Relocation is an increasingly prominent conservation tool for a variety of wildlife, but the technique also is controversial, even among conservation practitioners. An organized framework for addressing the moral dilemmas often accompanying conservation actions such as relocation has been lacking. Ecological ethics may provide such a framework and appears to be an important step forward in aiding ecological researchers and biodiversity managers to make difficult moral choices. A specific application of this framework can make the reasoning process more transparent and (...) give more emphasis to the strong sentiments about non-human organisms held by many potential users. Providing an example of the application of the framework may also increase the appeal of the reasoning process to ecological researchers and biodiversity managers. Relocation as a conservation action can be accompanied by a variety of moral dilemmas that reflect the interconnection of values, ethical positions, and conservation decisions. A model that is designed to address moral dilemmas arising from relocation of humans provides/demonstrates/illustrates a possible way to apply the ecological ethics framework and to involve practicing conservationists in the overall decision-making process. (shrink)
Because of the problems associated with ecological concepts, generalizations, and proposed general theories, applied ecology may require a new "logic" of explanation characterized neither by the traditional accounts of confirmation nor by the logic of discovery. Building on the works of Grunbaum, Kuhn, and Wittgenstein, we use detailed descriptions from research on conserving the Northern Spotted Owl, a case typical of problem solving in applied ecology, to (1) characterize the method of case studies; (2) survey its strengths; (3) summarize and (...) respond to its shortcomings; and (4) investigate and defend its underlying "logic". (shrink)
We argue that ecologists have conceived of the community concept in at least three ways, and that ecologists have used “community,” as indicated by ecological terminology, in two main ways. The typological conception emphasizes phenomenological descriptions of co-occurring species, the functional conception emphasizes mathematical relationships among co-occurring species, and the statistical conception emphasizes the frequency of species’ co-occurrence. The type usage emphasizes idealized “types,” and the group usage emphasizes quantitative boundaries and/or mathematically precise interactions. We further argue that all of (...) these senses of “community” are problematic. Ecologists seem unable to say precisely what a community is, in part because of the difficulty of measuring community properties, determining the temporal and spatial scale for various communities, and evaluating the different meanings attributed to community terms. We suggest that although and appear to be difficulties that are heuristically useful for future ecological theorizing, does not. (shrink)
Philosophers, policymakers, and scientists have long asserted that ecological science – and especially notions of homeostasis, balance, or stability – help to determine environmental values and to supply imperatives for environmental ethics and policy. We argue that this assertion is questionable. There are no well developed general ecological theories having predictive power, and fundamental ecological concepts, such as 'community' and 'stability', are used in inconsistent and ambiguous ways. As a consequence, the contribution of ecology to environmental ethics and values lies (...) more in the realm of natural history and case studies than in the realm of general theory. Moreover, although general ecological theory is unable to contribute to environmental values in the way many philosophers and policymakers have hoped, environmental values can and do contribute to ecological hypotheses and methods. Using examples related to preservation versus development, hunting versus animal rights, and controversies over pest control, we show that, because ecology is conceptually and theoretically underdetermined, environmental values often influence the practice of ecological science. (shrink)
This study proposes a model that explains the ethical behavior of automobile salespeople in terms of their ethical perception, legal perception, method of compensation (commission-based or salary-based), age, and education. The model is estimated by using five scenarios that involve ethical issues commonly found in the automobile industry and responses from 184 automobile salespeople in a mid-Atlantic metropolitan area. The findings suggest that ethical perception is the most important determinant of ethical behavior. Also, method of compensation is a major determinant (...) in four of five scenarios, and legal perception in two out of five scenarios. However, age and education are not significantly related to ethical behavior. A discussion of the results, limitations, and implications is presented for managers. (shrink)
Although a number of articles have addressed ethical perceptions and behaviors, few studies have examined ethics across cultures. This research focuses on measuring the job satisfaction, customer orientation, ethics, and ethical training of automotive salespersons in the U.S. and Taiwan. The relationships of these variables to salesperson performance were also investigated. Ethics training was found to be negatively related to perceived levels of ethicalness and performance. High performance U.S. salespeople reported high ethical behavior, while the opposite was true in Taiwan. (...) Customer orientation in both countries was influenced by ethics training. Managers should evaluate current ethics training programs to insure correct ethical behavior is taught and rewarded. (shrink)
This study compares Australian marketers with those in the United States along lines that are particular to the study of ethics. The test measured two different moral philosophies, idealism and relativism, and compared perceptions of ethical problems, ethical intentions, and corporate ethical values. According to Hofstede's cultural typologies, there should be little difference between American and Australian marketers, but the study did find significant differences. Australians tended to be more idealistic and more relativistic than Americans and the other results were (...) mixed, making it difficult to generalize about the effects of moral philosophies on the components of ethical decision-making measured here. This is an important finding; as firms become increasingly more globalized, marketers will more often be involved in cross-cultural ethical dilemmas and it seems natural to assume that similar cultures will have similar ethical orientations. That assumption may well prove erroneous. (shrink)
