Many publicly-funded health systems apply cost-benefit frameworks in response to the moral dilemma of how best to allocate scarce healthcare resources. However, implementation of recommendations based on costs and benefit calculations and subsequent challenges have led to ‘special cases’ with certain types of health benefits considered more valuable than others. Recent debate and research has focused on the relative value of life extensions for people with terminal illnesses. This research investigates societal perspectives in relation to this issue, in the UK.
For nearly half a century, Quentin Skinner has been the world's foremost interpreter of Thomas Hobbes. When the contextualist mode of intellectual history now known as the “Cambridge School” was first asserting itself in the 1960s, the life and writings of John Locke were the primary topic for pioneers such as Peter Laslett and John Dunn. At that time, Hobbes was still the plaything of philosophers and political scientists, virtually all of whom wrote in an ahistorical, textual-analytic manner. Hobbes had (...) not been the subject of serious contextual research for decades, since the foundational writings of Ferdinand Tönnies. For Skinner, he was thus an ideal subject, providing a space for original research on a major figure, and an occasion for some polemically charged methodological manifestos. Both of these purposes animated his 1965 article “History and Ideology in the English Revolution,” and his 1966 article “The Ideological Context of Hobbes's Political Thought”. The latter of these remains to this day one of the most widely cited scholarly articles in the fifty-year run of Cambridge's Historical Journal. Among other results of these early efforts was the scholarly controversy during which Howard Warrender chided Skinner for having reduced the “classic texts in political philosophy” to mere “tracts for the times”. (shrink)
A prominent approach to scientific explanation and modeling claims that for a model to provide an explanation it must accurately represent at least some of the actual causes in the event's causal history. In this paper, I argue that many optimality explanations present a serious challenge to this causal approach. I contend that many optimality models provide highly idealized equilibrium explanations that do not accurately represent the causes of their target system. Furthermore, in many contexts, it is in virtue of (...) their independence of causes that optimality models are able to provide a better explanation than competing causal models. Consequently, our account of explanation and modeling must expand beyond the causal approach. (shrink)
We systematically reviewed contemporary literature to create an evidence-informed framework for research studies involving children and adolescents who can assent to participate. We searched seven citation indices to locate peer-reviewed research published in English language journals between 2000 and 2012. After screening 1,231 titles and abstracts for relevance, we assessed levels of evidence, extracted information, and analysed content from 87 articles. Most articles narrowly focused on paediatric assent barriers and facilitators for decision-making about research participation. No articles provided a single, (...) comprehensive ethical framework to guide the development and review of research assent protocols. We developed a 6-step framework that provides guidance to: prepare the child for the assent process; assess the child’s readiness to engage in decision making; discuss the elements of informed consent to the greatest extent possible; seek an initial assent decision; monitor and affirm assent; and respect the child’s role as a research participant. The PAeDS-MoRe framework also supports the creation of process models that address the unique, developmental needs of paediatric sub-groups, and guides the operationalization of jurisdictional requirements for ethical research involving children who are unable to provide free, informed and ongoing consent. (shrink)
Many accounts of scientific modelling assume that models can be decomposed into the contributions made by their accurate and inaccurate parts. These accounts then argue that the inaccurate parts of the model can be justified by distorting only what is irrelevant. In this paper, I argue that this decompositional strategy requires three assumptions that are not typically met by our best scientific models. In response, I propose an alternative view in which idealized models are characterized as holistically distorted representations that (...) are justified by allowing for the application of various modelling techniques. (shrink)
Anthony Collins (1676-1729) maintains that consciousness might be a material process or result from material processes. On the one hand, Collins accepts Locke’s view that from consciousness, i.e., the activity of thinking, we acquire no knowledge about the nature of the thinking substance. On the other, he takes seriously Samuel Clarke’s challenge that the thinking substance must be suitably unified because consciousness is unified. In this paper, I argue that, throughout his correspondence with Clarke, Collins maintains that (...) consciousness signifies actual thinking and does not refer to the capacity of thinking. His main materialist thesis is that the powers of parts of material systems can bring about unified powers and that the power of thinking may be such a power. Collins attempts to satisfy the unity requirement by arguing that a unity correspondence can obtain between consciousness and the power of thinking that is realized in a material composite. (shrink)
In this paper, I first argue against various attempts to justify idealizations in scientific models that explain by showing that they are harmless and isolable distortions of irrelevant features. In response, I propose a view in which idealized models are characterized as providing holistically distorted representations of their target system. I then suggest an alternative way that idealized modeling can be justified by appealing to universality.
