disciplines, the nature of explanation, the diversity of methodology, and the very idea of theoretical progress, as well as to numerous topics in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as emergence, mereology, and supervenience. (shrink)
Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is considered a ‘mechanistic science,’ in that it causally explains morphological evolution in terms of changes in developmental mechanisms. Evo-devo is also an interdisciplinary and integrative approach, as its explanations use contributions from many fields and pertain to different levels of organismal organization. Philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation are currently highly prominent, and have been particularly able to capture the integrative nature of multifield and multilevel explanations. However, I argue that evo-devo demonstrates the need for a (...) broadened philosophical conception of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Mechanistic explanation (in terms of the qualitative interactions of the structural parts of a whole) has been developed as an alternative to the traditional idea of explanation as derivation from laws or quantitative principles. Against the picture promoted by Carl Craver, that mathematical models describe but usually do not explain, my discussion of cases from the strand of evo-devo which is concerned with developmental processes points to qualitative phenomena where quantitative mathematical models are an indispensable part of the explanation. While philosophical accounts have focused on the actual organization and operation of mechanisms, properties of developmental mechanisms that are about how a mechanism reacts to modifications are of major evolutionary significance, including robustness, phenotypic plasticity, and modularity. A philosophical conception of mechanisms is needed that takes into account quantitative changes, transient entities and the generation of novel types of entities, feedback loops and complex interaction networks, emergent properties, and, in particular, functional-dynamical aspects of mechanisms, including functional (as opposed to structural) organization and distributed, system-wide phenomena. I conclude with general remarks on philosophical accounts of explanation. (shrink)
According to many biologists, explaining the evolution of morphological novelty and behavioral innovation are central endeavors in contemporary evolutionary biology. These endeavors are inherently multidisciplinary but also have involved a high degree of controversy. One key source of controversy is the definitional diversity associated with the concept of evolutionary novelty, which can lead to contradictory claims (a novel trait according to one definition is not a novel trait according to another). We argue that this diversity should be interpreted in light (...) of a different epistemic role played by the concept of evolutionary novelty—the structuring of a problem space or setting of an explanatory agenda—rather than the concept’s capacity to categorize traits as novel. This distinctive role is consistent with the definitional diversity and shows that the concept of novelty benefits ongoing investigation by focusing attention on answering different questions related to comprehending the origins of novelty. A review of recent theoretical and empirical work on evolutionary novelty confirms this interpretation. (shrink)
Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves (...) the aim of identifying and explaining gender-based discrimination. It is similar to Haslanger’s well-known account, except that rather than offering a definition of ‘woman’ we focus on ‘gender’ as one among several axes of discrimination. The second concept of gender is to assign legal rights and social recognitions, and thus is to be trans-inclusive. We argue that this cannot be achieved by previously suggested concepts that include substantial gender-related psychological features, such as awareness of social expectations. Instead, our concept counts someone as being of a certain gender solely based on the person’s self-identification with this gender. The third concept of gender serves the aim of personal empowerment by means of one’s gender identity. In this context, substantial psychological features and awareness of one’s social situation are involved. While previous accounts of concepts have focused on their role in determining extensions, we point to contexts where a concept’s role in explanation and moral reasoning can be more important. (shrink)
By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how (...) an organism’s developmental constitution results in different homologues/characters as units that can evolve independently of each other. The explanans of an account of homology is developmental, yet the very explanandum is an evolutionary phenomenon: evolvability in a character-by-character fashion, which manifests itself in phylogenetic patterns as recognized by phylogenetic approaches to homology. While developmental constraints and selection have often been viewed as antagonistic forces, I argue that both are complementary as they concern different parts of the evolutionary process. Developmental constraints, conceived of as the presence of the same set of homologues across phenotypic change, pertain to how heritable variation can be generated in the first place (evolvability), while natural selection operates subsequently on the produced variation. (shrink)
The discussion presents a framework of concepts that is intended to account for the rationality of semantic change and variation, suggesting that each scientific concept consists of three components of content: 1) reference, 2) inferential role, and 3) the epistemic goal pursued with the concept’s use. I argue that in the course of history a concept can change in any of these components, and that change in the concept’s inferential role and reference can be accounted for as being rational relative (...) to the third component, the concept’s epistemic goal. This framework is illustrated and defended by application to the history of the gene concept. It is explained how the molecular gene concept grew rationally out of the classical gene concept despite a change in reference, and why the use and reference of the contemporary molecular gene concept may legitimately vary from context to context. (shrink)
