In Minding Spirituality, RandallSorenson, a clinical psychoanalyst, "invites us to take an interest in our patients' spirituality that is respectful but not diffident, curious but not reductionistic, welcoming but not indoctrinating." Out of this.
It is widely believed that such old-fashioned questions have been rendered absurd by the materialism of modern empirical science, but some seemingly 'magical' properties of quantum mechanics have brought them back into serious discussion in some circles. I will examine the possibility of making miracles using well-established principles of quantum mechanics--in particular, the possibility that quantum theory allows for the most desirable 'miracle' of all: immortality.
Extensive interest in business ethics has developed accompanied by an increase in empirical research on the determinants of unethical conduct. In setting forth the theory of reasoned action, Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) maintained that research attention on such variables as personality traits and demographic characteristics is misplaced and, instead, researchers should focus on behavioral intentions and the beliefs that shape those intentions. This study summarizes business ethics research which tests the theory of reasoned action and suggests directions for further research.
The following is my interpretation of the philosophy of Parmenides of Elea , the Greek father of metaphysics. His only work, On Nature , is written in rather obscure verse, and so his thesis can be viewed from a variety of perspectives, of which mine is only one (although a fairly standard one). Parmenides' most important principle, hereafter called "Parmenides' Principle", was that anything rationally conceivable must exist. Nonbeing is not a thing and can neither be thought of nor spoken (...) about in any meaningful or coherent way. Parmenides forbade talking as if there are possible things that nonetheless do not exist. He illustrated this principle by showing us three possible methods of inquiry, of which only one is valid. The following chart summarizes them. (shrink)
The precautionary principle (PP) is fundamentally a claim that acting to avoid and/or mitigate threats of serious harm should be accorded high priority in public policy. Over the last three decades, governments and international bodies have endorsed it in principle, and some of them have incorporated it into some areas of policy practice. Yet, PP is controversial in policy circles, public discussion and scholarly discourse. Here the PP literature is reviewed from the perspective of economics, where the tendency is to (...) see theory and methods for rational decision-making under risk and uncertainty as well-established and risk management tools as well developed, and to view the PP with some circumspection. Following a brief introduction to PP concepts, history, applications, and controversies, I review and critique the standard economic approach to decision-making and risk management (here labeled ordinary risk management, ORM), identifying areas of incompleteness especially in the treatment of disproportionate and asymmetric threats. After reviewing some of the more prominent PP controversies in the scholarly literature, I suggest a conceptual framework for a PP that may withstand the major criticisms levied against the PP and make a unique and valid contribution to a decision and risk management arsenal that includes ORM. The framework relates the nature of the threat, the evidence, and the remedy indicated; and each of these elements is discussed in some detail. The scope of this PP is identified in general terms and distinguished from the quantity restrictions and regulatory safety margins that often serve as practical heuristics when ORM-based policies are implemented. Because the PP is clearly identified as a principle, I discuss the role of principles in policy design and implementation, and conclude with some suggestions as to how this PP could guide policy and management. (shrink)
Verisimilitude has the potential to deepen the understanding of mathematical progress, the principle of charity, and the psychology of regret. One obstacle is the widely held belief that two statements can vary in truthlikeness only if they vary in what they entail. This obstacle is removed with four types of counterexamples. The first concerns necessarily coextensive measurements that differ only with respect to their units (specifically length, area, and volume). The second class ofcounterexamples is composed of mathematical falsehoods. The third (...) class features inconsistent scientific theories. The fourth class of cases features statements that are instructive but meaningless. (shrink)
Computational machineries dedicated to the attribution of legal responsibility should be based on (or, make use of) a stack of definitions relating the notion of legal responsibility to a number of suitably chosen causal notions. This paper presents a general analysis of legal responsibility and of causation in fact based on Hart and Honoré’s work. Some physical aspects of causation in fact are then treated within the “lite” version of DOLCE foundational ontology written in OWL-DL, a standard description logic for (...) the Semantic Web. (shrink)
Reasoning about causation in fact is an essential element of attributing legal responsibility. Therefore, the automation of the attribution of legal responsibility requires a modelling effort aimed at the following: a thorough understanding of the relation between the legal concepts of responsibility and of causation in fact; a thorough understanding of the relation between causation in fact and the common sense concept of causation; and, finally, the specification of an ontology of the concepts that are minimally required for (automatic) common (...) sense reasoning about causation. This article offers a worked-out example of the indicated analysis. Such example consists of: a definition of the legal concept of responsibility (in terms of liability and accountability); a definition of the legal concept of causation in fact (in terms of the initiation of physical processes by an agent and of the provision of reasons and/or opportunities to other agents); CausatiOnt, an AI-like ontology of the common sense (causal) concepts that are minimally needed for reasoning about the legal concept of causation in fact (in particular, the concepts of category, dimension, object, agent, process, event and act). (shrink)