In this paper, we develop a neo-Humean response to the problem of moral inclusion by bringing Humean moral philosophy into deep and serious dialogue with Latin American philosophy. Our argument for achieving this two-fold aim unfolds as follows. In section one, we elucidate Mia Sosa-Provencio’s conception of a mestiza ethics of care. We begin by highlighting its fundamental elements, especially its concern with what we refer to as the cultural embeddedness both of moral agents and of moral patients. We then (...) explain how this aspect of the mestiza ethic poses a distinctive challenge for Humean moral philosophy. In section two, we develop a neo-Humean response to this challenge. We begin by highlighting the strengths and limits of trying to develop a response by appealing to Hume’s conceptions of sympathy and humanity. We then present what we take to be the most plausible way for a neo-Humean conception of moral philosophy to offer a satisfactory reply to the challenge posed by the mestiza ethics of care, by appealing to two key concepts from outside the system of Hume’s moral philosophy: namely, sympathetic understanding and relational humility. (shrink)
Catherine Elgin has recently argued that a nonfactive conception of understanding is required to accommodate the epistemic successes of science that make essential use of idealizations and models. In this paper, I argue that the fact that our best scientific models and theories are pervasively inaccurate representations can be made compatible with a more nuanced form of scientific realism that I call Understanding Realism. According to this view, science aims at factive scientific understanding of natural phenomena. I contend that this (...) factive scientific understanding is provided by grasping a set of true modal information about the phenomenon of interest. Furthermore, contrary to Elgin’s view, I argue that the facticity of this kind of scientific understanding can be separated from the inaccuracy of the models and theories used to produce it. (shrink)
Efforts in Virginia highlight an emerging approach to improving health and well-being for the population — human-centered design intentionally focused on protecting health and improving well-being. This keynote emphasized a data-informed approach facilitated by multi-sectoral leadership that promotes alignment of community assets focused to result in system changes more likely to sustainably improve health and well-being.
Recently philosophers of science have begun to pay more attention to the use of highly idealized mathematical models in scientific theorizing. An important example of this kind of highly idealized modeling is the widespread use of optimality models within evolutionary biology. One way to understand the explanations provided by these models is as a censored causal explanation: an explanation that omits certain causal factors in order to focus on a modular subset of the causal processes that led to the explanandum. (...) In this paper, I first argue that the censored causal model approach fails to establish a permanent explanatory role for optimality models in biology and mischaracterizes the explanatory virtues of biological optimality modeling. In addition, I argue that many biological optimality explanations cannot be characterized as censored causal explanations. In response, I propose an alternative approach that analyzes optimality models’ reliance on synchronically representing a system’s constraints and tradeoffs as well as their employment of various kinds of idealization in order to provide equilibrium explanations. (shrink)
This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.
While acknowledging the psychological experience of intimacy, evolutionary theory postulates proliferation as the underlying grounds for human relationships. Intimacy, according to evolutionary theory, is merely a psychological mechanism whereby sexual selection and parental investment are facilitated. Unfortunately, the assumption of an underlying evolutionary mechanism which governs human relationships including romantic love, jealousy, and parent–child bonds is fraught with problematic consequences. Unlike the evolutionary understanding of intimacy, the philosophy of E. Levinas offers an alternative conceptualization in which human relationships themselves constitute (...) the grounds of intimacy. This alternative conceptualization escapes the problematic consequences of evolutionary theory. Intimacy from this grounding is inextricably tied to the infinite obligation we take on in relation to others. Implications of this conceptualization are explored. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In contrast to earlier views that argued for a particular kind of concept, several recent accounts have proposed that there are multiple distinct kinds of concepts, or that there is a plurality of concepts for each category. In this paper, I argue for a novel account of concepts as pluralistic hybrids. According to this view, concepts are pluralistic because there are several concepts for the same category whose use is heavily determined by context. In addition, concepts are hybrids because they (...) typically link together several different kinds of information that are used in the same cognitive processes. This alternative view accounts for the available empirical data, allows for greater cognitive flexibility than Machery's recent account, and overcomes several objections to traditional hybrid views. (shrink)
Intersectionality has attracted substantial scholarly attention in the 1990s. Rather than examining gender, race, class, and nation as distinctive social hierarchies, intersectionality examines how they mutually construct one another. I explore how the traditional family ideal functions as a privileged exemplar of intersectionality in the United States. Each of its six dimensions demonstrates specific connections between family as a gendered system of social organization, racial ideas and practices, and constructions of U.S. national identity.
