The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in 2006 was heralded as a major breakthrough in stem cell research. Since then, progress in iPS cell technology has paved the way towards clinical application, particularly cell replacement therapy, which has refueled debate on the ethics of stem cell research. However, much of the discourse has focused on questions of moral status and potentiality, overlooking the ethical issues which are introduced by the clinical testing of iPS cell replacement therapy. First-in-human (...) trials, in particular, raise a number of ethical concerns including informed consent, subject recruitment and harm minimisation as well as the inherent uncertainty and risks which are involved in testing medical procedures on humans for the first time. These issues, while a feature of any human research, become more complex in the case of iPS cell therapy, given the seriousness of the potential risks, the unreliability of available animal models, the vulnerability of the target patient group, and the high stakes of such an intensely public area of science. Our paper will present a detailed case study of iPS cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease to highlight these broader ethical and epistemological concerns. If we accept that iPS cell technology is fraught with challenges which go far beyond merely refuting the potentiality of the stem cell line, we conclude that iPS cell research should not replace, but proceed alongside embryonic and adult somatic stem cell research to promote cross-fertilisation of knowledge and better clinical outcomes. (shrink)
Geron recently announced that it had begun enrolling patients in the world's first-in-human clinical trial involving cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). This trial raises important questions regarding the future of hESC-based therapies, especially in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. We address some safety and efficacy concerns with this research, as well as the ethics of fair subject selection. We consider other populations that might be better for this research: chronic complete SCI patients for a safety trial, (...) subacute incomplete SCI patients for an efficacy trial, and perhaps primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients for a combined safety and efficacy trial. (shrink)
The transition of novel and potentially promising medical therapies into their initial human clinical trials can engender conflicting pressures. On the one side, because Phase I trials raise greater ethical and human protection challenges than later stage clinical trials, there is a need to proceed cautiously. This is particularly the case for Phase I trials with a novel therapy being tested in humans for the first time, usually termed first-in-human (FIH) trials, especially if the FIH trial involves significant risks. (...) On the other side, scientists interested in having their research validated, corporations with a financial interest in the field, and potential patients and patient support groups desirous of having .. (shrink)
In her article, Pascale Hess raises the issue of whether her proposed model may be extrapolated and applied to clinical research fields other than stem cell-based interventions in the brain (SCBI-B) (Hess 2012). Broadly summarized, Hess’s model suggests prioritizing efficacy over safety in phase 1 trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain, when clinical criteria meet the appropriate population suffering from “degenerative brain diseases” (Hess 2012). Although there is a need to reconsider the traditional phase 1 model, especially with respect (...) to first-in-human clinical trials involving novel technologies, the question arises as to whether it is appropriate to advocate for a new model that prioritizes efficacy over safety across all phase 1 clinical research trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain. -/- . (shrink)
Risks of harm, translational uncertainty, ambiguities in potential direct benefit, and long-term follow-up merit consideration in first-in-human research. Some nanomedical technologies have additional characteristics that should be addressed, including: defining and describing nanomedical interventions; bystander risks; the therapeutic misconception; and a decision-making context that includes both common use of nanomaterials outside medicine and persistent unknowns about the effects of nanosize. This paper considers how to address these issues in informed consent to first-in-human nanomedicine research.
Novel nanomedical interventions require human testing to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. To establish a proper evidentiary basis for human trials, nanomedical innovations must first be subjected to animal and other laboratory testing. But it is uncertain whether the traditional laboratory approaches to safety evaluation will supply adequate information on nanotechnology risks to humans. This uncertainty, together with other features of nanomedical innovation, heightens the ethical challenges in conducting FIH nanotrials.
In 1999, the Journal of Business Ethics published its 1 500th article. This article commemorates the journal's quest "to improve the human condition" (Michalos, 1988, p. 1) with a summary and assessment of the first eighteen volumes. The first part provides an overview of JBE, highlighting the journal's growth, types of methodologies published, and the breadth of the field. The second part provides a detailed account of the quantitative research findings. Major research topics include (1) prevalence of ethical behavior, (2) (...) ethical sensitivities, (3) ethics codes and programs, (4) corporate social performance and policies, (5) human resource practices and policies, and (6) professions – accounting, marketing/sales, and finance/strategy. Much remains to be done. (shrink)
The causes of asymmetries for handedness and cerebral speech are of scientific interest, but is it sensible to try to determine which of these came first? I argue that (1) first causes belong to mythology, not science; (2) much of the cited evidence is weak; and (3) the treatment of individual differences is inadequate in comparison with the right shift theory.