The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals. Its neural basis, however, has remained a mystery. Here, we propose that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them. They provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of (...) activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task. We review neurophysiological, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and computational studies that support this theory and discuss its implications as well as further issues to be addressed. (shrink)
This edited collection is the first of its kind to explore the view called perspectivism in philosophy of science. The book brings together an array of essays that reflect on the methodological promises and scientific challenges of perspectivism in a variety of fields such as physics, biology, cognitive neuroscience, and cancer research, just as a few examples. What are the advantages of using a plurality of perspectives in a given scientific field and for interdisciplinary research? Can different perspectives be integrated? (...) What is the relation between perspectivism, pluralism, and pragmatism? These ten new essays by top scholars in the field offer a polyphonic journey towards understanding the view called ‘perspectivism’ and its relevance to science. (shrink)
In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which suggests (...) interesting possibilities for developing non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and investigating inter-theoretic answers to the foundational questions of statistical mechanics. (shrink)
Readers familiar with the workhorse of cosmology, the hot big bang model, may think that cosmology raises little of interest about time. As cosmological models are just relativistic spacetimes, time is understood just as it is in relativity theory, and all cosmology adds is a few bells and whistles such as inflation and the big bang and no more. The aim of this chapter is to show that this opinion is not completely right...and may well be dead wrong. In our (...) survey, we show how the hot big bang model invites deep questions about the nature of time, how inflationary cosmology has led to interesting new perspectives on time, and how cosmological speculation continues to entertain dramatically different models of time altogether. Together these issues indicate that the philosopher interested in the nature of time would do well to know a little about modern cosmology. (shrink)
The conspicuous similarities between interpretive strategies in classical statistical mechanics and in quantum mechanics may be grounded on their employment of common implementations of probability. The objective probabilities which represent the underlying stochasticity of these theories can be naturally associated with three of their common formal features: initial conditions, dynamics, and observables. Various well-known interpretations of the two theories line up with particular choices among these three ways of implementing probability. This perspective has significant application to debates on primitive ontology (...) and to the quantum measurement problem. (shrink)
I discuss the formal implementation, interpretation, and justification of likelihood attributions in cosmology. I show that likelihood arguments in cosmology suffer from significant conceptual and formal problems that undermine their applicability in this context.
We introduce a novel point of view on the “models as mediators” framework in order to emphasize certain important epistemological questions about models in science which have so far been little investigated. To illustrate how this perspective can help answer these kinds of questions, we explore the use of simplified models in high energy physics research beyond the Standard Model. We show in detail how the construction of simplified models is grounded in the need to mitigate pressing epistemic problems concerning (...) the uncertainty inherent in the present theoretical and experimental contexts. (shrink)
Eliminative reasoning is a method that has been employed in many significant episodes in the history of science. It has also been advocated by some philosophers as an important means for justifying well-established scientific theories. Arguments for how eliminative reasoning is able to do so, however, have generally relied on a too narrow conception of evidence, and have therefore tended to lapse into merely heuristic or pragmatic justifications for their conclusions. This paper shows how a broader conception of evidence not (...) only can supply the needed justification but also illuminates the methodological significance of eliminative reasoning in a variety of contexts. (shrink)
I investigate the role of stability in cosmology through two episodes from the recent history of cosmology: Einstein’s static universe and Eddington’s demonstration of its instability, and the flatness problem of the hot big bang model and its claimed solution by inflationary theory. These episodes illustrate differing reactions to instability in cosmological models, both positive ones and negative ones. To provide some context to these reactions, I also situate them in relation to perspectives on stability from dynamical systems theory and (...) its epistemology. This reveals, for example, an insistence on stability as an extreme position in relation to the spectrum of physical systems which exhibit degrees of stability and fragility, one which has a pragmatic rationale, but not any deeper one. (shrink)
The impetus theory of motion states that to be in motion is to have a non-zero velocity. The at-at theory of motion states that to be in motion is to be at different places at different times, which in classical physics is naturally understood as the reduction of velocities to position developments. I first defend the at-at theory against the criticism raised by Arntzenius that it renders determinism impossible. I then develop a novel impetus theory of motion that reduces positions (...) to velocity developments. As this impetus theory of motion is by construction a mirror image of the at-at theory of motion, I claim that the two theories of motion are in fact epistemically on par—despite the unfamiliar metaphysical picture of the world furnished by the impetus version. (shrink)
I present a recent historical case from cosmology—the story of inflationary cosmology—and on its basis argue that solving explanatory problems is a reliable method for making progress in science. In particular, I claim that the success of inflationary theory at solving its predecessor’s explanatory problems justified the theory epistemically, even in advance of the development of novel predictions from the theory and the later confirmation of those predictions.
