I define serendipity as the art of making an unsought finding. And I propose an overview of my collection of serendipities, the largest yet assembled, chiefly in science and technology, but also in art, by giving a list of ‘serendipity patterns’. Although my list of ‘patterns’ is just a list and not a classification, it serves to introduce a new and possibly stimulating perspective on the old subject of serendipity. Knowledge of these ‘serendipity patterns’ might help in expecting also the (...) unexpected and in finding also the unsought. * I acknowledge A. D. de Groot, R. C. M. Noordam, B. P. van Heusden, T. Pinkster, C. J. van den Berg, T. A. F. Kuipers, A. Wegener Sleeswijk and my referee for their suggestions and I dedicate this article to T. A. van Kooten. Cases and studies of serendipidy are welcome. À propos: a travelling serendipity exhibition is available, also for ‘new democracies’: ‘Freedom of opportunity as developed by democracy is the best human reaction to divergent phenomena. We may, in fact, define ‘freedom’ as ‘the opportunity to profit from the unexpected.’ (Langmuir ). (shrink)
This article focuses on maternal-fetal surgery (MFS) and on the concept of clinical equipoise that is a widely accepted requirement for conducting randomized controlled trials (RCT). There are at least three reasons why equipoise is unsuitable for MFS. First, the concept is based on a misconception about the nature of clinical research and the status of research subjects. Second, given that it is not clear who the research subject/s in MFS is/are, if clinical equipoise is to be used as a (...) criterion to test the ethical appropriateness of RCT, its meaning should be unambiguous. Third, because of the multidisciplinary character of MFS, it is not clear who should be in equipoise. As a result, we lack an adequate criterion for the ethical review of MFS protocols. In our account, which is based on Chervenak and McCullough's seminal work in the field of obstetric ethics, equipoise is abandoned. and RCT involving MFS can be ethically initiated when a multidisciplinary ethics review board (ERB), having an evidence-based assessment of the risks involved, is convinced that the value of answering the research hypothesis, for the sake of the health interests of future pregnant women carrying fetuses with certain congenital birth defects, justifies the actual risks research participants might suffer within a set limit of low/manageable. (shrink)
This book explores the various views on language and its relation to philosophy in the Platonic tradition by examening the reception of Plato's Cratylus in antiquity in general, and the commentary of the Neoplatonist Proclus in particular.
InWord and Object W. V. Quine argues that there is no uniquely correct way to assign referents to the terms of a language; any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly relative to a manual of translation. To Rudolf Carnap this must have seemed familiar. BeforeWord and Object was written Carnap had been saying the same thing inMeaning and Necessity: under the assumption of the method of the name-relation, any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly (...) relative to what Carnap calls a conception of the name-relation. Yet Carnap is often taken to be a victim of Quine's relativistic notion of reference. Drawing on Carnap's discussion of the name-relation inMeaning and Necessity, it is argued that Carnap's and Quine's views on reference are not so far apart as is usually perceived. (shrink)