As opposed to the dismissive attitude toward reductionism that is popular in current philosophy of mind, a “ruthless reductionism” is alive and thriving in “molecular and cellular cognition”—a field of research within cellular and molecular neuroscience, the current mainstream of the discipline. Basic experimental practices and emerging results from this field imply that two common assertions by philosophers and cognitive scientists are false: (1) that we do not know much about how the brain works, and (2) that lower-level neuroscience cannot (...) explain cognition and complex behavior directly. These experimental practices involve intervening directly with molecular components of sub-cellular and gene expression pathways in neurons and then measuring specific behaviors. These behaviors are tracked using tests that are widely accepted by experimental psychologists to study the psychological phenomenon at issue (e.g., memory, attention, and perception). Here I illustrate these practices and their importance for explanation and reduction in current mainstream neuroscience by describing recent work on social recognition memory in mammals. (shrink)
This paper by Prof. Daniel Statman, moral philosopher at the University of Haifa in Israel and author of the books Moral Dilemmas and Religion and Morality , offers a philosophical defense for such targeted killings or assassinations as those by Israel of Palestinians. The paper argues that if one accepts the moral legitimacy of the large-scale killing of combatants in conventional (what may come to be called 'old-fashioned') wars, one cannot object -- on moral grounds -- to the (...) class='Hi'>targeted killing of terrorists in what are called wars against terror. If one rejects this legitimacy, one must object to all killing in war, targeted and non-targeted alike, and thus not support the view, which is criticized here, that targeted killings are particularly disturbing from a moral point of view. (shrink)
Business ethics is once again a hot topic as examples of improper business practices that violate commonly accepted ethical norms are brought to our attention. With the increasing number of scandals business schools find themselves on the defensive in explaining what they are doing to help respond to the call to teach ‘‘more’’ business ethics. This paper focuses on two issues germane to business ethics teaching efforts: the ‘‘targeted output’’ goals of teaching business ethics and when in the curriculum (...) business ethics should be taught. (shrink)
The mutation-selection hypothesis may extend to understanding normal personality variation. Traits such as emotional stability, agreeableness, and conscientiousness figure strongly in mate selection and show evidence of non-additive genetic variance. They are linked with reproductively relevant outcomes, including longevity, resource acquisition, and mating success. Evolved difference-detection adaptations may function to spurn individuals whose high mutation load signals a burdensome relationship load. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Three reservations about Keller & Miller's (K&M's) argument are explored: Serious validity problems afflict epidemiological criteria discriminating disorders from non-disorders, so high rates may be misleading. Normal variation need not be mild disorder, contrary to a possible interpretation of K&M's article. And, rather than mutation-selection balance, true disorders may result from unselected combinations of normal variants over many loci. (Published Online November 9 2006).
The war on terror is remaking conventional warfare. The protracted battle against a non-state organization, the demise of the confinement of hostilities to an identifiable battlefield, the extensive involvement of civilian combatants, and the development of new and more precise military technologies have all conspired to require a rethinking of the law and morality of war. Just war theory, as traditionally articulated, seems ill-suited to justify many of the practices of the war on terror. The raid against Osama Bin Laden's (...) Pakistani compound was the highest profile example of this strategy, but the issues raised by this technique cast a far broader net: every week the U.S. military and CIA launch remotely piloted drones to track suspected terrorists in hopes of launching a missile strike against them. -/- In addition to the public condemnation that these attacks have generated in some countries, the legal and moral basis for the use of this technique is problematic. Is the U.S. government correct that nations attacked by terrorists have the right to respond in self-defense by targeting specific terrorists for summary killing? Is there a limit to who can legitimately be placed on the list? There is also widespread disagreement about whether suspected terrorists should be considered combatants subject to the risk of lawful killing under the laws of war or civilians protected by international humanitarian law. Complicating the moral and legal calculus is the fact that innocent bystanders are often killed or injured in these attacks. This book addresses these issues. Featuring chapters by an unrivalled set of experts, it discusses all aspects of targeted killing, making it unmissable reading for anyone interested in the implications of this practice. (shrink)
