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Mar 5th 2015 GMT
volume 16, issue 1, 2015
  1. Kate M. Tan, Felicity S. Flack, Natasha L. Bear & Judy A. Allen, An Evaluation of a Data Linkage Training Workshop for Research Ethics Committees.
    In Australia research projects proposing the use of linked data require approval by a Human Research Ethics Committee . A sound evaluation of the ethical issues involved requires understanding of the basic mechanics of data linkage, the associated benefits and risks, and the legal context in which it occurs. The rapidly increasing number of research projects utilising linked data in Australia has led to an urgent need for enhanced capacity of HRECs to review research applications involving this emerging research methodology. (...)
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  1. Jody Azzouni & Otávio Bueno, True Nominalism: Referring Versus Coding.
    One major motivation for nominalism, at least according to Hartry Field, is the desirability of intrinsic explanations: explanations that don’t invoke objects that are causally irrelevant to the phenomena being explained. There is something right about the search for such explanations. But that search must be carefully implemented. Nothing is gained if, to avoid a certain class of objects, one only introduces other objects and relations that are just as nominalistically questionable. We will argue that this is the case for (...)
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  2. J. Christopher Jenson, The Belief Illusion.
    I offer a new argument for the elimination of ‘beliefs’ from cognitive science based on Wimsatt’s concept of robustness and a related concept of fragility. Theoretical entities are robust if multiple independent means of measurement produce invariant results in detecting them. Theoretical entities are fragile when multiple independent means of detecting them produce highly variant results. I argue that sufficiently fragile theoretical entities do not exist. Recent studies in psychology show radical variance between what self-report and non-verbal behaviour indicate about (...)
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  1. Robert Stecker, Beyond Art.
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volume 20, issue , 2014
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    John Corcoran & William Frank, COSMIC JUSTICE HYPOTHESES.
    Cosmic Justice Hypotheses. -/- This applied-logic lecture builds on [1] arguing that character traits fostered by logic serve clarity and understanding in ethics, confirming hopeful views of Alfred Tarski [2, Preface, and personal communication]. Hypotheses in one strict usage are propositions not known to be true and not known to be false or—more loosely—propositions so considered for discussion purposes [1, p. 38]. Logic studies hypotheses by determining their implications (propositions they imply) and their implicants (propositions that imply them). Logic also (...)
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volume 56, issue 2, 2015
  1. Jeffrey L. Morrow, Thomas More on the Sadness of Christ: From Mystagogy to Martyrdom.
    Thomas More presents us with a wonderful example of martyrological exegesis where his exegetical work was intended to inspire his readers to live the virtues, to follow Christ, and to provide consolation amidst tribulation. Such exegesis aimed to aid the reader to live the martyrdom required in ordinary life and beyond that, if necessary, with mental anguish, physical torture, and even death on behalf of Christ. Before examining More's work, I first situate this discussion within the broader conversation concerning modern (...)
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  2. Danna Patricia S. Aduna, The Reconciliation of Religious and Secular Reasons as a Form of Epistemic Openness: Insights From Examples in the Philippines.
    Addressing the debate inspired by John Rawls's restrictive idea of the political role of religion, Jürgen Habermas proposes the institutional translation proviso as an alternative that corrects an overly secularist notion of the state. Maeve Cooke has suggested that religious arguments can be allowed without translation in the institutional level as long as they are non-authoritarian. However, her definition of non-authoritarianism requires an acceptance of the fallibility of the truths acquired by faith, which I argue is unnecessary. Instead, I propose (...)
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  1. Hub Zwart, Lotte Krabbenborg & Jochem Zwier, Is Dandelion Rubber More Natural? Naturalness, Biotechnology and the Transition Towards a Bio-Based Society.
    In the unfolding debate on the prospects, challenges and viability of the imminent transition towards a ‘Bio-Based Society’ or ‘Bio-based Economy’—i.e. the replacement of fossil fuels by biomass as a basic resource for the production of energy, materials and food, ‘big’ concepts tend to play an important role, such as, for instance, ‘sustainability’, ‘global justice’ and ‘naturalness’. The latter concept is, perhaps, the most challenging and intriguing one. In public debates concerning biotechnological interactions with the natural environment, the use of (...)
