The paper introduces the concept of polar decision rules and establishes that majority rules are polar rules. We identify second best rules and penultimate rules in cases that majority rules are optimal or the most inferior, respectively. We especially specify the almost expert rule and the almost majority rule as the secondary rules of the expert and majority rules, respectively.
In the present interview, Jacob Rogozinski elucidates the main concepts and theses he developed in his latest book dedicated to the issue of modern jihadism. On this occasion, he explains his disagreements with other philosophical (Badiou, Baudrillard, Žižek) and anthropological (Girard) accounts of Islamic terrorism. Rogozinski also explains that although jihadism betrays Islam, it nonetheless has everything to do with Islam. Eventually, he describes his own philosophical journey which led him from a phenomenological study of the ego and the (...) flesh to the study of past (witch-hunts, French Reign of Terror) and contemporary (jihadism) terror apparatuses. (shrink)
Throughout an illustrious career of teaching and writing that spans five decades, philosopher Needleman has always tackled the "big questions" of life. In this collection of six feature interviews that began in the 1980s, Miller and Needleman discuss "Making Sense of Mysticism, The Secrets of Time and Love, The Meanings of Money, Searching for the Soul of America, Meeting God without Religion, " and "The Need for Philosophy.".
Medical nihilism is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical interventions. Jacob Stegenga argues persuasively that this is how we should see modern medicine, and suggests that medical research must be modified, clinical practice should be less aggressive, and regulatory standards should be enhanced.
This paper examines an important but neglected topic in Suárez’s metaphysics–—namely, his theory of efficient causation. According to Suárez, efficient causation is to be identified with action, one of Aristotle’s ten highest genera or categories. The paper shows how Suárez’s identification of efficient causation with action helps to shed light on his views about the precise nature of efficient causation, and its role in his ontology. More specifically, it shows that Suárez understands efficient causation to be a distinctive or sui (...) generis type of entity, and that he thinks we must adopt this view in order to account for the facts of efficient causation. The paper also examines several objections to Suárez’s account. (shrink)
[Title: A phenomenological account of the habitual and active character of ignorance] -/- A number of critical social epistemologists have argued that a form of ignorance makes up the epistemic dimension of existing relations of oppression based on racial and/or gender identity. Recent phenomenological accounts of the habitual nature of perception can be understood as describing the bodily, tacit, and affective character of this form of ignorance. At the same time, as I aim to show in this article, more could (...) be phenomenologically said and made of both the active and pervasive character of said ignorance. Drawing on the phenomenological concept of receptivity, I propose a way to further understand the active character of ignorance both in and beyond perception. By doing so, we also get a better view on what it would take to overcome this kind of ignorance. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on a number of respects in which Husserl’s, Heidegger’s, and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of the world differ, despite other significant commonalities. Specifically, I discuss how both Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of our experience of the world challenge Husserl’s assertion of the possibility of a worldless consciousness; how Heidegger’s discussion of the world entails a rejection of Husserl’s claim that the world is at bottom nature; and how Merleau-Ponty puts pressure on Husserl’s account of the necessary structure of the (...) world. In concluding, and as a propaedeutic to adjudicating these disputes, I aim to show why Husserl makes these contested claims. Specifically, I suggest that it is Husserl’s phenomenological conception of reason and his commitment to (this conception of) reason that motivate him to make the claims about our experience and world with which the later phenomenologists take issue. (shrink)
Robustness is a common platitude: hypotheses are better supported with evidence generated by multiple techniques that rely on different background assumptions. Robustness has been put to numerous epistemic tasks, including the demarcation of artifacts from real entities, countering the “experimenter’s regress,” and resolving evidential discordance. Despite the frequency of appeals to robustness, the notion itself has received scant critique. Arguments based on robustness can give incorrect conclusions. More worrying is that although robustness may be valuable in ideal evidential circumstances (i.e., (...) when evidence is concordant), often when a variety of evidence is available from multiple techniques, the evidence is discordant. †To contact the author, please write to: Jacob Stegenga, Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Philosophers have committed sins while studying science, it is said – philosophy of science focused on physics to the detriment of biology, reconstructed idealizations of scientific episodes rather than attending to historical details, and focused on theories and concepts to the detriment of experiments. Recent generations of philosophers of science have tried to atone for these sins, and by the 1980s the exculpation was in full swing. Marcel Weber’s Philosophy of Experimental Biology is a zenith mea culpa for philosophy of (...) science: it carefully describes several historical examples from twentieth century biology to address both ‘old’ philosophical topics, like reductionism, inference, and realism, and ‘new’ topics, like discovery, models, and norms. Biology, experiments, history – at last, philosophy of science, free of sin. (shrink)
