A key premise of the kalam cosmological argument is that the universe began to exist. However, while a number of philosophers have offered powerful criticisms of William Lane Craig’s defense of the premise, J.P. Moreland has also offered a number of unique arguments in support of it, and to date, little attention has been paid to these in the literature. In this paper, I attempt to go some way toward redressing this matter. In particular, I shall argue that Moreland’s philosophical (...) arguments against the possibility of traversing a beginningless past are unsuccessful. (shrink)
Dual aspect theory has conceptual advantages over alternative mind-body notions, but difficulties of its own. The nature of the underlying psychophysical ground, for one, remains problematic either in terms of the principle of complementarity or if mind and matter are taken to be aspects of something like energy, movement, or information. Moreover, for a dual aspect theory to be plausible it should avoid the four perils of all mind-body theories: epiphenomenalism, reductionism, gross panpsychism, and the problems of emergence. An alternative (...) dual aspect theory, patterned process theory, is introduced and defended in neurological and individuality terms. The concept is grounded in a brain model of hierarchies wherein consciousness is conceived to be a cognitive aspect of the highest emergent brain inter-module activity, which is situated in the context of a living organism coping with a changing environment. The notion of individuals as psychophysical units unfolding as patterned processes is shown to constitute an integrative approach to brain, consciousness, and behavior that can avoid the conceptual perils and meet the ontological requirements of dual aspect reality and thereby advance the foundations of an integrative mind-body science. (shrink)
Botanical preparations used by shamans in rituals for divination, prophecy, and ecstasy contain widely different psychoactive compounds, which are incorrectly classified under a single denomination such as “hallucinogens,” “psychedelics,” or “entheogens.” Based on extensive ethnopharmacological search, I proposed a psychopharmacological classification of magic plants in 1979. This paper re-evaluates this taxonomy in the context of consciousness research. Several groups of psychodysleptic magic plants are proposed: (1) hallucinogens—psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline cacti, dimethyltryptamine snuffs, and the synthetic ergoline lysergic acid diethylamide induce strong (...) perceptual changes, affective intensification, and cognitive enhancement. Their ethnobotanical uses include long lasting divination rituals, prophecy, and sacramental practice. (2) Trance-inducers—ergoline Convolvulaceae and South American Banisteriopsis produce quietness, abstraction, lethargy, mild sensorial and cognitive changes, and salient visual imagery changes used in trance rituals and specific divination practices. (3) Cognodysleptics—marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol) and other terpene-containing plants induce changes in thought, imagination, and affective functions and are used in short-term divination or oneiromancy. (4) Deliriants—tropane-containing Solanaceae, wild tobacco, and Amanita muscaria (muscimol) induce a delirium characterized by dim and clouded consciousness, stupor, confusion, disorientation, perception distortion, difficulties in recollection, anxiety, irritability, excitation, and behavioral disorganization employed in sorcery, purification, or exorcism rituals. The core mental effects required for a drug to be used in shamanistic rituals include light-headedness, enhanced imagery, and experience intensification. This constellation was the reason why, in his classification of psychoactive compounds, the pioneer German psychopharmacologist Louis Lewin established in 1924 a group of drugs under the appropriate name of Phantastica. (shrink)
It is argued that there is much to be said for a fairly standard interpretation of the thesis that colour, unlike shape, is a subjective or phenomenal property of objects. But if this fairly standard thesis fails to do justice to the ‘objective’ aspect of colour, and justice in this regard is called for, then it is argued we can settle for less; we can settle for the strategy of ‘dividing the spoils’ between subjective and objective accounts. But it is (...) also argued that if we do settle for this, we need to realise that the same ‘egalitarian’ division cannot be made in application to the primary properties. And that it is argued is the insight at the heart of the traditional account. (shrink)
The syllogism and the predicate calculus cannot account for an ontological argument in Descartes' Fifth Meditation and related texts. Descartes' notion of god relies on the analytic-synthetic distinction, which Descartes had identified before Leibniz and Kant did. I describe how the syllogism and the predicate calculus cannot explain Descartes' ontological argument; then I apply the analytic-synthetic distinction to Descartes’ idea of god.
