The principle of the common cause demands that every pair of causally independent but statistically correlated events should be the effect of a common cause. This demand is often supplemented with the requirement that said cause should screen-off the two events from each other. This paper introduces a new probabilistic model for common causes, which generalises this requirement to include sets of distinct but non-disjoint causes. It is demonstrated that the model hereby proposed satisfies the explanatory function generally attributed to (...) common causes and an existential proof is offered. Finally, the model is compared to other known structures intended to perform a similar function, such as Reichenbachian Common Cause Systems and Bayesian Networks. (shrink)
In recent decades, evidence-based medicine has become one of the foundations of clinical practice, making it necessary that healthcare practitioners develop keen critical appraisal skills for scientific papers. Worksheets to guide clinicians through this critical appraisal are often used in journal clubs, a key part of continuing medical education. A similar need is arising for health professionals to develop skills in the critical appraisal of medical ethics papers. Medicine is increasingly ethically complex, and there is a growing medical ethics literature (...) that modern practitioners need to be able to use in their practice. In addition, clinical ethics services are commonplace in healthcare institutions, and the lion’s share of the work done by these services is done by clinicians in addition to their usual roles. Education to support this work is important. In this paper, we present a worksheet designed to help busy healthcare practitioners critically appraise ethics papers relevant to clinical practice. In the first section, we explain what is different about ethics papers. We then describe how to work through the steps in our critical appraisal worksheet: identifying the point at issue; scrutinising definitions; dissecting the arguments presented; considering counterarguments; and finally deciding on relevance. Working through this reflective worksheet will help healthcare practitioners to use the ethics literature effectively in clinical practice. We also intend it to be a shared evaluative tool that can form the basis of professional discussion such as at ethics journal clubs. Practising these critical reasoning skills will also increase practitioners’ capacity to think through difficult ethical decisions in daily clinical practice. (shrink)
Misinformation can have significant societal consequences. For example, misinformation about climate change has confused the public and stalled support for mitigation policies. When people lack the expertise and skill to evaluate the science behind a claim, they typically rely on heuristics such as substituting judgment about something complex (i.e. climate science) with judgment about something simple (i.e. the character of people who speak about climate science) and are therefore vulnerable to misleading information. Inoculation theory offers one approach to effectively neutralize (...) the influence of misinformation. Typically, inoculations convey resistance by providing people with information that counters misinformation. In contrast, we propose inoculating against misinformation by explaining the fallacious reasoning within misleading denialist claims. We offer a strategy based on critical thinking methods to analyse and detect poor reasoning within denialist claims. This strategy includes detailing argument structure, determining the truth of the premises, and checking for validity, hidden premises, or ambiguous language. Focusing on argument structure also facilitates the identification of reasoning fallacies by locating them in the reasoning process. Because this reason-based form of inoculation is based on general critical thinking methods, it offers the distinct advantage of being accessible to those who lack expertise in climate science. We applied this approach to 42 common denialist claims and find that they all demonstrate fallacious reasoning and fail to refute the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic global warming. This comprehensive deconstruction and refutation of the most common denialist claims about climate change is designed to act as a resource for communicators and educators who teach climate science and/or critical thinking. (shrink)
Philosophy in schools in Australia dates back to the 1980s and is rooted in the Philosophy for Children curriculum and pedagogy. Seeing potential for educational change, Australian advocates were quick to develop new classroom resources and innovative programs that have proved influential in educational practice throughout Australia and internationally. Behind their contributions lie key philosophical and educational discussions and controversies which have shaped attempts to introduce philosophy in schools and embed it in state and national curricula. Drawing together a wide (...) range of eminent scholars and practitioners in the field of educational philosophy, this anthology, the first of its kind, provides not only a historical narrative, but an opportunity to reflect on the insights and experiences of the authors that have made history. The collection is divided into three parts. The overarching theme of Part I is the early years of Philosophy for Children in Australia and how they informed the course that the ‘philosophy in schools movement’ would take. Part II focuses on the events and debates surrounding the development and production of new materials, including arguments for and against the suitability of the original Philosophy for Children curriculum. In Part III, key developments relating to teaching philosophy in schools are analysed. This collection of diverse views, critical appraisals, and different perspectives of historical currents is intended to stimulate thought-provoking questions about theory and practice, and to increase general awareness both nationally and internationally of the maturation of philosophy in schools in Australia. It is also intended to encourage readers to identify emerging ideas and develop strategies for their implementation. (shrink)
Ellerton, Peter So what is the scientific method, and why do so many people, sometimes including those trained in science, get it so wrong? The first thing to understand is that there is no one method in science, no one way of doing things. This is intimately connected with how we reason in general.
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