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Abímbọ́lá, Kọ́lá, , . Culture and the Principles of Biomedical Ethics
2013, Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, 19 (3): 31-39.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper examines the roles of culture in the principles of biomedical ethics. Drawing on examples from African, Navajo and Western cultures, the paper maintains that various elements of culture are indispensable to the application of the principles of biomedical ethics.

Comment: This text presents a clear introduction to questions about the application of biomedical ethical principles outside of Western medical contexts. It contains a good overview of the Western interpretation and application of autonomy, as well as other, culturally specific, interpretations of autonomy in medical contexts. This makes it useful as a text to introduce students to the way in which conflicts occur over the application of medical ethical principles in context prior to looking at specific cases (such as Jehovah's Witnesses refusal to accept blood transfusions or the well known case of the Hmong medical culture).

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Hesse, Mary, , . Models and analogies in science
1966, University of Notre dame Press.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: In this book Hesse argues, contra Duhem, that models and analogies are integral to understanding scientific practice in general and scientific advancement in particular, especially how the domain of a scientific theory is extended and how theories generate genuinely novel predictions. Hesse thinks that, in order help us to understand a new system or phenomenon, we will often create an analogical model that compares this new system or phenomenon with a more familiar system or phenomenon. Hesse distinguishes different types of analogies according to the kinds of similarity relations in which two objects enter: Positive analogies, negative analogies, and neutral analogies. The crux of the argument is that the recognition of similarities of meaning between paired terms and the recognition of similar causal relations within two analogies plays an essential role in theoretical explanation and prediction in science.

Comment: This book is an accessible introduction to the topic of scientific modelling. Useful for teaching in undergraduate courses.

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Kólá Abímbólá, , . A critique of Methodological Naturalism
2006, Science in Context, 19(2): 191-213.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Abstract: Larry Laudan defends “methodological naturalism” – the position that scientific methodology can be fully empirical and be subject to radical change without sacrificing the rationality of science. This view has two main components: (a) the historical claim that just as substantive science has changed and developed in response to new information and evidence, so have the basic rules and methods which guide theory appraisal in science changed in response to new information about the world; and (b) the philosophical claim that all aspects of science are in principle subject to radical change and evolution in the light of new information about the world. In this paper, the athor argues that one main historical example used by Laudan, namely, the scientific revolution that accompanied the change from the corpuscular to the wave theory of light, does not in fact support the view that there have been radical methodological changes in the history of science.

Comment: Interesting paper about the question of methodological changes in the history of science. Its clarity makes it suitable for undergraduate courses in philosophy of science.

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Longino, Helen, , . Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry
1990, Princeton University Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Conventional wisdom has it that the sciences, properly pursued, constitute a pure, value-free method of obtaining knowledge about the natural world. In light of the social and normative dimensions of many scientific debates, Helen Longino finds that general accounts of scientific methodology cannot support this common belief. Focusing on the notion of evidence, the author argues that a methodology powerful enough to account for theories of any scope and depth is incapable of ruling out the influence of social and cultural values in the very structuring of knowledge. The objectivity of scientific inquiry can nevertheless be maintained, she proposes, by understanding scientific inquiry as a social rather than an individual process. Seeking to open a dialogue between methodologists and social critics of the sciences, Longino develops this concept of “contextual empiricism” in an analysis of research programs that have drawn criticism from feminists. Examining theories of human evolution and of prenatal hormonal determination of “gender-role” behavior, of sex differences in cognition, and of sexual orientation, the author shows how assumptions laden with social values affect the description, presentation, and interpretation of data. In particular, Longino argues that research on the hormonal basis of “sex-differentiated behavior” involves assumptions not only about gender relations but also about human action and agency. She concludes with a discussion of the relation between science, values, and ideology, based on the work of Habermas, Foucault, Keller, and Haraway.

Comment: Longino offers a way to accomodate critiques of science as being socially constructed with the claim that science is objective. This contextual empiricism is an interesting solution, and would provide a useful point of discussion in an exploration of these issues in a course that discusses scientific objectivity.

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