The observed complexity of nature is often attributed to an intrinsic propensity of matter to self-organize under certain (e.g., dissipative) conditions. In order better to understand and test this vague thesis, we define complexity as “logical depth,” a notion based on algorithmic information and computational time complexity. Informally, logical depth is the number of steps in the deductive or causal path connecting a thing with its plausible origin. We then assess the effects of dissipation, noise, and spatial and other symmetries (...) of the initial conditions and equations of motion on the asymptotic complexity-generating abilities of statistical-mechanical model systems. We concentrate on discrete, spatially-homogeneous, locally-interacting systems such as kinetic Ising models and cellular automata. (shrink)
Principles and the context, by J. C. Bennett.--Love monism, by J. M. Gustafson.--Responsibility in freedom, by E. C. Gardner.--The new morality, by G. Fackre.--When love becomes excarnate, by H. L. Smith.--Situational morality, by R. W. Gleason.--The nature of heresy, by G. Kennedy.--Situation ethics under fire, by J. Fletcher.
This paper examines an issue that is becoming increasingly relevant as the pressures of a warming planet, changing climate and changing ecosystems ramp up. The broad context for the paper is the intragenerational, intergenerational, and interspecies equity implications of changing the climate and the value orientations of adapting to such change. In addition, the need to stabilize the planetary climate by urgent mitigation of change factors is a foundational ethical assumption. In order to avoid further animal and plant extinctions, or (...) at the very least, their increased vulnerability to becoming rare and endangered; the systematic assisted colonization of “at risk” species is being seriously considered by scientists and managers of biodiversity. The more practical aspects of assisted colonization have been covered in the conservation biology literature; however, the ethical implications of such actions have not been extensively examined. Our discussion of the value issues, using a novel case study approach, will rectify the limited ethical analysis of the issue of assisted colonization of species in the face of climate change pressures. Beyond sustainability ethics, both animal and environmental ethical approaches will be used and intrinsic versus instrumental value orientations in the literature shall form the basis of our discussion. After the application of all the ethical approaches to the case studies, we conclude that without mitigation and the prospect of a future stable climate, assisted colonization will be involved in an inherently unethical process and a “move and lose it” outcome. With mitigation, there is wide-ranging ethical support for assisted colonization. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss what triage is and how it might be applied to the preservation of endangered species. I compare the suggested application oftriage to endangered species with its application to wartime military practice, distribution of food aid, and human population control to show that the situation of endangered species is not analogous to these other suggested uses. I argue that, as far as species preservation is concemed, triage starts with the wrong norms and values: it is “human (...) chauvinistic,” giving primacy to economic, political, and sociocultural aspects that emphasize human interests without recognizing the connection between the survival of other species and the survival of humans. (shrink)
The series: General Editors: John Harris, University of Manchester; Soren Holm, University of Manchester. Consulting Editor: Ranaan Gillon, Director, Imperial College Health Service, London. North American Consulting Editor: Bonnie Steinbock, Professor of Philosophy, SUNY, Albany. -/- The late twentieth century has witnessed dramatic technological developments in biomedical science and the delivery of health care, and these developments have brought with them important social changes. All too often ethical analysis has lagged behind these changes. The purpose of this series is to (...) provide lively, up-to-date, and authoritative studies for the increasingly large and diverse readership concerned with issues in biomedical ethics--not just health care trainees and professionals, but also social scientists, philosophers, lawyers, social workers, and legislators. The series will feature both single-author and multi-author books, short and accessible enough to be widely read, each of them focused on an issue of outstanding current importance and interest. Philosophers, doctors, and lawyers from several countries already feature among the contributors to the series. It promises to become the leading channel for the best original work in this burgeoning field. -/- This book: Testing and screening for HIV and AIDS give rise to ethical, legal, and social issues of the most controversial and delicate kind. An international team of eighteen doctors, philosophers, and lawyers present a fresh and thorough discussion of these issues; they aim to show the way to practical advances but also to give an accessible guide to the debates for readers new to them. The contributors pay particular attention to the sensitive nature of the information yielded by a test for HIV antibody. They consider such questions as these: Are we under an obligation to disclose our HIV status if known? Can there be a moral justification for the breaching of confidentiality in certain circumstances? Should health care professionals be forced to undergo HIV testing? Is there a right to remain in ignorance of one's HIV status? Consideration of such questions illuminates not only public policy and medical practice in connection with HIV and AIDS, but also broader issues about professional ethics and individual rights in other medical and social contexts. The breadth and depth of the research represented and the lucidity of the arguments put forward make this a key resource for academic researchers and healthcare professionals alike. (shrink)
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom... —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
This thousand-page book contains one third of the text of Samuel Pepys's diary, along with maps, a chronology, a glossary of archaic words, and an unusually helpful index, The diary, written in commercial short-hand, spans the 1660s, a decade in which power passed from the Roundheads to Charles II, London was ravaged by plague and then by fire, the English repeatedly fought the Dutch, and Pepys grew to be one of the most important civil servants in the land ("the (...) father of the English Navy", according to some). The diary, which I know only in this abridged version, has given me more sheer pleasure than any other book I have ever read. Writing for himself alone, Pepys had no sense of posterity looking over his shoulder with judgments about public, historic importance. He selected things for inclusion in the diary purely on the basis of how they struck him. This grand subjectivity would be fatal in a dull or passive or insensitive writer, but in Pepys it makes the work fresh and vibrant, constantly surprising, unlike anything else in literature. Even when describing an "important" scene, he is still his natural self and gives touches of his own behaviour, like this at the King's coronation: But so great a noise, that I could make but little of the Musique; and endeed, it was lost to everybody. But I had so great a list to pissse, that I went out a little while before the King had done all his ceremonies.... Not just his behavior, but also his reactions. (shrink)
Some recent defenses of fallibilism have sought to reconcile the claim, 'i know that "p"', with the claim that one might nevertheless be in error. i argue that this cannot be done. the logic of fallibilism requires that 'i know that "p"' be replaced with 'i "believe" that i know that "p"'. in that case, one is not asserting the possession of justified true belief, but only of justified belief, which alone allows consistently for the possibility of error.
Kant's philosophy of arithmetic / by Charles Parsons -- Visual geometry / by James Hopkins -- The proof-structure of Kant's transcendental deduction / by Dieter Henrich -- Imagination and perception / by P.F. Strawson -- Kant's categories and their schematism / by Lauchlan Chipman -- Transcendental arguments / by Barry Stroud -- Strawson on transcendental idealism / by H.E. Matthews -- Self-knowledge / by W.H. Walsh -- The age and size of the world / by Jonathan Bennett.
I show that given Jonathan Bennett's theory of 'even if,' the following statement is logically true iff the principle of conditional excluded is valid: (SE) If Q and if P wouldn't rule out Q, then Q even if P. Hence whatever intuitions support the validity of (SE) support the validity of Conditional Excluded Middle, too. Finally I show that Bennett's objection to John Bigelow's theory of the conditional can be turned into a (perhaps) more telling one, viz. that (...) on Bigelow's theory 'if P then Q' and 'if P and Q then R' do not jointly entail 'if P then R'. (shrink)