Background Ethics committees typically apply the common principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice to research proposals but with variable weighting and interpretation. This paper reports a comparison of ethical requirements in an international cross-cultural study and discusses their implications. Discussion The study was run concurrently in New Zealand, UK, Israel, Canada and USA and involved testing hypotheses about believability of testimonies regarding alleged child sexual abuse. Ethics committee requirements to conduct this study ranged from nil in Israel (...) to considerable amendments designed to minimise participant harm in New Zealand. Assessment of minimal risk is a complex and unreliable estimation further compounded by insufficient information on probabilities of particular individuals suffering harm. Estimating potential benefits/ risks ratio and protecting participants' autonomy similarly are not straightforward exercises. Summary Safeguarding moral/humane principles should be balanced with promotion of ethical research which does not impede research posing minimal risk to participants. In ensuring that ethical standards are met and research has scientific merit, ethics committees have obligations to participants (to meet their rights and protect them from harm); to society (to ensure good quality research is conducted); and to researchers (to treat their proposals with just consideration and respect). To facilitate meeting all these obligations, the preferable focus should be promotion of ethical research, rather than the prevention of unethical research, which inevitably results in the impediment of researchers from doing their work. How the ethical principles should be applied and balanced requires further consideration. (shrink)
The first major reassessment of the Western Enlightenment for a generation. Continuing the story he began in Radical Enlightenment, Jonathan Israel now focuses on the first half of the eighteenth century. He traces to their roots the core principles of Western modernity: the primacy of reason, democracy, racial equality, feminism, religious toleration, sexual emancipation, and freedom of expression.
In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the complete demolition of traditional structures of authority, scientific thought, and belief by the new philosophy and the philosophes, including Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. The Radical Enlightenment played a part in this revolutionary process, which effectively overthrew all justification for monarchy, aristocracy, and ecclesiastical power, as well as man's dominance over woman, theological dominance of education, and slavery. Despite the present day interest in the revolutions of (...) the eighteenth century, the origins and rise of the Radical Enlightenment have received limited scholarly attention. The greatest obstacle to the movement finding its proper place in modern historical writing is its international scope: the Racial Enlightenment was not French, British, German, Italian, Jewish or Dutch, but all of these at the same time. In this wide-ranging volume, Jonathan Israel offers a novel interpretation of the Radical Enlightenment down to La Mettie and Diderot, two of its key exponents. Particular emphasis is placed on the pivotal role of Spinoza and the widespread underground international philosophical movement known before 1750 as Spinozism. (shrink)
That the Enlightenment shaped modernity is uncontested. Yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does. In Democratic Enlightenment , Israel demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. The American Revolution and its concerns certainly acted as a major factor in the intellectual ferment that (...) shaped the wider upheaval that followed, but the radical philosophes were no less critical than enthusiastic about the American model. From 1789, the General Revolution's impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires , men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups represented in the French National assembly, they nonetheless forged " la philosophie moderne "--in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas--into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America, Canada and eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In addition, Israel argues that while all French revolutionary journals powerfully affirmed that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste "Revolution of reason." Acclaim for earlier volumes in the trilogy: "His vast--and vastly impressive--book sets out to redefine the intellectual landscape of early modern Europe. Magnificent and magisterialwill undoubtedly be one of the truly great historical works of the decade." -- Sunday Telegraph "The scholarship is breathtaking. Israel has read everything, absorbed every nuance, followed up every byway." -- New Statesman "An enormously impressive piece of scholarship. The breadth and depth of the author's reading are breathtaking and Enlightenment Contested is set to become the definitive work for philosophers as well as historians on this extraordinary period." -- Tribune. (shrink)
