Contents 1 Introduction – Points of Contact between Biology and History Marie I. Kaiser and Daniel Plenge Part I General Issues on Explanation 2 The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation, Carl F. Craver Part II Explanation in the Biological Sciences 3 Causal Graphs and Biological Mechanisms, Alexander Gebharter and Marie I. Kaiser 4 Semiotic Explanation in the Biological Sciences, Ulrich Krohs 5 Mechanisms, Pathomechanisms, and Disease in Scientific Clinical Medicine, Gerhard Müller-Strahl 6 The Generalizations of Biology: Historical and (...) Contingent? Alexander Reutlinger 7 Evolutionary Explanations and the Role of Mechanisms, Gerhard Schurz Part III Explanation in the Historical Sciences 8 Explaining Roman History – A Case Study, Stephan Berry 9 Causal Explanation and Historical Meaning: How to Solve the Problem of the Specific Historical Relation be-tween Events, Doris Gerber 10 Do Historians Study the Mechanisms of History? A Sketch, Daniel Plenge 11 Philosophy of History – Metaphysics and Epistemology, Oliver R. Scholz 12 Causal Explanations of Historical Trends, Derek D. Turner Part IV Bridging the Two Disciplines 13 Aspects of Human Historiographic Explanation: A View from the Philosophy of Science, Stuart Glennan 14 History and the Sciences, Philip Kitcher and Daniel Immerwahr 15 Explanation and Intervention in Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Daniel Steel 16 Biology and Natural History: What Makes the Difference, Aviezer Tucker. (shrink)
English summary: With this work, Otto Kaiser presents the Tria Corda lectures on the three topics of destiny and freedom and divine providence as well as the beauty and harmony in the world and the problem of the existence of evil.
Figures of Simplicity explores a unique constellation of figures from philosophy and literature—Heinrich von Kleist, Herman Melville, G. W. Leibniz, and Alexander Baumgarten—in an attempt to recover alternative conceptions of aesthetics and dimensions of thinking lost in the disciplinary narration of aesthetics after Kant. This is done primarily by tracing a variety of “simpletons” that populate the writings of Kleist and Melville. These figures are not entirely ignorant, or stupid, but simple. Their simplicity is a way of thinking, one that (...) Birgit Mara Kaiser suggests is affective thinking. Kaiser avers that Kleist and Melville are experimenting in their texts with an affective mode of thinking, and thereby continue a key line within eighteenth-century aesthetics: the relation of rationality and sensibility. Through her analyses, she offers an outline of what thinking can look like if we take affectivity into account. (shrink)
The contributors to _The Anomie of the Earth_ explore the convergences and resonances between Autonomist Marxism and decolonial thinking. In discussing and rejecting Carl Schmitt's formulation of the nomos—a conceptualization of world order based on the Western tenets of law and property—the authors question the assumption of universal political subjects and look towards politics of the commons divorced from European notions of sovereignty. They contrast European Autonomism with North and South American decolonial and indigenous conceptions of autonomy, discuss the legacies (...) of each, and examine social movements in the Americas and Europe. Beyond orthodox Marxism, their transatlantic exchanges point to the emerging categories disclosed by the collapse of the colonial and capitalist frameworks of Western modernity. Contributors. Joost de Bloois, Jodi A. Byrd, Gustavo Esteva, Silvia Federici, Wilson Kaiser, Mara Kaufman, Frans-Willem Korsten, Federico Luisetti, Sandro Mezzadra, Walter D. Mignolo, Benjamin Noys, John Pickles, Alvaro Reyes, Catherine Walsh, Gareth Williams, Zac Zimmer. (shrink)
The Ethical Matrix was developed to help decision-makers explore the ethical issues raised by agri-food biotechnologies. Over the decade since its inception the Ethical Matrix has been used by a number of organizations and the philosophical basis of the framework has been discussed and analyzed extensively. The role of tools such as the Ethical Matrix in public policy decision-making has received increasing attention. In order to further develop the methodological aspects of the Ethical Matrix method, work was carried out to (...) study the potential role of the Ethical Matrix as a decision support framework. When considering which frameworks to apply when analyzing the ethical dimensions of the application of agri-food biotechnologies, it is important to clarify the substantive nature of any prospective framework. In order to further investigate this issue, reflections on the neologism “ethical soundness” of an ethical framework are presented here. This concept is introduced in order to provide more structured evaluations of a range of ethical tools, including ethical frameworks such as the Ethical Matrix. As well as examining the philosophical dimensions of the method, theoretical analysis and literature studies were combined with stakeholder engagement exercises and consultations in order to review the Ethical Matrix from a user perspective. This work resulted in the development of an Ethical Matrix Manual, which is intended to act as a guide for potential user groups. (shrink)
The Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics inScience and Technology (NENT), collaborating with The NorwegianFisherman''s Association and The Research Council of Norway,started in 1999 a project aiming at an ethical assessment of Norwegian fisheries for the year 2020. The project was to preparethe ground for ethical debate in and of the fishery sector inview of pending important decisions on long term strategies. Thispaper has its focus on the method used for achieving these aims,rather than the substantive results concerning the fisheries. (...) Amethod was developed for this purpose, called the ethicalscenario process. This included the construction of scenarios forthe future of Norwegian fisheries, using an ethical matrix for evaluating strategies, and organizing a ``value workshop'''' whereparticipants from different stakeholder groups came together todo ethical evaluations. The positive achievements and theshortcomings of this method are discussed in this paper. The useof an ethical matrix was meant to combine a participatory approachwith insights from theoretical ethics. The project revealedinherent tensions between these two objectives. Possible ways ofdealing with this tension are indicated, but in general a goodgrasp of the socio-political context might be the best guardianagainst the possible pitfalls involved in such an approach. (shrink)
Assuming an essential difference between scientific data and phenomena, this paper argues for the view that we have to understand how empirical findings get transformed into scientific phenomena. The work of scientists is seen as largely consisting in constructing these phenomena which are then utilized in more abstract theories. It is claimed that these matters are of importance for discussions of theory choice and progress in science. A case study is presented as a starting point: paleomagnetism and the use of (...) paleomagnetic data in early discussions of continental drift. Some general features of this study are presented in formalized language. It is suggested that the presentation given is particularly suited for a semantic conception of theories. Even though the construction of scientific phenomena is the main topic of this paper, the view presented here is more adapted to realism than social constructivism. (shrink)
A number of EU institutions and government committees across Europe have expressed interest in developing methods and decision-support tools to facilitate consideration of the ethical dimensions of biotechnology assessment. As part of the work conducted in the EC supported project on ethical tools (Ethical Bio-TA Tools), a number of ethical frameworks with the potential to support the work of public policy decision-makers has been characterized and evaluated. One of these potential tools is the Delphi method. The Delphi method was originally (...) developed to assess variables that are intangible and/or shrouded in uncertainty by drawing on the knowledge and abilities of a diverse group of experts through a form of anonymous and iterative consultation. The method has hitherto been used by a diversity of practitioners to explore issues such as technology assessment, environmental planning, and public health measures. From the original (classical) Delphi, a family of Delphi-related processes has emerged. As a result of the evaluation of the various Delphi processes, it is proposed that the classical method can be further developed and applied as a form of ethical framework to assist policy-makers. Through a series of exercises and trials, an Ethical Delphi has been developed as a potential approach for characterizing ethical issues raised by the use of novel biotechnologies. Advantages and disadvantages of the method are discussed. Further work is needed to develop the procedural aspects of the Ethical Delphi method and to test its use in different cultural contexts. However, utilizing an ethical framework of this type combines the advantages of a methodical approach to capture ethical aspects with the democratic virtues of transparency and openness to criticism. Ethical frameworks such as the Ethical Delphi should contribute to better understanding of and decision-making on issues that involve decisive ethical dimensions. (shrink)
