Can we understand brain lateralization in humans by analysis in terms of an evolutionarily stable strategy? The attempt to demonstrate a link between lateralization in humans and that in, for example, fish appears to hinge critically on whether the isomorphism is viewed as a matter of homology or homoplasy. Consideration of human handedness presents a number of challenges to the proposed framework.
The possibility that two forms of asymmetry underlie handedness is considered. Corballis has proposed that right-handedness developed when gesture encountered lateralized vocalization but may have been superimposed on a preexisting two-thirds dominance. Evidence is reviewed here which suggests that the baseline asymmetry is even more substantial than this, with possible implications for brain anatomy and genetic theories of handedness.
Reichenbach worked in an era when philosophers were hopeful about the unity of science, and particularly about unity of method. He looked for universal tests of causal connectedness that could be applied across disciplines and independently of specific modeling assumptions. The hunt for quantum causes reminds us that his hopes were too optimistic. The mark method is not even a starter in testing for causal links between outcomes in E.P.R., because our background hypotheses about these links are too thin to (...) supply the kind of information we need to put the method into play. When we turn to conventional statistical methods, we have seen that one test proposed — robustness of the conditional probabilities — can be conclusive only when we know that there are no other causal factors at work. In the particular case of E.P.R., it has often been assumed that this antecedent question can be settled by applying Reichenbach's conjunctive fork condition. But that application is in no way free of further modeling assumptions. Cartwright (1989) has shown that the conjunctive fork is only a necessary condition on a common cause under very limiting restrictions (restrictions that take one far from the case of maximal commonality); and she has argued that these special conditions are not satisfied in E.P.R.Finally, even given the assumption that there are no other causes at work, the significance of robustness for E.P.R. is unclear. We need a model which tells us how one outcome would influence the other; without that, there is no way of interpreting the results of the robustness test so that it is decisive. In each of the approaches we discussed, Reichenbach provided the crucial guiding ideas that underlay our construction of a causality test; but the articulation of a specific criterion depends on the other details of the model. What is a criterion for a specific kind of link in one model need not be in another. We have illustrated with robustness and E.P.R., but we take the point to be perfectly general: there are no tests of causality outside of models which already have significant causal structure built in. (shrink)
This paper presents a theoretical elaboration of the ethical framework of classical capitalism as formulated by Adam Smith in reaction to the dominant mercantilism of his day. It is seen that Smith's project was profoundly ethical and designed to emancipate the consumer from a producer and state dominated economy. Over time, however, the various dysfunctions of a capitalist economy — e.g., concentration of wealth, market power — became manifest and the utilitarian ethical basis of the system eroded. Contemporary capitalism, dominated (...) as it is by large corporations, entrenched political interests and persistent social pathologies, bears little resemblance to the system which Smith envisioned would serve the common man. Most critiques of capitalism are launched from a Marxian-based perspective. We find, however, that by illustrating the wide gap between the reality of contemporary capitalism and the model of amoral political economy developed by Smith, the father of capitalism proves to be the most trenchant critic of the current order. (shrink)
Interest is growing in the relocalization of staple crops, including wheat, in western Washington (WWA), a nontraditional wheat-growing area. Commercial bakers are potentially important food chain intermediaries in the case of relocalized wheat production. We conducted a mail survey of commercial bakers in WWA to assess their interest in sourcing wheat/flour from WWA, identify the characteristics of bakeries most likely to purchase wheat/flour from WWA, understand the factors important to bakers in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour, and identify perceived barriers to (...) making such purchases. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents were interested in purchasing WWA wheat/flour. Bakers who used retail strategies to market their products were more likely to be interested in WWA wheat/flour compared to those not using retail methods. Bakers’ current purchases of Washington wheat/flour were not related to their interest in purchasing WWA flour. The most important factors bakers would consider in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour were consistency of flour quality, quality of flour, and reliability of supply. Cost was the most frequently mentioned barrier to the purchase of regionally produced wheat/flour. Our results are relevant for other areas attempting to reconnect grain producers, commercial bakers, and consumers in mutually beneficial ways. (shrink)
