Bio-ontologies are essential tools for accessing and analyzing the rapidly growing pool of plant genomic and phenomic data. Ontologies provide structured vocabularies to support consistent aggregation of data and a semantic framework for automated analyses and reasoning. They are a key component of the Semantic Web. This paper provides background on what bio-ontologies are, why they are relevant to botany, and the principles of ontology development. It includes an overview of ontologies and related resources that are relevant to plant science, (...) with a detailed description of the Plant Ontology (PO). We discuss the challenges of building an ontology that covers all green plants (Viridiplantae). Key results: Ontologies can advance plant science in four keys areas: 1. comparative genetics, genomics, phenomics, and development, 2. taxonomy and systematics, 3. semantic applications and 4. education. Conclusions: Bio-ontologies offer a flexible framework for comparative plant biology, based on common botanical understanding. As genomic and phenomic data become available for more species, we anticipate that the annotation of data with ontology terms will become less centralized, while at the same time, the need for cross-species queries will become more common, causing more researchers in plant science to turn to ontologies. (shrink)
The Planteome project provides a suite of reference and species-specific ontologies for plants and annotations to genes and phenotypes. Ontologies serve as common standards for semantic integration of a large and growing corpus of plant genomics, phenomics and genetics data. The reference ontologies include the Plant Ontology, Plant Trait Ontology, and the Plant Experimental Conditions Ontology developed by the Planteome project, along with the Gene Ontology, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest, Phenotype and Attribute Ontology, and others. The project also provides (...) access to species-specific Crop Ontologies developed by various plant breeding and research communities from around the world. We provide integrated data on plant traits, phenotypes, and gene function and expression from 95 plant taxa, annotated with reference ontology terms. (shrink)
Merold Westphal’s new publication, Kierkegaard’s Concept of Faith, gives us an opportunity to explore the many ways in which Kierkegaard has influenced Westphal’s thinking as a whole. This present contribution seeks to show how Kierkegaard helps Westphal discover a concept of faith which holds no ‘reasonable’ foundation as it is entirely dependent upon two different aspects of revelation in tension with each other. Moreover, faith is seen as a willing assent by the believer, and thus it becomes a task and (...) not merely a proposition to behold or to which one’s life conforms. In addition to explicating this notion of faith within his work, this present contribution seeks to situate this faith within Westphal’s philosophy of religion, showing how it is integral to Westphal’s entire project. (shrink)
We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree, and make bolder claims than we could defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way--incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand. Nowhere is this more evident than in public discourse (...) today, and especially as it plays out across the internet. To philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, who have written extensively about moral grandstanding, such one-upmanship is not just annoying, but dangerous. As politics gets more and more polarized, people on both sides of the spectrum move further and further apart when they let grandstanding get in the way of engaging one another. The pollution of our most urgent conversations with self-interest damages the very causes they are meant to forward. Drawing from work in psychology, economics, and political science, and along with contemporary examples spanning the political spectrum, the authors dive deeply into why and how we grandstand. Using the analytic tools of psychology and moral philosophy, they explain what drives us to behave in this way, and what we stand to lose by taking it too far. Most importantly, they show how, by avoiding grandstanding, we can re-build a public square worth participating in. (shrink)
I develop a reduction of grounding to essence. My approach is to think about the relation between grounding and essence on the model of a certain conceptof existential dependence. I extend this concept of existential dependence in a coupleof ways and argue that these extensions provide a reduction of grounding to essenceif we use sorted variables that range over facts and take it that for a fact to obtain is forit to exist. I then use the account to resolve various (...) issues surrounding the concept of grounding and its connection with essence; apply the account to paradigm cases andto the impure logic of grounding; and respond to objections. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the concept of collective essence: that some truths are essential to many items taken together. For example, that it is essential to conjunction and negation that they are truth-functionally complete. The concept of collective essence is one of the main innovations of recent work on the theory of essence. In a sense, this innovation is natural, since we make all sorts of plural predications. It stands to reason that there should be a distinction between essential and (...) accidental plural predications if there is a distinction among singular predications. In this paper I defend the view that the concept of collective essence is governed by the principle of Monotonicity: that something is essential to some items only if it is essential to any items to which they belong. (shrink)
Recent scholarship has considered the requirements of justice and economic regimes in the work of John Rawls. This work has not delved into the requirements of justice and liberal socialism as deeply as the work that has been done on property-owning democracy. A thorough treatment of liberal socialism and the requirements of justice is needed. This paper seeks to begin to fill this gap. In particular, it needs to be shown if liberal socialism fully answers the requirements of justice better (...) than property-owning democracy. It will be argued that liberal socialism does significantly better in realizing the two principles. This paper has the following structure, first, an overview of Rawls' position on economic regimes, capitalism, and the requirements of justice will be presented. In particular, how the two principles work in tandem to meet the demands of distributive justice will be considered. Second, a review of property-owning democracy will be conducted. Finally, liberal socialism will be examined and discussed as an economic regime that answers the requirements of justice more fully. (shrink)
The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the 'generalized selected effects theory of function', which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology (...) itself, addressing issues ranging from the nature of mental representation to our understanding of the function of the human genome. Clear, jargon-free, and engagingly written, with accessible examples and explanatory diagrams to illustrate the discussion, his book will be highly valuable for readers across philosophical and scientific disciplines. (shrink)
One of the standard puzzles in ordinary-object metaphysics concerns what happens when an object and one of its undetached parts apparently begin to coincide. I distinguish two versions of this puzzle: the problem of extraordinary undetached parts and the problem of ordinary undetached parts. Then I present a novel phasalist solution to the problem of ordinary undetached parts. My solution is designed to supplement the recently-defended view that ordinary undetached parts exist but extraordinary ones do not.
