The INBIOSA project brings together a group of experts across many disciplines who believe that science requires a revolutionary transformative step in order to address many of the vexing challenges presented by the world. It is INBIOSA’s purpose to enable the focused collaboration of an interdisciplinary community of original thinkers. This paper sets out the case for support for this effort. The focus of the transformative research program proposal is biology-centric. We admit that biology to date has been more fact-oriented (...) and less theoretical than physics. However, the key leverageable idea is that careful extension of the science of living systems can be more effectively applied to some of our most vexing modern problems than the prevailing scheme, derived from abstractions in physics. While these have some universal application and demonstrate computational advantages, they are not theoretically mandated for the living. A new set of mathematical abstractions derived from biology can now be similarly extended. This is made possible by leveraging new formal tools to understand abstraction and enable computability. [The latter has a much expanded meaning in our context from the one known and used in computer science and biology today, that is "by rote algorithmic means", since it is not known if a living system is computable in this sense (Mossio et al., 2009).] Two major challenges constitute the effort. The first challenge is to design an original general system of abstractions within the biological domain. The initial issue is descriptive leading to the explanatory. There has not yet been a serious formal examination of the abstractions of the biological domain. What is used today is an amalgam; much is inherited from physics (via the bridging abstractions of chemistry) and there are many new abstractions from advances in mathematics (incentivized by the need for more capable computational analyses). Interspersed are abstractions, concepts and underlying assumptions “native” to biology and distinct from the mechanical language of physics and computation as we know them. A pressing agenda should be to single out the most concrete and at the same time the most fundamental process-units in biology and to recruit them into the descriptive domain. Therefore, the first challenge is to build a coherent formal system of abstractions and operations that is truly native to living systems. Nothing will be thrown away, but many common methods will be philosophically recast, just as in physics relativity subsumed and reinterpreted Newtonian mechanics. -/- This step is required because we need a comprehensible, formal system to apply in many domains. Emphasis should be placed on the distinction between multi-perspective analysis and synthesis and on what could be the basic terms or tools needed. The second challenge is relatively simple: the actual application of this set of biology-centric ways and means to cross-disciplinary problems. In its early stages, this will seem to be a “new science”. This White Paper sets out the case of continuing support of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for transformative research in biology and information processing centered on paradigm changes in the epistemological, ontological, mathematical and computational bases of the science of living systems. Today, curiously, living systems cannot be said to be anything more than dissipative structures organized internally by genetic information. There is not anything substantially different from abiotic systems other than the empirical nature of their robustness. We believe that there are other new and unique properties and patterns comprehensible at this bio-logical level. The report lays out a fundamental set of approaches to articulate these properties and patterns, and is composed as follows. -/- Sections 1 through 4 (preamble, introduction, motivation and major biomathematical problems) are incipient. Section 5 describes the issues affecting Integral Biomathics and Section 6 -- the aspects of the Grand Challenge we face with this project. Section 7 contemplates the effort to formalize a General Theory of Living Systems (GTLS) from what we have today. The goal is to have a formal system, equivalent to that which exists in the physics community. Here we define how to perceive the role of time in biology. Section 8 describes the initial efforts to apply this general theory of living systems in many domains, with special emphasis on crossdisciplinary problems and multiple domains spanning both “hard” and “soft” sciences. The expected result is a coherent collection of integrated mathematical techniques. Section 9 discusses the first two test cases, project proposals, of our approach. They are designed to demonstrate the ability of our approach to address “wicked problems” which span across physics, chemistry, biology, societies and societal dynamics. The solutions require integrated measurable results at multiple levels known as “grand challenges” to existing methods. Finally, Section 10 adheres to an appeal for action, advocating the necessity for further long-term support of the INBIOSA program. -/- The report is concluded with preliminary non-exclusive list of challenging research themes to address, as well as required administrative actions. The efforts described in the ten sections of this White Paper will proceed concurrently. Collectively, they describe a program that can be managed and measured as it progresses. (shrink)
The idea behind this special theme journal issue was to continue the work we have started with the INBIOSA initiative (www.inbiosa.eu) and our small inter-disciplinary scientific community. The result of this EU funded project was a white paper (Simeonov et al., 2012a) defining a new direction for future research in theoretical biology we called Integral Biomathics and a volume (Simeonov et al., 2012b) with contributions from two workshops and our first international conference in this field in 2011. The (...) initial impulse for this effort was given a year earlier by a publication of one of the guest editors of this issue (Simeonov, 2010) in this journal. This time we wish to provide a broader forum and more space to elaborate in detail some of the most interesting concepts we have encountered in our discussions, as well as to invite some new contributions of particular interest in the field. Another goal we had in mind was to collect and review as many provocative perspectives as possible on the same key topic we are interested before making a decision to follow a more focused notion that would lead to a funded research program. Therefore we welcomed the generous suggestion of Professor Denis Noble, FRS, who is also editor of this journal to prepare a special theme issue entitled: “Can biology create a profoundly new mathematics and computation?” It has taken a while to invite and collect the contributions. Most of them had a couple of revision cycles and adjustments after having been thoroughly discussed with colleagues, incl. the editors of this issue. We think that the result we have obtained at the end is a satisfactory one, since we succeeded to integrate a diversity of original, but sometimes controversial and mutually excluding concepts organized within chapters of a self-contained volume. The task of compiling all this was not easy at all. Despite our efforts to position the articles of different authors and themes in a way allowing their easy comprehension and relation to each other within the individual chapters, some of them still require a sort of introduction to dissolve possible ambiguities. This is what we are going to do in the following few paragraphs with the hope that the reader (and some of the authors) would excuse our failures. (shrink)
The idea about this special issue came from a paper published as an updated and upridged version of an older memorial lecture given by Brian D. Josephson and Michael Conrad at the Gujarat Vidyapith University in Ahmedabad, India on March 2, 1984. The title of this paper was “Uniting Eastern Philosophy and Western Science” (1992). We thought that this topic deserves to be revisited after 25 years to demonstrate to the scientific community which new insights and achievements were attained in (...) this fairly broad field during this period. (shrink)
This is the editorial to the special edition of Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology on the role engagement with Eastern traditions of thought could play in the advancement of science generally and biology and the science of mind in particular.
