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)
A thorough historical account of the unsuccessful attempt by the Philosophic Radicals to establish an independent political party in the 1830's. Although definitely an historical, rather than a philosophical treatment of the early followers of John Mill, it does give a great deal of detailed information on a relatively unknown and unsuccessful period of J. S. Mill's life—K. A. M.
An important goal of ethical investment is to influence companies to improve their ethical and environmental performance. The principal means that many ethical funds employ is passive market signalling, which may not, on its own, have a significant effect. A much more promising approach may be active engagement. This paper reports on a questionnaire study of a sample of 1146 ethical investors in order to assess whether U.K. ethical investors would support more activist ethical investment and whether they would be (...) prepared to invest in companies which are failing ethically in order to do so. The results show general support for the current practice of passive signalling accompanied by "soft" engagement in the form of lobbying and the development of dialogue in order to improve corporate practice. The "harder" options of investing in companies that err in order to change them is, however, favoured by consistent minorities. (shrink)
Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds and his theory of laws of nature.
_ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
I insist that I was able to raise my hand, and I acknowledge that a law would have been broken had I done so, but I deny that I am therefore able to break a law. To uphold my instance of soft determinism, I need not claim any incredible powers. To uphold the compatibilism that I actually believe, I need not claim that such powers are even possible. My incompatibilist opponent is a creature of fiction, but he has his prototypes (...) in real life. He is modeled partly after Peter van Inwagen and partly on myself when I first worried about van Inwagen's argument against compatibilism. (shrink)
This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and (...) rational decision. Throughout, Lewis analyzes global features of the world in such a way as to show that they might turn out to supervene on the spatiotemporal arrangement of local qualities. (shrink)
David Lewis (1941-2001) was Class of 1943 University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His contributions spanned philosophical logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology. In On the Plurality of Worlds, he defended his challenging metaphysical position, "modal realism." He was also the author of the books Convention, Counterfactuals, Parts of Classes, and several volumes of collected papers.
Tn this paper I explore and to an extent defend HS. The main philosophical challenges to HS come from philosophical views that say that nomic concepts-laws, chance, and causation-denote features of the world that fail to supervene on non-nomic features. Lewis rejects these views and has labored mightily to construct HS accounts of nomic concepts. His account of laws is fundamental to his program, since his accounts of the other nomic notions rely on it. Recently, a number of philosophers (...) have criticized Lewis's account, and Humean accounts of laws generally, for delivering, at best, a pale imitation ofthe genuine item. These philosophers think that the notion of law needed by science requires laws-if there are any-to be fundamental features of our world that are completely distinct from and not supervenient on the particular facts that they explain. I side with Lewis against these philosophers. Here I will argue that although Lewis-laws don't fulfill all our philosophical expectations, they do play the roles that science needs laws to play. The metaphysics and epistemology of Humean laws, and more specifically, Lewis-laws, are in much better shape than the metaphysics and epistemology of the main anti-Humean alternatives. However, I do have inisgivings about Lewis's account. Both he and his critics assume that the basic properties are so individuated so that the laws are not metaphysically necessary. If this assumption is rejected, then the question of Humean supervenience lapses. I conclude with a brief discussion of this position. (shrink)
This book is a defense of modal realism; the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.
J. R. Lucas argues in “Minds, Machines, and Gödel”, that his potential output of truths of arithmetic cannot be duplicated by any Turing machine, and a fortiori cannot be duplicated by any machine. Given any Turing machine that generates a sequence of truths of arithmetic, Lucas can produce as true some sentence of arithmetic that the machine will never generate. Therefore Lucas is no machine.
Although McMillan recognizes that moral theory has its place, he suggests that by setting bioethics up as a discipline whose predominant issues are to do with theory, not only are students insulated from the broadness of its scope and the diversity of its methods, but the subject comes across as largely inaccessible to those without some formal train- ing in normative ethics and of limited practical signifi- cance to those dealing with concrete issues.
This paper details the experience of planning, orchestrating, teaching, and participating in a writing-intensive, team-taught, introductory philosophy class designed to expand the diversity of voices included in philosophical study. Accordingly, this article includes the various perspectives of faculty, TAs, and students in the class. Faculty authors discuss the administrative side of the course, including its planning and goals, its texts and structure, its working definition of “philosophy,” its balance of canonical and non-canonical texts, the significant resistance met in getting the (...) course approved, the complex pedagogical difficulties that attend teaching non-canonical texts, the motivation and execution of the course’s writing-intensive dimension, and a summary of student evaluations of the course. The TA authors reflect on the high level of student engagement and interest compared to other introductory philosophy courses, the perception that students found the material highly relevant to their own lives, and the capacity of the material to bring about philosophical insight for the instructors in the class. The student author offers a favorable account of the class and remarks on how the structure of the course aided the accessibility and relevance of the texts. (shrink)
This is the first of a three-volume collection of David Lewis's most recent papers in all the areas to which he has made significant contributions. The purpose of this collection (and the two volumes to follow) is to disseminate even more widely the work of a preeminent and influential late twentieth-century philosopher. The papers are now offered in a readily accessible format. This first volume is devoted to Lewis's work on philosophical logic from the last twenty-five years. The (...) topics covered include: deploying the methods of formal semantics from artificial formalised languages to natural languages, model-theoretic investigations of intensional logic, contradiction, relevance, the differences between analog and digital representation, and questions arising from the construction of ambitious formalised philosophical systems. The volume will serve as an important reference tool for all philosophers and their students. (shrink)