One of the main challenges of quasicrystal science is to elucidate how the quasiperiodic order can extend so far, i.e. up to several centimetres according to the size of the single grains of various alloys routinely grown nowadays [M. Boudard, E. Bourgeat-Lami, M. de Boissieu, et al., Phil. Mag. Lett. 71 11 (1995); Y. Yokoyama, R. Note, A. Kimura, et al., Mater. Trans. JIM 38 943 (1997); A. Langsdorf, and W. Assmus, J. Cryst. Growth 192 152 (1998)]. Noticing that most (...) of the present knowledge on the growth of quasicrystal grains has been collected after their cooling at room temperature, we have carried out the first in situ and real time observation of this peculiar process, which has clearly disclosed both the shape of the growing interface and its defective state. Therefore we have studied the solidification of an AlPdMn alloy giving quasicrystal grains by synchrotron X-ray imaging, combining thereby radiography and X-ray topography techniques. Radiography allowed us to clearly evidence a facetted growth proceeding by lateral motion of ledges at the solid?melt interface and controlled by the interface kinetics, rather than by local heat flow as was widely thought. Thus, a realistic estimate of the kinetic coefficient was deduced from the solid?melt interface undercooling, which indicates that quasicrystal growth is more comparable with the growth of both semiconductors and oxides than with that of pure metals. X-ray topographs, recorded simultaneously with radiographs, revealed that a lot of strain and defects are generated in the quasicrystal grains during their growth, which could be related to the growth process itself and very informative on the origin of the stability of the quasicrystal lattice. (shrink)
In a publication of 1831 later seen as a milestone in the development of chemistry, Justus Liebig announced a new apparatus for the analysis of organic compounds and provided analytical results for fifteen substances. In this paper we used the detailed descriptions published by Liebig in 1837 to reconstruct his apparatus and methods for hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen analysis. Our replications of his analyses of racemic acid, cinchonine, narcotine, and urea reveal that his two pieces of apparatus give excellent results (...) for carbon and hydrogen content, but erratic results for nitrogen. The results corroborate the assessments of Liebig and his contemporaries, and show that the analytical method for carbon and hydrogen analysis was remarkably accurate. We offer this case, with its convincing replicability, not only to clarify the nature of Liebig's innovations, but also as a new model for understanding broader contested issues in the philosophy and sociology of science. Our analysis suggests that the great shift in science from gentlemanly avocation to professional vocation was tightly linked to laboratory practice, and not just to social networks and context. It also provides the basis for a critique of H. M. Collins's theory of the 'experimenters' regress'. (shrink)
In spite of its success, Neo-Darwinism is faced with major conceptual barriers to further progress, deriving directly from its metaphysical foundations. Most importantly, neo-Darwinism fails to recognize a fundamental cause of evolutionary change, “niche construction”. This failure restricts the generality of evolutionary theory, and introduces inaccuracies. It also hinders the integration of evolutionary biology with neighbouring disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, developmental biology, and the human sciences. Ecology is forced to become a divided discipline, developmental biology is stubbornly difficult to reconcile (...) with evolutionary theory, and the majority of biologists and social scientists are still unhappy with evolutionary accounts of human behaviour. The incorporation of niche construction as both a cause and a product of evolution removes these disciplinary boundaries while greatly generalizing the explanatory power of evolutionary theory. (shrink)
The changing world of health care finance has led to a paradigm shift in health care with health care being viewed more and more as a commodity. Many have argued that such a paradigm shift is incompatible with the very nature of medicine and health care. But such arguments raise more questions than they answer. There are important assumptions about basic concepts of health care and markets that frame such arguments.
Transfer of information between senders and receivers, of one kind or another, is essential to all life. David Lewis introduced a game theoretic model of the simplest case, where one sender and one receiver have pure common interest. How hard or easy is it for evolution to achieve information transfer in Lewis signaling?. The answers involve surprising subtleties. We discuss some if these in terms of evolutionary dynamics in both finite and infinite populations, with and without mutation.