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  1. Silvia Camporesi, The Ethics of the New Eugenics.
    The Ethics of the New Eugenics, edited by Calum MacKellar and Christopher Bechtel ,An introductory “Note on the Text” states: “The research on which this book is based was commissioned by the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics. It is the result of the collective work of many individuals at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics. Initial drafting and subsequent editing was the work of Calum MacKellar and Christopher Bechtel, as agreed to by the Ethics Committee of the Scottish Council on (...)
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  2. John Kleinsman & Sue Buckley, Facebook Study: A Little Bit Unethical But Worth It?
    Human research involving the use social media raises many of the same issues as medical research. The publication of a paper in June 2014 investigating “emotional contagion” received extensive publicity recently because of the methods used. The approach involved manipulating the “News Feeds” of Facebook users, but the participants were not informed of their involvement in the research and had no opportunity to consent or opt out. Some commentators have argued that although it would have been preferable to obtain informed (...)
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volume 49, issue 1, 2015
  1. Peter Gardner & Stephen Johnson, Teaching the Pursuit of Assumptions.
    Within the school of thought known as Critical Thinking, identifying or finding missing assumptions is viewed as one of the principal thinking skills. Within the new subject in schools and colleges, usually called Critical Thinking, the skill of finding missing assumptions is similarly prominent, as it is in that subject's public examinations. In this article we examine how school- and college-focused texts explain and teach ‘this very important skill’. The same texts also deal with the nature of assumptions, validity and (...)
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volume 1, issue , 2015
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    Ehud Lamm, Systems Thinking Versus Population Thinking: Genotype Integration and Chromosomal Organization 1930s–1950s.
    This article describes how empirical discoveries in the 1930s–1950s regarding population variation for chromosomal inversions affected Theodosius Dobzhansky and Richard Goldschmidt. A significant fraction of the empirical work I discuss was done by Dobzhansky and his coworkers; Goldschmidt was an astute interpreter, with strong and unusual commitments. I argue that both belong to a mechanistic tradition in genetics, concerned with the effects of chromosomal organization and systems on the inheritance patterns of species. Their different trajectories illustrate how scientists’ commitments affect (...)
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  1. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, A Political Justification of Nudging.
    Thaler and Sunstein justify nudge policies from welfaristic premises: nudges are acceptable because they benefit the individuals who are nudged. A tacit assumption behind this strategy is that we can identify the true preferences of decision-makers. We argue that this assumption is often unwarranted, and that as a consequence nudge policies must be justified in a different way. A possible strategy is to abandon welfarism and endorse genuine paternalism. Another one is to argue that the biases of decision that choice (...)
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volume 7, issue 2, 2015
  1. Lucas Angioni, Aristotle on Necessary Principles and on Explaining X Through X’s Essence.
    I discuss Aristotle's notion of a "necessary principle" in Posterior Analytics in order to show that this notion cannot be understood in terms of necessarily true propositions, it urges for a more fine-grained understanding of the role substances's essences play as explanatory factors, since in the triadic model for "explaining X through X's essence" as well as in the triadic model for explaining X through its "necessary principle", X is not a substance-terms, but is the term for the explanandum as (...)
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  2. Margaret Anne Cameron, Is Ground Said-in-Many-Ways?
    The introduction of the topic of ground , which is used to indicate relations of ontological fundamentality, has contributed in part to the turn to Aristotelian-inspired metaphysics. Proponents of ground do not define the phenomenon, but at the same time they share the inclination that ground is a unified phenomenon. In this paper I will address a set of criticisms of Ground that seek to show that it lacks a unified sense and is not a unified phenomenon. Reflection on these (...)
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  3. Pablo Carnino, On the Reduction of Grounding to Essence.
    In a recent article, Fabrice Correia explores the project of reducing the notion of grounding to that of essence. He then goes on to provide several candidate definitions and test each of them against a number of objections. His final take on the situation is, roughly, that two of the definitions can handle all of the considered objections. The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate Correia's conclusions in the light of two sources of insights: Firstly, I will argue that (...)
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  4. Ryan Christensen, Essence, Essence, and Essence.
    I argue that three different notions of essence—temporal, definitional, and modal—are all distinct notions, and are all philosophically useful. After defining the different notions, I discuss the philosophical problems each addresses. I then provide examples to show how they are extensionally distinct.
