The ambiguous material identity of nanotechnology is a minor mystery of the history of contemporary science. This paper argues that nanotechnology functioned primarily in discourses of social, not physical or biological science, the problematic knowledge at stake concerning the economic value of state-supported basic science. The politics of taxonomy in the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the 1990s reveals how scientists invoked the term as one of several competing and equally valid candidates for reframing (...) materials sciences in ways believed consonant with the political tenor of the time. The resulting loss of conceptual clarity in the sociology of science traces ultimately to the struggle to bridge the disjunction between the promissory economy of federal basic science and the industrial economy, manifested in attempts to reconcile the precepts of linearity and interdisciplinarity in changing socio-economic conditions over a half century. (shrink)
Byrne (2005) assumes that counterfactual thinking requires a comparison of facts with an imagined alternative. In our view, however, this assumption is unnecessarily restrictive. We argue that individuals do not necessarily engage in counterfactual simulations exclusively to evaluate factual reality. Instead, comparative evaluation is often suspended in favor of experiencing the counterfactual simulation as if it were real.
Counterfactual reasoning research typically demonstrates contrast effects—nearly winning evokes frustration, whereas nearly losing evokes exhilaration. The present work, however, describes conditions under which assimilative responses (i.e., when judgements are pulled towards a comparison standard) also occur. Participants solved analogies and learned that they had either nearly attained a target score or nearly failed to attain it. Participants in the no trajectory condition received this feedback in the absence of any prior feedback, whereas those in the trajectory condition received feedback after (...) having received prior feedback conforming to either an ascending or descending pattern. Participants then provided perceptions of their verbal intelligence. Assimilation effects were observed in the trajectory conditions but attenuated in the no trajectory conditions. Discussion focuses on the role of feedback dynamics in determining responses to close-call counterfactuals. (shrink)
This article makes the case for a contemporary philosophy of Islam to help Muslims surmount the challenges of postmodernity and to transcend the hiatuses and obstacles that Muslims face in their interaction and relationships with non-Muslims. It argues that the philosophy of critical realism so fittingly underlabours for the contemporary interpretation, clarification and conceptual deepening of Islamic doctrine and practice as to suggest and necessitate the development of a distinctive Islamic critical realist philosophy, social and educational theory and world-view, specifically (...) suited for this purpose. This approach is called Islamic critical realism. (shrink)
The authors of this book engage in essay form in a lively debate over the fundamental characteristics of legal and moral rights. They examine whether rights fundamentally protect individuals' interests or whether they instead fundamentally enable individuals to make choices. In the course of this debate the authors address many questions through which they clarify, though not finally resolve, a number of controversial present-day political debates, including those over abortion, euthanasia, and animal rights.
The philosophy of metaReality and, in particular, ideas of transcendence can ‘underlabour’ for the re-enchantment of Islamic praxis, ethics and law by helping to uncover in a systematic, non-arbitrary way the spiritual objectives inherent in the basic beliefs, practices and obligations of Islam. The commonly accepted elements of the Islamic legal pathway, such as the obligation of marriage, far from being inhibiting, can help humans access the dialectical pulse of freedom and the emancipatory meaning inherent tendentially in human relationships. Thus, (...) the Islamic Shari'a, underlaboured by the philosophy of metaReality, rather than a symbol of legal backwardness and inflexibility, can be conducive once again to greater personal ontological wholeness and collective human flourishing. (shrink)
John N. Williams (1994) and Matthew Weiner (2005) invoke predictions in order to undermine the normative relevance of knowledge for assertions; in particular, Weiner argues, predictions are important counterexamples to the Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA). I argue here that they are not true counterexamples at all, a point that can be agreed upon even by those who reject KAA.