This is a straightforward, elementary textbook for beginning students of philosophy. The general aim is to provide a clear introduction to the main issues arising in the philosophy of mind. Part I discusses the Cartesian dualist view which many find initially appealing, and contains a careful examination of arguments for and against. Part II introduces the broadly functionalist type of physicalism which has Aristotelian roots. This approach is developed to yield accounts of perception, action, belief and desire, and the emerging (...) theory of the mind is compared at each stage with rival historical and contemporary views. In Part III the functionalist approach is further explored in giving analyses of sensation, thought and freedom of will. The discussions throughout are exceptionally clear, and the writing uncomplicated, to make available to the students a wealth of detailed argument in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
A subcategory of medical tourism, reproductive tourism has been the subject of much public and policy debate in recent years. Specific concerns include: the exploitation of individuals and communities, access to needed health care services, fair allocation of limited resources, and the quality and safety of services provided by private clinics. To date, the focus of attention has been on the thriving medical and reproductive tourism sectors in Asia and Eastern Europe; there has been much less consideration given to more (...) recent ‘players’ in Latin America, notably fertility clinics in Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In this paper, we examine the context-specific ethical and policy implications of private Argentinean fertility clinics that market reproductive services via the internet. Whether or not one agrees that reproductive services should be made available as consumer goods, the fact is that they are provided as such by private clinics around the world. We argue that basic national regulatory mechanisms are required in countries such as Argentina that are marketing fertility services to local and international publics. Specifically, regular oversight of all fertility clinics is essential to ensure that consumer information is accurate and that marketed services are safe and effective. It is in the best interests of consumers, health professionals and policy makers that the reproductive tourism industry adopts safe and responsible medical practices. (shrink)
The phenomenology of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) occurring in hypnagogic and hypnopompic (H&H) states has received little attention. In a sample of healthy participants ( N = 325), 108 participants reported H&H AVHs and answered subsequent questions on their phenomenology. AVHs in the H&H state were found (1) to be more likely to only feature the occasional clear word than to be clear, (2) to be more likely (...) to be one-off voices than to be recurrent voices, (3) to be more likely to be voices of people known to the individual than unknown persons, (4) to be more likely to talk directly to the person rather than not, and (5) to only rarely give commands, ask questions, or to result in an interactive conversation. Their phenomenology was similar to normative AVHs in wakefulness (as established by previous research) in that the voice-hearer was usually the target of the voice, and the voice was more likely to be of a recognized person. However, H&H AVHs differed from AVHs in wakefulness in that commands and questions were rare, and there was typically no dialogical engagement with the voice. We conclude by proposing that two distinct types of H&H AVHs may exist (which we term “dialogic” and “monologic”), based on an analysis of the phenomenology of the experience, and suggest avenues for future research. (shrink)
Patient consent has been formulated in terms of radical individualism rather than shared benefits. Medical education relies on the provision of patient consent to provide medical students with the training and experience to become competent doctors. Pelvic examination represents an extreme case in which patients may legitimately seek to avoid contact with inexperienced medical students particularly where these are male. However, using this extreme case, this paper will examine practices of framing and obtaining consent as perceived by medical students. This (...) paper reports findings of an exploratory qualitative study of medical students and junior doctors. Participants described a number of barriers to obtaining informed consent. These related to misunderstandings concerning student roles and experiences and insufficient information on the nature of the examination. Participants reported perceptions of the negative framing of decisions on consent by nursing staff where the student was male. Potentially coercive practices of framing of the decision by senior doctors were also reported. Participants outlined strategies they adopted to circumvent patients’ reasons for refusal. Practices of framing the information used by students, nurses and senior doctors to enable patients to decide about consent are discussed in the context of good ethical practice. In the absence of a clear ethical model, coercion appears likely. We argue for an expanded model of autonomy in which the potential tension between respecting patients’ autonomy and ensuring the societal benefit of well-trained doctors is recognised. Practical recommendations are made concerning information provision and clear delineations of student and patient roles and expectations. (shrink)