In this paper I would like to address the problem of the aesthetic value of damaged nature. A variety of arguments have been offered in order to ground the view that we cannot perceive damaged nature as beautiful, at least as soon as we are aware of its damaged condition. These arguments are usually offered in tandem with a view about what the correct appreciation of nature involves and, hence, are often supported by this view. I will try to show (...) that none of these arguments are compelling and that there seems to be a way of explaining how damaged nature can be beautiful without disposing of the intuition that the awareness of its damaged condition penetrates our perception. (shrink)
According to Pettit, an account of freedom in terms of rational control fails to suffice, for he argues that such an account lacks the resources to rule out coerced actions as unfree. The crucial feature of a coerced action is that it leaves the agent with a choice to make, an apparently rational choice to make. To the extent that it does this, it would seem to leave the agent as free as he would be in any other case where (...) there is a choice to be made. However, we do not consider actions that are coerced to be on a par with actions that are not coerced, that are performed freely as we might say. We do not hold agents similarly responsible in the two sorts of cases. So it would seem that the rational control account fails, for it appears to fail to vindicate this differential practice. In this paper, I defend the rational control account. I outline two ways in which proponents of a rational control model, broadly understood, can respond to this criticism. (shrink)
Oaksford and Chater (1994) proposed to analyse the Wason selection task as an inductive instead of a deductive task. Applying Bayesian statistics, they concluded that the cards that participants tend to select are those with the highest expected information gain. Therefore, their choices seem rational from the perspective of optimal data selection. We tested a central prediction from the theory in three experiments: card selection frequencies should be sensitive to the subjective probability of occurrence for individual cards. In Experiment 1, (...) expected frequencies of the p- and the q-card were manipulated independently by concepts referring to large vs. small sets. Although the manipulation had an effect on card selection frequencies, there was only a weak correlation between the predicted and the observed patterns. In the second experiment, relative frequencies of individual cards were manipulated more directly by explicit frequency information. In addition, participants estimated probabilities for the four logical cases and of the conditional statement itself. The experimental manipulations strongly affected the probability estimates, but were completely unrelated to card selections. This result was replicated in a third experiment. We conclude that our data provide little support for optimal data selection theory. (shrink)
There has been relatively little empirical research into the causes of research misconduct. To begin to address this void, the authors collected data from closed case files of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). These data were in the form of statements extracted from ORI file documents including transcripts, investigative reports, witness statements, and correspondence. Researchers assigned these statements to 44 different concepts. These concepts were then analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The authors chose a solution consisting of (...) seven clusters: (1) personal and professional stressors, (2) organizational climate, (3) job insecurities, (4) rationalizations A, (5) personal inhibitions, (6) rationalizations B and, (7) personality factors. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policy and for future research. (shrink)
Burning fossil fuel in the North American continent contributes more to the CO2 global warming problem than in any other continent. The resulting climate changes are expected to alter food production. The overall changes in temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide, insect pests, plant pathogens, and weeds associated with global warming are projected to reduce food production in North America. However, in Africa, the projected slight rise in rainfall is encouraging, especially since Africa already suffers from severe shortages of rainfall. For all (...) regions, a reduction in fossil fuel burning is vital. Adoption of sound ecological resource management, especially soil and water conservation and the prevention of deforestation, is important. Together, these steps will benefit agriculture, the environment, farmers, and society as a whole. (shrink)
Scientific-technological innovation (particularly in the field of transgenic foods and cloning), scientific journalism and public opinion all share a complex relationship. The rupture of internal consensus among the scientific community, the role played by scientific journalists as "mediators" and the differentiation between what can be referred to as the "informed public" or "epistemological leaders" and the rest of the population were the starting point for our research on the impact of news related to biotechnological advances. In this paper we will (...) show the principal characteristics of the discourse on this type of news among what we can call the "informed public". From there, we will establish a set of strategies for improving the level of scientific-technological alphabetisation in our complex societies. (shrink)
The current ethical structure for collaborative international health research stems largely from developed countries' standards of proper ethical practices. The result is that ethical committees in developing countries are required to adhere to standards that might impose practices that conflict with local culture and unintended interpretations of ethics, treatments, and research. This paper presents a case example of a joint international research project that successfully established inclusive ethical review processes as well as other groundwork and components necessary for the (...) conduct of human behavior research and research capacity building in the host country. (shrink)
Evaluation processes are a basic component of creativity. They guide not only the pure judgement about a new artefact but also the generation itself, as creators constantly evaluate their own work. This paper proposes a model for automatic story generation based on the evaluation of stories. A model of how quality in stories is evaluated is presented, and two possible implementations of the generation guided by this evaluation are shown: exhaustive space exploration and constrained exploration. A theoretical model and its (...) implementation are explained and validation of the evaluation function through comparison with human criteria is described. (shrink)
A review by Samantha Power in the Sunday New York Times Book Review (Jan. 4, 2003) of Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company) constitutes the most sympathetic, comparatively fair and balanced discussion of Chomsky's political writing in years appearing in these pages, with only a hint of Chomsky bashing.