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
The conflict in Iraq has been portrayed as “ethnic” civil war, a radically different conflict from “ideological” wars such as Vietnam. We argue that such an assessment is misleading, as is its theoretical foundation, which we call the “ethnic war model.” Neither Iraq nor Vietnam conforms to the ethnic war model's predictions. The sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni militias is not simply the outcome of sectarian cleavages in Iraqi society, but to an important extent, a legacy of U.S. occupation. (...) On the other hand, although Vietnam was a society riven by ethnic cleavages, the Vietnam War also fails to conform to the ethnic war model. We show that there is no necessary overlap between ethnic conflict and ethnic war. Some ethnic conflicts evolve into ethnic wars, and others develop dynamics virtually indistinguishable from those of ideological civil wars. We suggest that the state's role is essential in transforming conflicts into either ethnic or irregular wars. We conclude with an analysis of the current situation and future prospects in Iraq. (shrink)
The outcome of the December 2011 United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, provides an opportunity to move toward a more robust international climate policy architecture. We describe one important component of potential climate policy architecture for the post-Durban era: links among independent tradable permit systems for greenhouse gases. Since linkage reduces the cost of achieving targets, there is tremendous pressure to link existing and planned cap-and-trade systems and, in fact, a number of links already or will soon exist. (...) We examine the potential roles that linkage may play in post-Durban international climate policy, both in a near-term, de facto architecture of indirect links between regional, national, and sub-national cap-and-trade systems, and in the longer-term, more comprehensive bottom-up architecture of direct links. (shrink)
Despite having put the concept of HPS on the institutional map, N.R. Hanson’s distinctive account of the interdependence between history of science and philosophy of science has been mostly forgotten, and misinterpreted where it is remembered. It is argued that Hanson’s account is worthy of renewed attention and extension since, through its special emphasis on a variety of different normative criteria, it provides the framework for a fruitful and transformative interaction between the two disciplines. This essay also examines two separate (...) threads of Hanson’s account of philosophy of science: his analysis of the conceptual dynamics of science and of the interrelation of the history and philosophy of science. While the two strands appear incongruent, and were perhaps inconsistent, a new interpretation of them is offered which is both consistent with Hanson’s fundamental intuitions and defensible in its own right. It is demonstrated that Hanson’s account compares favorably with those of Kuhn and Lakatos, and that it may provide a constructive means of scaling the barriers erected by fears of the genetic fallacy and ‘whiggish’ history. (shrink)
People seem more divided than ever before over social and political issues, entrenched in their existing beliefs and unwilling to change them. Empirical research on mechanisms driving this resistance to belief change has focused on a limited set of well-known, charged, contentious issues and has not accounted for deliberation over reasons and arguments in belief formation prior to experimental sessions. With a large, heterogeneous sample (N = 3,001), we attempt to overcome these existing problems, and we investigate the causes and (...) consequences of resistance to belief change for five diverse and less contentious socio-political issues. After participants chose initially to support or oppose a given socio-political position, they were provided with reasons favoring their chosen position (affirming reasons), reasons favoring the other, unchosen position (conflicting reasons), or all reasons for both positions (reasons for both sides). Our results indicate that participants are more likely to stick with their initial decisions than to change them no matter which reasons are considered, and that this resistance to belief change is likely due to a motivated, biased evaluation of the reasons to support their initial beliefs (prior-belief bias). More specifically, they rated affirming reasons more favorably than conflicting reasons—even after accounting for reported prior knowledge about the issue, the novelty of the reasons presented, and the reported strategy used to make the initial decision. In many cases, participants who did not change their positions tended to become more confident in the superiority of their positions after considering many reasons for both sides. (shrink)
The goal of this two-part series of papers is to show that constructive logic with strong negation N is definitionally equivalent to a certain axiomatic extension NFL ew of the substructural logic FL ew . In this paper, it is shown that the equivalent variety semantics of N (namely, the variety of Nelson algebras) and the equivalent variety semantics of NFL ew (namely, a certain variety of FL ew -algebras) are term equivalent. This answers a longstanding question of Nelson . (...) Extensive use is made of the automated theorem-prover Prover9 in order to establish the result. The main result of this paper is exploited in Part II of this series  to show that the deductive systems N and NFL ew are definitionally equivalent, and hence that constructive logic with strong negation is a substructural logic over FL ew. (shrink)
Biographical sketch -- Philosophical context -- Observation -- Logic of discovery -- Philosophy and history of science -- Quantum theory -- Conceptual structure, analogy, and the logic of discovery revisited.
