This collection of essays provides a reassessment of the question of sexual difference, taking into account important shifts in feminist thought, post-humanist theories, and queer studies. The contributors offer new and refreshing insights into the complex question of sexual difference from a post-feminist perspective, and how it is reformulated in various related areas of study, such as ontology, epistemology, metaphysics, biology, technology, and mass-media.
Farmers' relationship with nature isdetermined by the significance of agriculturefor human beings. When agriculture is definedas human activity that uses renewable naturalresources and aims to produce usable food andfiber products, agriculture is explicitlydefined as production. Farmers' relationshipwith nature is based on the principle ofproduction. This article discusses thecontradiction between the peasant values ofprotection of nature that many farmers inFinland still have and the environmental harmtheir production-oriented farming style causes.When farmers interpret their farming practicesas harmonious co-operation with nature, it isdifficult for (...) them to see the polluting effectsof their work. Paul B. Thompson's suggestionthat three religious–philosophical doctrines have made it easy for farmers toadopt productionist farming strategy is used asa framework to interpret farmers' narrativesconcerning their relationship with nature. Theresearch is qualitative and biographical. Thedata include life stories and biographicaltexts farmers wrote for a competition in1997. (shrink)
Social and behavioral scientists — that is, students of human nature — nowadays hardly ever use the term ‘human nature’. This reticence reflects both a becoming modesty about the aims of their disciplines and a healthy skepticism about whether there is any one thing really worthy of the label ‘human nature’. For some feature of humankind to be identified as accounting for our ‘nature’, it would have to reflect some property both distinctive of our species and systematically influential enough to (...) explain some very important aspect of our behavior. Compare: molecular structure gives the essence or the nature of water just because it explains most of its salient properties. Few students of the human sciences currently hold that there is just one or a small number of such features that can explain our actions and/or our institutions. And even among those who do, there is reluctance to label their theories as claims about ‘human nature’. Among anthropologists and sociologists, the label seems too universal and indiscriminant to be useful. The idea that there is a single underlying character that might explain similarities threatens the differences among people and cultures that these social scientists seek to uncover. Even economists, who have explicitly attempted to parlay rational choice theory into an account of all human behavior, do not claim that the maximization of transitive preferences is ‘human nature’. I think part of the reason that social scientists are reluctant to use ‘human nature’ is that the term has traditionally labeled a theory with normative implications as well as descriptive ones. (shrink)
This article studies argumentation for acceptability of corporate environmental actions in corporate environmental statements, with emphasis on stakeholder relations and environmental values. Stakeholder theory is commonly taken as the basis for corporate environmental management, and rhetoric typical of the stakeholder approach dominates the field. Although environmental issues are strongly charged with values, the dominant stakeholder approach does not stress the value dimension. The data of the study consists of environmental statements by Finnish forerunning business corporations in the forefront of corporate (...) environmental responsibility. The results of the study indicate that the statements argue for the acceptability of corporate environmental actions through three power-related rhetorical forms that are competing ways to produce acceptability in the data: dominance, subordination and equality, and joint action. Each rhetorical form describes a power-based relationship between stakeholders and the corporation and leans on a specific value type producing legitimacy for that rhetoric form. (shrink)
Farmers' relationship with nature isdetermined by the significance of agriculturefor human beings. When agriculture is definedas human activity that uses renewable naturalresources and aims to produce usable food andfiber products, agriculture is explicitlydefined as production. Farmers' relationshipwith nature is based on the principle ofproduction. This article discusses thecontradiction between the peasant values ofprotection of nature that many farmers inFinland still have and the environmental harmtheir production-oriented farming style causes.When farmers interpret their farming practicesas harmonious co-operation with nature, it isdifficult for (...) them to see the polluting effectsof their work. Paul B. Thompson's suggestionthat three religious–philosophical doctrines(hard work, the doctrine of grace, and the mythof garden) have made it easy for farmers toadopt productionist farming strategy is used asa framework to interpret farmers' narrativesconcerning their relationship with nature. Theresearch is qualitative and biographical. Thedata include life stories and biographicaltexts farmers wrote for a competition in1997. (shrink)
