Stimulation of airway myocytes by contractile agents such as acetylcholine (ACh) activates a Ca2+-activated Cl– current (IClCa) which may play a key role in calcium homeostasis of airway myocytes and hence in airway reactivity. The aim of the present study was to model IClCa in airway smooth muscle cells using a computerised model previously designed for simulation of cardiac myocyte functioning. Modelling was based on a simple resistor-battery permeation model combined with multiple binding site activation by calcium. In order to (...) validate the model, a combination of equations, used to mimic [Ca2+]i response to ACh stimulation, were incorporated into the model. The results indicate that the model developed in this article accounts for experimental recordings and electrophysiological characteristics of this current in airway smooth muscle cells, with parameter values consistent with those calculated from experimental data. Such a model may thus be used to predict IClCa functioning, though additional experimental data from airway myocytes would be useful to more accurately determine some parameter values of the model. (shrink)
The African Philosophy Reader, Second Edition , is a substantially revised and greatly enhanced collection of writings on African philosophy. Editors P.H. Coetzee and A.P.J. Roux have brought together thirty-seven philosophers, thirty-three of whom are black Africans, to present the most current philosophical discussions. Divided into eight sections, each with introductory essays, the selections offer rich and detailed insights into a diverse multinational philosophical landscape. Revealed in this pathbreaking work is the way in which traditional philosophical issues related to (...) ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, for instance, take on specific forms in Africa's postcolonial struggles. Much of its moral, political, and social philosophy is concerned with the turbulent processes of embracing modern identities while protecting ancient cultures. (shrink)
Abstract Ecological communities around the world are under threat while a consensus theory of community structure remains elusive. In the last decade ecologists have struggled with two seemingly opposing theories: niche-based theory that explains diversity with species’ differences and the neutral theory of biodiversity that claims that much of the diversity we observe can be explained without explicitly invoking species’ differences. Although ecologists are increasingly attempting to reconcile these two theories, there is still much resistance against the neutral theory of (...) biodiversity. Here we argue that the dispute between the two theories is a classic example of the dichotomy between philosophical perspectives, realism and instrumentalism. Realism is associated with specific, small-scale and detailed explanations, whereas instrumentalism is linked to general, large-scale, but less precise accounts. Recognizing this will help ecologists get both niche-based and neutral theories in perspective as useful tools for understanding biodiversity patterns. Content Type Journal Article Category Regular Article Pages 1-15 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9144-6 Authors Paul L. Wennekes, Community and Conservation Ecology Group, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands James Rosindell, Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Rampal S. Etienne, Community and Conservation Ecology Group, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342. (shrink)
Goffi and Roux are interested in what makes some thought experiments work, while others do not work. They do not attempt to draw an a priori line between two types of thought experiments, but rather ask the following question: inasmuch as thought experiments are arguments, and notwithstanding the fact that some of them might involve the contemplation of an imaginary scenario, how is it that some of them work, while others do not? Taking inspiration from a counterfactual thought experiment (...) presented by Nicholas Rescher, they treat thought experiments as argumentative procedures resembling tests of consistency, which invite the experimenter to seek the weakest link in her body of beliefs. Equipped with this method, they examine two well-known successful thought experiments (Galileo’s two bodies strapped together, and Thomson’s violinist) and discuss Mach’s notion of thought experiments. Thus they reach the hypothesis that successful thought experiments respect the three following conditions: they do not deal with things, but with beliefs; they mobilise a set of beliefs shared by the interlocutors; and this set of beliefs has a hierarchical structure. Using once again examples written at different periods and taken from various disciplines (Descartes’ receding bodies, Aristotle’s weaving shuttles), Goffi and Roux argue that each of those conditions is individually necessary for a thought experiment to work. They finally conclude on the limits and consequences of their approach. (shrink)