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  5. Travis Dumsday, E.J. Lowe on the Unity Problem.
    Some properties are connected in a perspicuous and unproblematic way. For instance, the possession of shape clearly entails the possession of size . In other cases the connection is not so perspicuous. For instance, assuming that the precise rest mass and negative charge of an electron are both among its fundamental intrinsic properties, what links them, given that those properties are inherently separable? Given the inherent separability of those properties, what explains their conjunction in this case? Oderberg calls this the (...)
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  6. Kathrin Koslicki, The Causal Priority of Form in Aristotle.
    In various texts , Aristotle assigns priority to form, in its role as a principle and cause, over matter and the matter-form compound. Given the central role played by this claim in Aristotle's search for primary substance in the Metaphysics , it is important to understand what motivates him in locating the primary causal responsibility for a thing's being what it is with the form, rather than the matter. According to Met . Theta.8, actuality [ energeia / entelecheia ] in (...)
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  7. Michail Peramatzis, Sameness, Definition, and Essence.
    I formulate an apparent inconsistency between some claims Aristotle makes in his Metaphysics about the sameness and non-sameness relations which obtain between an object and its essence: while a object is not the same as its essence, an essence is thought as being the same as its essence. I discuss different ways in which one may propose to overcome this apparent inconsistency and show that they are problematic. My diagnosis of the problem is that all these putative solutions share the (...)
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  8. Christine J. Thomas, Plato on Metaphysical Explanation: Does 'Participating' Mean Nothing?
    According to Aristotle, Plato's efforts at metaphysical explanation not only fail, they are nonsensical. In particular, Plato's appeals to Forms as metaphysically explanatory of the sensibles that participate in them is "empty talk" since "'participating' means nothing" . I defend Plato against Aristotle's charge by identifying a particular, substantive model of metaphysical predication as the favored model of Plato's late ontology. The model posits two basic metaphysical predication relations: self-predication and participation. In order to understand the participation relation, it is (...)
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  9. Justin Zylstra, Dependence and Fundamentality.
    The notion of dependence is an integral part of the contemporary Aristotelian’s armamentarium. It is part of the standard view of dependence that dependence goes hand in hand with relative fundamentality, if not that the two are synonymous. Minimally, the standard view says that some item depends on another if and only if the second is more fundamental than the first. In this paper, I argue that the standard view is false in both directions. I then go on to develop (...)
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    Daan Evers, Street on Evolution and the Normativity of Epistemic Reasons.
    Sharon Street (2009) argues that realism about epistemic normativity is false. Realists believe there are truths about epistemic reasons that hold independently of the agent's (or anyone else's) attitudes. Street argues by dilemma. Either the realist accepts a certain account of the nature of belief, or she does not. If she does, then she cannot consistently accept realism. If she does not, then she has no scientifically credible explanation of the fact that our epistemic behaviours or beliefs about epistemic reasons (...)
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volume 81, issue 1, 2015
  1. Joshua Gert, Parity, Preference and Puzzlement.
    Ruth Chang has argued for the existence of a fourth positive value relation, distinct from betterness, worseness and equality, which she calls “parity.” In an earlier article I seemed to criticize Chang's suggestion by offering an interval model for the values of items that I claimed could accommodate all the phenomena characteristic of parity. Wlodek Rabinowicz, offering his own model of value relations, endorsed one central feature of my proposal: the need to distinguish permissible preferences from required ones. But he, (...)
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volume 7, issue 1, 2015
  1. Chris Eliasmith & Carter Kolbeck, Marr's Attacks: On Reductionism and Vagueness.
    It has been suggested that Marr took the three levels he famously identifies to be independent. In this paper, we argue that Marr's view is more nuanced. Specifically, we show that the view explicitly articulated in his work attempts to integrate the levels, and in doing so results in Marr attacking both reductionism and vagueness. The result is a perspective in which both high-level information-processing constraints and low-level implementational constraints play mutually reinforcing and constraining roles. We discuss our recent work (...)
