In his “Third Way” Aquinas appears to argue in a way that relies upon shifting quantifiers in a fallacious way. Some have tried to save this and other parts of the “Third Way” by introducing sophisticated logical and metaphysical machinery. Alternatively, Aquinas’ apparently fallacious quantifier shift can be seen to be part of a valid argument if we supply a simple premise which an Aristotelian natural philosopher would surely hold. In this short paper, I consider candidates for this premise, defend (...) a specific premise, and from that discussion draw a moral about quantifier predicate logic. I conclude that Aristotelian natural philosophy is more than an historical backdrop to Aquinas’ arguments. (shrink)
This paper presents the intelligent virtual animals that inhabit Omosa, a virtual learning environment to help secondary school students learn how to conduct scientific inquiry and gain concepts from biology. Omosa supports multiple agents, including animals, plants, and human hunters, which live in groups of varying sizes and in a predator-prey relationship with other agent types (species). In this paper we present our generic agent architecture and the algorithms that drive all animals. We concentrate on two of our animals to (...) present how different parameter values affect their movements and inter/intra-group interactions. Two evaluations studies are included: one to demonstrate the effect of different components of our architecture; another to provide domain expert validation of the animal behavior. (shrink)
This paper reports on an ongoing ARC Discovery Project that is conducting design research into learning in collaborative virtual worlds (CVW).The paper will describe three design components of the project: (a) pedagogical design, (b)technical and graphics design, and (c) learning research design. The perspectives of each design team will be discussed and how the three teams worked together to produce the CVW. The development of productive failure learning activities for the CVW will be discussed and there will be an interactive (...) demonstration of the project's CVW. (shrink)
Using the controversy over the MMR vaccine, I consider the reasons why non-experts should defer to experts, and I sketch a model for understanding cases where they fail to defer. I first suggest that an intuitively plausible model of the expert/non-expert relationship is complicated by shifting epistemic standards. One possible moderate response to this challenge, based on a more complex notion of non-experts' relationship with experts, seems unappealing as an account of the MMR controversy. A more radical suggestion is that (...) non-experts might have a political reason to defer to experts, when not doing so will involve ‘epistemological free-riding’. I investigate the implications. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether being “physically insecure” (being at risk of not continuing to meet one's physical needs in the future) should be thought of as a constituent of current wellbeing. In §1, it is argued that we cannot understand the value of security in terms of “freedom from fear”. In §2, it is argued that the reliablist approach to epistemology can help us to construct an account of why physical security is valuable, by relating security to the conditions of (...) agency for practically and epistemically limited animals. In §3, this argument is compared with other attempts to understand the value of physical security. In §4, the relationship between security and threats of rights violation is clarified. In §5, the epistemic analogy of §2 is used to suggest a difference between the concepts of “security” and “capability”. (shrink)
We explore the match of a computational information foraging model to participant data on multi-page web search tasks and find its correlation on several important metrics to be too low to be used with confidence in the evaluation of user-interface designs. We examine the points of mismatch to inspire changes to the model in how it calculates information scent scores and how it assesses the utility of backing up from a lower-level page to a higher-level page. The outcome is a (...) new model that qualitatively matches participant behavior better than the original model, has utility equations more appealing to “common sense” than the original equations, and significantly improves the correlation between model and participant data on our metrics. (shrink)
Representational theorists identify experiences’ phenomenal properties with their representational properties. Qualia theorists reject this identity, insisting that experiences’ phenomenal properties can come apart from and completely outrun their representational properties. Qualia theorists account for phenomenal properties in terms of “qualia,” intrinsic mental properties they allege experiences to instantiate. The debate between representational theorists and qualia theorists has focused on whether phenomenal properties really can come apart from and completely outrun representational properties. As a result, qualia theorists have failed (1) to (...) explain how experiences owe their phenomenal properties to their instantiation of qualia and (2) to clarify the nature of subjects’ epistemic access to qualia. I survey qualia theorists’ options for dealing with each issue and find them all wanting. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper, three objections to the precautionary principle are outlined: the principle requires some account of how to balance risks of significant harms; the principle focuses on action and ignores the costs of inaction; and the principle threatens epistemic anarchy. I argue that these objections may overlook two distinctive features of precautionary thought: a suspicion of the value of “full scientific certainty”; and a desire to distinguish environmental doings from allowings. In Section 2, I argue (...) that any simple distinction between environmental doings and allowings is untenable. However, I argue that the appeal of such a distinction can be captured within a relational account of environmental equity. In Section 3 I show how the proposed account of environmental justice can generate a justification for distinctively “precautionary” policy-making. (shrink)
Professional responsibility -- Social justice -- Professional development -- Actionable knowledge -- Expert knowledge and skills -- Strategy and artistry -- Professional effectiveness -- Critical social challenges -- Transformational practice -- Conclusions.
We normally think that public health policy is an important political activity. In turn, we normally understand the value of public health policy in terms of the promotion of health or some health-related good (such as opportunity for health), on the basis of the assumption that health is an important constituent or determinant of wellbeing. In this paper, I argue that the assumption that the value of public health policy should be understood in terms of health leads us to overlook (...) important benefits generated by such policy. To capture these benefits we need to understand the ends of public health policy in terms of the promotion of 'physical safety'. I then go on to argue that the idea that 'health' is an important category for evaluating or estimating individuals' wellbeing in the normative context of social policy is confused. I then clarify the relationship between my arguments and QALY-based accounts of health assessment. In the final section of the paper, I defend this surprising conclusion against various attacks. (shrink)
Medicalization has been a process articulated primarily by social scientists, historians, and cultural critics. Comparatively little is written about the role of bioethics in appraising medicalization as a social process. The authors consider what medicalization means, its definition, functions, and criteria for assessment. A series of brief case sketches illustrate how bioethics can contribute to the analysis and public policy discussion of medicalization.