This paper aims to show how recent cinematic representations reveal a far more pessimistic and essentialised vision of Human/Cyborg hybridity in comparison with the more enunciative and optimistic ones seen at the end of the twentieth century. Donna Haraway’s still influential 1985 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” saw the combination of the organic and the technological as offering new and exciting ways beyond the normalised culturally constructed categories of gender and identity formation. However, more recently critics see her later writings as (...) embodying a Faustian deal between the individual and hegemony, where technology does not enhance but merely returns the subject to a level of normalisation. As such cybernetics is only configured as a form of prosthetic rehabilitation, to ‘re’-able the ‘dis’-abled, that ultimately re-establishes earlier essentialised subject positions through that same evolutionary process. The Six Million Dollar Man, which ran from 1974 to 1978, exampled a symbiosis between the organic and the technological where the broken human body is not just re-made via mechanical prosthesis but through a process of Cyborg hybridity which actually makes it better, faster, stronger than before. In contrast, contemporary films such as Avatar (Cameron 2009), Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay 2009) and Iron Man II (Faveraeu 2010) portray an inherent anxiety toward the cyborg body disavowing of any human/cyborg interaction beyond re-establishing their own discrete and separate subject positions. Although human/cyborg symbiosis constructs the possibility for potentialised bodies beyond those previously imagined, contemporary, popular, film represents them as separated and essentialised. This article looks at what cultural anxieties might produce such an about turn in such representations how this positions human identity in a time of increasing technology and, as a result, asks “whatever happened to The Six Million Dollar Man?”. (shrink)
Recent studies with human infants and nonhuman primates reveal that posture interacts with the expression and stability of handedness. Converging results demonstrate that quadrupedal locomotion hinders the expression of handedness, whereas bipedal posture enhances preferred hand use. From an evolutionary perspective, these findings suggest that right-handedness may have emerged first, following the adoption of bipedal locomotion, with speech emerging later.
Right to life is an essential natural right protected and defended by law. The aim of this publication is to discuss the main issues regarding human right to life and its protection in the Roman law. Article deals with the problems of beginning and end of the human life and legal capacity in Rome, elements of legal protection of slaves and family members subject to pater familias life as well as the principle crimes attempting to human life. First of all, (...) the right to life as well as the right to liberty were held to be the institutes of natural law (ius naturale) meanwhile institutes that provided possibility to withdraw those rights (e. g. patria potestas that in the most ancient époque included right to decide on subject person’s right to life) are derived from the branches of positive law—civil (ius civile) and law of nations (ius gentium). Such attitude of the Roman jurisprudence had a solid impact on recognizing right of life to be an inherent law of every person, deriving immediately from the human nature and not conferred by the society and the state. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the general principles established in the caselaw of the European Court of Human Rights while applying and interpreting the Article 3 of the First Protocol of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which provides: „The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.“ Article 3 of (...) the First Protocol enshrines a fundamental principle for effective political democracy, and is accordingly of prime importance in the Convention system. It refers not only to positive obligation of the Contracting State to organize democratic elections, but also guarantees individual rights, including the right to vote and the right to stand for election, although this is not explicitly stated in it. These rights are not absolute; there is room for “implied limitations” and Contracting States are given a wide margin of appreciation in this sphere. However, these limitations must be such that the rights in question were not curtailed to such an extent as to impair their very essence and deprive them of their effectiveness, should be imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim and should not be disproportionate. (shrink)
This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
