This essay is a review of Daniel Garber's "Descartes' Metaphysical Physics" (Chicago U P 1992) and Michael Friedman's "Kant and the Exact Sciences" (Harvard U P 1992). Garber's study of Descartes is scrupulous but his historicist assumptions result in a failure to grasp Descartes' originality or the unity and power of his thought. Friedman, by taking Kant's conception of science seriously, sheds great light on Kant's thought generally and implicitly raises important philosophical problems for the present day.
The principle of informed consent is now well established within the National Health Service (NHS) in relation to any type of medical treatment. However, this ethical principle appears to be far less well established in relation to medical screening programmes such as Britain's national cervical screening programme. This article will critically examine the case for health care providers vigorously pursuing women to accept an invitation to be screened. It will discuss the type of information which women would need in order (...) to make an informed decision about whether or not to be screened. The lack of such information in current patient leaflets on the "smear test" will then be documented. Finally, the article will explore possible ways of maximising women's autonomy in relation to the cervical screening programme without sacrificing any of its main benefits. (shrink)
This article, Based on a study of the "euthyphro," "apology" and "crito," suggests that for socrates (and therefore, Presumably, The young plato) piety is service to the dialectic, And that for socrates the dialectic itself takes over the position reserved in the popular religion for the gods (thus making socrates guilty, At least metaphorically, Of the charge of believing in "other new divine powers"). Part one seeks to establish that the dialectic controls the pious man's beliefs; part two, That it (...) controls his destiny; and part three, That it controls his identity. Failure to engage in, Or disobedience to the dialectic "leads to the worst forms of immorality, And brings down judgments that reduce the gods to low comedy, Men to tragedy." it is further argued that because socrates held the dialectic to be fundamental, He also held that the only just form of government is democracy. (shrink)
An experimental survey was undertakento explore the links between thecharacteristics of a moral issue, the degree ofmoral intensity/moral imperative associatedwith the issue (Jones, 1991), and people'sstated willingness to pay (wtp) for policy toaddress the issue. Two farm animal welfareissues were chosen for comparison and thecontingent valuation method was used to elicitpeople's wtp. The findings of the surveysuggest that increases in moral characteristicsdo appear to result in an increase in moralintensity and the degree of moral imperativeassociated with an issue. Moreover, there (...) was apositive link between moral intensity/moralimperative associated with an issue andpeople's stated wtp for policy to address theissue. The paper discusses the relevance of thefindings of the survey in the context of thedebate concerning the relationship betweenmoral and economic values and the use of thecontingent valuation method to estimatepeople's wtp of policy options with moraldimensions. (shrink)
It is predicted that the rapid acquisition of new genetic knowledge and related applications during the next decade will have significant implications for virtually all members of society. Currently, most people get exposed to information about genes and genetics only through stories publicized in the media. We sought to understand how individuals in the general population used and understood the concepts of “genetics” and “genes.” During in-depth one-on-one telephone interviews with adults in the United States, we asked questions exploring their (...) basic understanding of these terms, as well as their belief as to the location of genes in the human body. A wide range of responses was received. Despite conversational familiarity with genetic terminology, many noted frustration or were hesitant when trying to answer these questions. In addition, some responses reflected a lack of understanding about basic genetic science that may have significant implications for broader public education measures in genetic literacy, genetic counseling, public health practices, and even routine health care. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, Australian biomedical researchers took the first steps along a pathway toward common ground with opponents of the use of animals in science. Leaders of Australian medical research at that time saw the necessity of established science facing the ethical and political challenges that a revived antivivisectionist movement was mounting in the late 1970s and the 1980s.
Recent research conducted in Australia shows that many oncologists withhold information about expensive unfunded drugs in what the authors of the study suggest is unacceptable medical paternalism. Surprised by the Australian results, we ran a version of the study in New Zealand and received very different results. While the percentages of clinicians who would prescribe the drugs described in the scenarios were very similar (73–99% in New Zealand and 72–94% in Australia depending on the scenario) the percentage who would not (...) discuss expensive unfunded drugs was substantially lower in New Zealand (6.4–11.1%) than it was in Australia (28–41%). This seems surprising given the substantial similarities between the two countries, and the extensive interaction between their medical professions. We use the contrast between the two studies to examine the generalisability of the Australian results, to identify influences on clinicians' decisions about what treatment information to give patients, and so the tendency towards medical paternalism and, more pragmatically, about how such decisions might be influenced. (shrink)
We show that a linear specific heat at low temperatures for glass follows naturally from general considerations on the glassy state. From the same considerations we obtain the experimentally observed anomalous low-temperature thermal conductivity, and we predict an ultrasonic attenuation which increases at low temperatures. Possible relationships with the linear specific heat in magnetic impurity systems are pointed out. We suggest experimental study of the relaxation of thermal and other properties.