The architecture of brain, consciousness, and behavioral processes is shown to be formally similar in that all three may be conceived and depicted as Petri net patterned processes structured by a series of elements occurring or becoming active in stochastic succession, in parallel, with different rhythms of temporal iteration, and with a distinct qualitative manifestation in the spatiotemporal domain. A patterned process theory is derived from the isomorphic features of the models and contrasted with connectionist, dynamic system notions. This empirically (...) derived formulation is considered to be optimally compatible with the dual aspect theory in that the foundation of the diverse aspects would be a highly structured and dynamic process, the psychophysical neutral “ground” of mind and matter posed (but not properly determined) by dual aspect and neutral monist theories. It is methodologically sound to approach each one of these processes with specific tools and to establish concurrences in real time between them at the organismic level of analysis. Such intra-level and inter-perspective correlations could eventually constitute psychophysical bridge-laws. A mature psychology of consciousness is necessary to situate and verify the bridges required by a genuine mind-body science. (shrink)
Drawing on the work of John Rawls and Thomas Pogge, I argue that the U.S. is in part responsible for the immigration of Mexicans and Central Americans into the U.S. By seeking to further its national interests through its foreign policies, the U.S. has created economic and politically oppressive conditions that Mexican and Central American people seek to escape. The significance of this project is to highlight the role of the U.S. in illegal immigration so that we may first acknowledge (...) our responsibility in order to seek lasting humane solutions. (shrink)
Recent discussions on the nature of freedom have suggested that freedom of action depends on freedom of the will and that the conditions for the freedom of the will preclude the possibility of the antecedents of free actions being determined or alternatively require that the agent be responsible for those antecedents. In this paper, it is argued that the first thesis is correct but that the second on either interpretation is wrong. What I argue is that if we take one (...) essential component of the antecedents of action, namely belief, and look at the conditions for freedom of belief, or better, autonomy of belief, we will see that rather than determinism being precluded as a condition for autonomy, a certain sort of determinism would make best sense of that autonomy. It is argued that contrary to oft-cited intuitions, were this form of determinism to obtain, our autonomy would be enhanced. (shrink)
â€œOne moral truism that should not provoke controversy is the principle of universality: We should apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to othersâ€”in fact, more stringent ones,â€ writes Chomsky (Khaleej Times, August 6, 2004).
