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Hugh Desmond
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
  1.  20
    Research Integrity Codes of Conduct in Europe: Understanding the Divergences.Hugh Desmond & Kris Dierickx - 2021 - Bioethics 35 (5):414-428.
    In the past decade, policy-makers in science have been concerned with harmonizing research integrity standards across Europe. These standards are encapsulated in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Yet, almost every European country today has its own national-level code of conduct for research integrity. In this study we document in detail how national-level codes diverge on almost all aspects concerning research integrity – except for what constitutes egregious misconduct. Besides allowing for potentially unfair responses to joint misconduct by (...)
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  2.  17
    Precision Medicine, Data, and the Anthropology of Social Status.Hugh Desmond - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (4):80-83.
    One of the fundamental ethical ambiguities in giving over our information is that it allows the other party not just to help us better, but also to exploit us better. Today we are increasingly aware of this ambiguity wherever big data is used, and precision medicine is proving to be no exception. Here I sketch the role that status hierarchies play in the relation between researchers and research subjects.
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  3.  17
    Adapting to Environmental Heterogeneity: Selection and Radiation.Hugh Desmond - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-14.
    Environmental heterogeneity is invoked as a key explanatory factor in the adaptive evolution of a surprisingly wide range of phenomena. This article aims to analyze this explanatory scheme of categorizing traits or properties as adaptations to environmental heterogeneity. First it is suggested that this scheme can be understood as a reaction to how heterogeneity adaptations were discounted or ignored in the modern synthesis. Then a positive account is proposed, distinguishing between two broad categories of adaptation to environmental heterogeneity: properties selected (...)
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  4.  14
    Expert Communication and the Self-Defeating Codes of Scientific Ethics.Hugh Desmond - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):24-26.
    Codes of ethics currently offer no guidance to scientists acting in capacity of expert. Yet communicating their expertise is one of the most important activities of scientists. Here I argue that expert communication has a specifically ethical dimension, and that experts must face a fundamental trade-off between "actionability" and "transparency" when communicating. Some recommendations for expert communication are suggested.
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  5.  20
    Service and Status Competition May Help Explain Perceived Ethical Acceptability.Hugh Desmond - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4):258-260.
    The dominant view on the ethics of cognitive enhancement (CE) is that CE is beholden to the principle of autonomy. However, this principle does not seem to reflect commonly held ethical judgments about enhancement. Is the principle of autonomy at fault, or should common judgments be adjusted? Here I argue for the first, and show how common judgments can be justified as based on a principle of service.
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  6.  25
    Natural Selection, Plasticity, and the Rationale for Largest-Scale Trends.Hugh Desmond - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 68:25-33.
    Many have argued that there is no reason why natural selection should cause directional increases in measures such as body size or complexity across evolutionary history as a whole. In this paper I argue that this conclusion does not hold for selection for adaptations to environmental variability, and that, given the inevitability of environmental variability, trends in adaptations to variability are an expected feature of evolution by natural selection. As a concrete instance of this causal structure, I outline how this (...)
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  7.  38
    Shades of Grey: Granularity, Pragmatics, and Non-Causal Explanation.Hugh Desmond - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):68-87.
    Implicit contextual factors mean that the boundary between causal and noncausal explanation is not as neat as one might hope: as the phenomenon to be explained is given descriptions with varying degrees of granularity, the nature of the favored explanation alternates between causal and non-causal. While it is not surprising that different descriptions of the same phenomenon should favor different explanations, it is puzzling why re-describing the phenomenon should make any difference for the causal nature of the favored explanation. I (...)
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  8.  45
    Symmetry Breaking and the Emergence of Path-Dependence.Hugh Desmond - 2017 - Synthese (10):4101-4131.
    Path-dependence offers a promising way of understanding the role historicity plays in explanation, namely, how the past states of a process can matter in the explanation of a given outcome. The two main existing accounts of path-dependence have sought to present it either in terms of dynamic landscapes or branching trees. However, the notions of landscape and tree both have serious limitations and have been criticized. The framework of causal networks is both more fundamental and more general that that of (...)
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  9.  31
    Incentivizing Replication is Insufficient to Safeguard Default Trust.Hugh Desmond - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Philosophers of science and meta-scientists alike now typically model scientists’ behavior as driven by credit maximization. In this paper I argue that this modeling assumption cannot account for how scientists have a default level of trust in each other’s assertions. The normative implication of this is that science policy should not only focus on incentive reform.
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  10.  35
    Selection in a Complex World: Deriving Causality From Stable Equilibrium.Hugh Desmond - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):265-286.
    It is an ongoing controversy whether natural selection is a cause of population change, or a mere statistical description of how individual births and deaths accumulate. In this paper I restate the problem in terms of the reference class problem, and propose how the structure of stable equilibrium can provide a solution in continuity with biological practice. Insofar natural selection can be understood as a tendency towards equilibrium, key statisticalist criticisms are avoided. Further, in a modification of the Newtonian-force analogy, (...)
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  11.  32
    The Ontology of Organismic Agency: A Kantian Approach.Hugh Desmond & Philippe Huneman - 2020 - In Andrea Altobrando & Pierfrancesco Biasetti (eds.), Natural Born Monads: On the Metaphysics of Organisms and Human Individuals. De Gruyter. pp. 33-64.
    Biologists explain organisms’ behavior not only as having been programmed by genes and shaped by natural selection, but also as the result of an organism’s agency: the capacity to react to environmental changes in goal-driven ways. The use of such ‘agential explanations’ reopens old questions about how justified it is to ascribe agency to entities like bacteria or plants that obviously lack rationality and even a nervous system. Is organismic agency genuinely ‘real’ or is it just a useful fiction? In (...)
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  12.  95
    The Selectionist Rationale for Evolutionary Progress.Hugh Desmond - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-26.
    The dominant view today on evolutionary progress is that it has been thoroughly debunked. Even value-neutral progress concepts are seen to lack important theoretical underpinnings: natural selection provides no rationale for progress, and natural selection need not even be invoked to explain large-scale evolutionary trends. In this paper I challenge this view by analysing how natural selection acts in heterogeneous environments. This not only undermines key debunking arguments, but also provides a selectionist rationale for a pattern of “evolutionary unfolding”, where (...)
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  13.  18
    Trust and Professionalism in Science: Medical Codes as a Model for Scientific Negligence?Hugh Desmond & Kris Dierickx - 2021 - BMC Medical Ethics 22 (1):1-11.
    Background Professional communities such as the medical community are acutely concerned with negligence: the category of misconduct where a professional does not live up to the standards expected of a professional of similar qualifications. Since science is currently strengthening its structures of self-regulation in parallel to the professions, this raises the question to what extent the scientific community is concerned with negligence, and if not, whether it should be. By means of comparative analysis of medical and scientific codes of conduct, (...)
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