Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are internally inconsistent and (...) underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views. (shrink)
R. E. Ewin has argued that corporations are moral persons, but Ewin describes them as being unable to think or to act in virtuous and vicious ways. Ewin thinks that their impoverished emotional life would not allow them to act in these ways. In this brief essay I want to challenge the idea that corporations cannot act virtuously. I begin by examining deficiencies in Ewin''s notion of corporate personhood. I argue that he effectively reduces corporations to the status of incompetent (...) patients. I shall make use of a richer notion of corporate personhood as I explore the logical relationship between corporate action and the quality of the corporate emotional life. After discussing an alternate methodology for making moral assessments of action I consider briefly two corporate disasters: the crash on Mt. Erebus, the Imperial Foods plant fire. These cases are used to show the inadequacy of Ewin''s thesis that only corporate managers are capable of displaying vice. (shrink)
Background To describe the preferences for disclosure of individual biomarker results among mothers participating in a longitudinal birth cohort. Methods We surveyed 343 mothers that participated in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study about their biomarker disclosure preferences. Participants were told that the study was measuring pesticide metabolites in their biological specimens, and that the health effects of these low levels of exposure are unknown. Participants were asked whether they wanted to receive their results and their child's (...) results. In addition, they were asked about their preferred method (letter vs in person) and format (more complex vs less complex) for disclosure of results. Results Almost all of the study participants wanted to receive their individual results (340/343) as well as their child's results (342/343). However, preferences for receiving results differed by education level. Mothers with less than a college degree preferred in-person disclosure of results more often than mothers with some college education or a college degree (34.3% vs 17.4% vs 7.9%, p<0.001). Similarly, mothers with less than a college education preferred a less complex disclosure format than mothers with some college education or a college degree (59.7% vs 79.1% vs 86.3%, p<0.0001). Conclusion While almost all study participants preferred to receive results of their individual biomarker tests, level of education was a key factor in predicting preferences for disclosure of biomarker results. To ensure effective communication of this information, disclosure of biomarker results should be tailored to the education level of the study participants. (shrink)
A polarized beam of 100 MeV neutrons is obtained from the A.E.R.E. cyclotron; this is scattered from uranium at sufficiently small angles that there is an appreciable scattering from the interaction of the magnetic moment of the neutron with the Coulomb field. The scattering and polarization of the Coulomb field scattering are in agreement with theory, and enable a value for the sign and magnitude of the polarization of the neutron beam to be obtained.
In a spontaneously wide-ranging conversation one winter evening in Japan, sociologist of religion Bryan Wilson and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda recognized the importance of explaining and learning about their respective worldviews. Human Values in a Changing World is the record of their further exchanges on how they see the religious response to the human condition. Their contrasting approaches - one, as an academic, and the other, as a lay Buddhist - allow for a constructive critique of preconceptions otherwise unexamined (...) in their own cultural contexts. "There is an intimate connection between faith and the fruits of commitment," Wilson says at one point. To which Ikeda responds that while the benefits of faith to momentary happiness are perhaps not the core value of a religion, they can inspire and lead people to become aware of that core value or fundamental truth. The two men's observations on the origins of religious sensibilities move from the spiritual and the moral to the politics of private and public life. Although published some years ago, Human Values in a Changing World addresses topics and issues which are of perennial importance to human flourishing, including: sexual morality, the limits of tolerance and religious freedom, the future of the family, the belief in an afterlife, and the idea of sin. (shrink)
This paper is a critical discussion of John Dupré's recent defence of promiscuous realism in Part 1 of his The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. It also discusses some more general issues in the philosophy of biology and science. Dupré's chief strategy of argumentation appeals to debates within the philosophy of biology, all of which concern the nature of species. While the strategy is well motivated, I argue that Dupré's challenge to essentialist and unificationist views (...) about natural kinds is not successful. One conclusion is that an integrative conception of species is a real alternative to Dupré's pluralism. (shrink)
The decay of 40K has been reinvestigated and values of the branching ratio, defined as the ratio of gamma or electron capture to beta transitions, have been determined by two methods, giving the values 0·124±0·002 and 0·121±0·004 respectively. The absolute beta and gamma decay rates and the half-life have been measured, the value of the latter being 1·28±0±02 ? 109 years. A fresh determination of the gamma energy is described, and evidence as to the mode of decay is discussed. Finally, (...) the results are given of experiments on the reflection of electrons by solid source supports. (shrink)