Daily our central nervous system receives inputs via several sensory modalities, processes them and integrates information in order to produce a suitable behaviour. The amazing part is that such a multisensory integration brings all information into a unified percept. An approach to start investigating this property is to show that perception is better and faster when multimodal stimuli are used as compared to unimodal stimuli. This forms the first part of the present study conducted in a non-human primate’s model (n=2) (...) engaged in a detection sensory-motor task where visual and auditory stimuli were displayed individually or simultaneously. The measured parameters were the reaction time (RT) between stimulus and onset of arm movement, successes and errors percentages, as well as the evolution as a function of time of these parameters with training. As expected, RTs were shorter when the subjects were exposed to combined stimuli. The gains for both subjects were around 20 and 40 msec, as compared with the auditory and visual stimulus alone, respectively. Moreover the number of correct responses increased in response to bimodal stimuli. We interpreted such multisensory advantage through redundant signal effect which decreases perceptual ambiguity, increases speed of stimulus detection and improves performance accuracy. The second part of the study presents single unit recordings derived from the premotor cortex (PM) of the same subjects during the sensory-motor task. Response patterns to sensory/multisensory stimulation are documented and specific type proportions are reported. Characterization of bimodal neurons indicates a mechanism of audio-visual integration possibly through a decrease of inhibition. Nevertheless the neural processing leading to faster motor response from PM as a polysensory association cortical area remains still unclear. (shrink)
Brain rhythms are more than just passive phenomena in visual cortex. For the first time, we show that the physiology underlying brain rhythms actively suppresses and releases cortical areas on a second-to-second basis during visual processing. Furthermore, their influence is specific at the scale of individual gyri. We quantified the interaction between broadband spectral change and brain rhythms on a second-to-second basis in electrocorticographic (ECoG) measurement of brain surface potentials in five human subjects during a visual search task. Comparison of (...) visual search epochs with a blank screen baseline revealed changes in the raw potential, the amplitude of rhythmic activity, and in the decoupled broadband spectral amplitude. We present new methods to characterize the intensity and preferred phase of coupling between broadband power and band-limited rhythms, and to estimate the magnitude of rhythm-to-broadband modulation on a trial-by-trial basis. These tools revealed numerous coupling motifs between the phase of low frequency (δ, θ, α, β, and γ band) rhythms and the amplitude of broadband spectral change. In the θ and β ranges, the coupling of phase to broadband change is dynamic during visual processing, decreasing in some occipital areas and increasing in others, in a gyrally specific pattern. Finally, we demonstrate that the rhythms interact with one another across frequency ranges, and across cortical sites. (shrink)
This paper was delivered at the 2009 annual conference of the National Council on Ethics in Human Research. It is a reflective piece based on many years of experience with human research ethics and the role of Research Ethics Boards in human participant research.
As robots are increasingly deployed in settings requiring social interaction, research is needed to examine the social signals perceived by humans when robots display certain social cues. In this paper, we report a study designed to examine how humans interpret social cues exhibited by robots. We first provide a brief overview of perspectives from social cognition in humans and how these processes are applicable to human-robot interaction (HRI). We then discuss the need to examine the relationship between social cues and (...) signals as a function of the degree to which a robot is perceived as a socially present agent. We describe an experiment in which social cues were manipulated on an iRobot Ava™ Mobile Robotics Platform in a hallway navigation scenario. Cues associated with the robot’s proxemic behavior were found to significantly affect participant perceptions of the robot’s social presence and emotional state while cues associated with the robot’s gaze behavior were not found to be significant. Further, regardless of the proxemic behavior, participants attributed more social presence and emotional states to the robot over repeated interactions than when they first interacted with it. Generally, these results indicate the importance for HRI research to consider how social cues expressed by a robot can differentially affect perceptions of the robot’s mental states and intentions. The discussion focuses on implications for the design of robotic systems and future directions for research on the relationship between social cues and signals. (shrink)
Plato’s Timaeus gives an account of the creation of the world and of human race. The text suggests that there was a first generation of human beings, and that they were all men. The paper raises difficulties for this traditional view, and considers an alternative, suggested in more recent literature, according to which humans of the first generation were sexually undifferentiated. The paper raises difficulties for the alternative view as well, and examines the third possibility, advocated by some ancient as (...) well as modern interpreters, according to which there were no first humans, strictly speaking. Although the latter view avoids the pitfalls of the former two views, it crucially rests on a metaphorical reading of the creation story in the Timaeus. (shrink)
