Several cognitive accounts of human communication argue for a language-independent, prelinguistic basis of human communication and language. The current study provides evidence for the universality of a prelinguistic gestural basis for human communication. We used a standardized, semi-natural elicitation procedure in seven very different cultures around the world to test for the existence of preverbal pointing in infants and their caregivers. Results were that by 10–14 months of age, infants and their caregivers pointed in all cultures in the same basic (...) situation with similar frequencies and the same proto-typical morphology of the extended index finger. Infants’ pointing was best predicted by age and caregiver pointing, but not by cultural group. Further analyses revealed a strong relation between the temporal unfolding of caregivers’ and infants’ pointing events, uncovering a structure of early prelinguistic gestural conversation. Findings support the existence of a gestural, language-independent universal of human communication that forms a culturally shared, prelinguistic basis for diversified linguistic communication. (shrink)
According to a renowned left-libertarian, Michael Otsuka, a libertarian right of self-ownership can be so robust that one need not sacrifice the use of one's mind and body to help others. In this article, I demonstrate that Otsuka's way of reconciling this robust conception of self-ownership with equality is not appealing and, at best, would provide limited guidance in the face of real-life uncertainty.
Informed consent, decision-making styles and the role of patient-physician relationships are imperative aspects of clinical medicine worldwide. We present the case of a 74-year-old woman afflicted with advanced liver cancer whose attending physician, per request of the family, did not inform her of her true diagnosis. In our analysis, we explore the differences in informed-consent styles between patients who hold an "independent" and "interdependent" construal of the self and then highlight the possible implications maintained by this position in the context (...) of international clinical ethics. Finally, we discuss the need to reassess informed-consent styles suitable to the needs of each patient regardless of whether he or she resides in the United States or in Japan. (shrink)
This paper aims to specify the precise conditions under which an agent is responsible for inequalities. Admittedly, the careful examination of the conditions in question has been the main focus of contemporary egalitarianism. As a matter of fact, contemporary political philosophers take responsibility to be a core conception which in principle justifies inequalities. In particular, they tend to flesh out the conception of responsibility in terms of choice, in such a way that we should hold individuals responsible for chosen inequalities (...) but not for unchosen inequalities. This core idea is intuitively appealing because, on the one hand, alleviation of inequalities that people do not choose would thereby be encouraged, and on the other hand, it avoids an egalitarian ‘moral hazard’: the situation in which people need care nothing for the consequences (economic or otherwise) of their own choice. G. A. Cohen thus goes so far as to say that egalitarianism successfully incorporates “within it the most powerful idea in the arsenal of the anti-egalitarian right: the idea of choice and responsibility.”. (shrink)
Background In Japan, discussion concerning advance directives (ADs) has been on the rise during the past decade. ADs are one method proposed to facilitate the process of communication among patients, families and health care providers regarding the plan of care of a patient who is no longer capable of communicating. In this paper, we report the results of the first in-depth survey on the general population concerning the preferences and use of ADs in Japan. Method A self-administered questionnaire was sent (...) via mail to a stratified random sampling of 560 residents listed in the residential registry of one district of Tokyo, Japan (n = 165,567). Association between correlating factors and specific preferences toward ADs was assessed using contingency table bivariate analysis and multivariate regression model to estimate independent contribution. Results Of the 560 questionnaires sent out, a total of 425 participants took part in the survey yielding a response rate of 75.9 %. The results of the present study indicate that: 1) the most important components to be addressed are the specifics of medical treatment at the end of life stage and disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis; 2) the majority of participants found it suitable to express their directives by word to family and/or physician and not by written documentation; 3) there is no strong need for legal measures in setting up an AD; 4) it is permissible for family and physician to loosely interpret one's directives; 5) the most suitable proxy is considered to be a family member, relative, or spouse. Multivariate analysis found the following five factors as significantly associated with preferences: 1) awareness regarding living wills, 2) experience with the use of ADs, 3) preferences for end-of-life treatment, 4) preferences for information disclosure, and 5) intentions of creating a will. Conclusions Written ADs might be useful in the Japanese setting when the individual either wishes: 1) to not provide a lot of leeway to surrogates and/or caregivers, and/or 2) to ensure his or her directives in the cases of terminal illness, brain death, and pain treatment, as well as regarding information disclosure. (shrink)
Background Ethics committees and their system of research protocol peer-review are currently used worldwide. To ensure an international standard for research ethics and safety, however, data is needed on the quality and function of each nation's ethics committees. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and developments of ethics committees established at medical schools and general hospitals in Japan. Methods This study consisted of four national surveys sent twice over a period of eight years to two separate (...) samples. The first target was the ethics committees of all 80 medical schools and the second target was all general hospitals with over 300 beds in Japan (n = 1457 in 1996 and n = 1491 in 2002). Instruments contained four sections: (1) committee structure, (2) frequency of annual meetings, (3) committee function, and (4) existence of a set of guidelines for the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses. Results Committee structure was overall interdisciplinary. Frequency of annual meetings increased significantly for both medical school and hospital ethics committees over the eight years. The primary activities for medical school and hospital ethics committees were research protocol reviews and policy making. Results also showed a significant increase in the use of ethical guidelines, particularly those related to the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses, among both medical school and hospital ethics committees. Conclusion Overall findings indicated a greater recognized degree of responsibilities and an increase in workload for Japanese ethics committees. (shrink)
