Ontology is the philosophical discipline which aims to understand how things in the world are divided into categories and how these categories are related together. This is exactly what information scientists aim for in creating structured, automated representations, called 'ontologies,' for managing information in fields such as science, government, industry, and healthcare. Currently, these systems are designed in a variety of different ways, so they cannot share data with one another. They are often idiosyncratically structured, accessible only to those who (...) created them, and unable to serve as inputs for automated reasoning. This volume shows, in a nontechnical way and using examples from medicine and biology, how the rigorous application of theories and insights from philosophical ontology can improve the ontologies upon which information management depends. (shrink)
Life appears to be a natural property of matter, but the problem of its origin only arose after early scientists refuted continuous spontaneous generation. There is no chance of life arising ‘all at once’, we need the standard scientific incremental explanation with large numbers of small steps, an approach used in both physical and evolutionary sciences. The necessity for considering both theoretical and experimental approaches is emphasized. After describing basic principles that are available (including the Darwin-Eigen cycle), the search for (...) origins is considered under four main themes. These are the RNA-world hypothesis; potential intermediates between an RNA-world and a modern world via the evolution of protein synthesis and then of DNA; possible alternatives to an RNA-world; and finally the earliest stages from the simple prebiotic systems to RNA. The triplicase/proto-ribosome theory for the origin of the ribosome is discussed where triples of nucleotides are added to a replicating RNA, with the origin of a triplet code well-before protein synthesis begins. The length of the code is suggested to arise from the early development of a ratchet mechanism that overcomes the problem of continued processivity of an RNA-based RNA-polymerase. It is probable that there were precursor stages to RNA with simpler sugars, or just two nucleotides, but we do not yet know of any better alternatives to RNA that were likely to arise naturally. For prebiotic stages (before RNA) a flow-reactor model is suggested to solve metabolism, energy gradients, and compartmentation simultaneously – thus the intense interest in some form of flow reactor. If an autocatalytic cycle could arise in such a system we would be major steps ahead. The most likely physical conditions for the origin of life require further clarification and it is still unclear whether the origin of life is more of an entropy (information) problem (and therefore high temperatures would be detrimental), rather than a kinetic problem (where high temperatures may be advantageous). (shrink)
For Kant, poetry is the freest, finest art of all. Music and painting depend on sensuous charms. Poetry offers the most direct presentation of "aesthetic ideas". As Kant's critique subjects reason to reason, so too does the poet try to best language via language. However, the poet's license is not absolute. The poet must create a new sense, not nonsense, lest he slide into the intractable privacy of delirium or evil. Using Hannah Arendt's reading of the Third Critique, and excerpts (...) from one of Kant's favorite poets, Milton, I examine the extent of the free play poetry allows. (shrink)
Kant thinks poetry is the greatest of all the arts, and that Milton is one of the greatest poets. Sanford Budick, a professor of English from Hebrew University, investigates the Miltonic echoes in Kant’s work in this very thorough, dense, and deliberate study. Budick argues that Milton’s poetic form, especially his use of successive images, informs some of the most crucial and complex passages in Kant’s ethical and aesthetic theory. Budick concedes that it may seem strange to blur the line (...) between poetry and philosophy, but he also underlines the fact that “in Kant’s world poetry and philosophy had not yet experienced the virtual divorce that characterizes our own age” (119). Budick contends that the .. (shrink)
It is argued that medical science requires a classificatory system that (a) puts functions in the taxonomic center and (b) does justice ontologically to the difference between the processes which are the realizations of functions and the objects which are their bearers. We propose formulae for constructing such a system and describe some of its benefits. The arguments are general enough to be of interest to all the life sciences.
