In a pragmatic approach to ontology, what is necessary and sufficient for the dispositional causation of events is interpreted realistically, and postulated to exist. This leads to a concept of `generic substance' (Aristotle's underlying `matter') as being constituted by dispositions, not just being the `bare subject' for those dispositions. If we describe the forms of objects according their spatiotemporal range, then this form is best viewed as a field, and substances themselves are best conceived as `fields of propensity'.
In cognitive psychology there appears to be a creative tension between models that use connections of a network, and models that use rules for symbol manipulation. The idea of a connectionist network goes back to McCulloch & Pitts  and Hebb , and finds recent revival in the `parallel distributed processing' (PDP) models that have been extensively examined in the last few years (see e.g. Rumelhart et al. ). In the intervening years, however, the predominant explanations of psychology have been (...) in terms of rules for the manipulation of symbolic structures (e.g. since Newell & Simon ). Because of the tension between these different approaches (see e.g. Fodor & Pylyshyn ), there is great interest in the formulation of `hybrid systems' which combine connectionist components with traditional symbolic processing. I attempt below to outline the general architecture of such a hybrid system. (shrink)
An ontological extension of dispositional essentialism is proposed, whereby what is necessary and sufficient for the dispositional causation of events is interpreted realistically, and postulated to exist. This ‘generative realism’ leads to a general concept of ‘substance’ as constituted by its more fundamental powers or propensities appearing in the form of some structure or field. This neo Aristotelian view is reviewed historically, and in respect to quantum physics.
Since the failure of both pure corpuscular and pure wave philosophies of nature, process theories assume that only events need to exist in order to have a physics. Starting from an ontology of actual events, a dispositional analysis is shown here to lead to a new idea of substance, that of a `distribution of potentiality or propensity'. This begins to provide a useful foundation for quantum physics. A model is presented to show how the existence of physical substances could be (...) a reasonable consequence of a theory of processes. (shrink)
Physics Department, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH, U.K October, 1990. We may suspect that quantum mechanics and consciousness are related, but the details are not at all clear. In this paper, I suggest how the mind and brain might fit together intimately while still maintaining distinct identities. The connection is based on the correspondence of similar functions in both the mind and the quantum-mechanical brain. Accompanying material for a talk at The Second Mind and Brain Symposium held at the (...) Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London on 20th October, 1990. (shrink)
The analysis of dispositions is used to consider cases where the effect of one disposition operating is the existence of another disposition. This may arise from rearrangements within aggregated structures of dispositional parts, or, it is argued, also as stages of derivative dispositions within a set of multiple generative levels. Inspection of examples in both classical and quantum physics suggests a general principle of `Conditional Forward Causation': that dispositions act 'forwards' in a way conditional on certain circumstances or occasions already (...) existing at the `later' levels. (shrink)
Many of us these days sense there is something real beyond the scope of naturalistic science. But what? Must mental and religious lives always remain a mystery and never become part of scientific knowledge? In this well-argued book, physicist Ian Thompson makes a case for a 'scientific theism'. He shows how a following of core postulates of theism leads to novel and useful predictions about the psychology of minds and the physics of materials which should appear in the universe. These (...) predictions constitute a kind of 'theistic science'. It meshes surprisingly well with the structure of reality already revealed by modern quantum field theory and by theories of developmental stages in human minds. The result is a serious look at a promising new rational structure encompassing theology, psychology and physics. (shrink)
Examining the role of dispositions (potentials and propensities) in both physics and psychology reveals that they are commonly derivative dispositions, so called because they derive from other dispositions. Furthermore, when they act, they produce further propensities. Together, therefore, they appear to form discrete degrees within a structure of multiple generative levels. It is then constructively hypothesized that minds and physical nature are themselves discrete degrees within some more universal structure. This gives rise to an effective dualism of mind and nature, (...) but one according to which they are still constantly related by causal connections. I suggest a few of the unified principles of operation of this more complicated but universal structure. (shrink)
Ethics in nursing: continuity and change -- Cultural issues, methods and approaches to nursing ethics -- Nursing ethics: what do we mean by 'ethics'? -- Becoming a nurse and member of the profession -- Power and responsibility in nursing practice and management -- Professional responsibility and accountability in nursing -- Classical areas of controversy in nursing and biomedical ethics -- Direct responsibility in nurse/patient relationships -- Conflicting demands in nursing groups of patients -- Ethics in healthcare management: research, evaluation and (...) performance management -- The political ethics of healthcare: health policies and resource allocation -- Corporate ethics in healthcare: strategic planning and ethical policy development -- Making moral decisions and being able to justify our actions -- The relevance of moral theory: justifying our ethical policies. (shrink)
Discussing questions concerning quantum physics and spirituality together is particularly valuable in order to see the connection between them from a New Church standpoint. An urgent reason for discussing this link is that some people want to identify these things. The feeling is widespread that somehow they are connected, but some “new age” people want to say that quantum physics tells us about spirituality. We know from Swedenborg that the connection is not quite so simple, so we need to understand (...) in more detail what is going on. (shrink)
This paper presents the results of a qualitative investigation into the ethical and aesthetic values held by late- and mid-career landscape architects in the UK. It identifies the dominant discourses within three value areas, the aesthetic, the social and the environmental. Within the web of value discourses, some are clearly conflicting, while others are compatible or mutually supporting. The most prevalent values are those associated with 'technocentric accommodation'. A 'trivalent' approach to design is advocated which combines values from the three (...) main areas. (shrink)
This paper presents a framework for understanding the value systems inherent in landscape architectural practice. It is based upon a close analytical reading of the academic and professional literature, supported by a series of in-depth interviews with mid- and late-career British landscape architects. The empirical results of these interviews will be presented in a future paper. A tripartite classification of values is suggested, based upon the categories of the aesthetic, the social and the environmental, each of which is internally complex. (...) This framework is offered as a tool for future landscape architectural criticism. The relationships between values both within and between these value areas are discussed. The conclusion reached is that there is no overarching value which can be used to arbitrate between conflicting values. However, while it is possible to identify areas where values conflict, there can also be significant convergence between aesthetic, social and ecological values, and the paper suggests that it is possible to create landscapes which have positive value in all three areas. (shrink)
A model is presented to show how the existence of physical law could be a reasonable consequence of Divine Immanence in the world of natural phenomena. Divine Immanence is seen as the continual production of the principal causes or dispositions which enable created things to act and change. It..
The role of dispositions in the physical world is considered. It is shown that not only can classical physics be reasonably construed as the discovery of real dispositions, but also quantum physics. This approach moreover allows a realistic understanding of quantum processes.
This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 - 1772). Although he worked in the eighteenth century, his investigations into the nature of physical, physiological and spiritual processes are still relevant today, although they are not as widely known as they deserve. In this article, I will briefly describe the stages in Swedenborg's life, and outline his mature teachings with particular relevance to what is relevant to the concerns of contemporary science, and to the concerns (...) of those wishing to extend that science. (shrink)
Published in: Cogito, 2 (1988) pp 10 - 12. Pdf version Modern physics has cast doubt on Newton's idea of particles with definite properties. Do we have to go back to Aristotle for a new understanding of the ultimate nature of substance? If we ask, `what is the nature of substance?', we might be told that this substance is salt, that one is copper, or that the atomic nucleus is a mixture of protons and neutrons. But what are all these (...) substances? What do they have in common which makes them substances? We don't seem to think that such things as colours, numbers, or shapes are by themselves `substantial enough' to be substances in their own right. We therefore change our question to `what is it to be a substance?', or to `what is the ultimate nature of the simplest substances?'. We might first turn to scientists for an answer, to physicists in particular. (shrink)