The paper starts with the assumption that the Precautionary Principle (PP) is one of the most important elements of the concept of sustainability. It is noted that PP has entered international treaties and national law. PP is widely referred to as a central principle of environmental policy. However, the precise content of PP remains largely unclear. In particular it seems unclear how PP relates to science. In section 2 of the paper a general overview of some historical and systematic features (...) of PP are presented. In section 3 a specific case is discussed in greater detail. It is claimed that the escape of farmed salmon from fish cages in the Sea, and its eventual invasion of the breeding places of the wild salmon up the rivers, must be regarded a proper case for applying PP. Yet there is no single PP-strategy. Instead, four different strategies are presented, and all of them can be regarded precautionary strategies in the light of PP. The choice between these strategies is based upon personal values. In section 4 of the paper a general analysis is given which relates these different value perspectives to basic differences in risk aversion, which in turn are related to differing conceptions of nature and/or society. In the concluding section 5 some general consequences of the foregoing analysis are outlined. (shrink)
During the fall of 2001 (October 22–25), The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) and the Agricultural University of Norway arranged a consensus conference on the protection of the environment against ionising radiation. The motive for the conference was the need to study the ethical and philosophical basis for protection of nature in its own right. The conference was funded by Nordic Nuclear Safety Research (NKS), in cooperation with the International Union of Radioecology (IUR). The National Committee for Research Ethics in (...) Science and Technology (NENT) was hired as facilitators for the consensus process. This paper will give a brief outline of the aims and method of the conference, distinguishing these from other kinds of consensus conferences. The paper ends with some general reflections on the appropriateness of seeking consensus on ethics-related issues among experts. (shrink)
R. Laudan and L. Laudan (1989) have put forth a new model intended to solve the problem of disagreement, the problem of consensus, and the problem of innovation in science. In support of this model they cite the history of the acceptance of continental drift, or plate tectonics. In this discussion, I claim that this episode does not constitute an instance of their model. The historical evidence does not support this model. Indeed, closer examination seems to weaken it. I also (...) sketch an alternative model. (shrink)
Summary The analysis of structures of argumentation in historical controversies is considered to be a basic contribution to the dynamics of theories. In this paper attention is drawn to the occurence of operational arguments in the history of physics. This is to be discussed especially in respect to the nineteenth-century debates on the consistency of Wilhelm Weber's electrodynamic law with the principle of conservation of energy.
A dynamic description model of the flight path a dragonfly takes is required in order to derive the encounter frequency of the dragonfly males visiting a pond. It is considered as the first part of a realistic description of the regulation of dragonfly density at the pond by behavioural interaction. Since the dragonfly males fly strictly along the shoreline of the pond, their displacement may be perceived as a quasi linear movement. The flight paths of dragonflies were recorded in field (...) by registering at regular time intervals the number of the shoreline section. in which the dragonfly was staying at that moment. The recorded flight paths show a wide variety from circling around the pond or flying widely to and fro to remaining in a narrow sector of the shoreline . The records were classified into 9 flight style groups. The flight style is temperature dependent, but there are also individual differences between the dragonflies. The strategy adopted for model building is to start with the most simple assumptions and parameters. The dynamic performance of each model is assessed by simulations. The model has to be extended