This article discusses the current epistemological status of the political blogosphere, in light both of the concerns raised by Alvin Goldman in his 2008 paper ?The Social Epistemology of Blogging? and the recent drastic changes in the structure of the blogosphere. I argue that the political blogosphere replicates epistemically beneficial functions of the mainstream media for the functioning of democracy, and defend this claim from objections to the blogosphere that have been levelled by Goldman and Richard Posner. I then provide (...) an expanded defence of the political blogosphere in response to these particular objections. (shrink)
In this article I examine a recent development in online communication, the immersive virtual worlds of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). I argue that these environments provide a distinct form of online experience from the experience available through earlier generation forms of online communication such as newsgroups, chat rooms, email and instant messaging. The experience available to participants in MMORPGs is founded on shared activity, while the experience of earlier generation online communication is largely if not wholly dependent on (...) the communication itself. This difference, I argue, makes interaction in immersive virtual worlds such as MMORPGs relevantly similar to interaction in the physical world, and distinguishes both physical world and immersive virtual world interaction from other forms of online communication. I argue that to the extent that shared activity is a core element in the formation of friendships, friendships can form in immersive virtual worlds as they do in the physical world, and that this possibility was unavailable in earlier forms of online interaction. I do, however, note that earlier forms of online interaction are capable of sustaining friendships formed through either physical or immersive virtual world interaction. I conclude that we cannot any longer make a sharp distinction between the physical and the virtual world, as the characteristics of friendship are able to be developed in each. (shrink)
This article begins with the assumption that criminal disenfranchisement is at least sometimes theoretically defensible, as a component of punishment. From this assumption, I argue that it is only legitimate in a constrained set of cases. These constraints include: implementing disenfranchisement only for serious crimes; tying disenfranchisement to both the electoral cycle and to the length of imprisonment imposed for an offence; and assessing a background condition of sufficient justice present within the state that wishes to disenfranchise. Once these constraints (...) are considered, I argue that there are very few instances in which disenfranchisement is defensible. To prove this, I examine both current disenfranchisement practices and the commonly present factors that undermine the constraints outlined above. (shrink)
This paper pursues the intertwined tracks of robotics and art since the mid 20th century, taking a loose chronological approach that considers both the devices themselves and their discursive contexts. Relevant research has occurred in a variety of cultural locations, often outside of or prior to formalized robotics contexts. Research was even conducted under the aegis of art or cultural practices where robotics has been pursued for other than instrumental purposes. In hindsight, some of that work seems remarkably prescient of (...) contemporary trends. The context of cultural robotics is a highly charged interdisciplinary test environment in which the theory and pragmatics of technical research confronts the phenomenological realities of physical and social being in the world, and the performative and processual practices of the arts. In this context, issues of embodiment, material instantiation, structural coupling, and machine sensing have provoked the reconsideration of notions of (machine) intelligence and cognitivist paradigms. The paradoxical condition of robotics vis-à-vis artificial intelligence is reflected upon. This paper discusses the possibility of a new embodied ontology of robotics that draws upon both cybernetics and post-cognitive approaches. (shrink)
In 1992, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) passed a mandate that all its approved hospitals put in place a means for addressing ethical concerns.Although the particular process the hospital uses to address such concernsmay vary, the hospital or healthcare ethics committee (HEC) is used most often. In a companion study to that reported here, we found that in 1998 over 90% of U.S. hospitals had ethics committees, compared to just 1% in 1983, and that many (...) have some and a few have sweeping clinical powers in hospitals. (shrink)
In this article, I claim that at least some young people have the requisite capacity for political participation, and that the exclusion of these young people is in breach of the reasonable expectation that all capable citizens are included in democratic processes. I suggest implementing a capacity test for those under the current age of majority. I outline a system of capacity testing for the youth, distinguish this proposal from prior attempts to justify capacity testing and argue that a suitably (...) constrained capacity testing regime is not simply defensible, but superior to the current system, which arbitrarily excludes some capable members of society from participation. Finally, I explain why only this limited capacity testing regime is acceptable. (shrink)
Across-the-Board (ATB) movement from coordinate structures is usually subject to an identity requirement: the same element must be extracted from each conjunct. In this paper I show that there are cases in which the identity requirement appears not to be met, in that different answers can be felicitously given to a single ATB question. I show that the non-ATB readings are instances of sloppy identity of the argument of a functional wh, and are subject to grammatical restrictions.