In this paper, I discuss the development and use of images employed by the Dresden Royal Museum for Zoology, Anthropology and Ethnography to resolve debates about how to use visual representation as a means of making ethnographic knowledge. Through experimentation with techniques of visual representation, the founding director, A.B. Meyer, proposed a historical, non-essentialist approach to understanding racial and cultural difference. Director Meyer's approach was inspired by the new knowledge he had gained through field research in Asia-Pacific as well as (...) new forms of imaging that made highly detailed representations of objects possible. Through a combination of various techniques, he developed new visual methods that emphasized intimate familiarity with variations within any one ethnic group, from skull shape to material ornamentation, as integral to the new disciplines of physical and cultural anthropology. It is well known that photographs were a favoured form of visual documentation among the anthropological and ethnographic sciences at thefin de siècle. However, in the scholarly journals of the Dresden museum, photographs, drawings, tables and etchings were frequently displayed alongside one another. Meyer sought to train the reader's eye through organized arrangements that represented objects from multiple angles and at various levels of magnification. Focusing on chimpanzees, skulls and kettledrums from Asia-Pacific, I track the development of new modes of making and reading images, from zoology and physical anthropology to ethnography, to demonstrate how the museum visually historicized humankind. (shrink)
The established view regarding ‘brain death’ in medicine and medical ethics is that patients determined to be dead by neurological criteria are dead in terms of a biological conception of death, not a philosophical conception of personhood, a social construction or a legal fiction. Although such individuals show apparent signs of being alive, in reality they are dead, though this reality is masked by the intervention of medical technology. In this article, we argue that an appeal to the distinction between (...) appearance and reality fails in defending the view that the ‘brain dead’ are dead. Specifically, this view relies on an inaccurate and overly simplistic account of the role of medical technology in the physiology of a ‘brain dead’ patient. We conclude by offering an explanation of why the conventional view on ‘brain death’, though mistaken, continues to be endorsed in light of its connection to organ transplantation and the dead donor rule. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that rather than exclusively focusing on trying to determine if an idealized model fits a particular account of scientific explanation, philosophers of science should also work on directly analyzing various explanatory schemas that reveal the steps and justification involved in scientists’ use of highly idealized models to formulate explanations. We develop our alternative methodology by analyzing historically important cases of idealized statistical modeling that use a three-step explanatory schema involving idealization, mathematical operation, and explanatory interpretation.
The most popular uniting theme in feminist peace literature grounds women's peace work in mothering. I argue if maternal arguments do not address the variety of relationships different races and classes of mothers have to institutional violence and/or the military, then the resulting peace politics can only draw incomplete conclusions about the relationships between maternal work/thinking and peace. To illustrate this I compare two models of mothering: Sara Ruddick's decription of "maternal practice" and Patricia Hill Collins's account of racial-ethnic (...) women's "motherwork.". (shrink)
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that (...) thinking and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
Gender is both indeterminate and multifaceted: many individuals do not fit neatly into accepted gender categories, and a vast number of characteristics are relevant to determining a person's gender. This article demonstrates how these two features, taken together, enable gender to be modeled as a multidimensional sorites paradox. After discussing the diverse terminology used to describe gender, I extend Helen Daly's research into sex classifications in the Olympics and show how varying testosterone levels can be represented using a sorites argument. (...) The most appropriate way of addressing the paradox that results, I propose, is to employ fuzzy logic. I then move beyond physiological characteristics and consider how gender portrayals in reality television shows align with Judith Butler's notion of performativity, thereby revealing gender to be composed of numerous criteria. Following this, I explore how various elements of gender can each be modeled as individual sorites paradoxes such that the overall concept forms a multidimensional paradox. Resolving this dilemma through fuzzy logic provides a novel framework for interpreting gender membership. (shrink)
Legally defining “death” in terms of brain death unacceptably obscures a value judgment that not all reasonable people would accept. This is disingenuous, and it results in serious moral flaws in the medical practices surrounding organ donation. Public policy that relies on the whole-brain concept of death is therefore morally flawed and in need of revision.
