Although prediction has been largely absent from discussions of explanation for the past 40 years, theories of explanation can gain much from a reintroduction. I review the history that divorced prediction from explanation, examine the proliferation of models of explanation that followed, and argue that accounts of explanation have been impoverished by the neglect of prediction. Instead of a revival of the symmetry thesis, I suggest that explanation should be understood as a cognitive tool that assists us in generating new (...) predictions. This view of explanation and prediction clarifies what makes an explanation scientific and why inference to the best explanation makes sense in science. *Received August 2009; revised September 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee, 801 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37920‐0480; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
The moral terrain of science, the full range of ethical considerations that are part of the scientific endeavor, has not been mapped. Without such a map, we cannot examine the responsibilities of scientists to see if the institutions of science are adequately constructed. This paper attempts such a map by describing four dimensions of the terrain: (1) the bases to which scientists are responsible (scientific reasoning, the scientific community, and the broader society); (2) the nature of the responsibility (general or (...) role); (3) the level of responsibility (minimum demand or ideal); and (4) who bears the responsibility (the individual or the community). Such a map will be used to elucidate the recent debate over the publication of studies concerning H5N1 flu virus. (shrink)
Philosophy of science was once a much more socially engaged endeavor, and can be so again. After a look back at philosophy of science in the 1930s-1950s, I turn to discuss the current potential for returning to a more engaged philosophy of science. Although philosophers of science have much to offer scientists and the public, I am skeptical that much can be gained by philosophers importing off-the-shelf discussions from philosophy of science to science and society. Such efforts will likely look (...) like efforts to do applied ethics by merely applying ethical theories to particular contexts and problems. While some insight can be gained by these kinds of endeavors, the most interesting and pressing problems for the actual practitioners and users of science are rarely addressed. Instead, I recommend that philosophers of science engage seriously and regularly with scientists and/or the users of science in order to gain an understanding of the conceptual issues on the ground. From such engagement, flaws in the traditional philosophical frameworks, and how such flaws can be remedied, become apparent. Serious engagement with the contexts of science thus provides the most fruit for philosophy of science per se and for the practitioners whom the philosophers aim to assist. And if one focuses on contexts where science has its most social relevance, these efforts can help to provide the thing that philosophy of science now lacks: a full-bodied philosophy of science in society. (shrink)
The importance of science for guiding policy decisions has been an increasingly central feature of policy-making for much of the past century. But which science we have available to us and what counts as adequate science for policy-making shapes substantially the specific impact science has on policy decisions. Policy influences which science we pursue and how we pursue it in practice, as well as how science ultimately informs policy. Values inform our choices in these areas, as values shape the research (...) agendas scientists pursue, the issues debated as we decide on policy, and what counts as sufficient warrant in any given case. And what we value is shaped by our empirical understanding of what is, what is... (shrink)
After raising some minor philosophical points about Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values (2017), I argue that we should expand on the themes raised in the book and that philosophers of science need to pay as much attention to the loom of science (i.e., the institutional structures which guide the pursuit of science) as the tapestry of science. The loom of science includes such institutional aspects as patents, funding sources, and evaluation regimes that shape how science gets pursued, and that (...) attending to these aspects will enable us to provide more robust guidance on the values that infuse the tapestry of science. (shrink)
There is considerable disagreement about the epistemic value of novel predictive success, i.e. when a scientist predicts an unexpected phenomenon, experiments are conducted, and the prediction proves to be accurate. We survey the field on this question, noting both fully articulated views such as weak and strong predictivism, and more nascent views, such as pluralist reasons for the instrumental value of prediction. By examining the various reasons offered for the value of prediction across a range of inferential contexts , we (...) can see that neither weak nor strong predictivism captures all of the reasons for valuing prediction available. A third path is presented, Pluralist Instrumental Predictivism; PIP for short. (shrink)
Weighing complex sets of evidence (i.e., from multiple disciplines and often divergent in implications) is increasingly central to properly informed decision-making. Determining “where the weight of evidence lies” is essential both for making maximal use of available evidence and figuring out what to make of such evidence. Weighing evidence in this sense requires an approach that can handle a wide range of evidential sources (completeness), that can combine the evidence with rigor, and that can do so in a way other (...) experts can assess and critique (transparency). But the democratic context in need of weight-of-evidence analysis also places additional constraints on the process, including communicability of the process to the general public, the need for an approach that can be used across a broad range of contexts (scope), and timeliness of process (practicality). I will compare qualitative and quantitative approaches with respect to both traditional epistemic criteria and criteria that arise from the democratic context, and argue that a qualitative explanatory approach can best meet the criteria and elucidate how to utilize the other approaches. This should not be surprising, as the approach I argue for is the one that most closely tracks general scientific reasoning. (shrink)
This study examines the similarities and differences in pre- and post-Sarbanes-Oxley corporate ethics codes and codes of conduct using the framework of structuration theory. Following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) legislation in 2002 in the United States, publicly traded companies there undertook development and revision of their codes of ethics in response to new regulatory requirements as well as incentives under the U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines, which were also revised as part of the SOX mandates. Questions that remain are (...) whether these new or revised codes are effective means of communicating changed ethical foci and attitudes in organizations. Centering resonance analysis (CRA) is used to identify differences and similarities across time and industries by analyzing word networks of 46 pre- and post-SOX corporate codes of ethics. Analyses focus on content and structure of generated word networks as well as resulting factors that emerged from the texts. Results are interpreted from the structuration perspective that content and structure of codes are constrained and enabled by system structures while they function to produce and reproduce those structures. Results indicate that corporate codes of ethics are formal discourses of ethics, laws, and control. Code structure has changed across time, with an increased emphasis on compliance in post-SOX codes. Implications for research and practice are discussed in light of findings. (shrink)
Intellectual Disability: Ethics, Dehumanization, and a New Moral Community presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the roots and evolution of the dehumanization of people with intellectual disabilities. Examines the roots of disability ethics from a psychological, philosophical, and educational perspective Presents a coherent, sustained moral perspective in examining the historical dehumanization of people with diminished cognitive abilities Includes a series of narratives and case descriptions to illustrate arguments Reveals the importance of an interdisciplinary understanding of the social construction of intellectual disability.