This essay represents a critical reading, appreciation and assessment of responses written by Susan Abraham, Conrad T. Gromada, and Michael Barnes to my book On Being Human: U.S Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives (Orbis Books, 2001). The essay addresses the following three themes: 1) Rahner’s Ignatian heritage and its relation to the U.S. Hispanic appropriation of the preferential option for the poor and marginalized, 2) Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many human mediations, and 3) Rahner’s transcendental theological approach in relation (...) to the experience of contemporary manifestations of atheism in the U.S. These themes highlight aspects of my book that Abraham, Gromada, and Barnes found fertile ground for engaging in theological conversation. First, with respect to Rahner’s Ignatian spirituality, I argue that the Ignatian understanding of indiferencia can be correlated with the preferential option for the poor and marginalized. Second, with respect to Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many mediations, I explore other ways in which my book could contextualize Rahner’s approach. Finally, I underscore the historical moment in Rahner’s transcendental theological approach (the mystery of God encountered in, with, and under historical realities) and point to a contemporary implication of this understanding (e.g., practical atheism). (shrink)
Background Non-therapeutic trials in which terminally ill cancer patients are asked to undergo procedures such as biopsies or venipunctures for research purposes, have become increasingly important to learn more about how cancer cells work and to realize the full potential of clinical research. Considering that implementing non-therapeutic studies is not likely to result in direct benefits for the patient, some authors are concerned that involving patients in such research may be exploitive of vulnerable patients and should not occur at all, (...) or should be greatly restricted, while some proponents doubt whether such restrictions are appropriate. Our objective was to explore clinician-researcher attitudes and concerns when recruiting patients who are in advanced stages of cancer into non-therapeutic research. Methods We conducted a qualitative exploratory study by carrying out open-ended interviews with health professionals, including physicians, research nurses, and study coordinators. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Analysis was carried out using grounded theory. Results The analysis of the interviews unveiled three prominent themes: 1) ethical considerations; 2) patient-centered issues; 3) health professional issues. Respondents identified ethical issues surrounding autonomy, respect for persons, beneficence, non-maleficence, discrimination, and confidentiality; bringing to light that patients contribute to science because of a sense of altruism and that they want reassurance before consenting. Several patient-centered and health professional issues are having an impact on the recruitment of patients for non-therapeutic research. Facilitators were most commonly associated with patient-centered issues enhancing communication, whereas barriers in non-therapeutic research were most often professionally based, including the doctor-patient relationship, time constraints, and a lack of education and training in research. Conclusions This paper aims to contribute to debates on the overall challenges of recruiting patients to non-therapeutic research. This exploratory study identified general awareness of key ethical issues, as well as key facilitators and barriers to the recruitment of patients to non-therapeutic studies. Due to the important role played by clinicians and clinician-researchers in the recruitment of patients, it is essential to facilitate a greater understanding of the challenges faced; to promote effective communication; and to encourage educational research training programs. (shrink)
I had an unexpected encounter on a far island off the coast of Australia with a group of young people. These young people wanted to escape from the modern world and they inspired my conviction: that we must do our best to reshape our world and make it a place acceptable for the younger generation. I realized that it is the dominant consciousness of an epoch that creates the structures and the practices of an epoch. We must now address the (...) task of evolving or co-evolving our world's dominant consciousness. The fear and insecurity produced by this current dominant consciousness has created humanity's current sad condition. The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University declares its mission to be a ?state of the art? global institution. It has the clear-cut objective of fostering a new consciousness, defeating ignorance, and providing an affordable world-class education that permits economically less privileged people to take an active part in the construction of a better world. Our first tenet is the bio-epistemological ?non- subordinate? horizontal model of education. This tenet is joined with our commitment to a cross-cultural social, interdisciplinary, and stereo-cognitive interaction-based academic platform. It is a platform that can empower young people to attain an innovative holistic view of the world and of themselves. (shrink)
La experiencia de musulmanes, judíos y cristianos ante el sufrimiento, la muerte y la enfermedad tiene muchos puntos en común que es necesario y urgente resaltar. El libro está dividido entres partes que corresponden a las tres tradiciones analizadas. Consta de treinta artículos escritos por veintisiete autores. Participan profesores no sólo de las Universidades de Comillas, Deusto y Granada sino del Instituto Bíblico de Roma, de la Universidad Gregoriana de Roma, de la Universidad de Munich, de la Universidad Complutense de (...) Madrid, del Seminario Evangélico Unido de Teología (SEUT) y de la Facultad de Teología de Catalunya. Colaboran, por supuesto, sacerdotes católicos, pastores protestantes, un rabino y el secretario del Consejo Europeo de Mezquitas. Sin duda, nos encontramos ante una gran aportación en el campo de la Bioética y en la reflexión en torno al dolor, la enfermedad y la muerte. (shrink)
It is discussed in this paper on the existence and the consistency of a concept of human nature in Nietzsche’s work that would not relapse into the extreme readings neither of the biologicism nor of the historicism. For it it’s carried out an interpretation that joins Nietzsche’s consideration of the nature and the history about the matrix concept of the ahistorical, which will lead the initial reflection on the culture to an analysis in ontological-formal terms of the man’s nature and (...) his anchorage in the nature of the world. (shrink)