Whereas an inference (deductive as well as inductive) is usually viewed as being valid in virtue of its argument form, the present paper argues that scientific reasoning is material inference, i.e., justified in virtue of its content. A material inference is licensed by the empirical content embodied in the concepts contained in the premises and conclusion. Understanding scientific reasoning as material inference has the advantage of combining different aspects of scientific reasoning, such as confirmation, discovery, and explanation. This approach explains (...) why these different aspects (including discovery) can be rational without conforming to formal schemes, and why scientific reasoning is local, i.e., justified only in certain domains and contingent on particular empirical facts. The notion of material inference also fruitfully interacts with accounts of conceptual change and psychological theories of concepts. (shrink)
The ‘death of evidence’ issue in Canada raises the spectre of politicized science, and thus the question of what role social values may have in science and how this meshes with objectivity and evidence. I first criticize philosophical accounts that have to separate different steps of research to restrict the influence of social and other non-epistemic values. A prominent account that social values may play a role even in the context of theory acceptance is the argument from inductive risk. It (...) maintains that the more severe the social consequences of erroneously accepting a theory would be, the more evidence is needed before the theory may be accepted. However, an implication of this position is that increasing evidence makes the impact of social values converge to zero; and I argue for a stronger role for social values. On this position, social values may determine a theory’s conditions of adequacy, which among other things can include co.. (shrink)
This article develops an "ordonomic" approach to business ethics in the age of globalization. Through the use of a three-tiered conceptual framework that distinguishes between the basic game of antagonistic social cooperation, the meta game of rule-setting, and the meta-meta game of rule-finding discourse, we address three questions, the answers to which we believe are crucial to fostering effective business leadership and corporate social responsibility. First, the purpose of business in society is value creation. Companies have a social mandate to (...) organize mutually advantageous cooperation. Second, business ethics should teach the management competencies necessary to fulfill business's societal mandate. These competencies are optimization competence in the basic game of value creation, governance competence in the meta game of (political) rule setting, and the three discourse-related skills of orientation competence, reception competence, and communication competence necessary for engaging in the meta-meta game. Third, companies can help solve global problems through global corporate citizenship if they participate as political and moral actors in rule-setting processes and rule-finding discourse aimed at laying the foundation for value creation on a global scale. (shrink)
This article introduces an “ordonomic” approach to corporate citizenship. We believe that ordonomics offers a conceptual framework for analyzing both the social structure and the semantics of moral commitments. We claim that such an analysis can provide theoretical guidance for the changing role of business in society, especially in regard to the expectation and trend that businesses take a political role and act as corporate citizens. The systematic raison d’être of corporate citizenship is that business firms can and—judged by the (...) criterion of prudent self-interest—“should” take on an active role in rule-finding discourses and rule-setting processes with the intent of realizing a win-win outcome of the economic game. We identify—and illustrate—four ways that corporate citizens can employ moral commitments as a factor of production to enhance their processes of economic value creation. (shrink)
In this chapter I lay out a notion of philosophical naturalism that aligns with pragmatism. It is developed and illustrated by a presentation of my views on natural kinds and my theory of concepts. Both accounts reflect a methodological naturalism and are defended not by way of metaphysical considerations, but in terms of their philosophical fruitfulness. A core theme is that the epistemic interests of scientists have to be taken into account by any naturalistic philosophy of science in general, and (...) any account of natural kinds and scientific concepts in particular. I conclude with general methodological remarks on how to develop and defend philosophical notions without using intuitions. (shrink)
This chapter offers a critique of intelligent design arguments against evolution and a philosophical discussion of the nature of science, drawing several lessons for the teaching of evolution and for science education in general. I discuss why Behe’s irreducible complexity argument fails, and why his portrayal of organismal systems as machines is detrimental to biology education and any under-standing of how organismal evolution is possible. The idea that the evolution of complex organismal features is too unlikely to have occurred by (...) random mutation and selection (as recently promoted by Dembski) is very widespread, but it is easy to show students why such small probability arguments are fallacious. While intelligent design proponents have claimed that the exclusion of supernatural causes mandated by scientific methods is dogmatically presupposed by science, scientists have an empirical justification for using such methods. This justification is instructive for my discussion of how to demarcate science from pseudoscience. I argue that there is no universal account of the nature of science, but that the criteria used to judge an intellectual approach vary across historical periods and have to be specific to the scientific domain. Moreover, intellectual approaches have to be construed as practices based on institutional factors and values, and to be evaluated in terms of the activities of their practitioners. Science educators should not just teach scientific facts, but present science as a practice and make students reflect on the nature of science, as this gives them a better appreciation of the ways in which intelligent design falls short of actual science. (shrink)
Multilevel research strategies characterize contemporary molecular inquiry into biological systems. We outline conceptual, methodological, and explanatory dimensions of these multilevel strategies in microbial ecology, systems biology, protein research, and developmental biology. This review of emerging lines of inquiry in these fields suggests that multilevel research in molecular life sciences has significant implications for philosophical understandings of explanation, modeling, and representation.
