This article calls for an end to the use of the term ‘invasive species’, both in the scientific and public discourse on wildlife conservation. There are two broad reasons for this: the first problem with the invasive species narrative is that this demonisation of ‘invasives’ is morally wrong, particularly because it usually results in the unjust killing of the animals in question. Following on from this, the second problem is that the narrative is also incoherent, both from scientific and philosophical (...) perspectives. At the heart of both of these issues is the problem that the invasive species narrative oversimplifies what are in fact very complex biological processes. As a result, the policies carried out with the stated aim of ‘controlling’ these animals are often unethical. In light of the current global species decline, this article asserts that the way we think and talk about these animals should be changed and the term ‘invasive species’ should be discontinued, in the hope that this leads to changes in practice. (shrink)
It remains unclear what is being processed in blindsight in response to faces, colours, shapes, and patterns. This was investigated in two hemianopes with chromatic and achromatic stimuli with sharp or shallow luminance or chromatic contrast boundaries or temporal onsets. Performance was excellent only when stimuli had sharp spatial boundaries. When discrimination between isoluminant coloured Gaussians was good it declined to chance levels if stimulus onset was slow. The ability to discriminate between instantaneously presented colours in the hemianopic field depended (...) on their luminance, indicating that wavelength discrimination totally independent of other stimulus qualities is absent. When presented with narrow-band colours the hemianopes detected a stimulus maximally effective for S-cones but invisible to M- and L-cones, indicating that blindsight is mediated not just by the mid-brain, which receives no S-cone input, or that the rods contribute to blindsight. The results show that only simple stimulus features are processed in blindsight. (shrink)
Evidence-based medicine has always required integration of patient values with ‘best’ clinical evidence. It is widely recognized that scientific practices and discoveries, including those of EBM, are value-laden. But to date, the science of EBM has focused primarily on methods for reducing bias in the evidence, while the role of values in the different aspects of the EBM process has been almost completely ignored.
By examining Dainton's account of the temporality of consciousness in the context of long-running debates about the specious present and time consciousness in both the Jamesian and the phenomenological traditions, I raise critical objections to his overlap model. Dainton's interpretations of Broad and Husserl are both insightful and problematic. In addition, there are unresolved problems in Dainton's own analysis of conscious experience. These problems involve ongoing content, lingering content, and a lack of phenomenological clarity concerning the central concept of overlapping (...) experiences. (shrink)
“The day the Enlightenment went out”, is how Gary Wills described the re-election of President George W. Bush in an op-ed column in the New York Times (November 4, 2004). Reflecting upon the conservative religious vote that put Bush back in the White House, Wills wondered if there was any connection between the fact that many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin’s theory of evolution and that 75 percent of Bush supporters actually believed—without an iota of (...) credible evidence— that Iraq was directly responsible for the terrorist attack on 9/11. Wills asks if a people that have lost respect for evidence and critical reasoning can still be called an enlightened nation. “Belief that does not require proof or evidence” is how the Webster New World Dictionary defines the word “faith”. It also defines “faith” as “faith in God”. The American elections, then, turned out to be a massive faith-based initiative in both these senses of the word. Belief and policies backed not by evidence, but by religious values wedded to an aggressive nationalism are driving American politics. In this America is not alone. India, the subject matter of much of what follows, has had its own brush with faith-driven politics in which an aggressive Hindu nationalism came to color public policies, including science education.1 The question is: how do secular democracies like the United States and India (the world’s first and the world’s largest democracies, respectively), manage to square off their official commitment to enlightened values of openness and religion–state separation with the realities of faith-based politics? How do matters of fact—that is, questions that in principle can be decided by empirical evidence—end up getting decided on the basis of religious faith. This alchemy of turning secular matters of fact into religiouscivilizational matters holds the key to understanding the democratic-populist route to religious fundamentalism.. (shrink)
Indian intellectuals influenced by postmoderism such as Ashis Nandy and Vandana Shiva, put local folk beliefs on a par with science. Hindu nationalists, especially members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, following the lead of the historical figure Swami Vivekananda and the contemporary Subhash Kak, have developed what they call “Vedic Science”, including Vedic astrology and Vedic creationism. Although India welcomes new technology, it has for the most part rejected the values of modern science, thus embracing a stance of what might (...) be called reactionary modernism. (shrink)