The internet is widely used for health information and support, often by vulnerable people. Internet-based research raises both familiar and new ethical problems for researchers and ethics committees. While guidelines for internet-based research are available, it is unclear to what extent ethics committees use these. Experience of gaining research ethics approval for a UK study (SharpTalk), involving internet-based discussion groups with young people who self-harm and health professionals is described. During ethical review, unsurprisingly, concerns were raised about the vulnerability of (...) potential participants. These were dominated by the issue of anonymity, which also affected participant safety and consent. These ethical problems are discussed, and our solutions, which included: participant usernames specific to the study, a closed website, private messaging facilities, a direct contact email to researchers, information about forum rules displayed on the website, a ‘report’ button for participants, links to online support, and a discussion room for forum moderators. This experience with SharpTalk suggests that an approach to ethics, which recognises the relational aspects of research with vulnerable people, is particularly useful for internet-based health research. The solutions presented here can act as guidance for researchers developing proposals and for ethics committees reviewing them. (shrink)
An experiment is reported which tests for positive confirmation bias in a setting in which individuals choose what information to buy, prior to making a decision. The design – an adaptation of Wason's selection task – reveals the use that subjects make of information after buying it. Strong evidence of positive confirmation bias, in both information acquisition and information use, is found; and this bias is found to be robust to experience. It is suggested that the bias results from a (...) pattern of reasoning which, although producing sub-optimal decisions, is internally coherent and which is self-reinforcing. (shrink)
I offer a comparison between Plato’s discussion of χώρα in the Timaeus at 48A–53C and Aristotle’s discussion of τόπος in Physics Book IV, arguing that the two accounts have more in common than has been suggested by Continental scholars. Τόπος and χώρα both signal what I call the impasse of place as the question of that which cannot be reduced to either the sensible or the intelligible, and which (un)grounds such categories. Identifying this impasse reveals Plato’s and Aristotle’s accounts of (...) “place” as strikingly dissimilar from the Newtonian category of Absolute Space; and it also suggests new ways of thinking the relationships between bodies, motion, place and nature. (shrink)
Francesco Guala has developed some novel and radical ideas on the problem of external validity, a topic that has not received much attention in the experimental economics literature. In this paper I argue that his views on external validity are not justified and the conclusions which he draws from these views, if widely adopted, could substantially undermine the experimental economics enterprise. In rejecting the justification of these views, the paper reaffirms the importance of experiments in economics.
The nanomedicine field is fast evolving toward complex, “active,” and interactive formulations. Like many emerging technologies, nanomedicine raises questions of how human subjects research (HSR) should be conducted and the adequacy of current oversight, as well as how to integrate concerns over occupational, bystander, and environmental exposures. The history of oversight for HSR investigating emerging technologies is a patchwork quilt without systematic justification of when ordinary oversight for HSR is enough versus when added oversight is warranted. Nanomedicine HSR provides an (...) occasion to think systematically about appropriate oversight, especially early in the evolution of a technology, when hazard and risk information may remain incomplete. This paper presents the consensus recommendations of a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded project group, to ensure a science-based and ethically informed approach to HSR issues in nanomedicine, and to integrate HSR analysis with analysis of occupational, bystander, and environmental concerns. We recommend creating two bodies, an interagency Human Subjects Research in Nanomedicine (HSR/N) Working Group and a Secretary's Advisory Committee on Nanomedicine (SAC/N). HSR/N and SAC/N should perform 3 primary functions: (1) analysis of the attributes and subsets of nanomedicine interventions that raise HSR challenges and current gaps in oversight; (2) providing advice to relevant agencies and institutional bodies on the HSR issues, as well as federal and federal-institutional coordination; and (3) gathering and analyzing information on HSR issues as they emerge in nanomedicine. HSR/N and SAC/N will create a home for HSR analysis and coordination in DHHS (the key agency for relevant HSR oversight), optimize federal and institutional approaches, and allow HSR review to evolve with greater knowledge about nanomedicine interventions and greater clarity about attributes of concern. (shrink)