In his doctoral dissertation, Harold Garfinkel critically examined Talcott Parsons' classical formulation of the problem of order referred to as the Hobbesian problem. Garfinkel's criticism can be summarized under the following three headings: (1) common sense rationality replaces scientific rationality; (2) the level of the premises of conduct replaces the level of de facto action; (3) congruence theory replaces the correspondence theory. The aim of this paper is to make some observations on the structure of the problem of order which (...) Garfinkel discovered through this criticism. I propose to call it the Rashomon problem after Akira Kurosawa's film Rashomon. Ethnomethodology can be regarded as an attempt to solve the Rashomon problem. (shrink)
Recent metaphor research has revealed that metaphor comprehension involves both categorization and comparison processes. This finding has triggered the following central question: Which property determines the choice between these two processes for metaphor comprehension? Three competing views have been proposed to answer this question: the conventionality view (Bowdle & Gentner, 2005), aptness view (Glucksberg & Haught, 2006b), and interpretive diversity view (Utsumi, 2007); these views, respectively, argue that vehicle conventionality, metaphor aptness, and interpretive diversity determine the choice between the categorization (...) and comparison processes. This article attempts to answer the question regarding which views are plausible by using cognitive modeling and computer simulation based on a semantic space model. In the simulation experiment, categorization and comparison processes are modeled in a semantic space constructed by latent semantic analysis. These two models receive word vectors for the constituent words of a metaphor and compute a vector for the metaphorical meaning. The resulting vectors can be evaluated according to the degree to which they mimic the human interpretation of the same metaphor; the maximum likelihood estimation determines which of the two models better explains the human interpretation. The result of the model selection is then predicted by three metaphor properties (i.e., vehicle conventionality, aptness, and interpretive diversity) to test the three views. The simulation experiment for Japanese metaphors demonstrates that both interpretive diversity and vehicle conventionality affect the choice between the two processes. On the other hand, it is found that metaphor aptness does not affect this choice. This result can be treated as computational evidence supporting the interpretive diversity and conventionality views. (shrink)
In the C case, the turnaround at SBM has been effected. Most significant is the company’s realization that it exists to serve the consumer and, through that service, the broader society. This brief case outlines the successes Hiwasa pushed SBM management to accomplish and introduces the challenges the company faced in 2009: primarily, continuing to build its corporate social responsibility approach and addressing environmental and social issues.
Caplan & Waters's arguments for separate working memory subsystems for “interpretive” and “post-interpretive” comprehension processes do not have a solid empirical basis. The likely involvement of a separate phonological loop makes their memory-load data irrelevant to theory evaluation, and the lack of statistical power from nonoptimal experimental designs and analyses unfairly reduces the chances of detecting the relevant interactions.
LetL be any modal or tense logic with the finite model property. For eachm, definer L (m) to be the smallest numberr such that for any formulaA withm modal operators,A is provable inL if and only ifA is valid in everyL-model with at mostr worlds. Thus, the functionr L determines the size of refutation Kripke models forL. In this paper, we will give an estimation ofr L (m) for some linear modal and tense logicsL.
Background Public satisfaction with policy process influences the legitimacy and acceptance of policies, and conditions the future political process, especially when contending ethical value judgments are involved. On the other hand, public involvement is required if effective policy is to be developed and accepted. Methods Using the data from a large-scale national opinion survey, this study evaluates public appraisal of past government efforts to legalize organ transplant from brain-dead bodies in Japan, and examines the public's intent to participate in future (...) policy. Results A relatively large percentage of people became aware of the issue when government actions were initiated, and many increasingly formed their own opinions on the policy in question. However, a significant number (43.3%) remained unaware of any legislative efforts, and only 26.3% of those who were aware provided positive appraisals of the policymaking process. Furthermore, a majority of respondents (61.8%) indicated unwillingness to participate in future policy discussions of bioethical issues. Multivariate analysis revealed the following factors are associated with positive appraisals of policy development: greater age; earlier opinion formation; and familiarity with donor cards. Factors associated with likelihood of future participation in policy discussion include younger age, earlier attention to the issue, and knowledge of past government efforts. Those unwilling to participate cited as their reasons that experts are more knowledgeable and that the issues are too complex. Conclusions Results of an opinion survey in Japan were presented, and a set of factors statistically associated with them were discussed. Further efforts to improve policy making process on bioethical issues are desirable. (shrink)
