In this response to Jonny Anomaly’s ‘Is Obesity a Public Health Problem?’ I argue, contra the author that public health actually increases individuals’ abilities to choose actions that further their health goals, specifically in the case of obesity. The intractability of obesity as an individual medical problem combined with the health benefits of modest (5–10 per cent of body weight) weight loss suggest that public health measures helping people make small changes in eating habits improve population health. I argue that (...) such measures are available to public health via behavioral economic research and policy proposals from libertarian paternalists. I respond to author’s claim that obesity does not constitute a public health problem because: (i) it is not an epidemic and (ii) obesity reduction is not a public good. I argue that epidemic status is not required for classification as a public health problem, but that obesity does have the status of an epidemic. I also point out flaws in author’s reasoning about obesity, public health and social costs. I conclude by suggesting that public health, in partnership with stakeholders and other areas of government, is poised to help create conditions for modest weight loss and increased population health overall. (shrink)
In this volume C.A. (Chet) Bowers, whose pioneering work on education and environmental and sustainability issues is widely recognized and respected around the world, brings together a carefully curated selection of his seminal work on the ideological, cultural, and linguistic roots of the ecological crisis; misconceptions underlying modern consciousness; the cultural commons; a critique of technology; and educational reforms to address these pressing concerns. In the World Library of Educationalists, international scholars themselves compile career-long collections of what they judge to (...) be their finest pieces - extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and/practical contributions - so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Readers will be able to follow the themes and strands of their work and see their contribution to the development of a field, as well as the development of the field itself. Contributors to the series include : Michael Apple, James A. Banks, Joel Spring, William F. Pinar, Stephen J. Ball, Elliot Eisner, Howard Gardner, John Gilbert, Ivor F. Goodson, Peter Jarvis. (shrink)
Da Costa and French explore the consequences of adopting a 'pragmatic' notion of truth in the philosophy of science. Their framework sheds new light on issues to do with belief, theory acceptance, and the realism-antirealism debate, as well as the nature of scientific models and their heuristic development.
Dr Ian Ramsey has made considerable use of the word ‘disclosure’ in what he has to say about religion and in his attempts to give an account of the meaning of religious language. He sometimes speaks of ‘discernment’ or ‘insight’ but ‘disclosure’ is the word he normally favours. In what follows I shall ask: what a disclosure is, to what extent Dr Ramsey's use of the notion leads to confusions, and what questions have to be faced in order to resolve (...) these confusions. (shrink)
Peter Geach supports his case that the religion of Thomas Hobbes was both genuine and a version of Socinianism principally by comparing the theological and scriptural sections of Leviathan with the main doctrines of Socinianism and its latter-day developments in Unitarianism and Christadelphianism. He pays particular attention to comparisons with the Racovian Catechism, the theological writings of Joseph Priestley and the Christadelphian document Christendom Astray by Robert Roberts.
The ‘beautiful axiom’ to which Dickens refers is a central feature of Thomas Hobbes' thinking but its precise role in his moral philosophy remains unclear. I shall here attempt both to dispel the unclarity and to evaluate the adequacy of the position that emerges. Given the high level of contemporary interest in Hobbes' thought, both within and beyond philosophical circles, this is an enterprise of considerable importance. None the less, my interest is not merely interpretative, since the assessment of Hobbes' (...) attitude to ‘the beautiful axiom’ raises important and difficult questions about what might be termed the preconditions of morality. (shrink)
In an article in Philosophy R. G. Swinburne set out to argue that none of Hume's formal objections to the design argument ‘have any validity against a carefully articulated version of the argument’ . This, he maintained, is largely because Hume's criticisms ‘are bad criticisms of the argument in any form’ . The ensuing controversy between Swinburne and Olding 1 has focused upon the acceptable/unacceptable aspects of the dualism presupposed in Swinburne's defence of the design argument; upon whether any simplification (...) is achieved by reducing scientific explanation to agent explanation; and upon the problems which arise from taking a man's acting upon his body as the analogy for understanding a disembodied agent acting upon matter. In this article I shall refer to the Swinburne-Olding controversy when appropriate but my main concern is to return to Swinburne's original article and argue, seriatim , that Hume's individual criticisms of the design argument are for the most part a great deal more powerful than Swinburne allowed. I shall contend that cumulatively they destroy the design argument as any sort of rational foundation for theistic belief. But first I shall indicate briefly the character of the argument together with one or two of the distinctions and refinements in terms of which it has been found helpful to carry on the discussion in recent years. (shrink)
Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions (...) in the areas of history, law, mathematics, and psychology. (shrink)