This paper argues that we should think of culture and identity as separate concepts, involving distinct objects of enquiry. Whilst identity based theories tend to tell fragmented stories about culture and become overly concerned with difference and particular subjectivities, this paper claims that cultures emerge from a process of internal negotiation which requires only coherence and not homogeneity. In other words, members of cultures need not share all their features in order to be genuine members.
Medical science conceives the human body as a system comprised of many subsystems at a variety of levels. At the highest level are bodily systems proper, such as the endocrine system, which are central to our understanding of human anatomy, and play a key role in diagnosis and in dynamic modeling as well as in medical pedagogy and computer visualization. But there is no explicit definition of what a bodily system is; such informality is acceptable in documentation created for human (...) beings, but falls short of what is needed for computer representations. Our analysis is intended as a first step towards filling this gap. (shrink)
For anisotropic solids, separate Grüneisen functions ?? can be defined for each strain coordinate ??: ?? = (?s/???)??, T/C? . Each independent ?? can then be analysed in the same way as ? is analysed for a cubic solid (Barron et al. 1964). In particular, parameters ??(?) =- (l/n)(? In /???)?? are obtained giving the strain derivatives of the moments of the vibrational frequency distribution G(?); these can be used to estimate the strain dependence of various crystal properties. The method (...) is used to analyse the data of McCammon and White (1965) for the thermal expansion of zinc. Plots of α?/T 3 (T 3 and α??/T 3 against T indicate that the apparently anomalous behaviour of α? at low temperatures is due to a combination of electronic and vibrational effects. Analysis of ?? and ??? gives for the electronic components ??e = 0·6±0·2, ???e = 4·5±0·5; the density of states at the Fermi level is thus strongly dependent on axial ratio. Heat capacities are taken from Eichenauer and Schulze (1959) and Martin (1966a); the C t-C t correction is recalculated. The , ?(?) and the low-temperature expansion for G(?) are then derived from the vibrational heat capacity C ? l, and the ??(n) from the ??l, for-3??4. ?? and ??(n) are weighted averages of the ??(r) for individual modes. Apart from the specifically electronic effects, the principal features of the thermal expansion of zinc are accounted for if most of the high-frequency modes have ??(r) considerably greater than ???(r), most of the modes in the low-frequency peak have ??(r) considerably less than ???(r), and for the lowest frequency modes the average of ???(r) is somewhat greater than that of ???(r). These requirements are in general agreement with what is known about the lattice vibrations from neutron diffraction measurements. (shrink)
The estimates that humans make of statistical dependencies in the environment and therefore their representation of uncertainty crucially depend on the integration of data over time. As such, the extent to which past events are used to represent uncertainty has been postulated to vary over the cortex. For example, primary visual cortex responds to rapid perturbations in the environment, while frontal cortices involved in executive control encode the longer term contexts within which these perturbations occur. Here we tested whether primary (...) and executive regions can be distinguished by the number of past observations they represent. This was based on a decay-dependent model that weights past observations from a Markov process and Bayesian Model Selection (BMS) to test the prediction that neuronal responses are characterised by different decay half-lives depending on location in the brain. We show distributions of brain responses for short and long term decay functions in primary and secondary visual and frontal cortices, respectively. We found that visual and parietal responses are released from the burden of the past, enabling an agile response to fluctuations in events as they unfold. In contrast, frontal regions are more concerned with average trends over longer time scales within which local variations are embedded. Specifically, we provide evidence for a temporal gradient for representing context within the prefrontal cortex and possibly beyond to include primary sensory and association areas. (shrink)
This article examines the setting of the ages of criminal and participatory responsibility, noting that criminal responsibility is attributed significantly earlier than is participatory responsibility. I claim that the requirements for participatory responsibility are less onerous than those for criminal responsibility, and question the system that denies youth participatory responsibility. I suggest two methods of resolving this difficulty. First, lowering the voting age to enfranchise the capable youth who are currently excluded. Second, modeling criminal responsibility on the Australian doctrine of (...) doli incapax, which gives provisional immunity from the prosecution to youth between ten and fourteen years of age. (shrink)
