Matching Items (20)

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Emergence and cosmic hermeneutics

Description

Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical.

Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical. However, emergentist views have been subjected to a variety of powerful objections: they are alleged to be self-contradictory, incompatible with mental causation, justified by unreliable intuitions, and in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I defend the emergentist position against these objections. I clarify the concepts of supervenience and of ontological novelty in a way that ensures the emergentist position is coherent, while remaining distinct from physicalism and traditional dualism. Making note of the equivocal way in which the concept of sufficiency is used in Jaegwon Kim's arguments against emergent mental causation, I argue that downward causation does not entail widespread overdetermination. I argue that considerations of ideal a priori deducibility from some physical base, or "Cosmic Hermeneutics", will not themselves provide answers to where the cuts in the structure of nature lie. Instead, I propose reconsidering the question of Cosmic Hermeneutics in terms of which cognitive resources would be required for the ideal reasoner to perform the deduction. Lastly, I respond to the objection that emergence in the philosophy of mind is in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I suggest that a kind of weak ontological emergence is a viable form of explanation in many fields, and discuss current applications of emergence in biology, sociology, and the study of complex systems.

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2013

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Charting caregiver movement using a complexity science framework: an emergent perspective

Description

Health and healing in the United States is in a moment of deep and broad transformation. Underpinning this transformation is a shift in focus from practitioner- and system-centric perspectives to patient and family expectations and their accompanying localized narratives. Situated

Health and healing in the United States is in a moment of deep and broad transformation. Underpinning this transformation is a shift in focus from practitioner- and system-centric perspectives to patient and family expectations and their accompanying localized narratives. Situated within this transformation are patients and families of all kinds. This shift's interpretation lies in the converging and diverging trails of biomedicine, a patient-centric perspective of consensus between practitioner and patient, and postmodern philosophy, a break from prevailing norms and systems. Lending context is the dynamic interplay between increasing ethnic/cultural diversity, acculturation/biculturalism, and medical pluralism. Diverse populations continue to navigate multiple health and healing paradigms, engage in the process of their integration, and use health and healing practices that run corollary to them. The way this experience is viewed, whether biomedically or philosophically, has implications for the future of healthcare. Over this fluid interpenetration, with its vivid nuance, loom widespread health disparities. The adverse effects of static, fragmented healthcare systems unable to identify and answer diverse populations' emergent needs are acutely felt by these individuals. Eradication of health disparities is born from insight into how these populations experience health and healing. The resulting strategy must be one that simultaneously addresses the complex intricacies of patient-centered care, permits emergence of more localized narratives, and eschews systems that are no longer effective. It is the movement of caregivers across multiple health and healing sources, managing care for loved ones, that provides this insight and in which this project is keenly interested. Uncovering the emergent patterns of caregivers' management of these sources reveals a rich and nuanced spectrum of realities. These realities are replete with opportunities to re-frame health and healing in ways that better reflect what these diverse populations of caregivers and care recipients need. Engaging female Mexican American caregivers, a population whose experience is well-suited to aid in this re-frame, this project begins to provide that insight. Informed by a parent framework of Complexity Science, and balanced between biomedical and postmodern perspectives, this constructivist grounded theory secondary analysis charts these caregivers' processes and offers provocative findings and recommendations for understanding their experiences.

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2013

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Contemplating the use of neuroimaging as evidence in criminal sentencing

Description

Neuroimaging has appeared in the courtroom as a type of `evidence' to support claims about whether or not criminals should be held accountable for their crimes. Yet the ability to abstract notions of culpability and criminal behavior with confidence from

Neuroimaging has appeared in the courtroom as a type of `evidence' to support claims about whether or not criminals should be held accountable for their crimes. Yet the ability to abstract notions of culpability and criminal behavior with confidence from these imagines is unclear. As there remains much to be discovered in the relationship between personal responsibility, criminal behavior, and neurological abnormalities, questions have been raised toward neuroimaging as an appropriate means to validate these claims.

This project explores the limits and legitimacy of neuroimaging as a means of understanding behavior and culpability in determining appropriate criminal sentencing. It highlights key philosophical issues surrounding the ability to use neuroimaging to support this process, and proposes a method of ensuring their proper use. By engaging case studies and a thought experiment, this project illustrates the circumstances in which neuroimaging may assist in identifying particular characteristics relevant for criminal sentencing.

I argue that it is not a question of whether or not neuroimaging itself holds validity in determining a criminals guilt or motives, but rather a proper application of the issue is to focus on the way in which information regarding these images is communicated from the `expert' scientists to the `non-expert' making decisions about the sentence that are most important. Those who are considering this information's relevance, a judge or jury, are typically not well versed in criminal neuroscience and interpreting the significance of different images. I advocate the way in which this information is communicated from the scientist-informer to the decision-maker parallels in importance to its actual meaning.