Quantum mechanical and molecular dynamics methods were used to analyze the structure and stability of neutral and zwitterionic configurations of the extracted active site sequence from a Burkholderia cepacia lipase, histidyl-seryl-glutamin (His86-Ser87-Gln88) and its mutated form, histidyl-cysteyl-glutamin (His86-Cys87-Gln88) in vacuum and different solvents. The effects of solvent dielectric constant, explicit and implicit water molecules and side chain mutation on the structure and stability of this sequence in both neutral and zwitterionic forms are represented. The quantum mechanics computations represent that (...) the relative stability of zwitterionic and neutral configurations depends on the solvent structure and its dielectric constant. Therefore, in vacuum and the considered non-polar solvents, the neutral form of the interested sequences is more stable than the zwitterionic form, while their zwitterionic form is more stable than the neutral form in the aqueous solution and the investigated polar solvents in most cases. However, on the potential energy surfaces calculated, there is a barrier to proton transfer from the positively charged ammonium group to the negatively charged carboxylat group or from the ammonium group to the adjacent carbonyl oxygen and or from side chain oxygen and sulfur to negatively charged carboxylat group. Molecular dynamics simulations (MD) were also performed by using periodic boundary conditions for the zwitterionic configuration of the hydrated molecules in a box of water molecules. The obtained results demonstrated that the presence of explicit water molecules provides the more compact structures of the studied molecules. These simulations also indicated that side chain mutation and replacement of sulfur with oxygen leads to reduction of molecular flexibility and packing. (shrink)
Italian priest, essayist, and intellectual of the twentieth century, Ernesto Balducci identified the crucial turning points of the new millennium by advancing original perspectives capable of opening unusual future scenarios. Sensitive to emergences of society (pollution, wars, ecological collapse), he retraces the causes in the more general ?crisis of modernity,? proposing a new paideia and a new model of thought. He theorizes the construction of a novel planetary horizon that presupposes not only the building of new organizational structures, but also (...) the achieving of an authentic ?anthropological mutation? capable of inverting the course of history. While the old ethics were anthropocentric, founded on the supremacy of humankind over the world and nature, the new ethics is planetary, meaning that humankind must no longer be used as the parameter, but instead, the global horizon over which the effects of his or her actions extend. (shrink)
Keller & Miller (K&M) make a persuasive case for the role of mutation-selection balance in the persistence of such disorders as schizophrenia. However, there is evidence relating illness liability to creativity, which seems to imply balancing selection. I argue for a hybrid position, where schizotypal personality traits can have fitness advantages or disadvantages, with mutational load and neurodevelopmental conditions determining which outcome is observed. (Published Online November 9 2006).
We have studied the adaptation of mutation rates in a simple model of evolution. The model consists of a two-dimensional world with a periodically replenished resource and a uctuating population of evolving agents whose survival and reproduction are an implicit a function of their success at nding resources and their internal metabolism. Earlier work suggested that mutation rate is a control parameter that governs a transition between two qualitatively di erent kinds of complex adaptive systems, and that the (...) power of adaptive evolution is maximized when the mutation rate is around this transition. This paper provides evidence that evolving mutation rates adapt to values around this transition. Furthermore, the mutation rates adapt up (or down) as the evolutionary demands for novelty (or memory) increase. (shrink)
De Vries' mutation theory has not stood the test of time. The supposed mutations of Oenothera were in reality complex recombination phenomena, ultimately explicable in Mendelian terms, while instances of large-scale mutations were found wanting in other species. By 1915 the mutation theory had begun to lose its grip on the biological community; by de Vries' death in 1935 it was almost completely abandoned. Yet, as we have seen, during the first decade of the present century it achieved (...) an enormous popularity. As this paper has tried to suggest, one of the principal reasons for this was that de Vries' theory served as a banner around which a whole crowd of disaffected Darwinians or anti-Darwinians could rally. However, not all of those who favored de Vries did so for quite the same reasons. Underlying the multitude of views ran several common threads: a dissatisfaction with current Darwinian theory born out of misunderstanding natural selection, a general misunderstanding of the nature of species, and a prejudice against speculative, nontestable theories in biology.Supporters of de Vries were not the only opponents of Darwinism, nor was the mutation theory the only alternative to natural selection. In the early twentieth century a number of theories had been proposed to explain away the problems which Darwin had left unsolved. There was the idea of orthogenesis, championed by the American paleontologists Cope, Osborn and others; organic selection (or orthoplasy) was championed by M. M. Baldwin and C. Lloyd Morgan; there were the concepts of convergent evolution proposed by Hermann Friedmann, the theory of physiological selection by John George Romanes, and the concepts of reproductive divergence by H. M. Vernon. Virtually none of these men either accepted or were strong supporters of the de Vriesian theory, for each had his own particular ‘ism” to advocate as the major factor in evolution. The existence of a large