Rawls argues that ‘Parties in the original position would wish to avoid at almost any cost the social conditions that undermine self-respect’. But what are these social conditions that we should so urgently avoid? One evident candidate might be conditions of material inequality. Yet Rawls seems confident that his account of justice can endorse such inequalities without jeopardising citizens’ self-respect. In this article I argue that this confidence is misplaced. Unequalising incentives, I claim, jeopardise the self-respect of those least advantaged—at (...) least under a Rawlsian schema—by undermining the very processes by which Rawls hopes to make distributional inequalities and self-respect compatible. I begin by setting out Rawls’s distinct account of self-respect before moving to describe how Rawls expects the difference principle to support citizens’ in this regard. I then draw upon GA Cohen’s distinction between ‘strict’ and ‘lax’ interpretations of the difference principle to argue that the presence of unequalising incentives undermines both the direct and indirect support that the difference principle can offer to citizens’ self-respect. As such, I claim that Rawls must either weaken his endorsement of unequalising incentives, or risk violating his ‘prior commitment’ to avoiding social conditions harmful to citizens’ self-respect. (shrink)
Dryland ecosystems commonly exhibit periodic bands of vegetation, thought to form due to competition between individual plants for heterogeneously distributed water. In this paper, we develop a Fourier method for locally identifying the pattern wavenumber and orientation, and apply it to aerial images from a region of vegetation patterning near Fort Stockton, TX, USA. We find that the local pattern wavelength and orientation are typically coherent, but exhibit both rapid and gradual variation driven by changes in hillslope gradient and orientation, (...) the potential for water accumulation, or soil type. Endogenous pattern dynamics, when simulated for spatially homogeneous topographic and vegetation conditions, predict pattern properties that are much less variable than the orientation and wavelength observed in natural systems. Our local pattern analysis, combined with ancillary datasets describing soil and topographic variation, highlights a largely unexplored correlation between soil depth, pattern coherence, vegetation cover and pattern wavelength. It also, surprisingly, suggests that downslope accumulation of water may play a role in changing vegetation pattern properties. (shrink)
The experience of looking at a tilted penny involves a “phenomenological doubleness” in that it simultaneously seems to be of something circular and of something elliptical. In this paper, I investigate the phenomenological doubleness of this experience by comparing it to another case of phenomenological doubleness––the phenomenological doubleness of seeing an object in a painting. I begin by pointing out some striking similarities between the phenomenological characters of these two experiences. I then argue that these phenomenological characters have a (...) common explanation. More specifically, I argue that the psychological mechanism that explains the phenomenological doubleness of the experience of seeing an object in a painting can be extended to also explain the phenomenological doubleness of the experience of seeing a tilted penny. (shrink)
The problem of a penny-shaped dielectric crack in a magnetoelectroelastic layer is considered within the theory of linear magnetoelectroelasticity. Under the assumption of mode-I magnetoelectromechanical loadings, the semipermeable crack-face electromagnetic boundary conditions are applied to describe the case of an opening penny-shaped crack. In order to solve the boundary-value problem, the Hankel transform technique is utilized and three coupled Fredholm integral equations are further derived. The intensity factors of stress, electric displacement, magnetic induction and crack opening displacement (COD) (...) are further determined by the composite Simpson's rule. Thickness effects of a magnetoelectroelastic layer on the electric displacement and magnetic induction of the crack interior, and the field intensity factors are illustrated through numerical computations for a BaTiO3-CoFe2O4 composite. The obtained results reveal that an increase of the ratio of the layer thickness and the crack radius h/a increases the electric displacement and magnetic induction of a dielectric crack interior, and decreases the field intensity factors regardless of the permeability of the crack interior. Based on the COD intensity factor, the influences of applied electric and magnetic fields on the growth of a dielectric crack are further investigated and presented graphically. (shrink)
It is supposedly easier to connect with other human beings in the era of ubiquitous technology. Connecting requires action and an element of risk taking in a context of dynamic uncertainty and incomplete information. The article explores what is involved in developing sustainable connections. We reflect on the context of “Socially Useful Artificial Intelligence”, the focus of the first article in issue 1.1.1987 of AI & Society, and explore subsequent research in a changing world. The arguments are illustrated through an (...) account of the development of the Penny University, from a London coffee house to a potential international virtual institution. (shrink)