This article discusses minimal model explanations, which we argue are distinct from various causal, mechanical, difference-making, and so on, strategies prominent in the philosophical literature. We contend that what accounts for the explanatory power of these models is not that they have certain features in common with real systems. Rather, the models are explanatory because of a story about why a class of systems will all display the same large-scale behavior because the details that distinguish them are irrelevant. This story (...) explains patterns across extremely diverse systems and shows how minimal models can be used to understand real systems. (shrink)
The controversy over brain death and the dead donor rule continues unabated, with some of the same key points and positions starting to see repetition in the literature. One might wonder whether some of the participants are talking past each other, not all debating the same issue, even though they are using the same words (e.g., “death”). One reason for this is the complexity of the debate: It’s not merely about the nature of human life and death. Interwoven into this (...) debate are deep philosophical issues on realism, the normative/descriptive distinction, the relation of thought and language to the world, the mind–body problem, personhood, moral status, and the ethics of killing. There are also social and legal .. (shrink)
Collins (The Blackwell companion to natural theology, 2009) presents an argument he calls the ‘core fine-tuning argument’. In this paper, I show that Collins’ argument is flawed in at least two ways. First, the structure, depending on likelihoods, fails to establish anything about the posterior probability of God’s existence given fine-tuning. As an argument for God’s existence, this is a serious failing. Second, his analysis of what is appropriately restricted background knowledge, combined with the credences of a specially (...) chosen ‘alien’, do not allow him to establish the premise \( \Pr (LPU \mid NSU~ \& ~k') \ll 1\). (shrink)
Can room be found in between the matter and void of a Newtonian universe for an immaterial and immortal soul? Can followers of Locke with his agnosticism about the nature of substances claim to know that some of them are immaterial? Samuel Clarke, well versed in Locke's thought and a defender both of Newtonian science and Christian orthodoxy, believed he could do both and attempted to prove his case by means of some hard-boiled reductionism. Anthony Collins, a deist whose (...) only lapse from materialism concerned God himself, rejected Clarke's argument. In this paper I discuss their controversy' in order to bring out the state of debate about material systems and consciousness among people influenced by Locke and Newton in the early eighteenth century, and I also assess Clarke's reductionist premise, as he himself frequently invites "the impartial reader" to do. (shrink)
The concept of death and its relationship to organ transplantation continue to be sources of debate and confusion among academics, clinicians, and the public. Recently, an international group of scholars and clinicians, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, met in the first phase of an effort to develop international guidelines for determination of death. The goal of this first phase was to focus on the biology of death and the dying process while bracketing legal, ethical, cultural, and religious perspectives. (...) The next phase of the project will include a broader group of stakeholders in the development of clinical practice guidelines and will use expert consensus on biomedical criteria for death from the first phase as scientific input into normative deliberation about appropriate policies and practices. Surely, science alone cannot resolve the normative and philosophical questions intertwined in debates about moral status, legal and moral rights, the ethics of killing, and personhood and the nature of the self; however, scientific input is necessary for informed moral deliberation. An objective and unbiased investigation of the biology of death is independent of, and should be undertaken prior to, an analysis of the normative questions engendered by debate about determination of death. This strategy is explicitly endorsed by the International Guidelines for Determination of Death and reflects the prevailing view of these issues in the mainstream medical literature. However, this mainstream literature, exemplified by the IGDD group's recent report, does not exhibit any of the characteristics usually associated with a scientifically rigorous investigation, such as making empirically testable and falsifiable claims, a commitment to evidence and logic over authoritative assertion, or a willingness to revise hypotheses and theories in light of new evidence. Indeed, the core claims and methodologies of the mainstream medical literature on death, both of which are represented by the IGDD report, are not merely scientifically unjustified; they are not science at all. This situation creates a problem for the integrity of science and the academy, and it unjustly obscures and prevents legitimate democratic and moral deliberation about issues that, at bottom, are normative, not scientific. (shrink)
John P. Lizza has long been a major figure in the scholarly literature on criteria for death. His searching and penetrating critiques of the dominant biological paradigm, and his defense of a theory of death of the person as a psychophysical entity, have both significantly advanced the literature. In this special issue, Lizza reinforces his critiques of a strictly biological approach. In my commentary, I take up Lizza’s challenge regarding a biological concept of death. He is certainly right to point (...) out that science is not value-free; however, this does not imply that there cannot be a characterization of biological death that can be shown to be superior to other concepts. After characterizing and justifying such a theory of biological death, I show that patients who meet the diagnostic criteria for brain death are unequivocally biologically alive. However, with respect to concepts of personhood and related ideas, I urge the acceptance of a pluralism of such concepts for matters of public policy. (shrink)
The correspondence between Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins of 1706–8, while not well known, is a spectacularly good debate between a dualist and a materialist over the possibility of giving a materialist account of consciousness and personal identity. This article puts the Clarke Collins Correspondence in a broader context in which it can be better appreciated, noting that it is really a debate between John Locke and Anthony Collins on one hand, and Samuel Clarke and Joseph Butler (...) on the other. Anthony Collins argues on behalf of John Locke's claim that it would be as easy for God to superadd the power of thinking to matter as for him to connect a soul to a body. Locke did not believe that matter could naturally produce thought or consciousness, but it was in God's power to make matter think. To defend Locke's claim Collins must defend the claim that there are emergent properties in the world – properties of a whole that are not possessed by the parts. Collins also defends a materialist version of Locke's account of personal identity against a variety of charges. Because the topics of debate in the correspondence are of such great interest to us, it deserves to be rescued from the neglect into which it fell and from which intellectual historians and philosophers have only recently and partially removed it. (shrink)
The dead donor rule, which requires that organ donors not be killed by the process of organ procurement, is thought to protect vulnerable patients from exploitation and from being harmed through organ procurement. In current practice, the majority of transplantable organs are retrieved from patients who are declared dead by neurological criteria, or "brain-dead." Because brain death is considered to be sufficient for death, it is thought that brain-dead donors are neither harmed nor wronged by organ removal.In this essay I (...) argue that this is not the case. Brain-dead donors can be, and many are, harmed and wronged by... (shrink)