The interventionist account of causation has been largely dismissed as a serious candidate for application in physics. This dismissal is related to the problematic assumption that physical causation is entirely a matter of dynamical evolution. In this article, I offer a fresh look at the interventionist account of causation and its applicability to thermodynamics. I argue that the interventionist account of causation is the account of causation that most appropriately characterizes the theoretical structure and phenomenal behavior of thermodynamics.
The manipulationist account of causation provides a conceptual analysis of cause-effect relationships in terms of hypothetical experiments. It also explains why and how experiments are used for the empirical testing of causal claims. This paper attempts to apply the manipulationist account of causation to a broader range of experiments—a range that extends beyond experiments explicitly designed for the testing of causal claims. I aim to show that the set of causal inferences afforded by an experiment is determined solely on the (...) basis of contrasting case structures that I call “experimental series”, and that the conditions that suffice for causal inference obtain quite commonly, even among “ordinary” experiments that are not explicitly designed for the testing of causal claims. (shrink)
Is it possible to take the enterprise of physics seriously while also holding the belief that the world contains an order beyond the reach of that physics? Is it possible to simultaneously believe in objective laws of nature and in miracles? Is it possible to search for the truths of physics while also acknowledging the limitations of that search as it is carried out by limited human knowers? As a philosopher, as a Christian, and as a participant in the physics (...) of his day, Leibniz had an interesting view that bears on all of these questions. This paper examines the status of laws of nature in Leibniz's philosophy and how the status of these laws fits into his larger philosophical picture of the limits of human knowledge and the wise and omniscient God who created the actual world. (shrink)
A basic problem of daily life is determining who owns what. One way that people may solve this problem is by relying on a ‘first possession’ heuristic, according to which the first person who possesses an object is its owner, even if others subsequently possess the object. We investigated preschoolers’ use of this heuristic in five experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2, 3- and 4-year-olds inferred that an object was owned by the character who possessed it first, even though another (...) character subsequently possessed it. Two-year-olds also showed this bias, but only when the object was placed between the characters when children were asked about ownership. Experiment 3 ruled out the possibility that children’s bias to select the first possessor results from a tendency to select the character first associated with the object. Experiment 4 showed that 3- and 4-year-olds have difficulty disregarding the first possession heuristic, even when provided with evidence that the character who first possessed an object is not its owner. But Experiment 5 found that children can disregard the heuristic in at least some situations. These five experiments suggest that the first possession heuristic guides children’s ownership inferences. The findings provide the first evidence that preschoolers can infer who owns what, when not explicitly told, and when not reasoning about objects with which they are personally acquainted. (shrink)
Historical research on John Dalton has been dominated by an attempt to reconstruct the origins of his so-called "chemical atomic theory". I show that Dalton's theory is difficult to define in any concise manner, and that there has been no consensus as to its unique content among his contemporaries, later chemists, and modern historians. I propose an approach which, instead of attempting to work backward from Dalton's theory, works forward, by identifying the research questions that Dalton posed to himself and (...) attempting to understand how his hypotheses served as answers to these questions. I describe Dalton's scientific work as an evolving set of puzzles about natural phenomena. I show how an early interest in meteorology led Dalton to see the constitution of the atmosphere as a puzzle. In working on this great puzzle, he gradually turned his interest to specifically chemical questions. In the end, the web of puzzles that he worked on required him to create his own novel philosophy of chemistry for which he is known today. (shrink)