Since the 19th century, we have come to think of disease in terms of specific entities—entities defined and legitimated in terms of characteristic somatic mechanisms. Since the last third of that century, we have expanded would-be disease categories to include an ever-broader variety of emotional pain, idiosyncrasy, and culturally unsettling behaviors. Psychiatry has been the residuary legatee of these developments, developments that have always been contested at the ever-shifting boundary between disease and deviance, feeling and symptom, the random and the (...) determined, the stigmatized and the value-free. Even in our era of reductionist hopes, psychopharmaceutical practice, and corporate strategies, the legitimacy of many putative disease categories will remain contested.The use of the specific disease entity model will always be a reductionist means to achieve necessarily holistic ends, both in terms of cultural norms and the needs of suffering individuals. Bureaucratic rigidities and stake- holder conflicts structure and intensify such boundary conflicts, as do the interests and activism of an interested lay public. (shrink)
The article compares two distinctly modern dietary movements of the 20th century: the living food diet and veganism. It shows that, although food is one of the principal areas where nature and culture converge, in modern society eating is no longer a mere problem of classification ; it has also become the object of strong emotional and moral investments. Both living foodism and veganism emphasize the importance of ‘natural’ foods, yet both are very much products of modern individualistic culture. Moreover, (...) both diets involve rather extreme forms of denial that can make everyday life difficult, even though the two stem from rather different motives. The data on living foodism is based on face-to-face interviews and a postal questionnaire, both conducted in Finland in 2006, whereas the data on veganism is based on existing Finnish theses, interviews from which are used selectively in this paper. The differences and the similarities between the two diets are analysed in light of the motives for following the diet, the assumptions concerning the purity and the impurity of the food, and the attitudes towards prohibitions and rules. The article shows that the stronger the role of community in the dietary movement, the more pronounced is the moral aspect of the diet and the stricter the rules defining the boundaries of the forbidden. (shrink)
Is a government required or permitted to redistribute the gains and losses that differences in biological endowments generate? In particular, does the fact that individuals possess different biological endowments lead to unfair advantages within a market economy? These are questions on which some people are apt to have strong intuitions and ready arguments. Egalitarians may say yes and argue that as unearned, undeserved advantages and disadvantages, biological endowments are never fair, and that the market simply exacerbates these inequities. Libertarians may (...) say no, holding that the possession of such endowments deprives no one of an entitlement and that any system but a market would deprive agents of the rights to their endowments. Biological endowments may well lead to advantages or disadvantages on their view, but not to unfair ones. I do not have strong intuitions about answers to these questions, in part because I believe that they are questions of great difficulty. To begin, alternative answers rest on substantial assumptions in moral philosophy that seem insufficiently grounded. Moreover, the questions involve several problematical assumptions about the nature of biological endowments. Finally, I find the questions to be academic, in the pejorative sense of this term. For aside from a number of highly debilitating endowments, the overall moral significance of differences between people seems so small, so I interdependent and so hard to measure, that these differences really will 1 not enter into practical redistributive calculations, even if it is theoretically i permissible that they do so. Before turning to a detailed discussion of biological endowments and their moral significance, I sketch my doubts about the fundamental moral theories that dictate either the impermissibility or the obligation to compensate for different biological endowments. (shrink)
In the Museum of Science and Technology in San Jose, California, there is a display dedicated to advances in biotechnology. Most prominent in the display is a double helix of telephone books stacked in two staggered spirals from the floor to the ceiling twenty-five feet above. The books are said to represent the current state of our knowledge of the eukaryotic genome: the primary sequences of DNA polynucleotides for the gene products which have been discovered so far in the twenty (...) years since cloning and sequencing the genome became possible. (shrink)
Rosenberg’s general argumentative strategy in favour of panpsychism is an extension of a traditional pattern. Although his argument is complex and intricate, I think a model that is historically significant and fundamentally similar to the position Rosenberg advances might help us understand the case for panpsychism. Thus I want to begin by considering a Leibnizian argument for panpsychism.
Weintraub is not really interested in whether economics is “science” or not. “Economists are not so unsophisticated as to think that calling economics a ‘science’ says anything about what economists do or should do”. But can it really be a matter of indifference to him whether the subject has the character of chemistry as opposed to literary criticism?