An astonishing volume and diversity of evidence is available for many hypotheses in the biomedical and social sciences. Some of this evidence—usually from randomized controlled trials (RCTs)—is amalgamated by meta-analysis. Despite the ongoing debate regarding whether or not RCTs are the ‘gold-standard’ of evidence, it is usually meta-analysis which is considered the best source of evidence: meta-analysis is thought by many to be the platinum standard of evidence. However, I argue that meta-analysis falls far short of that standard. Different meta-analyses (...) of the same evidence can reach contradictory conclusions. Meta-analysis fails to provide objective grounds for intersubjective assessments of hypotheses because numerous decisions must be made when performing a meta-analysis which allow wide latitude for subjective idiosyncrasies to influence its outcome. I end by suggesting that an older tradition of evidence in medicine—the plurality of reasoning strategies appealed to by the epidemiologist Sir Bradford Hill—is a superior strategy for assessing a large volume and diversity of evidence. (shrink)
Disappointed by the indifferent reception of his 1739 Treatise of Human Nature, particularly in view of his commitment to vividness and convincingness as epistemological criteria, Hume recast crucial arguments from his Treatise in “The Epicurean,” “The Stoic,” “The Platonist,” and “The Sceptic,” four pieces from his 1741–2 Essays Moral and Political. Locating these texts within both the dialogue and essay genres, I demonstrate how Hume continues the project of the Treatise by showing, rather than telling, his views: he blends rhetoric (...) and reasoned argument to show that they are in many cases indistinguishable; he depicts his speakers' conclusions as consequences of their personalities to show his skepticism about human freedom; and he concludes, in a moment strongly reminiscent of the famous end of Book I of the Treatise, by showing the limits of philosophy itself. (shrink)
When experimental philosophers carry out studies on thought experiments, some participants are excluded based on certain exclusion criteria, mirroring standard social science vignette methodology. This involves excluding people that do not pay attention or who miscomprehend the scenario presented in thought experiments. However, experimental philosophy studies sometimes exclude an alarmingly high number of participants. We argue that this threatens the external and internal validity of the conclusions being drawn and we show how a simple visualization of thought experiments can reduce (...) exclusion rates significantly. Furthermore, we argue that focus should not merely be on how many are excluded, but also why they are excluded, and we highlight the role of comprehension questions in this regard. Philosophical thought experiments often rely on the acceptance of certain key premises that may be regarded contestable, and asking comprehension questions involving such key assumptions could be problematic as that may result in some participants being inadvertently excluded from the study, potentially creating a selection bias. (shrink)
This highly original interpretation of Paul by the Jewish philosopher of religion Jacob Taubes was presented in a number of lectures held in Heidelberg toward the end of his life, and was regarded by him as his “spiritual testament.” ...
Medicalisation is a social phenomenon in which conditions that were once under legal, religious, personal or other jurisdictions are brought into the domain of medical authority. Low sexual desire in females has been medicalised, pathologised as a disease, and intervened upon with a range of pharmaceuticals. There are two polarised positions on the medicalisation of low female sexual desire: I call these the mainstream view and the critical view. I assess the central arguments for both positions. Dividing the two positions (...) are opposing models of the aetiology of low female sexual desire. I conclude by suggesting that the balance of arguments supports a modest defence of the critical view regarding the medicalisation of low female sexual desire. (shrink)
Health care workers or others may wish to override parental decisions because of their impact on the health or safetySafety of a child or others. Justification of such an action requires two types of principle: an authorityAuthority principle that designates the process for reversal, and anPrincipal, interventionintervention principleIntervention principle that specifies the grounds for reversal. It is generally accepted that states may overruleOverruleparentsParents’ decisions for good cause. I argue that the role of the state is to provide sufficient protection against (...) parental malfeasance. Parental malfeasance can be construed as either exposing a child to harmHarm or as insufficient defense of the child’s interestsChild's interests. I propose a test to determine what sorts of parental decisions might trigger intervention. I also propose constraints on government action to minimize government unfairness in applying the test. I show how this plays out in application. (shrink)
Formal principles governing best practices in classification and definition have for too long been neglected in the construction of biomedical ontologies, in ways which have important negative consequences for data integration and ontology alignment. We argue that the use of such principles in ontology construction can serve as a valuable tool in error-detection and also in supporting reliable manual curation. We argue also that such principles are a prerequisite for the successful application of advanced data integration techniques such as ontology-based (...) multi-database querying, automated ontology alignment and ontology-based text-mining. These theses are illustrated by means of a case study of the Gene Ontology, a project of increasing importance within the field of biomedical data integration. (shrink)
