I recently taught an upper-division Honors class in Medicine and Literature with students ranging from a pre-physician’s assistant student and nursing student to English, French, History, and Technical Writing majors. The common thread connecting these students initially was their self-described fear of and helplessness with poetry. However, as the semester drew to a close, their class discussion and journals revealed not only increased comfort with poetry but also a preference for it. The information and insight they got from poetry, they (...) said, were the reason they took a medical humanities course in the first place and commented that the poetry we read provoked more substantial “medicine and literature” discussions than prose. Poetry provides a good starting place to analyze complex human relationships, and the focus on language and form levels the intellectual playing field: students are all unfamiliar with how to do it and are learning a new skill together. This could be accomplished, of course, with a literary short story, but for the diverse population of students in this class, the brevity of poetry made it all the more appealing. (shrink)
Bishop and Trout here present a unique and provocative new approach to epistemology. Their approach aims to liberate epistemology from the scholastic debates of standard analytic epistemology, and treat it as a branch of the philosophy of science. The approach is novel in its use of cost-benefit analysis to guide people facing real reasoning problems and in its framework for resolving normative disputes in psychology. Based on empirical data, Bishop and Trout show how people can improve their reasoning (...) by relying on Statistical Prediction Rules. They then develop and articulate the positive core of the book. Their view, Strategic Reliabilism, claims that epistemic excellence consists in the efficient allocation of cognitive resources to reliable reasoning strategies, applied to significant problems. The last third of the book develops the implications of this view for standard analytic epistemology; for resolving normative disputes in psychology; and for offering practical, concrete advice on how this theory can improve real people's reasoning. This is a truly distinctive and controversial work that spans many disciplines and will speak to an unusually diverse group, including people in epistemology, philosophy of science, decision theory, cognitive and clinical psychology, and ethics and public policy. (shrink)
In this original and compelling book, Jeffrey P. Bishop, a philosopher, ethicist, and physician, argues that something has gone sadly amiss in the care of the dying by contemporary medicine and in our social and political views of death, as shaped by our scientific successes and ongoing debates about euthanasia and the "right to die"--or to live. __The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying__, informed by Foucault's genealogy of medicine and power as well as by (...) a thorough grasp of current medical practices and medical ethics, argues that a view of people as machines in motion--people as, in effect, temporarily animated corpses with interchangeable parts--has become epistemologically normative for medicine. The dead body is subtly anticipated in our practices of exercising control over the suffering person, whether through technological mastery in the intensive care unit or through the impersonal, quasi-scientific assessments of psychological and spiritual "medicine." The result is a kind of nihilistic attitude toward the dying, and troubling contradictions and absurdities in our practices. Wide-ranging in its examples, from organ donation rules in the United States, to ICU medicine, to "spiritual surveys," to presidential bioethics commissions attempting to define death, and to high-profile cases such as Terri Schiavo's, __The Anticipatory Corpse__ explores the historical, political, and philosophical underpinnings of our care of the dying and, finally, the possibilities of change. A ground-breaking work in bioethics, this book will provoke thought and argument for all those engaged in medicine, philosophy, theology, and health policy. "With extraordinary philosophical sophistication as well as knowledge of modern medicine, Bishop argues that the body that shapes the work of modern medicine is a dead body. He defends this claim decisively with with urgency. I know of no book that is at once more challenging and informative as __The Anticipatory Corpse. __To say this book is the most important one written in the philosophy of medicine in the last twenty-five years would not do it justice. This book is destined to change the way we think and, hopefully, practice medicine." --_Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School _ "Jeffrey Bishop carefully builds a detailed, scholarly case that medicine is shaped by its attitudes toward death. Clinicians, ethicists, medical educators, policy makers, and administrators need to understand the fraught relationship between clinical practices and death, and __The Anticipatory Corpse __is an essential text. Bishop's use of the writings of Michel Foucault is especially provocative and significant. This book is the closest we have to a genealogy of death." --_Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary _ "Jeffrey Bishop has produced a masterful study of how the living body has been placed within medicine's metaphysics of efficient causality and within its commitment to a totalizing control of life and death, which control has only been strengthened by medicine's taking on the mantle of a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model. This volume's treatment of medicine's care of the dying will surely be recognized as a cardinal text in the philosophy of medicine." --_H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine_. (shrink)