Synthetic anti-ferromagnetic nanoparticles (SAFs) are a novel type of magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) fabricated using nanoimprint lithography, direct deposition of multilayer films and retrieval in liquid phase via an ?etching? release process. Such physical fabrication techniques enable accurate control of particle shape, size and composition. We systematically varied the processing conditions to produce different configurations of SAF nanoparticles and performed extensive characterization using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and alternating gradient magnetometry (AGM) to study their corresponding structural and magnetic behavior. A key (...) focus of this paper is the preparation of TEM cross-section specimens of SAF nanoparticles for their structural characterization. This is not a trivial task, but is useful and revealing in terms of structural features. A major finding from our study shows that the introduction of oxygen during deposition of the copper release layer gives significantly improved flatness of the multilayer structure but no significant change in the magnetic properties. Magnetic measurements show that these nanoparticles have nearly zero magnetic remanence, a linear response of magnetization and more than twice the saturation magnetization compared to iron oxide nanoparticles. (shrink)
Background: Expanded newborn screening generates incidental results, notably carrier results. Yet newborn screening programmes typically restrict parental choice regarding receipt of this non-health serving genetic information. Healthcare providers play a key role in educating families or caring for screened infants and have strong beliefs about the management of incidental results. Methods: To inform policy on disclosure of infant sickle cell disorder (SCD) carrier results, a mixed-methods study of healthcare providers was conducted in Ontario, Canada, to understand attitudes regarding result management (...) using a cross-sectional survey (N = 1615) and semistructured interviews (N = 42). Results: Agreement to reasons favouring disclosure of SCD carrier results was high (65.1%–92.7%) and to reasons opposing disclosure was low (4.1%–18.1%). Genetics professionals expressed less support for arguments favouring disclosure (35.3%–78.8%), and more agreement with arguments opposing disclosure (15.7%–51.9%). A slim majority of genetics professionals (51.9%) agreed that a reason to avoid disclosure was the importance of allowing the child to decide to receive results. Qualitatively, there was a perceived “duty” to disclose, that if the clinician possessed the information, the clinician could not withhold it. Discussion: While a majority of respondents perceived a duty to disclose the incidental results of newborn screening, the policy implications of these attitudes are not obvious. In particular, policy must balance descriptive ethics (ie, what providers believe) and normative ethics (ie, what duty-based principles oblige), address dissenting opinion and consider the relevance of moral principles grounded in clinical obligations for public health initiatives. (shrink)
The growing interest and major advances of the last decades in evolutionary developmental biology (EvoDevo) have led to the recognition of the incompleteness of the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary theory. Here we discuss how paleontology makes significant contributions to integrate evolution and development. First, extinct organisms often inform us about developmental processes by showing a combination of features unrecorded in living species. We illustrate this point using the vertebrate fossil record and studies relating bone ossification to life history traits. Second, (...) we discuss exceptionally preserved fossils that document rare ontogenetic sequences and illustrate this case with the patterns of heterochrony observed in Cambrian crustacean larvae preserved three-dimensionally. Third, most fossils potentially document the evolutionary patterns of allometry and modularity, as well as some of the (paleo)ecological factors that had influenced them. The temporal persistence of adaptive patterns in rodent evolution serves to address the importance of ecological constraints in evolution. Fourth, we discuss how the macroevolutionary patterns observed in the tetrapod limb, in the mammal molar proportions, and in the molluscan shell provide independent tests of the validity of morphogenetic models proposed on living species. Reciprocally, these macroevolutionary patterns often act as a source of inspiration to investigate the underlying rules of development, because, at the end, they are the patterns that the neo-Darwinian theory was unable to account for. (shrink)
: Catholic teaching has no moral difficulties with research on stem cells derived from adult stem cells or fetal cord blood. The ethical problem comes with embryonic stem cells since their genesis involves the destruction of a human embryo. However, there seems to be significant promise of health benefits from such research. Although Catholic teaching does not permit any destruction of human embryos, the question remains whether researchers in a Catholic institution, or any researchers opposed to destruction of human embryos, (...) could participate in research on cultured embryonic stem cells, or whether a Catholic institution could use any therapy that ultimately results from such research. This position paper examines how such research could be conducted legitimately in a Catholic institution by using an ethical analysis involving a narrative context, the nature of the moral act, and the principle of material cooperation, along with references to significant ethical assessments. It also offers tentative guidelines that could be used by a Catholic institution in implementing such research. (shrink)
First kudos, followed by some friendly badinage, and then renewed appreciation and a look ahead. This commentary is meant to clarify main arguments, redress incorrect attributions, and strengthen an excellent contribution that draws further attention to the importance of evolutionary epidemiology. Keller & Miller (K&M), despite significant errors, have done well to further systematize the evolutionary epidemiology of psychopathology. (Published Online November 9 2006).