In The Moral Foundation of Professional Ethics Alan H. Goldman provides a general approach to the evaluation of the ethical responsibilities of professionals in diverse fields, and offers specific prescriptions for judges, politicians, lawyers, doctors, and businesspersons. This Review Essay describes Goldman’s principal arguments and conclusions, and illuminates a number of the major difficulties with his treatment of professional ethics. First, his argument for a common moral framework is not compelling. It is not clear, as Goldman claims, that it is (...) possible for individuals with radically different values to reach agreement on difficult moral issues. Goldman's assertion that a theory of rights is part of the common moral framework is even more questionable. Second, there is reason to doubt that Goldman's focus on the concept of role differentiation as the basic approach to professional ethics is correct. This is demonstrated through examination of Goldman's discussion of the ethical positions of judges and lawyers. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss prospects for democracy in the Middle East. I argue, first, that some democratic experiments—for instance, Egypt under Mohammed Morsi—are not in keeping with etymological and historical meanings of democracy; and second, that efforts to promote democracy, especially as exemplified in U.N. documents emphasizing universal rights grounded in Western traditions, are possibly totalitarian and also colonialist and hence counter to democratic ideals insofar as they impart one set of values as the only morally acceptable ones. A (...) respectful dialogue in which people from both regions strive to understand conditions giving rise to certain social practices would be more productive than morally superior attitudes, and help all to see areas where their respective cultures could be improved. I conclude by discussing concepts of democratic and pragmatic faith articulated by John Dewey and William James, arguing that democracy will continue to flounder in the Middle East so long as the basic trust implied in these concepts is lacking; and how Westerners might consider this a cautionary tale regarding social attitudes and public policies contrary to democratic life in their own countries. (shrink)
There is no uniquely standard concept of an effectively decidable set of real numbers or real n-tuples. Here we consider three notions: decidability up to measure zero [M.W. Parker, Undecidability in Rn: Riddled basins, the KAM tori, and the stability of the solar system, Phil. Sci. 70(2) (2003) 359–382], which we abbreviate d.m.z.; recursive approximability [or r.a.; K.-I. Ko, Complexity Theory of Real Functions, Birkhäuser, Boston, 1991]; and decidability ignoring boundaries [d.i.b.; W.C. Myrvold, The decision problem for entanglement, in: R.S. (...) Cohen et al. (Eds.), Potentiality, Entanglement, and Passion-at-a-Distance: Quantum Mechanical Studies fo Abner Shimony, Vol. 2, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Great Britain, 1997, pp. 177–190]. Unlike some others in the literature, these notions apply not only to certain nice sets, but to general sets in Rn and other appropriate spaces. We consider some motivations for these concepts and the logical relations between them. It has been argued that d.m.z. is especially appropriate for physical applications, and on Rn with the standard measure, it is strictly stronger than r.a. [M.W. Parker, Undecidability in Rn: Riddled basins, the KAM tori, and the stability of the solar system, Phil. Sci. 70(2) (2003) 359–382]. Here we show that this is the only implication that holds among our three decidabilities in that setting. Under arbitrary measures, even this implication fails. Yet for intervals of non-zero length, and more generally, convex sets of non-zero measure, the three concepts are equivalent. (shrink)
Recently, Jonardan Ganeri reviewed the collaborative translation of the first chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi by Stephen H. Phillips and N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Ganeri 2007). The review is quite favorable, and we have no desire to dispute his kind words. Ganeri does, however, put forth an argument in opposition to a fundamental line of interpretation given by Phillips and Ramanuja Tatacharya about the nature of pramāṇa, knowledge sources, as understood by Gaṅgeśa and, for that matter, Nyāya tradition. This response is (...) meant to answer the argument and reassert an understanding of pramāṇa as factive, that is, as knowledge sources that are inerrant. We argue that this is the best reading of Gaṅgeśa himself .. (shrink)
CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA discusses the major historical significance of his discovery and investigation of Ayn Rand's transcript from the University of St. Petersburg. The document provides evidence of Rand's study with some of the finest Russian scholars of the period, and helps to resolve certain paradoxes concerning Rand's relationship to the philosopher, N. O. Lossky. It also contributes to our understanding of those methods and ideas that may have influenced Rand's intellectual development.