Since the time of Hippocrates, madness has typically been viewed through the lens of disease, dysfunction, and defect. In 'Madness', philosopher of science Justin Garson presents a radically different paradigm for conceiving of madness and the forms that it takes. In this paradigm, which he calls madness-as-strategy, madness is neither a disease nor a defect, but a designed feature, like the heart or lungs.
Recent work on essence describes essence as assimilated to definition. It also posits a plurality of kinds of essence.Howdoes assimilation relate to pluralism? According to one view, a kind of essence is adequate only if it is definitional: something is essential to an item, in the relevant sense, only if it is part of what it is to be that item. In this paper, I argue that assimilation and pluralism are in tension with respect to consequentialist essence. This is problematic (...) given that, as a methodological prescription, some philosophers advise us to work with consequentialist essence. In this paper, I develop a theory of constitutive essence and use it to resolve the problem by defining an adequate notion of consequentialist essence that preserves the methodological prescription. (shrink)
The phasalist solution to the puzzle of the statue and the piece of clay claims that being a statue is a phase sortal property of the piece of clay, just like being a child is a phase sortal property of a human being. Some philosophers reject this solution because it cannot account for cases where the statue seems to gain and lose parts that the piece of clay does not. I rebut this objection by arguing, contrary to the prevailing view, (...) that the piece of clay is not mereologically constant, and might even be highly mereologically flexible. (shrink)
Despite its small stature, "if" occupies a central place both in everyday language and the philosophical lexicon. In allowing us to talk about hypothetical situations, "if" raises a host of thorny philosophical puzzles about language and logic. Addressing them requires tools from linguistics, logic, probability theory, and metaphysics. Justin Khoo uses these tools to navigate a maze of interconnected issues about conditionals, some of which include: the nature of linguistic communication, the relationship between logical and natural languages, and the (...) relationship between different kinds of modality. According to Khoo's theory, conditionals form a unified class of expressions which share a common semantic core that encodes inferential dispositions. Thus, rather than represent the world, conditionals are devices used to communicate how we are disposed to infer. Khoo shows that this theory can be extended to predict the probabilities of conditionals, as well as how different kinds of conditionals differ both semantically and pragmatically. Khoo's book will make for a significant contribution to the literature on conditionals and should be of interest to philosophers, linguists, and computer scientists. (shrink)
The phasalist solution to the classic puzzle of the statue and the piece of clay only works for some coincidence puzzles and not others. To address this limitation of phasalism, I develop a novel approach to coincidence puzzles that permits different kinds of coincidence puzzles to be solved in different ways, provided that each solution satisfies certain constraints inspired by the phasalist solution to the statue puzzle. I apply my approach to four different kinds of coincidence puzzles, and I argue (...) that it is no less plausible than rival approaches in the literature. (shrink)
Professionals, it is said, have no use for simple lists of virtues and vices. The complexities and constraints of professional roles create peculiar moral demands on the people who occupy them, and traits that are vices in ordinary life are praised as virtues in the context of professional roles. Should this disturb us, or is it naive to presume that things should be otherwise? Taking medical and legal practice as key examples, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking develop a rigorous (...) articulation and defence of virtue ethics, contrasting it with other types of character-based ethical theories and showing that it offers a promising new approach to the ethics of professional roles. They provide insights into the central notions of professional detachment, professional integrity, and moral character in professional life, and demonstrate how a virtue-based approach can help us better understand what ethical professional-client relationships would be like. (shrink)
Social contract theorists often take the ideal contract to be the agreement or bargain individuals would make in some privileged choice situation. Recently, experimental philosophers have explored this kind of decision-making in the lab. One rather robust finding is that the exact circumstances of choice significantly affect the kinds of social arrangements experimental subjects unanimously endorse. Yet prior work has largely ignored the question of which of the many competing descriptions of the original position subjects find most compelling. This paper (...) aims to address this gap, exploring how attractive experimental subjects find various characterizations of these circumstances of choice. We find evidence suggesting that no one choice situation can fulfill the role that social contract theorists have hoped it would play. We also find that, contrary to what some prominent social contract theorists have expected, there is no robust relationship between an individual’s ranking of distributive principles and their ranking of various descriptions of the original position. In conclusion, we discuss the broader implications of these results for political philosophy. (shrink)