This study explored the relationship of current incidences of academic dishonesty with future norm/rule-violating behavior. Data were collected from 154 college students enrolled in introductory and upper-level psychology students at a large Midwest public university who received credit for participating. The sample included students from many different majors and all years of study. Participants completed a self-report survey that included a measure of Academic Dishonesty (including three subscales: Self-Dishonest, Social Falsifying, and Plagiarism) and an Imagined Futures Scale (five subscales that (...) included Norm/Rule Violating, Physically Threatening, Culturally Diverse, Emotionally Distressing, and Agentic Futures). Correlation analyses indicated a significant positive relationship between all three Academic Dishonesty subscales and an imagined norm/rule-violating future. Further, regression analyses revealed social falsifying as being significantly predictive of a norm/ rule-violating future. Suggestions are made alerting educators to the importance of monitoring and discouraging academic dishonesty as it may lead to rule-violating behavior in the future. (shrink)
The concept of tacit knowledge has come a long way from its origins in Michael Polanyi's work and its championing by Hayek and other Austrian economists. It is now widely, even routinely, cited not only in Austrian economics, but also in institutional economics work, industrial economics and economic geography. Further, rather than being viewed as a hypothesis requiring conceptual clarification and empirical testing, the concept of tacit knowledge is almost invariably treated as established, even incontrovertible, virtually as a fact. Conceptual (...) disputes over tacit knowledge have instead focused on the boundaries between codifiable and tacit knowledge. Here we draw upon a critique of tacit knowledge and tacit rule following from the social philosophy literature that has not been considered in the economics literature hitherto. In brief, this critique argues that the concept of tacit knowledge is merely a term given to a phenomenon the observer does not understand; as such, it has no explanatory content. Through a philosophical examination of rule following, this critique further argues that the concept of agents tacitly following rules is highly problematic, not to say implausible. (shrink)
Leopold’s land ethic is a watershed event in environmental ethics as it is the first one to provide an alternative conceptualization of land to transcend its “Abrahamic conception.” However, if Leopold had employed phenomenological methods to formulate his land ethic, then his conceptualization of land and the understanding of its relation with its dwellers could have been more nuanced. From an analysis of the Sundarbans islanders’ phenomenological accounts of land, collected during a field study, it can be shown that phenomenological (...) understanding of land negates the Abrahamic notions of the Sundarbans’s land, which are deeply rooted in developmental as well as ecological conservation programs that the region is presently witnessing. As an alternative, such a phenomenological approach can enhance Leopold’s land ethic by providing an opportunity to see land in its true form, instead of conceptualizing land “in order to” maintain the integrity of a land pyramid. In this manner, it helps to broaden the horizon of the land ethic and transforms the conceptualization of land itself. (shrink)
This essay questions the meaning of be-ing and non-be-ing in the DDJ with regard to the root-source meaning of dao. I first explore the meaning of dao as the dark non-be-ing, revealing the connotations of the distinction between dao and things by comparison with some forms of Western metaphysics. The meaning of non-be-ing is elaborated in terms of the dynamic meanings of xu 虚 and chong 沖; The play between be-ing and non-be-ing is explored through the lens of yin and (...) yang qi thinking. Qi thinking determines the mutually manifest and mutually interpretive characteristic of be-ing and non-be-ing. Be-ing and non-be-ing thus understood is an ever-flowing and mutually transforming process that penetrates the different levels of dao, things and humans. In the last part I investigate the meaning of “Be-ing comes from non-be-ing”. (shrink)
We investigated whether mathematicians typically agree about the qualities of mathematical proofs. Between-mathematician consensus in proof appraisals is an implicit assumption of many arguments made by philosophers of mathematics, but to our knowledge the issue has not previously been empirically investigated. We asked a group of mathematicians to assess a specific proof on four dimensions, using the framework identified by Inglis and Aberdein (2015). We found widespread disagreement between our participants about the aesthetics, intricacy, precision and utility of the (...) proof, suggesting that a priori assumptions about the consistency of mathematical proof appraisals are unreasonable. (shrink)
What do mathematicians mean when they use terms such as ‘deep’, ‘elegant’, and ‘beautiful’? By applying empirical methods developed by social psychologists, we demonstrate that mathematicians' appraisals of proofs vary on four dimensions: aesthetics, intricacy, utility, and precision. We pay particular attention to mathematical beauty and show that, contrary to the classical view, beauty and simplicity are almost entirely unrelated in mathematics.
