According to a familiar objection to Davidson's causal theory of action, reasons are not causes qua reasons unless explanations of actions fit reason and action into a nomic nexus. The focus of this criticism should really be redirected to the issue of whether or not Davidson's theory provides an account of the explanatory force of explanations of actions.
We propose a model mechanism for the initiation and spatial positioning of teeth primordia in the alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Detailed embryological studies by Westergaard and Ferguson (1986, 1987, 1990) have shown that jaw growth plays a crucial role in the developmental patterning of the tooth initiation process. Based on biological data we develop a dynamic patterning mechanism, which crucially includes domain growth. The mechanism can reproduce the spatial pattern development of the first seven teeth primordia in each half jaw (...) of A. mississippiensis. The results for the precise spatio-temporal sequence compare well with experiment. Simulation of the model also predicts that certain transplantations can alter the spatial sequence of teeth primordia initiation. (shrink)
Endothelial cells, when cultured on gelled basement membrane matrix exert forces of tension through which they deform the matrix and at the same time they aggregate into clusters. The cells eventually form a network of cord-like structures connecting cell aggregates. In this network, almost all of the matrix has been pulled underneath the cell cords and cell clusters. This phenomenon has been proposed as a possible model for the growth and development of planar vascular systems in vitro. Our hypothesis is (...) that the matrix is reorganized and the cellular networks form as a result of traction forces exerted by the cells on the matrix and the latter's elasticity. We construct and analyze a mathematical model based on this hypothesis and examine conditions necessary for the formation of the pattern. We show cell migration is not necessary for pattern formation and that isotropic, strain-stimulated traction is sufficient to form the observed patterns. (shrink)
In 2007, Massachusetts instituted a universal coverage health plan that requires all citizens to purchase insurance. I argue that there is nothing wrong in principle with the use of an individual mandate to force citizens to secure health insurance. I argue that state neutrality is not tenable on this issue. Then I proceed to show that even if state neutrality were viable, it is not a violation of state neutrality (thought of as neutrality of intent) to force citizens to insure (...) themselves with the primary purpose of securing the normative good of health. I adapt recent work on universal medical coverage to demonstrate that such a mandate is in keeping with several principles of fairness shared in liberal democratic societies. This argument not only applies to the Massachusetts plan but likely to any other health care coverage schemes using individual mandates in the US political context, including recently passed federal health care reform measures. However, even though the Massachusetts plan may provide increased access to health care for many, there are still legitimate worries that it currently places disproportionate financial burdens on the working poor and thus will need refinement. (shrink)
Gliomas are diffuse and invasive brain tumors with the nefarious ability to evade even seemingly draconian treatment measures. Here we introduce a simple mathematical model for drug delivery of chemotherapeutic agents to treat such a tumor. The model predicts that heterogeneity in drug delivery related to variability in vascular density throughout the brain results in an apparent tumor reduction based on imaging studies despite continual spread beyond the resolution of the imaging modality. We discuss a clinical example for which the (...) model-predicted scenario is relevant. The analysis and results suggest an explanation for the clinical problem of the long-standing confounding observation of shrinkage of the lesion in certain areas of the brain with continued growth in other areas. (shrink)
Recent research addresses the formation of patterns on sandy coastlines on alongshore scales that are large compared with the cross-shore extent of active sediment transport. A simple morphodynamic instability arises from the feedback between wave-driven alongshore sediment flux and coastline shape. Coastline segments with different orientations experience different alongshore sediment fluxes, so that curvatures in coastline shape drive gradients in sediment flux, which can augment the shoreline curvatures. In a simple numerical model, this instability, and subsequent finite-amplitude interactions between pattern (...) elements, lead to a wide range of different rhythmic shapes and behaviours—ranging from symmetric cuspate capes and bays to alongshore migrating ‘flying spits’—depending on the characteristics of the input wave forcing. The scale of the pattern coarsens in some cases because of the merger of migrating coastline features, and in other cases because of non-local screening interactions between coastline protrusions, which affect the waves reaching other parts of the coastline. Features growing on opposite sides of an enclosed water body mutually affect the waves reaching each other in ways that lead to the segmentation of elongated water bodies. Initial tests of model predictions and comparison with observations suggest that modes of pattern formation in the model are relevant in nature. (shrink)
