The purpose of the study was to assess medical journals’ conflicts of interest in the publication of book reviews. We examined book reviews published in 1999, 2000, and 2001 in five leading medical journals: Annals of Internal Medicine, British Medical Journal, Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet, and New England Journal of Medicine. The main outcome measure was journal publication of reviews of books that had been published by the journal’s own publisher, that had been edited or authored by (...) a lead editor of the journal, or that posed another conflict of interest. We also surveyed the editors-in-chief of the five journals about their policies on these conflicts of interests. During the study period, four of the five journals published 30 book reviews presenting a conflict of interest: nineteen by the BMJ, five by the Annals, four by JAMA, and two by the Lancet. These reviews represent 5.8%, 2.7%, 0.7%, and 0.7%, respectively, of all book reviews published by the journals. These four journals, respectively, published reviews of 11.9%, 25.0%, 0.9%, and 1.0% of all medical books published by the journals’ publishers. Only one of the 30 book reviews included a disclosure statement addressing the conflict of interest. None of the journals had a written policy pertaining to the conflicts of interest assessed in this study, although four reported having unwritten policies. We recommend that scientific journals and associations representing journal editors develop policies on conflicts of interest pertaining to book reviews. (shrink)
Modal collapse arguments are all the rage in certain philosophical circles as of late. The arguments purport to show that classical theism entails the absurdly fatalistic conclusion that everything exists necessarily. My first aim in this paper is bold: to put an end to action-based modal collapse arguments against classical theism. To accomplish this, I first articulate the ‘Simple Modal Collapse Argument’ and then characterize and defend Tomaszewski’s criticism thereof. Second, I critically examine Mullins’ new modal collapse argument formulated in (...) response to the aforementioned criticism. I argue that Mullins’ new argument does not succeed. Third, I critically examine a powers-based modal collapse argument against classical theism that has received much less attention in the literature. Fourth, I show why God’s being purely actual, as well God’s being identical to each of God’s acts, simply cannot entail modal collapse given indeterministic causation. This, I take it, signals the death of modal collapse arguments. But not all hope is lost for proponents of modal collapse arguments—for the death is a fruitful one insofar as it paves the way for new inquiry into at least two new potential problems for classical theism. Showing this is my paper’s second aim. (shrink)
What explains change? Edward Feser argues in his ‘Aristotelian proof’ that the only adequate answer to these questions is ultimately in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this paper, I target the cogency of Feser’s reasoning to such an answer. In particular, I present novel paths of criticism—both undercutting and rebutting—against one of Feser’s central premises. I then argue that Feser’s inference that the unactualized actualizer lacks any potentialities contains a number of non-sequiturs.
We argue that there is a conflict among classical theism's commitments to divine simplicity, divine creative freedom, and omniscience. We start by defining key terms for the debate related to classical theism. Then we articulate a new argument, the Aloneness Argument, aiming to establish a conflict among these attributes. In broad outline, the argument proceeds as follows. Under classical theism, it's possible that God exists without anything apart from Him. Any knowledge God has in such a world would be wholly (...) intrinsic. But there are contingent truths in every world, including the world in which God exists alone. So, it's possible that God contingently has wholly intrinsic knowledge. But whatever is contingent and wholly intrinsic is an accident. So, God possibly has an accident. This is incompatible with classical theism. Finally, we consider and rebut several objections. (shrink)
Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis, according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival (...) thesis—the Existential Expiration Thesis. Next, I provide a more precise characterization of EIT, after which I outline two metaphysical accounts of existential inertia. I then develop new lines of reasoning in favor of EIT that appeal to the theoretical virtues of explanatory power and simplicity. Finally, I address the predominant criticisms of EIT in the literature. (shrink)
I defend a new argument for causal finitism, the view that nothing can have an infinite causal history. I begin by defending a number of plausible metaphysical principles, after which I explore a host of novel variants of the Littlewood-Ross and Thomson’s Lamp paradoxes that violate such principles. I argue that causal finitism is the best solution to the paradoxes.
What do appeals to case studies accomplish? Consider the dilemma: On the one hand, if the case is selected because it exemplifies the philosophical point, then it is not clear that the historical data hasn't been manipulated to fit the point. On the other hand, if one starts with a case study, it is not clear where to go from there—for it is unreasonable to generalize from one case or even two or three.