This paper examines the lexicalization patterns of polarity items with a view to understanding the range of possible polarity items and the reasons why such forms should exist in the first place. My starting point is the Scalar Model of Polarity (Israel 1996, 1998), which predicts a reliable correlation between a polarity item's sensitivity and its scalar semantic properties: specifically, it predicts that forms denoting a minimal scalar degree may be emphatic negative polarity items (NPIs), while forms denoting maximal (...) degrees can be emphatic positive polarity items. A variety of anomalous polarity items are discussed which flout this prediction, including both emphatic NPIs denoting maximal degrees (e.g. for all the tea in China, wild horses) and emphatic PPIs denoting minimal degrees (e.g. for a pittance, in a jiffy). The exceptional behaviour of these forms is shown to be a direct function of the participant roles they denote, reflecting the fact that different roles license different kinds of scalar inferences depending on how they contribute to the likelihood of an expressed proposition. In addition to establishing a link between thematic structure and the lexical semantics of polarity sensitivity, this result is shown to have important implications for the nature of scalar reasoning generally, and for the role it plays in structuring rhetorical discourse. (shrink)
The idea that reason can justify induction was famously criticized by David Hume. Hume concluded that there is no rational justification for inductive inferences and hence, no rational justification for most of our daily beliefs. Many philosophers attempted to solve Hume's problem with no success. Bertrand Russell commented regarding Hume's problem: "[if we cannot justify induction] we have no reason to expect the sun to rise tomorrow, to expect bread to be more nourishing than a stone, or to expect that (...) if we throw ourselves off the roof we shall fall." The New Riddle of Induction was introduced by Nelson Goodman in his book Fact, Fiction and Forecast, published in 1954. Goodman's problem raised some serious doubts about our ability even to describe inductive principles. In this Book Rami Israel is attempting to solve Both Hume's and Goodman's philosophical problems by introducing a new approach to the subject and by drawing a new picture of our inductive practices. (shrink)
Kaplan says that monsters violate Principle 2 of his theory. Principle 2 is that indexicals, pure and demonstrative alike, are directly referential. In providing this explanation of there being no monsters, Kaplan feels his theory has an advantage over double-indexing theories like Kamp’s or Segerberg’s (or Stalnaker’s), which either embrace monsters or avoid them only by ad hoc stipulation, in the sharp conceptual distinction it draws between circumstances of evaluation and contexts of utterance. We shall argue that Kaplan’s prohibition is (...) also essentially stipulative, and that it is too general. The main difference between ourselves and Kaplan is that the basic carriers of a truth-value is a sentence-in-a-context; our account is utterance-based. (shrink)
Information is a notion of wide use and great intuitive appeal, and hence, not surprisingly, different formal paradigms claim part of it, from Shannon channel theory to Kolmogorov complexity. Information is also a widely used term in logic, but a similar diversity repeats itself: there are several competing logical accounts of this notion, ranging from semantic to syntactic. In this chapter, we will discuss three major logical accounts of information.
Goodman published his "riddle" in the middle of the 20th century and many philosophers have attempted to solve it. These attempts almost all shared an assumption that, I shall argue, might be wrong, namely, the assumption that when we project from cases we have examined to cases we have not, what we project are predicates (and that this projectibility is an absolute property of some predicates). I shall argue that this assumption, shared by almost all attempts at a solution, looks (...) wrong, because, in the first place, what we project are generalizations and not predicates, and a generalization is projectible (or unprojectible) relative to a given context. In this paper I develop the idea of explainable-projectible generalizations versus unexplainable-unprojectible generalizations, relative to a specific context. My main claim is that we rationally project a generalization if and only if we rationally believe that there is something that explains the general phenomenon that the generalized statement in question asserts to obtain, and that a generalization is projectible, if and only if its putative truth can be explained, whether we know that it can be or not. (shrink)
The fact referred to we call the signal or indicating fact. The thermometer is the carrier, the property of containing mercury that has risen past 98.6 is the indicating property. The proposition that Elwood has a fever is the incremental informational content of the signal. The property of having a fever is the indicated property; Elwood is the subject matter. A signal has incremental content, given a connecting fact and relative to a constraint. 1 In this case, the connecting fact (...) is that the thermometer is in Elwood’s mouth, the connecting relation is that of one thing being in the mouth of another, and the constraint C 1 is. (shrink)
