This Open Access book (see link to Taylor & Francis below) critically examines the recent discussions of powers and powers-based accounts of causation. The author then develops an original view of powers-based causation that aims to be compatible with the theories and findings of natural science. Recently, there has been a dramatic revival of realist approaches to properties and causation, which focus on the relevance of Aristotelian metaphysics and the notion of powers for a scientifically informed view of causation. In (...) this book, R.D. Ingthorsson argues that one central feature of powers-based accounts of causation is arguably incompatible with what is today recognised as fact in the sciences, notably that all interactions are thoroughly reciprocal. Ingthorsson’s powerful particulars view of powers-based causation accommodates for the reciprocity of interactions. It also draws out the consequences of that view for the issue of causal necessity and offers a way to understand the constitution and persistence of compound objects as causal phenomena. Furthermore, Ingthorsson argues that compound entities, so understood, are just as much processes as they are substances. A Powerful Particulars View of Causation will be of great interest to scholars and advanced students working in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and neo-Aristotelian philosophy, while also being accessible for a general audience. (shrink)
Essays from some of the 20th century's greatest thinkers explore topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, evolution, science fiction, philosophy, reductionism, and consciousness, presenting a variety of conflicting visions of the self and the soul. Illustrations.
Ingthorsson, McTaggart’s Paradox and the R-theory of Time L. Nathan Oaklander University of Michigan-Flint, USA [email protected] his provocative book, McTaggart’s Paradox, R.D. Ingthors- son argues that McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time rests on the principle of temporal parity according to which all times or events in time exist equally or co-exist in a sense that is compatible with their being successive. Moreover, since temporal parity is also an essential tenet of the B-theory, McTaggart’s argument against the reality (...) of time can also be used to undermine the B-theory. Ingthorsson argues further that only by adopting an ontologically frugal presentist metaphysics can one avoid McTaggart’s paradox and account for identity through time and change. The aim of this paper is to clarify Russell’s authentic view of time in con- trast to the B-theory which is McTaggart’s misrepresentation of Russell and argue that temporal parity it is not a fundamental tenet of the Rus- sellian theory. For that reason, the R-theory is immune to objections that are based on temporal parity. I shall then offer my own interpretation of McTaggart’s paradox that renders Ingthorsson’s version of presentism subject to it. (shrink)
Psychopaths continue to be demonised by the media and estimates suggest that a disturbing percentage of the population has psychopathic tendencies. This timely and controversial new book summarises what we already know about psychopathy and antisocial behavior and puts forward a new case for its cause - with far-reaching implications. Presents the scientific facts of psychopathy and antisocial behavior. Addresses key questions, such as: What is psychopathy? Are there psychopaths amongst us? What is wrong with psychopaths? Is psychopathy due to (...) nature or nurture? And can we treat psychopaths? Reveals the authors' ground-breaking research into whether an underlying abnormality in brain development leaves psychopaths with an inability to feel emotion or fear. The resulting theory could lead to early diagnosis and revolutionize the way society, the media and the state both views and contends with the psychopaths in our midst. (shrink)
This book describes empirically ways to analyze and then to effectually utilize cognitive processes to advance discovery and invention in the sciences. It also explains how to teach these principles to students.