This essay aims to deepen our comprehension of the economic ethics of different peoples in Asia, as well as realizing a degree of cultural relativism, in order to enhance amicable economic associations. It counterbalances the conventionally strong West-oriented views which regard exotic features of non-Western economies as backward and illogical elements that disturb smooth and orthodox development and, hence, should be eradicated. The author, first, recalls a number of facts which depict the eruptive economic transformation in Asia. He, then, criticizes (...) the imposition of Western-style development and exploitation without excluding Japan’s colonialism in Taiwan and Korea, and pleads for multiple forms of development and modernity. Economic transactions should be analysed in relation to sociocultural aspects, and, therefore, communities and ethics groups play a substantive role between the public and private sectors, the market, and individuals. For instance, small farmers in Southeast Asia, struggling with the weakness of tenant farmers and pressures of the market mechanism, developed ingenious and participatory forms of survival, increasingly supported by non-governmental organizations. Case studies from Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines give a vivid picture of these activities. Because the developing economies are composed of market and non-market sectors, reasonable attention should be given to theethics beyond market principles, with particular emphasis on community as foundation. (shrink)
Background: Previous studies have found that the decision-making process for stored unused frozen embryos involves much emotional burden influenced by socio-cultural factors. This study aims to ascertain how Japanese patients make a decision on the fate of their frozen embryos: whether to continue storage discard or donate to research. Methods: Ten Japanese women who continued storage, 5 who discarded and 16 who donated to research were recruited from our infertility clinic. Tape-recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed for emergent themes. Results: (...) A model of patients’ decision-making processes for the fate of frozen embryos was developed, with a common emergent theme, “coming to terms with infertility” resulting in either acceptance or postponing acceptance of their infertility. The model consisted of 5 steps: 1) the embryo-transfer moratorium was sustained, 2) the “Mottainai”- embryo and having another child were considered; 3) cost reasonability was taken into account; 4) partner’s opinion was confirmed to finally decide whether to continue or discontinue storage. Those discontinuing, then contemplated 5): the effect of donation. Great emotional conflict was expressed in the theme, steps 2, 4, and 5. Conclusions: Patients’ 5 step decision-making process for the fate of frozen embryos was profoundly affected by various Japanese cultural values and moral standards. At the end of their decision, patients used culturally inherent values and standards to come to terms with their infertility. While there is much philosophical discussion on the moral status of the embryo worldwide, this study, with actual views of patients who own them, will make a significant contribution to empirical ethics from the practical viewpoint. (shrink)
I am an M.D/Ph.D. student and work as a research assistant for the director of a division of the school of medicine who is an M.D. He assigned me to research a certain topic and gave me no guidelines or guidance as to how to do it. Nevertheless, I did the research and wrote it up. My supervisor liked the report and said that he thought it was so good that “I would like to offer you the opportunity to publish (...) it and list you as the primary author.” Some bells went off when he so grandly offered to let me author the report for which I had done 100% of research and writing. I consulted some other people in the field and they said that, as long as I was the primary author, it was legitimate for him to list himself as secondary author if he did some editing later. After editing the abstract only, he e-mailed his revisions to me and in a note at the bottom he asked me what I thought of his revised author order. His name was first, mine second, and the name of his girlfriend (who had no part in this research or its revision) was third. I was shocked by what seemed to be a case of unethical author attribution and confronted him asking why he changed the order when we had agreed that I was primary author. He said that he had put in several hours of work. (shrink)
We treat a class of multi-person bargaining mechanisms based on games in coalitional form. For this class of games we identify properties of non-cooperative solution concepts, which are necessary and sufficient for the equilibrium outcomes to coincide with the core of the underlying coalitional form game. We view this result as a non-cooperative axiomatization of the core. In contrast to most of the literature on multi-person bargaining we avoid a precise specification of the rules of the game. Alternatively, we impose (...) properties of such games, which give rise to a large class of mechanisms, all of which are relevant for our axiomatization. (shrink)
Was Nāgārjuna a thinker of philosophy or religion? This must be a question of the kind to which the answer depends heavily on the definition of “philosophy” and “religion”. Therefore, we may prefer to rephrase this question as: “Can Nāgārjuna legitimately be called a thinker of philosophy or religion?” Although it has been and may still be defined by its method or the objects of “philosophical thinking”, philosophy is, in most cases, expected to have the following characteristics: (1) Philosophy is (...) a type or product of human thought. (2) It is motivated by the human inclination for inquiry into the fundamental basis of being, whether human, social, or natural. (3) It is, theoretically at least, free from any types of dogmatic premises, whether traditional, social, or religious. (4) It requires a thoroughly logical and unequivocal usage of words and sentences. Likewise, although it has been and may still be defined by the existence or number of the absolute(s), be they god(s), spirit(s) or mental state(s), religion is, in most cases, expected to have the following characteristics: (1) Religion is a type of human beliefsystemor a product thereof. (2) It is motivated by the human inclination for ultimate reliance upon the absolute being or state. (3) It is, in practice, not completely free from some types of authoritative premises, whether traditional, customary, or founded by a certain individual. (4) It requires a purified mind, a deep understanding oftradition, constant practice and a careful observance of certain rules and regulations. Taking into account of the above characteristics of philosophy and religion, can we legitimately regard Nāgārjuna as a thinker of philosophy, religion, both, or neither? Let me focus on this question with an analysis of Nāgārjuna’s discussion as found in his magnum opus, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, and related works. (shrink)