The field of medicine provides an important window through which to examine the encounters between religion and science, and between modernity and tradition. While both religion and science consider health to be a ‘good’ that is to be preserved, and promoted, religious and science-based teachings may differ in their conception of what constitutes good health, and how that health is to be achieved. This paper analyzes the way the Islamic ethico-legal tradition assesses the permissibility of using vaccines that contain porcine-derived (...) components by referencing opinions of several Islamic authorities. In the Islamic ethico-legal tradition controversy surrounds the use of proteins from an animal (pig) that is considered to be impure by Islamic law. As we discuss the Islamic ethico-legal constructs used to argue for or against the use of porcine-based vaccines we will call attention to areas where modern medical data may make the arguments more precise. By highlighting areas where science can buttress and clarify the ethico-legal arguments we hope to spur an enhanced applied Islamic bioethics discourse where religious scholars and medical experts use modern science in a way that remains faithful to the epistemology of Islamic ethics to clarify what Islam requires of Muslim patients and healthcare workers. (shrink)
During human evolutionary history, there were “trade-offs” between expending time and energy on child-rearing and mating, so both men and women evolved conditional mating strategies guided by cues signaling the circumstances. Many short-term matings might be successful for some men; others might try to find and keep a single mate, investing their effort in rearing her offspring. Recent evidence suggests that men with features signaling genetic benefits to offspring should be preferred by women as short-term mates, but there are trade-offs (...) between a mate's genetic fitness and his willingness to help in child-rearing. It is these circumstances and the cues that signal them that underlie the variation in short- and long-term mating strategies between and within the sexes. Key Words: conditional strategies; evolutionary psychology; fluctuating asymmetry; mating; reproductive strategies; sexual selection. (shrink)
The issue of whether or not there are visual arguments has been an issue in informal logic and argumentation theory at least since 1996. In recent years, books, sections of prominent conferences and special journals issues have been devoted to it, thus significantly raising the profile of the debate. In this paper I will attempt to show how the views of the later Wittgenstein, particularly his views on images and the no- tion of “picturing”, can be brought to bear on (...) the question of whether there are such things as “purely visual” arguments. I shall draw on Wittgenstein’s remarks in the Blue and Brown Books and in Philosophical Investigations in order to argue that al- though visual images may occur as elements of argumentation, broadly conceived, it is a mistake to think that there are purely visual arguments, in the sense of illative moves from premises to conclusions that are conveyed by images alone, without the support or framing of words. (shrink)
Since the seventeenth century, our understanding of the natural world has been one of phenomena that behave in accordance with natural laws. While other elements of the early modern scientific worldview may be rejected or at least held in question—the metaphor of the world as a great machine, the narrowly mechanist assumption that all physical interactions must be contact interactions, the idea that matter might actually be obeying rules laid down by its Divine Author – the notion of natural law (...) has continued to play a pivotal role in actual scientific practice, in our philosophical interpretations of science, and in their its metaphysical implications. (shrink)
In her 2007 paper, “Argument Has No Function” Jean Goodwin takes exception with what she calls the “explicit function claims”, arguing that not only are function-based accounts of argumentation insufficiently motivated, but they fail to ground claims to normativity. In this paper I stake out the beginnings of a functionalist answer to Goodwin.
