Understanding the factors determining economic growth has been a major concern for economists and governing bodies for many years. The Solow growth model and the endogenous growth models are the main theories tested and used in the growth literature. This paper discusses the main contributions to economic methodology and uses Lakatos's scientific research program framework to evaluate the main theoretical contributions to growth theory. Based on Lakatos's ideas, Solovian models are both empirically and theoretically progressive. Endogenous growth models, on the (...) other hand, are not empirically corroborated, and thus not progressive in Lakatosian sense. However, there are many reasons for rational growth economists to continue working in this field, even facing empirical refutations of an important theoretical prediction. Endogenous growth models are promising in terms of generating enormous gains that will help us better understand the mechanisms of economic growth. (shrink)
In the metaphor of behavioral momentum, the rate of a free operant in the presence of a discriminative stimulus is analogous to the velocity of a moving body, and resistance to change measures an aspect of behavior that is analogous to its inertial mass. An extension of the metaphor suggests that preference measures an analog to the gravitational mass of that body. The independent functions relating resistance to change and preference to the conditions of reinforcement may be construed as convergent (...) measures of a single construct, analogous to physical mass, that represents the effects of a history of exposure to the signaled conditions of reinforcement and that unifies the traditionally separate notions of the strength of learning and the value of incentives. Research guided by the momentum metaphor encompasses the effects of reinforcement on response rate, resistance to change, and preference and has implications for clinical interventions, drug addiction, and self-control. In addition, its principles can be seen as a modern, quantitative version of Thorndike's (1911) Law of Effect, providing a new perspective on some of the challenges to his postulation of strengthening by reinforcement. Key Words: behavioral momentum; clinical interventions; drug addiction; preference; reinforcement; resistance to change; response strength; self-control. (shrink)
In reply to the comments on our target article, we address a variety of issues concerning the generality of our major findings, their relation to other theoretical formulations, and the metaphor of behavioral momentum that inspired much of our work. Most of these issues can be resolved by empirical studies, and we hope that the ideas advanced here will promote the analysis of resistance to change and preference in new areas of research and application.
The constructs of behavioral mass in research on the momentum of operant behavior and associative strength in Pavlovian conditioning have some interesting parallels, as suggested by Savastano & Miller. Some recent findings challenge the strict separation of operant and Pavlovian determiners of response rate and resistance to change in behavioral momentum, renewing the need for research on the interaction of processes that have traditionally been studied separately. Relatedly, Furedy notes that some autonomic responses may be refractory to conditioning, but a (...) combination of operant contingencies and enriched Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relations may prove effective. (shrink)
Where E is the proposition that [If H and O were true, H would explain O], William Roche and Elliot Sober have argued that P(H|O&E) = P(H|O). In this paper I argue that not only is this equality not generally true, it is false in the very kinds of cases that Roche and Sober focus on, involving frequency data. In fact, in such cases O raises the probability of H only given that there is an explanatory connection between them.
Defenders of Inference to the Best Explanation claim that explanatory factors should play an important role in empirical inference. They disagree, however, about how exactly to formulate this role. In particular, they disagree about whether to formulate IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs or for degrees of belief, as well as how a rule for degrees of belief should relate to Bayesianism. In this essay I advance a new argument against non-Bayesian versions of IBE. My argument focuses on (...) cases in which we are concerned with multiple levels of explanation of some phenomenon. I show that in many such cases, following IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs leads to deductively inconsistent beliefs, and following IBE as a non-Bayesian updating rule for degrees of belief leads to probabilistically incoherent degrees of belief. (shrink)
The moral justification of intellectual property is often called into question when placed in the context of pharmaceutical patents and global health concerns. The theoretical accounts of both John Rawls and Robert Nozick provide an excellent ethical framework from which such questions can be clarified. While Nozick upholds an individuals right to intellectual property, based upon its conformation with Lockean notions of property and Nozicks ideas of just acquisition and transfer, Rawls emphasizes the importance of basic liberties, such as an (...) individuals right to health, superceding such secondary rights as intellectual property rights. From a policy perspective, patent protection for pharmaceutical products necessarily entails the balancing of corporate intellectual property interests and public interests in healthcare. The moral dilemma that occurs when these two interests clash is not easily resolved. Aside from corporate and public interests, the state maintains an interest in creating and preserving policies that regulate the moral dilemma itself. This paper analyzes the economic and ethical factors surrounding the production and distribution of the anti-HIV medication, AZT. Potential policy implications and recommendations are also discussed. (shrink)