number of such theories, each purporting to be the explanation, was characteristic of evolutionary theory at the turn of the century. It is to a large extent the emphasis on such fragmentary concepts that retarded development of the comprehensive theory of evolution which emerged in the 1920's and 1930's. For the historian, however, a study of these alternative theories is instructive in trying to understand the inherent difficulties which Dawwinian theory posed to biologists at the time. De Vries' mutation theory serves historically as a mirror to reflect the critical mood of a generation hostile to the theory of natural selection.It has often been claimed that it was impossible to understand the mechanism of natural selection until it could be placed in genetic and mathematical terms. It is certainly true that great strides have been made in population genetics and the treatment of evolutionary concepts with mathematical tools in the last forty years. But the very people who developed the genetical and mathematical approach to evolution were already convinced of the essential correctness of Darwinian theory before they started. Advances in an understanding of Mendelian heredity aided greatly in solving one important issue for evolutionists: the origin of variations. And the rigor with which selection acted could best be studied by observing changes in gene frequencies (calculated mathematically) over a number of generations. But as this paper has shown, two of the basic problems which biologists faced in evaluating Darwinian theory at the turn of the century-the nature of species, and the criteria of what constituted an acceptable explanation in biological science-could not be answered directly by mathematics. What mathematical and genetical theory did do was to help convince the skeptics of the validity of the Darwinian proposition.The change in explanatory criteria which many hailed as de Vries' most important contribution to evolutionary theory seems to have been part of a general emergence of twentieth-century biology from the domination of theorizers in the nineteenth. It also marked the emergence of America from the domination of biological, and particularly evolutionary, influence of Europeans. The change occurred in three areas: in the kinds of questions asked: testable versus non-testable; in the kind of data sought: quantitative versus qualitative; and in the kinds of theories proposed: analytical and reductive—the attempt to see complex processes in terms of simpler components-as opposed to synthetic and speculative. Although ultimately wrong in his idea, de Vries and his theories rode high on the wave of “experimentalism” which was the harbinger of a new era in evolutionary theory. (shrink)
Quartz & Sejnowski (Q&S) find flaws in standard theories of neural selection, which they propose to repair by introducing Lamarckian mechanisms for anatomical refinement that are analogous to directed mutation in evolution. The reversal of cause and effect that these mechanisms require is no more plausible in an explanation of cognition than it is in an explanation of evolution.
Smart MR contrast agents exhibit modulation of their relaxivity by specific physiological or biochemical trigger-events, while targeted MR contrast agents are envisioned to deliver the large gadolinium chelates into the target tissue. In an effort to develop novel smart and targeted MR contrast agents, the series of the DO3A based multifunctional chelating agents with the variable length of the side chain has been synthesized. They serve as valuable multipurpose precursors for contrast agents based on gadolinium chelates in the (...) design of relaxometric MR probes. The presence of the amino group in the side chain of the macrocycle allows for conversion into various functional groups (aminophosponates, aminocarboxylates, etc.) or for conjugation with different biomolecules, dyes, and polymers. Choice of the functional groups depends on the.. (shrink)
Is surveillance that is targeted towards specific individuals easier to justify than surveillance that targets broad categories of people? Untargeted surveillance is routinely accused of treating innocent people as suspects in ways that are unfair and of failing to pursue security effectively. I argue that in a wide range of cases untargeted surveillance treats people less like suspects than more targeted alternatives. I also argue that it often deters unwanted behaviour more effectively than targeted alternatives, including profiling. (...) In practice, untargeted surveillance is likely to be least costly morally and most efficient when used as a means of enforcing the rules of a specific activity or institution. Targeted alternatives are likely to be more appropriate means of law enforcement. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question, which sex ratio will evolve in a population that is subject to mutation and drift. The problem is analyzed using a simulation model as well as analytical methods. A detailed simulation model for the evolution of a population's allele distribution shows that for the sex ratio game a wide spectrum of different population states may evolve from on the one hand a monomorphic state with one predominant allele and with all other alleles suppressed by (...) the forces of selection, to on the other hand a polymorphism determined by recurrent mutations. Which of these states will evolve depends on the population size, the mating system and the rate of mutations. For the sex ratio game the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS), as defined by evolutionary game theory, can only predict the population sex ratio but not the underlying stable population state. A comparison of different approaches to the problem shows that false predictions of the stable population states might result from two simplifying assumptions that are fairly common in evolutionary biology:a) it is assumed that mutations are rare events and there is never more than one mutant gene present in a population at any one time; b) a deterministic relationship is assumed between the fitness assigned to an individual's strategy and the individual's contribution to the gene pool of future generations. (shrink)
