In this paper I propose an account of representation for scientific models based on Kendall Walton’s ‘make-believe’ theory of representation in art. I first set out the problem of scientific representation and respond to a recent argument due to Craig Callender and Jonathan Cohen, which aims to show that the problem may be easily dismissed. I then introduce my account of models as props in games of make-believe and show how it offers a solution to the problem. Finally, I demonstrate (...) an important advantage my account has over other theories of scientific representation. All existing theories analyse scientific representation in terms of relations, such as similarity or denotation. By contrast, my account does not take representation in modelling to be essentially relational. For this reason, it can accommodate a group of models often ignored in discussions of scientific representation, namely models which are representational but which represent no actual object. (shrink)
The descriptions and theoretical laws scientists write down when they model a system are often false of any real system. And yet we commonly talk as if there were objects that satisfy the scientists’ assumptions and as if we may learn about their properties. Many attempt to make sense of this by taking the scientists’ descriptions and theoretical laws to define abstract or fictional entities. In this paper, I propose an alternative account of theoretical modelling that draws upon Kendall Walton’s (...) ‘make-believe’ theory of representation in art. I argue that this account allows us to understand theoretical modelling without positing any object of which scientists’ modelling assumptions are true. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of science has seen a number of attempts to understand scientific models by looking to theories of fiction. In previous work, I have offered an account of models that draws on Kendall Walton’s ‘make-believe’ theory of art. According to this account, models function as ‘props’ in games of make-believe, like children’s dolls or toy trucks. In this paper, I assess the make-believe view through an empirical study of molecular models. I suggest that the view gains support when we (...) look at the way that these models are used and the attitude that users take towards them. Users’ interaction with molecular models suggests that they do imagine the models to be molecules, in much the same way that children imagine a doll to be a baby. Furthermore, I argue, users of molecular models imagine themselves viewing and manipulating molecules, just as children playing with a doll might imagine themselves looking at a baby or feeding it. Recognising this ‘participation’ in modelling, I suggest, points towards a new account of how models are used to learn about the world, and helps us to understand the value that scientists sometimes place on three-dimensional, physical models over other forms of representation. (shrink)
Recent work in epistemology and philosophy of science has argued that understanding is an important cognitive state that philosophers should seek to analyse. This paper offers a new perspective on understanding by looking to work in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Understanding is normally taken to be inside the head. I argue that this view is mistaken. Often, understanding is a state that criss-crosses brain, body and world. To support this claim, I draw on extended cognition, a burgeoning framework (...) in cognitive science that stresses the crucial role played by tools, material representations and the wider environment in our cognitive processes. I defend an extended view of understanding against likely objections and argue that it has important consequences for questions concerning the nature of understanding and its relationship to explanation. (shrink)
Mental fictionalism is the view that, even if mental states do not exist, it is useful to talk as if they do. Mental states are useful fictions. Recent philosophy of mind has seen a growing interest in mental fictionalism. To date, much of the discussion has concerned the general features of the approach. In this paper, I develop a specific form of mental fictionalism by drawing on Kendall Walton’s work on make-believe. According to the approach I propose, talk of mental (...) states is a useful pretence for describing people and their behaviour. I try to clarify and motivate this approach by comparing it to well-known alternatives, including behaviourism, instrumentalism and eliminativism. I also consider some of the challenges that it faces. (shrink)
The similarity view of scientific representation has recently been subjected to strong criticism. Much of this criticism has been directed against a ?naive? similarity account, which tries to explain representation solely in terms of similarity between scientific models and the world. This article examines the more sophisticated account offered by the similarity view's leading proponent, Ronald Giere. In contrast to the naive account, Giere's account appeals to the role played by the scientists using a scientific model. A similar move is (...) often made by defenders of resemblance theories of depiction, who invoke the role played by the artist, or by the viewers of a painting. In this article I look to debates over depiction to assess the difficulties facing those who wish to defend the similarity view of scientific representation. I then turn to examine Giere's account. Ultimately, I argue, this account is unsuccessful: while appealing to the role of scientists offers a promising way to defend the similarity view, Giere's own account does not capture what it is that scientists do when they use a model to represent the world. (shrink)
Modeling is central to scientific inquiry. It also depends heavily upon the imagination. In modeling, scientists seem to turn their attention away from the complexity of the real world to imagine a realm of perfect spheres, frictionless planes and perfect rational agents. Modeling poses many questions. What are models? How do they relate to the real world? Recently, a number of philosophers have addressed these questions by focusing on the role of the imagination in modeling. Some have also drawn parallels (...) between models and fiction. This chapter examines these approaches to scientific modeling and considers the challenges they face. (shrink)