Of Goals and Goods and Floundering About: A Dissensus Report on Clinical Ethics Consultation Content Type Journal Article Pages 275-291 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9101-1 Authors Jeffrey P. Bishop, Vanderbilt University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 400 Nashville Tennessee 37203 USA Joseph B. Fanning, Vanderbilt University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 400 Nashville Tennessee 37203 USA Mark J. Bliton, Vanderbilt University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society 2525 West End Avenue, (...) Suite 400 Nashville Tennessee 37203 USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 3. (shrink)
This is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of the social sciences. It provides the student with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to all the major philosophical concepts, issues and debates raised by the social sciences. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses, the structure and content of this textbook-the most thorough, clearly argued and up-to-date available-closely reflect the way the philosophy of the social sciences is studied and taught. The text examines key conceptual and methodological (...) questions in the social sciences and illustrates how these shape the practice of research, the interpretation of findings and theory formulation in such disciplines as economics, political science and psychology. The book not only offers lucid and incisive coverage of the philosophy of the social sciences, but also extends the major debates and considers the latest directions in this growing area of philosophical interest. Robert C. Bishop's cogent and rigorous analysis is supplemented by useful pedagogical features, including key examples from philosophical writing; summaries of core debates; sample questions and exercises; and guides for further reading. (shrink)
The first-ever English translation of one of the most important metaphysical works of the 20th century: "Of Cosmogonic Eros" by the German visionary Ludwig Klages. This monograph is dedicated entirely to an in-depth examination of the mysteries of Eros and the most powerful forms of ecstasy. "Of Cosmogonic Eros" greatly impressed and influenced thinkers and artists like Walter Benjamin and Alfred Kubin but also German esoteric circles and literaries such as the great Hermann Hesse who wrote that in this book (...) “the nearly unutterable has been forged into words”. This first English edition of "Of Cosmogonic Eros" also features a substantial contextualized introduction by Professor Paul Bishop of the University of Glasgow. (shrink)
Erratum to: Echo Calling Narcissus: What Exceeds the Gaze of Clinical Ethics Consultation? Content Type Journal Article Pages 171-171 DOI 10.1007/s10730-010-9132-7 Authors Jeffrey P. Bishop, Saint Louis University Tenet Chair of Health Care Ethics, Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics Salus Center, Room 527, 3545 Lafayette Ave St. Louis MO 63104-1314 USA Joseph B. Fanning, Vanderbilt University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society 2525 West End Ave., 4th Floor, Suite 400 Nashville TN 37203 USA Mark J. Bliton, Vanderbilt (...) University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society 2525 West End Ave., 4th Floor, Suite 400 Nashville TN 37203 USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 22 Journal Issue Volume 22, Number 2. (shrink)
Some have argued that chaos, with its characteristic feature of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, should be sensitive to quantum events (Hobbs 1991; Kellert 1993). The upshot of these arguments is that classical chaos would then be indeterministic, but such a conclusion is dependent on which versions of quantum theory and solutions to the measurement problem are adopted (Bishop and Kronz 1999). In this essay, the relationship between quantum mechanics and sensitive dependence is placed in the general context of (...) nonlinear dynamics and is investigated in detail, revealing further limitations and quali…cations on these sensitive dependence arguments. (shrink)
The discovery of sensitive dependence on initial conditions (SDIC) in nonlinear models runs counter to the textbook vision of CM, a vision guided by an almost exclusive focus on linear systems. Therefore, it is important to clearly distinguish between linear and nonlinear systems along with establishing some basic terminology (§I). The notions of SDIC and chaos also need clarification, since they play crucial roles in sensitive dependence (SD) arguments. This will require some discussion of Lyapunov exponents as well as the (...) relationship between nonlinear dynamics and chaos (§II and Appendix). For the sake of concreteness, it will also be useful to focus on the Laplacean vision for classical particle mechanics (e.g., Bishop 2002b, 2003 and 2005a), particularly the crucial notion of unique evolution (§III). The SD argument can then be stated in a clear form and its defenses, criticisms and limitations assessed in the more general context of nonlinear dynamics (§IV). Concluding remarks follow (§V). (shrink)
A priori knowledge of the way the world works Content Type Journal Article Category Essay Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9631-4 Authors Michael Bishop, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, 156 C Dodd Hall, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