Several philosophers have developed accounts to dissolve the apparent conflict between deterministic laws of nature and objective chances. These philosophers advocate the compatibility of determinism and chance. I argue that determinism and chance are incompatible and criticize the various notions of “deterministic chance” supplied by the compatibilists. Many of the compatibilists are strongly motivated by scientific theories where objective probabilities are combined with deterministic laws, the most salient of which is classical statistical mechanics. I show that, properly interpreted, statistical mechanics (...) is either an indeterministic theory or else its probabilities are not chances, just as incompatibilism demands. (shrink)
Several physicists, among them Hawking, Page, Coule, and Carroll, have argued against the probabilistic intuitions underlying fine-tuning arguments in cosmology and instead propose that the canonical measure on the phase space of Friedman-Robertson-Walker space-times should be used to evaluate fine-tuning. They claim that flat space-times in this set are actually typical on this natural measure and that therefore the flatness problem is illusory. I argue that they misinterpret typicality in this phase space and, moreover, that no conclusion can be drawn (...) at all about the flatness problem by using the canonical measure alone. (shrink)
Hermann Weyl was one of the most important figures involved in the early elaboration of the general theory of relativity and its fundamentally geometrical spacetime picture of the world. Weyl’s development of “pure infinitesimal geometry” out of relativity theory was the basis of his remarkable attempt at unifying gravitation and electromagnetism. Many interpreters have focused primarily on Weyl’s philosophical influences, especially the influence of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, as the motivation for these efforts. In this article, I argue both that these (...) efforts are most naturally understood as an outgrowth of the distinctive mathematical-physical tradition in Göttingen and also that phenomenology has little to no constructive role to play in them. (shrink)
We provide a philosophical reconstruction and analysis of the debate on the scientific status of cosmic inflation that has played out in recent years. In a series of critical papers, Ijjas et al. have questioned the scientificality of the current views on cosmic inflation. Proponents of cosmic inflation have in turn defended the scientific credentials of their approach. We argue that, while this defense, narrowly construed, is successful against Ijjas et al., the latter's reasoning does point to a significant epistemic (...) issue that arises with respect to inflation. A broadening of the concept of theory assessment is needed to address that issue in an adequate way. (shrink)
In a world awash in statistical patterns, should we conclude that the universe’s evolution or genesis is somehow subject to chance? I draw attention to alternatives that must be acknowledged if we are to have an adequate assessment of what chance the universe might have had.
In many classes of structures, each computable structure has computable dimension 1 or $\omega$. Nevertheless, Goncharov showed that for each $n < \omega$, there exists a computable structure with computable dimension $n$. In this paper we show that, under one natural definition of relativized computable dimension, no computable structure has finite relativized computable dimension greater than 1.
We examine the evolution of the concept of stability in community ecology, arguing that biologists have moved from an emphasis on biotic communities characterized by static balance, to one of dynamic balance (returning to equilibrium after perturbation), to the current concept of stability as persistence. Using Wimsatt's (1987) analysis of how false models can often lead to better ones, we argue that failed attempts to link complexity with stability have significant heuristic value for community ecologists. Nevertheless, we argue that, (A) (...) because there is no common characteristic that stability terms presuppose, community ecology might be better served by abandoning the concept of stability and by employing instead specific terms such as 'persistence', 'resistance', and 'variability'. (B) The current emphasis (of stability terms) on persistence of species provides little basis for explaining possible mechanisms that might account for persistence. (shrink)
In a world of massive extinctions where not all taxa can be saved, how ought biologists to decide their preservation priorities? When biologists make recommendations regarding conservation, should their analyses be based on scientific criteria, on public or lay criteria, on economic or some other criteria? As a first step in answering this question, we examine the issue of whether biologists ought to try to save the endangered Florida panther, a well known glamour taxon. To evaluate the merits of panther (...) preservation, we examine three important arguments of biologists who are skeptical about the desirability of panther preservation. These arguments are (1) that conservation dollars ought to be spent in more efficient ways than panther preservation; (2) that biologists and conservationists ought to work to preserve species before subspecies; and (3) that biologists and conservationists ought to work to save habitats before species or subspecies. We conclude that, although all three arguments are persuasive, none of them provides convincing grounds for foregoing panther preservation in favor of other, more scientifically significant conservation efforts. Our conclusion is based, in part, on the argument that biologists ought to employ ethical, as well as scientific, rationality in setting conservation priorities and that ethical rationality may provide persuasive grounds for preserving taxa that often are not viewed by biologists as of great importance. (shrink)
Epicurus, though popularly and indeed nominally associated with a doctrine advocating the procurement of rather expensive pleasure, lived very simply in his garden with a circle of friends. The 14th of his Sovran Maxims or Cardinal Tenets , as collected by Diogenes Laertius, reads: ‘When tolerable security against our fellowmen is attained, then on a basis of power sufficient to afford support and of material prosperity arises in most genuine form the security of a quiet private life withdrawn from the (...) multitude’ R. D. Hicks, the translator, gives, as an alternative to ‘power sufficient to afford support’, ‘power to expel’, but on either reading, we are to think of Epicurus's garden, both the real place and the conceptualized, or tropologized, topos of wisdom and earthly felicity, as enclosed and exclusive. This enclosure, exclusivity, and—what is also implied—abstention of its inmates from participation in the affairs of state are given apophthegmatic expression in ‘Live hidden!’ We contemplate this adage, or slogan, from an enormous cultural distance and, for most of us, ‘Live hidden!’ is much more likely to trigger secondary reflections about the relations between ethics and politics, private and public, perfection of self and improvement of the world, than it is to constitute an actual, or potential, piece of advice we might think about whether , and how , to follow. (shrink)