We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
The authors analyze results of a survey of members of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business classes of 1953–1987 in order to assess the potential effectiveness of firms' ethics training programs. Results suggest that such training has a positive effect, but that relatively few firms provide such programs (about one-third of the respondents worked for firms with such programs). Although the sample is not representative of American employees and managers generally, the results suggest that it may be worthwhile for (...) firms to provide formal ethics training to their employees. (shrink)
Many believe that the ethical problems of donation after cardiocirculatory death (DCD) have been "worked out" and that it is unclear why DCD should be resisted. In this paper we will argue that DCD donors may not yet be dead, and therefore that organ donation during DCD may violate the dead donor rule. We first present a description of the process of DCD and the standard ethical rationale for the practice. We then present our concerns with DCD, including the following: (...) irreversibility of absent circulation has not occurred and the many attempts to claim it has have all failed; conflicts of interest at all steps in the DCD process, including the decision to withdraw life support before DCD, are simply unavoidable; potentially harmful premortem interventions to preserve organ utility are not justifiable, even with the help of the principle of double effect; claims that DCD conforms with the intent of the law and current accepted medical standards are misleading and inaccurate; and consensus statements by respected medical groups do not change these arguments due to their low quality including being plagued by conflict of interest. Moreover, some arguments in favor of DCD, while likely true, are "straw-man arguments," such as the great benefit of organ donation. The truth is that honesty and trustworthiness require that we face these problems instead of avoiding them. We believe that DCD is not ethically allowable because it abandons the dead donor rule, has unavoidable conflicts of interests, and implements premortem interventions which can hasten death. These important points have not been, but need to be fully disclosed to the public and incorporated into fully informed consent. These are tall orders, and require open public debate. Until this debate occurs, we call for a moratorium on the practice of DCD. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare (...) the theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
Language and Ontology: Linguistic Relativism (Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) vs. Universal Grammar Universal Ontology vs. Ontological Relativity Semiotics and Ontology: The Rediscovery of John Poinsot (John of St. Thomas) Annotated Bibliography of John Deely. First part: 1965-1998 Annotated Bibliography of John Deely. Second part: 1999-2010..
Summary This article discusses and evaluates the historiographical work of a leading Oxford convert and Ultramontane, Thomas Allies (1813?1903). An evaluation of Allies by the criteria of the Ultramontane scholarship he endeavoured to practise allows the article to offer an illustration of the difficulty in establishing and maintaining an autonomous Catholic scholarship during the nineteenth century's secularising development of academic activity. It also allows substantial description of the patterns of nineteenth-century Catholic historical thought, noting the strength of its commitment (...) to providentialism and, in particular, its apocalyptic character. An examination of the influences brought to bear on the subject's thought during the formative period of his development as an historian, through his own study and his close friendship with John Henry Newman, indicates the reasons for Allies's ultimate failure either to create a clear and stimulating product of the Ultramontane historical vision or to achieve an academic or popular reputation as an historian. The article argues that an unresolved conflict, between Allies's inclination towards a providentialist historiography consistent with his commitment to a Catholic counter-culture and his willingness to accept, under Newman's guidance, contemporary secular historiographical norms, offers substantial explanation of this failure. (shrink)
The following paper discusses John of St. Thomas’ study of the way in which a habit (moral or epistemic virtue or vice) is a cause of an action it prompts. I begin with contrasting the question of causality of habits with the general question of the causal relevance of dispositions (2). I argue that habits constitute a very peculiar kind of dispositions marked by the connection with the properties of being difficult and being easy, and there are some (...) special reasons to admit the irreducibility of dispositions of this kind. I argue also that there is a special sort of causal connection between a habit and an action it actually prompts. Then I present an analysis of four theses of John of St. Thomas on the causality of habits, which, I think, constitute the most mature and reliable study of the causality of habits in the scholastic tradition: (i) Habits are efficient causes of actions they prompt (3.1). (ii) Virtues do determine the very natures of actions they prompt (3.2); (iii) Virtues do not have a proper counterpart among the characteristics of actions they prompt (3.3); (iv) The formal object of causality of virtue is a masterpiece performance of an action (3.4). In my analyses of John’s arguments for these theses I make three claims: not all powers are “in state of readiness for action”; habits are powers of powers or dispositions of powers; the general concept of a strategy is the key to grasp the properties of being difficult and being easy, and habits should be analysed as a kind of strategies. (shrink)
The Euthyphro problem and the natural law : an investigation of some aspects of the medieval debate on natural law -- Aristotle : natural law and man in the "metaxy" -- St. Thomas Aquinas : the "lex naturalis" -- Thomas Hobbes : The state of nature and natural rights -- John Locke : natural law, natural rights and God -- Concluding remarks and a heavenly dialogue.
This essay defends a strong version of the Humean theory of motivation on which desire is necessary both for motivation and for reasoning that changes our desires. Those who hold that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force need to oppose this view, and many of them have proposed counterexamples to it. Using a novel account of desire, this essay handles the proposed counterexamples in a way that shows the superiority of the Humean theory. The essay addresses the classic (...) objection that the Humean theory cannot explain the feeling of obligation, Stephen Darwall's example of motivationally potent reasoning that is not based on preexisting desires, Thomas Scanlon's criticism that the Humean theory fails to account for the structure and phenomenology of deliberation, and the phenomenon of akrasia as discussed by John Searle. In each case a Humean account explains the data at least as thoroughly as opposing views can, while fitting within a simpler total account of how we deliberate and act. (shrink)
Compelling research in international relations and international political economy on global warming suggests that one part of any meaningful effort to radically reverse current trends of increasing green house gas (GHG) emissions is shared policies among states that generate costs for such emissions in many if not most of the world’s regions. Effectively employing such policies involves gaining much more extensive global commitments and developing much stronger compliance mechanism than those currently found in the Kyoto Protocol. In other words, global (...) warming raises the prospect that we need a global form of political authority that could coordinate the actions of states in order to address this environmental threat. This in turn suggests that any serious effort to mitigate climate change will entail new limits on the sovereignty of states. In this book I focus on the normative question of whether or not we have clear moral reasons to bind ourselves together in such a supranational form of political association. I argue that one can employ familiar liberal arguments for the moral legitimacy of political order at the state level to show that we do have a duty to support such a global political project. Even if one adopts the premises employed by the most influential forms of liberal scepticism to the ideas of global political and distributive justice, such as those advanced by John Rawls and Thomas Nagel, it is clear that the threat of global warming has expanded the scope of justice. We now have a global and demanding duty of justice to create the political conditions that would allow us to collectively address our impact on the Earth’s atmosphere. (shrink)
Thomas Reid developed an important theory of freedom and moral responsibility resting on the concept of agent-causation, by which he meant the power of a rational agent to cause or not cause a volition resulting in an action. He held that this power is limited in that occasions occur when one's emotions or other forces may preclude its exercise. John Martin Fischer has raised an objection – the not enough ‘Oomph’ objection – against any incompatibilist account of freedom (...) and moral responsibility. In this essay I argue that Fischer's not enough ‘Oomph’ objection fails to provide any reasons for rejecting Reid's incompatibilist, agent-causation account of freedom and moral responsibility. (shrink)