In 1924 Banach and Tarski demonstrated the existence of a paradoxical decomposition of the 3-ball B. i.e., a piecewise isometry from B onto two copies of B. This article answers a question of de Groot from 1958 by showing that there is a paradoxical decomposition of B in which the pieces move continuously while remaining disjoint to yield two copies of B. More generally, we show that if n ≥ 2, any two bounded sets in Rⁿ that are equidecomposable with (...) proper isometries are continuously equidecomposable in this sense. (shrink)
During the past decade teamwork in manufacturing, as in other sectors, has become the organisational form of choice. In contrast to earlier manifestations such as autonomous workgroups some 30 years earlier, this appears to have been largely for business and production reasons rather than being directly aimed at improving the quality of work life. Taken from part of a larger study of teamworking in several different manufacturing companies this paper draws upon a retrospective analysis of cases of self-managed team implementation (...) in UK manufacturing. Examples of good and bad practice and consequent guidance have been identified where the weight of evidence gives confidence in their general applicability. A basis for benchmarking is provided, related to preparation, implementation and maintenance of self-managed teams in manufacturing. Key gaps identified are for tools to assist in early functional analysis, leadership decisions and boundary setting, and appropriate team performance measurement and reward systems. (shrink)
Two very different insights motivate characterizing the brain as a computer. One depends on mathematical theory that defines computability in a highly abstract sense. Here the foundational idea is that of a Turing machine. Not an actual machine, the Turing machine is really a conceptual way of making the point that any well-defined function could be executed, step by step, according to simple 'if-you-are-in-state-P-and-have-input-Q-then-do-R' rules, given enough time (maybe infinite time) [see COMPUTATION]. Insofar as the brain is a device whose (...) input and output can be characterized in terms of some mathematical function -- however complicated -- then in that very abstract sense, it can be mimicked by a Turning machine. Given what is known so far brains do seem to depend on cause-effect operations, and hence brains appear to be, in some formal sense, equivalent to a Turing machine [see CHURCH-TURING THESIS]. On its own, however, this reveals nothing at all of how the mind-brain actually works. The second insight depends on looking at the brain as a biological device that processes information from the environment to build complex representations that enable the brain to make predictions and select advantageous behaviors. Where necessary to avoid ambiguity, we will refer to the first notion of computation as algorithmic computation, and the second as information processing computation. (shrink)
Introduction: The man who drank the hemlock -- Socrates' philosophy -- Politics and society -- Plato and others : who created the death of Socrates? -- 'A Greek chatterbox' : the death of Socrates in the Roman Empire -- Pain and revelation : the death of Socrates and the death of Jesus -- The apotheosis of philosophy : from enlightenment to revolution -- Talk, truth, totalitarianism : the problem of Socrates in modern times.