In this paper I begin by examining Fogelin’s account of deep disagreement. My contention is that this account is so deeply flawed as to cast doubt on the possibility that such deep disagreements actually happen. Nevertheless, I contend that the notion of deep disagreement itself is a useful theoretical foil for thinking about argumentation. The second part of this paper makes this case by showing how thinking about deep disagreements from the perspective of rhetoric, Walton-style argumentation theory, computation, and normative (...) pragmatics can all yield insights that are useful no matter what one’s orientation within the study of argument. Thus, I conclude that deep disagreement –even if it were to turn out that there are no real-world occurrences of it to which we can point–is useful for theorists of argumentation. In this wise, deep disagreement poses a theoretical challenge for argumentation theory not unlike that posed by radical skepticism for traditional epistemology. (shrink)
Sexual selection processes have received much attention in recent years, attention reflected in interest in human mate preferences. Among these mate preferences are preferences for physical attractiveness. Preferences in and of themselves, however, do not fully explain the nature of the relationships that individuals attain. A tacit negotiation process underlies relationship formation and maintenance. The notion that preferences for physical attractiveness evolved under parasite-driven “good genes” sexual selection leads to predictions about the nature of trade-offs that individuals make between mates’ (...) physical attractiveness and investment potential. These predictions and relevant data are explored, with a primary emphasis on women’s preferences for men’s qualities. In addition, further implications of trade-offs are examined, most notably (a) the impact of environmental variations on the nature of mating and (b) some effects of trade-offs on infidelity and male attempts to control women. (shrink)
1 Adaptationism is a research strategy that seeks to identify adaptations and the specific selective forces that drove their evolution in past environments. Since the mid-1970s, paleontologist Stephen J. Gould and geneticist Richard Lewontin have been critical of adaptationism, especially as applied toward understanding human behavior and cognition. Perhaps the most prominent criticism they made was that adaptationist explanations were analogous to Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. Since storytelling is an inherent part of science, the criticism refers to the acceptance (...) of stories without sufficient empirical evidence. In particular, Gould, Lewontin, and their colleagues argue that adaptationists often use inappropriate evidentiary standards for identifying adaptations and their functions, and that they often fail to consider alternative hypotheses to adaptation. Playing prominently in both of these criticisms are the concepts of constraint, spandrel, and exaptation. In this article we discuss the standards of evidence that could be used to identify adaptations and when and how they may be appropriately used. Moreover, building an empirical case that certain features of a trait are best explained by exaptation, spandrel, or constraint requires demonstrating that the trait's features cannot be better accounted for by adaptationist hypotheses. Thus, we argue that the testing of alternatives requires the consideration, testing, and systematic rejection of adaptationist hypotheses. Where possible, we illustrate our points with examples taken from human behavior and cognition. Key Words: adaptation; ADHD; brain allometry; constraint; epistemology; evolutionary psychology; exaptation; female orgasm ; optimization; special design; waist-hip ratio. Footnotes1 The authors contributed equally to this paper. Order of authorship was determined alphabetically. Correspondence may be addressed to any of the authors. (shrink)
Wood, Kressel, Joshi, and Louie meta-analyzed studies examining changes in women’s mate preferences as a function of cycle phase, and claimed to find little evidence for shifts, contrary to Gildersleeve, Haselton, and Fales’s meta-analysis. This commentary concerns specific speculations Wood et al. made about particular researchers analyzing data multiple ways, capitalizing on chance and thereby inflating the Type I error rate. In so doing, Wood et al. misconstrued a key article explaining the high fertility period, misrepresented studies, and presented no (...) supportive evidence. The corrosive effects of inappropriate research practices on scientific literatures are concerning. So too are unsubstantiated speculations of them. (shrink)
It is hypothesized that human faces judged to be attractive by people possess two features—averageness and symmetry—that promoted adaptive mate selection in human evolutionary history by way of production of offspring with parasite resistance. Facial composites made by combining individual faces are judged to be attractive, and more attractive than the majority of individual faces. The composites possess both symmetry and averageness of features. Facial averageness may reflect high individual protein heterozygosity and thus an array of proteins to which parasites (...) must adapt. Heterozygosity may be an important defense of long-lived hosts against parasites when it occurs in portions of the genome that do not code for the essential features of complex adaptations. In this case heterozygosity can create a hostile microenvironment for parasites without disrupting adaptation. Facial bilateral symmetry is hypothesized to affect positive beauty judgments because symmetry is a certification of overall phenotypic quality and developmental health, which may be importantly influenced by parasites. Certain secondary sexual traits are influenced by testosterone, a hormone that reduces immunocompetence. Symmetry and size of the secondary sexual traits of the face (e.g., cheek bones) are expected to correlate positively and advertise immunocompetence honestly and therefore to affect positive beauty judgments. Facial attractiveness is predicted to correlate with attractive, nonfacial secondary sexual traits; other predictions from the view that parasite-driven selection led to the evolution of psychological adaptations of human beauty perception are discussed. The view that human physical attractiveness and judgments about human physical attractiveness evolved in the context of parasite-driven selection leads to the hypothesis that both adults and children have a species-typical adaptation to the problem of identifying and favoring healthy individuals and avoiding parasite-susceptible individuals. It is proposed that this adaptation guides human decisions about nepotism and reciprocity in relation to physical attractiveness. (shrink)
