Scientists use models to understand the natural world, and it is important not to conflate model and nature. As an illustration, we distinguish three different kinds of populations in studies of ecology and evolution: theoretical, laboratory, and natural populations, exemplified by the work of R.A. Fisher, Thomas Park, and David Lack, respectively. Biologists are rightly concerned with all three types of populations. We examine the interplay between these different kinds of populations, and their pertinent models, in three examples: the notion (...) of “effective” population size, the work of Thomas Park on /Tribolium/ populations, and model-based clustering algorithms such as /Structure/. Finally, we discuss ways to move safely between three distinct population types while avoiding confusing models and reality. (shrink)
The embedding and promotion of social change is faced with aparadoxical challenge. In order to mainstream an approach to socialchange such as responsible research and innovation and makeit into a practical reality rather than an abstract ideal, we need tohave conceptual clarity and empirical evidence. But, in order to beable to gather empirical evidence, we have to presuppose that theapproach already exists in practice. This paper proposes a social labmethodology that is suited to deal with this circularity. Themethodology combines the (...) defining features of social labs emergingfrom the literature such as agility and real-world focus withestablished theories and approaches such as action research andexperiential learning. Thereby it enables the parallel investigationand propagation of RRI. The framework thus constructed provides atheoretical embedding of sociallabs and overcomes some of theknown limitations of the constitutive approaches. (shrink)
As the average age of the population increases, so too do the number of people living with chronic illnesses. With limited resources available, the development of dialogue-based e-health systems that provide justified general health advice offers a cost-effective solution to the management of chronic conditions. It is however imperative that such systems are responsible in their approach. We present in this paper two main challenges for the deployment of e-health systems, that have a particular relevance to dialogue and argumentation: collecting (...) and handling health data, and trust. For both challenges, we look at specific issues therein, outlining their importance in general, and describing their relevance to dialogue and argumentation. Finally, we go on to propose six recommendations for handling these issues, towards addressing the main challenges themselves, that act both as general advice for dialogue and argumentation research in the e-health domain, and as a foundation for future work on this topic. (shrink)
This year’s topic is “Genomics and Philosophy of Race.” Different researchers might work on distinct subsets of the six thematic clusters below, which are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive: (1) Concepts of ‘Race’; (2) Mathematical Modeling of Human History and Population Structure; (3) Data and Technologies of Human Genomics; (4) Biological Reality of Race; (5) Racialized Selves in a Global Context; (6) Pragmatic Consequences of ‘Race Talk’ among Biologists.
These notes take their starting point in the question posed by Lawrence Vogel: “Does environmental ethics need a metaphysical grounding?” and answers this question negatively. It is argued that Hans Jonas’ Das Prinzip Verantwortung does not come to an adequate understanding of the historical relation between metaphysics and technology, and that Jonas consequently fails to appreciate the specific role played by environmentalism within this relation. It is also argued that this specific role is more easily understandable if resources present in (...) the work of Martin Heidegger concerning the above mentioned relation are employed. Whereas Jonas conceptualizes environmental ethics as a force to counter the reign of technology, Heidegger’s analysis of the essence of technology lends itself much more readily to an account of environmentalism which sees it as a maturation process within technology itself. Through this account, it becomes clear why environmental ethics never actually needed a metaphysical grounding, and why the strategy of industrial ecology marks a healthy step beyond the moralstrategy envisioned by Jonas. (shrink)