An inﬁnite number of elastically colliding balls is considered in a classical, and then in a relativistic setting. Energy and momentum are not necessarily conserved globally, even though each collision does separately conserve them. This result holds in particular when the total mass of all the balls is ﬁnite, and even when the spatial extent and temporal duration of the process are also ﬁnite. Further, the process is shown to be indeterministic: there is an arbitrary parameter in the general solution (...) that corresponds to the injection of an arbitrary amount of energy (classically), or energy-momentum (relativistically), into the system at the point of accumulation of the locations of the balls. Speciﬁc examples are given that illustrate these counter-intuitive results, including one in which all the balls move with the same velocity after every collision has taken place. (shrink)
God alone is the true agreement of concept [Begriff ] and reality [Realität ]; all finite [endlichen] things involve some untruth [Unwahrheit], they have a concept and an existence [Existenz] which are incommensurable [unangemessen]. For this reason they inevitably go to ruin [zugrunde gehen], that the incommensurability [Unangemessenheit] of their concept and their existence may be evident [manifestiert]. The animal, as an individual, has its concept in the species [Gattung]; and its death [Tod] sets the species free from individuality [Einzelnheit]. (...) [§ 24, note 2]. (shrink)
A year before, at Trinity, Cambridge, Wittgenstein had been involved in a row with Karl Popper, and had reputedly threatened him with a poker. On this evening, too, Wittgenstein's behavior let [sic] to a row, with an elderly philosophy don. No poker was flourished. But the don dropped dead a few days later.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a new statutory offence of "sexual activity in a public lavatory" into English law. Although written as a gender-neutral offence, the statute was formulated and enacted on the basis of concerns about male homosexual sexual activity in public lavatories ("cottaging"). This paper examines the justifications for, and implications of, the legislation. It considers the main arguments made in support of the offence and situates these within established moral, legal, and social debates about homosexuality. The (...) paper considers the relationship between conceptions of public and private morality in relation to the legal regulation of homosexual sex. It goes on to explore the complex nature of regulating public sex in relation to sexual practices which often maintain high degrees of privacy. The final part of the paper argues that the legislation is largely in contradiction with the realities of police work and contemporary law enforcement. (shrink)
While sympathetic to Tilley's call for a practical philosophy of religion, I raise three questions: Does Tilley think that one can do philosophy of religion from a position other than that of a committed believer? Does Tilley's description of the ordinary believer disburden most people from doubt and answerability? Does Tilley's description of the role of the theologian place too much trust in the theologian? I suggest that some insights from contemporary phenomenology and hermeneutics would lead to a clearer understanding (...) of the role that philosophy of religion can play in the development of a practical philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The case recounts an incident of theft at a CEOs home during a company party. The rogue may well be an employee, and the CEO considers his options: should he let the matter pass and preserve the good will generated by the party, or should he stand on principle and engage the issue frontally? Three commentators provide perspective on an optimal response. They consider whether the CEOs true intent is to show appreciation or showcase opulence. In addition, the aberrant behavior (...) at this celebratory event suggests some measures that management might take in the workplace. (shrink)
According to HealthCare.gov, by improving access to quality health for all Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce disparities in health insurance coverage. One way this will happen under the provisions of the ACA is by creating a new health insurance marketplace (a health insurance exchange) by 2014 in which “all people will have a choice for quality, affordable health insurance even if a job loss, job switch, move or illness occurs”. This does not mean that everyone will have (...) whatever insurance coverage he or she wants. The provisions of the ACA require that each of the four benefit categories of plans (known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum) provides no less than the benefits available in an “essential health benefits package”. However, without a clear understanding of what criteria must be satisfied for health care to be essential, the ACA’s requirement is much too vague and open to multiple, potentially conflicting interpretations. Indeed, without such understanding, in the rush to provide health insurance coverage to as many people as is economically feasible, we may replace one kind of disparity (lack of health insurance) with another kind of disparity (lack of adequate health insurance). Thus, this paper explores the concept of “essential benefits”, arguing that the “essential health benefits package” in the ACA should be one that optimally satisfies the basic needs of the people covered. (shrink)
The deformation characteristics of a sheared granular layer during stick?slip are studied from a meso-mechanical viewpoint, both in the absence and in the presence of externally applied vibration. The ultimate goal is to characterize the physics of dynamic earthquake triggering, where one earthquake, i.e., slip on one fault, is triggered via the seismic waves radiated by another spatially and temporally distant seismic event. Toward this goal, we performed Discrete Element Method simulations of a two-dimensional packing of disks, mimicking a mature (...) geologic fault. These simulations were used to investigate the affine and non-affine deformations inside the granular layer and their spatial?temporal evolution across the stick?slip cycle. The simulation results show that slip in general is accompanied by the appearance of localized regions with high values of both affine and non-affine deformations. These regions are temporally correlated and are mainly concentrated in a shear zone at the interface between the granular layer and the driving block. Dynamic triggering is found to initiate slip when vibration is applied late in the stick?slip cycle, when the system is close to a critical state. It is also found that vibration itself introduces a large amount of affine and non-affine strains, which leads to the initiation of slip at lower shear stress than an equivalent slip event without vibration. (shrink)
Living man and ventriloquist's doll -- The ugly joker with the gift for happiness -- Socrates and the climax of Athenian optimism -- Socrates the philosophical genius -- Socrates and justice -- The demoralisation of Athens and the death of Socrates -- Socrates and philosophy personified.
