In questo lavoro viene esaminata l’attualità della filosofia di Georges Bataille, con particolare riferimento al problema dell’identità. La difficoltà di concepire un soggetto nell’opera di Bataille è dovuta alla oggettivazione, che rende gli uomini delle cose o li riduce ad animali. L’identità umana è dunque non costruita. In quanto oggetti, i personaggi dei romanzi di Bataille si usano a vicenda. Non esiste un rapporto tra soggetto e oggetto: la struttura aristotelica dell’animale politico ne risulta fortemente compromessa. In questa tragedia, che (...) è mancanza di distinzioni tra soggetto e oggetto, gli uomini, tuttavia, né vivono né muoiono, ma rimangono in una condizione di sospensione, quella di rimanere immobili davanti alla catastrofe umana. L’immobilità che caratterizza anche l’era contemporanea è assenza di azione e attesa di morte. Il riso ne è il segno manifesto, in quanto rivelazione della frattura del soggetto dissolto a oggetto. Parole chiave: Identità, oggettivazione, sospensione, tragedia. (shrink)
According to Russo and Williamson :157–170, 2007, Hist Philos Life Sci 33:389–396, 2011a, Philos Sci 1:47–69, 2011b), in order to establish a causal claim of the form, ‘C is a cause of E’, one typically needs evidence that there is an underlying mechanism between C and E as well as evidence that C makes a difference to E. This thesis has been used to argue that hierarchies of evidence, as championed by evidence-based movements, tend to give primacy to evidence (...) of difference making over evidence of mechanisms and are flawed because the two sorts of evidence are required and they should be treated on a par. An alternative approach gives primacy to evidence of mechanism over evidence of difference making. In this paper, we argue that this alternative approach is equally flawed, again because both sorts of evidence need to be treated on a par. As an illustration of this parity, we explain how scientists working in the ‘EnviroGenomarkers’ project constantly make use of the two evidential components in a dynamic and intertwined way. We argue that such an interplay is needed not only for causal assessment but also for policy purposes. (shrink)
The anti-causal prophecies of last century have been disproved. Causality is neither a ‘relic of a bygone’ nor ‘another fetish of modern science’; it still occupies a large part of the current debate in philosophy and the sciences. This investigation into causal modelling presents the rationale of causality, i.e. the notion that guides causal reasoning in causal modelling. It is argued that causal models are regimented by a rationale of variation, nor of regularity neither invariance, thus breaking down the dominant (...) Human paradigm. The notion of variation is shown to be embedded in the scheme of reasoning behind various causal models: e.g. Rubin’s model, contingency tables, and multilevel analysis. It is also shown to be latent – yet fundamental – in many philosophical accounts. Moreover, it has significant consequences for methodological issues: the warranty of the causal interpretation of causal models, the levels of causation, the characterisation of mechanisms, and the interpretation of probability. This book offers a novel philosophical and methodological approach to causal reasoning in causal modelling and provides the reader with the tools to be up to date about various issues causality rises in social science. (shrink)
How much do animals matter--morally? Can we keep considering them as second class beings, to be used merely for our benefit? Or, should we offer them some form of moral egalitarianism? Inserting itself into the passionate debate over animal rights, this fascinating, provocative work by renowned scholar Paola Cavalieri advances a radical proposal: that we extend basic human rights to the nonhuman animals we currently treat as "things." Cavalieri first goes back in time, tracing the roots of the debate (...) from the 1970s, then explores not only the ethical but also the scientific viewpoints, examining the debate's precedents in mainstream Western philosophy. She considers the main proposals of reform that recently have been advanced within the framework of today's prevailing ethical perspectives. Are these proposals satisfying? Cavalieri says no, claiming that it is necessary to go beyond the traditional opposition between utilitarianism and Kantianism and focus on the question of fundamental moral protection. In the case of human beings, such protection is granted within the widely shared moral doctrine of universal human rights' theory. Cavalieri argues that if we examine closely this theory, we will discover that its very logic extends to nonhuman animals as beings who are owed basic moral and legal rights and that, as a result, human rights are not human after all. (shrink)
This text was first published in Theory, Culture & Society, May 13, 2015. For a special issue of Body & Society on ‘Rhythm, Movement, Embodiment', Paola Crespi presents two previously untranslated texts, Rudolf Bode's ‘Rhythm and its Importance for Education' and Rudolf Laban's ‘Eurhythmy and Kakorhythmy'. In the following interview she uncovers further unpublished and untranslated sources and she discusses some of the main themes of these texts in relation to the more widely known text - Danse, théâtre et (...) spectacle vivant – GALERIE – Nouvel article. (shrink)
We invited five Cavell scholars to write on this topic. What follows is a vibrant exchange among Paola Marrati, Andrew Norris, Jörg Volbers, Cary Wolfe and Thomas Dumm addressing the question whether, in the contemporary political context, Cavell’s skepticism and his Emersonian perfectionism amount to a politics at all.