Roux begins by exploring the texts in which the origins of the scientific notion of thought experiments are usually said to be found. Her general claim is simple: the emergence of the notion of thought experiments relies on a succession of misunderstandings and omissions. She then examines, in a more systematic perspective, the three characteristics of the broad category of thought experiments nowadays in circulation: thought experiments are counterfactual, they involve a concrete scenario and they have a well-delimited cognitive (...) intention. Her aim in exploring these characteristics is twofold. Firstly, it is to show that each of these characteristics, considered individually, may be taken in a more or less strict sense, and consequently to explain the proliferation of thought experiments. Secondly, it is to suggest that the recent debates on thought experiments might have arisen because these three characteristics are not easily conciliated when they are considered together. Finally, in a third and last section, the nine essays of the introduced book are presented. (shrink)
During the seventeenth century there were different ways of opposing the new mechanical philosophy and the old Aristotelian philosophy. Remarkably enough, one of this way succeeded in becoming stable beyond the moment of its formulation, one according to which Descartes would be the benchmark by which the works of other natural philosophers of the seventeenth century fall either on the side of the old or the new. I consequently examine the French debate where this representation emerges, a debate that took (...) place along with the development of a Cartesian propaganda in the 1660s and the ensuing official condemnations of the philosophy of Descartes, which was said to constitute a danger for the mystery of Eucharist. But these condemnations pronounced in the name of theology, as numerous and radical as they were, were not considered to be sufficient. They were assisted by numerous polemical works, the audience of which were learned companies of courteous honnêtes gens, and the object of which was to defend a certain way of proceeding in natural philosophy. I consequently concentrate on two correlated questions, the question of what kind of ontological entities are necessary for the establishment of a good physics, and the correlated question of what norms should be adopted in natural philosophy. I show quite systematically that the criticisms of Cartesian philosophers by the Oratorian Jean-Baptiste de La Grange, the bishop Pierre-Daniel Huet, and various Jesuits, Ignace Pardies, Antoine Rochon, Louis Le Valois, Gabriel Daniel, René Rapin, and Honoré Fabri respond to the mockeries of Gérauld de Cordemoy, Jacques Rohault, Louis de La Forge, Bernard Lamy, Nicolas Malebranche or Antoine Arnauld concerning the scholastic entities. Not only do I contrast their philosophical arguments concerning ontological entities and the norms to be respected in physics, but also their ways of defining the philosophical enterprise and its public. (shrink)
There seems to be a proliferation of prizes and rankings for ethical business over the past decade. Our principal aims in this article are twofold: to initiate an academic discussion of the epistemic and normative stakes in business-ethics competitions; and to help organizers of such competitions to think through some of these issues and the design options for dealing with them. We have been able to find no substantive literature — academic or otherwise — that addresses either of these two (...) broad topics and audiences. Our modest aim, therefore, is to suggest an agenda of issues, and to begin to explore and analyse some of the possible arguments for and against various philosophical or practical solutions. Part I explores the challenges facing a prize-organizing committee, including problems derived from what Rawls calls the "fact of pluralism" in democratic societies (reasonable people will always disagree over some basic values, including those relevant to evaluating business practices), and epistemic issues about how we can justify qualitative judgments on the basis of incomplete quantitative data. We also try to identify risks and opportunity costs for ethics-prize granters. In Part II we spell out (a) a range of design options and (b) some advice about how any particular prize-awarding committee might select among these options to best achieve its goals (which typically involve highlighting and publicizing best practices for ethical business). (shrink)
Thought experiments being central to contemporary philosophy and science, the following questions were asked in recent literature. What is their definition? Are they heuristic devices, arguments, paradoxes? Are they comparable to real experiments? Do intuition and conceivability intervene? Equally imaginative thought experiments are found in ancient, medieval, and Renaissance texts. Paying attention to prime historical examples of thought experiments, we show that historical perspectives help answer these general questions.