For better or for worse, I find myself in the company of the `misers' of Galen Strawson's portrayal who, in response to the question, `Is there such a thing as the self?' rejoin: `Well, there is something of which the sense of the self is an accurate representation, but it does not follow that there is any such thing as the self' . Far from representing a form of `metaphysical excess' , the rejoinder seems faithfully and reliably phenomenological. We need (...) not assume that reflection is mere fabrication, or that it crucially distorts the thematic posit that funds our sense of self. The focus, recognition and contextual sensitivity that condition perception may, and admittedly do, limit and modify the activity of reflection as well. Observation disturbs the observed. And likewise, reflection may well compromise its object. But the product of this `compromise', the object as disturbed, the reflective posit as distorted, is nonetheless `there', for reflection. If the way a given object appears to us is a function of our perspectival insertion into the visible world, we need not deny that the world still appears to us in just this way. And analogously, our `sense of self' may represent -- in fact, faithfully represent -- the resultant `distortion', but it would be a breach of logic to infer from this that our `sense of self' therefore represents a self untouched by distortion, an independent, `undistorted' self. Indeed, if reflection distorts, we would have no reflective access to an undistorted self, and would thus have no phenomenological warrant for assuming its existence. Pace Strawson, however, the `something' represented by our `sense of self' is not some thing. It is not `as much a thing or object as any . . . grain of salt' , but rather, as we shall see, an atmospheric haze, or at best, an adventitious `sheen'. (shrink)
How do women's sexual interests change across their ovulatory cycles? This question is one of the most enduring within the human evolutionary behavioral sciences. Yet definitive, agreed-upon answers remain elusive. One empirical pattern appears to be robust: Women experience greater levels of sexual desire and interest when conceptive during their cycles. But this pattern is not straightforward or self-explanatory. We lay out multiple possible, broad explanations for it. Based on selectionist reasoning, we argue that the conditions that give rise to (...) sexual interests during conceptive and non-conceptive phases are likely to differ. Because conceptive and non-conceptive sex have distinct functions, the sexual interests during conceptive and non-conceptive phases are likely to have different strategic ends. We discuss provisional evidence consistent with this perspective. But the exact nature of women's dual sexuality, if it exists, remains unclear. Additional empirical research is needed. But perhaps more crucially, this topic demands additional theory that fruitfully guides and interprets future empirical research. (shrink)
Geoff Goddu's 2010 paper "Is 'Argument' subject to the process/product ambiguity?" and Paul Simard-Smith and Andrei Moldovan's 2011 paper “Arguments as abstract objects” have revived the dialogue about what might be called the "metaphysics of argument". Both papers are important. Both also seem to me to be open to significant objections. In this paper I will lay out some of these objections and give, in rough outline, the kernel of an alternative approach.
In this dissertation I argue that the concept of a moral right is best explicated by means of the concept of morally legitimate coercion. This thesis, which I call the enforceability thesis, says that to have a right is to have a claim such that one would be justified in pursuing a course of action up to and including harm should the claim be dissatisfied. I contend that this thesis, if it is true, explains much about our intuitions concerning moral (...) rights, accounts for the historical importance of rights-talk in the context of events such as revolutions and political reforms, and explains why rights are a necessary part of the moral vocabulary. If rights do not set out conditions under which coercion is morally appropriate, then they do nothing that other moral concepts could not do. ;Drawing on the work of H. L. A. Hart, John Rawls, and others, I argue that the philosophical strength and practical efficacy of rights on the enforceability thesis is best realized when rights are treated as action-guiding principles set within a framework of moral decision making under reflective equilibrium. Using the process of reflective equilibrium as a backdrop, I argue that rights can have sufficient normative force to play an important role in moral and political theory without being either impracticably stringent or subject to so many exceptions that they lose their efficacy. ;With this background in place I next set out and argue for a view of human rights which, because human rights turn out to be best understood as rights to primary goods, I call the theory of primary rights. The account I give of primary rights emphasizes their justificatory place in arguments for coercion, their importance to the moral integrity of the individual, and the practical applicability of the overarching theory of rights developed in this dissertation. (shrink)
The foundational theme of the target article is that processes of self-deception occur in a functional context: a social one through which self-deceptive processes enhance fitness by affecting an actor's performances. One essential component of this context not addressed explicitly is that audiences should have been selected to resist, where possible, enhancements falsely bolstered by self-deception. Theoretical implications follow.
This response reinforces several major themes in our target article: (a) the importance of sex-specific, within-sex variation in mating tactics; (b) the relevance of optimality thinking to understanding that variation; (c) the significance of special design for reconstructing evolutionary history; (d) the replicated findings that women's mating preferences vary across their menstrual cycle in ways revealing special design; and (e) the importance of applying market phenomena to understand the complex dynamics of mating. We also elaborate on three points: (1) Men (...) who have indicators of genetic fitness may provide more direct benefits when female demand for extra-pair and short-term sex is very low; (2) both men and women track ecological cues to make mating decisions; and (3) more research on female orgasm is needed. (shrink)