As a solution, I engage Roger Pielke's model of honest brokering as a solution to ensure the appropriate use of neuroimaging in determining criminal responsibility and sentencing. A thought experiment follows to highlight the limits of science, engage philosophical repercussions, and illustrate honest brokering as a means of resolution. To achieve this, a hypothetical dialogue reminiscent of Kenneth Schaffner's `tools for talking' with behavioral geneticists and courtroom professionals will exemplify these ideas.

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2014

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Cornering the truth: a defense of scientific realism

Description

This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I seek to develop and present a version of scientific realism

This is a study of scientific realism, and of the extent to which it is undermined by objections that have been raised by advocates of various forms of antirealism. I seek to develop and present a version of scientific realism that improves on past formulations, and then to show that standard antirealist arguments against it do not succeed. In this paper, I will first present my formulation of scientific realism, which conceives of theories as model-based and as fundamentally non-linguistic. I advocate an epistemic position that accords with indirect realism, and I review and assess the threat posed by theses of underdetermination. Next, I review and discuss three important views: the antirealist constructivist view of Thomas Kuhn, the realist view of Norwood Hanson, and the antirealist constructive empiricist view of Bas van Fraassen. I find merits and flaws in all three views. In the course of those discussions, I develop the theme that antirealists' arguments generally depend on assumptions that are open to question, especially from the perspective of the version of realism I advocate. I further argue that these antirealist views are undermined by their own tacit appeals to realism.

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2013

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The "",field_main_title:"history and nature of science" in the era of standards-based reform

Description

The goal of science education in the United States is promoting scientific literacy for all students. The goal necessitates understanding the nature of science-what science is as a body of knowledge, explanatory tool, and human enterprise. The history of science

The goal of science education in the United States is promoting scientific literacy for all students. The goal necessitates understanding the nature of science-what science is as a body of knowledge, explanatory tool, and human enterprise. The history of science is one of the most long-standing pedagogical methods of getting at the nature of science. But scientific literacy also encompasses education in scientific inquiry, and in the relationships among science, technology, and society (STS), as well as fact and theory-based subject-matter content. Since the beginning of the standards-based reform movement (circa 1983) many attempts have been made to codify the components of scientific literacy. National level voluntary standards have lead to state standards. Under No Child Left Behind, those state standards have become integral parts of the educational system. Standards are political in nature, yet play the role of intended curriculum. I examine one thread of scientific literacy, the history and nature of science, from its beginnings in science education through the political perturbations of the last thirty years. This examination of "the history and nature of science" through the history of standards-based reform sheds light on our changing conception of scientific literacy.

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2011

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A contextual understanding of the definition of science in South Korea

Description

Despite the minor differences in the inclusiveness of the word, there is a general assumption among the scientific community that the 'pursuit of knowledge' is the most fundamental element in defining the word 'science'. However, a closer examination of how

Despite the minor differences in the inclusiveness of the word, there is a general assumption among the scientific community that the 'pursuit of knowledge' is the most fundamental element in defining the word 'science'. However, a closer examination of how science is being conducted in modern-day South Korea reveals a value system starkly different from the value of knowledge. By analyzing the political discourse of the South Korean policymakers, mass media, and government documents, this study examines the definition of science in South Korea. The analysis revealed that the Korean science, informed by the cultural, historical, and societal contexts, is largely focused on the values of national economic prosperity, international competitiveness, and international reputation of the country, overshadowing other values like the pursuit of knowledge or even individual rights. The identification of the new value system in South Korean science deviating from the traditional definition of science implies that there must be other definitions of science that also deviates, and that even in the Western world, the definition of science may yield similar deviations upon closer examination. The compatibility of the South Korean brand of science to the international scientific community also implies that a categorical quality is encompassing these different contextual definitions of science.

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2011

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The Theory, Practice, and Future of Ethics Education in Science

Description

The landscape of science education is changing. Scientific research and the academy are both becoming increasingly complex, competitive, interdisciplinary, and international. Many federal research agencies, scientific professional societies, and science educators seem to agree on the importance of strong ethics

The landscape of science education is changing. Scientific research and the academy are both becoming increasingly complex, competitive, interdisciplinary, and international. Many federal research agencies, scientific professional societies, and science educators seem to agree on the importance of strong ethics education to help young scientists navigate this increasingly craggy terrain. But, what actually should be done? When it comes to teaching ethics to future scientists, is the apparent current emphasis on basic responsible conduct of research (RCR) sufficient, or should moral theory also be taught in science ethics education? In this thesis I try engage this question by focusing on an existing, related debate on whether moral theory should be part of teaching professional ethics more generally. After delving into the respective approaches promoted by the three primary participants in this debate (C. E. Harris, Bernard Gert, and Michael Davis) I unpack their views in order to ascertain their practical application potential and relative benefits. I then take these findings and apply them to ethics education in science, paying particular attention to its purported learning objectives. In the end I conclude that the presentation of these objectives suggests that moral theory may well be required in order for these objectives of ethics education in science to be fully achieved.