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Mar 4th 2015 GMT
volume 13, issue 1, 2015
  1. Giovanni B. Grandi, Providential Naturalism and Miracles: John Fearn's Critique of Scottish Philosophy.
    According to Thomas Reid, the development of natural sciences following the model of Newton's Principia and Optics would provide further evidence for the belief in a provident God. This project was still supported by his student, Dugald Stewart, in the early nineteenth century. John Fearn , an early critic of the Scottish common sense school, thought that the rise of ‘infidelity’ in the wake of scientific progress had shown that the apologetic project of Reid and Stewart had failed. In reaction (...)
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  2. Ryan Patrick Hanley, Adam Smith on the ‘Natural Principles of Religion.
    Smith scholars have become interested of late in his thoughts on religion, and particularly the question of the degree to which Smith's understanding of religion was indebted to the influence of his close friend Hume. Until now this debate has largely focused on three elements of Smith's religious thought: his personal beliefs, his conception of natural religion, and his treatment of revealed religion. Yet largely unexplored has been one of the most important elements of Smith's thinking about religion: namely his (...)
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  3. Eugene Heath, In the Garden of God: Religion and Vigour in the Frame of Ferguson's Thought.
    Although Adam Ferguson is regarded typically as a secular thinker, the larger frame of this thought may reflect his theism. After recounting, in summary fashion, elements of Ferguson's life, the paper sets forth his embrace of standard doctrines of eighteenth-century natural theology, including the metaphysical basis between mind, activity, and moral happiness, as well as Ferguson's treatment of an important theme of Christian belief – human sinfulness. Turning to Ferguson's moral theory, it is argued that energetic and moralized activity, vigour, (...)
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  4. Nathan Sasser, Hume and the Implanted Knowledge of God.
    Hume is justly famous for his criticisms of theistic proofs. However, what is less well-known is that Hume also criticized the claim that belief in God, simply because it is natural, is justified without supporting argument. Hume certainly encountered this claim in his own Protestant milieu, as various textual clues throughout his corpus indicate. His own endorsement of natural beliefs raises the possibility that religious belief might be justified without argument. One of Hume's chief aims in The Natural History of (...)
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  5. Andre C. Willis, The Potential Use-Value of Hume's ‘True Religion.
    Many hold that Hume was an atheist, that he despised the church, and that he was a devastating critic of religion. One cannot deny, however, the references to ‘true religion’ in his work, his sometimes seemingly favorable references to Deity, his call for religion in ‘every civilized community’, and his sense of ‘natural belief’. The following essay describes a speculative Humean ‘true religion’ and discusses its potential use-value for contemporary philosophy of religion. It begins, anecdotally, with a description of Hume's (...)
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volume 16, issue 1, 2015
  1. Corinna Porteri & Carlo Petrini, Research Involving Subjects with Alzheimer’s Disease in Italy: The Possible Role of Family Members.
    Alzheimer’s disease is a very common, progressive and still incurable disease. Future possibilities for its cure lie in the promotion of research that will increase our knowledge of the disorder’s causes and lead to the discovery of effective remedies. Such research will necessarily involve individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This raises the controversial issue of whether patients with Alzheimer’s disease are competent to give their consent for research participation.
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  1. Michelle Jenkins, Early Education in Plato's Republic.
    In this paper, I reconsider the commonly held position that the early moral education of the Republic is arational since the youths of the Kallipolis do not yet have the capacity for reason. I argue that, because they receive an extensive mathematical education alongside their moral education, the youths not only have a capacity for reason but that capacity is being developed in their early education. If this is so, though, then we must rethink why the early moral education is (...)
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volume 38, issue , 2015
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    Donald A. Landes, Phronēsis and the Art of Healing: Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty, and the Phenomenology of Equilibrium in Health.
    In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle places the art of medicine alongside other examples of technē. According to Gadamer, however, medicine is different because in medicine the physician does not, properly speaking, produce anything. In The Enigma of Health, rather than introducing Aristotle’s intellectual virtue of phronēsis (practical wisdom) as a way of understanding medical practice, Gadamer focuses on how medicine is a technē “with a difference”. In this paper, I argue that, despite the richness of his insights, this focus prevents (...)
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  1. Andrew Haas, Notes on Time and Aspect.
    What is time? Neither the numbering of the motion of things nor their schema, but their way of being. In language, time shows itself as tense. But every verb has both tense and aspect. So what is aspect? Irreducible to tense, it is the way in which anything is at any time whatsoever. Thus the way things are, their being, is not merely temporal – for it is just as aspectual.