Using 94 published empirical articles in academic journals as a data base, this paper provides a critical review of the methodology employed in the study of ethical beliefs and behavior of organizational members. The review revealed that full methodological detail was provided in less than one half of the articles. Further, the majority of empirical research articles expressed no concern for the reliability or validity of measures, were characterized by low response rates, used convenience samples, and did not offer a (...) theoretic framework, hypotheses, or a definition of ethics. Several recommendations, including a reviewer rating form addressing methodological decisions and inclusion of methodologists on the review panel, are offered to improve methodological rigor in published ethics research. (shrink)
In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Habermas makes the claim that the unprecedented public use of critical reason was an essential constituent of the early modern European (bourgeois) public sphere (1991, 27-28, 105-6, and more generally 1-117). Narrating the history of the particular concept of critical reason that animated the public sphere, Habermas locates its origin in the practical reason (phronesis) of Aristotle but argues that Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas More had drastically transformed the concept when they substituted (...) for phronesis a practical reason based instead on techne (1973, 42, 50-51). Machiavelli's role was central in this transformation, for he "reduces the practical .. (shrink)
Businesses that maintain ethical standards have an advantage in the marketplace based on the increasing interest of consumers in products that have a social and ethical component. Fair trade organisations that adopt environmental, social and ethical principles in trading are in a good position to make the most of this growing interest in the market. However, it is unclear whether fair trade organisations are taking full advantage of emerging market opportunities for ethically traded products. This research explores this issue by (...) describing the business strategies of three fair trade organisations that import and sell craft goods into Western countries and evaluates them in the context of this growing market. The research findings indicate that in order to remain in business, fair trade craft organisations have had to adopt better business practices in recent years, improving quality, customer service and product offerings to customers. However, growth appears to be limited, as distribution remains focused on a small, niche market. This paper explores the distribution strategies of two fair trade commodity organisations that are successfully reaching a wider customer base, demonstrating that fair trade products have a unique selling advantage in the mainstream marketplace. In conclusion, fair trade craft organisations are not exploiting this market opportunity to the degree they should and will need to explore wider distribution and alternative business strategies to expand their market share. (shrink)
This study examines the impact of a social desirability response bias as a personality characteristic (self-deception and impression management) and as an item characteristic (perceived desirability of the behavior) on self-reported ethical conduct. Findings from a sample of college students revealed that self-reported ethical conduct is associated with both personality and item characteristics, with perceived desirability of behavior having the greatest influence on self-reported conduct. Implications for research in business ethics are drawn, and suggestions are offered for reducing the effects (...) of a socially desirable response bias. (shrink)
Drawing inspiration from the ethical pluralism of G. E. Moore's Principia Ethica, I contend that one empty world can be morally better than another. By ?empty? I mean that it is devoid of concrete entities (things that have a position in space or time). These worlds have no thickets or thimbles, no thinkers, no thoughts. Infinitely many of these worlds have laws of nature, abstract entities, and perhaps, space and time. These non-concrete differences are enough to make some of them (...) better than others. 1I thank Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, John Carroll, and Gideon Rosen for their comments and suggestions. (shrink)
Although Weber's path-breaking work on the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has received much attention ever since it first appeared in 1904-5, recent research has uncovered important new aspects. This volume, the result of an international, interdisciplinary effort, throws new light on the intellectual and cultural background of Weber's work, debates recent criticism of Weber's thesis, and confronts new historical insight on the seventeenth century with Weber's interpretation. Revisiting Weber's thesis serves to deepen our understanding of Weber as (...) much as it will stimulate further research. (shrink)
Seizing the opportunity to apply what they had learned, the students declared a cheating competition. Outspoken participants (future lawyers, politicians, and captains of industry) bragged about their ruses. But to their chagrin, an ethics student prevailed.