The debate on the nature of the European Union has become a test case of the kind of political and institutional arrangements appropriate in an age of globalization. This paper explores three views of the EU. The two main positions that have hitherto confronted each other appeal to either cosmopolitan or communitarian values. Advocates of the former argue for some form of federal structure in Europe and are convinced that the sovereignty of the nation state belongs to the past. Proponents (...) of the latter make a case on both socio-political and normative grounds for a Europe of nations. However a third position, favoured by the authors, is gaining ground. This view combines cosmopolitan and communitarian conceptions. It emphasises the mixed nature of the European polity and conceives the constitutionalization process as open-ended. The paper concludes that from this perspective a bricoleur's Europe of ‘bits and pieces’may not necessarily lack justification and legitimacy. (shrink)
This study investigates the ability of individuals with psychopathy to perform passive avoidance learning and whether this ability is modulated by level of reinforcement/punishment. Nineteen psychopathic and 21 comparison individuals, as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised (Hare, 1991), were given a passive avoidance task with a graded reinforcement schedule. Response to each rewarding number gained a point reward specific to that number (i.e., 1, 700, 1400 or 2000 points). Response to each punishing number lost a point punishment specific (...) to that number (i.e., the loss of 1, 700, 1400 or 2000 points). In line with predictions, individuals with psychopathy made more passive avoidance errors than the comparison individuals. In addition, while the performance of both groups was modulated by level of reward, only the performance of the comparison population was modulated by level of punishment. The results are interpreted with reference to a computational account of the emotional learning impairment in individuals with psychopathy. (shrink)
Aesthetics in philosophy of mathematics is too narrowly construed. Beauty is not the only feature in mathematics that is arguably aesthetic. While not the highest aesthetic value, being interesting is a sine qua non for publishability. Of the many ways to be interesting, being explanatory has recently been discussed. The motivational power of what is interesting is important for both directing research and stimulating education. The scientific satisfaction of curiosity and the artistic desire for beautiful results are complementary but both (...) aesthetic. (shrink)
We argue that abduction does not work in isolation from other inference mechanisms and illustrate this through an inference scheme designed to evaluate multiple hypotheses. We use game theory to relate the abductive system to actions that produce new information. To enable evaluation of the implications of this approach we have implemented the procedures used to calculate the impact of new information in a computer model. Experiments with this model display a number of features of collective belief-revision leading to consensus-formation, (...) such as the influence of bias and prejudice. The scheme of inferential calculations invokes a Peircian concept of ‘belief’ as the propensity to choose a particular course of action. (shrink)
We use Homer and Sun Tzu as a background to better understand and reformulate confrontation, anger and violence in medicine, contrasting an unproductive ‘love of war’ with a productive ‘art of war’ or ‘art of strategy’. At first glance, it is a paradox that the healing art is not pacific, but riddled with militaristic language and practices. On closer inspection, we find good reasons for this cultural paradox yet regret its presence. Drawing on insights from Homer's The Iliad and The (...) Odyssey, we argue for better understanding of confrontation, anger, bullying, intimidation and violence in medicine in order to change the culture. For example, equating medicine with war is not a given condition of medicine but a convenient metaphor with historical origins and a historical trajectory. Other, non-martial metaphors, such as medicine as collaboration, may be more appropriate in an age of team-based care. Taking lessons from Homer, we suggest three key ways in which cold-hearted confrontation and anger in medicine can be transformed into productive, warm-hearted engagement: the transformation of angry impulse into reflection, moral courage and empathy. Thinking with Homer can offer an aesthetically and morally charged alternative to the current body of literature on topics, such as anger in doctors, and how this may be ‘managed’, without recourse to an instrumental economy where emotions are viewed as commodities, and emotional responses can be ‘trained’ through communication skills courses. (shrink)
Contrary to what might be expected given a religious or other motivation, Pierre Duhem's interest in mediaeval science was the result of his surprise encounter with Jordanus de Nemore while working on Les origines de la statique in the late autumn of 1903. Historical assumptions common among physicists at that time may explain this surprise, which occasioned a frantic search for more mediaeval precursors for Renaissance mechanics. It also raised serious historiographical problems that threatened even his methodological views, until they (...) were resolved in his To save the phenomena of 1908. (shrink)
Much speculation on the sources of Duhem's historical interests fails to account for the major shifts in these interests: neither his belief in the continuous development of physics nor his Catholicism, when his Church was encouraging the study of generally Aristotelian scholastic thought, led to any interest in mediaeval science before 1904. Equally, his own claim that he was merely testing his views on the nature of physical theory is easily squared only with earlier work with no trace of mediaeval (...) science. Behind this discontinuity lies a major crisis. Though not a positivist, Duhem had based all his work on assumptions acceptable to positivists. One of these, the sterility of the Middle Ages, was refuted by his chance discovery of evidence of genuine mediaeval science in the autumn of 1903, but that left the doctrine of scholastic sterility intact. (shrink)