During the last 25 years, researchers studying human reasoning and judgment in what has become known as the “heuristics and biases” tradition have produced an impressive body of experimental work which many have seen as having “bleak implications” for the rationality of ordinary people (Nisbett and Borgida 1975). According to one proponent of this view, when we reason about probability we fall victim to “inevitable illusions” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). Other proponents maintain that the human mind is prone to “systematic deviations from (...) rationality” (Bazerman & Neale 1986) and is “not built to work by the rules of probability” (Gould 1992). It has even been suggested that human beings are “a species that is uniformly probability-blind” (Piattelli-Palmarini 1994). This provocative and pessimistic interpretation of the experimental findings has been challenged from many different directions over the years. One of the most recent and energetic of these challenges has come from the newly emerging field of evolutionary psychology, where it has been argued that it’s singularly implausible to claim that our species would have evolved with no “instinct for probability” and, hence, be “blind to chance” (Pinker 1997, 351). Though evolutionary psychologists concede that it is possible to design experiments that “trick our probability.. (shrink)
This paper examines the historical rise of both cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the do-not-resuscitate order and the wisdom of their continuing status in U.S. hospital practice and policy. The practice of universal presumed consent to CPR and the resulting DNR policy are the products of a particular time and were responses to particular problems. In order to keep the excesses of technology in check, the DNR policies emerged as a response to the in-hospital universal presumed consent to CPR. We live with (...) this historical concretion, which seems to perpetuate a false culture that the patient's wishes must be followed. The authors are critical of the current U.S. climate, where CPR and DNR are viewed as two among a panoply of patient choices, and point to UK practice as an alternative. They conclude that physicians in the United States should radically rethink approaches to CPR and DNR. (shrink)
The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S's belief, B, is justified on the basis of S's knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly (but not perfectly) reliable way of reasoning, R. The (...) generality problem applies to all cases of reflective justification: Given that is the product of a process-token that is an instance of indefinitely many belief-forming process-types (or BFPTs), why is the reliability of R, rather than the reliability of one of the indefinitely many other BFPTs, relevant to B's justificatory status? This form of the generality problem is restricted because it applies only to cases of reflective justification. But unless it is solved, the generality problem haunts all plausible theories of justification, not just reliabilist ones. (shrink)
The role of contingent contexts in formulating relations between properties of systems at different descriptive levels is addressed. Based on the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions for interlevel relations, a comprehensive classification of such relations is proposed, providing a transparent conceptual framework for discussing particular versions of reduction, emergence, and supervenience. One of these versions, contextual emergence, is demonstrated using two physical examples: molecular structure and chirality, and thermal equilibrium and temperature. The concept of stability is emphasized as a (...) basic guiding principle of contextual property emergence. (shrink)
Recent developments in nonlinear dynamics have found wide application in many areas of science from physics to neuroscience. Nonlinear phenomena such as feedback loops, inter-level relations, wholes constraining and modifying the behavior of their parts, and memory effects are interesting candidates for emergence and downward causation. Rayleigh–Bénard convection is an example of a nonlinear system that, I suggest, yields important insights for metaphysics and philosophy of science. In this paper I propose convection as a model for downward causation in classical (...) mechanics, far more robust and less speculative than the examples typically provided in the philosophy of mind literature. Although the physics of Rayleigh–Bénard convection is quite complicated, this model provides a much more realistic and concrete example for examining various assumptions and arguments found in emergence and philosophy of mind debates. After reviewing some key concepts of nonlinear dynamics, complex systems and the basic physics of Rayleigh–Bénard convection, I begin that examination here by (1) assessing a recently proposed definition for emergence and downward causation, (2) discussing some typical objections to downward causation and (3) comparing this model with Sperry’s examples. (shrink)
The "usual story" regarding molecular chemistry is that it is roughly an application of quantum mechanics. That is to say, quantum mechanics supplies everything necessary and sufficient, both ontologically and epistemologically, to reduce molecular chemistry to quantum mechanics. This is a reductive story, to be sure, but a key explanatory element of molecular chemistry, namely molecular structure, is absent from the quantum realm. On the other hand, typical characterizations of emergence, such as the unpredictability or inexplicability of molecular structure based (...) on quantum mechanics, do not characterize the relationship between molecular chemistry and quantum mechanics well either. A different scheme for characterizing reduction and emergence is proposed that accommodates the relationship between quantum mechanics and molecular chemistry and some initial objections to the scheme are considered. (shrink)
The causal argument for physicalism is anayzed and it's key premise--the causal closure of physics--is found wanting. Therefore, a hidden premise must be added to the argument to gain its conclusion, but the hidden premise is indistinguishable from the conclusion of the causal argument. Therefore, it begs the question on physicalism.
