Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the first of (...) these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history. (shrink)
The term action of consciousness is used to refer to an influence, such as psychokinesis or free will, that produces an effect on matter that is correlated to mental intention, but not completely determined by physical conditions. Such an action could not conserve energy. But in that case, one wonders why, when highly accurate measurements are done, occasions of non-conserved energy (generated perhaps by unconscious PK) are not detected. A possible explanation is that actions of consciousness take place within the (...) limits of the uncertainty principle. Two models are reviewed that, using the latter assumption, propose that consciousness can originate an action potential in the brain. One (that of Eccles) uses the latter assumption only, and the other (that of Burns) additionally assumes that consciousness acts, within those limits, by ordering quantum fluctuations. (shrink)
Harold Garfinkel: Memorial Remarks, Recollections and Reflections Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9216-2 Authors Stacy Lee Burns, Loyola Marymount University, University Hall, One LMU Drive, Suite 4341, Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
Author Meets Critics Panel: Paul B. Thompson’s (2010) The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9340-4 Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Abstract I consider Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, especially as it relates to certain questions about public engagement and deliberative democracy around food issues. Is it able to promote an attitudinal shift or reorientation in values to overcome the view of “food as device” so that conscientious engagement in the food system by consumers can become more the norm? Next, I consider briefly, some questions to which it must face up in order to (...) move closer in dismantling the barriers that inhibit the capacity for virtuous caretaking of the food system at various levels. Lastly, and more deeply, how successful might agrarianism be in inculcating citizenship values (ones that go beyond food ethics as a private affair), for the democratization of agricultural technologies? Might the Jeffersonian foundation to which the agrarianism (a la) Thompson appeals need something like a contemporary theory of justice in order to facilitate the reconstitution of our politico-moral selves? How can it help guide appropriate ruminations on the intra and intergenerational question, “What do we want the shape of our current and future social and political institutions to look like in relation to food?” Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9339-x Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Burns, C. R. Introduction.--Antiquity: Margalith, D. The ideal doctor as depicted in ancient Hebrew writings. Edelstein, L. The Hippocratic oath. Edelstein, L. The professional ethics of the Greek physician. Michler, M. Medical ethics in Hippocratic bone surgery. Maas, P. L., Oliver, J. H. An ancient poem on the duties of a physician.--The medieval era: Levey, M. Medical deontology in ninth century Islam. Bar-Sela, A., Hoff, H. E. Isaac Israeli's fifty admonitions of the physicians. Rosner, F. The physician's prayer attributed (...) to Moses Maimonides. MacKinney, L. C. Medical ethics and etiquette in the early middle ages, the persistence of Hippocratic ideals. Welborn, M. C. The long tradition, a study in fourteenth-century medical deontology.--The modern period: Larkey, S. V. The Hippocratic oath in Elizabethan England. Pleadwell, F. L. Samuel Sorbiere and his Advice to a young physician. Clark, G. Bernard Mandeville, M.D., and eighteenth-century ethics. Burns, C. R. Thomas Percival, medical ethics or medical jurisprudence? Burns, C. R. Reciprocity in the development of Anglo-American medical ethics, 1765-1865. Williams, T. F. Cabot, Peabody, and the care of the patient. (shrink)
Affirmative action has been a particularly contentious policy issue that has polarised contributions to the debate. Over recent times in most western countries, support for affirmative action has, however, been largely snuffed out or beaten into retreat and replaced by the concept of ‹diversity management’. Thus, any contemporary study that examines the development of affirmative action would suggest that its opponents have won the battle. Nonetheless, this article argues that because the battle has been won on dubious ethical grounds it (...) is important that we do not allow affirmative action to sink unnoticed. This article explores and challenges the ethical and philosophical underpinnings of opponents’ views and finds their cases against affirmative action are not ethically sound. The article concludes there are strong ethical grounds for those organisations which seek to do well, to reassert affirmative action programmes in the global efforts to eradicate systemic discrimination and disadvantage. (shrink)
Two forms of independent action by consciousness have been proposed by various researchers – free will and holistic processing. (Holistic processing contributes to the formation of behavior through the holistic use of brain programs and encoding.) The well-known experiment of Libet et al. (1983) implies that if free will exists, its action must consist of making a selection among alternatives presented by the brain. As discussed herein, this result implies that any physical changes mind can produce in the brain are (...) very small, and this in turn implies that holistic processing would also act to select among brain programs. The latter process would contribute to flexibility of behavior, which would therefore be an indication of the possible presence of consciousness in an animal. Because locomotion requires response to varying and unpredictable conditions, the above conclusions support the idea that simple forms of consciousness appear very early in the evolutionary line of the animal kingdom. (shrink)