This paper forms an introduction to this issue, the contents of which arose directly or indirectly from a conference in May 2001 on Corruption of scientific integrity? — The commercialisation of academic science. The introduction, in recent decades, of business culture and values into universities and research institutions is incompatible with the openness which scientific and all academic pursuit traditionally require. It has given rise to a web of problems over intellectual property and conflict of interest which has even led (...) to corporate sponsors’ suppressing unfavourable results of clinical trials, to the detriment of patients’ health. Although there are those who see the norms of science developing to recognise the importance of instrumental science aiming at specific goals and of knowledge judged by its value in a context of application, none justifies the covert manipulation of results by vested interest. Public awareness of these problems is growing and creating a climate of opinion where they may be addressed. We suggest a way forward by the introduction of nationally and internationally-accepted guidelines for industrial collaboration which contain proper protections of the core purposes of universities and of the independence of their research. Some codes suggested for this purpose are discussed. We note that some universities are moving to adopt such codes of conduct, but argue the need for strong support from the government through its funding bodies. (shrink)
In this paper we examine the study of minerals from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century in the light of the work of Michel Foucault on the history of systems of thought. In spite of a certain number of theoretical problems, Foucault's enterprise opens up to the historian of science a vast terrain for exploration. But this is the place neither for a general exegesis nor for a general criticism of his position; our aim here is the more modest (...) one of taking certain points from Foucault's study, The order of things, and seeing how far they can be extended into an area not explicitly considered in that work. (shrink)
Shipley presents the first modern commentary on Plutarch's Life of Agesilaos together with the full Greek text and a bibliography. Plutarch's biographies have long been valued for their literary, philosophic, and historiographic content, and the Life of Agesilaos, king of Sparta for forty years after the Peloponnesian war, has special interest as an introduction to Greek history, society, and culture in the fourth century, a critical period that has received little attention in comparison with the fifth century in Athens. Internal (...) problems in Sparta followed the accession of Agesilaos: failures of hierarchical cohesion, unrest among social and subject groups, and division between aggressive and moderate foreign policies. Plato and Aristotle, Ephoros, Xenophon, Diodoros, and Nepos contributed variously to the knowledge and understanding of the period, and Plutarch created from their evidence -- and other sources -- an independent, penetrating, and balanced account of the character of those in power, and of Sparta, at their best and in decline. (shrink)
An infinite lottery machine is used as a foil for testing the reach of inductive inference, since inferences concerning it require novel extensions of probability. Its use is defensible if there is some sense in which the lottery is physically possible, even if exotic physics is needed. I argue that exotic physics is needed and describe several proposals that fail and at least one that succeeds well enough.
This paper examines some ethical issues arising from whole-genome association studies for multigenic diseases, focusing on the case of autism. Events occurring following the announcement of a genetic test for autism in France (2005–2009) are described to exemplify the ethical controversies that can arise when genetic testing for autism is applied prematurely and inappropriately promoted by biotech companies. The authors argue that genetic tests assessing one or a few genes involved in highly multigenic disorders can only be useful if: (1) (...) the genetic linkage found in the scientific study must be statistically convincing, reproducible and also applicable to the population to which the individual considered belongs (scientific validity); (2) the relative risk conferred by the ‘high-risk’ allele should be high enough to be significant to the patient (significant impact); (3) use of the test should lead to some improvement of outcome for the patient, resulting from adapted treatment if available, or at least from adjustment of lifestyle (or life goals) prompted by the new knowledge generated (clinical utility). Decisions concerning genetic testing for autism involve scientific judgement, value judgement and good knowledge of a constantly evolving therapeutic environment. The implementation of genetic tests for highly multigenic diseases thus requires strong mechanisms to ensure that they are used in a fashion that can benefit patients, and these mechanisms must be able to cope with rapid progress in scientific knowledge and therapeutic intervention. (shrink)
This paper forms an introduction to this issue, the contents of which arose directly or indirectly from a conference in May 2001 on Corruption of scientific integrity? — The commercialisation of academic science. The introduction, in recent decades, of business culture and values into universities and research institutions is incompatible with the openness which scientific and all academic pursuit traditionally require. It has given rise to a web of problems over intellectual property and conflict of interest which has even led (...) to corporate sponsors’ suppressing unfavourable results of clinical trials, to the detriment of patients’ health. Although there are those who see the norms of science developing to recognise the importance of instrumental science aiming at specific goals and of knowledge judged by its value in a context of application, none justifies the covert manipulation of results by vested interest.Public awareness of these problems is growing and creating a climate of opinion where they may be addressed. We suggest a way forward by the introduction of nationally and internationally-accepted guidelines for industrial collaboration which contain proper protections of the core purposes of universities and of the independence of their research. Some codes suggested for this purpose are discussed. We note that some universities are moving to adopt such codes of conduct, but argue the need for strong support from the government through its funding bodies. (shrink)
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