The claim that an information revolution is underway is scrutinized in this paper. Particular attention is given to the notions that new information technology will radically increase human choice and rationality in decision-making. The literature on informatics and technology is selectively reviewed in order to determine whether (1) the present use of technology seems to predict an increased choice and rationality in the future; (2) earlier technologies have had this effect; and (3) past social predictions of this type have proven (...) generally correct. We reach a mixed or negative conclusion in every case. Although the possibility of an information revolution cannot be dismissed, neither can it be readily accepted at this point unless we significantly diminish what is normally meant by a ‘revolution’. (shrink)
This study reanalyses data on migrants to Alberta, collected by Statistics Canada in a 1980 Labour Force Survey. The findings indicate that migrant men are gainers and migrant women, particularly migrant wives are the losers from such movement, even during a period of relative economic prosperity in the Province. Women's occupational status tends to improve with time spent in the new labour force. However there is a failure to return to occupational statuses enjoyed before the move. This means, first, that (...) male and female workers are more sex-differentiated after the move than before it; second, that migrant women, especially wives, enjoy fewer occupational returns on their educational investment than migrant men; third, that the balance of economic contribution, and possibly therefore influence, within a migrant household is shifted towards greater male dominance by the move.It is to be emphasized that each of these findings is to be regarded as tentative pending the completion of further analyses on this and three related data sets. In particular the analysis of household level data will be critical in assessing any hypotheses about family power before and after the move. (shrink)
There are good reasons to think that at least a part of Hume's project in the ‘The natural history of religion’ was to buttress a philosophical critique of the reasonableness of religious belief undertaken in other works, and to attack a fundamentalist account of the history of religion and the foundations of morality. But there are also problems with supposing that Hume intended to achieve either of these goals. I argue that two problems in particular – accounting for Hume's neglect (...) of revelation, and accounting for his remarks on the ‘invincibility’ of the reasons for ‘genuine theism’ – can only be resolved by recognizing that Hume's purposes in ‘The natural history’ were not fundamentally critical. If I am right, Hume's purpose was mainly to explain why ‘false’ or ‘adulterate’ forms of religious belief are so widespread and so influential. (shrink)
: I argue that Condillac was committed to four mutually inconsistent propositions: that the mind is unextended, that sensations are modifications of the mind, that colours are sensations, and that colours are extended. I argue that this inconsistency was not just the blunder of a second-rate philosopher, but the consequence of a deep-seated tension in the views of early modern philosophers on the nature of the mind, sensation, and secondary qualities and that more widely studied figures, notably Condillac's contemporaries, Hume (...) and Reid, were not ultimately any more successful at developing an account of vision that unproblematically avoids the paradox. In passing, I take issue with Nicholas Pastore's account of how Condillac's Treatise on Sensations deals with the visual perception of form (in A Selective History of Theories of Visual Perception). (shrink)
This study examines whether differences in financial performance exist for investment trusts which base their portfolio selection primarily on an ethical screen, compared to indexes which incorporate a broader spectrum of investments. Results indicate that on a risk-adjusted basis there is an insignificant difference in the financial performance of these trusts against three common market benchmarks. However as to the extent of the directional effect, there does exist slightly superior financial performance by ethical trusts against their respective industry average indexes, (...) but an underperformance against a smaller company's index and the market as a whole. The lack of a distinct advantage in the short to medium term for applying an ethical screen, may in part be due to the recent development of ethical investments in Australia. Stronger performances by older ethical investment trusts may indicate superior returns are more likely to occur over a longer term. (shrink)
Identifying corporate governance mechanisms to improve firm performance has been at the forefront of policy discussion and research in recent years. Existing research in this area focuses on large-capitalisation firms, and has not provided much insight on smaller firms. This paper tests for the optimality of deployment of governance mechanisms for Canadian small-cap firms by estimating a simultaneous equation system that links four control mechanisms to firm performance, using recent data. The results confirm simultaneity between several governance mechanisms and Canadian (...) small-cap firm performance. CEO ownership and shareholder rights are shown to determine board independence. CEO ownership in turn is shown to depend on the extent of shareholder rights and whether the CEO is also Chairperson of the board. Canadian small-cap firms appear to overutilise debt as a control mechanism. There is somewhat weaker evidence that board independence and CEO ownership are beyond the optimum. The latter, given the relatively high degree of CEO ownership in Canadian small-cap firms, is consistent with management entrenchment. We also do not find any significant discount to performance for Quebec-based firms, or for firms with dual or multiple voting class shares structures. (shrink)
This paper considers an objection to the Humean view that perception involves introspective acquaintance with representative images. The objection, originally raised by Thomas Reid and recently endorsed by Nicholas Wolterstorff, states that no representative image can be hard, and concludes that acquaintance with such images cannot therefore account for our perception of hardness. I argue in response that a case has not been made for denying that representative images can be hard. Hardness, as understood by Hume and Reid, is the (...) quality of having parts that resist motion relative to one another. This means that as long as it is allowed that representative images can consist of spatially disposed parts, there can be no a priori reason to deny that they might be hard as well. (shrink)
The ocean of academic knowledge is now so wide and so deep that university administrators must rely on the incumbents in their departments to identify and train new hires. This is in direct contrast to a sports team, where management can readily identify new talent. It follows that aging academics get to enjoy tenure, whereas older athletes do not. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Reid is well known for rejecting the "philosophy of ideas"--a theory of mental representation that he claimed to find in its most vitriolic form in Hume. But there was another component of Hume's philosophy that exerted an equally powerful influence on Reid: Hume's attack on the notion of spiritual substance in _Treatise 1.4.5. I summarize this neglected aspect of Hume's philosophy and argue that much of Reid's epistemology can be explained as an attempt to buttress dualism against the effects of (...) Hume's critique. (shrink)
Two studies examined the link between social dominance and male waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Groups of four men interacted in a leaderless group discussion. In both studies, men with higher WHRs (associated with current and long-term health status) were rated by other group members as behaving more leader-like when an observer was present, and rated themselves as being more assertive. In Study 2, men with higher WHRs were rated by independent observers as behaving more dominantly, but only when the evaluator was (...) present. These results are discussed in terms of evolutionary models of health, attraction, and intrasexual competition. (shrink)
In the Frank (1988) model, a small increase in the number of cheaters will soon be reversed. It is not clear that this prediction holds for sociopathy. There are also many attractive evolutionary models that do not admit a small, stable proportion of cheaters. Hence, without definitive evidence about the character of early human society, we cannot conclude that sociopathy has an evolutionary origin.