Are thought experiments nothing but arguments? I argue that it is not possible to make sense of the historical trajectory of certain thought experiments if one takes them to be arguments. Einstein and Bohr disagreed about the outcome of the clock-in-the-box thought experiment, and so they reconstructed it using different arguments. This is to be expected whenever scientists disagree about a thought experiment's outcome. Since any such episode consists of two arguments but just one thought experiment, the thought experiment cannot (...) be the arguments. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil (LAFE) is bankrupt. We aim to rehabilitate the LAFE, in the form of what we call the Normatively Relativised Logical Argument from Evil (NRLAFE). There are many different versions of a NRLAFE. We aim to show that one version, what we call the ‘right relationship’ NRLAFE, poses a significant threat to personal-omniGod-theism—understood as requiring the belief that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good person who has created our world—because it (...) appeals to value commitments theists themselves are likely to endorse. The ultimate success of this NRLAFE will rest on developing a theological ethics of right relationship that rejects as morally flawed the exercise of omnipotence first to sustain horrors and then to redeem them. Yet a vindicated NRLAFE of this sort need not require atheism, but only rejection of the standard conception of God as a personal omniGod. (shrink)
The fundamental problem on which Ilya Prigogine and the Brussels–Austin Group have focused can be stated briefly as follows. Our observations indicate that there is an arrow of time in our experience of the world (e.g., decay of unstable radioactive atoms like uranium, or the mixing of cream in coffee). Most of the fundamental equations of physics are time reversible, however, presenting an apparent conflict between our theoretical descriptions and experimental observations. Many have thought that the observed arrow of time (...) was either an artifact of our observations or due to very special initial conditions. An alternative approach, followed by the Brussels–Austin Group, is to consider the observed direction of time to be a basic physical phenomenon due to the dynamics of physical systems. This essay focuses mainly on recent developments in the Brussels–Austin Group after the mid-1980s. The fundamental concerns are the same as in their earlier approaches (subdynamics, similarity transformations), but the contemporary approach utilizes rigged Hilbert space (whereas the older approaches used Hilbert space). While the emphasis on nonequilibrium statistical mechanics remains the same, their more recent approach addresses the physical features of large Poincare systems, nonlinear dynamics and the mathematical tools necessary to analyze them. (shrink)
Epistemic responsibility involves at least two central ideas. (V) To be epistemically responsible is to display the virtue(s) epistemic internalists take to be central to justification (e.g., coherence, having good reasons, fitting the evidence). (C) In normal (non-skeptical)circumstances and in thelong run, epistemic responsibility is strongly positively correlated with reliability. Sections 1 and 2 review evidence showing that for a wide range of real-world problems, the most reliable, tractable reasoning strategies audaciously flout the internalist''s epistemic virtues. In Section 3, I (...) argue that these results force us to give up either (V), our current conception of what it is to be epistemically responsible, or (C) the responsibility-reliability connection. I will argue that we should relinquish (V). This is likely to reshape our epistemic practices. It will force us to alter our epistemic judgments about certain instances of reasoning, to endorse some counterintuitive epistemic prescriptions, and to rethink what it is for cognitive agents to be epistemically responsible. (shrink)
Standard Analytic Epistemology (SAE) names a contingently clustered class of methods and theses that have dominated English-speaking epistemology for about the past half-century. The major contemporary theories of SAE include versions of foundationalism (Chisholm 1981, Pollock 1974), coherentism (Bonjour 1985, Lehrer 1974), reliabilism (Dretske 1981, Goldman 1986) and contextualism (DeRose 1995, Lewis 1996). While proponents of SAE don’t agree about how to define naturalized epistemology, most agree that a thoroughgoing naturalism in epistemology can’t work. For the purposes of this paper, (...) we will suppose that a naturalistic theory of epistemology takes as its core, as its starting-point, an empirical theory. The standard argument against naturalistic approaches to epistemology is that empirical theories are essentially descriptive, while epistemology is essentially prescriptive, and a descriptive theory cannot yield normative, evaluative prescriptions. In short, naturalistic theories cannot overcome the is-ought divide. (shrink)