This paper deals with causal analysis in the social sciences. We first present a conceptual framework according to which causal analysis is based on a rationale of variation and invariance, and not only on regularity. We then develop a formal framework for causal analysis by means of structural modelling. Within this framework we approach causality in terms of exogeneity in a structural conditional model based which is based on (i) congruence with background knowledge, (ii) invariance under a large variety of (...) environmental changes, and (iii) model fit. We also tackle the issue of confounding and show how latent confounders can play havoc with exogeneity. This framework avoids making untestable metaphysical claims about causal relations and yet remains useful for cognitive and action-oriented goals. (shrink)
In this study, Paola Marrati approaches—in an extremely insightful, rigorous, and well-argued way—the question of the philosophical sources of Derrida's thought through a consideration of his reading of both Husserl and Heidegger. A central focus of the book is the analysis of the concepts of genesis and trace as they define Derrida's thinking of historicity, time, and subjectivity. Notions such as the contamination of the empirical and the transcendental, dissemination and writing, are explained as key categories establishing a guiding (...) thread that runs through Derrida's early and later works. Whereas in his discussion of Husserl Derrida problematizes the relationship between the ideality of meaning and the singularity of its historical production, in his interpretation of Heidegger he challenges the very idea of the originary finitude of temporality. This book is essential reading not only for those interested in the philosophical roots of deconstruction, but for all those interested in the central questions of history and temporality, subjectivity and language, that pervade contemporary debates in cultural, literary, and visual theory alike. (shrink)
Causal analysis in the social sciences takes advantage of a variety of methods and of a multi-fold source of information and evidence. This pluralistic methodology and source of information raises the question of whether we should accordingly have a pluralistic metaphysics and epistemology. This paper focuses on epistemology and argues that a pluralistic methodology and evidence dont entail a pluralistic epistemology. It will be shown that causal models employ a single rationale of testing, based on the notion of variation. Further, (...) I shall argue that this monistic epistemology is also involved in alternative philosophical theories of causation. (shrink)
Russo and Williamson claim that establishing causal claims requires mechanistic and difference-making evidence. In this article, I will argue that Russo and Williamson's formulation of their thesis is multiply ambiguous. I will make three distinctions: mechanistic evidence as type vs object of evidence; what mechanism or mechanisms we want evidence of; and how much evidence of a mechanism we require. I will feed these more precise meanings back into the Russo?Williamson thesis and argue that it is both (...) true and false: two weaker versions of the thesis are worth supporting, while the stronger versions are not. Further, my distinctions are of wider concern because they allow us to make more precise claims about what kinds of evidence are required in particular cases. (shrink)
This article examines two theses formulated by Russo and Williamson in their study of causal inference in the health sciences. The two theses are assessed against evidence from a specific case in the social sciences, i.e., research on the institutional determinants of the aggregate unemployment rate. The first Russo–Williamson Thesis is that a causal claim can only be established when it is jointly supported by difference-making and mechanistic evidence. This thesis is shown not to hold. While researchers in (...) my case study draw extensively on both types of evidence, one causal claim out of the three analyzed is established even though it is exclusively supported by mechanistic evidence. The second Russo–Williamson Thesis is that standard accounts of causality fail to handle the dualist epistemology highlighted in the first Thesis. I argue that a counterfactual-manipulationist account of causality—which is endorsed by many philosophers as well as many social scientists—can perfectly make sense of the typical strategy in my case study to draw on both difference-making and mechanistic evidence; it is just an instance of the common strategy of increasing evidential variety. (shrink)
This work focuses on corporate social responsibility disclosure practices of multinational corporations. Based on a longitudinal study of CSR reports of companies operating in the automotive industry, the paper offers a detailed study of how disclosure practices are changing and which principles and approaches influence and drive the development of such disclosure. Based on a four-year report-based study, the findings enable us to identify three main trends in the CSR disclosure strategy of automotive firms. First, in line with the mainstream (...) CSR literature, the present study confirms the trend towards the increasing environmental and social accountability. Second, it adds evidence to the emerging debate regarding the harmonization and standardization of reporting and discusses this aspect by mentioning the standards as exerting some normative pressures within the sector. Finally, it provides evidence on specific links emerging between issues and actors. The implications of this evidence contribute to opening up the debate on CSR disclosure to the possibility of combining the institutional lens with a strategic approach that captures the materiality considerations of CSR disclosure. (shrink)