The current consensus view of causation in physics, as commonly held by scientists and philosophers, has several serious problems. It fails to provide an epistemology for the causal knowledge that it claims physics to possess; it is inapplicable in a prominent area of physics (classical thermodynamics); and it is difficult to reconcile with our everyday use of causal concepts and claims. In this dissertation, I use historical examples and philosophical arguments to show that the interventionist account of causation constitutes a (...) promising alternative for a “physically respectable” account of causation. The interventionist account explicates important parts of the experimental practice of physics and important aspects of the ways in which physical theory is used and applied. Moreover, the interventionist account succeeds where the consensus view of causation in physics fails. I argue that the interventionist account provides an epistemology of causal knowledge in physics that is rooted in experiment. On the interventionist view, there is a close link between experiment and the testing of causal claims. I give several examples of experiments from the early history of thermodynamics that scientists used in interventionist-type arguments. I also argue that interventionist claims made in the context of a physical theory can be epistemically justified by reference to the experimental interventions and observations that serve as evidence for the theory. I then show that the interventionist account of causation is well-suited to the patterns of reasoning that are intrinsic to thermodynamic theory. I argue that interventionist reasoning constitutes the structural foundation of thermodynamic theory, and that thermodynamic theory can provide clear answers to meaningful questions about whether or not a certain variable is a cause of another in a given context. Finally, I argue that the interventionist account offers the prospect of a unification of “physically respectable” causation and our everyday notion of causation. I conclude the dissertation by sketching an anti-foundationalist unification of causation, according to which causal reasoning occurs in the same manner in physics as it does in other branches of life and scientific research. (shrink)
Paul Needham has claimed in several recent papers that Dalton’s chemical atomism was not explanatory. I respond to his criticism of Dalton by arguing that explanation admits of degrees and that under a view that allows for a spectrum of explanatory value, it is possible to see ample worth in Dalton’s atomistic explanations. Furthermore, I argue that even Duhem, who rejected atomism, acknowledged the explanatory worth of Dalton’s atomism.
Two arguments are critiqued here. The first is that hominin mothers “parked” their offspring; the evidence does not support that position. The second is that motherese developed to control the behavior of nonambulatory infants. However, Falk's case is stronger if we apply it to children who are already walking and more likely to be influenced by verbal information.
Socio-cultural changes in the West have influenced interpretation and use of scriptural texts among both those who oppose and support same-sex relationships. Cultural distance from the values of antiquity on matters of family structures and perceptions of people attracted to the same sex have led to greater attention to theological reflection beyond the standard biblical prohibition texts, particularly among conservative evangelicals. This article looks at two key areas of discussion: theological anthropology and sanctification.
Self-, collective, and participative efficacy are strong predictors of sustainability action. Yet, few studies have investigated the dynamics and variability of efficacy beliefs. In this transdisciplinary study, we tested such factors in the context of a peer-to-peer coaching program for sustainability volunteers, embedded in a structured-educational context. Over weekends, 2 qualified coaches trained 36 German bottom-up, student-led sustainability initiatives. These coaches instructed students in team building, envisioning, project planning, and on-campus sustainability practice. While 317 participants completed our pre-questionnaire, N = (...) 165 completed both the pre- and post-questionnaire. As hypothesized, after having participated in the coaching weekend, action skills, collaboration skills, group identification, and self-, collective, and participative efficacy all increased. The latter of these increased, to our knowledge, for the first time in environmental psychology research. Group identification and having a vision emerged as important efficacy predictors, and participative efficacy beliefs in turn predicted volunteering. Moreover, we took initial steps in investigating the interaction of psychological and structural factors from a multilevel perspective. Our analyses revealed that efficacy beliefs on the individual level were higher when the university had a green office and when the student initiative was at a small university. We conclude by proposing an empowerment model for sustainability volunteers and by discussing the practical implications of our findings. (shrink)
Three experiments investigated response times for remember and know responses in recognition memory. RTs to remember responses were faster than RTs to know responses, regardless of whether the remember–know decision was preceded by an old/new decision or was made without a preceding old/new decision . The finding of faster RTs for R responses was also found when remember–know decisions were made retrospectively. These findings are inconsistent with dual-process models of recognition memory, which predict that recollection is slower and more effortful (...) than familiarity. Word frequency did not influence RTs, but remember responses were faster for words than for nonwords. We argue that the difference in RTs to remember and know responses reflects the time taken to make old/new decisions on the basis of the type of information activated at test. (shrink)
