Do case studies mislead about the nature of reality?
This paper attempts a partial, critical look at the construction and use of case studies in ethics education. It argues that the authors and users of case studies are often insufficiently aware of the literary nature of these artefacts: this may lead to some confusion between fiction and reality. Issues of the nature of the genre, the fictional, story-constructing aspect of case studies, the nature of authorship, and the purposes and uses of case studies as "texts" are outlined and discussed. The paper concludes with some critical questions that can be applied to the construction and use of case studies in the light of the foregoing analysis. (+info)
Philosophical behaviorism: a review of things that happen because they should: a teleological approach to action, by Rowland Stout.
Mentalistic terms such as belief and desire have been rejected by behavior analysts because they are traditionally held to refer to unobservable events inside the organism. Behavior analysis has consequently been viewed by philosophers to be at best irrelevant to psychology, understood as a science of the mind. In this book, the philosopher Rowland Stout argues cogently that beliefs and desires (like operants such as rats' lever presses) are best understood in terms of an interaction over time between overt behavior and its overt consequences (a viewpoint called teleological behaviorism). This book is important because it identifies the science of the mind with the science of overt behavior and implies that the psychologists best equipped to study mental life are not those who purport to do so but those who focus on the experimental analysis of behavior. (+info)
How will we know "good" qualitative research when we see it? Beginning the dialogue in health services research.
OBJECTIVE: To lay the foundation for an explicit review and dialogue concerning the criteria that should be used to evaluate qualitative health services research. Clear criteria are critical for the discipline because they provide a benchmark against which research can be assessed. DATA SOURCES: Existing literature in the social sciences and health services research, particularly in primary care and medicine. PRINCIPAL FINDING: Traditional criteria for evaluating qualitative research are rooted in the philosophical perspective (positivism) most closely associated with quantitative research and methods. As a result, qualitative research and methods may not be used as frequently as they can be and research results generated from qualitative studies may not be disseminated as widely as possible. However, alternative criteria for evaluating qualitative research have been proposed that reflect a different philosophical perspective (post-positivism). Moreover, these criteria are tailored to the unique purposes for which qualitative research is used and the research designs traditionally employed. While criteria based on these two different philosophical perspectives have much in common, some important differences exist. CONCLUSION: The field of health services research must engage in a collective, "qualitative" process to determine which criteria to adopt (positivist or post-positivist), or whether some combination of the two is most appropriate. Greater clarity about the criteria used to evaluate qualitative research will strengthen the discipline by fostering a more appropriate and improved use of qualitative methods, a greater willingness to fund and publish "good" qualitative research, and the development of more informed consumers of qualitative research results. (+info)
To boldly go....
The threshold of the new millennium offers an opportunity to celebrate remarkable past achievements and to reflect on promising new directions for the field of public health. Despite historic achievements, much will always remain to be done (this is the intrinsic nature of public health). While every epoch has its own distinct health challenges, those confronting us today are unlike those plaguing public health a century ago. The perspectives and methods developed during the infectious and chronic disease eras have limited utility in the face of newly emerging challenges to public health. In this paper, we take stock of the state of public health in the United States by (1) describing limitations of conventional US public health, (2) identifying different social philosophies and conceptions of health that produce divergent approaches to public health, (3) discussing institutional resistance to change and the subordination of public health to the authority of medicine, (4) urging a move from risk factorology to multilevel explanations that offer different types of intervention, (5) noting the rise of the new "right state" with its laissez-faire attitude and antipathy toward public interventions, (6) arguing for a more ecumenical approach to research methods, and (7) challenging the myth of a value-free public health. (+info)
Power and the teaching of medical ethics.
This paper argues that ethics education needs to become more reflective about its social and political ethic as it participates in the construction and transmission of medical ethics. It argues for a critical approach to medical ethics and explores the political context in medical schools and some of the peculiar problems in medical ethics education. (+info)
The future of philosophy.
There is no sharp dividing line between science and philosophy, but philosophical problems tend to have three special features. First, they tend to concern large frameworks rather than specific questions within the framework. Second, they are questions for which there is no generally accepted method of solution. And third they tend to involve conceptual issues. For these reasons a philosophical problem such as the nature of life can become a scientific problem if it is put into a shape where it admits of scientific resolution. Philosophy in the 20th century was characterized by a concern with logic and language, which is markedly different from the concerns of earlier centuries of philosophy. However, it shared with the European philosophical tradition since the 17th century an excessive concern with issues in the theory of knowledge and with scepticism. As the century ends, we can see that scepticism no longer occupies centre stage, and this enables us to have a more constructive approach to philosophical problems than was possible for earlier generations. This situation is somewhat analogous to the shift from the sceptical concerns of Socrates and Plato to the constructive philosophical enterprise of Aristotle. With that in mind, we can discuss the prospects for the following six philosophical areas: (1) the traditional mind-body problem; (ii) the philosophy of mind and cognitive science; (iii) the philosophy of language; (iv) the philosophy of society; (v) ethics and practical reasons; (vi) the philosophy of science. The general theme of these investigations, I believe, is that the appraisal of the true significance of issues in the philosophy of knowledge enables us to have a more constructive account of various other philosophical problems than has typically been possible for the past three centuries. (+info)
Postulated human sperm count decline may involve historic elimination of juvenile iodine deficiency: a new hypothesis with experimental evidence in the rat.
Human sperm count studies, historic dietary iodination, and an animal model where neonatal goitrogen administration causes unprecedented testis enlargement, together suggest an hypothesis relevant to the postulated fall in human sperm counts. We present the hypothesis with a supporting study extending the model to include iodine deficiency. In a one-generation rat reproduction study, dams were fed an iodine sufficient (control, 200 ppb I) or deficient (low iodine diet [LID], <20 ppb I) diet from prebreeding through weaning, when male offspring were divided into three groups: 1) controls from iodine sufficient dams, 2) neonatal LID (NLID) from the LID dams, fed control diet postweaning, and 3) chronic LID (CLID) from LID dams, fed a moderate LID (40 ppb I) postweaning. F1 males were euthanized on postnatal day (PND) 133+/-1. Each of the three diet groups comprised two subgroups in which testicular parameters were evaluated: 1) daily sperm production (DSP), sperm motility, morphology, and histopathology, and 2) Sertoli cell and round spermatid morphometry. In the first subgroup, NLID and CLID testes weights were 8.5% and 14.0% heavier than their unusually heavy controls (3.921 g; historical control mean approximately 3.5 g), with proportional DSP increases. Sperm motility, morphology, and testis histopathology were unaffected. In the morphometry subgroup, respective increases in NLID and CLID rats included testes weights (+28.6% and +20.3%), Sertoli cells (+24.8% and +23.9%), and round spermatids (+20.4% and +15.8%). The results indicate that neonatal iodine deficiency can significantly increase spermatogenic function in rats, and support our hypothesis concerning human sperm counts. (+info)
The scientist's world.
This paper describes the features of the world of science, and it compares that world briefly with that of politics and the law. It also discusses some "postmodern" trends in philosophy and sociology that have been undermining confidence in the objectivity of science and thus have contributed indirectly to public mistrust. The paper includes broader implications of interactions of government and science. (+info)