The paper addresses the question of how different types of evidence ought to inform public health policy. By analysing case studies on obesity, the paper draws lessons about the different roles that different types of evidence play in setting up public health policies. More specifically, it is argued that evidence of difference-making supports considerations about ‘what works for whom in what circumstances’, and that evidence of mechanisms provides information about the ‘causal pathways’ to intervene upon.
Scientific and philosophical literature on causality has become highly specialised. It is hard to find suitable access points for students, young researchers, or professionals outside this domain. This book provides a guide to the complex literature, explains the scientific problems of causality and the philosophical tools needed to address them.
Current research in molecular epidemiology uses biomarkers to model the different disease phases from environmental exposure, to early clinical changes, to development of disease. The hope is to get a better understanding of the causal impact of a number of pollutants and chemicals on several diseases, including cancer and allergies. In a recent paper Russo and Williamson address the question of what evidential elements enter the conceptualisation and modelling stages of this type of biomarkers research. Recent research in causality (...) has examined Ned Hall’s distinction between two concepts of causality: production and dependence. In another recent paper, Illari examined the relatively under-explored production approach to causality, arguing that at least one job of an account of causal production is to illuminate our inferential practices concerning causal linking. Illari argued that an informational account solves existing problems with traditional accounts. This paper follows up this previous work by investigating the nature of the causal links established in biomarkers research. We argue that traditional accounts of productive causality are unable to provide a sensible account of the nature of the causal link in biomarkers research, while an informational account is very promising. (shrink)
Technologies have always been bearers of profound changes in science, society, and any other aspect of life. The latest technological revolution—the digital revolution—is no exception in this respect. This paper presents the revolution brought about by digital technologies through the lenses of a specific approach: the philosophy of information. It is argued that the adoption of an informational approach helps avoiding utopian or dystopian approaches to technology, both expressions of technological determinism. Such an approach provides a conceptual framework able to (...) address the ethical challenges that digital technologies pose, without getting stuck in the dichotomous thinking of technological determinism, and to bring together ethics, ontology, and epistemology into a coherent account. (shrink)
A particular tradition in medicine claims that a variety of evidence is helpful in determining whether an observed correlation is causal. In line with this tradition, it has been claimed that establishing a causal claim in medicine requires both probabilistic and mechanistic evidence. This claim has been put forward by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson. As a result, it is sometimes called the Russo–Williamson thesis. In support of this thesis, Russo and Williamson appeal to the practice of (...) the International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, this practice presents some problematic cases for the Russo–Williamson thesis. One response to such cases is to argue in favour of reforming these practices. In this paper, we propose an alternative response according to which such cases are in fact consistent with the Russo–Williamson thesis. This response requires maintaining that there is a role for mechanism-based extrapolation in the practice of the IARC. However, the response works only if this mechanism-based extrapolation is reliable, and some have argued against the reliability of mechanism-based extrapolation. Against this, we provide some reasons for believing that reliable mechanism-based extrapolation is going on in the practice of the IARC. The reasons are provided by appealing to the role of robustness analysis. (shrink)
For four decades, research on the role and responsibilities of business in society has centered on the business case for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and an increasing number of studies on the corporate social performance (CSP)—corporate financial performance (CFP) link emerged leading to controversial results. Heeding the call for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms linking certain CSR efforts to certain performance outcomes, this study provides a stakeholder-based organizing framework rooted in an extensive review of existing literature on the link (...) between CSP and CFP. In so doing, we aim at guiding research and practice toward less simplistic understandings of the CSP–CFP connection, thus advancing the debate over the consequences of voluntary integrating CSR into business operations and into relationships with stakeholders. By disentangling specific drivers and outcomes of the CSP–CFP link, we underline the importance of setting clear boundaries and specifying levels of analysis to generate comparable results. (shrink)