until the simulated flight path patterns resemble the observed patterns. In a model with one parameter the displacement for every time interval is given by a stochastic decision using the probabilities evaluated from the observed frequencies of step length . This model was run with different sets of data. The simulated patterns using the data from all records together slightly resemble some observed patterns. They represent, however, only a small range of the variability observed. With data from the different style groups or the single records the simulated patterns are much more variable, but they are too irregular and contain too many turns . Therefore the description model was extended by a second parameter determining the direction of each step. The probability of turning is dependent on the number of steps already taken in the same direction . The probabilities are evaluated from the observed frequencies of step series. With the data from all records together, this model yields patterns more similar to the observed flight paths but they still represent only a restricted range of the observed variability. The patterns obtained using the data from the different style groups or from the single records cover the full range of the observed variability and they resemble closely the observed patterns even in minute details . Thus this description model together with the data from the flight style groups is accepted as fully sufficient for the present purpose. The simulations allow the assessment of the range of chance variability . The assumptions implied in the description model were corroborated by statistical tests. The approach developed here for the quantification of the behaviour of dragonflies is generally applicable to stochastic behaviour. Um die Häufigkeit der Kämpfe zwischen Libellenmannchen am Gewässer vom Verhalten der einzelnen Individuen ableiten zu können, wurde ein dynamisches Modell des Flugverhaltens einzelner Libellen aus Freilandbeobachtungen abgeleitet. Das Modell soll ein erster Schritt zu einer realistischen Beschreibung sein, wie bei Libellen die Individuendichte durch Verhaltensinteraktionen geregelt wird. Da die Libellenmannchen streng an der Uferlinie entlang fliegen, kann ihre Flugbahn als quasi eindimensionale Bewegung aufgefaßt werden. Die Flugbahnen einzelner Männchen registrierte ich, indem ich in regelmäßigen Zeitintervallen die Nummer des'Uferabschnitts , in dem sich die Libelle gerade aufhielt, auf Tonband sprach. Die registierten Flugbahnen sind sehr verschiedenartig. Zwischen Bahnen, bei denen die Libellen immer in einer Richtung um das Gewässer kreisten, bis zu solchen, bei denen sie in einem engen Uferbereich hin and her flogen, gibt es alle Übergänge . Die Flugbahnen warden in 9 Gruppen verschiedener Flugstile eingeteilt. Der Flugstil ist temperaturabhängig and individuell verschieden. Die Strategie der Modellentwicklung war, mit einem Modell mit möglichst einfachen Voraussetzungen and Parametern zu beginnen, seine dynamische Leistung mit Simulationen zu prüfen, und die Modellbeschreibung so lange zu erweitern, bis die simulierten Flugbahnmuster den tatsächlich beobachteten Mustern gleichen. Im ersten Modell wurde die Ortsveränderung in jedem Zeitintervall mit einer stochastischen Entscheidung bestimmt, bei der Wahrscheinlichkeiten verwendet warden, die sich aus den beobachteten Haufigkeiten der Schrittweiten ergaben . Simulationen dieses Modells mit den aus allen Flugbahnregistrierungen gemeinsam ausgewerteten Daten ergaben Flugbahnmuster, die zwar manchen beobachteten ähnelten, aber nur einen kleinen Bereich der beobachteten Vielfalt darstellten. Mit den Daten aus den einzelnen Flugstilgruppen ergab sich insgesamt eine grofie Variabilitat, die simulierten Flugbahnen waren aber zu unregelmäßig and enthielten zu viele Richtungswechsel . Deshalb wurde das Modell durch einen Parameter erweitert, der für jedes Zeitintervall die Flugrichtung bestimmt. Die Wahrscheinfchkeit umzukehren hängt davon ab, wieviele Zeitintervalle bereits die gleiche Richtung beibehalten wurde . Die Wahrscheinlichkeitswerte dafür warden aus den beobachteten Haufigkeiten der Schrittserien in eine Richtung bestimmt. Dieses Modell ergibt in Simulationen mit den aus allen Registrierungen gemeinsam ausgewerteten Daten Flugbahnen, die den Originalen ähnlich sind, aber nur einen beschränkten Bereich der vielfalt darstellen. Simulationen mit den Daten aus den einzelnen Flugstilgruppen dagegen ergeben die vollebeobachtete Variabilitat and die erhaltenen Flugbahnmuster gleichen den beobachteten Originalen auch in kleinen Einzelheiten . Dieses Modell kann deshalb zusammen mit den Daten der einzelnen Flugstilgruppen als befriedigende Beschreibung des Flugverhaltens angesehen werden. Die Simulationen erlauben, den Bereich der zufälligen Variabilitat abzuschätzen . Die im Modell gemachten Annahmen warden durch statistische Tests bestätigt. Der hier zur Beschreibung des Verhaltens von Libellen entwickelte Ansatz ist allgemein anwendbar auf stochastisches Verhalten. (shrink)