What is it for something to be essential to an item? For some time, it was standard to think that the concept of necessity alone can provide an answer: for something to be essential to an item is for it to be strictly implied by the existence of that item. We now tend to think that this view fails because its analysans is insufficient for its analysandum. In response, some argue that we can supplement the analysis in terms of necessity (...) with a further condition. In this paper I argue that this view is untenable in its current form. I then provide a glimmer of hope to those who think that essence is at least partially analyzable in terms of necessity. (shrink)
Justin Snedegar develops and defends contrastivism about reasons. This is the view that normative reasons are fundamentally reasons for or against actions or attitudes only relative to sets of alternatives. Simply put, reasons are always reasons to do one thing rather than another, instead of simply being reasons to do something, full stop.
I argue that dependence is neither necessary nor sufficient for relative fundamentality. I then introduce the notion of 'likeness in nature' and provide an account of relative fundamentality in terms of it and the notion of dependence. Finally, I discuss some puzzles that arise in Aristotle's Categories, to which the theory developed is applied.
American sociologist Robert Nisbet once described conservatives and libertarians as “uneasy cousins.” The description is apt. While sharing a family resemblance and many of the same political rivals, conservatism and libertarianism are fundamentally at odds. This paper explains why this is so from the conservative perspective. It surveys the starting points and major themes of conservatism and libertarianism. It identifies what conservatives and libertarians agree about. It concludes by showing what conservatives have against libertarianism.
For some, biology explains all there is to know about the mind. Yet many big questions remain: is the mind shaped by genes or the environment? If mental traits are the result of adaptations built up over thousands of years, as evolutionary psychologists claim, how can such claims be tested? If the mind is a machine, as biologists argue, how does it allow for something as complex as human consciousness? The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction explores these questions and more, (...) using the philosophy of biology to introduce and assess the nature of the mind. Drawing on the four key themes of evolutionary biology; molecular biology and genetics; neuroscience; and biomedicine and psychiatry Justin Garson addresses the following key topics: moral psychology, altruism and levels of selection evolutionary psychology and modularity genes, environment and the nature-nurture debate neuroscience, reductionism and the relation between biology and free will function, selection and mental representation psychiatric classification and the maladapted mind. Extensive use of examples and case studies is made throughout the book, and additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. It will also be an excellent resource for those in related fields such as biology. (shrink)
Social egalitarianism holds that individuals ought to have equal power over outcomes within relationships. Egalitarian philosophers have argued for this ideal by appealing to features of political society. This way of grounding the social egalitarian principle renders it dependent on empirical facts about political culture. In particular, egalitarians have argued that social equality matters to citizens in political relationships in a way analogous to the value of equality in a marriage. In this paper, we show how egalitarian philosophers are committed (...) to psychological premises, and then illustrate how to test the social egalitarian’s empirical claims. Using a nationally representative survey experiment, we find that citizens will sometimes prioritize equality over competing values, but that the weight of social equality diminishes when moving from personal to political cases. These findings raise questions for thinking about how to explain the normative significance of social equality. (shrink)
This book is a critical survey of and guidebook to the literature on biological functions. It ties in with current debates and developments, and at the same time, it looks back on the state of discourse in naturalized teleology prior to the 1970s. It also presents three significant new proposals. First, it describes the generalized selected effects theory, which is one version of the selected effects theory, maintaining that the function of a trait consists in the activity that led to (...) its differential persistence or reproduction in a population, and not merely its differential reproduction. Secondly, it advances “within-discipline pluralism” (as opposed to between-discipline pluralism) a new form of function pluralism, which emphasizes the coexistence of function concepts within diverse biological sub-disciplines. Lastly, it provides a critical assessment of recent alternatives to the selected effects theory of function, namely, the weak etiological theory and the systems-theoretic theory. The book argues that, to the extent that functions purport to offer causal explanations for the existence of a trait, there are no viable alternatives to the selected effects view. -/- The debate about biological functions is still as relevant and important to biology and philosophy as it ever was. Recent controversies surrounding the ENCODE Project Consortium in genetics, the nature of psychiatric classification, and the value of ecological restoration, all point to the continuing relevance to biology of philosophical discussion about the nature of functions. In philosophy, ongoing debates about the nature of biological information, intentionality, health and disease, mechanism, and even biological trait classification, are closely related to debates about biological functions. (shrink)