The concept of moral distress comes from nursing ethics, and was initially defined as ‘…when one knows the right thing to do, but institutional constraints make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action’. There is a large body of literature associated with moral distress, yet multiple definitions now exist, significantly limiting its usefulness. We undertook a systematic review of the argument-based bioethics literature on this topic as the basis for a critical appraisal, identifying 55 papers for analysis. (...) We found that moral distress is most frequently framed around individual experiences of distress in relation to local practices and constraints, and understood in terms of power relations and workplace hierarchies. This understanding is directly derived from, and often still seen as specific to, nursing. Frequently the perspective of the morally distressed individual is privileged. Understandings of moral distress have evolved towards an ‘occupational health approach’, with the assumption that moral distress should be measured and prevented. Counter-perspectives were identified, highlighting conceptual problems. Based on our review, we propose a redefinition of moral distress: ‘Ethical unease or disquiet resulting from a situation where a clinician believes they have contributed to avoidable patient or community harm through their involvement in an action, inaction or decision that conflicts with their own values’. This definition is specific enough for research use, anchored in clinicians’ professional responsibilities and concerns about harms to patients, framed relationally rather than hierarchically, and amenable to multiple perspectives on any given morally distressing situation. (shrink)
“Thing” and “nothing” are metaphysical themes of thinking for major philosophers both in the West and in East Asia, such as Heidegger, Kant, and Laozi 老子. In light of a discussion of Heidegger’s understanding of thing-ing and no-thing and of his critical interpretation of Kant on the same issue, I shall in this essay reconstruct a Laozian theory of thing and nothing. My conclusion is that thing and nothing are not two “things,” as often assumed by an epistemological approach, but (...) ontologically one thing cut by an absolute limit set up by human rationality which is contained either in our consciousness or in our languages. (shrink)
In this paper we present a logic that determines when implications in a classical logic context express a relevant connection between antecedent and consequent. In contrast with logics in the relevance logic literature, we leave classical negation intact—in the sense that the law of non-contradiction can be used to obtain relevant implications, as long as there is a connection between antecedent and consequent. On the other hand, we give up the requirement that our theory of relevance should be able to (...) define a new standard of deduction. We present and argue for a list of requirements such a logical theory of classical relevance needs to meet and go on to formulate a system that respects each of these requirements. The presented system is a Tarski logic that extends the relevance logic R with a new relevant implication which allows for Disjunctive Syllogism and similar rules. This is achieved by interpreting the logical symbols in the antecedents in a stronger way than the logical symbols in consequents. A proof theory and an algebraic semantics are formulated and interesting metatheorems are proven. Finally we give a philosophical motivation for our non-standard relevant implication and the asymmetric interpretation of antecedents and consequents. (shrink)
Aquinas is often presented as following Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics" when treating moral virtue. Less often do philosophers consider that Aquinas's conception of the highest good and its relation to the functional character of human activity led him to break with Aristotle by replicating each of the acquired moral virtues on an infused level. The author suggests that we can discern reasons for this move by examining Aquinas's commentary on the "Sententiae" of Peter the Lombard and the "Summa theologiae" within their (...) historical context. The author's thesis is that Dominican pastoral and intellectual concerns led Aquinas to argue that moral virtue must necessarily be ordered toward the highest good. Understanding this purpose helps to explain his presentation of moral virtue and its implications for standard philosophical interpretations of his work. (shrink)
A meadow is a commutative ring with an inverse operator satisfying 0⁻¹ = 0. We determine the initial algebra of the meadows of characteristic 0 and prove a normal form theorem for it. As an immediate consequence we obtain the decidability of the closed term problem for meadows and the computability of their initial object.