On the assumption that theistic religious commitment takes place in the face of evidential ambiguity, the question arises under what conditions it is permissible to make a doxastic venture beyond oneâs evidence in favour of a religious proposition. In this paper I explore the implications for orthodox theistic commitment of adopting, in answer to that question, a modest, moral coherentist, fideism. This extended Jamesian fideism crucially requires positive ethical evaluation of both the motivation and content of religious doxastic ventures. I (...) suggest that, even though the existence of horrendous evil does not resolve evidential ambiguity in favour of atheism, there are reasonable value commitments that would preclude those who hold them from satisfying extended Jamesian fideist conditions for committing themselves to classical theism. I then begin a discussion of a possible revisionary theistic alternative (in the Christian tradition) which â one might hope â may meet those conditions. An earlier, shorter, version of this paper was delivered as a keynote address at the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
This essay places Foucault's work into a philosophical context, recognizing that Foucault is difficult to place and demonstrates that Foucault remains in the Kantian tradition of philosophy, even if he sits at the margins of that tradition. For Kant, the forms of intuition—space and time—are the a priori conditions of the possibility of human experience and knowledge. For Foucault, the a priori conditions are political space and historical time. Foucault sees political space as central to understanding both the subject and (...) objects of medicine, psychiatry, and the social sciences. Through this analysis one can see that medicine's metaphysics is a metaphysics of efficient causation, where medicine's objects are subjected to mechanisms of efficient control. (shrink)
The paper describes the approach by which ethics are integrated into the undergraduate curriculum at Northern Illinois University''s College of Business. Literature is reviewed to identify conceptual frameworks for, and issues associated with, the teaching of business ethics. From the review, a set of guidelines for teaching ethics is developed and proposed. The objectives and strategies implemented for teaching ethics is discussed. Foundation and follow-up coursework, measurement issues and ancillary programs are also discussed.
The most cursory examination of the history of artificial intelligence highlights numerous egregious claims of its researchers, especially in relation to a populist form of ‘strong’ computationalism which holds that any suitably programmed computer instantiates genuine conscious mental states purely in virtue of carrying out a specific series of computations. The argument presented herein is a simple development of that originally presented in Putnam’s (Representation & Reality, Bradford Books, Cambridge in 1988 ) monograph, “Representation & Reality”, which if correct, has (...) important implications for turing machine functionalism and the prospect of ‘conscious’ machines. In the paper, instead of seeking to develop Putnam’s claim that, “everything implements every finite state automata”, I will try to establish the weaker result that, “everything implements the specific machine Q on a particular input set ( x )”. Then, equating Q ( x ) to any putative AI program, I will show that conceding the ‘strong AI’ thesis for Q (crediting it with mental states and consciousness) opens the door to a vicious form of panpsychism whereby all open systems, (e.g. grass, rocks etc.), must instantiate conscious experience and hence that disembodied minds lurk everywhere. (shrink)
After describing Heidegger's critique of metaphysics as ontotheology, I unpack the metaphysical assumptions of several transhumanist philosophers. I claim that they deploy an ontology of power and that they also deploy a kind of theology, as Heidegger meant it. I also describe the way in which this metaphysics begets its own politics and ethics. In order to transcend the human condition, they must transgress the human.