The Protein Ontology (PRO; http://proconsortium.org) formally defines protein entities and explicitly represents their major forms and interrelations. Protein entities represented in PRO corresponding to single amino acid chains are categorized by level of specificity into family, gene, sequence and modification metaclasses, and there is a separate metaclass for protein complexes. All metaclasses also have organism-specific derivatives. PRO complements established sequence databases such as UniProtKB, and interoperates with other biomedical and biological ontologies such as the Gene Ontology (GO). PRO relates to (...) UniProtKB in that PRO’s organism-specific classes of proteins encoded by a specific gene correspond to entities documented in UniProtKB entries. PRO relates to the GO in that PRO’s representations of organism-specific protein complexes are subclasses of the organism-agnostic protein complex terms in the GO Cellular Component Ontology. The past few years have seen growth and changes to the PRO, as well as new points of access to the data and new applications of PRO in immunology and proteomics. Here we describe some of these developments. (shrink)
Object files (OFs) are hypothesized mid-level representations which mediate our conscious perception of persisting objects—e.g. telling us ‘which went where’. Despite the appeal of the OF framework, not previous research has directly explored whether OFs do indeed correspond to conscious percepts. Here we present at least one case wherein conscious percepts of ‘which went where’ in dynamic ambiguous displays diverge from the analogous correspondence computed by the OF system. Observers viewed a ‘bouncing/streaming’ display in which two identical objects moved such (...) that they could have either bounced off or streamed past each other. We measured two dependent variables: (1) an explicit report of perceived bouncing or streaming; and (2) an implicit ‘object-specific preview benefit’ (OSPB), wherein a ‘preview’ of information on a specific object speeds the recognition of that information at a later point when it appears again on the same object (compared to when it reappears on a different object), beyond display-wide priming. When the displays were manipulated such that observers had a strong bias to perceive streaming (on over 95% of the trials), there was nevertheless a strong OSPB in the opposite direction—such that the object files appeared to have ‘bounced’ even though the percept ‘streamed’. Given that OSPBs have been taken as a hallmark of the operation of object files, the five experiments reported here suggest that in at least some specialized (and perhaps ecologically invalid) cases, conscious percepts of ‘which went where’ in dynamic ambiguous displays can diverge from the mapping computed by the object-file system. (shrink)
This Article explores the relationship between the legitimacy of international courts and expansive judicial lawmaking. We compare lawmaking by three regional integration courts - the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Andean Tribunal of Justice, and the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice. These courts have similar jurisdictional grants and access rules, yet each has behaved in a strikingly different way when faced with opportunities to engage in expansive judicial lawmaking. The CJEU is the most activist, but its audacious (...) legal doctrines have been assimilated as part of the court’s legitimate authority. The ATJ and ECOWAS have been more cautious, but there is little to suggest that this caution has enhanced the legitimacy of either court. The ATJ has avoided serious challenges from governments, but its rulings have had little political impact. Conversely, the ECCJ’s circumspection has not shielded it from political opposition to its adjudication of clearly-established human rights. This pattern is at odds with the oft-voiced conventional wisdom that expansive judicial lawmaking undermines judicial legitimacy. Our modest goal in this Article is to problematize that claim and to posit an alternative hypothesis - that ICs spark legitimacy challenges due to the domestic political effects of their decisions, regardless of whether those decisions are expansionist. (shrink)
It is meet and right that pride and humility should be the two human characteristics on which University sermons have to be preached. Left to myself, although I might have picked on my modesty as something I should share with you, I should have given the preeminence to other among my sins than pride. My greed, my sloth, my avarice or, in this salacious age my lust, are subjects on which I could tell you much that might interest you. Pride (...) lacks immediate appeal. We are not sure what it is, or whether it is a bad thing, when we think of it in purely individual terms. But when we consider it collectively, we can see that it is, together with humility, something Oxford is peculiarly well qualified to preach on. We all of us are proud of our university. We were proud, and our schoolmasters were proud, when we first got our places here. We are, dons and undergraduates alike, proud of our colleges, each grateful that good fortune has brought him to the best college in Oxford, and anxious that everyone else should secretly acknowledge it to be the best. Our parents were proud when we took our degrees, and although we profess to be unconcerned with classes, we are deeply content to record our firsts when occasion requires us to do so, or have our contemporaries allude to them as opportunity offers. We are studious, as dons, not to pull rank, safe in the knowledge that others will do it for us, and that we shall receive the deference due to a fellow of an Oxford college. In an age that is egalitarian in theory but elitist at heart, Oxford men have benefited greatly, as other forms of social eminence have been eroded, leaving a clear field for our own claims to public esteem, which are, if not entirely unchallenged, still generally allowed. Oxford is, as we like to be told by outsiders, a centre of excellence, and a lot of the resplendence rubs off on us, not altogether undeservedly. It is, as we corporately admit on Commemoration Sunday, largely due to our having entered into other men's labours.. (shrink)