continent. 1.2 (2011): 145-147. Here I accoutred myself in my new habiliments; and, having em- ployed the same precautions as before, retired from my lodging at a time least exposed to observation. It is unnecessary to des- cribe the particulars of my new equipage; suffice it to say, that one of my cares was to discolour my complexion, and give it the dun and sallow hue which is in most instances characteristic of the tribe to which I assumed to belong; (...) and that when my metamorphosis was finished, I could not, upon the strictest ex- amination, conceive that any one could have traced out the per- son of Caleb Williams in this new disguise. William Godwin Caleb Williams (352). Giorgio Agamben. Nudities . Trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. 144 pp. | 10 illustrations. | ISBN: 9780804769501 | $16.95 A. The Protective Overcoat. The most pervasive, resilient, robust, sneaky, and significant concept in all of Giorgio Agamben’s essays is that of separation. This is not the same as alienation. Separation is more nostalgic, for Agamben valorizes an ancient world in which human society and its beings were not subject to such separation. He implies that these separations are damaging to human beings, crippling them at the very level of their identities. $4.99 B. The Handsome Gloves. Giorgio Agamben’s Nudities , like Profanations before it, employs a wide range of subjects in order to establish separation as a metaphor, in much the same way that interdisciplinary scholars have adopted Michel Foucault’s concepts in order to rethink societies and texts. The longest essay from Profanations, entitled “In Praise of Profanation,” laments humankind’s inability to profane as the result of what Walter Benjamin has called “the capitalist religion.” Likewise, “Nudity” adopts a pessimistic stance on the Christian theological tradition’s perverse asphyxiation of the unclothed body. $2.50 C. The Hoop Earrings. Religion separates humans from things by procuring for itself items as “sacred,” thus taking them out of common use. In this state, human beings are unable to play with them, unable to change their use-value. They become off-limits, museified. $1,499.00 D. The Uncomfortable Shoes. Biometrics polices identity, replacing meaningful metrics of identity. It is a deplorable situation that leaves human beings in danger of, and indeed already victims of, mass persecution. $111.75 E. The Prince Albert. One could characterize Giorgio Agamben’s desire to catalogue a history of ignorance as a recognition that human beings are separated from knowledge by language. Where then is the prophet, and how shall we be saved? $49.50 + tip F. The Corset. Franz Kafka’s character of Joseph K. has put himself on trial, as in Roman trials when the Kalumniator was marked with the letter K. The torture he undergoes is meant to elicit a confession of the truth. It is possible that Giorgio Agamben perceives his role as a philosopher to be confined to self-trial, and that with every passage he flays the unclothed page with prophetic intent. $27.00 G. The Derby. Giorgio Agamben himself tries to bridge various separations through exploratory play. He is not a performative writer semantically, but his exploratory style is rooted in the play spirit. His strategy of numbering points is almost comical, yet it is not misleading. It is play, after all, not ruse. He denudes with pecks, like carrion on a tattered corpse. $11.00 H. The Trousers. Although Giorgio Agamben is elsewhere concerned with the profanation of religion’s apparatuses, in essay nine he would like to consider what is consumed during days of inoperativity, how religion governs these, and how to account for our binges and purges. Inoperativity is inextricably bound to feasting, to the festival. $24.50 I. The Stylish Belt. The only essay in Nudities to contain photographs is the essay entitled, “Nudity.” All of these photographs project human bodies. $.01 I The aim here is not to tap into an original state prior to the separation but to comprehend and neutralize the apparatus that produced this separation. (66) II The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness. (13) III We can therefore only experience nudity as a denudation and a baring, never as a form and a stable possession. (65) IV Just as genius and talent originally distinct and even opposite—are nevertheless united in the work of the poet, so the work of creation and the work of salvation, inasmuch as they represent the two powers of a single God, remain in some way secretly conjoined. (6) V In our culture, the face-body relationship is marked by a fundamental asymmetry, in that our faces remain for the most part naked, while our bodies are normally covered. (88) VI Every man initiates a slanderous trial against himself. (21) VII The glorious body is not some other body, more agile and beautiful, more luminous and spiritual; it is the body itself, at the moment when inoperativity removes the spell from it and opens it up to a new possible common use. (103) VIII As Kleist understood so well, the relationship with a zone of nonknowledge is a dance. (114) IX The deactivation of this apparatus retroactively operates, therefore, as much on nature as on grace, as much on nudity as on clothing, liberating them from their theological signature. (90) X At any rate, whether festive inoperativity precedes religion or results from the profanation of its apparatuses, what is essential here is a dimension of praxis in which simple, quotidian human activities are neither negated nor abolished but suspended and rendered inoperative in order to be exhibited, as such, in a festive manner. (112) XI This is just how much [of] the land [the] surveyor is allowed to catch a glimpse. (36). (shrink)