The flight to reference is a widely-used strategy for resolving philosophical issues. The three steps in a flight to reference argument are: (1) offer a substantive account of the reference relation, (2) argue that a particular expression refers (or does not refer), and (3) draw a philosophical conclusion about something other than reference, like truth or ontology. It is our contention that whenever the flight to reference strategy is invoked, there is a crucial step that is left undefended, and that (...) without a defense of this step, the flight to reference is a fatally flawed strategy; it cannot succeed in resolving philosophical issues. In this paper we begin by setting out the flight to reference strategy and explaining what is wrong with arguments that invoke the strategy. We then illustrate the problem by considering arguments for and against eliminative materialism. In the final section we argue that much the same problem undermines Philip Kitcher's attempt to defend scientific realism. (shrink)
The big news about chaos is supposed to be that the smallest of changes in a system can result in very large differences in that system's behavior. The so-called butterfly effect has become one of the most popular images of chaos. The idea is that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Argentina could cause a tornado in Texas three weeks later. By contrast, in an identical copy of the world sans the Argentinian butterfly, no such storm would have arisen (...) in Texas. The mathematical version of this property is known as sensitive dependence. However, it turns out that sensitive dependence is somewhat old news, so some of the implications flowing from it are perhaps not such “big news” after all. Still, chaos studies have highlighted these implications in fresh ways and led to thinking about other implications as well. -/- In addition to exhibiting sensitive dependence, chaotic systems possess two other properties: they are deterministic and nonlinear (Smith 2007). This entry discusses systems exhibiting these three properties and what their philosophical implications might be for theories and theoretical understanding, confirmation, explanation, realism, determinism, free will and consciousness, and human and divine action. (shrink)
Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it arrives at universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces warfare; humanity installs each of its violences in a system of rules and thus proceeds from domination to domination. (Foucault, 1984, 85)In this essay, I take a note from Michel Foucault regarding the notion of biopolitics. For Foucault, biopolitics has both repressive and constitutive properties. Foucault's claim is that with the rise of modern government, the state became exceedingly (...) concerned about the body politic, the bodies that make up the polis, including the health of those bodies. However, Giorgio Agamben claims that Foucault and all western political philosophy misses the relationship between power and Sovereignty, with disastrous results and totalizing tendencies. I explore the case of Terri Schiavo claiming that the social conservatives have attempted to politicize bare life in its legal maneuverings, but I also show how the social liberals open an uncontrollable space between life and death. Both the left and the right miss the aporia at the heart of western political philosophy, and bioethics is complicit in the totalizing effects of contemporary medicine. (shrink)
In the mid-1970s, the biomedical model of medicine gave way to the biopsychosocial model of medicine; it was billed as a more comprehensive and compassionate model of medicine. After more than a century of disentangling medicine from religion, the medicine and spirituality movement is attempting to bring religion and spirituality back into medicine. It is doing so under a biopsychosociospiritual model. I unpack one model for allowing religion back into medicine called the RCOPE. RCOPE is an instrument designed to categorize (...) religion and spirituality as psychological coping mechanisms. I explore how such instruments are related to the history of statistical measurement and demonstrate the political impetus that governs such enterprises. The biopsychosociospiritual medicine is billed as a more holistic and comprehensive model. This new model of medicine offers total care. However, I demonstrate how this total care becomes totalizing, indeed totalitarian, admitting religion and spirituality back into the fold of medicine under a new secularized medical control. (shrink)
Adam Smith is usually thought to argue that the result of everyone pursuing their own interests will be the maximization of the interests of society. The invisible hand of the free market will transform the individual''s pursuit of gain into the general utility of society. This is the invisible hand argument.Many people, although Smith did not, draw a moral corollary from this argument, and use it to defend the moral acceptability of pursuing one''s own self-interest.