We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
This study examines the use of a video news release in a specific story. Press coverage and editorial criticism in the case showed that journalists do not articulate sufficiently how the news owners' sway, through institutional controls, can lead to a hegemony of expedient action in the newsroom. Critical self-reflection by news workers will better enable journalists to ethically deliberate news choices that balance their responsibilities to owners, peers, and the public.
In three experiments we studied lay observers’ attributions of responsibility for an antisocial act (homicide). We systematically varied both the degree to which the action was coerced by external circumstances and the degree to which the actor endorsed and accepted ownership of the act, a psychological state that philosophers have termed ‘identiﬁcation’. Our ﬁndings with respect to identiﬁcation were highly consistent. The more an actor was identiﬁed with an action, the more likely observers were to assign responsibility to the actor, (...) even when the action was performed under constraints so powerful that no other behavioral option was available. Our ﬁndings indicate that social cognition involving assignment of responsibility for an action is a more complex process than previous research has indicated. It would appear that laypersons’ judgments of moral responsibility may, in some circumstances, accord with philosophical views in which freedom and determinism are regarded to be compatible. (shrink)
Andrews et al. claim that Gould and Lewontin's critique of adaptationism is largely epistemological rather than ontological. In this commentary I argue that, on the contrary, the deepest part of their critique is ontological, raising concerns about the existence of the traits that are the subjects of adaptationist theorising. Andrews et al.'s failure to address this problem undermines their defence of adaptationism.
Continuous recordings of brain electrical activity were obtained from a group of 176 patients throughout surgical procedures using general anesthesia. Artifact-free data from the 19 electrodes of the International 10/20 System were subjected to quantitative analysis of the electroencephalogram (QEEG). Induction was variously accomplished with etomidate, propofol or thiopental. Anesthesia was maintained throughout the procedures by isoflurane, desflurane or sevoflurane (N = 68), total intravenous anesthesia using propofol (N = 49), or nitrous oxide plus narcotics (N = 59). A set (...) of QEEG measures were found which reversibly displayed high heterogeneity of variance between four states as follows: (1) during induction; (2) just after loss of consciousness (LOC); (3) just before return of consciousness (ROC); (4) just after ROC. Homogeneity of variance across all agents within states was found. Topographic statistical probability images were compared between states. At LOC, power increased in all frequency bands in the power spectrum with the exception of a decrease in gamma activity, and there was a marked anteriorization of power. Additionally, a significant change occurred in hemispheric relationships, with prefrontal and frontal regions of each hemisphere becoming more closely coupled, and anterior and posterior regions on each hemisphere, as well as homologous regions between the two hemispheres, uncoupling. All of these changes reversed upon ROC. Variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA) was performed to localize salient features of power anteriorization in three dimensions. A common set of neuroanatomical regions appeared to be the locus of the most probable generators of the observed EEG changes. (shrink)
This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This (...) evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia. (shrink)
This book presents the first critical edition of the "Syncategoreumata" by the thirteenth-century philosopher Peter of Spain (Petrus Hispanus Portugalensis), accompanied by a facing-page English translation to make its contents accessible ...
John of Salisbury (c. 1115-1180) was the foremost political theorist of his age. He was trained in scholastic theology and philosophy at Paris, and his writings are invaluable for summarizing many of the metaphysical speculations of his time. The Policraticus is his main work, and is regarded as the first complete work of political theory to be written in the Latin Middle Ages. Cary Nederman's new edition and translation, currently the only version available in English, is primarily aimed at undergraduate (...) students of the history of political thought and medieval history. His new translation shows how important this text is in understanding the mores, forms of conduct and beliefs of the most powerful and learned segments of twelfth century Western Europe. (shrink)
Abstract One of the great teachers of our time was the French essayist and philosopher Emile Chartier, better known to countless thousands of devoted admirers simply as Alain. Following in the steps of La Chalotais, Rousseau, Jules Ferry, and Durkheim, Alain believed passionately in the importance of moral education as a fundamentally secular enterprise. We neglect it, he wrote, at our peril. In the introduction to this article an attempt is made to outline briefly some of the reasons for the (...) remarkable influence which he had upon several generations of French men and women. In the second part I have attempted a critical assessment of his views on how morality should be approached in the atmosphere of a secular school. In particular, I have considered his views on the teaching of education for citizenship, social ethics, sociology, literature and good manners. Finally, I have sought to elicit from the study some of the most significant implications for the teaching of moral education in our own schools and have concluded with a plea that there be no doctrinaire limit set to the kinds of subject areas which could in theory illuminate the nature of morality and contribute to the formal teaching of moral education in the classroom. (shrink)
Abstract One of the seminal works in the history of educational thought is Rousseau's Emile. This article seeks to examine Rousseau's advocacy of a secular approach to morality and its particular implications for the moral education of the young Emile. A keyword in Rousseau's thinking is nature and an attempt is made to examine critically the naturalistic ethics from which so many of his moral prescriptions were derived. It then proceeds to outline some of the central aspects of his recommendations (...) for the moral education of Emile and incorporates his reflections upon home life, habit?training, punishment, the importance of reason, needs and the value of history as a moral educator. The remainder of the article seeks to show the influence of Rousseau's ideas upon the secularization of moral education, a process which began just after the French Revolution, gathered momentum in the nineteenth century (particularly with the triumph of republicanism and the added impetus given by the influential writings of Durkheim), and saw its full fruition in French schools in the early part of the twentieth century. (shrink)
A collection of letters portraying the life and times of this great medieval scholar, the devoted secretary of Archbishop Theobald, and the faithful friend and counsellor of Becket. Volume 1 of his correspondence, 'The Early Letters,' long out of print, is available on microfiche.