Since the publication of Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim's ground-breaking work "Studies in the Logic of Explanation," the theory of explanation has remained a major topic in the philosophy of science. This valuable collection provides readers with the opportunity to study some of the classic essays on the theory of explanation along with the best examples of the most recent work being done on the topic. In addition to the original Hempel and Oppenheim paper, the volume includes Scriven's critical reaction (...) to it, Wilfrid Sellars's discussion of the problem of theoretical explanation, and pieces by Salmon, Railton, van Fraassen, Friedman, Kitcher, and Achinstein in which they demonstrate the vitality of the subject by extending the scope of the inquiry. (shrink)
Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy's naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy's naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel's argument for classical theism's advantage over Oppy's naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian doctrine along the (...) way. (shrink)
Surely God, as a perfectly rational being, created the universe for some reason. But is God’s creating the universe for a reason compatible with divine impassibility? That is the question I investigate in this article. The prima facie tension between impassibility and God’s creating for a reason arises from impassibility’s commitment to God being uninfluenced by anything ad extra. If God is uninfluenced in this way, asks the detractor, how could he be moved to create anything at all? This prima (...) facie tension has recently been formalized and dubbed the ‘Problem of Arbitrary Creation’. In this article, I defend a new extension of this problem. I begin by characterizing classical theism, divine simplicity, and divine impassibility. I then spell out the Problem of Arbitrary Creation as developed by R. T. Mullins. I next raise a worry for Mullins’ version of the argument. Finally, I extend the argument and show how my extension avoids the aforementioned worry. (shrink)
The modal collapse objection to classical theism has received significant attention among philosophers as of late. My aim in this paper is to advance this blossoming debate. First, I briefly survey the modal collapse literature and argue that classical theists avoid modal collapse if and only if they embrace an indeterministic link between God and his effects. Second, I argue that this indeterminism poses two challenges to classical theism. The first challenge is that it collapses God’s status as an intentional (...) agent who knows and intends what he is bringing about in advance. The second challenge is that it collapses God’s providential control over which creation obtains. (shrink)
Select groups and organizations embrace practices that perpetuate their inferiority. The result is the phenomenon we call “mediocrity.” This article examines the conditions under which mediocrity is selected and maintained by groups over time. Mediocrity is maintained by a key social process: the marginalization of the adept, which is a response to the group problem of what to do with the highly able. The problem arises when a majority of a group is comprised of average members who must decide what (...) to do with high performers in the group. To solve this problem, reward systems are subverted to benefit the less able and the adept are cast as deviant. Marginalization is a resolution of two tensions: marginalization of the adept for their behavior, and protection from the adept for the mediocre. The American research university is used as an example to describe the phenomenon and to formulate a theoretic argument. The forms and consequences of marginalization are discussed. Marginalizing the adept illustrates an anti-meritocratic behavioral pattern which serves to sustain social systems on which all people, however able, depend. (shrink)
The question is how do Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) give us access to the nano world? The images these instruments produce, I argue, do not allow us to see atoms in the same way that we see trees. To the extent that SEMs and STMs allow us to see the occupants of the nano world it is by way of metaphorical extension of the concept of “seeing”. The more general claim is that changes in scientific instrumentation effect changes in the (...) concepts central to our understanding of scientific results. (shrink)
It is argued that the question “Can we trust technology?” is unanswerable because it is open-ended. Only questions about specific issues that can have specific answers should be entertained. It is further argued that the reason the question cannot be answered is that there is no such thing as Technology simpliciter. Fundamentally, the question comes down to trusting people and even then, the question has to be specific about trusting a person to do this or that.
In this article, the author lists three problems that make any serious discussion about the ethics of leadership a very difficult undertaking. He then proposes a new, postindustrial paradigm of leadership. Using that understanding of leadership, two different sets of ethical analyses of leadership are possible: those concerned with the process of leadership and those concerned with the content of leadership. In the end, the author suggests that the industrial paradigm of ethics is inadequate to deal with the ethical decision (...) making that leaders and collaborators must do in the 21 st century. Thus, a postindustrial paradigm of ethics must be developed to enable leaders and collaborators to make the tough ethical choices that will be demanded in the new millennium. (shrink)
In this collection we finally find the philosophy of technology, a young and rapidly developing area of scholarly interest, making contact with history of science and technology, and mainstream epistemological and metaphysical issues. The sophistication of these papers indicates the maturity of the field as it moves away from the advocacy of anti-technology ideological posturing toward a deeper understanding of the options and restraints technological developments provide. The papers presented here take us over a threshold into the real world of (...) complicated social and technological interactions where science and art are shown to be integral to our understanding of technological change, and technological innovations are seen as configuring our knowledge of the world and opening up new possibilities for human development. With its rich historical base, this volume will be of interest to all students concerned about the interactions among technology, society, and philosophy. (shrink)