Nach der Problemumgrenzung werden im zweiten Abschnitt die Möglichkeiten der aktualistischen Methode behandelt. Zuerst werden Beispiele für die Anwendung der Methode auf vorwiegend geologischem Gebiet gebracht, gegliedert in exogene und endogene Vorgänge. Wegen der gleichzeitigen Bedeutung für Geologie und Paläontologie und Biologie schliesst sich eine Besprechung der Biostratonomie an. Der letzte Teil dieses Abschnittes behandelt ausgewählte Beispiele aus der Paläontologie. Der dritte Abschnitt schliesslich behandelt die Grenzen aktualistischer Betrachtungsmethode an Hand typischer Beispiele.The theory of actualism is the most important in (...) geological and palaeontological thinking. In this paper the historical development of this theory, its possibilities and boundaries are described and elucidated by geological and palaeontological examples. (shrink)
Theoretical ethics includes both metaethics (the meaning of moral terms) and normative ethics (ethical theories and principles). Practical ethics involves making decisions about every day real ethical problems, like decisions about euthanasia, what we should eat, climate change, treatment of animals, and how we should live. It utilizes ethical theories, like utilitarianism and Kantianism, and principles, but more broadly a process of reflective equilibrium and consistency to decide how to act and be.
I respond to Ned Block’s claim that it is ridiculous to suppose that consciousness is a cultural construction based on language and learned in childhood. Block is wrong to dismiss social constructivist theories of consciousness on account of it being ludicrous that conscious experience is anything but a biological feature of our animal heritage, characterized by sensory experience, evolved over millions of years. By defending social constructivism in terms of both Julian Jaynes’ behaviorism and J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology, I (...) draw a distinction between the experience or what-it-is-like of nonhuman animals engaging with the environment and the secret theater of speechless monologue that is familiar to a linguistically competent human adult. This distinction grounds the argument that consciousness proper should be seen as learned rather than innate and shared with nonhuman animals. Upon establishing this claim, I defend the Jaynesian definition of consciousness as a social–linguistic construct learned in childhood, structured in terms of lexical metaphors and narrative practice. Finally, I employ the Jaynesian distinction between cognition and consciousness to bridge the explanatory gap and deflate the supposed hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
In 1912, Julian Huxley published his first book The Individual in the Animal Kingdom which he dedicated to the then world-famous French philosopher Henri Bergson. Historians have generally adopted one of two attitudes towards Huxley’s early encounter with Bergson. They either dismiss it entirely as unimportant or minimise it, deeming it a youthful indiscretion preceding Huxley’s full conversion to Fisherian Darwinism. Close biographical study and new archive materials demonstrate, however, that neither position is tenable. The Bergsonian elements in play (...) in Julian Huxley’s early works fed into his first ideas about progress in evolution and even his celebrated theories of bird courtship. Furthermore, the view that Huxley rejected Bergson in his later years needs to be revised. Although Huxley ended up claiming that Bergson’s theory of evolution had no explanatory power, he never repudiated the descriptive power of Bergson’s controversial notion of the élan vital. Even into the Modern Synthesis period, Huxley represented his own synthesis as drawing decisively on Bergson’s philosophy. (shrink)