In the framework of the minimalist program, the assumption that wh-in-situ move covertly to be assigned wide scope is infeasible. Rather, it is assumed that they must be interpretable in situ, and that syntactic conditions like ‘superiority’ are effects of economy, which restricts overt rather than covert movement of a wh-element. The remaining syntactic problem for this line of reasoning is the putative ECP effects of adverbial wh-adjuncts, which were the strongest evidence for covert movement. A serious semantic problem is (...) that the interpretative procedures which have been proposed for wh-in-situ – unselective binding or absorption – fail to capture correctly their interpretation. I will argue first that both problems are solved if the interpretation in situ employs choice functions, and it is the function variable, rather than an individual variable, which is long-distance bound by the question existential operator. Adverbial adjuncts, which cannot be interpreted via choice functions, cannot, therefore, be interpreted in situ. However, the concept of economy underlying the account of overt superiority effects requires both theoretical and empirical clarification (as it leaves some empirical problems unaddressed). I argue, following a proposal by Golan (1993), that in this case the economy considerations apply at the interface (‘interface economy’) and that they consider not only different derivations out of the same numeration, but also their semantic representation. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
In a recent issue of this journal, Kevin Corcoran has argued that the metaphysical theory one holds to about the nature of human persons is irrelevant to the sort of ethical questions that occupy bioethicists as well as the general public. Specifically, he argues that whether one holds a constitution view of human persons, an animalist view, or a substance dualist view, the real work in one’s ethical reasoning is done by certain moral principles rather than by metaphysical ones. (...) I raise objections to his analysis and propose that it is a combination of ethical principles and metaphysical principles that does the work in our judgements about the morality of abortion and other actions. (shrink)
The history of concepts has partly replaced the older style of the `history of ideas' and can be extended to a critique of normative political theory and, thereby, understood as an indirect style of political theorizing. A common feature in Quentin Skinner's and Reinhart Koselleck's writings lies in their critique of the unhistorical and depoliticizing use of concepts. This concerns especially the classical contractarian theories, and both authors remark that this still holds for work by their contemporary heirs, such (...) as Rawls, Habermas and other contemporary normative theorists. Conceptual history offers us a chance to turn the contestability, contingency and historicity of the use of concepts into instruments for conceptualizing politics. The alternative, indirect mode of political theorizing Skinner and Koselleck practise consists of a `Verfremdungseffekt', which helps us to distance ourselves from thinking in terms of contemporary paradigms, unquestioned conventions, given constellations of alternatives or implicit value judgements. In the Skinnerian variant the conceptual changes are made intelligible through analysis of the rhetorical redescriptions among the political agents, whereas Koselleck thematizes the differences in the temporal index of concepts. The subversive aspect in the history of concepts consists of the explication and historical variation of the tacit normative content in the use of concepts. (shrink)
In this short essay I respond to Kevin Gary’s generous review of my book Reclaiming Goodness by considering his two main concerns, that I tend to conflate spirituality and morality and that I am not sufficiently sensitive to tensions between spirituality and critical thinking. I respond by noting that Gary has not taken adequate account of the distinction between deontological morality and aretaic ethics in the first instance and between the Aristotelian notions of Sophia and Phronesis, or pure reason (...) and practical wisdom, in the second. (shrink)
I argue that Meeker is mistaken in two crucial respects. First, contrary to both myself and Plantinga, he treats exclusivism as a theory about the relation between the religions, and then claims that it is superior to the pluralist theory. But he does not say what his exclusivist theory is. Second, he bases his claim of a fundamental self-contradiction in my pluralist position on a view which I disavow, namely that altruism is the core of religion. He omits the central (...) idea of a profound reorientation in response to the Real, of which altruism is a manifestation. (Published Online April 7 2006). (shrink)
While applauding the bulk of the account on offer, we question one apparent implication viz, that every difference in sensorimotor contingencies corresponds to a difference in conscious visual experience.