Doubts about the origin of Bentham's formula, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’, were resolved by Robert Shackleton thirty years ago. Uncertainty has persisted on at least two points. (1) Why did the phrase largely disappear from Bentham's writing for three or four decades after its appearance in 1776? (2) Is it correct to argue (with David Lyons in 1973) that Bentham's principle is to be differentially interpreted as having sometimes a ‘parochial’ and sometimes a ‘universalist’ bearing? These issues (...) are reopened here with particular reference to textual evidence overlooked in earlier discussions and contextual evidence on the development of Bentham's radicalism in the last two decades of his life. In conclusion some broader issues are raised concerning the character of Bentham's understanding of ‘happiness’ itself. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch's concept of Good is a central feature of her moral theory; in Murdoch's thought, attention to the Good is the primary means of improving our moral conduct. Her view has been criticised on the grounds that the Good is irrelevant to life in this world (Don Cupitt), that the notion of a transcendent, single object of attention is incoherent (Stewart Sutherland), and that we can only understand what goodness is if we see it as an attribute of a (...) theistic, trinitarian God (Christoph Schwöbel). The paper argues that, with some clarification and development of Murdoch's view, these objections are by no means fatal to her position. (shrink)
The possibility of empirical test is discussed with respect to three issues: (1) What is the ontological relationship between consciousness and the brain/physical world? (2) What physical characteristics are associated with the mind/brain interface? (3) Can consciousness act on the brain independently of any brain process?
This article illustrates the important scientific role that a systems approach might play within the social sciences and humanities, above all through its contribution to a common language, shared conceptualizations, and theoretical integration in the face of the extreme (and growing) fragmentation among the social sciences (and between the social sciences and the natural sciences). The article outlines a systems theoretic approach, actor-system-dynamics (ASD), whose authors have strived to re-establish systems theorizing in the social sciences (after a period of marginalization (...) since the late 1960s). This is done, in part, by showing how key social science concepts are readily incorporated and applied in social system analysis. (shrink)
A new event is defined as an intervention in the time reversible dynamical trajectories of particles in a system. New events are then assumed to be quantum fluctuations in the spatial and momentum coordinates, and mental action is assumed to work by ordering such fluctuations. It is shown that when the cumulative values of such fluctuations in a mean free path of a molecule are magnified by molecular interaction at the end of that path, the momentum of a molecule can (...) be changed from its original direction to any other direction. In this way mental action can produce effects through the ordering of thermal motions. Examples are given which show that the ordering of 10^4 10^5 molecules is sufficient to (a) produce detectible PK results and (b) open sufficient ion channels in the brain to initiate a physical action. The relationship of the above model to the arrow of time is discussed. (shrink)
It is shown that if mental influence can change a position or momentum coordinate within the limits of the uncertainty principle, such change, when magnified by a single interaction, is sufficient to order the direction of traveling molecules. Mental influence could initiate an action potential in the brain through this process by using the impact of ordered molecules to open the gates of sodium channels in neuronal membranes. It is shown that about 80 ordered molecules, traveling at thermal velocity in (...) the intercellular medium in the brain, can break an ionic or covalent bond, and that the number needed to initiate an action potential is relatively small. If mental influence can act within the brain, it is reasonable to suppose it can act to some extent outside of it. If mental influence could not only order the direction of individual molecules, but coordinate this effect to produce a longitudinal pressure wave which is reasonably coherent across a macroscopic surface, only 10^4 molecules need be simultaneously affected to produce a detectible sound wave. Such an effect is not ordinarily observed, which suggests that if mental influence acts by ordering the direction of molecules, it acts at the level of individual molecules, but does not coordinate their motion. (shrink)
Experiments show that psi differs from known physical processes in a variety of ways, and these differences are described herein. Because of these, psi cannot be accounted for in terms of presently known physical laws. A number of theories, of which we review a sampling, suggest ways in which known physical laws might be expanded in order to account for psi. However, there is no agreement on which of these theories, if any, will ultimately provide a general explanation. A further (...) problem in studying psi is that it is elusive, i.e., methods are not presently known by which it can be reliably produced. However, if psi is real, its study can open the door to a new frontier of knowledge and contribute to our understanding of consciousness. (shrink)
In the BODY WORLDS exhibitions currently touring the United States, Gunther von Hagens displays human cadavers preserved through plastination. Whole bodies are playfully posed and exposed to educate the public. However, the educational aims are ambiguous, and some aspects of the exhibit violate human dignity. In particular, the signature cards attached to the whole-body plastinates that bear the title, the signature of Gunther von Hagens, and the date of creation mark the plastinates as artwork and von Hagens as the artist (...) in a gesture that strips the personal dignity from the donors. I conclude that the educational use of cadavers is compatible with respect for dignity if: 1) the utility of such use is great enough; 2) there are no other ways of achieving these ends; and 3) every effort is made to honor the dignity of the donors. (shrink)
The 1980s witnessed a dramatic increase in hostile takeovers in the United States. Proponents argue that well- planned mergers enhance the value of the firm and the value of the firm to society. Critics typically argue that undesired takeovers ultimately harm society due to external costs not borne by the acquiring firm. To be socially responsible, the manager must consider the effects of the merger/acquisition on all stakeholders. Different traditional ethical frameworks for decision making are proposed and reviewed. A model (...) is proposed. (shrink)
Pathological morphogenesis on leaves of Fraxinus ornus (ash) and Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) under the influence of mites (Aceria fraxinivora and Eriophyes cladophthirus respectively) leads to a range of structures whose morphology and development cannot be reduced to the classical categories of plant morphology, but present a heterogeneous continuum which links fundamental structural categories. These findings support the pyramid model of plant construction.
