We appreciate the thoughtful responses we have received on ?Disclosing New Worlds?. We will respond to the concerns raised by grouping them under three general themes. First, a number of questions arise from lack of clarity about how the matters we undertook to discuss ? especially solidarity ? appear when one starts by thinking about the primacy of skills and practices. Under this heading we consider (a) whether we need more case studies to make our points, and (b) whether national (...) and other solidarities require willingness to die for the values that produce that solidarity. Second, we take up questions concerning the historical character of the skills of entrepreneurs, virtuous citizens, and culture figures. Here we shall (a) emphasize how we distinguish ourselves from earlier writers on these subjects, (b) consider essentialism, relational identities, and exclusion, (c) answer a number of Habermasian concerns raised by Hoy, (d) speak to Taylor's concern regarding the contingency of solidarity and forgetting, and (e) take up Grant's objection that we are both formalists and relativists. Third, we shall take up the concern, raised mostly by Borgmann, that historical disclosing, that is to say history as the West has known it, is over, and that now all that can be done by those who transform the practices is to make them more and more technological. (shrink)
Einstein's 1935 derivation of mass-energy equivalence is philosophically important because it contains both a criticism of purported demonstrations that proceed by analogy and strong motivations for the definitions of the 'new' dynamical quantities (viz relativistic momentum, relativistic kinetic energy and relativistic energy). In this paper, I argue that Einstein's criticism and insights are still relevant today by showing how his derivation goes beyond Friedman's demonstration of this result in his Foundations of Spacetime Theories. Along the way, I isolate three distinct (...) physical claims associated with Einstein's famous equation that are sometimes not clearly distinguished in philosophical discussions of spacetime theory. (shrink)
Flores and Johnson (Ethics 93 No. 3 (1983) pp. 537, 545.) offer a solution to the problem of individual and collective responsibility which obscures the fundamental requirement for responsibility ascriptions, namely, moral agency. Close attention to matters of individual and collective agency provides a simple yet defensible criterion for establishing when an individual is and isn't responsible for the untoward consequences of a collective act.
We formulate the following hypothesis: Life's origin may have occurred during the lower Archaean at a time when the environmental temperature was higher than it is at present. Preliminary consequences of this hypothesis are studied from the point of view of molecular evolution. We restrict our attention to implications regarding the genetic code. We conclude that alternative assignment of termination codons may be understood in terms of: (a) the elevated temperatures to which the progenote may initially have been exposed; and (...) (b) the subsequent response of its genome to the opportunity provided by the eventual loss of hyperthermal genetic expression during a thermal transition (TT) period, which was triggered off by the evolution of the dynamic Earth. (shrink)