Brutus wanted to kill Caesar. He believed that Caesar was an ordinary mortal, and that, given this, stabbing him (by which we mean plunging a knife into his heart) was a way of killing him. He thought that he could stab Caesar, for he remembered that he had a knife and saw that Caesar was standing next to him on his left, in the Forum. So Brutus was motivated to stab the man to his left. He did so, thereby killing (...) Caesar. We have explained Brutus’s act by citing a complex of beliefs, desires and perceptions that motivated it. Our explanation provides a causal account of Brutus’s act. The beliefs, desires and perceptions in such a motivating complex are particular cognitions. The act was also a particular, an event that occurred at a certain place and time. The cognitions caused the act.1 Our explanation also provides a rationale for Brutus’s act. The beliefs, desires and perceptions of Brutus’s that we cite had contents. The desire we cited had the content that Brutus kill Caesar. The ﬁrst belief we cited had the content that Caesar was an ordinary mortal. The act was of a certain type. The explanation provides a rationale because the contents of the cognitions mesh in a certain way with one another and with the type of the act. It was the type of act that would satisfy Brutus’s desire to kill 1 Caesar, if the beliefs we cited were true. If the person next to him is Caesar, and Caesar is mortal, and stabbing is a way of killing the mortal next to one, then an act of that type will satisfy Brutus’s desire. The beliefs in the motivating complex “close the gap” between the type of act motivated and the motivating desire. (shrink)
We sketch the historical and conceptual context of Turing's analysis of algorithmic or mechanical computation. We then discuss two responses to that analysis, by Gödel and by Gandy, both of which raise, though in very different ways. The possibility of computation procedures that cannot be reduced to the basic procedures into which Turing decomposed computation. Along the way, we touch on some of Cleland's views.
I’m one of the biggest enemies of analytical philosophy there are. I think it’s a complete waste of time. I think it’s even a contradiction in terms to imagine that there can be a real philosophy which answers to basic universal human questions and values, which is not historically based. It’s an idea that doesn’t make sense, even if some people hold it.
A distinction is drawn between the event horizon conjecture (EHC), the conjecture that an event horizon forms in a gravitational collapse, and cosmic censorship, the idea that every singularity which develops in the course of collapse must be enclosed within a horizon. It is argued that a body of circumstantial evidence seems to favor EHC, but cosmic censorship seems contraindicated.
Two revolutionary concepts of the twentieth century—continental drift and the existence of superdense stars and black holes—had extended histories which ran in curious parallel for five decades. Between the wars each encountered a fierce and emotionally charged resistance which may have had a common psychological root. Each threatened man's instinctive faith in the permanence of matter.
Dyck and Allen's criticisms of current systems of governance are well founded, at least in some jurisdictions. Their desire to halt the expansion and intensification of research ethics governance is to be applauded. However, their listed categories of research to be exempted from mandatory review may not create a better system.
ExcerptSeveral studies have examined the racial policies promoted by the Nazi regime from theoretical and sociological perspectives. Theoretical studies have focused their attention on the contribution that scientific disciplines (anthropology, biology, eugenics, and demography) gave to the institution of Nazi racial policies. Sociological studies have focused on the role that the German scientific community had in enforcing such policies, as well as on the consequences these policies had for the scientific community. For instance, they have considered the effect that the (...) emigration of Jewish and anti-fascist scientists from Germany had on the quality of scientific research. The migration of scientists…. (shrink)
Arguably, the tradition of democratic republican theory which arose in the Dutch Republic in the years around 1660 in the writings of Johan and Pieter de la Court, Franciscus van den Enden and Spinoza played a decisively important role in the development of modern democratic political theory. The tradition did not end with Spinoza but continued to develop in the United Provinces and–in the work of Bernard Mandeville, who seemingly belongs more to the Dutch than the British republican tradition–in London, (...) down to the early 18th century. The failure in most histories of republicanism to appreciate how strikingly different intellectually, and as an ideology, the Dutch tradition was from the Anglo-American republican tradition, has had the effect of obscuring its central importance in the development of radical republicanism in mid- and late 18th-century France. (shrink)