Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

The Immunity Capital [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Paolo Vineis, Andrea Saltelli
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

This paper is inspired by a thesis on “immune capital” by Kathryn Olivarius. We suggest that the biological capital, which immunity capital is part of, should be considered as an additional component of the life-course experience of individuals, together with the traditional Bourdieu’s social, economic and cultural capitals that drive their lives. Building upon this concept, we consider the relationships between science, society and policy-making in the course of the pandemic. We suggest that we need to ‘reframe problems so that their ethical dimensions are brought to light’ (Jasanoff), with…

Making Best Use of the Available Evidence: Mechanistic Evidence and the Management of the Covid-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Virginia Ghiara
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

In this paper, I argue that evidence of biological and socio-behavioural mechanisms can contribute to the management of Covid-19. I discuss two examples that show how scientists are using different forms of evidence, among which mechanistic evidence, to answer questions about the efficacy of vaccines against Covid-19 and the effectiveness of vaccination interventions in different contexts. In the first example I claim that, due to the fast pace of the pandemic, mechanistic reasoning and evidence of biological mechanisms play an important role in the study of vaccines’ efficacy and the…

Monitoring the Safety of Medicines and Vaccines in Times of Pandemic: Practical, Conceptual, and Ethical Challenges in Pharmacovigilance [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Elena Rocca, Birgitta Grundmark
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

In this paper, we analyse some of the challenges that pharmacovigilance, the science of detecting and assessing possible adverse reactions from medical interventions, is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we consider the issue of increased uncertainty of the evidence and the issue of dealing with an unprecedented amount of data. After presenting the technical advances implemented in response to these two challenges, we offer some conceptual reflections around such practical changes. We argue that the COVID-19 emergency represents a chance to push forward critical thinking in the field…

Models and Experts: The Contribution of Expertise to Epidemic and Pandemic Modelling [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Carlo Martini
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

Modelling is a precious source of information in science. With models, we can simplify an otherwise messy reality in order to understand the fundamental driving forces of a system, like an epidemic, and we can try to predict the course of events in complex scenarios where there is a great degree of uncertainty. In short, models can be used to explain and predict phenomena. Yet models interact with expert opinions in two fundamental ways. They are sometimes in competition with expert opinion, and they are sometimes heavily dependent, for their…

Grassroots Modeling during the Covid-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Cecilia Nardini, Fridolin Gross
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

One of the many peculiar phenomena that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about is the engagement of non-scientists with specific questions surrounding the interpretation of epidemiological data and models. Many of them have even begun to get involved in the collection, analysis, and presentation of the data themselves. A reason for this might be that the insights that science can provide in a situation of crisis are often inconclusive or preliminary, motivating many people to look for the answers to pressing questions themselves. Moreover, public engagement is facilitated by the…

Science, Scientism, and the Disunity of Science: Popular Science during the COVID-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Nicolò Gaj, Giuseppe Lo Dico
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

Unsurprisingly, science has been conferred growing expectations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the issue of dissemination and popularization of scientific outcomes has come to the fore. The article describes the main features of the so-called dominant view in popular science, which is claimed to be implicitly connected to scientism, a stance identifying science as the most (if not the only) reliable source of legitimate knowledge. Scientism’s implicit philosophical roots are argued to lie in naturalism and a trivialized neopositivist concept of science, which underscores the supposed unity…

Keeping Doors Open: Another Reason to Be Skeptical of Fine-Based Vaccine Policies [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Stefano Calboli, Vincenzo Fano
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

An impressive effort by the scientific community has quickly made available SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, indispensable allies in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless, in liberal democracies, getting vaccinated is an individual choice and a not-negligible number of persons might turn out to be vaccine refusers. Behavioral and Cognitive (B&C) scientists have cast light on the key behavior drivers of the vaccine choice and suggested choice architectures to boost vaccine uptake. In this paper, we identify a somehow neglected psychological phenomenon, that it is reasonable to believe to hamper the vaccine uptake whereby…

Can a City Be Relocated? Exploring the Metaphysics of Context-Dependency

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Fabio Bacchini, Nicola Piras
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

This paper explores the Persistence Question about cities, that is, what is necessary and sufficient for two cities existing at different times to be numerically identical. We first show that we can possibly put an end to the existence of a city in a number of ways other than by physically destroying it, which reveals the metaphysics of cities to be partly different from that of ordinary objects. Then we focus in particular on the commonly perceived vulnerability of cities to imaginary relocation; and we make the hypothesis that cities…
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