A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...) Given this, if God exists, our world—considered on the whole—is infinitely valuable. I further contend that this theistic picture makes our world's value unsurpassable. In support of this contention, I consider proposals for how infinitely valuable worlds might be improved upon, focusing on two main ways—adding value-bearers and increasing the value in present value-bearers. I argue that neither of these can improve our world. Depending on how each method is understood, either it would not improve our world, or our world is unsurpassable with respect to it. I conclude by considering the implications of my argument for the problem of evil more generally conceived. (shrink)
In recent years a growing number of philosophers writing about the methodology of philosophy have defended the surprising claim that philosophers do not use intuitions as evidence. In this paper I defend the contrary view that philosophers do use intuitions as evidence. I argue that this thesis is the best explanation of several salient facts about philosophical practice. First, philosophers tend to believe propositions which they find intuitive. Second, philosophers offer error theories for intuitions that conflict with their theories. Finally, (...) philosophers are more confident in rejecting theories to the extent that they have several (intuitive) counterexamples involving diverse cases. I argue that these facts are better explained by philosophers’ using intuitions as evidence than by any plausible contrary explanations. I further argue that aspects of philosophical practice that my thesis may initially seem ill-suited to explain are in fact unsurprising whether or not my thesis is true. (shrink)
Among Bayesian confirmation theorists, several quantitative measures of the degree to which an evidential proposition E confirms a hypothesis H have been proposed. According to one popular recent measure, s, the degree to which E confirms H is a function of the equation P(H|E) − P(H|~E). A consequence of s is that when we have two evidential propositions, E1 and E2, such that P(H|E1) = P(H|E2), and P(H|~E1) ≠ P(H|~E2), the confirmation afforded to H by E1 does not equal the (...) confirmation afforded to H by E2. I present several examples that demonstrate the unacceptability of this result, and conclude that we should reject s (and other measures that share this feature) as a measure of confirmation. (shrink)
The increasing attention which has been given to social history of science and to the sociological analysis of scientific activity has resulted in a renewed interest in scientific controversies. Furthermore, the rejection of the presentist view of history, according to which those contestants who took what we can identify, with the benefit of modern knowledge, as the ‘right’ stand in a controversy, were right and their opponents were ‘wrong’, left the subject of scientific controversies with many questions. What determines their (...) emergence, course and resolution? When Froggatt and Nevin wrote on the Bio-metric-Mendelian controversy in 1971 they called their article ‘descriptive rather than interpretative’, so they avoided the very questions we would like to ask. Provine, in the same year, concentrated on the strong personalities of the contestants, their clashes, and the scientific arguments in play. But in 1975 Mackenzie and Barnes argued that the controversy could not be accounted for unless recourse was had to sociological factors. Their view has become widely known and figured prominently in 1982 in Steven Shapin's recital of the empirical achievements of the application of the sociological approach. I have returned to this subject because I do not yet feel altogether convinced by Mackenzie and Barnes' analysis. Even if their analysis of the controversy between Pearson and Bateson be accepted, it is not so obvious how effectively it can be used to explain the controversy between Weldon and Bateson, and I am not confident that it is adequate for an understanding of the evolution of their differing views of the mechanism of evolution. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Cavusoglu and Tebaldi provided an evaluation of neoclassical and endogenous growth theories according to Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes. This paper offers three criticisms of their contribution as well as a rival Lakatosian appraisal of growth theories. First, we hold that Cavusoglu and Tebaldi do not provide a proper structure of theory comparison in their contribution. Second, we argue that they use an inadequate version of Lakatos's appraisal criterion. Third, against the claim of (...) the authors, we show that there are seminal endogenous growth models, which predict income convergence among countries. Finally, in contrast to Cavusoglu and Tebaldi, our analysis suggests that by Lakatos's standards, Schumpeterian variant of endogenous growth theory is both theoretically and empirically progressive over neoclassical growth theory. (shrink)