The F-twist is giving way to the methodology of scientific research programs. Milton Friedman's “Methodology for Economics” is being supplanted as the orthodox rationale for neoclassical economics by Imre Lakatos' account of scientific respectability. Friedman's instrumentalist thesis that theories are to be judged by the confirmation of their consequences and not the realism of their assumptions has long been widely endorsed by economists, under Paul Samuelson's catchy rubric “the F-twist.” It retains its popularity among economists who want no truck with (...) methodology, but among the increasing number of able economists who are writing on methodology the F-twist has been surrendered, not so much because these writers have decided it is false, as because something better has finally come along. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist (...) views of biology. The result is a vindication of reductionism, but one that is unexpectedly hollow. For it leaves the exponents of the autonomy of biology from physical science with as much as their view of biology really requires - and rather more than the reductionist might comfortably concede. Professor Rosenberg shows how the problems of the philosophy of biology are interconnected and how their solutions are interdependent, However, this book focuses more on the direct concerns of biologists, rather than the traditional agenda of philosophers' problems about biology. This departure from earlier books on the subject results both in greater understanding and relevance of the philosophy of science to biology as a whole. (shrink)
Many realists have maintained that the success of scientific theories can be explained only if they may be regarded as approximately true. Laurens Laudan has in turn contended that a necessary condition for a theory's being approximately true is that its central terms refer, and since many successful theories of the past have employed central terms which we now understand to be non-referential, realism cannot explain their success. The present paper argues that a realist can adopt a view of reference (...) according to which a theory might plausibly be said to be approximately true even though its central terms do not refer, or alternatively, he may construe reference in such a way as to assign reference to a range of successful older theories which includes Laudan's purported counterexamples. (shrink)
This paper is an explication and critique of a new theory of causation found in part II of Gregg Rosenberg's _A Place for Consciousness._ According to Rosenberg's Theory of Causal significance, causation constrains indeterminate possibilities, and according to his Carrier Theory, physical properties are dispositions which have phenomenal properties as their causal bases. This author finds Rosenberg's metaphysics excessively speculative, with disappointing implications for the place of consciousness in the natural world.
We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...) of the theory as one about populations exclusively. (shrink)
In this article, we analyse the discursive construction of business–society relations in Finnish businesses’ social and environmental responsibility reports. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, we examine how these discursive constructions maintain and reproduce various interests and societal conditions as a precondition of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our study contributes to the recent discussion on discursive struggles in business–society relations and the role various interests play in this struggle. We find that not only are power asymmetries between actors veiled through the (...) universalization of interests, but reporting can also be seen as a communicative action that provides a right to define the role of societal actors for the achievement of CSR. We suggest that the discursive struggle over whose interests dominate, and how they dominate, shapes the role of social and environmental reporting as a social practice. (shrink)
The article presents a Gramscian reading of organisational interventions within the framework of developmental work research. Developmental work research is based on Engeström’s concepts of activity system and expansive learning cycle. It utilizes the theoretical vocabulary provided by Marx and Ilyenkov and is situated in the traditions of cultural-historical and critical research. In recent years, critical commentaries have pointed to a need to reconsider questions related to transformation, contradictions and power within the approach. The Gramscian reading here suggests that the (...) concepts of transformism, hegemony and dialectic pedagogy could open potential ways to reformulate certain elements of both the practice of organisational intervention and the theoretical principles of developmental work research. (shrink)
It is widely held that disciplines are autonomous when their taxonomies are “substrate neutral” and when the events, states and processes that realize their descriptive vocabulary are heterogeneous. This will be particularly true in the case of disciplines whose taxonomy consists largely in terms that individuate by function. Having concluded that the multiple realization of functional kinds is far less widespread than assumed or argued for, Shapiro cannot avail himself of the argument for the autonomy of the special sciences which (...) relies on multiple realization. This makes urgent the question of whether we must “now give up the idea that functionalist taxonomies have any scientific value?” [p. 650]. He acknowledges that we must either deny that the special sciences are autonomous, because higher level kinds have only a single realization and can thus be reduced, or else we must deny that there are empirical laws in the special sciences. “In other words, either special sciences have no ontological independence from lower level sciences or, worse, they have no empirical laws, which is to say that they are not empirical sciences at all. [p. 650]” Shapiro’s reductionist/eliminativist dilemma for the special sciences is unreal. For he has not canvassed the most important source of multiple realization in nature, and this source obviates his dilemma for most of the special sciences. Moreover, the route he offers between the horns of his dilemma leads pretty directly to impalement on its eliminativist horn. Or so I shall try to show in this comment. (shrink)
Do the sciences aim to uncover the structure of nature, or are they ultimately a practical means of controlling our environment? In Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science, Alexander Rosenberg argues that while physics and chemistry can develop laws that reveal the structure of natural phenomena, biology is fated to be a practical, instrumental discipline. Because of the complexity produced by natural selection, and because of the limits on human cognition, scientists are prevented from uncovering the basic structure (...) of biological phenomena. Consequently, biology and all of the disciplines that rest upon it--psychology and the other human sciences--must aim at most to provide practical tools for coping with the natural world rather than a complete theoretical understanding of it. (shrink)