In this article, the author lists three problems that make any serious discussion about the ethics of leadership a very difficult undertaking. He then proposes a new, postindustrial paradigm of leadership. Using that understanding of leadership, two different sets of ethical analyses of leadership are possible: (I) those concerned with the process of leadership and (2) those concerned with the content of leadership (the changes proposed by the leaders and collaborators). In the end, the author suggests that the industrial paradigm (...) of ethics (the 18th century liberal philosophy) is inadequate to deal with the ethical decision making that leaders and collaborators must do in the 21 st century. Thus, a postindustrial paradigm of ethics must be developed to enable leaders and collaborators to make the tough ethical choices that will be demanded in the new millennium. (shrink)
Physicists were asked the question, “What do you think are the most important qualities needed to be successful at the type of work you do?” The results demonstrate which qualities physicists value and how values vary among the qualities they identified. The results also show how physicists’ beliefs about success vary by the rank of their department, age, productivity, and gender. More generally, the findings cast light on the moral order of physics by eliciting how members of an occupation construe (...) the structure of success in their line of work. (shrink)
Rhythm is key to language acquisition. Across languages, rhythmic features highlight fundamental linguistic elements of the sound stream and structural relations among them. A sensitivity to rhythmic features, which begins in utero, is evident at birth. What is less clear is whether rhythm supports infants' earliest links between language and cognition. Prior evidence has documented that for infants as young as 3 and 4 months, listening to their native language supports the core cognitive capacity of object categorization. This precocious link (...) is initially part of a broader template: listening to a non-native language from the same rhythmic class as and to vocalizations of non-human primates provide English-acquiring infants the same cognitive advantage as does listening to their native language. Here, we implement a machine-learning approach to ask whether there are acoustic properties, available on the surface of these vocalizations, that permit infants' to identify which vocalizations are candidate links to cognition. We provided the model with a robust sample of vocalizations that, from the vantage point of English-acquiring 4-month-olds, either support object categorization or fail to do so. We assess whether supervised ML classification models can distinguish those vocalizations that support cognition from those that do not, and which class of acoustic features best support that classification. Our analysis reveals that principal components derived from rhythm-relevant acoustic features were among the most robust in supporting the classification. Classifications performed using temporal envelope components were also robust. These new findings provide in principle evidence that infants' earliest links between vocalizations and cognition may be subserved by their perceptual sensitivity to rhythmic and spectral elements available on the surface of these vocalizations, and that these may guide infants' identification of candidate links to cognition. (shrink)
It is argued that Galileo's theory of justification was a version of explanationism. Galileo's Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems is to be read as primarily a defense of his theory of the tides. He shows how, by assuming Copernican motions, he can explain the tides, thereby justifying the endorsement of Copernicus. The crux of the argument rests on Galileo's account of explanation, which is novel in its reliance on the use of geometry. Finally, the consequences of his use (...) of geometry, and his views on the limits of knowledge, force us to conclude that if Galileo was a realist, his realism was so highly constrained as to be irrelevant. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to examine the relationship between philosophy (considered as an expression of fundamental values) and development, this here particularly understood in its economic sense. The author starts with an exploration of the meaning of development and then goes on to evaluate the views and perspectives that tend to argue against philosophy in its broadest sense (that is considered simply as a worldview or as a system of values) occupying a distinct and significant role in development. (...) In order to demonstrate this important point, the author explores what he considers to be the impact of the traditional African ethical outlook and values in relation to the economic activities and the process of development in contemporary Africa. O objectivo deste artigo é analisar a relação entre a filosofia (considerada como expressão de valores filosóficos fundamentais) e o desenvolvimento, sendo este especialmente entendido no sentido económico. O autor começa por explorar o significado de desenvolvimento e, em seguida, continua com a avaliação das visões e perspectivas que tendem a argumentar contra a filosofia no seu sentido mais alargado (isto é, a filosofia considerada simplesmente como visão do mundo ou como um sistema de valores) que ocupam um papel distinto e significativo no desenvolvimento, sendo esta exploração e avaliação efectuadas no sentido de argumentar que a filosofia tem, de facto, um papel muito distinto e significativo a desempenhar no processo de desenvolvimento, mesmo no sentido económico do termo. Para demonstrar este importante aspecto, o autor explora o que ele considera ser o impacto da perspectiva ética e dos valores tradicionais africanos em relação com as actividades económicas e o processo de desenvolvimento na África contemporânea. (shrink)
Although sports and athletics provide a nearly universal social context for the learning of such cherished values as courage, honesty, discipline, communal efforts, and the pursuit of excellence, little attention has been devoted to the philosophy of this important element in human life. In a fascinating survey of the philosophic dimensions of sports and athletics, the author delves into a variety of topics, including game and play theory, play-forms and game principles in history, existentialism and sports, the popularity of sports, (...) its educational values, the function of ethics and moral values, and the role of competition, violence and aggression, self discovery, spirituality, and joy. He also considers recurrent problems such as corruption, the excessive emphasis on winning, and the exploitation of student athletes and suggests specific ways of preserving perspective and integrity. -- From publisher's description. (shrink)