Since published acknowledgements of scientific misconduct are a species of image restoration, common strategies for responding publicly to accusations can be expected: from sincere apologies to ritualistic apologies. This study is a rhetorical examination of these strategies as they are reflected in choices in language: it compares the published retractions and letters of apology with the letters that charge misconduct. The letters are examined for any shifts in language between the charge of misconduct and the response to the charge in (...) order to assess whether the apology was sincere or ritualistic. The results indicate that although most authors’ published acknowledgments of scientific misconduct seem to minimize culpability by means of the strategic use of language, their resulting ritualistic apologies often still satisfy in some way the accusers’ (and thus their community’s) concerns. (shrink)
Arguments from thought experiment ask the reader to imagine some hypothetical, sometimes exotic, often fantastic, scenario for the sake of illustrating or countering some claim. Variously characterized as mental experimentation, imaginary cases, and even crazy cases, thought experiments figure into both scientific and philosophical arguments. They are often criticized for their fictive nature and for their lack of grounding. Nevertheless, they are common especially in arguments in ethics and philosophy of mind. Moreover, many thought experiments have spawned variations that attempt (...) to both affirm and refute their original arguments. These emended thought experiments exhibit a variety of styles, details, and embellishments. A rhetorical analysis of these variations suggests a reciprocal influence between the arguers' selection of details and their philosophical commitments. I offer examples of this relationship from the variations on John Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment and Judith Thomson's unconscious violinist thought experiment. (shrink)
This article points out the challenges to current models for media ethics that arise from the private ownership of public media, and it proposes a new model that integrates Adam Smith's free-market theory and his system of moral reasoning. The model creates moral obligations to maintain the integrity of a system for anyone who profits from it. This model renews an appeal for the contemporary notion of transparency and is built on an analogy between the system of the free market (...) for creating wealth and the system of the free press for producing reliable market information. (shrink)
Citizens need accurate news to govern themselves effectively in a democratic society. Journalists argue editorial independence is necessary to ensure that the integrity of news is not compromised. However, the economic characteristics of news create conflicts between the ideal of independence and the need to pay production costs. This study analyzes those conflicts and the economic tools for resolving them. The analysis suggests ways to balance independence and economic necessity without violating mutual ethical obligations shared by journalists, audiences, and advertisers. (...) Independence, along with a good budget, tends to make for quality journalism. —Michael Wolff, The Man Who Owns the News (p. 225). (shrink)
Compiled by an archaeologist and philosopher of science, Science at the Frontiers: Perspectives on the History and Philosophy of Science supplements current literature in the history and philosophy of science with essays approaching the traditional problems of the field from new perspectives and highlighting disciplines usually overlooked by the canon. William H. Krieger brings together scientists from a number of disciplines to answer these questions and more in a volume appropriate for both students and academics in the field.
Contemporary professional restaurant reviews have consequences beyond the dinner plate. They now face challenges from the democratizing efforts of blogs and crowd-sourced reviews. Thus an analysis seems appropriate for determining how they are written and what might be lost should they be replaced. Restaurant reviews are presumed to be a species of art and literary criticism and as such have evolved as a rhetorical genre. Through genre analysis we inductively construct the form of the professional restaurant review and then apply (...) it deductively to recent reviews to discover any substantive and stylistic differences that have arisen in the evolution of this genre of writing. We conclude with a critique of this genre that reveals ethical implications for the uses of metaphors in professional restaurant reviews. (shrink)
The goal of most scientific research published in peer-review journals is to discover and report the truth. However, the research record includes tongue-in-cheek papers written in the conventional form and style of a research paper. Although these papers were intended to be taken ironically, bibliographic database searches show that many have been subsequently cited as valid research, some in prestigious journals. We attempt to understand why so many readers cited such ironic science seriously. We draw from the literature on error (...) propagation in research publication for ways categorize citations. We adopt the concept of irony from the fields of literary and rhetorical criticism to detect, characterize, and analyze the interpretations in the more than 60 published research papers that cite an instance of ironic science. We find a variety of interpretations: some citing authors interpret the research as valid and accept it, some contradict or reject it, and some acknowledge its ironic nature. We conclude that publishing ironic science in a research journal can lead to the same troubles posed by retracted research, and we recommend relevant changes to publication guidelines. (shrink)