Coalitions and alliances are core aspects of human behavior. All societies recognize alliances among communities, usually based in part on kinship and marriage. Aggression between groups is ubiquitous, often deadly, fueled by revenge, and can have devastating effects on general human welfare. Given its significance, it is surprising how little we know about the neurobiological and hormonal mechanisms that underpin human coalitionary behavior. Here we first briefly review a model of human coalitionary behavior based on a process of runaway social (...) selection. We then present several exploratory analyses of neuroendocrine responses to coalitionary social events in a rural Dominican community, with the objective of understanding differences between in-group and out-group competition in adult and adolescent males. Our analyses indicate: (1) adult and adolescent males do not elevate testosterone when they defeat their friends, but they do elevate testosterone when they defeat outsiders; (2) pre-competition testosterone and cortisol levels are negatively associated with strength of coalitionary ties; and (3) adult males usually elevate testosterone when interacting with adult women who are potential mates, but in a striking reversal, they have lower testosterone if the woman is a conjugal partner of a close friend. These naturalistic studies hint that reciprocity, dampening of aggression, and competition among friends and allies may be biologically embedded in unique ways among humans. (shrink)
Education lies at the heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): ‘Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’. However, when education is mentioned in the philosophical literature on human rights, or even within the literature on educational policy, it is usually within the context of its being treated as a specific right—as education as a human right rather than human rights education. (...) Taking rights and obligations to be intimately tied within a full human rights educational regime, I argue for the role of education in establishing and realizing freedom from poverty as a human right. The arguments for why this freedom should be considered a human right are compelling. I offer five educational moments in the human rights movement in general, and the arguments for freedom from poverty as a human right, more specifically, in my discussion of human rights education. (shrink)
This article analyses the tradition of “articulating xing in terms of sheng ” and related other expressions, and also examines the debate between Mencius and Gaozi concerning “ xing is known by sheng .” It claims that while Mencius’ “human nature is good” discourse is influenced by the interpretive tradition of “articulating xing in terms of sheng ”, Mencius also transcends and develops this tradition. Therefore it is only when Mencius’ views about the goodness of human nature are understood in (...) the context of this interpretive tradition that his ideas can be fully understood. Utilizing this framework, the Confucian understanding of rights is then explored. (shrink)
This article analyses the tradition of "articulating xing in terms of sheng" and related other expressions, and also examines the debate between Mencius and Gaozi concerning "xing is known by sheng" It claims that while Mencius' "human nature is good" discourse is influenced by the interpretive tradition of "articulating xing in terms of sheng", Mencius also transcends and develops this tradition. Therefore it is only when Mencius' views about the goodness of human nature are understood in the context of this (...) interpretive tradition that his ideas can be fully understood. Utilizing this framework, the Confucian understanding of rights is then explored. /// 通过对"以生言性"的传统及其不同命题表述的详尽分析，对孟子、告子"生 之谓性"的辩论做出梳理，指出孟子性善论一方面受到了"以生言性"传统的影响， 另一方面则超越、发展了这一传统，故只有将孟子性善论放在"以生言性"的传统 下才能得到真正的理解。从这一角度出发，为探讨儒家的权利观念提供了可能。. (shrink)
The objective of the article is to examine the human rights enforcement in Indonesian legal and political system. This is done by studying the legal basis of human rights, the process of proliferation of human rights discourse, and the actual controversies of human rights enforcement. The study has the effect of highlighting some of the immense deficits in ensuring that violations are treated under judicial procedure and the protection of human rights is available and accessible for victims. The author inevitably (...) came into a conclusion that the openness of legal and political arenas for human rights discourses is not followed with a tangible impact on the entitlement positions of the people. The problems of the weak institutions and the unenthusiastic enforcement show that, in Indonesia, human rights are formally adopted as a political strategy to avoid substantial implementation. (shrink)
Based on historical data pertaining to the Krummhörn population (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Germany), we compared reproductive histories of mothers according to whether the maternal grandmother (MGM) or the paternal grandmother (PGM) or neither of them was resident in the parents’ parish at the time of the mother’s first birth. In contrast to effects of PGMs, we discovered conditional differences in the MGM’s effects between landless people and wealthier, commercial farmers. Our data indicate that the presence of the MGM only (...) lowers the woman’s age at marriage (AAM) and her age at the birth of her first child (AFB) in the case of landless families. However, among commercial farmers, who can generally be characterized by a lower AAM and AFB, we found opposite tendencies for the MGM’s effect leading to a relatively small delay in AAM and AFB. Moreover, we also analyzed differences in the completed fertility (i.e., children ever born: CEB). Results indicate that landless families in general do have fewer CEB compared with commercial farmers except for those families in which the MGM has been present. Emphasizing that the adaptiveness of investment decisions should depend on the interaction of genetic, lineage-specific (intrinsic) and ecologically imposed (extrinsic) constraints, we conclude that kin strategies consequently address different fitness components under different conditions. (shrink)
