The devastating impact of the national opioid epidemic has given rise to hundreds of lawsuits. This article details the extremely broad range of legal claims, compares the opioid cases to other public health litigation efforts, including tobacco, and describes the special mechanism — a multidistrict litigation — through which more than 700 opioid-related cases have been consolidated thus far, with settlement almost certain to follow.
Ecology is being introduced to Evolutionary Developmental Biology to enhance organism-, population-, species-, and higher-taxon-level studies. This exciting, bourgeoning troika will revolutionise how investigators consider relationships among environment, ontogeny, and phylogeny. Features are studied (and even defined) differently in ecology, development, and evolution. Form is central to development and evolution but peripheral to ecology. Congruence (i.e., homology) is applied at different hierarchical levels in the three disciplines. Function is central to ecology but peripheral to development. Herein, the supercategories form (‘isomorphic’ (...) or ‘allomorphic’), congruence (‘homologous’ or ‘homoplastic’), and function (‘adaptive’ or ‘nonadaptive’) are combined with two developmental mode (i.e., growth) categories (‘conformational’ or ‘nonconformational’) to provide a 16-class system for analysing features in studies in which ecology, development, and evolution are integrated. (shrink)
Using a dataset of corporate philanthropic gifts of $1 million or more, we examine the influence of corporate donors on the performance of recipient non-profit organizations. We find that corporate donors positively influence NPO performance, specifically in the form of higher revenues per employee, program ratios, and fundraising returns. We find little evidence that large foundation or individual donors similarly enhance organizational performance. In additional analysis, we find that large corporate donations matter when the corporation is more likely to have (...) influence over the recipient NPO. These findings suggest that corporate donors provide the monitoring and expertise needed to enhance organizational performance beyond simply providing funding to NPOs. Our results are robust to a two-stage model and propensity score matching to address endogeneity concerns. While prior research has examined the effect of corporate philanthropy on donor organization performance, we contribute to the literature by examining whether corporate philanthropy also improves recipient organization performance. (shrink)
Background: Caring for a partner with primary malignant brain tumour can be a dramatic life-changing event. Primary malignant brain tumour is known to give poor life expectancy and severe neurological and cognitive symptoms, such as changed behaviour and personality, which demand greater caring responsibilities from spouses. Aim: The aim of the study is to explore ethical dilemmas spouses experience in the everyday care of a partner in treatment for primary malignant brain tumour. Research design, participants and research context: A phenomenological (...) and hermeneutic qualitative descriptive design was adopted as a method for collecting and analysing data. Ten spouses were interviewed twice using an in-depth, semi-structured interview guide. The interviews took place at the spouses’ homes or at the hospital. Ethical consideration: Ethical matters were considered throughout the research process. Permission from The National Committee on Health Research Ethics and the Danish Data Protection Agency was obtained. Findings: The analysis showed that the spouses perceived daily ethical dilemmas in caring for a partner with primary malignant brain tumour. Their life as well as their partner’s life had changed considerably. The main theme that emerged therefore was ‘oscillating in a changing relationship’. This theme was further elaborated in three subthemes that in more detail demonstrated the dilemmas: ‘doing the right thing in unpredictable daily situations’; ‘torn between patience and guilt’; and ‘living in a time of uncertainty, hope and despair’. Conclusion: Caring for a partner with changed behaviour and personality due to primary malignant brain tumour may involve exhausting ethical caring dilemmas. Spouses’ married life may change to a semi-professional asymmetrical relationship, which is challenged by the oscillation between acting responsibly for their partners’ well-being and caring dilemmas with no answer for what the right thing to do is. Mixed feelings of right and wrong, patience and guilt, hope and despair seem to be spousal companions through their partners’ progressing illness. (shrink)
The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as presently (...) formulated it is either unable to prefer high-level explanations to low, or systematically overshoots, recommending explanations at so high of a level as to be virtually vacuous. (shrink)
This paper critiques the new mechanistic explanatory program on grounds that, even when applied to the kinds of examples that it was originally designed to treat, it does not distinguish correct explanations from those that blunder. First, I offer a systematization of the explanatory account, one according to which explanations are mechanistic models that satisfy three desiderata: they must 1) represent causal relations, 2) describe the proper parts, and 3) depict the system at the right ‘level.’ Second, I argue that (...) even the most developed attempts to fulfill these desiderata fall short by failing to appropriately constrain explanatorily apt mechanistic models. -/- *This paper used to be called "The Emperor's New Mechanisms". (shrink)
Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can provide a principled (...) solution to it. After sketching that solution, it is applied to a few biological examples, including to a debate concerning the ‘causal democracy’ of organismal development, with an anti-democratic (though not a gene-centric) moral. (shrink)
The Tree of Life has traditionally been understood to represent the history of species lineages. However, recently researchers have suggested that it might be better interpreted as representing the history of cellular lineages, sometimes called the Tree of Cells. This paper examines and evaluates reasons offered against this cellular interpretation of the Tree of Life. It argues that some such reasons are bad reasons, based either on a false attribution of essentialism, on a misunderstanding of the problem of lineage identity, (...) or on a limited view of scientific representation. I suggest that debate about the Tree of Cells and other successors to the traditional Tree of Life should be formulated in terms of the purposes these representations may serve. In pursuing this strategy, we see that the Tree of Cells cannot serve one purpose suggested for it: as an explanation for the hierarchical nature of taxonomy. We then explore whether, instead, the tree may play an important role in the dynamic modeling of evolution. As highly-integrated complex systems, cells may influence which lineage components can successfully transfer into them and how they change once integrated. Only if they do in fact have a substantial role to play in this process might the Tree of Cells have some claim to be the Tree of Life. (shrink)
Philosophical theories of explanation characterize the difference between correct and incorrect explanations. While remaining neutral as to which of these ‘first-order’ theories is right, this paper asks the ‘meta-explanatory’ question: is the difference between correct and incorrect explanation real, i.e., objective or mind-independent? After offering a framework for distinguishing realist from anti-realist views, I sketch three distinct paths to explanatory anti-realism.
The requirement of randomization in experimental design was first stated by R. A. Fisher, statistician and geneticist, in 1925 in his book Statistical Methods for Research Workers. Earlier designs were systematic and involved the judgment of the experimenter; this led to possible bias and inaccurate interpretation of the data. Fisher's dictum was that randomization eliminates bias and permits a valid test of significance. Randomization in experimenting had been used by Charles Sanders Peirce in 1885 but the practice was not continued. (...) Fisher developed his concepts of randomizing as he considered the mathematics of small samples, in discussions with "Student," William Sealy Gosset. Fisher published extensively. His principles of experimental design were spread worldwide by the many "voluntary workers" who came from other institutions to Rothamsted Agricultural Station in England to learn Fisher's methods. (shrink)