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
Robert Stern has argued that Levinas is a kind of command theorist and that, for this reason, Løgstrup can be understood to have provided an argument against Levinas. In this paper, I discuss Levinas’s use of the vocabulary of demand, order, and command in the light of Jewish philosophical accounts of such notions in the work of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emil Fackenheim. These accounts revise the traditional Jewish idea of command and I show that Levinas’s use of this (...) vocabulary is also revisionary. I show that in light of this tradition of discussion, Levinas’s use is not susceptible to the interpretation Stern proposes and thus that the Løgstrup-style argument cannot be used against Levinas. (shrink)
Thought, according to Hegel, is not only the product of a faculty of a subject, or a means by which a thinking subject tries to grasp a world that is alien to him. It is also the very structure of the world, that is disclosed to a subject through the thinking activity of a subject. The fundamental question that crosses the whole post-Kantian philosophy is that of the relation between thought and reality, i.e. the question of whether reality depends on (...) the categorial requirements imposed by the thinking subject, or whether reality maintains some form of independence from the thinking subject. Seen from this standpoint, Hegel can be read both as an author who radicalizes Kant’s transcendental perspective, and also as a critic of that perspective. In other words, he can be seen as an idealist: according to Hegel, any philosophy is idealist if it claims that something finite, qua finite, is essentially connected with something other. He can also be seen as an anti-idealist: insofar as his philosophy aims to overcome a hyper-transcendentalist perspective, i.e. it is so since it rejects idealism as subjective idealism. Moreover, Hegel’s anti-idealism can be characterized as realism. This is because, if we admit that overcoming transcendentalism without falling back again on a pre-critical conception of thought and of reality involves an idea of thought which is not reducible to a "mentalistic" conception of it, we need to conceive of thought as something that is not alien to reality. Hegel conceives of thought as intimately connected with the world, as its own rational structure. This “realism” of thought is what makes Hegelian idealism, so to speak, anti-idealistic. Through this "realism" of thought Hegel pursues two goals. On the one hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought, according to which a subject talks and relates to a reality that is always only a construction of him, and so it is necessarily the simulacrum of something that remains inaccessible in its truth. On the other hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a conception of reality characterized merely as alien and opposite to thought itself, and which is the counterpart of the subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought. By pursuing these two goals it should be gained a conception of reality which could warrant some form of objectivity, but which cannot be equated with the substantialistic conception of the pre-Kantian metaphysics. (shrink)
No one who cares about equal opportunity can derive much comfort from the present occupational distribution of working women. In the various industrial societies of the West, women comprise between one quarter and one-half of the national labor force. However, they tend to clustered in employment sectors – especially clerical, sales, and service J occupations – which rank relatively low in remuneration, status, autonomy, and other perquisites. Meanwhile, the more prestigious and rewarding managerial and professional positions, as well as the (...) major categories of blue-collar labor, remain largely a male preserve. In the same societies the average income earned by full-time female workers is one-half to two- J thirds that of their male counterparts. Although this disparity owes much to i other factors, including lower pay for work similar or even identical to that r standardly done by men, much of it can be explained only by the concentration of working women in traditional female job ghettos. (shrink)
Suppose that the ultimate point of ethics is to make the world a better place. If it is, we must face the question: better in what respect? If the good is prior to the right — that is, if the rationale for all requirements of the right is that they serve to further the good in one way or another — then what is this good? Is there a single fundamental value capable of underlying and unifying all of our moral (...) categories? If so, how might it defeat the claims of rival candidates for this role? If not, is there instead a plurality of basic goods, each irreducible to any of the others? In that case, how do they fit together into a unified picture of the moral life? These are the questions I wish to address, in a necessarily limited way. To many the questions will seem hopelessly old-fashioned or misguided. Some deontologists will wish to reverse my ordering of the good and the right, holding that the right constrains acceptable conceptions of the good. For many contractarians, neither the good nor the right will seem normatively basic, since both are to be derived from a prior conception of rationality. Finally, some theorists will reject the classification of moral theories in terms of their basic normative categories, arguing that the whole foundationalist enterprise in ethics should be abandoned. In the face of these challenges to the priority of the good, and in light of the many current varieties of moral skepticism and relativism, I cannot provide a very convincing justification for raising the questions I intend to discuss. (shrink)