"One basic and underlying assumption of this investigation will be that there is a distinct continuity and development in Berkeley's thought which can be traced through all of his reflective analyses of the problem of perception." The essay argues for Berkeley's theory of perception as a "prototype of the phenomenalists." It argues also for Berkeley's incorporation of elements from the representative theory of perception. Of special interest is the treatment of Berkeley's doctrine of "suggestion" and its connection with the role (...) of imagination in the perception of physical objects. The linguistic aspect of Berkeley's work is minimized. Berkeley's theory of notions receives only a passing reference. The last third of the book is a clear and useful discussion of Berkeley and contemporary phenomenalism. It is suggested, though not shown, that Berkeley has affinity with contemporary phenomenology of perception.--A. S. C. (shrink)
I explore the view that the imago Dei is essential to us as humans but accidental to us as persons. To image God is to resemble God, and resemblance comes in degrees. This has the straightforward—and perhaps disturbing—implication that we can be more or less human, and possibly cease to be human entirely. Hence, I call it the spectrum view. I argue that the spectrum view is complementary to the Biblical data, helps explain the empirical reality of horrendous evil, and (...) offers an elegant rapprochement between the traditional view of hell and its rivals. (shrink)
In the past thirty years, two fundamental issues have emerged in the philosophy of science. One concerns the appropriate attitude we should take towards scientific theories--whether we should regard them as true or merely empirically adequate, for example. The other concerns the nature of scientific theories and models and how these might best be represented. In this ambitious book, da Costa and French bring these two issues together by arguing that theories and models should be regarded as partially rather than (...) wholly true. They adopt a framework that sheds new light on issues to do with belief, theory acceptance, and the realism-antirealism debate. The new machinery of "partial structures" that they develop offers a new perspective from which to view the nature of scientific models and their heuristic development. Their conclusions will be of wide interest to philosophers and historians of science. (shrink)
The Three Papers comprising this series, together with my earlier  also published in this journal, constitute an attempt to set out the major issues in the theoretical domain of reduction and to develop a general theory of theory reduction. The fourth paper, , though published separately from this trio, is integral to the presentation and should be read in conjunction with these papers. Even so, the presentation is limited in scope – roughly, to intertheoretic reduction among empirical theories – (...) and informal in presentation – not least because a satisfying formal account of theories has yet to be offered. And despite the length, the treatment is still condensed; often corroborating and/or intuitively helpful detail has had to be consigned to footnotes or omitted. I approach the problem from within my own naturalistic realist philosophy of science and formal analysis of abstract hierarchy in theory. The sources for the former are , , , and  and those for the latter essentially  and . Hierarchical notions played a significant role in the already published . (shrink)
Any theory of reduction that goes only so far as carried in Parts I and II does only half the job. Prima facie at least, there are cases of would-be reduction which seem torn between two conflicting intuitions. On the one side there is a strong intuition that reduction is involved, and a strongly retentive reduction at that. On the other side it seems that the concepts at one level cross-classify those at the other level, so that there is no (...) way to identify properties at one level with those at the other. There is evidence to suggest that there will be no unique mental state/neural state association that can be set up, because, e.g., many different parts of the nervous system are all capable of taking over ‘control’ of the one mental function. And it is alleged that infinitely many, worse: indefinitely many, different bio-chemo-physical states could correspond to the economic property ‘has a monetary system of economic exchange’; and similarly for the property ‘has just won a game of tennis’. Yet one doesn't want an economic system or a game of tennis to be some ghostly addition to the actual bio-chemo-physical processes and events involved. Similarly one hopes that neurophysiology allied with the rest of natural science will render human experience and behaviour explicable. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the target article “From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism” by Siegfried J. Schmidt. Upshot: Siegfried J. Schmidt’s process-oriented constructivism, with which he proposes to dissolve the debate about realism, offers myriad intellectual challenges to constructivists from numerous different disciplines. While “From Objects to Processes” seems to represent a review of Schmidt’s work rather than a new addition to the debate, it derives in a convincing fashion the importance of a process- and action-based (...) unending constructivism from a combination of Schmidt’s own previous positions and a number of central epistemological questions. (shrink)
Part I of this trilogy, Historical and Scientific Setting, set out a general context for selecting a certain subclass of inter-theoretic relations as achieving appropriate explanatory and ontological unification – hence for properly being labelled reductive. Something of the complexity of these relations in real science was explored. The present article concentrates on the role which identity plays in structuring the reduction relation and so in achieving ontological and explanatory unification.