Cet article étudie le rapport particulier établi par Plotin entre deux notions, l’antilêpsis et la phantasia, pour penser la prise de conscience par l’âme de certains «objets» et de certaines activités. Car celle-ci pose un problème que Plotin a formulé clairement, à la fin du traité 10 (V, 1), sans lui trouver encore de solution absolument satisfaisante. Si l’antilêpsis a besoin de la phantasia pour s’exercer, peut-il en être de même pour les activités supérieures de l’âme dont elle voudrait prendre (...) conscience, puisque la phantasia se rattache à la sensation dont elle est issue ? La question est alors de savoir si les réalités supérieures échappent à toute conscience ou si cette dernière peut les saisir, au moins sous la forme qui lui est propre. On cherchera ici à exposer les aspects principaux de ce problème, mais surtout, à partir de textes tirés des traités 27 (IV, 3) et 46 (I, 4), à saisir la solution que Plotin lui apporte. (shrink)
In the history of the scientific revolution, Descartes is often considered as the mechanical philosopher par excellence, and opposed as such to the founder of mechanical science, that is to say, Galileo: this cliché is not without foundation, but it must not make us forget that Descartes was himself a practitioner of mechanical science. In the article "Cartesian Mechanics" I detail the meaning and reach of "mechanics" in the Cartesian corpus, and do so in three steps. 1. I begin by (...) explaining the genesis of the thesis which states that there is no difference between the physical and the mechanical; this thesis is so famous that it is often imagined that it is constituted in Descartes's first writings. But we can in fact show that the first works of Descartes and Beeckman arise from a "physico-mathematical" practice which does not necessarily imply a complete reworking of traditional physics, even if it might have favored the Cartesian ambition for a physics as certain as geometry; it was only in the late 1630s that Descartes began to systematically affirm the identity of physics and mechanics, or of "rules of motion", of "laws of Nature" and of "laws of mechanics". I then analyze the consequences of this affirmation. 2. In the second part of this article I provide a step-by-step commentary of the response proposed by Descartes in a letter to Mersenne in July 1638 to the question raised by Beaugrand's Geostatice (...) dissertatio mathematica (1636), that is to say the question of whether a body weighs more when it is farther from the center of Earth than when it is close. Compared with other texts of the Cartesian corpus, this sample of mechanics has been little analyzed (to my knowledge, the only analyses are those of P. Duhem, P. Costabel, A. Gabbey and D. Garber). This text is nonetheless extremely interesting: Descartes responds to the geostatic question in turn in terms of physics, then mathematics; even more interesting, the examination of the details of his procedures allows us to confront Cartesian statics to other writings, whether those of Guidobaldo del Monte, Galileo, Stevin, Mersenne or Roberval. 3. In the third and final section, I analyze the reasons that lead Descartes to exclude velocity from his statics, I examine the difficulties that his explanation of gravity created for statics, and conclude with the confrontation between mechanical philosophy and mechanical science in the case of Descartes. (shrink)
The natural based view of the firm using Hart (1995) is applied to firm responses in the Carbon Disclose Project (CDP) database. A large cross sectional sample(n=573) of North American and European firms is divided into 3 categories of proactivity to the climate change issue using 8 indicators of four resource domains. Results are presented along geographic and size dimensions.
Étienne de La Boétie (1530–63) is a central, if enigmatic, figure in modern French political philosophy. While his name is most famous for his friendship with Montaigne, his Discours de la servitude volontaire (Discourse of Voluntary Servitude) is a tour-de-force of humanist political writing, a youthful paean to liberty arguing that subjection to tyrants is the result of popular corruption. This article argues that the text can be read as a reflection on the perils and promise of transparency. Reading La (...) Boétie helps us see two radically different ways in which members of a polity can be known to one another – two models of transparency – and it offers an important, but ultimately unsettling, political ideal based on a classical conception of civic friendship. The article draws out the importance of this ideal for modern anti-corruption efforts. (shrink)
This paper explores one of the main sources of Nietzsche’s knowledge of physiology and considers its relevance for the philosophical study of history. Beginning in 1881, Nietzsche read Der Kampf der Theile im Organismus by Wilhelm Roux, which exposed him to a dysteleological account of organic development emphasising the excitative, assimilative and auto-regulative processes of the body. These processes mediate the effects of natural selection. His reading contributed to a physiological understanding of history that borrowed Roux’s description of (...) physiological processes. This physiological description of history proceeded from the similarity between the body’s mediation of its milieu and history’s mediation of the past. (shrink)