An actual infinity of colliding balls can be in a configuration in which the laws of mechanics lead to logical inconsistency. It is argued that one should therefore limit the domain of these laws to a finite, or only a potentially infinite number of elements. With this restriction indeterminism, energy nonconservation and creatio ex nihilo no longer occur. A numerical analysis of finite systems of colliding balls is given, and the asymptotic behaviour that corresponds to the potentially infinite system is (...) inferred. (shrink)
The following discussion explores dimensions of feminism’s ongoing efforts to negotiate split normative claims. It attempts to push through a stalled debate within contemporary feminism by describing it as a mis-recognition of feminism’s double-sided normativity. It suggests that an ‘either/or’ construction of what feminism is about obscures the contribution that each can make to a clarification of the limitations and concealed entailments of the other. This investigation into the normative tensions within contemporary feminism will be illuminated in the second part (...) of the article with reference to Maria Markus’s reflections in her major essay ‘Decent Society and/or Civil Society?’ on the intertwined normativities that form the ‘utopian horizon’ of modern democracies. (shrink)
In their recent book, Is Inequality Bad for Our Health?, Daniels, Kennedy, and Kawachi claim that to “act justly in health policy, we must have knowledge about the causal pathways through which socioeconomic (and other) inequalities work to produce differential health outcomes.” One of the central problems with this approach is its dependency on “knowledge about the causal pathways.” A widely held belief is that the randomized clinical trial (RCT) is, and ought to be the “gold standard” of evaluating the (...) causal efficacy of interventions. However, often the only data available are non-experimental, observational data. For such data, the necessary randomization is missing. Because the randomization is missing, it seems to follow that it is not possible to make epistemically warranted claims about the causal pathways. Although we are not sanguine about the difficulty in using observational data to make warranted causal claims, we are not as pessimistic as those who believe that the only warranted causal claims are claims based on data from (idealized) RCTs. We argue that careful, thoughtful study design, informed by expert knowledge, that incorporates propensity score matching methods in conjunction with instrumental variable analyses, provides the possibility of warranted causal claims using observational data. (shrink)
This article examines the arguments used by Robert Watts, a contemporary of John Stuart Mill, in his criticism of Mill's Utilitarianism. The pamphlet in which Watts expresses his views is a scarce and neglected work. Pioneering studies by J.C. Rees and J.B. Schneewind emphasize the importance of Mill's early critics for historians of nineteenth-century ethics and politial thought. Rees, however, confines his study to the responses to Mill's On Liberty. Schneewind's work is more comprehensive and does mention Watts, but without (...) examining in detail the actual arguments that Watts uses. Further, while Watts criticizes Mill's ethical views from a theological standpoint the arguments he uses are philosophical in character. Watts should not be thought of as a major philosophical critic of Mill, but his relative neglect leaves a gap in the study of the reception of Mill's thought which this article is intended to fill. (shrink)
Although it is widely acknowledged that Foucault’s accounts of the concept of heterotopia remain briefly sketched and somewhat confusing, the notion has provoked many interpretations and applications across a range of disciplines. In particular, it has been coupled with different stages or processes of modernity and persistently linked to forms of resistance. This article re-examines Foucault’s concept through a close textual analysis. It contrasts heterotopia with Lefebvre’s conceptualization of heterotopy and wider formulations of utopia. Drawing on Foucault’s study of the (...) spaces of literature of Borges, and particularly Blanchot, the article argues that heterotopia refers to varied spatial and temporal disruptions that imaginatively interrogate and undermine certain formulations of utopia. It concludes by outlining how heterotopia contests the space in which we live. (shrink)
Already by the mid-1980s, Habermas supposed that our utopian energies had been used up. Today, when a neo-liberal 'realism' seems to be a virtually dominant ideology, the climate appears, if anything, yet more hostile to radical hopes. Even while he recognises the obstacles and is clear that we might never succeed in breaking through the 'Gordian knot', Habermas is not prepared to surrender to a proclaimed 'end of politics'. This paper traces some of the ways in which his recent works (...) theorise and attempt to balance twin legacies of a critical theory tradition. Habermas wants to mediate the radicalness of vision required by a critical theory with the perceived reasonableness of its standpoint that is also necessary if theory is to engage concrete actors. Many of his critics suppose that Habermas has not achieved the right balance and that his interest in the self-reforming potentials of liberal democracies weights reasonableness too highly. The following paper sets out to defend Habermas from some of these charges. However, ultimately it finds that his theory has identified the needs for autonomy that it seeks to critically connect up with too narrowly. This means that, to some extent, Habermas' critical theory continues to 'miss its mark'. (shrink)
We present a stochastic theory for the nonequilibriurn dynamics of charges moving in a quantum scalar field based on the worldline influence functional and the close-time-path (CTP or in-in) coarse-grained effective action method. We summarize (1) the steps leading to a derivation of a modified Abraham-Lorentz-Dirac equation whose solutions describe a causal semiclassical theory free of runaway solutions and without pre-acceleration patholigies, and (2) the transformation to a stochastic effective action, which generates Abraham-Lorentz-Dirac-Langevin equations depicting the fluctuations of a particle’s (...) worldline around its semiclassical trajectory. We point out the misconceptions in trying to directly relate radiation reaction to vacuum fluctuations, and discuss how, in the framework that we have developed, an array of phenomena, from classical radiation and radiation reaction to the Unruh effect, are interrelated to each other as manifestations at the classical, stochastic and quantum levels. Using this method we give a derivation of the Unruh effect for the spacetime worldline coordinates of an accelerating charge. Our stochastic particle-field model, which was inspired by earlier work in cosmological backreaction, can be used as an analog to the black hole backreaction problem describing the stochastic dynamics of a black hole event horizon. (shrink)