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
In any society influenced by a plurality of cultures, there will be widespread, systematic differences about at least some important values, including moral values. Many of these differences look like deep disagreements, difficult to resolve objectively if that is possible at all. One common response to the suspicion that these disagreements are unsettleable has always been moral relativism. In the flurry of sympathetic treatments of this doctrine in the last two decades, attention has understandably focused on the simpler case in (...) which one fairly self-contained and culturally homogeneous society confronts, at least in thought, the values of another; but most have taken relativism to have implications within a single pluralistic society as well. I am not among the sympathizers. That is partly because I am more optimistic than many about how many moral disagreements can be settled, but I shall say little about that here. For, even on the assumption that many disputes are unsettleable, I continue to find relativism a theoretically puzzling reaction to the problem of moral disagreement, and a troubling one in practice, especially when the practice involves regular interaction among those who disagree. This essay attempts to explain why. (shrink)
If I lead a life of virtue, that may well be good for you. But will it also be good for me? The idea that it will—or even must—is an ancient one, and its appeal runs deep. For if this idea is correct then we can provide everyone with a good reason—arguably the best reason—for being virtuous. However, for all the effort which has been invested in defending the idea, by some of the best minds in the history of philosophy, (...) it remains unproven. Worse, in this skeptical age hardly anyone really believes it. I don't really believe it either, at least not in its strongest forms, but I think that the question is nonetheless worth examining. Even if we cannot show that virtue and self-interest coincide, we can at least measure the breadth of the gap between them. (shrink)
This is a collection of essays on themes of legal philosophy which have all been generated or affected by Hart's work. The topics covered include legal theory, responsibility, and enforcement of morals, with contributions from Ronald Dworkin, Rolf Sartorius, Neil MacCormach, David Lyons, Kent Greenawalt, Michael Moore, Joseph Raz, and C.L. Ten, among others.
Each phenomenon contains variable components, which are conservative. Because of their conservation, they accumulate. Present phenomena contain constituents of phenomena, belonging to the past which form the present and the future, and their dependence on time is an exponential one - S = Sₒe^t-tᵖ. We assume that before and after tₒ = t-tᵖ = 0 the change pertains to phenomena of one type. The dependency is for each defined phenomenon of one and the same type. The concrete aspect of the (...) change S will depend on the type of the phenomenon. We show in our study how in some cosmological phenomena, the exponential dependence on time is present. The processes of radioactive disintegration of atomic nuclei, are also phenomena of this type. We present the real phenomena as a sum of exponents. Each phenomenon originates, develops and is destroyed. In reality most phenomena are formed as a composition of exponential dependencies of the change. (shrink)
H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of Law is the most important and influential book in the legal positivist tradition. Though its importance is undisputed, there is a good deal less consensus regarding its core commitments, both methodological and substantive. With the exception of an occasional essay, Hart neither further developed nor revised his position beyond the argument of the book. The burden of shaping the prevailing understanding of his views, therefore, has fallen to others: notably, Joseph Raz among positivists, and Ronald (...) Dworkin among positivism's critics. Dworkin, in particular, has framed, then reframed, the conventional understanding, not only of Hart's positivism, but of the terms of the debate between positivists and him. While standing on the sidelines, Hart witnessed the unfolding of not only a lively debate between positivists and Dworkin, but an equally intense one among positivists as to positivism's core claims. The most important debate has been between so-called inclusive and exclusive positivists: a debate as much about Hart's legacy as about the proper interpretation of legal positivism. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg has constructed major arguments for atheism based on divine hiddenness in two separate works. This paper reviews these arguments and highlights how they are grounded in reflections on perfect divine love. However, Schellenberg also defends what he calls the ‘subject mode’ of religious scepticism. I argue that if one accepts Schellenberg's scepticism, then the foundation of his divine-hiddenness arguments is undermined by calling into question some of his conclusions regarding perfect divine love. In other words, if his (...) scepticism is correct, then Schellenberg's case for atheism cannot stand. Finally, I demonstrate how my argument avoids the many defences that Schellenberg has employed thus far in defending these particular atheistic arguments. (shrink)