Double discharges (doublets) were recorded from human soleus, where they have never been found before. The data analyzed in this study were collected from 12 healthy volunteers, aged 21–58. The subjects were recruited for other studies, concerning: (1) estimation of motoneurons’ afterhyperpolarization duration and (2) analysis of motor unit responses to nerve stimulation, and were not trained to voluntarily evoke doublets. The majority of doublet intervals fell into the commonly accepted range 2–20 ms. However, two soleus motoneurons from one subject, (...) recorded during low-threshold tibial nerve stimulation, presented exceptional doublets of interval about 37 ms. This interval was virtually identical with the interval between second and third discharge in the few triplets recorded from another subject. It is hypothesized that triplets are generated by the delayed depolarization with the second narrow hump, which is the same as the hump responsible for exceptional doublets. (shrink)
Pioneering work in the 1940s and 1950s suggested that the concept of chunking might be important in many processes of perception, learning and cognition in humans and animals. We summarize here the major sources of evidence for chunking mechanisms, and consider how such mechanisms have been implemented in computational models of the learning process. We distinguish two forms of chunking: the first deliberate, under strategic control, and goal-oriented; the second automatic, continuous, and linked to perceptual processes. Recent work with discrimination-network (...) computational models of long- and short-term memory (EPAM/CHREST) has produced a diverse range of applications of perceptual chunking. We focus on recent successes in verbal learning, expert memory, language acquisition and learning multiple representations, to illustrate the implementation and use of chunking mechanisms within contemporary models of human learning. (shrink)
Human enhancement has emerged in recent years as a blossoming topic in applied ethics. With continuing advances in science and technology, people are beginning to realize that some of the basic parameters of the human condition might be changed in the future. One important way in which the human condition could be changed is through the enhancement of basic human capacities. If this becomes feasible within the lifespan of many people alive today, then it is important now to consider the (...) normative questions raised by such prospects. The answers to these questions might not only help us be better prepared when technology catches up with imagination, but they may be relevant to many decisions we make today, such as decisions about how much funding to give to various kinds of research. Enhancement is typically contraposed to therapy. In broad terms, therapy aims to fix something that has gone wrong, by curing specific diseases or injuries, while enhancement interventions aim to improve the state of an organism beyond its normal healthy state. However, the distinction between therapy and enhancement is problematic, for several reasons. First, we may note that the therapy-enhancement dichotomy does not map onto any corresponding dichotomy between standard-contemporary-medicine and medicineas-it-could-be-practised-in-the-future. Standard contemporary medicine includes many practices that do not aim to cure diseases or injuries. It includes, for example, preventive medicine, palliative care, obstetrics, sports medicine, plastic surgery, contraceptive devices, fertility treatments, cosmetic dental procedures, and much else. At the same time, many enhancement interventions occur outside of the medical framework. Office workers enhance their performance by drinking coffee. Make-up and grooming are used to enhance appearance. Exercise, meditation, fish oil, and St John’s Wort are used to enhance mood. Second, it is unclear how to classify interventions that reduce the probability of disease and death.. (shrink)
In this paper I sketch a liberal studies course designed to explore our fundamental problem of thought and life: How can our human world exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe? The fundamental character of this problem provides one with the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues. What does physics tell us about the universe and ourselves? How do we account for everything physics leaves out? How can living brains be conscious? If everything (...) occurs in accordance with physical law, what becomes of free will? How does Darwin's theory of evolution contribute to the solution to the fundamental problem? What is the history of thought about this problem? What is of most value associated with human life? What kind of civilized world should we seek to help create? Why is the fundamental problem not a part of standard education in schools and universities? What are the most serious global problems confronting humanity? Can humanity learn to make progress towards as good a world as possible? These are some of the questions that can be tackled as an integral part of exploring the fundamental problem. But the course does not merely wander at random from one issue to another. Taking the fundamental problem as central provides the course with a coherent structure. The course would be conducted as a seminar, and it would respond to queries and suggestions from students. (shrink)