Distributed cognition (d-cog) claims that many cognitive processes are distributed across groups and the surrounding material and cultural environment. Recently, Nancy Nersessian, Ronald Giere, and others have suggested that a d-cog approach might allow us to bring together cognitive and social theories of science. I explore this idea by focusing on the specific interpretation of d-cog found in Edwin Hutchins' canonical text Cognition in the wild. First, I examine the scope of a d-cog approach to science, showing that there are (...) important disputes between cognitive and social theorists on which d-cog remains silent. Second, I suggest that, where social explanations can be recast in d-cog terms, this reformulation will not be acceptable to all social theorists. Finally, I ask how we should make sense of the claim that, on a d-cog analysis, social factors are cognitive factors. (shrink)
One important debate between scientific realists and constructive empiricists concerns whether we observe things using instruments. This paper offers a new perspective on the debate over instruments by looking to recent discussion in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Realists often speak of instruments as ‘extensions’ to our senses. I ask whether the realist may strengthen her view by drawing on the extended mind thesis. Proponents of the extended mind thesis claim that cognitive processes can sometimes extend beyond our brains (...) and bodies into the environment. I suggest that the extended mind thesis offers a way to make sense of realists’ talk of instruments as extensions to the senses and that it provides the realist with a new argument against the constructive empiricist view of instruments. (shrink)
This article gives an overview of the nursing ethics arguments on euthanasia in general, and on nurses' involvement in euthanasia in particular, through an argument-based literature review. An in-depth study of these arguments in this literature will enable nurses to engage in the euthanasia debate. We critically appraised 41 publications published between January 1987 and June 2007. Nursing ethics arguments on (nurses' involvement in) euthanasia are guided primarily by the principles of respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice. Ethical arguments (...) related to the nursing profession are described. From a care perspective, we discuss arguments that evaluate to what degree euthanasia can be considered positively or negatively as a form of good nursing care. Most arguments in the principle-, profession- and care-orientated approaches to nursing ethics are used both pro and contra euthanasia in general, and nurses' involvement in euthanasia in particular. (shrink)
The place of philosophical medical ethics in medical education and clinical practice has recently been questioned. Although partially valid, the criticisms do not warrant abandoning the enterprise. Instead a reappraised model, based on Aristotelean concepts of intellectual and moral virtue is suggested.
The use of the term `disease' in medicine is discussed, with particular reference to the issues raised by Kennedy (I) and the definition proposed by Campbell, Scadding and Roberts (2). Certain difficulties arising from this definition are considered, and a revised set of definitions is suggested, based on a distinction between diseasedness, contrasted both with health and with other sorts of problems, and nosological categories used to distinguish conditions calling for different treatments. The difference is stressed between those aspects of (...) medical decision-making which call for judgment on scientific grounds and those of the sort referred to by Kennedy, which involve ethical and political judgments. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines religious affiliation and commitment of teenagers as a function of the quality of mother?child interaction and the mothers? religious commitment, as an illustration of the principle that transmission of parental norms and values to their children is facilitated or inhibited by the quality of their interaction. We expected that in cases where mother?child interaction was good, parents would be better able to impose their own values upon their children, resulting in a lower disaffiliation and higher religious (...) commitment in high quality of family?interaction families. This expectation was tested using data from 223 British adolescent?mother pairs, by means of logistic and ordinary regression analysis. The results largely supported the hypotheses, exemplifying how mothers in their role of moral agents may profit from good mother?child relationships. (shrink)
In this article we explore the different trajectories of this one drug, phenylbutazone, across two species, humans and horses in the period 1950–2000. The essay begins by following the introduction of the drug into human medicine in the early 1950s. It promised to be a less costly alternative to cortisone, one of the “wonder drugs” of the era, in the treatment of rheumatic conditions. Both drugs appeared to offer symptomatic relief rather than a cure, and did so with the risk (...) of side effects, which with phenylbutazone were potentially so severe that it was eventually banned from human use, for all but a few diseases, in the early 1980s. Phenylbutazone had been used with other animals for many years without the same issues, but in the 1980s its uses in veterinary medicine, especially in horses, came under increased scrutiny, but for quite different reasons. The focus was primarily the equity, economics, and ethics of competition in equine sports, with differences in cross-species biology and medicine playing a secondary role. The story of phenylbutazone, a single drug, shows how the different biologies and social roles of its human/animal subjects resulted in very different and changing uses. While the drug had a seemingly common impact on pain and inflammation, there were inter-species differences in the drug’s metabolism, the conditions treated, dosages, and, crucially, in intended clinical outcomes and perceptions of its benefits and risks. (shrink)
Medical ethics is that branch of applied philosophy which considers issues of values raised by medical practice, and should not be equated with 'principlism'. Clarification of facts/values distinctions is an important part of this work. The notion that medical philosophy can flourish in the hands of medical 'generalists' without specialist philosophers, is misguided. Both must work together to promote right reason and right action in medical education and practice.
