Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
Contributions in modern theoretical physics and chemistry on the behavior of nonlinear systems, exemplified by Ilya Prigogine's work on the thermodynamics of open systems, attract growing attention in economics. Our purpose here is to relate the new orientation in the natural sciences to a particular nonorthodox strand of thought within economics. All that is needed for this purpose is some appreciation of the general thrust of the enterprise, which involves a shift of perspective from the determinism of conventional physics to (...) the nonteleological open-endedness, creative, and nondetermined nature of evolutionary processes. (shrink)
I take it as my assignment to criticize the Gauthier enterprise. At the outset, however, I should express my general agreement with David Gauthier's normative vision of a liberal social order, including the place that individual principles of morality hold in such an order. Whether the enterprise is, ultimately, judged to have succeeded or to have failed depends on the standards applied. Considered as a coherent grounding of such a social order in the rational choice behavior of persons, the enterprise (...) fails. Considered as an extended argument implying that persons should adopt the moral stance embodied in the Gauthier structure, the enterprise is, I dunk, largely successful. Considered as a set of empirically falsifiable propositions suggesting that persons do, indeed, choose as the Gauthier precepts dictate, the enterprise offers Humean hope rather than Hobbesian despair. (shrink)
Applied ethics work seems to me to be of three main kinds. There is participatory work, where a person whose specialism is ethics participates in a process leading to ethical judgments or decisions. And there are two kinds of teaching work where the teaching objective is to make learners better placed to participate in such processes; one kind of teaching work relates to matters which are specific to the future occupation of the learner, the other kind relates to matters which (...) are not specific to it. (shrink)
This book defends the view that any adequate account of rational decision making must take a decision maker's beliefs about causal relations into account. The early chapters of the book introduce the non-specialist to the rudiments of expected utility theory. The major technical advance offered by the book is a 'representation theorem' that shows that both causal decision theory and its main rival, Richard Jeffrey's logic of decision, are both instances of a more general conditional decision theory. The book solves (...) a long-standing problem for Jeffrey's theory by showing for the first time how to obtain a unique utility and probability representation for preferences and judgements of comparative likelihood. The book also contains a major new discussion of what it means to suppose that some event occurs or that some proposition is true. The most complete and robust defence of causal decision theory available. (shrink)
To commence any answer to the question “Can democracy promote the general welfare?” requires attention to the meaning of “general welfare.” If this term is drained of all significance by being defined as “whatever the political decision process determines it to be,” then there is no content to the question. The meaning of the term can be restored only by classifying possible outcomes of democratic political processes into two sets – those that are general in application over all citizens and (...) those that are discriminatory. (shrink)
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
The ontological argument appears in a multiplicity of forms. Over the past ten or twelve years, however, the philosophical community seems to have been concerned principally with those versions of the proof which claim that God is a necessary being. In contemporary literature, Professors Malcolm and Hartshorne have been the chief advocates of this view, both men holding that God must be conceived as a necessary being and that, as a result, his existence is able to be demonstrated a priori (...) . This claim has not gone unchallenged; indeed, numerous writers have argued that neither Malcolm nor Hartshorne has exercised due care in his use of ‘necessary’. That is, critics charge that the arguments of both men have only the appearance of validity, for in their reasonings the defenders of the a priori proof have tacitly assumed that God is a logically necessary being. Whether or not a being can be logically necessary, however, is a quaestio disputata . In fact, until recently the question was not in dispute at all—virtually all ‘competent judges’ agreed that only propositions could be spoken of as logically necessary, and thus that God must be defined as a physically or factually necessary being. But is the statement, ‘a physically necessary being exists’, logically true? Critics of the ontological argument think not; and in support of this view they offer analyses of ‘physical necessity’ which, they feel, not only give meaning to the phrase, but also show that a physically necessary being's existence can be proven only by some kind of a posteriori investigation. (shrink)
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