Moral grandstanding is a pervasive feature of public discourse. Many of us can likely recognize that we have engaged in grandstanding at one time or another. While there is nothing new about the phenomenon of grandstanding, we think that it has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. In this essay, we provide an account of moral grandstanding as the use of public discourse for moral self-promotion. We then show that our account, with support from some standard theses of social (...) psychology, explains the characteristic ways that grandstanding is manifested in public moral discourse. We conclude by arguing that there are good reasons to think that moral grandstanding is typically morally bad and should be avoided. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to address the neglected but important problem of differentiating between epistemically beneficial and epistemically detrimental dissent. By “dissent,” we refer to the act of objecting to a particular conclusion, especially one that is widely held. While dissent in science can clearly be beneficial, there might be some instances of dissent that not only fail to contribute to scientific progress, but actually impede it. Potential examples of this include the tobacco industry’s funding of studies that (...) questioned the link between smoking and lung cancer, and the attempt by the petroleum industry and other groups to cast doubt upon the conclusion that human consumption of fossil fuels contributes to global climate change. The problem of distinguishing between good and bad dissent is important because of the growing tendency of some stakeholders to attempt to delay political action by ’manufacturing doubt’. Our discussion in this paper focuses on climate science. This field, in our view, is rife with instances of bad dissent. On the basis of our discussion of climate science, we articulate a set of sufficient conditions for epistemically problematic dissent in general, which we call “the inductive risk account of epistemically detrimental dissent.”. (shrink)
Recent scholarship in philosophy of science and technology has shown that scientific and technological decision making are laden with values, including values of a social, political, and/or ethical character. This paper examines the role of value judgments in the design of machine-learning systems generally and in recidivism-prediction algorithms specifically. Drawing on work on inductive and epistemic risk, the paper argues that ML systems are value laden in ways similar to human decision making, because the development and design of ML systems (...) requires human decisions that involve tradeoffs that reflect values. In many cases, these decisions have significant—and, in some cases, disparate—downstream impacts on human lives. After examining an influential court decision regarding the use of proprietary recidivism-prediction algorithms in criminal sentencing, Wisconsin v. Loomis, the paper provides three recommendations for the use of ML in penal systems. (shrink)
Research has suggested an increase in loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, but much of this work has been cross-sectional, making causal inferences difficult. In the present research, we employed a longitudinal design to identify loneliness trajectories within a period of twelve months during the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium (N = 2106). We were particularly interested in the potential protective role of self-compassion in these temporal dynamics. Using a group-based trajectory modelling approach, we identified trajectory groups of individuals following low (11.0%), (...) moderate-low (22.4%), moderate (25.7%), moderate-high (31.3%), and high (9.6%) levels of loneliness. Findings indicated that younger people, women, and individuals with poor quality relationships, high levels of health anxiety, and stress related to COVID-19, all had a higher probability of belonging to the highest loneliness trajectory groups. Importantly, we also found that people high in two of the three facets of self-compassion (self-kindness and common humanity) had a lower probability of belonging to the highest loneliness trajectory groups. Ultimately, we demonstrated that trajectory groups reflecting higher levels of loneliness were associated with lower life satisfaction and greater depressive symptoms. We discuss the possibility that increasing self-compassion may be used to promote better mental health in similarly challenging situations. (shrink)
This paper examines the state of the field of “science and values”—particularly regarding the implications of the thesis of transient underdetermination for the ideal of value-free science, or what I call the “ideal of epistemic purity.” I do this by discussing some of the main arguments in the literature, both for and against the ideal. I examine a preliminary argument from transient underdetermination against the ideal of epistemic purity, and I discuss two different formulations of an objection to this argument—an (...) objection that requires the strict separation of the epistemic from the practical. A secondary aim of the paper is to suggest some future directions for the field, one of which is to replace the vocabulary of values that is often employed in the literature with a more precise one. (shrink)