There are many popular treatments of Zen/Chan and Daoist themes related to working with horses; however, these works tend to be fairly superficial treatments of philosophical traditions. For deeper consideration of the philosophy of horse sports such as dressage, I explore themes and imagery in the Daodejing, such as noncontention, flow, humility, and mysticism that may help riders to unpack and enhance the experience of working with a nonhuman teammate. Comparative work, such as with Dewey's theory of aesthetic experience and (...) the psychology of “flow,” further helps to conceptualize the relationship between athleticism and artistic value in formal equestrian sports. (shrink)
Farmers in a southwestern Ontario watershed were surveyed to determine factors influencing their attitudes towards adoption of soil conservation practices. The majority of farmers in the watershed were internally motivated which indicates they believe that their own actions determine their successes and failures. Most respondents were also environmentally oriented. However, although many farmers in the study area have adopted crop rotations and cross-slope tillage, the adoption rate of conservation tillage is low. The survey suggests that the low adoption rate may (...) be more a function of perceived economic risk associated with the tillage practice than lack of farmer motivation. (shrink)
Douglas proposes a new ideal in which values serve an essential function throughout scientific inquiry, but where the role values play is constrained at key points, protecting the integrity and objectivity of science.
From cultural figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Wendell Berry to philosophers such as Jane Addams and William James, this collection explores the usefulness of theoretical work in American philosophy and pragmatism to resilience practices in ecology, community, rurality, and psychology.
Recent feminist research suggests that individual women find menopause an inconsequential or positive experience overall. While recent aging scholarship also documents that contemporary individuals often define aging neutrally or positively, menopause may not resemble other aging processes in meaning and experience. The author argues that menopause, or reproductive aging, may be unique because of its reproductive and aging contexts. Data in this article are based on interviews with 45 middle-class, heterosexual, menopausal women in a midwestern state in 2001. Interviewees propose (...) that, upon menopause, they do not feel old. They explain these feelings by describing their widespread use of contraceptive technologies, greater enjoyment of sexual activity upon menopause, and parallels between menopause and menarche. As women in this sample place menopause within the context of previous reproductive experiences and compare it to other aging processes, they suggest that reproductive aging represents a “good old.”. (shrink)
The terms ``objectivity'''' and ``objective'''' are among the mostused yet ill-defined terms in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Common to all thevarious usages is the rhetorical force of ``I endorse this and you should too'''', orto put it more mildly, that one should trust the outcome of the objectivity-producing process.The persuasive endorsement and call to trust provide some conceptual coherenceto objectivity, but the reference to objectivity is hopefully not merely an attemptat persuasive endorsement. What, in addition to epistemological endorsement,does (...) objectivity carry with it? Drawing on recent historical and philosophical work,I articulate eight operationally accessible and distinct senses of objectivity.While there are links among these senses, providing cohesion to the concept, I argue thatnone of the eight senses is strictly reducible to the others, giving objectivity itsirreducible complexity. (shrink)
Although epistemic values have become widely accepted as part of scientific reasoning, non-epistemic values have been largely relegated to the "external" parts of science (the selection of hypotheses, restrictions on methodologies, and the use of scientific technologies). I argue that because of inductive risk, or the risk of error, non-epistemic values are required in science wherever non-epistemic consequences of error should be considered. I use examples from dioxin studies to illustrate how non-epistemic consequences of error can and should be considered (...) in the internal stages of science: choice of methodology, characterization of data, and interpretation of results. (shrink)
Traditionally, cognitive values have been thought of as a collective pool of considerations in science that frequently trade against each other. I argue here that a finer-grained account of the value of cognitive values can help reduce such tensions. I separate the values into groups, minimal epistemic criteria, pragmatic considerations, and genuine epistemic assurance, based in part on the distinction between values that describe theories per se and values that describe theory-evidence relationships. This allows us to clarify why these values (...) are central to science and what role they should play, while reducing the tensions among them. (shrink)