This essay offers a defence of the non-cognitivist approach to the interpretation of moral judgments as disguised imperatives corresponding to social rules. It addresses the body of criticism that faced R. M. Hare, and that currently faces moral anti-realists, on two levels, by providing a full semantic analysis of evaluative judgments and by arguing that anti-realism is compatible with moral aspiration despite the non-existence of obligations as the externalist imagines them. A moral judgment consists of separate descriptive and prescriptive components (...) and is to be understood as a declarative statement prefaced by an 'ideality operator'. Moral beliefs are genuinely representational, but their truth conditions can only be stated with reference to imaginary ideal worlds. Moral judgments are neither confirmed nor verified, but alternative moral positions are preferentially endorsed and adopted by individual agents on the basis of their perceived all-things-considered optimality. High aspiration moralities are normally very costly to agents in terms of their prudential and aesthetic interests, but they are theoretically as eligible as the adoption of other, less demanding sets of rules. (shrink)
The paper offers contextual and integrating comments about sex, evolution and psychopathology as a point of departure toward a new and more scientific understanding of human neurosis. The evolved roots of neurotic behavior are firmly linked to theorems of evolution, which is emerging as the basic science of psychopathology. Evolutionary tenets serve to: 1) redefine key aspects of neuroses, 2) place neurotic behavior in a broad and integrated evolutionary context, and 3) pose basic questions for all psychopathology. Readers who wish (...) to expand, clarify or confirm elements of might well consult basic books in either field as a passing familiarity with psychiatry and biology is assumed. (shrink)
Epidemiology is a science of disease which specifies rates (illness prevalences, incidences, distributions, etc.). Evolution is a science of life which specifies changes (gene frequencies, generations, forms, function, etc.). Evolutionary Epidemiology is a synthesis of these two sciences which combines the empirical power of classical methods in genetical epidemiology with the interpretive capacities of neo-darwinian evolutionary genetics. In particular, prevalence rates of genetical diseases are important data points when reformulated for the purpose of analysis in terms of their evolutionary frequencies. (...) Traits which exceedprevalences beyond the rates of mutation (in Hardy-Weinberg calculations) or evidence unusualrange of phenotypic reaction are of special interest. This is because traits which did not confer advantages in the environment of evolutionary adaptation cannot accede, through natural selection, to anything but low rates of genomic prevalence.Evolutionary epidemiology is, in all of medicine, of particular promise in ongoing efforts to better understand psychopathology. Many complexities of phenotypic adjustment arise when new developmental demands are placed on an old genome. The new and complex biosocial ecology of human mass society now evokes different phenotypes than those in the prehistorical ecology to which the genome is structurally and functionally better adapted. Some of these new phenotypes are darwinian failures. In this paper, the theoretical implications of evolutionary epidemiology are extended and some tentative points of clinical application (particularly to psychiatry) are offered. (shrink)
This paper discusses using the Chernobyl Incident as a case study in engineering ethics instruction. Groups of students are asked to take on the role of a faction involved in the Chernobyl disaster and to defend their decisions in a mock debate. The results of student surveys and the Engineering and Science Issues Test indicate that the approach is very popular with students and has a positive impact on moral reasoning. The approach incorporates technical, communication and teamwork skills and has (...) many of the features suggested by recent literature. (shrink)
Conditions are stated under which the "argument by analogy" is consistent with the principle of inverse probability. It is contended that the argument by analogy, in conjunction with a crucial test, has a legitimate place in scientific logic. As an example the astrophysical problem of solar granulation is discussed in detail and other examples are mentioned more briefly.
In this article the basic principles of responsible authorship and peer review are surveyed, with special emphasis on (a) guidelines for refereeing archival journal articles and proposals; and (b) how these guidelines should be taken into account at all stages of writing.
More companies are understanding the benefits of designing work to enhance, rather than minimise, the contributions of their employees within human-centred systems. To do this, they require their supportive subsystems (such as training, job, and team design, performance measurement and information) to provide people with the ability, motivation and opportunity to become increasingly involved. Opportunity for involvement will require different communication interfaces, providing data and background information both personally and at the work site or process. In the past few years, (...) the media available for visualisation and communication have become much more numerous and have much greater capabilities. This paper examines the information requirements of certain features of modern manufacturing enterprisesâlocal control, skills, knowledge and training, function allocation and team communications. It then assesses the utility of three broad types of information displayâPersonal Digital Assistants (PDAs), Multimedia/Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) and Virtual Environments (VEs)âfor shopfloor systems. (shrink)
The complexity of the field theoretic methods used for analyzing relativistic bound state problems has forced researchers to look for simpler computational methods. Simpler methods such as the relativistic harmonic oscillator method employed in the description of extended hadrons have been investigated. They are considered phenomenological, however, because they lack a theoretical basis. A probabilistic basis for these methods is presented here in terms of the four-space formulation of relativistic quantum mechanics (FSF). The single-particle FSF is reviewed and its physical (...) meaning is examined. The many-body single-parameter formalism is then developed. Applications are presented to illustrate use of the many-body formalism and demonstrate the ease with which relativistic bound state problems can be handled. A multiple-parameter formalism is constructed in the Appendix. (shrink)