It is standardly assumed in discussions of quantum theory that physical systems can be regarded as having well-defined Hilbert spaces. It is shown here that a Hilbert space can be consistently partitioned only if its components are assumed not to interact. The assumption that physical systems have well-defined Hilbert spaces is, therefore, physically unwarranted.
The common practice of advancing arguments based on current physics in support of metaphysical conclusions has been criticized on the grounds that current physics may well be wrong. A further criticism is leveled here: current physics itself depends on metaphysical assumptions, so arguing from current physics is in fact arguing from yet more metaphysics. It is shown that the metaphysical assumptions underlying current physics are often deeply embedded in the formalism in which theories are presented, and hence impossible to dismiss (...) as mere motivational or interpretative speculation. It is then shown that such assumptions, when made explicit, can wreck havoc on otherwise-sensible philosophical arguments. It is argued in conclusion that this situation is both unlikely to be reparable just by being more careful, and unlikely to go away as further, presumably more subtle physical theories are developed. (shrink)
The Ollivier–Poulin–Zurek definition of objectivity provides a philosophical basis for the environment as witness formulation of decoherence theory and hence for quantum Darwinism. It is shown that no account of the reference of the key terms in this definition can be given that does not render the definition inapplicable within quantum theory. It is argued that this is not the fault of the language used, but of the assumption that the laws of physics are independent of Hilbert-space decomposition. All evidence (...) suggests that this latter assumption is true. If it is, decoherence cannot explain the emergence of classicality. (shrink)
Dennis Thompson and Lawrence Lessig are leading thinkers in the realm of institutional corruption, the notion that inappropriate dependencies and conflicts of interest undercut the ethical foundations of institutions on which society relies. Both are particularly known for their work on institutional corruption as it affects government and politics. This essay examines the applicability of their writing to the private sector, particularly as it relates to vital and influential industries like pharmaceuticals.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst adult Americans and has recently become a top killer worldwide. The direct costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to triple in the next 20 years, from $272.5 billion to $818.1 billion (Heidenreich et al. 2011). Although there has been a decreased incidence and prevalence of ischemic heart disease over the past several decades in the United States, heart failure remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In the United States, approximately (...) 500,000 to 700,000 new cases are identified each year (Lloyd-Jones et al. 2009). Heart failure is now the number one diagnosis leading to hospitalization. As such, it is an increasingly heavy economic burden on .. (shrink)
Bien que la dichotomie classique homme/animal continue de sous-tendre la pensée scientifique occidentale, la génétique moléculaire prouve que les humains sont bien plus proches des chimpanzés et des bonobos que ne pouvaient le supposer les chercheurs en se fondant seulement sur l’évidence anatomique, il y a quelques décennies. Le degré de similitude de l’ADN entre humains, bonobos et chimpanzés autorise à nous classer tous trois comme espèces-sœurs. Ce qui signifie, aussi étrange que cela pui..
As the HIV epidemic continues to grow worldwide, women are increasingly and disproportionally affected. With the introduction of anti-retroviral medications that have been found to effectively prevent perinatal transmission of HIV, the approach to HIV testing in pregnant women has grown increasingly more controversial. In recent years, the model of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) has come into question with opt-out testing now advocated for by the Centers for Disease Control and occurring widely in pregnancy. The benefits of opt-out testing (...) are numerous and may justify its use in replacing the VCT that many have come to see as insufficient. An ethical analysis of opt-out testing suggests it may be at odds with true informed consent and involve a degree of coercion that would not be allowed outside the prenatal setting. If opt-out testing is going to remain the standard of care then the ethical issues it raises must be made transparent. Strategies need to be designed for ensuring that HIV counseling and testing in pregnancy is done in accordance with ethical and reproductive rights principles. (shrink)
Postmodernism’s unifying theme of the absent center raises an important question for metaphysics done in the Catholic tradition. Is novelty a “totally other” that utterly eludes human knowing? In posing this question, postmodernism spurs this tradition on to consider afresh how it integrates novelty and contingency. The following study concludes that no adequate account of this integration is possible without a rich concept of the singular. Rahner’s and Balthasar’s metaphysics of the singular shows that contingency, far from being an impasse (...) to a deeper penetration into reality, is the heart of creative process in both human and non-human events. Rahner’s doctrine of substance and Balthasar’s doctrine of analogy deconstruct the relativism in postmodernism’s view of the singular, even as they develop a more extensive view of the singular for which some strains of postmodernism seem instinctively to be groping. (shrink)
