There seems to be an overarching historical process in which life in small groups has evolved into life in large societies. This paper describes the design of a simulator for the study of that process. The simulator is named after David Hume (1711–1776), who presented a rich, informal, and still modern theory about the problems, useful inventions, and driving mechanisms in the evolution from small groups to large societies. HUME1.0 is a simulator that is meant to cover the interplay of (...) some key factors and forces in that process. The focus is on division of labor, possible gains from specialization, risky exchange with more or less distant others, possible fraud, moral control, and (at the next stage) establishment of monitoring and punishing authorities. Finally, we discuss the status, purposes, and relevance of simulators like HUME1.0 that create well-defined artificial worlds and allow for some (thought) experimenting with them. (shrink)
Being part of a culture seems, on the face of it, empirically describable, and verifiable. But in fact that kind of participation is not so easy to characterize. Our existence as members of a culture is given to us fleetingly, and in awarenesses tightly locked to the awareness of the other, who is not our culture. Being part of aculture therefore is part of knowing yourself as limited. But to what are you limited? You are limited to being a presence (...) other than that of the other that you are defined off against. It is thus worth noting that being of a culture is a fleetingly given awareness of a condition in which your not being something else is what defines you. The logical consequence of this structural situation is that you, or I, exist foremost as a site, rather than as a substance, in our occupying a post within culture. (shrink)
Among the casualties of the rush to relativism is a central tenet of classical thought: that great works of literature are great in and of themselves and not because of the needs and values of their time. This “canon-based view,” supply taken for granted by Johnson, Arnold, Pope, and Eliot, has long since been shown the door by views ranging from Marxism to today’s cultural studies. These views hold that the great works become great because of the values and concerns (...) of their own times, and they remain effectual, if they do, because of the ways they speak to their times’ concerns. There are no transhistorical values and concerns, though of course there is a past to culture and its works continue their indirect .. (shrink)
The essay hypothesizes a norm condition of stasis—the mood of sentient peace occupied on a quiet porch. From there the psyche is drawn upward by concept, into the benign/abstract world or downward into the pre-verbal which links us with prespeech man/woman. Is there any default position in this map of the positions of consciousness?
"Die Tat" concerns the effort to recapture a particular memory. In searching to recover that memory trace the writer discovers that the memory datum itself diffuses and breaks up into the present remembering action of the one who remembers. The essay anatomizes that process of diffusion, and tries to come up with a definition of memory.
This essay illustrates senses in which linear time can be proven to be non existent. Yet, as the essay agrees, the practical use of linear time, as an organizational principle in life, is unquestionable. Do we live a lie by relying on the non existent to undergird our lives? Or is lie a misleading, and naïve, word for our solution to this state of affairs?
Whitehead's 1922 theory of gravitation continues to attract the attention of philosophers, despite evidence presented in 1971 that it violates experiment. We demonstrate that the theory strongly fails five quite different experimental tests, and conclude that, notwithstanding its meritorious philosophical underpinnings, Whitehead's theory is truly dead.
In this review essay on Mele's Free Will and Luck , I evaluate the 'daring soft libertarian' view presented in the heart of the book, and in particular the way that it provides an answer to the objection that introducing indeterminism into one's view of freedom merely adds an element of luck and so undermines freedom. I also compare the view's strengths and weaknesses to those of traditional libertarian views. Finally, I consider the 'zygote' argument that Mele takes to be (...) his reason for remaining agnostic about whether determinism is compatible with freedom, and argue that if one accepts the main arguments presented earlier in the book, one should not let this argument stand in the way of accepting compatibilism. (shrink)
Advance directives are propagated as instruments to maintain patients’ autonomy in case they can no longer decide for themselves. It has been never been examined whether patients’ and healthy persons themselves are inclined to adhere to these documents. Patients’ and healthy persons’ views on whether instructions laid down in advance directives should be followed because that is (or is not) “the right thing to do”, not because one is legally obliged to do so, were studied and compared with that of (...) medical staff. Method: Vignette study presenting five cases. Cancer patients, healthy persons, nursing staff and physicians (n = 100 in each group) were interviewed. An adherence score was calculated (maximum value 5). The adherence score is found to be low in all groups, yet lowest in patients (1.55; standard deviation 1.13) and healthy controls (1.60; 1.37). The scores are significantly different between nursing staff on the one hand and patients and healthy controls on the other (p < 0.005 and p < 0.05, respectively), and between doctors and patients (p < 0.05). Interviewees who want these documents to be followed tend to live alone and to have already written an advance directive. Conclusions: Cancer patients and healthy persons widely disregard instructions laid down in advance directives and consider them less binding than physicians and nursing staff do. Only a minority tends to adhere more to advance directives. To improve decision-making at the end of life when patients are no longer able to decide for themselves alternative concepts, such as advanced care planning, should be considered. (shrink)
Im Gesetzentwurf des Bundesrates zur Änderung des Betreuungsrechts ist eine regelhafte Stellvertretung durch Angehörige für zur Entscheidung unfähige Patienten vorgesehen. Mithilfe eines strukturierten Fragebogens wurden die Einstellungen von Tumorpatienten, gesunden Kontrollpersonen, Pflegenden und Ärzten (jede Gruppe n=100) zur Präferenz der zu bevollmächtigenden Personen ermittelt. Nur 10–20% der Befragten haben eine Patientenverfügung verfasst. Als Entscheidungbefugte im Falle akuter Erkrankung werden Angehörige und Ärzte gemeinsam genannt (71%, 76%, 61%, 84% in den jeweiligen Gruppen). Als Gesundheitsbevollmächtigte werden Ehepartner/Lebenspartner (78%, 82%, 80%, 89%) bevorzugt (...) und nichtangehörige Personen nur von einer Minderheit (0–12%) genannt. Die grundsätzliche Bereitschaft, als Gesundheitsbevollmächtigte Verantwortung zu übernehmen, ist hoch, erstreckt sich jedoch überwiegend auf Angehörige. Nur Ärzte sind in bis zu 50% auch für nichtangehörige Personen bereit, als Bevollmächtigte zu entscheiden. Die regelhafte Stellvertretung in Gesundheitsfragen durch Angehörige entspricht den Wünschen der Mehrheit von Tumorpatienten, gesunden Vergleichspersonen und medizinischem Personal. (shrink)
The concept of structure, operation, and functionality, as they may be understood by clinicians or researchers using neural transplantation techniques, are briefly defined. Following Stein & Glasier, we emphasize that the question of whether an intracerebral graft is really functional should be addressed not only in terms of what such a graft does in a given brain structure, but also in terms of what it does at the level of the organism.
Accompanying the decline of empiricism in the theory of knowledge has been an increased interest in the social determinants of knowledge and an increased recognition of the fundamental place in the constitution of knowledge occupied by accepted cognitive practices. The principal aim of this paper is to show how a view of knowledge that fully recognizes the role of these practices can adequately treat a topic that is widely considered to be an insuperable obstacle to such a view. The topic (...) is that of scientific realism, of the independence with respect to cognitive practices of certain objects of knowledge. (shrink)
Roger Garaudy, the Hellenic tradition, and imaginative space.--Kazantzakis' making of God.--Existentialism and language.--The argument of water.--Literature as ikonic language.--Literature and morality.