A survey of Kant's views on space, time, geometry and the synthetic nature of mathematics. I concentrate mostly on geometry, but comment briefly on the syntheticity of logic and arithmetic as well. I believe the view of many that Kant's system denied the possibility of non-Euclidean geometries is clearly mistaken, as Kant himself used a non-Euclidean geometry (spherical geometry, used in his day for navigational purposes) in order to explain his idea, which amounts to an anticipation of the later discovery (...) of the general concept of non- Euclidean geometries. Kant's view of geometry and arithmetic as synthetic was, I believe, essentially correct, in that geometry and arithmetic are both synthetic a priori if considered as branches of mathematics independent of the rest of mathematics. However, the view that somehow logic is analytic, while mathematics is synthetic for Kantian reasons, is mistaken. All three disciplinesÂ—logic, arithmetic and geometryÂ—are synthetic as disciplines independent from one another. However, they have a common basis, recursion theory, which I prefer to identify with mathematics as a whole. As a result, I do not say, as is often considered to be the Kantian view, that mathematics is synthetic while logic is analytic. Rather, I prefer to say that mathematics is analytic, while logic is synthetic. This is perfectly consistent with Kant's system, since it was arithmetic and geometry individually that he argued were synthetic. What Kant called the analytic is recursion theory, which could be considered as a basic formulation of mathematics or logicÂ—or better, both mathematics and logic could be recognized as essentially the same discipline. However, if "logic" is taken to mean "predicate logic", as is often the case in modern times, then it is mathematics that is closer to Kant's analytic, not logic. Such ambiguities, of course, can be avoided by simply associating Kant's analytic with recursion theory, and avoiding the controversies as to what counts as mathematics or logic.. (shrink)
Plato's theory of forms is developed and compared to the modern theory of recursion. I show how Plato's theory, as it applies to mathematical objects, is essentially a primitve version of modern recursion theory, which has all the essential elements of the ancient theory. However, Plato himself thought there was more than mathematics to his forms. He believed that form had a noncomposite, unanalyzable component. So, while recursion theory provides an adequate formalization of Plato's theory, it cannot be considered identical (...) to it. I argue--drawing from material in the "Meno," "Phaedo," and "Republic"--that Plato's arguments for noncomposite form are largely fallacious. Plato would, I believe, have taken the computational version developed here seriously, since mathematics was his primary source for clear examples of forms (one could argue that it was his only source short of dipping into mysticism). In fact, there is a long-standing oral tradition that Plato developed a more formal version of his theory in lecture notes for courses he taught at the Academy (the university he founded in Athens). Any such notes, if they existed at all, have been lost. But if such a formal version did exist, it is tantalizing to wonder to what extent Plato may have anticipated modern theoretical computer science and metamathematics. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's philosophies, from both the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations, are explained and developed. Wittgenstein uses a primitive version of recursion theory to develop his attempt at a purely logical metaphysics in the Tractatus. However, due to his implicit materialist assumptions, he could not make the system completely logical, and built in a mystical division of possible worlds into the true and the false. This incoherence eventually lead him to reject logic as a method for doing metaphysics, and indeed to (...) reject metaphysics entirely. I argue that his move from the Tractatus to the Investigations was valid, but only given his materialist assumptions. If he had been willing to drop this unnecessary baggage, recursion would have played a very different role in his system, since he would then have had no need to separate static objects from processes, which he saw as purely mental. F.H. Bradley developed such a nonmaterialist metaphysics in the nineteenth century, but was crippled by a mentalism that Wittgenstein was free of. The anti-mentalism and anti-materialism that Wittgenstein considered as given were not so obvious to his predecessor, Russell, who revolted against Bradley's idealism in much the same way Wittgenstein ended up revolting against Russell's logical atomism. In my view, none of these positions was the right approach, which would require nonmentalism and nonmaterialism. But for some reason, these things (which seem to go together quite naturally to me) have been widely considered to be incompatible. Bradley was appropriately a non-materialist, but suffered from mentalism. Russell and the early Wittgenstein were appropriately nonmentalists, but suffered from materialism. The later Wittgenstein was, I would argue, still an ardent materialist and anti-mentalist, in spite of the fact that he had long since realized the contradictions to which materialism leads; he just had not recognized that it was his materialist assumptions that had lead him there, since these assumptions were so firmly engrained in his thinking as to be invisible.. (shrink)