This article questions traditional experimental approaches to the study of primate cognition. Beecuse of a widespread assumption that cognition in non-human primates is genetically encoded and “natural,” these approaches neglect how profoundly apes’ cultural rearing experiences affect test results. We deseribe how three advanced cognitive abilities - imitation, theory of mind and language - emerged in bonobos maturing in a bi-species Pan/Homo culture, and how individual rearing differences led to individual forms of these abilities. These descriptions are taken from a (...) rich ethnographic material, and we argue for the scientific superiority of participant-based ethnographic studies of primate cognition in shared Pan/Homo cultures. (shrink)
A. Belden Fields invites people to think more deeply about human rights in this book in an attempt to overcome many of the traditional arguments in the human rights literature. He argues that human rights should be reconceptualized in a holistic way to combine philosophical, historical, and empirical-practical dimensions. Human rights are viewed not as a set of universal abstractions but rather as a set of past and ongoing social practices rooted in the claims and struggles of peoples against what (...) they consider to be political, economic, or social domination. By aptly showing how a people’s fight for recognition is often closely tied to rights claims, Fields argues that these connections to identity can help bridge the gulf between universalistic and cultural relativistic arguments in the human rights debate. (shrink)
Throughout his career as an academic theologian, Karl Rahner never explicitly set himself the task of working out a theory of language. Nonetheless, the seminal insights for such a theory were formulated in his extensive corpus as functions of other, more properly theological concerns. These consist chiefly of the development of religious doctrine and the cult of the Sacred Heart (See DD, BH, ST, TM, ULM). Other important insights appear in his treatment of the hermeneutics of eschatological statements and the (...) relation between Christianity and poetry (See HES, PC, PP). All these theological concerns have received scholarly attention (See Barnes 1994, Bonsor 1987, Callahan 1985, Corduan 1978, Doud 1983, Hines 1989, Phan 1988, Thompson 1992, Walsh 1977). As for Rahner’s theory of language, scholarship has shown how a coherent system can be constructed from the disparate sources that contain it (See Masson 1979, 224–33; and 1980, 266–72). In developing this previous work, the present article will ex plain how Rahner’s theory is derived from his distinctive meta physics of the symbol. Scholarship is only beginning this discussion, although the centrality of symbolism in Rahner’s thought has been well treated. [See Callahan 1982, Fields 2000 (esp. 6–16, 92–97), Motzko 1976, H. Rahner 1964, Wong 1984.] In addition, this paper will also suggest that an origin of Rahner’s symbolic view of language lies in Heidegger’s aesthetics. Bringing this origin to the fore will lead to a concluding discussion about the debt that Rahner owes his mentor at Freiburg University. (shrink)
Some interpretations of the term “coercion” entail that a person who is coerced is morally entitled to do what she does. But there is a vague spectrum of uses of this term, in which one use shades into another. “Coercion” can legitimately be interpreted in a way according to which it is possible for a person who is coerced not to be morally entitled to do what she does and indeed to be blameworthy for her action. In order to distinguish (...) between cases in which a coercee is not blameworthy for compliance and those in which a coercee is blameworthy, an account of moral blameworthiness is presented. The account does not deal, however, with the question of when one harm or evil outweighs another. A person is morally blameworthy if and only if she performs an action which is, on balance, morally wrong, and for which she is morally responsible. Three different standards of moral responsibility are considered. The first two are found to be susceptible to counterexamples. The third, which is claimed to be adequate, is that a moral agent is responsible for a morally wrong action if and only if, first, either she has the psychological capacity to refrain from doing what she does, or, if she lacks this capacity, she nevertheless had a Isecond-order) psychological capacity to prevent the lack of capacity in question; and, second, the moral agent knows what she is doing, under the description of her action according to which it is a wrong action. Thus, where a moral agent is coerced into doing an immoral action, and lacked the psychological capacity to refrain from performing the action, this standard of responsibility enables us to decide whether or not she is blameworthy on the basis of whether the lack of the capacity was due to ordinary human weakness or to a fault of character. (shrink)
It is shown that the Fodor's interpretation of the frame problem is the central indication that his version of the Modularity Thesis is incompatible with computationalism. Since computationalism is far more plausible than this thesis, the latter should be rejected.
The first three sections of this study explain the debt that Karl Rahner’s metaphysics of symbol owes to the influence of Maurice Blondel and Joseph Maréchal. The concluding section suggests that a Blondel-inspired renewal of the metaphysics of symbol could challenge the restricted claim for reason offered by secular and religious post-modernity.
Mental illness may be manifested in the impairment of understanding or of volitional control. Impairment of understanding may be manifested in delusions. Impairment of volitional control is shown when a person is unable to act in accordance with good reasons that he himself accepts. In order for an impairment of understanding or of self-control to exculpate, the offence must be causally connected with the impairment in question. The rationale of exculpation in general, which applies also to the case of mental (...) illness, is that the offence does not indicate a morally bad attitude in the offender. A consequence of this rationale is that Kenny is wrong to hold that no injustice would result from the elimination of the legal defence of diminished responsibility. (shrink)