The pragmatic character of the Dutch book argument makes it unsuitable as an "epistemic" justification for the fundamental probabilist dogma that rational partial beliefs must conform to the axioms of probability. To secure an appropriately epistemic justification for this conclusion, one must explain what it means for a system of partial beliefs to accurately represent the state of the world, and then show that partial beliefs that violate the laws of probability are invariably less accurate than they could be otherwise. (...) The first task can be accomplished once we realize that the accuracy of systems of partial beliefs can be measured on a gradational scale that satisfies a small set of formal constraints, each of which has a sound epistemic motivation. When accuracy is measured in this way it can be shown that any system of degrees of belief that violates the axioms of probability can be replaced by an alternative system that obeys the axioms and yet is more accurate in every possible world. Since epistemically rational agents must strive to hold accurate beliefs, this establishes conformity with the axioms of probability as a norm of epistemic rationality whatever its prudential merits or defects might be. (shrink)
Richard Jeffrey long held that decision theory should be formulated without recourse to explicitly causal notions. Newcomb problems stand out as putative counterexamples to this ‘evidential’ decision theory. Jeffrey initially sought to defuse Newcomb problems via recourse to the doctrine of ratificationism, but later came to see this as problematic. We will see that Jeffrey’s worries about ratificationism were not compelling, but that valid ratificationist arguments implicitly presuppose causal decision theory. In later work, Jeffrey argued that Newcomb problems are not (...) decisions at all because agents who face them possess so much evidence about correlations between their actions and states of the world that they are unable to regard their deliberate choices as causes of outcomes, and so cannot see themselves as making free choices. Jeffrey’s reasoning goes wrong because it fails to recognize that an agent’s beliefs about her immediately available acts are so closely tied to the immediate causes of these actions that she can create evidence that outweighs any antecedent correlations between acts and states. Once we recognize that deliberating agents are free to believe what they want about their own actions, it will be clear that Newcomb problems are indeed counterexamples to evidential decision theory. (shrink)
Bayesianism claims to provide a unified theory of epistemic and practical rationality based on the principle of mathematical expectation. In its epistemic guise it requires believers to obey the laws of probability. In its practical guise it asks agents to maximize their subjective expected utility. Joyce’s primary concern is Bayesian epistemology, and its five pillars: people have beliefs and conditional beliefs that come in varying gradations of strength; a person believes a proposition strongly to the extent that she presupposes its (...) truth in her practical and theoretical reasoning; rational graded beliefs must conform to the laws of probability; evidential relationships should be analyzed subjectively in terms of relations among a person’s graded beliefs and conditional beliefs; empirical learning is best modeled as probabilistic conditioning. Joyce explains each of these claims and evaluates some of the justifications that have been offered for them, including “Dutch book,” “decision-theoretic,” and “non-pragmatic” arguments for and. He also addresses some common objections to Bayesianism, in particular the “problem of old evidence” and the complaint that the view degenerates into an untenable subjectivism. The essay closes by painting a picture of Bayesianism as an “internalist” theory of reasons for action and belief that can be fruitfully augmented with “externalist” principles of practical and epistemic rationality. (shrink)
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
The Eucharist is at the heart of Christian worship and at the heart of the Eucharist are the curious phrases, 'This is my body' and 'This is my blood'. James M. Arcadi offers a constructive proposal for understanding Christ's presence in the Eucharist that draws on contemporary conceptual resources and is faithful to the history of interpretation. He locates his proposal along a spectrum of Eucharistic theories. Arcadi explores the motif of God's presence related to divine omnipresence and special (...) presence in holy places, which undergirds a biblical-theological proposal concerning Christ's presence. Utilizing recent work in speech-act theory, Arcadi probes the acts of consecration and renaming in their biblical and liturgical contexts. A thorough examination of recent work in Christology leads to an action model of the Incarnation that borrows the notion of enabling externalism from philosophy of mind. These threads undergird a model of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. (shrink)
Analytic theology seeks to utilize conceptual tools and resources from contemporary analytic philosophy for ends that are properly theological. As a theological methodology relatively new movement in the academic world, this novelty might render it illegitimate. However, I argue that there is much in the recent analytic theological literature that can find a methodological antecedent championed in the fourteenth century known as declarative theology. In distinction from deductive theology—which seeks to extend the conclusions of theology beyond the articles of faith—declarative (...) theology strives to make arguments for the articles of faith. It does it not to provoke epistemic assent to the truth of the articles, but serves as a means of faith seeking understanding. In this paper, examples are drawn from recent analytic discussions to illustrate the manner that analytic theology has been, is, and can be an instance of declarative theology, and thus a legitimate theological enterprise for today. (shrink)