An overview of Bradley's metaphysics and epistemology, which had much of the basic structure of quantum mechanics, but was all but ignored in the years following the formal quantum theories discovered by Heisenberg and Schrödinger. Bradley's version of absolute idealism was infected with the mentalism that was generally associated with idealism in the late nineteenth century. I develop his ideas from a standpoint somewhat more friendly to modern formal methods, although this is not much of a stretch, as Bradley had (...) already taken absolute idealism strongly in that direction, if not all the way. (shrink)
The present study applied Ajzen's (1985) theory of planned behavior to the explanation of ethical decision making. Nurses in three hospitals were provided with scenarios that depicted inadequate patient care and asked if they would report health professionals responsible for the situation. Study results suggest that the theory of planned behavior can explain a significant amount of variation in the intent to report a colleague. Attitude toward performing the behavior explained a large portion of the variance; subjective norms explained a (...) moderate amount of the variance; and, perceived behavioral control added little to the explanation of variance. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
Starting with the Descartes' cogito, "I think, therefore I am"--and taking an uncompromisingly rational, rigorously phenomenological approach--I attempt to derive the basic principles of recursion theory (the backbone of all mathematics and logic), and from that the principles of feedback control theory (the backbone of all biology), leading to the basic ideas of quantum mechanics (the backbone of all physics). What is derived is not the full quantum theory, but a basic framework--derived from a priori principles along with common everyday (...) experience--of how the universe of everyday experience should work if it operates according to rational principles. We find, to our surprise, that the resulting system has all the most puzzling features of quantum physics that make physicists scratch their heads. Far from being "bizarre" and "weird", as is usually thought, the strangest paradoxes of quantum theory turn out to be just what one ought to expect of a rational universe. It is the classical, pre-quantum universe of the nineteenth century that has irrational, mystical components. The quantum-mechanics-like theory that is developed is, furthermore, most compatible with the strictest, most uncompromisingly rationalist of the standard interpretations of quantum mechanics, those which add no ad hoc elements to the theory, and which generally trace their history to the relative state formulation of Everett (also called the "many worlds" interpretation). These interpretations take the universe to be quite literally describable as a quantum wavefunction. As with any project this far-reaching in scope, I confess I have had to make some working assumptions along the way. I have attempted to isolate these, and clearly label them as points of possible future revision--they are marked in the text with an asterisk (*). (shrink)
Those who interpret quantum mechanics literally are forced to follow some variant of Everett's relative state formulation (or "many worlds" interpretation). It is generally assumed that this is a rather bizarre result that many physicists (especially cosmologists) have been forced into because of the evidence. I look at the history of philosophy, however, reveals that rationalism has always flirted with this very idea, from Parmenides to Leibniz to modern times. I will survey some of the philosophical history, and show how (...) the so-called paradox of quantum superposition can be considered a consequence of basic rationalist assumptions such as the principle of sufficient reason and the identity of indiscernibles. (shrink)
Do not pass by my epitaph, Wayfarer, but when you have stopped, hear and learn, then depart. There is no boat, To carry you to Hades, No ferryman Charon, No judge Aeacus, No Dog Cerberus. All of us below have become bones and ashes. Truly, I have nothing more to tell you. So depart, wayfarer, Lest dead though I am I seem to you to be a teller of vain tales.
A. Tarski  proposed the study of infinitary consequence operations as the central topic of mathematical logic. He considered monotonicity to be a property of all such operations. In this paper, we weaken the monotonicity requirement and consider more general operations, inference operations. These operations describe the nonmonotonic logics both humans and machines seem to be using when infering defeasible information from incomplete knowledge. We single out a number of interesting families of inference operations. This study of infinitary inference operations (...) is inspired by the results of  on nonmonotonic inference relations, and relies on some of the definitions found there. (shrink)
The continuous ongoing mentation is experienced as dreams in some functional states. Mentation occurs with high speed, is driven by individual memory, and uses state-dependent processing strategies, context material, storage options, and retrieval access. Retrieval deserves more attention. Multiple state-shifts owing to individual meaning as extracted also during sleep concatenate dream narratives and define access to segments for awake recall. [Hobson et al.; Nielson; Solms].
A vast and interesting family of natural semantics for belief revision is defined. Suppose one is given a distance d between any two models. One may then define the revision of a theory K by a formula α as the theory defined by the set of all those models of α that are closest, by d, to the set of models of K. This family is characterized by a set of rationality postulates that extends the AGM postulates. The new postulates (...) describe properties of iterated revisions. (shrink)
Paternalism in the medical care of children is appropriate and ethically justifiable. However, dilemmatic disagreement by paternalistic agents as to which clinical choice is in the child's best interest may occur because of the underlying conflict between two rival standards for the moral value of life: longevity versus quality. Neither standard is unreasonable. Either could be the basis for choice of medical care by the parents or by the pediatrician. Having the child choose between options disputed by his parents and (...) the pediatrician is unlikely to resolve their conflict. Exercise of informed consent by the adolescent requires agreement by his parents to relinquish their paternalistic veto. The probable best-interest choice by the child when he has matured could be reasonably made from either standard. Therefore, the longevity/quality of life question ought not ordinarily to be foreclosed by paternalistic authority which opts for one standard to the exclusion of the other. Medical interventions, paternalistically determined, are justified in the face of deteriorating quality, but only as long as the interventions themselves do not cause deterioration. Application of this limitation of paternalism to the zone of agreement between the rival life standards is made to clinical case examples. Multiple extrinsic criteria may measure the quality of life. Three quality factors, sensation of pain, capacity to communicate and physical functioning are considered. The extent of the zone of agreement between the two life standards varies because quality of life is a relative good, contingent both upon which extrinsic criteria are selected to assess it and upon the priorities which are set among these criteria. (shrink)
Suppose you have an infinite past. If you had banked the spare dollar you have always had, then the interest would have made you rich by now. Your procrastination is inexcusable. But what should you have done? At any time at which you invest the dollar you would regret not investing it earlier. Satisficers can solve prospective puzzles involving infinite choice but cannot solve this retrospective puzzle about regret. A moral version of the puzzle suggests that there can be inevitable (...) moral failure. It does so without appeal to moral luck, moral dilemmas or original sin. (shrink)
Somatoform disorder patients show a variety of emotional disturbances including impaired emotion recognition and increased empathic distress. In a previous paper, our group showed that several brain regions involved in emotional processing, such as the parahippocampal gyrus and other regions, were less activated in pre-treatment somatoform disorder patients (compared to healthy controls) during an empathy task. Since the parahippocampal gyrus is involved in emotional memory, its decreased activation might reflect the repression of emotional memories (which - according to psychoanalytical concepts (...) - plays an important role in somatoform disorder). Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims at increasing the understanding of emotional conflicts as well as uncovering repressed emotions. We were interested, whether brain activity in the parahippocampal gyrus normalized after (inpatient) multimodal psychodynamic psychotherapy. Using fMRI, subjects were scanned while they shared the emotional states of presented facial stimuli expressing anger, disgust, joy and a neutral expression; distorted stimuli with unrecognizable content served as control condition. 15 somatoform disorder patients were scanned twice, pre and post multimodal psychodynamic psychotherapy; in addition, 15 age-matched healthy control subjects were investigated. Effects of psychotherapy on hemodynamic responses were analyzed implementing two approaches: (i) an a priori region of interest approach and (ii) a voxelwise whole brain analysis. Both analyses revealed increased hemodynamic responses in the left and right parahippocampal gyrus (and other regions) after multimodal psychotherapy in the contrast ‘empathy with anger’-‘control’. Our results are in line with psychoanalytical concepts about somatoform disorder. They suggest the parahippocampal gyrus is crucially involved in the neurobiological mechanisms which underly the emotional deficits of somatoform disorder patients. (shrink)
Piron's axioms for a realistically interpreted quantum mechanics are analyzed in detail within the context of a formal mathematical structure expressed in the conventional set-theoretic idiom of mathematics. As a result, some of the serious misconceptions that have encouraged recent criticisms of Piron's axioms are exposed.
The success of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) worldwide has led to an accumulation of frozen embryos that are surplus to the reproductive needs of those for whom they were created. In these situations, couples must decide whether to discard them or donate them for scientific research or for use by other infertile couples. While legislation and regulation may limit the decisions that couples make, their decisions are often shaped by their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, health professionals, scientists and policy-makers are often (...) unaware of the way in which faith traditions view ART and decisions concerning the ‘fate’ of surplus embryos. In this paper scholars representing six major religious traditions provide a commentary on a hypothetical case concerning the donation or destruction of excess ART embryos. These commentaries provide a rich account of religious perspectives on the status of the human embryo and an insight into the relevance of faith to health and policy decisions, particularly in reproductive medicine, ART and embryo research. (shrink)