One dark and rainy night, Yuso sexually assaults and tortures Zelan. In escaping from the scene of his crime, he falls heavily and becomes an impotent paraplegic. Instead of treating his fate as divine retribution for his wicked acts, Yuso sees it as sheer bad luck. He shows no remorse for what he has done, and vainly hopes that he will recover his powers, which he now treats as involuntarily hoarded resources to be used on less rainy days. In the (...) presence of others, he pretends that he has turned over a new leaf. He asks for religious and educational books, hoping to make up for his poor education and deprived social background. But he immediately discards them when he is alone in favor of the pornographic magazines which he has bribed a nurse to smuggle in for him. His deception and various obscene acts committed in the hospital are exposed; by the time he comes up for trial, everyone knows that he is still a lustful, sadistic, and unrepentant man. Most retributivists have a sufficient justification for punishing Yuso independently of the social consequences of his punishment. Two features of the case might cause some difficulties. First, Yuso has already experienced considerable suffering and deprivation both before and after his crime, and retributivists might disagree about the relevance of the suffering to his punishment. Secondly, Yuso is unrepentant, and it is unlikely that punishment will change him. This might, as we shall see, create a problem for those who think that the justifying aim of punishment is the moral reform of the offender. (shrink)
My purpose in what follows is not so much to defend the basic principle of utilitarianism as to indicate the form of it which seems most promising as a basic moral and political position. I shall take the principle of utility as offering a criterion for two different sorts of evaluation: first, the merits of acts of government, social policies, and social institutions, and secondly, the ultimate moral evaluation of the actions of individuals. I do not take it as implying (...) that the individual should live his life on the basis of constant evaluations of this sort. For there are different levels of decision making each with its appropriate criteria. For example, we each inevitably make many of our decisions from the point of view of our own personal self-fulfilment and this cannot regularly take a directly utilitarian form, nor should the utilitarian want it to do so. His claim is at most that we should sometimes review our life from the point of view of a kind of impersonal moral truth of a universalistic utilitarian character. (shrink)
I attempt a reconstruction of Adam Smith's view of human nature as explicated in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith's view of human conduct is neither functionalist nor reductionist, but interactionist. The moral autonomy of the individual, conscience, is neither made a function of public approval nor reduced to self-contained impulses of altruism and egoism. Smith does not see human conduct as a blend of independently defined impulses. Rather, conduct is unified, by the underpinning sentiment of sympathy.
Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun. London: Routledge-Curzon. (611 pages). ISBN 0-7007-1186-4 Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 5, Edition 1 April 2005.
Résumé : Le PPBS a été conçu comme un instrument destiné à ceux qui décident de l'allocation des ressources publiques : il doit leur permettre de prendre de meilleures décisions. S'il est très difficile de repérer et de juger les choix que le développement du système a inspirés aux Etats-Unis, il n'en est pas mains certain que ses résultats tangibles sant maigres car la masse des anciens programmes, principale source potentielle de moyens nouveaux, n'a guère été remise en question.La valeur (...) intrinsèque du PPBS ne peut être mise en cause. Ce qui doit l'être, c'est la lenteur de son développement, qui demeure peu avancé. Cette lenteur s'explique, car le système ne peut produire des fruits dans une terre stérile qu'on n'a pas préparée.La brutalité et les maladresses de l'opération déclenchée en 1965 dans le gouvernement fédéral américain ne pouvaient que renforcer la résistance au changement et retarder, sinon compromettre, le succès final. Les perspectives demeurent heureusement favorables, puisque la nouvelle administration ne semble pas décidée à faire machine arrière et que les Etats et Villes ont démarré sous de bien meilleurs auspices.La principale conclusion qu'imposent les expériences américaines est que toute juridiction intéressée par le PPBS doit impérativement développer, de la façon la plus générale, la volonté d'instaurer le système et s'assurer les moyens de le faire. C'est dire qu'il est peu sage d'engager la bataille sur tous les fronts à la fois : il faut tenter des percées. Mais c'est dire aussi combi en l'information et la formation sant essentielles. A cet égard, l'installation généralisée de certains éléments du système, à savoir la structure de programmes et le budget-programme, loin de présenter des inconvénients, peut constituer un excellent exercice en dehors de son utilité directe pour le preneur de décision. La bataille en cause est surtout celle de la conviction: l'outil est prêt, il est bon, encore faut-il que l' ouvrier accepte de s'en servir.Samenvatting:Planning-programming-budgeting werd ontworpen als een instrument voor diegenen die beslissen over de toewijzing van de overheidsmiddelen.Dit instrument moet de beslissers in staat stellen betere beslissingen te treffen. