About this book
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.
Content Level » Research
Keywords » Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - Epidemiology - Public Health - Reasoning - Uncertainty
Related subjects » Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Logic & Philosophy of Language - Medicine - Philosophy - Public Health
Table of contents
Acknowledgements.- Preface.- 1. BSE – A LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN.- 1.1 Introduction.- 1.2 Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies.- 1.3 The BSE Knowledge Problem.- Notes.- 2 THE SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGE.- 2.1 Introduction.- 2.2 The Current Paradigm in Epidemiology.- 2.3 Early Epidemiological Investigations.- Notes.- 3 ARGUING THROUGH UNCERTAINTY.- 3.1 Introduction.- 3.2 Presumption and Science.- 3.3 Presumption and Uncertainty Management.- 3.4 Presumption, Reasoning and Fallacies.- Notes.- 4 GOOD ARGUMENTS DURING THE BSE INQUIRY.- 4.1 Introduction.- 4.2 The Early Years: 1986 to 1989.- 4.3 Summary.- Notes.- 5 THE UNRAVELLING OF AN ARGUMENTATIVE STRATEGY.- 5.1 Introduction.- 5.2 The Middle Years: 1989 to 1994.- 5.3 Summary.- Notes.- 6 AN UNCHALLENGEABLE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS.- 6.1 Introduction.- 6.2 The Final Years: 1994-1996.- 6.3 Summary.- Notes.- 7 POLITICAL AND COMMERCIAL INTERESTS IN THE BSE INQUIRY.- 7.1 Introduction.-7.2 Reasoning and Non-Scientific Interests in the BSE Inquiry.- 7.3 Summary.- Notes.- 8 LEARNING THE LESSONS OF THE BSE CRISIS.- 8.1 Introduction.- 8.2 A Model of Reasoning in Scientific Inquiry.- 8.3 The Model, Risk Analysis and Public Health Science.- 8.4 Summary.- Notes.- Bibliography.- Index.