Formal axiology is based on the logical nature of meaning, namely intension, and on the structure of intension as a set of predicates. It applies set theory to this set of predicates. Set theory is a certain kind of mathematics that deals with subsets in general, and of finite and infinite sets in particular. Since mathematics is objective and a priori, formal axiology is an objective and a priori science; and a test based on it is an objective test based (...) on an objective standard.1. (shrink)
In a series of major papers culminating in A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1971. Future page references to the book are placed in parentheses. Some of Rawls' basic ideas were set forth earlier in his ‘Justice as Fairness’, The Philosophical Review 57 (1958) 164–94. John Rawls constructs an alternative to utilitarianism by developing a social contract theory of moral and political philosophy. Unfortunately, Rawls formulates the two basic principles upon which (...) the theory rests in such a way as to restrict (unduly) the contract theory's applicability (see Section I). In this paper we present a more general discussion of the theory of justice that avoids the problems of Rawls' formulation and yet retains the important idea of justice as fairness and the contractarian approach (Section II). Later it is argued that this more general theory constitutes a bridge between the pure utilitarian theories and the social contract doctrines (Sections V and VI). The theory's advantages are demonstrated by applying it to a problem discussed by Rawls, intergenerational equity, and comparing the two solutions (Section III). Further comparisons are made and inferences drawn in the concluding three sections. (shrink)
Let us imagine an ideal ethical agent, i.e., an agent who (i) holds a certain ethical theory, (ii) has all factual knowledge needed for determining which action among those open to her is right and which is wrong, according to her theory, and who (iii) is ideally motivated to really do whatever her ethical theory demands her to do. If we grant that the notions of omniscience and ideal motivation both make sense, we may ask: Could there possibly be an (...) ideal utilitarian, that is, an ideal ethical agent whose ethical theory says that our only moral obligation consists in maximizing utility? I claim that an ideal agent cannot be utilitarian. My reasoning against ideal utilitarianism will parallel Putnam's famous argument against the brains in a vat. Putnam argues that an envatted brain cannot describe its own situation because its words do not refer to brains and vats; I argue that an ideal utilitarian cannot entertain or communicate the beliefs necessary to being a utilitarian. (shrink)
Method in Ancient Philosophy brings together fifteen new, specially written essays by leading scholars on a broad subject of central importance. The ancient Greeks recognized that different forms of human activity are guided by different methods of reasoning; examination of how they reasoned, and how they thought about their own reasoning, helps us to see how they came to hold the views they did, and how our own methods of enquiry have developed under their influence. Contributors include Terence Irwin, Patricia (...) Curd, Ian Mueller, Robert Bolton, A.A. Long, Gail Fine, Constance C. Meinwald, Lesley Brown, Gisela Striker, C.D.C. Reeve, Charlotte Witt, Richard Kraut, Sarah Broadie, James Allen, and G.E.R. Lloyd. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
Cue-paced motor imagery is a frequently used mental strategy to realize a Brain-Computer Interace (BCI). Recently it has been reported that 2 motor imagery tasks can be separated with a high accuracy within the first second after cue presentation onset. To investigate this phenomenon in detail we studied the dynamics of motor cortex beta oscillations in EEG and the changes in heart rate (HR) during visual cue-paced foot imagery using a go (execution of imagery) versus nogo (withholding of imagery) paradigm (...) in 16 healthy subjects. Both execution and withholding of motor imagery resulted in a brisk centrally localized beta ERD with a maximum at ~ 400 ms and a concomitant HR deceleration. We found that response patterns within the first second after stimulation differed between conditions. The ERD was significantly larger in go as compared to nogo. In contrast the HR deceleration was somewhat smaller and followed by an acceleration in go as compared to nogo. These findings suggest that the early beta ERD reflects visually induced preparatory activity in motor cortex networks. Both the early beta ERD and HR deceleration are the result of automatic operating processes that are likely part of the orienting reflex. Of interest, however, is that the preparatory cortical activity is strengthened and the HR modulated already within the first second after stimulation during the execution of motor imagery. The subtraction of the HR time course of the nogo from the go condition revealed a slight HR acceleration in the first seconds most likely due to the increased mental effort associated with the imagery process. (shrink)
We report on the deliberations of an interdisciplinary group of experts in science, law, and philosophy who convened to discuss novel ethical and policy challenges in stem cell research. In this report we discuss the ethical and policy implications of safety concerns in the transition from basic laboratory research to clinical applications of cell-based therapies derived from stem cells. Although many features of this transition from lab to clinic are common to other therapies, three aspects of stem cell biology pose (...) unique challenges. First, tension regarding the use of human embryos may complicate the scientific development of safe and effective cell lines. Second, because human stem cells were not developed in the laboratory until 1998, few safety questions relating to human applications have been addressed in animal research. Third, preclinical and clinical testing of biologic agents, particularly those as inherently complex as mammalian cells, present formidable challenges, such as the need to develop suitable standardized assays and the difficulty of selecting appropriate patient populations for early phase trials. We recommend that scientists, policy makers, and the public discuss these issues responsibly, and further, that a national advisory committee to oversee human trials of cell therapies be established. **NB we did not reccommend a NAC, we think it might be appropriate**. (shrink)
Introduction to sensory psychology, by C. Mueller.--Some reflections on brain and mind, by R. Brain.--In search of the engram, by K. Lashly.--Cerebral organization and behavior, by R. W. Sperry.--Relations between the central nervous system and the peripheral organs, by E. von Holst.--Effects of the Gestalt revolution, by J. E. Hochberg.--Seeing in depth, by R. L. Gregory.--The stimulus variables for visual depth perception, by J. J. Gibson.--The elaboration of the universe, by J. Piaget.--Visual perception approached by the method of stabilized (...) images, by R. M. Pritchard, W. Heron, and D. O. Hebb.--Philosophy as rigorous science, by E. Husserl.--The "sensation" as a unit of experience, by M. Merleau-Ponty.--The phenomenology of perception: perceptual implications, by A. Gurwitsch.--The expression of thinking, by E. W. Straus.--The concept of group and the theory of perception, by E. Cassirer.--Norm and pathology of I-world relations, by E. W. Straus.--The metaphysical in man, by M. Merleau-Ponty.--Cultural differences in the perception of geometric illusions, by M. H. Segall, D. T. Campbell, and M. J. Herskovits.--The interpretive cortex, by W. Penfield.--Recovery from early blindness: a case study, by R. L. Gregory and J. G. Wallace.--Visual disturbances after perceptual isolation, by W. Heron, B. K. Doane, and T. H. Scott. (shrink)