Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
The theme of the third annual Spring workshop of the HUPO-PSI was proteomics and beyond and its underlying goal was to reach beyond the boundaries of the proteomics community to interact with groups working on the similar issues of developing interchange standards and minimal reporting requirements. Significant developments in many of the HUPO-PSI XML interchange formats, minimal reporting requirements and accompanying controlled vocabularies were reported, with many of these now feeding into the broader efforts of the Functional Genomics Experiment data (...) model and Functional Genomics Ontology ontologies. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a concerted and systematic move towards a school-led system of initial teacher training in England. The role of universities, and particularly their part in engaging new teachers with educational theory, has been radically challenged. Only around half of new entrants to the profession now follow university-based training routes. These seismic changes to teacher education have been driven through with a minimum of formal consultation or public debate. In this urgent and compelling pamphlet, Janet Orchard and (...) Christopher Winch argue for a conception of teachers as professionals who require a deep understanding of the conceptual, empirical and normative dimensions of educational practice. They explain why university education departments are better placed than schools to help beginning teachers acquire that understanding. And they propose a significant expansion of initial teacher education, with full licensure contingent on completion of both a preliminary teaching qualification and a higher grade apprenticeship in the first two years of employment. Teachers need educational theory because they must understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, and must be able to think intelligently about how to do it better. At present, universities have the capacity and the expertise to meet this need. But they may not have it for much longer if the shift to school-based teacher education continues unabated. (shrink)
Conceptions of teaching quality and teacher accountability, and the values and assumptions that underpin them, are relatively under-examined by policy makers. We suggest ways in which philosophers might address this deficit, with reference to policy concerns found in the United Kingdom (UK). Further philosophical questions are generated by this process of reflection and we offer a partial analysis of those we judge to be of particular significance. While optimistic generally, we identify three challenges to asserting a role for philosophical analysis (...) in policy, practice and research concerned with teacher education, and urge philosophers of education to engage in constructive dialogue with other critical and reflective thinkers in the field of education. (shrink)
Sandra Harding’s Objectivity and Diversity deals with the epistemic and political limitations of a conception of scientific objectivity that, according to the author, is still in force in our societies. However, in this conception of objectivity, diversity (e.g., of individuals and communities of knowledge, but also, and especially, agendas, models of participation and even styles of reasoning in decision making) still plays a limited and undeserved role.
In Unsimple truths, Sandra D. Mitchell examines the historical context of current scientific practices and elaborates the challenges complexity has since posed to status quo science and policymaking. Mitchell criticizes models of science inspired by Newtonian physics and argues for a pragmatistic, anti-universalist approach to science. In this review, I focus on what I find to be the most important point of the book, Mitchell’s argument for the conceptual independence of compositional materialism and descriptive fundamentalism. Along the way, I (...) provide a description of Mitchell’s overall project and a road map of the book. (shrink)
Although intersectionality has been widely disseminated across the disciplines as a tool to center women of color's developed perspectives on social reality, it has been notably absent in the scholarship of feminist philosophy and philosophy of race. I first examine the causes and processes of the exclusions of women of color feminist thought more generally, and of intersectionality in particular. Then, focusing attention on Black feminisms, I read Sandra Jackson-Opoku's 1997 novel, The River Where Blood Is Born, with and (...) against Paget Henry's Africana ethnophilosophy. I model an interdisciplinary, intersectional approach to Henry's ethnophilosophy, broadening its philosophical scope by historicizing the liminality that characterizes the realities of many diasporic Black women. I also develop an interpretation of the female protagonists to suggest how many Black women within different historical contexts develop practices to recover African symbolic and discursive registers as a means to claim their subjectivities. Additionally, I challenge Henry's teleological explanation for an increasingly secular Africana philosophical identity. (shrink)
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after (...) first trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)
Angels of Power, by Australian lesbian playwright Sandra Shotlander, illustrates political strategies described by American lesbian philosopher Jeffner Allen. In the play three female members of Australian parliament align to force regulation of new reproductive technologies. Using essentialist, materialist, liberal, and radical feminist arguments, the characters practice sinuous strategies through loading and layering female signs (intertextuality) in order to eradicate patriarchal signification and reenact a contemporary version of ancient Amazons taking over the Acropolis.
Until recently, I held several informed assumptions about sexuality in the ancient world: that without exception the ancient Greeks and Romans did not define categories of sexual activity by the sex of the object of desire ; that female homoerotic activity occupied roughly the same space of social value in ancient Greece as in ancient Rome; that in so far as it could be discerned, female homoerotic activity was depicted in Greece and Rome according to the male pederastic model; that (...) no significant discourse existed about a form of female homoeroticism that was outside of the asymmetric norm defined by such a model; that in keeping with the male pederastic model, women who were sexually attracted to other women were figured as gender deviants, and particularly as being masculine; and that such women were regularly figured as having monstrously large clitorises which were thoughtâfantasticallyâto mimic an erect phallus. Thanks to Sandra Boehringerâs incisive study, I now believe every one of these assumptions to be wrong. (shrink)