While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a mainstream issue for many organizations, most of the research to date addresses CSR in large businesses rather than in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), because it is too often considered a prerogative of large businesses only. The role of SMEs in an increasingly dynamic context is now being questioned, including what factors might affect their socially responsible behaviour. The goal of this paper is to make a comparison of SME and large firm (...) CSR strategies. Furthermore, size of the firm is analyzed as a factor that influences specific choices in the CSR field, and studied by means of a sample of 3,680 Italian firms. Based on a multi-stakeholder framework, the analysis provides evidence that large firms are more likely to identify relevant stakeholders and meet their requirements through specific and formal CSR strategies. (shrink)
The present study aims at exploring whether the level of well-being vary as a function of fertility status in different phases of the ovulatory cycle. We investigated the multidimensional well-being, including the cognitive component of subjective well-being related to judgments about one’s life satisfaction, the psychological well-being concerning the full growth and self-realization of the individual, and self-esteem, that is the personal judgment of overall self-worth and is recognized as one indicator of well-being. On the basis of the cycle phase (...) estimation at the moment of the experiment, one hundred and sixteen normally cycling women were divided into “fertile” and “non-fertile” groups and were administered the Psychological Well-Being Scale, the Basic Self-Esteem Scale and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. A Multivariate Analysis of Variance has been performed to examine whether there were differences between groups according to their ovulatory phase. All dimensions of psychological well-being, self-esteem and satisfaction with life were found to be stable in the different phases of the menstrual cycle. The implications of these results are discussed. (shrink)
The paper analyses the role played by the concept of ‘common ground’ in argumentation theories. If a common agreement on all the rules of a discursive exchange is required, either at the beginning or at the end of an argumentative practice, then no violation of the rules is possible. The paper suggests an alternative understanding of ‘common ground’ as something that can change during the development of the argumentative practice, and in particular something that can change without the practice being (...) stopped, just as one sometimes violates the rule of a game without stopping playing. The analysis of some historical examples shows that the violation of rules sometimes leads to a consensual change of a set of beliefs and values. The argumentative rationality thus needs to be reconsidered in the light of the analysis of the conditions under which it would be legitimate to change the rules of an argumentative practice: ‘common ground’ and the right to disagreement, even radical or violent, could then be defended as essential components of argumentative rationality. (shrink)
Although the characteristics and advantages of interorganizational governance models based on extensive collaboration are well established in the literature, inquiry has only recently extended to sustainable supply chain management, highlighting the potential benefits of combining the integration of social and environmental issues concerning the supply chain with governance models based on joint decision making and extensive cooperation. Yet, firms still differ in both the pervasiveness of such collaborative approaches along the value chain and the extent to which sustainability issues are (...) addressed to the advantage of all parties involved. In an attempt to predict variety in the governance models related to sustainability along the value chain, we propose a theoretical model that identifies and frames four sustainable supply chain governance (SSCG) models, resulting from combinations of supply chain network density and centrality of the focal organizations. We show how, as centrality increases, firms are able to exert influence over their network, coordinating integrated approaches along the value chain. Moreover, as high centrality combines with increasing interconnectedness of the actors within a supply chain network, instrumental approaches are progressively replaced by more relational attitudes aimed at joint value creation among partners. Conditions for SSCG models' success and the main benefits gained by firms in different structural contexts are also discussed. (shrink)
How should probabilities be interpreted in causal models in the social and health sciences? In this paper we take a step towards answering this question by investigating the case of cancer in epidemiology and arguing that the objective Bayesian interpretation is most appropriate in this domain.