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2014

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From monsters to patients: a history of disability

Description

This dissertation addresses the tendency among some disability scholars to overlook the importance of congenital deformity and disability in the pre-modern West. It argues that congenital deformity and disability deviated so greatly from able-bodied norms that they have played a

This dissertation addresses the tendency among some disability scholars to overlook the importance of congenital deformity and disability in the pre-modern West. It argues that congenital deformity and disability deviated so greatly from able-bodied norms that they have played a pivotal role in the history of Western Civilization. In particular, it explores the evolution of two seemingly separate, but ultimately related, ideas from classical antiquity through the First World War: (1) the idea that there was some type of significance, whether supernatural or natural, to the existence of congenital deformity and (2) the idea that the existence of disabled people has resulted in a disability problem for western societies because many disabilities can hinder labor productivity to such an extent that large numbers of the disabled cannot survive without taking precious resources from their more productive, able-bodied counterparts. It also looks at how certain categories of disabled people, including, monsters, hunchbacks, cripples, the blind, the deaf and dumb, and dwarfs, which signified aesthetic and functional deviations from able-bodied norms, often reinforced able-bodied prejudices against the disabled.

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2013

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Three perspectives on multilevel selection: an experimental, historical, and synthetic analysis of group-level selection

Description

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of debates about group-level selection and the effectiveness with which natural

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of debates about group-level selection and the effectiveness with which natural selection could act at or across multiple levels of biological organization. For some this topic remains contentious, while others consider the debate settled, even while disagreeing about when and how resolution occurred, raising the question: "Why have these debates continued?"

Here I explore the biology, history, and philosophy of the possibility of natural selection operating at levels of biological organization other than the organism by focusing on debates about group-level selection that have occurred since the 1960s. In particular, I use experimental, historical, and synthetic methods to review how the debates have changed, and whether different uses of the same words and concepts can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data.

I begin with the results of a group-selection experiment I conducted using the parasitoid wasp Nasonia, and discuss how the interpretation depends on how one conceives of and defines a "group." Then I review the history of the group selection controversy and argue that this history is best interpreted as multiple, interrelated debates rather than a single continuous debate. Furthermore, I show how the aspects of these debates that have changed the most are related to theoretical content and empirical data, while disputes related to methods remain largely unchanged. Synthesizing this material, I distinguish four different "approaches" to the study of multilevel selection based on the questions and methods used by researchers, and I use the results of the Nasonia experiment to discuss how each approach can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data. I argue that this realization can help to explain why debates about group and multilevel selection have persisted for nearly sixty years. Finally, the conclusions of this dissertation apply beyond evolutionary biology by providing an illustration of how key concepts can change over time, and how failing to appreciate this fact can lead to ongoing controversy within a scientific field.

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2014

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The conceptual span and plausibility of emergence applied to the problem of mental causation

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This thesis explores the conceptual span and plausibility of emergence and its applicability to the problem of mental causation. The early parts of the project explicate a distinction between weak and strong emergence as described by Jaegwon Kim. They also

This thesis explores the conceptual span and plausibility of emergence and its applicability to the problem of mental causation. The early parts of the project explicate a distinction between weak and strong emergence as described by Jaegwon Kim. They also consider Kim's objections regarding the conceptual incoherence of strong emergence and the otiose nature of weak emergence. The paper then explores Mark Bedau's in-between conception of emergence and ultimately finds that middle conception to be both coherent and useful. With these three emergence distinctions in hand, the thesis goes on to explore Evan Thompson's recent work - Mind in Life (2010). In that work, Thompson advances a strong emergence approach to mind, whereby he concludes the incipient stages of cognition are found at the most basic levels of life, namely - biologic cells. Along the way, Thompson embraces holism and a nonfundamental
onhierarchical physics in order to counter Jaegwon Kim's objections to the notion of downward causation needed for strong emergence. The thesis presents arguments against Thompson's holism and nonfundamental physics, while supporting his assertion regarding the incipient stages of cognition. It then combines an important distinction between mental causation and the experience of mental causation with Thompson's notion of incipient cognition to arrive at a dual realms approach to understanding mental causation.

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2013