The present paper analyzes the use and understanding of the homology concept across different biological disciplines. It is argued that in its history, the homology concept underwent a sort of adaptive radiation. Once it migrated from comparative anatomy into new biological fields, the homology concept changed in accordance with the theoretical aims and interests of these disciplines. The paper gives a case study of the theoretical role that homology plays in comparative and evolutionary biology, in molecular biology, and in evolutionary (...) developmental biology. It is shown that the concept or variant of homology preferred by a particular biological field is used to bring about items of biological knowledge that are characteristic for this field. A particular branch of biology uses its homology concept to pursue its specific theoretical goals. (shrink)
The philosophy of science that grew out of logical positivism construed scientific knowledge in terms of set of interconnected beliefs about the world, such as theories and observation statements. Nowadays science is also conceived of as a dynamic process based on the various practices of individual scientists and the institutional settings of science. Two features particularly influence the dynamics of scientific knowledge: epistemic standards and aims (e.g., assumptions about what issues are currently in need of scientific study and explanation). While (...) scientific beliefs are representations of the world, scientific standards and aims are epistemic values. The relevance of epistemic aims and values for belief change has been previously recognized. My paper makes a similar point for scientific concepts, both by studying how an individual concept changes (in its semantic properties) and by viewing epistemic aims and values tied to individual concepts. (shrink)
This introduction to the special section on integration in biology provides an overview of the different contributions. In addition to motivating the philosophical significance of analyzing integration and interdisciplinary research, I lay out common themes and novel insights found among the special section contributions, and indicate how they exhibit current trends in the philosophical study of integration. One upshot of the contributed papers is that there are different aspects to and kinds of integration, so that rather than attempting to offer (...) a universal construal of what integrations is, philosophers have to analyze in concrete cases in what respects particular aspects of scientific theorizing and/or practice are ‘integrative’ and how this instance of integration works and was achieved. (shrink)
Contributing to the recent debate on whether or not explanations ought to be differentiated from arguments, this article argues that the distinction matters to science education. I articulate the distinction in terms of explanations and arguments having to meet different standards of adequacy. Standards of explanatory adequacy are important because they correspond to what counts as a good explanation in a science classroom, whereas a focus on evidence-based argumentation can obscure such standards of what makes an explanation explanatory. I provide (...) further reasons for the relevance of not conflating explanations with arguments (and having standards of explanatory adequacy in view). First, what guides the adoption of the particular standards of explanatory adequacy that are relevant in a scientific case is the explanatory aim pursued in this context. Apart from explanatory aims being an important aspect of the nature of science, including explanatory aims in classroom instruction also promotes students seeing explanations as more than facts, and engages them in developing explanations as responses to interesting explanatory problems. Second, it is of relevance to science curricula that science aims at intervening in natural processes, not only for technological applications, but also as part of experimental discovery. Not any argument enables intervention in nature, as successful intervention specifically presupposes causal explanations. Students can fruitfully explore in the classroom how an explanatory account suggests different options for intervention. (shrink)
The concept of developmental constraint was at the heart of developmental approaches to evolution of the 1980s. While this idea was widely used to criticize neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, critique does not yield an alternative framework that offers evolutionary explanations. In current Evo-devo the concept of constraint is of minor importance, whereas notions as evolvability are at the center of attention. The latter clearly defines an explanatory agenda for evolutionary research, so that one could view the historical shift from ‘developmental constraint’ (...) towards ‘evolvability’ as the move from a concept that is a mere tool of criticism to a concept that establishes a positive explanatory project. However, by taking a look at how the concept of constraint was employed in the 1980s, I argue that developmental constraint was not just seen as restricting possibilities (‘constraining’), but also as facilitating morphological change in several ways. Accounting for macroevolutionary transformation and the origin of novel form was an aim of these developmental approaches to evolution. Thus, the concept of developmental constraint was part of a positive explanatory agenda long before the advent of Evo-devo as a genuine scientific discipline. In the 1980s, despite the lack of a clear disciplinary identity, this concept coordinated research among paleontologists, morphologists, and developmentally inclined evolutionary biologists. I discuss the different functions that scientific concepts can have, highlighting that instead of classifying or explaining natural phenomena, concepts such as ‘developmental constraint’ and ‘evolvability’ are more important in setting explanatory agendas so as to provide intellectual coherence to scientific approaches. The essay concludes with a puzzle about how to conceptually distinguish evolvability and selection. (shrink)