To contribute to our understanding of the relationship between philosophical ideas and medical and healthcare models. A diachronic analysis is put in place in order to evaluate, from an innovative perspective, the influence over the centuries on medical and healthcare models of two philosophical concepts, particularly relevant for health: how Man perceives his identity and how he relates to Nature. Five epochs are identified—the Archaic Age, Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Modern Age, the ‘Postmodern’ Era—which can be seen, à (...) la Foucault, as ‘fragments between philosophical fractures’. From a historical background perspective, up to the early 1900s progress in medical and healthcare models has moved on a par with the evolution of philosophical debate. Following the Second World War, the Health Service started a series of reforms, provoked by anti-positivistic philosophical transformations. The three main reforms carried out however failed and the medical establishment remained anchored to a mechanical, reductionist approach, perfectly in line with the bureaucratic stance of the administrators. In this context, future scenarios are delineated and an anthropo-ecological model is proposed to re-align philosophy, medicine and health care. (shrink)
Cross-situational statistical learning of words involves tracking co-occurrences of auditory words and objects across time to infer word-referent mappings. Previous research has demonstrated that learners can infer referents across sets of very phonologically distinct words, but it remains unknown whether learners can encode fine phonological differences during cross-situational statistical learning. This study examined learners’ cross-situational statistical learning of minimal pairs that differed on one consonant segment, minimal pairs that differed on one vowel segment, and non-minimal pairs that differed on two (...) or three segments. Learners performed above chance for all pairs, but performed worse on vowel minimal pairs than on consonant minimal pairs or non-minimal pairs. These findings demonstrate that learners can encode fine phonetic detail while tracking word-referent co-occurrence probabilities, but they suggest that phonological encoding may be weaker for vowels than for consonants. (shrink)
Causal contextualism holds that sentences of the form ‘c causes e’ have context-sensitive truth-conditions. We consider four arguments invoked by Jonathan Schaffer in favor of this view. First, he argues that his brand of contextualism helps solve puzzles about transitivity. Second, he contends that how one describes the relata of the causal relation sometimes affects the truth of one’s claim. Third, Schaffer invokes the phenomenon of contrastive focus to conclude that causal statements implicitly designate salient alternatives to the cause and (...) effect. Fourth, he claims that the appropriateness of a causal statement depends on what is contextually taken for granted or made salient. We show that causal invariantism can explain these linguistic data at least as well as contextualism. We then argue that pace Schaffer, some causal sentences are always correct and can never be plausibly denied, regardless of the context. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe paper focuses on the gradual separation between materialism and mechanism in early modern German philosophy. In Germany the distinction between the two concepts, originally introduced by Leibniz, was definitively stated by Wolff who was the first to provide a definition of the new philosophical term Materialismus, and of the related philosophical sect. In the first part I describe the initial identification of mechanism and materialism in German philosophy between the last decades of the seventeenth century and 1720. Mechanism is (...) here mostly conceived within a monistic metaphysics of body, which refers mainly to Hobbes and to some interpretations of Spinoza’s pantheism. This tight connection between a mechanical explanation of nature and the Deus sive natura issue leads to a negative judgement on mechanism and its materialistic implications, both charged with a form of more or less explicit atheism. In the second part I describe the gradual emancipation in Germany of mechanism fro... (shrink)
In this paper, we examine the problems facing a policy maker who observes inconsistent choices made by agents who are boundedly rational. We contrast a model-less and a model-based approach to welfare economics. We make the case for the model-based approach and examine its advantages as well as some problematic issues associated with it.
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in Posterior (...) analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
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