Wigner’s quantum-mechanical classification of particle-types in terms of irreducible representations of the Poincaré group has a classical analogue, which we extend in this paper. We study the compactness properties of the resulting phase spaces at fixed energy, and show that in order for a classical massless particle to be physically sensible, its phase space must feature a classical-particle counterpart of electromagnetic gauge invariance. By examining the connection between massless and massive particles in the massless limit, we also derive a classical-particle (...) version of the Higgs mechanism. (shrink)
We address a long-standing debate over whether classical magnetic forces can do work, ultimately answering the question in the affirmative. In detail, we couple a classical particle with intrinsic spin and elementary dipole moments to the electromagnetic field, derive the appropriate generalization of the Lorentz force law, show that the particle’s dipole moments must be collinear with its spin axis, and argue that the magnetic field does mechanical work on the particle’s elementary magnetic dipole moment. As consistency checks, we calculate (...) the overall system’s energy-momentum and angular momentum, and show that their local conservation equations lead to the same force law and therefore the same conclusions about magnetic forces and work. We also compute the system’s Belinfante–Rosenfeld energy–momentum tensor. (shrink)
Measuring the effectiveness of medical interventions faces three epistemological challenges: the choice of good measuring instruments, the use of appropriate analytic measures, and the use of a reliable method of extrapolating measures from an experimental context to a more general context. In practice each of these challenges contributes to overestimating the effectiveness of medical interventions. These challenges suggest the need for corrective normative principles. The instruments employed in clinical research should measure patient-relevant and disease-specific parameters, and should not be sensitive (...) to parameters that are only indirectly relevant. Effectiveness always should be measured and reported in absolute terms (using measures such as 'absolute risk reduction'), and only sometimes should effectiveness also be measured and reported in relative terms (using measures such as 'relative risk reduction')-employment of relative measures promotes an informal fallacy akin to the base-rate fallacy, which can be exploited to exaggerate claims of effectiveness. Finally, extrapolating from research settings to clinical settings should more rigorously take into account possible ways in which the intervention in question can fail to be effective in a target population. (shrink)
Standard lore holds that magnetic forces are incapable of doing mechanical work. More precisely, the claim is that whenever it appears that a magnetic force is doing work, the work is actually being done by another force, with the magnetic force serving only as an indirect mediator. On the other hand, the most familiar instances of magnetic forces acting in everyday life—bar magnets lifting other bar magnets—appear to present manifest evidence of magnetic forces doing work. These sorts of counterexamples are (...) often dismissed as arising from quantum effects that lie outside the classical regime. In this paper, however, we show that quantum theory is not needed to account for these phenomena, and that classical electromagnetism admits a model of elementary magnetic dipoles on which magnetic forces can indeed do work. In order to develop this model, we revisit the foundational principles of the classical theory of electromagnetism, showcase the importance of constraints from relativity, examine the structure of the multipole expansion, and study the connection between the Lorentz force law and conservation of energy and momentum. (shrink)
The Meno, one of the most widely read of the Platonic dialogues, is seen afresh in this original interpretation that explores the dialogue as a theatrical presentation. Just as Socrates's listeners would have questioned and examined their own thinking in response to the presentation, so, Klein shows, should modern readers become involved in the drama of the dialogue. Klein offers a line-by-line commentary on the text of the Meno itself that animates the characters and conversation and carefully probes each significant (...) turn of the argument. "A major addition to the literature on the Meno and necessary reading for every student of the dialogue."--Alexander Seasonske, Philosophical Review "There exists no other commentary on Meno which is so thorough, sound, and enlightening."-- Choice Jacob Klein was a student of Martin Heidegger and a tutor at St. John's College from 1937 until his death. His other works include Plato's Trilogy: Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Statesman, also published by the University of Chicago Press. (shrink)
This afterword extends and refines the arguments presented in Cohen and Jacobs . The main point made by the authors is that the antidepressant randomized controlled trial world is a make-believe world in which researchers act as if a bona fide medical experiment is being conducted. From the assumed existence of the “disorder” and the assumed homogeneity of the treatment groups, through the validity of rating scales and the meaning of their scores, to the presentations of researchers’ ratings as the (...) genuine outcome of interest — all aspects of such trials are make-believe. The continued acceptance of randomized controlled trials as appropriate mechanisms to ascertain the actual effects of psychoactive drugs on human beings in distress confirms that researchers are inextricably dependent on large-scale organizational and financial interests that require the sustained production of make-believe results about psychoactive drugs. (shrink)
Important study focuses on the revival and assimilation of ancient Greek mathematics in the 13th–16th centuries, via Arabic science, and the 16th-century development of symbolic algebra. This brought about the crucial change in the concept of number that made possible modern science — in which the symbolic "form" of a mathematical statement is completely inseparable from its "content" of physical meaning. Includes a translation of Vieta's Introduction to the Analytical Art. 1968 edition. Bibliography.
