ISBN-10:
9048195039
ISBN-13:
9789048195039
Pub. Date:
08/19/2010
Publisher:
Springer Netherlands
Rethinking the BSE Crisis: A Study of Scientific Reasoning under Uncertainty / Edition 1

Rethinking the BSE Crisis: A Study of Scientific Reasoning under Uncertainty / Edition 1

by Louise Cummings

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Overview

In 1986, the emergence of a novel brain disease in British cattle presented a unique challenge to scientists. How that challenge was addressed has been the subject of a public inquiry and numerous academic studies conducted to date. However, none of these investigations has sought to examine the reasoning of scientists during this critical period in the public health of the UK. Using concepts and techniques in informal logic, argumentation and fallacy theory, this study reconstructs and evaluates the reasoning of scientists in the ten-year period between 1986 and 1996. Specifically, a form of presumptive reasoning is described in which extensive use is made of arguments traditionally identified as informal fallacies. In the context of the adverse epistemic conditions that confronted scientists during the BSE epidemic, these arguments were anything but fallacious, serving instead to confer a number of epistemic gains upon scientific inquiry.

This book argues for a closer integration of philosophy with public health science, an integration that is exemplified by the case of scientific reasoning during the BSE affair. It will therefore be of interest to advanced students, academics, researchers and professionals in the areas of public health science and epidemiology, as well as philosophical disciplines such as informal logic, argumentation and fallacy theory and epistemology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789048195039
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Publication date: 08/19/2010
Edition description: 2010
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.02(d)

Table of Contents

1 BSE - A Leap Into The Unknown 1

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies 2

1.2.1 Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease 2

1.2.2 Kuru 5

1.2.3 Gerstmann-Sträussler Syndrome 10

1.2.4 Scrapie 12

1.2.5 Transmissible Mink Encepalopathy 17

1.2.6 Chronic Wasting Disease 19

1.3 The BSE Knowledge Problem 22

1.3.1 The Knowledge Problem Exposed 23

1.3.2 The Knowledge Problem Bridged 26

2 The Scientific Challenge 35

2.1 Introduction 35

2.2 The Current Paradigm in Epidemiology 36

2.2.1 Theoretical Development in Epidemiology 36

2.2.2 Epidemiology and Other Disciplines 38

2.2.3 Reasoning and Epidemiology 39

2.2.4 Spatiotemporal Factors and Epidemiology 41

2.3 Early Epidemiological Investigations 43

3 Arguing Through Uncertainty 57

3.1 Introduction 57

3.2 Presumption and Science 60

3.2.1 Feature 1: Presumptions Display an Orientation to Action 61

3.2.2 Feature 2: Presumptions Exhibit Rational Justification 62

3.2.3 Feature 3: Presumptions are Inherently Defeasible 63

3.2.4 Feature 4: Presumptions Display Context Sensitivity 65

3.2.5 Feature 5: Presumptions Have a Low-Grade Epistemic Status 66

3.3 Presumption and Uncertainty Management 68

3.4 Presumption, Reasoning and Fallacies 74

4 Good Arguments During the BSE Inquiry 87

4.1 Introduction 87

4.2 The Early Years: 1986-1989 91

4.2.1 Argument from Analogy 92

4.2.2 Argument from Ignorance 97

4.2.3 Question-Begging Argument 103

4.3 Summary 107

5 The Unravelling of an Argumentative Strategy 117

5.1 Introduction 117

5.2 The Middle Years: 1989-1994 119

5.2.1 Argument from Analogy 120

5.2.2 Argument from Ignorance 125

5.2.3 False Attribution of a Part to a Whole 128

5.3 Summary 133

6 An Unchallengeable Scientific Consensus 139

6.1 Introduction 139

6.2 The Final Years: 1994-1996 140

6.2.1 Argument from Analogy 141

6.2.2 Argument from Ignorance 147

6.2.3 Arguing to the Wrong Conclusion 151

6.3 Summary 156

7 Political and Commercial Interests in the BSE Inquiry 165

7.1 Introduction 165

7.2 Reasoning and Non-scientific Interests in the BSE Inquiry 165

7.2.1 Argument from Authority 169

7.2.2 Argument Against the Person 176

7.2.3 Argument from Analogy 182

7.3 Summary 184

8 Learning the Lessons of the BSE Crisis 193

8.1 Introduction 193

8.2 A Model of Reasoning in Scientific Inquiry 197

8.2.1 A Model of Reasoning in Early Inquiry 198

8.2.2 A Model of Reasoning in Middle Inquiry 201

8.2.3 A Model of Reasoning in Late Inquiry 204

8.3 The Model, Risk Analysis and Public Health Science 208

8.3.1 The Precautionary Principle 209

8.3.2 As Low As Reasonably Practicable 212

8.4 Summary 213

Bibliography 223

Index 239

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