The present essay discusses the value of citizenship as shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict and analyzes its implications for citizenship education in light of three issues: first, the requirements of affective relationality in the notion of citizenship-as-shared fate; second, the tensions between the values of human rights and shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict; and third, the ways in which citizenship education might overcome these tensions without falling into the trap of psychologization and instrumentalization, but rather focusing (...) on providing opportunities for social and school practices that manifest shared fate and compassion in critical ways. It is argued that what teachers and schools should try to do is to make practices of shared fate and compassion possible through creating conditions for children and young people to experience what it means to enact such practices in sites of ethnic conflict. It is also suggested that teachers and schools in sites of ethnic conflict cannot produce ‘new’ citizens on the basis of any values, no matter how ‘noble’ these values may be. The most that can be done is to help children and young people to critically reflect upon the conditions under which people in sites of ethnic conflict can act on the basis of shared fate and compassion and provide support so that these possibilities can become realistic. (shrink)
Abstract The goal of the study was to investigate the current situation with Human Resources (HR) systems in the Saudi market on the basis of survey conducted among 100 organizations. Their HR and IT experts were to fill out a questionnaire that allowed receiving their expert opinion and make conclusions considering the HR systems usage in this country. In the course of the study, eight hypotheses were investigated and proved: the number of companies’ users of Human Resource Management (HRM) systems (...) does not exceed a half of the staff; most companies use additional resources for HR management apart from HR automated systems; many companies use systems developed by their specialists for HRM; companies are satisfied with the level of HRM systems’ performance; companies are ready to implement new, more effective systems in their practice; Saudi market is not ready for SaaS model; companies are not ready to implement SaaS model; companies have high development potential despite impediments. The results have shown that the Saudi market is ready for implementation of the new technologies, while the level of satisfaction by the current solutions is comparatively low and requires urgent measures. New developments, preferably on the basis of SaaS model, are required to improve the situation and make a step towards successful future. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s13520-012-0015-7 Authors Bandar Khalaf Alharthey, Department of Management, Faculty of Management and Human Resource Development, University Technology of Malaysia, 81310 UTM, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia Amran Rasli, Department of Management, Faculty of Management and Human Resource Development, University Technology of Malaysia, 81310 UTM, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia Journal Asian Journal of Business Ethics Online ISSN 2210-6731 Print ISSN 2210-6723. (shrink)
This study aims to explore the level of information and knowledge 150 Spanish kindergarten and elementary school teachers in pre-service training have about human rights. We compared two groups of students: students with no specific training and students with specific training (the students with specific training study with the new training teaching programme that includes a compulsory subject related to citizenship education). The contents are organized around three thematic areas. Human rights are included in the first area ‘Basic concepts to (...) promote equality and participation in Elementary Education’; the other two areas are: ‘Learning to participate at Elementary School’ and ‘Building a civil school that promotes equality and participation at Elementary School’. It is a one semester subject with 3 h of teaching per week. The main hypothesis is that a specific training on human rights will lead to an important improvement not only in student’s level of knowledge but also in the way they categorize this specific content. We have administered a questionnaire designed for the study. In general, our results show that students of both groups have a basic and limited knowledge about human rights. The group with specific training shows a higher level of knowledge than the other group and a different way of organizing it. This would go in the direction of other studies of supporting and reinforcing the inclusion of specific training on human rights during the initial teacher training programmes at the university. (shrink)