Many commentators and experts arguethat extensive agricultural systems across theEuropean Union (EU) should be supported toreach the two main functions of the EuropeanModel of Agriculture (EMA): lively economicsystems and environmental awareness. We arguethat the main current policy instrument of theEMA, the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy),should be targeted to take advantage ofexisting regional diversity in social realitiesand agricultural structures. Community-basedresearch work has been carried out throughoutthe 1990s in the cereal–sheep farming system ofCastile-La Mancha (south-central Spain), wherea system of land-use operates (...) in which cerealcropping and sheep farming are carried out onthe same land. Local agricultural staff andfarmers acted as collaborators in rating themain constraints and devising proposals forstructural, social, and institutional reforms.Results showed that the two social groupsinvolved (cultivators and pastoralists) haddivergent interests and unbalanced numbers forcollective action to be effective. Governmentintervention is required, but current EUagricultural policy is not accomplishing therestructuring objectives. Results of theopinion survey also support switching the EUsubsidy scheme to sheep from a per-head basisto a per-hectare basis and making grazing landmore accessible to landless shepherds. Regionalpolicy schemes should be devised that aretailored to meet the circumstances ofparticular land areas, but sensible policyschemes can only be devised after properknowledge of the structure and institutionalframework of EU agricultural systems. (shrink)
The promises of nanotechnology have been framed by a variety of metaphors, that not only channel the attention of the public, orient the questions asked by researchers, and convey epistemic choices closely linked to ethical preferences. In particular, the image of the ‘therapeutic missile’ commonly used to present targeted drug delivery devices emphasizes precision, control, surveillance and efficiency. Such values are highly praised in the current context of crisis of pharmaceutical innovation where military metaphors foster a general mobilization of (...) resources from multiple fields of cutting-edge research. The missile metaphor, reminiscent of Paul Ehrlich’s ‘magic bullet’, has framed the problem in simple terms: how to deliver the right dose in the right place at the right moment? Chemists, physicists and engineers who design multi-functional devices operating in vitro can think in such terms, as long as the devices are not actually operating through the messy environment of the body. A close look at what has been done and what remains to be done suggests that the metaphor of the “therapeutic missile” is neither sufficient, nor even necessary. Recent developments in nanomedicine suggest that therapeutic efficacy cannot be obtained without negotiating with the biological milieu and taking advantage of what it affords. An ‘oikological’ approach seems more appropriate, more heuristic and more promising than the popular missile. It is based on the view of organism as an oikos that has to be carefully managed. The dispositions of nanocapsules have to be coupled with the affordances of the environment. As it requires dealing with nanoparticles as relational entities (defined by their potential for interactions) rather than as stable substances (defined by intrinsic properties) this metaphor eventually might well change research priorities in nanotechnology in general. (shrink)
The children’s market has become significantly more important to marketers in recent years. They have been spending increasing amounts on advertising, particularly of food and beverages, to reach this segment. At the same time, there is a critical debate among parents, government agencies, and industry experts as to the ethics of food advertising practices aimed toward children. The␣present study examines parents’ ethical views of food advertising targeting children. Findings indicate that parents’ beliefs concerning at least some dimensions of moral intensity (...) are significantly related to their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions of food advertising targeting children as well as the perceived moral intensity of the situation. (shrink)
Given that natural selection is so powerful at optimizing complex adaptations, why does it seem unable to eliminate genes (susceptibility alleles) that predispose to common, harmful, heritable mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? We assess three leading explanations for this apparent paradox from evolutionary genetic theory: (1) ancestral neutrality (susceptibility alleles were not harmful among ancestors), (2) balancing selection (susceptibility alleles sometimes increased fitness), and (3) polygenic mutation-selection balance (mental disorders reflect the inevitable mutational load on the (...) thousands of genes underlying human behavior). The first two explanations are commonly assumed in psychiatric genetics and Darwinian psychiatry, while mutation-selection has often been discounted. All three models can explain persistent genetic variance in some traits