There is no co-ordinated focus on liabilities arising from nurses’ medical interventions in terms of occupational, administrative, civil legal and criminal activities. However, the Turkish Criminal Code, the Turkish Medical Ethics Code of Practice, and guidelines for patients’ rights offer some framework for the relevant ethical principles and responsibilities of nurses. The aim of this study was to investigate the evaluation of nursing students’ training in their legal liabilities. The sample consisted of 309 students who were taking a course entitled (...) ‘Nurses’ legal liabilities under Turkish criminal and civil law arising from medical interventions’. Data were obtained by means of self-administered questionnaires and McNemar’s test was used to evaluate the answers. In conclusion, after their training, a great majority of the students demonstrated an improvement in terms of their percentage of correct answers relating to malpractice. This does not, however, mean that they will not face malpractice charges after graduating, but their increased awareness of the issue may encourage them to make more effort to reduce the risk of mistakes. It is recommended that nursing faculty carry out studies into medical malpractice, that they focus more on this subject in nursing education, and that all nursing schools review their curricula from the point of view of malpractice. (shrink)
The insights described by Nevin & Grace may be summarized without reference to the Newtonian concepts they suggest. The metaphor to Newtonian mechanics seems dubious in three ways: (1) extensions seem to lead to paradoxes; (2) many well-known phenomena are ignored; (3) the Newtonian concepts seem difficult to reconcile with the larger framework of evolutionary theory.
The metaphor of “behavioral momentum” exemplifies modernism at its best and follows in the wake of countless other applications of Newtonian mechanics and “the machine metaphor” to virtually every aspect of the human condition. Modernism, however, has fallen on hard times. Some of the chief reasons why are implicit in the target article by Nevin & Grace.
The research Nevin & Grace report is impressive in its integrative power, but it also shows the current limits of operant theory: There is tremendous concentration on understanding how existing behavioral relations are modulated in rate or time allocation, but little on dealing with the origin of the behavioral relations themselves. Specifying what should count as a behavioral unit will require source principles sensitive to the composition of the units being related.
We have analyzed many discrimination learning difficulties as reflecting multiple stimulus control topographies (SCTs). Nevin & Grace's analysis offers new variables to consider in the design of stimulus-control shaping procedures and cross-setting generalization of newly established behavior. A multiple-SCT perspective also suggests that fixed-trial discrimination procedures may offer advantages for reconciling momentum theory and partial reinforcement extinction effects.
An important measure of the validity and utility of basic behavioral research is the extent to which it can be applied in real life. Basic research on behavioral momentum and the model unifying choice and resistance to change (Nevin & Grace 1999) has stimulated the development of behavioral technologies aimed at increasing the persistence of adaptive behavior and decreasing maladaptive choices.
Nevin & Grace invoke a behavioral metaphor from the physics of momentum. The idealized assumptions they invoke are argued to translate to behavior only in the limited case of steady-state, constant-probability VI responding. Rather than further refine this limit case, mathematical models should be applied to generalizations of the limit case itself, broadening our understanding of behavioral processes.
Nevin & Grace's primary argument against theory and research on behavioral momentum is that preference and resistance to change may not covary. The method for evaluating preference and resistance to change seems problematic. Moreover, the theory fails to account convincingly for effects of average overall time to primary reinforcement on choice and preference for unsegmented schedules.
Evidence from 45 early studies of resistance to extinction following reinforcement of differing amounts, taken in sum, challenges both the basic and the augmented models of Nevin & Grace. The augmented model seems too ad hoc in salvaging the analogy between persistence in behavior and concepts from physics, as my meta-analysis of these data affirms.
Nevin & Grace's approach is an interesting and useful attempt to find ways to measure “core” effects of a history of exposure to reinforcement. The momentum analogy makes intuitive sense, and the evidence for its utility is increasing. Several questions remain, however, about how the analogy will fare in the case of concurrent rather than sequential activities, about the use of extinction as a method to test resistance to change, and about the generality of some of the effects.
Nevin & Grace (N&G) buttress their metaphor with some good props. However, it is still not clear what momentum is analogous to. If momentum is a measure of strength, then the authors should say so and tell us how to calculate it. Furthermore, if “other” behavior can be introduced into the equation (and N&G's foray into the applied world suggests that it can), it is unclear when the masses are accrued and how much is accrued to each behavior.