Philosophical discussions of systems biology have enriched the notion of mechanistic explanation by pointing to the role of mathematical modeling. However, such accounts still focus on explanation in terms of tracking a mechanism's operation across time (by means of mental or computational simulation). My contention is that there are explanations of molecular systems where the explanatory understanding does not consist in tracking a mechanism's operation and productive continuity. I make this case by a discussion of bifurcation analysis in dynamical systems, (...) articulating the distinctive way in which explanatory understanding is provided, especially about the reversibility or irreversibility of molecular processes. (shrink)
Although natural philosophers have long been interested in individuality, it has been of interest to contemporary philosophers of biology because of its role in different aspects of evolutionary biology. These debates include whether species are individuals or classes, what counts as a unit of selection, and how transitions in individuality occur evolutionarily. Philosophical analyses are often conducted in terms of metaphysics (“what is an individual?”), rather than epistemology (“how can and do researchers conceptualize individuals so as to address some of (...) their scientific goals?”). We review several philosophical distinctions in order to shift attention from metaphysics to epistemology. Many controversies involve epistemological differences rather than metaphysical disagreement. This implies that a pluralist stance about individuality in biology is warranted and has metaphysical consequences because the pluralism emerges from the diversity of scientific interests that investigate the complexity of living phenomena. (shrink)
Marc Ereshefsky argues that pluralism about species suggests that the species concept is not theoretically useful. It is to be abandoned in favor of several concrete species concepts that denote real categories. While accepting species pluralism, the present paper rejects eliminativism about the species category. It is argued that the species concept is important and that it is possible to make sense of a general species concept despite the existence of different concrete species concepts.
We address the question of whether and to what extent explanatory and modelling strategies in systems biology are mechanistic. After showing how dynamic mathematical models are actually required for mechanistic explanations of complex systems, we caution readers against expecting all systems biology to be about mechanistic explanations. Instead, the aim may be to generate topological explanations that are not standardly mechanistic, or to arrive at design principles that explain system organization and behaviour in general, but not specific mechanisms. These abstraction (...) strategies serve various aims, including prediction and control, that are central to understanding the epistemic diversity of systems biology. (shrink)
Taxa and homologues can in our view be construed both as kinds and as individuals. However, the conceptualization of taxa as natural kinds in the sense of homeostatic property cluster kinds has been criticized by some systematists, as it seems that even such kinds cannot evolve due to their being homeostatic. We reply by arguing that the treatment of transformational and taxic homologies, respectively, as dynamic and static aspects of the same homeostatic property cluster kind represents a good perspective for (...) supporting the conceptualization of taxa as kinds. The focus on a phenomenon of homology based on causal processes (e.g., connectivity, activity-function, genetics, inheritance, and modularity) and implying relationship with modification yields a notion of natural kinds conforming to the phylogenetic-evolutionary framework. Nevertheless, homeostatic property cluster kinds in taxonomic and evolutionary practice must be rooted in the primacy of epistemological classification (homology as observational properties) over metaphysical generalization (series of transformation and common ancestry as unobservational processes). The perspective of individuating characters exclusively by historical-transformational independence instead of their developmental, structural, and functional independence fails to yield a sufficient practical interplay between theory and observation. Purely ontological and ostensional perspectives in evolution and phylogeny (e.g., an ideographic character concept and PhyloCode’s ‘individualism’ of clades) may be pragmatically contested in the case of urgent issues in biodiversity research, conservation, and systematics. (shrink)
This article understands codes of ethics as written documents that represent social actors in specific ways through the use of language. It presents an empirical study that investigated the codes of ethics of the German Dax30 companies. The study adopted a critical discourse analysis-approach in order to reveal how the code-texts produce a particular understanding of the various internal social groups for the readers. Language is regarded as social practice that functions at creating particular understandings of individuals and groups, how (...) they are interrelated, and how they should behave. Findings show that codes of ethics do not represent employees as a group that is empowered or morally enlightened; instead they are positioned as passive receivers of rules and regulations. Furthermore, codes of ethics classify employees as having a need to be monitored and controlled by the higher levels of the corporate hierarchy. Overall, code language enforces compliance through maintaining existing and building new asymmetries between the different groups within a company. As a consequence, the article discusses a somewhat different understanding of code effectiveness. Reproducing and reemphasizing hierarchical relations could also lead to code compliance, perhaps without any need for developing the moral employee that is committed to ethical values. (shrink)