under some conditions, but the first two have serious problems in explaining human mental disorders. Ancestral neutrality fails to explain low mental disorder frequencies and requires implausibly small selection coefficients against mental disorders given the data on the reproductive costs and impairment of mental disorders. Balancing selection (including spatio-temporal variation in selection, heterozygote advantage, antagonistic pleiotropy, and frequency-dependent selection) tends to favor environmentally contingent adaptations (which would show no heritability) or high-frequency alleles (which psychiatric genetics would have already found). Only polygenic mutation-selection balance seems consistent with the data on mental disorder prevalence rates, fitness costs, the likely rarity of susceptibility alleles, and the increased risks of mental disorders with brain trauma, inbreeding, and paternal age. This evolutionary genetic framework for mental disorders has wide-ranging implications for psychology, psychiatry, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, and evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior. (Published Online November 9 2006) Key Words: adaptation; behavior genetics; Darwinian psychiatry; evolution; evolutionary genetics; evolutionary psychology; mental disorders; mutation-selection balance; psychiatric genetics; quantitative trait loci (QTL). (shrink)
Abstract: The optimum definition of the term "genocide" has been hotly contested almost since the term was coined. Definitional boundaries determine which acts are covered and excluded and thus to a great extent which cases will benefit from international attention, intervention, prosecution, and reparation. The extensive legal, political, and scholarly discussions prior to this article have typically (1) assumed "genocide" to be a fixed social object and attempted to define it as precisely as possible or (2) assumed the need for (...) a fixed convention and sought to stipulate the range of events that should be denoted by the term. Even if its meaning is a matter of convention, however, "genocide" is not a fixed object but varies by context and evolves in methods and forms over time. In fact, as relevant laws, legal interpretations, and political commitments develop, so do would-be perpetrators modify what genocide is in order to avoid political and legal consequences. This article advances an approach to a definition of "genocide" that allows even legal definitions to keep pace with this evolutionary process. (shrink)
The proposal of Steels & Belpaeme (S&B) is on the right track to solve the nativist/empiricist/culturalist controversy. However, their nativist model of colour categorization does not correspond to a proper genetic model. Colour perception is the outcome of a complex process of development. A direct correspondence between genes and colour categories cannot be the right approach to the problem.
Empirical research has discovered that experimental subjects in ultimatum bargaining situations generally fail to play the decision-theoretic optimum strategy, and instead play something between that strategy and a fair split. In evolutionary dynamics, fair division and nearly fair division strategies often go to fixation and weakly dominated strategies can do quite well. Computer simulations were done using three different ultimatum bargaining games as determinates of fitness. (1) No tendency toward the elimination of weakly dominated strategies was observed, with or without (...)mutation. (2) Strategies making fair demands had sizable basins of attraction. (3) In a system where five different demands can be made, demands closest to (approximately) 91% had the largest basins of attraction. (4) If the strategies have thresholds for acceptable demands, rather than individuated responses to each demand, the apparent optimum demand may be quite low: 64% for one set of trials. (shrink)
In July 1997 the European Commission proposed a "Directive on the Legal protection of Service based on, or consisting of Conditional Access" (to various electronic systems).This paper considers the proposed Directive within the context of the European Union's failure to develop and maintain a coherent policy relating to satellite television broadcasts direct to the individual's home (DTH) within the nascent Single European Market (SEM), and the consequences of that policy failure for "ordinary" consumers who are highly unlikely to have a (...) full understanding of the complex technical, legal and economic environment in which they are making their purchase(s). (shrink)
A novel electroactive porous aromatic framework (JUC-Z4-Cl) was designed and synthesized via Yamamoto-type Ullmann cross-coupling reaction with the monomer tris(4-chlorophenyl)phosphine. By simple redox chemical reactions, stable, reductive, porous polytri(p-phenyl)phosphine (JUC-Z4) and polytri(p-phenyl)phosphine oxide (JUC-Z5) could be obtained as off-white powders. The structures of JUC-Z4 and JUC-Z5 were confirmed using magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, etc. The microporous architectures exhibit high stability (471°C for JUC-Z4 and 484°C for JUC-Z5) and large surface area (793 and 648 m2 (...) g−1 for JUC-Z4 and JUC-Z5, respectively). JUC-Z4 also exhibits efficient recognition ability of greenhouse gases from dry air. (shrink)
In recent time there has been ample discussion concerning censorship of research conducted in two labs involved in avian influenza virus research. Much of the debate has centered on the question whether the methods and results should reach to open disclosure given the “dual use” nature of this research which can be used for nefarious purposes.