Context Physicians are regularly confronted with research that is funded or presented by industry. Objective To assess whether physicians discount for conflicts of interest when weighing evidence for prescribing a new drug. Design and setting Participants were presented with an abstract from a single clinical trial finding positive results for a fictitious new drug. Physicians were randomly assigned one version of a hypothetical scenario, which varied on conflict of interest: ‘presenter conflict’, ‘researcher conflict’ and ‘no conflict’. Participants 515 randomly selected (...) Fellows in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network; 253 surveys (49%) were returned. Main object measures The self-reported likelihood that physicians would prescribe the new drug as a first-line therapy. Results Physicians do not significantly discount for conflicts of interest in their self-reported likelihood of prescribing the new drug after reading the single abstract and scenario. However, when asked explicitly to compare conflict and no conflict, 69% report that they would discount for researcher conflict and 57% report that they would discount for presenter conflict. When asked to guess how favourable the results of this study were towards the new drug, compared with the other trials published so far, their perceptions were not significantly influenced by conflict of interest information. Conclusion While physicians believe that they should discount the value of information from conflicted sources, they did not do so in the absence of a direct comparison between two studies. This brings into question the effectiveness of merely disclosing the funding sources of published studies. (shrink)
In ‘The Presuppositions of Religious Pluralism and the Need for Natural Theology’ I argue that there are four important presuppositions behind John Hick’s form of religious pluralism that successfully support it against what I call fideistic exclusivism. These are i) the ought/can principle, ii) the universality of religious experience, iii) the universality of redemptive change, and iv) a view of how God (the Eternal) would do things. I then argue that if these are more fully developed they support a different (...) kind of exclusivism, what I call rational exclusivism, and become defeaters for pluralism. In order to explain rational exclusivism and its dependence on these presuppositions I consider philosophers J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga, who offer arguments for their forms of exclusivism but I maintain that they continue to rely on fideism at important points. I then give an example of how knowledge of the Eternal can be achieved. (shrink)
In the spring 2011 issue of this journal there appeared a review of Julian Young's recent and well-received Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography. The author of the piece, Daniel Blue, writes from the perspective of one of the book's very few detractors.1 His objections, however, mainly concern the philosophical-interpretive chapters of Young's book. Regarding the biographical material, Blue judges that the book provides "a lively and intellectually bracing account of Nietzsche's life." On this point I would not like to (...) contradict Blue's opinion. I am, however, inclined to lay a critical finger upon his remark that Young "[o]f necessity ... tells the same story as [Ronald] Hayman and [Curtis] Cate," two .. (shrink)
Using medical advances to enhance human athletic, aesthetic, and cognitive performance, rather than to treat disease, has been controversial. Little is known about physicians? experiences, views, and attitudes in this regard. We surveyed a national sample of physicians to determine how often they prescribe enhancements, their views on using medicine for enhancement, and whether they would be willing to prescribe a series of potential interventions that might be considered enhancements. We find that many physicians occasionally prescribe enhancements, but doctors hold (...) nuanced and ambiguous views of these issues. Most express concerns about the potential effects of enhancements on social equity, yet many also believe specific enhancements that are safe and effective should be available but not covered by insurance. These apparently contradictory views might reflect inherent tensions between the values of equity and liberty, which could make crafting coherent social policies on medical enhancements challenging. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of American Journal of Bioethics for the following free supplemental resource(s): An additional table (Table 5) referred to on p. 5]. (shrink)
R-Dagger is the theory of relevant implication, Got from the calculus r (see belnap, Jsl, 32, 1-22), By adding machinery for propositional quantification. In r-Dagger define t as for some p, P, F as for all p, P. Then (t, F) is closed in r-Dagger under truth-Functions and relevant implication, Which, When confined to (t, F) acts just like material 'implication.' but r-Dagger admits of many propositions other than t, F. The article also contains polemics against extensionalism and nominalism. (edited).
The use of human fetal tissue for scientific research has enormous potential but is subject to government legislation. In the United Kingdom the Polkinghorne Committee's guidelines were accepted by the Department of Health in 1990. These guidelines set out to protect women undergoing termination of pregnancy from exploitation but in so doing may significantly restrict potential research. Although the committee took evidence from a wide variety of experts they did not seek the views of the general public. We asked 108 (...) women about to have a therapeutic abortion; 167 women who had had a pregnancy terminated in the past, and 419 women who had never had an abortion, their views on research using human fetal tissue. Regardless of their past experiences the women were overwhelmingly in favour of research using fetal tissue (94 per cent). They made little distinction between basic research and research with obvious clinical relevance and supported the concept of using transplanted fetal tissue for the treatment of adult disease such as Parkinsonism. Women about to undergo an abortion were significantly more likely (p < 0.001) to approve of all types of research including that aimed at improving methods of abortion and research using live fetuses in utero. (shrink)
The current paper details a restricted semantics for active logic, a time-sensitive, contradictiontolerant logical reasoning formalism. Central to active logic are special rules controlling the inheritance of beliefs in general, and beliefs about the current time in particular, very tight controls on what can be derived from direct contradictions (P &¬P ), and mechanisms allowing an agent to represent and reason about its own beliefs and past reasoning. Using these ideas, we introduce a new deﬁnition of model and of logical (...) consequence, as well as a new deﬁnition of soundness such that, when reasoning with consistent premises, all classically sound rules are sound for active logic. However, not everything that is classically sound remains sound in our sense, for by classical deﬁnitions, all rules with contradictory premises are vacuously sound, whereas in active logic not everything follows from a contradiction. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence, in press. Abstract: For some time we have been developing, and have had significant practical success with, a time-sensitive, contradiction-tolerant logical reasoning engine called the active logic machine (ALMA). The current paper details a semantics for a general version of the underlying logical formalism, active logic. Central to active logic are special rules controlling the inheritance of beliefs in general (and of beliefs about the current time in particular), very tight controls on what can be derived from direct (...) contradictions (P &￢P), and mechanisms allowing an agent to represent and reason about its own beliefs and past reasoning. Furthermore, inspired by the notion that until an agent notices that a set of beliefs is contradictory, that set seems consistent (and the agent therefore reasons with it as if it were consistent), we introduce an “apperception function” that represents an agent’s limited awareness of its own beliefs, and serves to modify inconsistent belief sets so as to yield consistent sets. Using these ideas, we introduce a new definition of logical consequence in the context of active logic, as well as a new definition of soundness such that, when reasoning with consistent premises, all classically sound rules remain sound in our new sense. However, not everything that is classically sound remains sound in our sense, for by classical definitions, all rules with contradictory premises are vacuously sound, whereas in active logic not everything follows from a contradiction. (shrink)