All of the major themes of Edmund Husserl's phenomenology, from the Logical Investigations to The Crisis of the European Sciences, are investigated from a critical point of view by James M. Edie. The philosophy of logic is considered insofar as it relates to the phenomenological and transcendental foundation of logic itself. Transcendental logic is studied with reference to both the formal logic of Aristotle and Leibniz and the dialectical logic of Hegel. Edie considers Husserl's theories of meaning and reference, (...) intentionality, the distinction between perceptual and eidetic intuition, the notion of the ideality of meaning, the laws of objectivity in general, and formal and material ontology, as well as Husserl's reinterpretation of the apriori. (shrink)
The notion that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures has been the venue of much philosophical theological work in the past 40 years. One mode of engagement with this idea has been to defend the coherence of the idea. This has been done by, for example, revising standard conceptions of divinity and humanity or predicate attribution. Another mode of engagement with the doctrine is to offer models for how the state of affairs of the Incarnation might work. This (...) could involve retrieving models from thinkers of the past. Finally, the constructive mode applies the reasoning of the two natures/one person conception to other areas of Christian theology such as the atonement or the Eucharist. Examples of each of these modes from the contemporary analytic literature are presented. (shrink)
Andy Egan has recently produced a set of alleged counterexamples to causal decision theory in which agents are forced to decide among causally unratifiable options, thereby making choices they know they will regret. I show that, far from being counterexamples, CDT gets Egan's cases exactly right. Egan thinks otherwise because he has misapplied CDT by requiring agents to make binding choices before they have processed all available information about the causal consequences of their acts. I elucidate CDT in a way (...) that makes it clear where Egan goes wrong, and which explains why his examples pose no threat to the theory. My approach has similarities to a modification of CDT proposed by Frank Arntzenius, but it differs in the significance that it assigns to potential regrets. I maintain, contrary to Arntzenius, that an agent facing Egan's decisions can rationally choose actions that she knows she will later regret. All rationality demands of agents it that they maximize unconditional causal expected utility from an epistemic perspective that accurately reflects all the available evidence about what their acts are likely to cause. This yields correct answers even in outlandish cases in which one is sure to regret whatever one does. (shrink)
Over a whole range of challenges, the world is essentially undergoverned. New institutions are needed that recognize how much the world has changed and that mobilize those states most capable of meeting the dangers we confront.
Hubert Dreyfus has argued that cases of absorbed bodily coping show that there is no room for self-awareness in flow experiences of experts. In this paper, I argue against Dreyfus’ maxim of vanishing self-awareness by suggesting that awareness of agency is present in expert bodily action. First, I discuss the phenomenon of absorbed bodily coping by discussing flow experiences involved in expert bodily action: merging into the flow; immersion in the flow; emergence out of flow. I argue against the claim (...) that flow experience does not involve an awareness of agency for each of these features, while conceding that fluent agency does not involve self-awareness in the thetic sense. I challenge the assumption that the awareness of fluent agency must be understood in terms of a thetic awareness of agency. Instead, I develop an Anscombean account of the awareness of fluent agency in terms of the phenomenal character of knowing one’s aims. I respond to the challenge that if an Anscombean account of the awareness of agency is to succeed, then agents must be able to answer Anscombean questions. I consider the objection that awareness of agency is not a form of self-awareness by outlining an account of self-awareness as self-synthesis that is distinct from self-perception and self-ascription, but which makes room for self-awareness in expert bodily action. (shrink)
The doctrine of the Eucharist has been one of the more fruitful locales of philosophical reflection within Christian theology. The central philosophical question has been, ‘what is the state of affairs such that it is apt to say of a piece of bread, “This is the body of Christ”?’ In this article, I offer a delineation of various families of answers to this question as they have been proffered in the history of the church. These families are distinguished by how (...) they view the presence of the body of Christ as well as the continued presence of the bread and wine after consecration. I then provide a specific examination of some recent attempts to explicate these views. A number of the recent work has focused on the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but I also survey consubstantiation, transignification, and a recent revival of impanation as potential means for describing the metaphysical realities of the Eucharist. (shrink)
Ostrow (sociology, Bentley College) concludes that the world is inherently social because individuals are immersed in social sensitivity at a young age. Paper edition (unseen), $10.95. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.