This study described parent participation in the informed consent conference for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in childhood leukemia and documented the relationship of physician communication to parent participation. Parents of 140 children with newly diagnosed leukemia who were eligible for RCTs were studied at six sites using comprehensive methods involving direct observation and transcripts of parent-physician communication based on audiotapes. Parent participation during the informed consent conference reflected a wide range of content categories. Consistent with hypotheses, Physician Rapport and Partnership (...) Building related to parent participation in the informed consent conference but Information Giving did not. Higher parent socioeconomic status also was related to greater parent participation for two of three measures of parent participation. Findings suggest that physician behaviors that provide support and facilitate communication may enhance parental participation in the informed consent conference for RCTs in childhood leukemia. (shrink)
Many pragmatic philosophers insist that causality in human behavior is to be explained by psychological field theorism rather than by modern behaviorism. This paper attempts to demonstrate (1) that pragmatists often support one aspect of an untenable disjunction in psychological theory, (2) that the asserted disjunction is but a methodological distinction, and (3) that the causal order in human behavior is most likely to be profitably described, predicted, or explained by the methods of modern behaviorism.
This paper considers a much neglected, but distinctive and increasingly prevalent kind of mediation work: the mediation of large money damage cases by acting and former judges. The research finds that judicial mediation is a law-infused procedure different from forms of mediation in which the stuff of law and lawyers'' work is only marginally relevant, if at all. The study details how judge-mediators draw on their knowledge of the law, technically and as a matter of professional practice, to make legally (...) persuasive arguments that critically evaluate each side''s case and what is likely to occur at future points, adversely altering the litigants'' understanding of the risks and costs of failing to settle and thus facilitating dispute resolution. The study was developed and pursued as an ethnographic and ethnomethodological study of work. (shrink)
This paper offers some suggestions on, and encouragement for, how to be better at risk communication in times of agricultural crisis. During the foot and mouth epizootic, the British public, having no precedent to deal with such a rapid and widespread epizootic, no existing rules or conventions, and no social or political consensus, was forced to confront the facts of a perceived "economic disease. Foot and mouth appeared as an economic disease because the major push to eradicate it was motivated (...) exclusively by trade and economic reasons and not because of threats it posed to the lives of human beings and livestock. The British public deferred responsibility to their elected officials for a speedy end to this non-life threatening viral epizootic. The latter, however, did not have a contingency plan in place to tackle such an extensive outbreak. The appeal to an existing policy, i.e., mass eradication, as the exclusive strategy of containment was a difficult pill for the public to swallow well before the end of the 226-day ordeal. Public outcry reflected (in part) serious misgivings about the lack of effective communication of risk-informed decisions between government agents and all concerned. The government''s handling of the matter underestimated concerns and values about animal welfare, public trust, and the plight of farmers and rural communities. A general loss of trust by some segments of the public was exacerbated by perceived mismanagement and early fumbles by government agents.Public moral uneasiness during the crisis, while perhaps symbolic of growing discontent with an already fractured relationship with farmed animals and the state of animal farming today, arguably, also reflected deep disappointment in government agents to recognize inherently and conditionally normative assumptions in their argument as well as recognize their narrow conception of risk. Furthermore, broader stakeholder participation was clearly missing from the outset, especially with respect to the issue of vaccination. A greater appreciation for two-way risk communication is suggested for science-based public policy in agriculture, followed by suggestions on how to be more vigilant in the future. (shrink)