In trying to control various aspects concerning utterance production in multi-party human–computer dialogue, argumentative considerations play an important part, particularly in choosing appropriate lexical units so that we fine-tune the degree of persuasion that each utterance has. A preliminary step in this endeavor is the ability to place an ordering relation between semantic forms (that are due to be realized as utterances, by the machine), concerning their persuasion strength, with respect to certain (explicit or implicit) conclusions. Thus, in this article, (...) we propose a mechanism for assessing utterances, in terms of their argumentative force. The framework designed conflates insights from Asher and Lascarides’ SDRT (“Segmented Discourse Representation Theory”), and from Anscombre and Ducrot’s AT (“Argumentation Theory”). These mechanisms are included in a language generation component of a multi-party dialogue system for book reservation applications (i.e., a “virtual librarian”), and thus evaluated via typical human–machine conversations. (shrink)
This article argues that hunger in Canada, while being an outcome of unemployment, low incomes, and inadequate welfare, springs also from the failure to recognize and implement the human right to food. Food security has, however, largely been ignored by progressive social policy analysis. Barriers standing in the way of achieving food security include the increasing commodification of welfare and the corporatization of food, the depoliticization of hunger by governments and the voluntary sector, and, most particularly, the neglect by the (...) federal and provincial governments of their obligations to guarantee the domestic right to food as expressed in international human rights law. The interconnectedness of hunger, welfare, and food security issues in a first world society are explored from the perspective of progressive social policy and food security analysis and the development of alternative strategies. In terms of advancing the human right to food in Canada, particular emphasis is placed on the role of the state and civil society, and the social and economic rights of citizenship built on an inclusive social policy analysis and politics of welfare, food security and human rights. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
We report the results of three experiments designed to assess the role of suppositions in human reasoning. Theories of reasoning based on formal rules propose that the ability to make suppositions is central to deductive reasoning. Our first experiment compared two types of problem that could be solved by a suppositional strategy. Our results showed no difference in difficulty between problems requiring affirmative or negative suppositions and very low logical solution rates throughout. Further analysis of the error data showed a (...) pattern of responses, which suggested that participants reason from a superficial representation of the premises in these arguments and this drives their choice of conclusion. Our second experiment employed a different set of suppositional problems but with extremely similar proofs in terms of the rules applied and number of inferential steps required. As predicted by our interpretation of reasoning strategies employed in Experiment 1, logical performance was very much higher on these problems. Our third experiment showed that problems that could be solved by constructing an initial representation of the premises were easier than problems in which this representation was not sufficient. This effect was independent of the suppositional structure of the problems. We discuss the implications of this research for theories of reasoning based on mental models and inference rules. (shrink)
The A-kinase-anchoring protein 5 (AKAP5), a post-synaptic multi-adaptor molecule that binds G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and intracellular signaling molecules has been implicated in emotional processing in rodents, but its role in human emotion and behavior is up to now still not quite clear. Here, we report an association of individual differences in aggressive behavior and anger expression with a functional genetic polymorphism (Pro100Leu) in the human AKAP5 gene. Among a cohort of 527 young, healthy individuals, carriers of the less common Leu (...) allele (15.6% allele frequency) scored significantly lower in the physical aggression domain of the Buss and Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) and higher in the anger control dimension of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment we could further demonstrate that AKAP5 Pro100Leu modulates the interaction of negative emotional processing and executive functions. To investigate implicit control-processes of anger control, we used the well-known flanker-task in order to evoke processes of action-monitoring and error-processing and added task-irrelevant neutral or angry faces in the background of the flanker stimuli. In line with our predictions, Leu carriers showed increased activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) during emotional interference, which in turn predicted shorter reaction times and might be related to stronger control of emotional interference. Conversely, Pro homozygotes exhibited increased orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activation during emotional interference, with no behavioral advantage. Immunohistochemistry revealed AKAP5 expression in the human ACC and OFC. Our results suggest that AKAP5 Pro100Leu contributes to individual differences in human aggression and anger. Further research is warranted to explore the detailed role of AKAP5 in human emotional processing. (shrink)