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)
The church's response to the gay and lesbian community: a brief history -- Same-sex relations in ancient Jewish and Christian thought -- Key arguments in today's debate on same-sex relationships -- Fifty shekels for rape? Making sense of Old Testament laws -- What is ethical? Interpreting the Bible like Jesus -- The question of celibacy for gay and lesbian people -- Is it Adam's fault? Why the origin of same-sex attraction matters -- Imagining a new response to the gay and (...) lesbian community. (shrink)
Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation offers many puzzles to those who wish to understand his theory both within the context of his biology and within the context of his more general philosophy of nature. In this paper, I approach the difficult and vague elements of Aristotle’s account of spontaneous generation not as weaknesses, but as opportunities for an interesting glimpse into the thought of an early scientist struggling to reconcile evidence and theory. The paper has two goals: to give as (...) charitable and full an account as possible of what Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation was, and to examine some of its consequences; and to reflect on Aristotle as a scientist, and what his comments reveal about how he approached a difficult problem. In particular, I propose that the well-recognized problem of the incompatibility between Aristotle’s concept of spontaneity and his theory of spontaneous generation presents an opportunity for insight into his scientific methodology when approaching ill-understood phenomena. (shrink)
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)
This volume provides a comparative philosophical investigation into a particular concept from a variety of angles—in this case, the concept of “miracle.” The text covers deeply philosophical questions around the miracle, with a multiplicity of answers. Each chapter brings its own focus to this multifaceted effort. The volume rejects the primarily western focus that typically dominates philosophy of religion and is filled with particular examples of miracle narratives, community responses, and polemical scenarios across widely varying religious contexts and historical periods. (...) Some of these examples defy religious categorization, and some papers challenge the applicability of the concept “miracle,” which is of western and monotheistic origin. By examining miracles thru a wide comparative context, this text presents a range of descriptive content and analysis, with attention to the audience, to the subjective experiences being communicated, and to the flavor of the narratives that come to surround miracles. This book appeals to students and researchers working in philosophy of religion and science, as well those in comparative religion. It represents, in written form, some of the perspectives and dialogue achieved in The Comparison Project’s 2017–2019 lecture series on miracles. The Comparison Project is an enterprise in comparing a variety of religious voices, allowing them to stand in dialogue. (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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Science inevitably involves ethical discussions about how research should be implemented. However such discussions often neglect the potential unethical treatment of a third party: the research assistant. Extensive anecdotal evidence suggests that research assistants can experience unique physical, psychological, and social risks when implementing their typical responsibilities. Moreover, these research assistants, who perhaps engage in research experience to bolster their curricula vitae, may feel coerced to continue to work in unsafe environments out of fear of losing rapport with the research (...) supervisor or letters of recommendation for their future endeavors. In the present article, we address two important issues regarding the ethical treatment of research assistants. First, we present evidence suggesting that research assistants may experience substantive risk when implementing their assigned responsibilities. Second, we propose a document, the "Research Assistant's Bill of Rights," as a possible ethics code for people supervising research assistants. This document is independent from typical institutional review board processes, and it has the potential to maximize benefits to research supervisors and research assistants. (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)
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)
Interest is growing in the relocalization of staple crops, including wheat, in western Washington (WWA), a nontraditional wheat-growing area. Commercial bakers are potentially important food chain intermediaries in the case of relocalized wheat production. We conducted a mail survey of commercial bakers in WWA to assess their interest in sourcing wheat/flour from WWA, identify the characteristics of bakeries most likely to purchase wheat/flour from WWA, understand the factors important to bakers in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour, and identify perceived barriers to (...) making such purchases. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents were interested in purchasing WWA wheat/flour. Bakers who used retail strategies to market their products were more likely to be interested in WWA wheat/flour compared to those not using retail methods. Bakers’ current purchases of Washington wheat/flour were not related to their interest in purchasing WWA flour. The most important factors bakers would consider in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour were consistency of flour quality, quality of flour, and reliability of supply. Cost was the most frequently mentioned barrier to the purchase of regionally produced wheat/flour. Our results are relevant for other areas attempting to reconnect grain producers, commercial bakers, and consumers in mutually beneficial ways. (shrink)
I must start with an apologia. My original paper, ``Minds, Machines and GĂ¶del'', was written in the wake of Turing's 1950 paper in Mind, and was intended to show that minds were not Turing machines. Why, then, didn't I couch the argument in terms of Turing's theorem, which is easyish to prove and applies directly to Turing machines, instead of GĂ¶del's theorem, which is horrendously difficult to prove, and doesn't so naturally or obviously apply to machines? The reason was that (...) GĂ¶del's theorem gave me something more: it raises questions of truth which evidently bear on the nature of mind, whereas Turing's theorem does not; it shows not only that the GĂ¶delian well-formed formula is unprovable-in-the-system, but that it is true. It shows something about reasoning, that it is not completely rule-bound, so that we, who are rational, can transcend the rules of any particular logistic system, and construe the GĂ¶delian well-formed formula not just as a string of symbols but as a proposition which is true. Turing's theorem might well be applied to a computer which someone claimed to represent a human mind, but it is not so obvious that what the computer could not do, the mind could. But it is very obvious that we have a concept of truth. Even if, as was claimed in a previous paper, it is not the summum bonum, it is a bonum, and one it is characteristic of minds to value. A representation of the human mind which could take no account of truth would be inherently implausible. Turing's theorem, though making the same negative point as GĂ¶del's theorem, that some things cannot be done by even idealised computers, does not make the further positive point that we, in as much as we are rational agents, can do that very thing that the computer cannot. I have however, sometimes wondered whether I could not construct a parallel argument based on Turing's theorem, and have toyed with the idea of a von Neumann machine. A von Neumann machine was a black box, inside which was housed John von Neumann.. (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)
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)
Research indicates that positive relationships with fellow church members are associated with better mental health. However, far less research has focused on the relationship between negative interaction with fellow church members and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between church-based negative interaction and depressive symptoms with data from a nationwide sample of older Mexican Americans. Statistically significant findings were found for the following core relationships in our study model: older Mexican Americans who encounter (...) negative interaction with fellow church members experience more doubts about their faith; older Mexican Americans who experience more doubts about their faith are more likely to expect transgressors to perform acts of contrition ; and older Mexican Americans who require transgressors to perform acts of contrition are more likely to experience symptoms of depression. Subsequent empirical analyses provide support for each of these relationships. (shrink)