A ‘doxastic venture’ model of faith – according to which having faith involves believing beyond what is rationally justifiable – can be defended only on condition that such venturesome believing is both possible and ethically acceptable. I show how a development of the position argued by William James in ‘The will to believe’ can succeed in meeting these conditions. A Jamesian defence of doxastic venture is, however, open to the objection that decision theory teaches us that there can be no (...) circumstances in which ‘the evidence does not decide’, so a fortiori no occasion to permit belief on a ‘passional’ basis. I argue that this objection does not apply to certain ‘framework principles’ such as those presupposed by the framework of theistic belief and practice, and that there are good grounds for preferring a doxastic venture model of faith over a more austere alternative (advocated by Richard Swinburne) according to which reasonable faith cannot be more than the commitment to act on the assumption, with any (non-negligible) degree of confidence, that God exists and is to be trusted. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to bring the woefully neglected literature on predictive modeling to bear on some central questions in the philosophy of science. The lesson of this literature is straightforward: For a very wide range of prediction problems, statistical prediction rules (SPRs), often rules that are very easy to implement, make predictions than are as reliable as, and typically more reliable than, human experts. We will argue that the success of SPRs forces us to reconsider our views (...) about what is involved in understanding, explanation, good reasoning, and about how we ought to do philosophy of science. (shrink)
The initial argument presented herein is not significantly original—it is a simple reflection upon a notion of computation originally developed by Putnam and criticised by Chalmers et al. . In what follows, instead of seeking to justify Putnam’s conclusion that every open system implements every Finite State Automaton and hence that psychological states of the brain cannot be functional states of a computer, I will establish the weaker result that, over a finite time window every open system implements the trace (...) of FSA Q, as it executes program on input . If correct the resulting bold philosophical claim is that phenomenal states—such as feelings and visual experiences—can never be understood or explained functionally. (shrink)
Theistic religious believers should be concerned that the God they worship is not an idol. Conceptions of God thus need to be judged according to criteria of religious adequacy that are implicit in the ‘God-role’—that is, the way the concept of God properly functions in the conceptual economy and form of life of theistic believers. I argue that the conception of God as ‘omniGod’—an immaterial personal creator with the omni-properties—may reasonably be judged inadequate, at any rate from the perspective of (...) a relationship ethics based on the Christian revelation that God is Love. I go on to suggest that a conception of God as the power of love within the natural universe might prove more adequate, with God’s role as creator understood in terms of final rather than efficient causation. (shrink)
Scientific realism says of our best scientific theories that (1) most of their important posits exist and (2) most of their central claims are approximately true. Antirealists sometimes offer the pessimistic induction in reply: since (1) and (2) are false about past successful theories, they are probably false about our own best theories too. The contemporary debate about this argument has turned (and become stuck) on the question, Do the central terms of successful scientific theories refer? For example, Larry Laudan (...) offers a list of successful theories that employed central terms that failed to refer, and Philip Kitcher replies with a view about reference in which the central terms of such theories did sometimes refer. This article attempts to break this stalemate by proposing a direct version of the pessimistic induction, one that makes no explicit appeal to a substantive notion or theory of reference. While it is premature to say that this argument succeeds in showing that realism is probably false, the direct pessimistic induction is not subject to any kind of reference-based objection that might cripple a weaker, indirect version of the argument. Any attempt to trounce the direct pessimistic induction with a theory of reference fails. (shrink)
This essay presents complementarity as a novel feature of bioethical pluralism. First introduced by Neils Bohr in conjunction with quantum physics, complementarity in bioethics occurs when different perspectives account for equally important features of a situation but are mutually exclusive. Unlike conventional approaches to bioethical pluralism, which attempt in one fashion or another to isolate and choose between different perspectives, complementarity accepts all perspectives. As a result, complementarity results in a state of holistic, dynamic tension, rather than one that yields (...) singular or final moral judgments. (shrink)