Outside Waco, Texas, on 19 April 1993, a 51-day standoff between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians concluded with a devastating fire. Despite the fact that FBI negotiators talked on the telephone with Koresh or his main spokesman almost every day, the negotiators were unable to bring the standoff to a peaceful end. A frustrating yet persistent aspect for the FBI negotiators was the Davidians' talk about the Bible and their religious beliefs, what agents (...) dismissively described as `Bible babble'. In this study, we analyze several exchanges between Koresh and one of the FBI agents. The analysis shows how the FBI's identifying their problem as `Bible babble' contributed to the negotiation failure. Through their talk, Koresh was positioned as a biblical expert and the FBI agent as a novice. The FBI's talk also supported Koresh's face. These two conversational patterns, we argue, legitimated God as a key party and Koresh as the person who could best speak for him. In the conclusion, we suggest how a renaming of the problem might have reshaped the FBI's moves. (shrink)
ObjectiveCancer researchers have found midlife couples to have poorer outcomes compared to older couples due to the off-time nature of the illness for them. It is unknown if young couples, who are under-represented in cancer studies and overlooked for supportive programs, are at further risk. This study explored the moderating roles of survivor age and sex on the associations between active engagement and protective buffering and depressive symptoms in couples surviving cancer.MethodsThe exploratory study comprised 49 couples 1–3 years post-diagnosis. Multilevel (...) modeling was used to explore the moderating roles of survivor age and sex, controlling for interdependent data.ResultsApproximately, 37% of survivors and 27% of partners met clinical criteria for further assessment of depression, with 50% of couples having at least one member meeting the criteria. Survivors and their partners did not significantly differ on depressive symptoms, active engagement, or protective buffering. Male survivors reported significantly higher levels of active engagement by their partners than female survivors and female survivors reported significantly higher levels of protective buffering by their partners than male survivors. We found some evidence to suggest that survivor age and sex may play moderating roles between active engagement and protective buffering and depressive symptoms. Older partners and female survivors appeared to experience more positive effects from engaging in positive dyadic behaviors than younger partners and male survivors.ConclusionFindings not only confirm the important role of dyadic behaviors for couples surviving cancer together, but also the important roles of survivor age and sex may play in whether such behaviors are associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. Future research that examines these complex associations over time and across the adult life span in diverse populations is needed. (shrink)
Tobacco mosaic virus has served as a model organism for pathbreaking work in plant pathology, virology, biochemistry and applied genetics for more than a century. We were intrigued by a photograph published in Phytopathology in 1934 showing that Tabasco pepper plants responded to TMV infection with localized necrotic lesions, followed by abscission of the inoculated leaves. This dramatic outcome of a biological response to infection observed by Francis O. Holmes, a virologist at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, was used (...) to score plants for resistance to TMV infection. Our objective was to gain a better understanding of early to mid-twentieth century ideas of genetic resistance to viruses in crop plants. We investigated Holmes’ observation as a practical exercise in reworking an experiment, having been inspired by Pamela Smith’s innovative Making and Knowing Project. We had a great deal of difficulty replicating Holmes’ experiment, finding that biological materials and experimental customs change over time, in ways that ideas do not. Using complementary tools plus careful study and interpretation of the original text and figures, we were able to rework, yet only partially replicate, this experiment. Reading peer-reviewed manuscripts that cited Holmes’ 1934 report provided an additional level of insight into the interpretation and replication of this work in the decades that followed. From this, we touch on how experimental reworking can inform our strategies to address the reproducibility “crisis” in twenty-first century science. (shrink)