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  1. Yohan Pelosse, The Intrinsic Quantum Nature of Nash Equilibrium Mixtures.
    In classical game theory the idea that players randomize between their actions according to a particular optimal probability distribution has always been viewed as puzzling. In this paper, we establish a fundamental connection between n-person normal form games and quantum mechanics , which eliminates the conceptual problems of these random strategies. While the two theories have been regarded as distinct, our main theorem proves that if we do not give any other piece of information to a player in a game, (...)
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volume 49, issue 1, 2015
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    Renée Jorgensen Bolinger, The Pragmatics of Slurs.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term . Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints (...)
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  2. David James Barnett, Inferential Justification and the Transparency of Belief.
    This paper critically examines currently influential transparency accounts of our knowledge of our own beliefs that say that self-ascriptions of belief typically are arrived at by “looking outward” onto the world. For example, one version of the transparency account says that one self-ascribes beliefs via an inference from a premise to the conclusion that one believes that premise. This rule of inference reliably yields accurate self-ascriptions because you cannot infer a conclusion from a premise without believing the premise, and so (...)
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volume 28, issue 1, 2015
  1. Pompeu Casanovas, Semantic Web Regulatory Models: Why Ethics Matter.
    The notion of validity fulfils a crucial role in legal theory. In the emerging Web 3.0, Semantic Web languages, legal ontologies, and normative multi-agent systems are designed to cover new regulatory needs. Conceptual models for complex regulatory systems shape the characteristic features of rules, norms, and principles in different ways. This article outlines one of such multilayered governance models, designed for the CAPER platform, and offers a definition of Semantic Web Regulatory Models . It distinguishes between normative-SWRM and institutional-SWRM. It (...)
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  2. Marc Champagne & Ryan Tonkens, Bridging the Responsibility Gap in Automated Warfare.
    Sparrow argues that military robots capable of making their own decisions would be independent enough to allow us denial for their actions, yet too unlike us to be the targets of meaningful blame or praise—thereby fostering what Matthias has dubbed “the responsibility gap.” We agree with Sparrow that someone must be held responsible for all actions taken in a military conflict. That said, we think Sparrow overlooks the possibility of what we term “blank check” responsibility: A person of sufficiently high (...)
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  3. Massimo Durante, The Democratic Governance of Information Societies. A Critique to the Theory of Stakeholders.
    This paper criticizes the tendency to view the extension of the class of social actors, which stems from the process of democratization of data, as also implying the extension of the class of the political actors involved in the process of governance of the Information Society. The paper argues that social actors can upgrade to political actors once they become real interlocutors, namely political actors that can participate in the formation of the political discourse and that this can happen only (...)
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  4. Luciano Floridi, The Politics of Uncertainty.
    What is uncertainty? There are of course several possible definitions, offered by different fields, from epistemology to statistics, but, in the background, one usually finds some kind of relation with the lack of information, in the following sense. Suppose we define semantic or factual information as the combination of a question plus the relevant, correct answer. If one has both the question and the correct answer, one is informed: “was Berlin the capital of Germany in 2010? Yes”. If one has (...)
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  5. Frances S. Grodzinsky, Keith W. Miller & Marty J. Wolf, Developing Automated Deceptions and the Impact on Trust.
    As software developers design artificial agents , they often have to wrestle with complex issues, issues that have philosophical and ethical importance. This paper addresses two key questions at the intersection of philosophy and technology: What is deception? And when is it permissible for the developer of a computer artifact to be deceptive in the artifact’s development? While exploring these questions from the perspective of a software developer, we examine the relationship of deception and trust. Are developers using deception to (...)
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  6. Ugo Pagallo, The Realignment of the Sources of the Law and Their Meaning in an Information Society.
    The paper examines the realignment of the legal sources in an information society, by considering first of all the differences with the previous system of sources, dubbed as the “Westphalian model”. The current system is tripartite, rather than bipartite, for the sources of transnational law should be added to the traditional dichotomy between national and international law. In addition, the system is dualistic, rather than monistic, because the tools of legal constructivism, such as codes or statutes, have to be complemented (...)
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