Robustness arguments hold that hypotheses are more likely to be true when they are confirmed by diverse kinds of evidence. Robustness arguments require the confirming evidence to be independent. We identify two kinds of independence appealed to in robustness arguments: ontic independence —when the multiple lines of evidence depend on different materials, assumptions, or theories—and probabilistic independence. Many assume that OI is sufficient for a robustness argument to be warranted. However, we argue that, as typically construed, OI is not a (...) sufficient independence condition for warranting robustness arguments. We show that OI evidence can collectively confirm a hypothesis to a lower degree than individual lines of evidence, contrary to the standard assumption undergirding usual robustness arguments. We employ Bayesian networks to represent the ideal empirical scenario for a robustness argument and a variety of ways in which empirical scenarios can fall short of this ideal. (shrink)
Science and technology are so intertwined that technoscience has been argued to more accurately reflect the progress of science and its impact on society, and most socioscientific issues require technoscientific reasoning. Education policy documents have long noted that the general public lacks sufficient understanding of science and technology necessary for informed decision-making regarding socioscientific/technological issues. The science–technology–society movement and scholarship addressing socioscientific issues in science education reflect efforts in the science education community to promote more informed decision-making regarding such issues. (...) Now Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics education has emerged as a major reform movement impacting science education. STEM education efforts emphasize literacy across the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but with rare exceptions, treat issues of technology superficially and uncritically. Informed decision-making regarding many personal and societal issues requires technological literacy beyond merely becoming an enthusiastic designer or skilled user of technology, but the science education community has given little attention to what such literacy entails. Here, we present results of an extensive review of the literature regarding the nature of technology in order to identify key issues among scholars who study technology. We then provide predominant perspectives among those scholars and suggest which identified NOT issues are most essential to address as part of STEM education efforts that seek to promote informed personal and societal decision-making. (shrink)
Are evolution and creation irreconcilably opposed? Is 'intelligent design' theory an unhappy compromise? Is there another way of approaching the present-day divide between religious and so-called secular views of the origins of life? Jacob Klapwijk offers a philosophical analysis of the relation of evolutionary biology to religion, and addresses the question of whether the evolution of life is exclusively a matter of chance or is better understood as including the notion of purpose. Writing from a Christian point of view, (...) he criticizes creationism and intelligent design theory as well as opposing reductive naturalism. He offers an alternative to both and an attempt to bridge the gap between them, via the idea of 'emergent evolution'. In this theory the process of evolution has an emergent or innovative character resulting in a living world of ingenious, multifaceted complexity. (shrink)
Our world is complex—it is composed of many interacting parts—and this complexity poses a serious difficulty for theorists of social reform. On the one hand, we cannot merely work out ways of ameliorating immediate problems of injustice, because the solutions we generate may interact to set back the achievement of overall long-term justice. On the other, we cannot supplement such problem solving with theorizing about how to make progress towards a long-term goal of ideal justice, because the very interactions that (...) render problem solving unsatisfactory raise insurmountable epistemic difficulties for this latter approach. To accommodate complexity, we must therefore give up on ideal theory, and instead supplement problem solving with a new sort of theorizing that aims to work out how to make our institutional arrangements more progressive: more conducive to further improvements in general, though not necessarily to the achievement of any antecedently specified goal. More concretely, we must identify ways of improving our capacity to flexibly experiment with many promising solutions to problems as they arise, to select for those solutions that prove successful while eliminating those that do not, and to learn from both our successes and our inevitable failures. (shrink)