This essay analyzes one of Germany's former premier research institutions for biomedical research, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics (KWIA) as a test case for the way in which politics and human heredity served as resources for each other during the Third Reich. Examining the KWIA from this perspective brings us a step closer to answering the questions at the heart of most recent scholarship concerning the biomedical community under the swastika: (1) How do we (...) explain why the vast majority of German human geneticists and eugenicists were willing to work for the National Socialist state and, at the very least, legitimized its exterminationist racial policy; and (2) what accounts for at least some of Germany's most renowned medically trained professionals' involvement in forms of morally compromised science that wholly transcend the bounds of normal scientific practice? Although a complete answer to this question must await an examination of other German biological research centers, the present study suggests that during the Nazi period the symbiotic relationship between human genetics and politics served to radicalize both. The dynamic between the science of human heredity and Nazi politics changed the research practice of some of the biomedical sciences housed at the KWIA. It also simultaneously made it easier for the Nazi state to carry out its barbaric racial program leading, finally, to the extermination of millions of so-called racial undesirables. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 193 - 207 Julian, in a Syriac fragment of his _Contra Galilaeos_, attacked the resurrection narratives in Matthew and Mark, because they were inconsistent with each other concerning the time of the arrival of the women to the tomb, the nature of the being they met in the tomb, and the women’s subsequent actions. Other texts in Syriac and Latin indicate the probability that Julian took over the substance of his argument (...) from Porphyry. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 13 - 38 This paper assembles evidence from the full scope of Julian’s writings that the emperor had a pronounced interest in medicine and human health, which impacted both his rhetorical and real approach to political, philosophical, and religious problems. His initiatives aimed to promote doctors, medical research, and public health. He emphasized a holistic view of bodily and spiritual health in his version of theurgic Neoplatonism. Medical frames of reference also played (...) an appreciable role in his anti-Christian program. Finally, he himself and others styled him as a physician-king on a divine mission to heal the Empire of the Christian disease. (shrink)
En contra de les aparences, la meva intenció és ridiculitzar i desactivar l’estratègic ús de referències a personatges de ficció per part dels mass media, els quals pretenen identificar el fundador de WikiLeaks amb tot aquest projecte —quelcom que facilita tant la deslegitimació com la mercantilització. Així, aquest article qüestiona la dominant personalització de la web de filtracions en Julian Assange, tot mostrant algunes de les més rellevants diferències i/o contradiccions entre el rerefons normatiu de WikiLeaks i la pseudo-filosofia (...) política de l’australià. La meva tesi és que la justificació de la il·legal revelació d’informació secreta i confidencial com a pràctica de desobediència civil es posa en perill per la contaminació de postulats utilitaristes i neoliberals. (shrink)
Desde la visión de Ortega y Gasset y Julián Marías aparece el pensador Árabe Ibn Jaldún como uno de los principales puentes tendidos entre Oriente y Occidente, tanto que es considerado por ambos como el primer filósofo de la historia. Según afirmaciones de Ortega, el pensador árabe es el cimiento que heredaron las generaciones de ambos pensadores españoles.
Se trata de exponer y examinar los argumentos del filósofo Julián Marías en relación con el problema de la ética de la persona humana, desde la perspectiva de la vida humana y de la Antropología metafísica. Integrante de la "Escuela de Madrid", su pensamiento ha sido inspirado por la filosofía rac..
One of Julian Barbour’s main aims is to solve the problem of time that appears in quantum geometrodynamics (QG). QG involves the application of canonical quantization procedure to the Hamiltonian formulation of General Relativity. The problem of time arises because the quantization of the Hamiltonian constraint results in an equation that has no explicit time parameter. Thus, it appears that the resulting equation, as apparently timeless, cannot describe evolution of quantum states. Barbour attempts to resolve the problem by allegedly (...) eliminating time from his interpretation of QG. In order to evaluate the efficacy of his solution, it is necessary to ascertain in what sense time has been eliminated from his theory. I proceed to do so by developing a form of conceptual analysis that is applicable to the concept of time in physical theories and applying this analysis to Barbour’s account. (shrink)