Mathematical explanations are poorly understood. Although mathematicians seem to regularly suggest that some proofs are explanatory whereas others are not, none of the philosophical accounts of what such claims mean has become widely accepted. In this paper we explore Wilkenfeld’s suggestion that explanations are those sorts of things that generate understanding. By considering a basic model of human cognitive architecture, we suggest that existing accounts of mathematical explanation are all derivable consequences of Wilkenfeld’s ‘functional explanation’ proposal. We therefore argue that (...) the explanatory criteria offered by earlier accounts can all be thought of as features that make it more likely that a mathematical proof will generate understanding. On the functional account, features such as characterising properties, unification, and salience correlate with explanatoriness, but they do not define explanatoriness. (shrink)
Analysis of the local implementation of paternity establishment and child support policy in four Wisconsin counties suggests that these policies reproduce some aspects of patriarchal gender relations. The counties' information-collecting practices focused on nonmarital mothers' sexual activity and nonmarital fathers' employment and income. Women were questioned far more extensively than men about their sexual practices and partners; women's accounts of their sexual activity were used to evaluate their overall truthfulness, and administrative practices in effect encouraged alleged fathers to state whether (...) they were convinced of the mother's sexual fidelity. By demonstrating the gendered nature of the terms under which public assistance is granted, the findings highlight the significance of the process of policy implementation for understanding the gendered character of state systems of social provision. (shrink)
Michael Ing's The Dysfunction of Ritual in Early Confucianism is the first monograph in English about the Liji--a text that purports to be the writings of Confucius' immediate disciples, and part of the earliest canon of Confucian texts called ''The Five Classics,'' included in the canon several centuries before the Analects. Ing uses his analysis of the Liji to show how early Confucians coped with situations where their rituals failed to achieve their intended aims. In contrast to most contemporary interpreters (...) of Confucianism, Ing demonstrates that early Confucian texts can be read as arguments for ambiguity in ritual failure. (shrink)
According to a U.S. court ruling, intelligent design (ID) theory is religious in nature, not scientific, and must not be taught in schools. In opposition, Fuller argues for a closer rapport between science and religion. Here it is emphasized that any allegedly scientific conclusion from design in nature to the existence of God is a hypothesis subject to the same quality norms as empirical hypotheses in general. By quotations from his Iter Lapponicum , Linnæus is summoned in support of a (...) strictly immanent conception of science, against Fuller’s suggestion that Linnæus’ personal piety could be a reason for considering ID scientific. (shrink)
Bare particularism is a constituent ontology according to which substances—concrete, particular objects like people, tables, and tomatoes—are complex entities constituted by their properties and their bare particulars. Yet, aside from this description, much about bare particularism is fundamentally unclear. In this paper, I attempt to clarify this muddle by elucidating the key metaphysical commitments underpinning any plausible formulation of the position. So the aim here is primarily catechismal rather than evangelical—I don’t intend to convert anyone to bare particularism, but, by (...) looking at a series of questions, to instead specify what, if one is a bare particularist, one is committed to. Along the way, I address three major objections: a classic objection about whether bare particulars have properties, a new objection raised by Bailey, and an understanding objection that questions some of the position’s resources. (shrink)