Scientism is a philosophy which purports to define what the world ‘really is’. It adopts what the philosopher Thomas Nagel called ‘an epistemological criterion of reality’, defining what is real as that which can be discovered by certain quite specific methods of investigation. As a consequence all features of experience not revealed by those methods are deemed ‘subjective’ in a way that suggests they are either not real, or lie beyond the scope of meaningful rational inquiry. This devalues capacities that (...) (we argue) are in fact essential components of good reasoning and virtuous practice. Ultimately, the implications of scientism for statements of value undermine value-judgements essential for science itself to have a sound basis. Scientism has implications, therefore, for ontology, epistemology and also for which claims we can assert as objective truths about the world. Adopting scientism as a world view will have consequences for reasoning and decision-making in clinical and other contexts. We analyse the implications of this approach and conclude that we need to reject scientism if we are to avoid stifling virtuous practice and to develop richer conceptions of human reasoning. (shrink)
In the current academic climate, teaching is often seen as secondary to research. Teaching Philosophy seeks to bring teaching philosophy higher on the academic agenda.An international team of contributors, all of whom share the view that philosophy is a subject that can transform students, offers practical guidance and advice for teachers of philosophy. The book suggests ways in which the teaching of philosophy at undergraduate level might be facilitated. Some of the essays place the emphasis on individual self discovery, others (...) focus on the wider political context, many offer practical ideas for enhancing the teaching of philosophy through exercises that engage students in often unconventional ways. The integration of students' views on teaching provides a necessary reminder that teaching is not a one-way process, but a project that will ultimately succeed through cooperation and a shared sense of achievement amongst participants. (shrink)
To someone coming fairly fresh to this debate, Sykes’ paper is somewhat shocking. The psychogenic inference seems such an obvious fallacy, yet he shows, with detailed reference to both diagnostic practice and the literature on mental disorders, the extraordinary pervasiveness of its influence, extending even to the systematic ambiguities built into key diagnostic terms. Sykes characterizes the inference in the following terms: “If there is no known physical cause for a symptom or disorder, the cause must be psychological” (2010, 290). (...) He notes the glaring fallacy of mistaking an epistemological point (that a physical cause is not, at present, known) for an ontological one (that no such cause exists) and .. (shrink)
Moss is right to state that management theory needs to address its epistemological foundations by considering questions in epistemology and the philosophy of science. Whether management theory needs Popper is a more tricky question. It is not clear that all theories should be falsifiable in Poppers terms. His proposed methodology for social scientific research is inherently conservative and threatens to inhibit intellectual and social progress. But Poppers philosophical realism and rationalism need to be preserved. Coherentism and associated forms of anti-rationalism (...) (including postmodernism and relativism) threaten to provide a rationale for the worst excesses of management theory. Indeed, the poverty of contemporary management theory is a symptom of a broader intellectual malaise: debate is increasingly characterised by the exchange of persuasive rhetoric, making it difficult to hold those in positions ofpower accountable for rationally justifying the positions they espouse. (shrink)
The success of medicine in the treatment of patients brings with it new challenges. More people live on to suffer from functional, chronic or multifactorial diseases, and this has led to calls for more complex analyses of the causal determinants of health and illness. Philosophical analysis of background assumptions of the current paradigmatic model. While these factors do not require a radical paradigm shift, they do give us cause to develop a new narrative, to add to existing narratives that frame (...) our thinking about medical care. In this paper we argue that the increased focus on lifestyle and shared decision making requires a new narrative of agency, to supplement the narrative of “the patient”. This narrative is conceptually linked to the developing philosophy of person-centred care. If patients are seen also as “agents” this will result in a substantial shift in practical decisions: The development and adoption of this narrative will help practitioners work with patients to their mutual benefit, harnessing the patients’ motivation, shifting the focus from treatment to prevention and preventing unnecessary and harmful treatments that can come out of our preoccupation with the patient narrative. It will also help to shift research efforts, conceptual and empirical, from “treating” and “battling” diseases and their purported “mechanisms” to understanding complex contributing factors and their interplay. (shrink)
Professor Spicker's two-pronged attack on welfare seems to presuppose the Kantian distinction between morality and prudence. His prudential critique rests on a massively oversimplified and somewhat offensive view of the causes of poverty. His moral premise is unsupported, and inconsistent with his demand for a state-funded investment in education. His article provides an excellent illustration of the anti-realist and Utopian nature of the ideology of the new right.