Rosenberg applies current thinking in philosophy of science to neoclassical economics in order to assess its claims to scientific standing. Although philosophers have used history and psychology as paradigms for the examination of social science, there is good reason to believe that economics is a more appropriate subject for analysis: it is the most systematized and quantified of the social sciences; its practitioners have reached a measure of consensus on important aspects of their subject; and it encompasses a large (...) number of apparently law-like propositions. (shrink)
What place does consciousness have in the natural world? If we reject materialism, could there be a credible alternative? In one classic example, philosophers ask whether we can ever know what is it is like for bats to sense the world using sonar. It seems obvious to many that any amount of information about a bat's physical structure and information processing leaves us guessing about the central questions concerning the character of its experience. A Place for Consciousness begins with reflections (...) on the existence of this gap. Is it just a psychological shortcoming in our merely human understanding of the physical world? Is it a trivial consequence of the simple fact that we just cannot be bats? Or does it mean there really are facts about consciousness over and above the physical facts? If so, what does consciousness do? Why does it exist? Rosenberg sorts out these problems, especially those centering on the causal role of consciousness. He introduces a new paradigm called Liberal Naturalism for thinking about what causation is, about the natural world, and about how to create a detailed model to go along with the new paradigm. Arguing that experience is part of the categorical foundations of causality, he shows that within this new paradigm there is a place for something essentially like consciousness in all its traditional mysterious respects. A striking feature of Liberal Naturalism is that its central tenets are motivated independently of the mind-body problem, by analyzing causation itself. Because of this approach, when consciousness shows up in the picture it is not introduced in an ad hoc way, and its most puzzling features can be explained from first principles. Ultimately, Rosenberg's final solution gives consciousness a causally important role without supposing either that it is physical or that it interacts with the physical. (shrink)
Economics today cannot predict the likely outcome of specific events any better than it could in the time of Adam Smith. This is Alexander Rosenberg's controversial challenge to the scientific status of economics. Rosenberg explains that the defining characteristic of any science is predictive improvability--the capacity to create more precise forecasts by evaluating the success of earlier predictions--and he forcefully argues that because economics has not been able to increase its predictive power for over two centuries, it is (...) not a science. (shrink)
This letter addresses the editorial decision to publish the article, “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry” (Cofnas, 2020). Our letter points out several critical problems with Cofnas's article, which we believe should have either disqualified the manuscript upon submission or been addressed during the review process and resulted in substantial revisions.
After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity (...) and wit, Darwinian Reductionism navigates this difficult and seemingly intractable dualism with convincing analysis and timely evidence. In the spirit of the few distinguished biologists who accept reductionism—E. O. Wilson, Francis Crick, Jacques Monod, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins—Rosenberg provides a philosophically sophisticated defense of reductionism and applies it to molecular developmental biology and the theory of natural selection, ultimately proving that the physicalist must also be a reductionist. (shrink)
‘The problem with simulations is that they are doomed to succeed.’ So runs a common criticism of simulations—that they can be used to ‘prove’ anything and are thus of little or no scientific value. While this particular objection represents a minority view, especially among those who work with simulations in a scientific context, it raises a difficult question: what standards should we use to differentiate a simulation that fails from one that succeeds? In this paper we build on a structural (...) analysis of simulation developed in previous work to provide an evaluative account of the variety of ways in which simulations do fail. We expand the structural analysis in terms of the relationship between a simulation and its real-world target emphasizing the important role of aspects intended to correspond and also those specifically intended not to correspond to reality. The result is an outline both of the ways in which simulations can fail and the scientific importance of those various forms of failure. (shrink)
The article discusses how women murderers embedded in the victim-turned-avenger narrative function as vehicles of social criticism in three contemporary Swedish crime novels, Henning Mankell’s The Fifth Woman, Håkan Nesser’s Woman with Birthmark and Fredrik Ekelund’s Nina och sundet [Nina and the Strait]. The murderers’ performances of murder, based on parody and irony, question masculinity and its institutionalized practices. By rendering vulnerable the discourse of hegemonic masculinity, these performances prove their subversiveness and critical potential. At the same time they renew (...) the crime fiction genre and particularly the feminist crime novel in which female agency is identical with the agency of the detective. (shrink)
According to neo-republicans, democracy is morally justified because it is among the prerequisites for freedom as non-domination. The claim that democracy secures freedom as non-domination needs to explain why democratic procedures contribute to non-domination and for whom democracy secures non-domination. This requires an account of why domination is countered by democratic procedures and an account of to whom domination is countered by access to democratic procedures. Neo-republican theory of democracy is based on a detailed discussion of the former but a (...) scant discussion of the latter. We address this lacuna by interpreting the two most influential principles of inclusion, the all-subjected principle and the all-affected principle, in light of neo-republican commitments. The preliminary conclusion is that both principles are able to capture relations of domination between the democratic state and the people controlled by it in the relevant sense. Yet, the state has virtually unlimited powers to control residents, but only limited powers to interfere in the lives of non-residents. Republican aspirations are therefore more in tune with the all-subjected principle according to which only residents in the territory of the state should be granted rights to political participation. (shrink)