The theory of reflexive modernization plausibly advocates postnational cosmopolitanism. As the nation state is eroding today, we are becoming citizens of a ‘global risk society’ whose unity and cohesion is generated by the risk that is threatening us world-wide. By the same token, this world risk society is no longer unified in any political sense. There is no world state; its very idea is even rejected. In this sense, the cosmopolitanism argued for in the theory of reflexive modernization proves predominantly (...) to be an extrapolation of civil society on a global scale, while, strictly speaking, having no cosmo‘political’ counterpart. Building on Marcel Gauchet’s political philosophy, the article questions the cosmopolitanism-beyond-the-political position of the theory of reflexive modernization. To do so, it goes substantially into Gauchet’s view of the representational role of the political as an essential dimension in society formation. (shrink)
Recently, a number of authors have suggested that we understand scientific models in the same way as fictional characters, like Sherlock Holmes. The biggest challenge for this approach concerns the ontology of fictional characters. I consider two responses to this challenge, given by Roman Frigg, Ronald Giere and Peter Godfrey-Smith, and argue that neither is successful. I then suggest an alternative approach. While parallels with fiction are useful, I argue that models of real systems are more aptly compared to works (...) that portray real people, like the Emperor Claudius. This approach will allow us to avoid problems with fictional characters. (shrink)
This article, based on a presentation at the Future of the History of the Human Sciences workshop, discusses some of the potential benefits and pitfalls of digital humanities tools and approaches for historians of the human sciences. It reviews some of the major approaches that form DH and draws on the author’s experience as part of a team creating a large DH resource to consider the complications presented by these.
Prof. Burkard Sievers was born in 1942 in Kiel, Germany. After studying philosophy in Frankfurt and sociology in Münster he worked for a number of years in the United States at the University of Michigan, Columbia University in New York and in Washington. At present he is full professor of organisation development' at the Bergische Universität, Wuppertal, Germany.He has published a number of articles in the area of 'organisational sociology’ in which he approaches management problems in organisations from a variety (...) of unusual perspectives. His most important book was published by Walter de Gruyter in 1994 under the title Work, Death and Life Itself — Essays on Management and Organisation and was awarded the HBK prize for employee participation in an organisation in 1995. (shrink)
In his Law of Peoples, Rawls severely restricts our duties of justice towards the global poor. Many of his critics have replied that there actually exists a global basic structure and that hence the difference principle applies on a global scale.However the shipwrecked of globalization do not contribute in any substantial way to the creation of global wealth. We show that Martha Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan solution to this problem is unsatisfactory because it ignores scarcity as one of the circumstances of justice.If (...) the marginalized of progress want to raise a claim of justice rather than appeal to our beneficence, they can only do so on the basis of a principle of compensation: their fate has been deteriorated by the development of a global economy they did not ask for. Towards the end of the article we point at some typical blind spots in the treatment of these problems in the literature on international distributive justice: the idea that development problems can be solved merely by transfers of money and the presupposition that the gulf between rich and poor is growing all the time. (shrink)
In de vorige bijdragen is terecht gewezen op het problematische karakter van het populisme, en inzonderheid op de bedreiging die ervan uitgaat voor de democratie. Aan deze kritische bedenkingen willen we hier generlei afbreuk doen. Toch is het nuttig onder ogen te zien dat het populisme ook een spiegel is van de democratie, in de zin dat het bepaalde kwetsbare aspecten van de democratie uitvergroot die vaak miskend worden. Meer specifiek wijst het populisme op de elitevorming binnen de democratie, en (...) de daarmee verbonden mogelijkheid van een diepgaande ‘vervreemding’ tussen die elite en het volk. De spiegel van het populisme confronteert de democratie in die zin met een beeld van zichzelf waarin ze haar eigen kwetsbaarheid kan ontdekken. (shrink)
This essay sets up a dialogue between Lefort’s view on the relationship between the state and modern society and Foucault’s thesis of a governmental turn in the modern power regime, whereby the relations between state and society are thoroughly redrawn. What are the main results? 1) Whereas Lefort’s political ontology leaves room for divergent agencies from which the symbolic institution of the social may unfold, his preoccupation with democracy leans him to inseparably link the symbolic institution of modern society with (...) the functioning of the modern state. 2) By contrast, Foucault’s history of governmentality documents a shift from the political and legal power regime to the biopolitical regime. This shift seems to be accompanied by a turn in the regime of the symbolic institution of modern society. Where that institution hitherto relied on the state, today, a symbiosis of state and neoliberal governmentality seems to be taking over. 3) This shift in power regimes brings along major problems. In political respect, it leads to a re-adjustment of the instituting representations of contemporary society, to a depoliticization of political and social relations, and to the erosion of democracy. (shrink)
Populisme. Sinds extreem rechts recent een bepaald soort salonfähigkeit heeft weten te verwerven in het democratische bestel wordt de term door zelfverklaarde democraten te pas en te onpas gehanteerd om bijvoorkeur ‘rechtse’, maar bij uitbreiding ook alle andere tegenstanders te desavoueren die uit zijn op al te gemakkelijk politiek succes. Vanuit dat perspectief veroorzaakt de term ‘populisme’ geen enkel probleem: het is een dankbare politieke diskwalificatie die iedereen graag gebruikt, maar die niemand graag krijgt toebedeeld.
What is the relationship between mental states and items of material culture, like notebooks, maps or lists? The extended mind thesis (ExM) offers an influential and controversial answer to this question. According to ExM, items of material culture can form part of the material basis for our mental states. Although ExM offers a radical view of the location of mental states, it fits comfortably with a traditional, representationalist account of the nature of those states. I argue that proponents of ExM (...) would do better to adopt a fictionalist approach to mental states. In so doing, I suggest, they could retain the important insights underlying the extended mind thesis, while avoiding its more problematic consequences. (shrink)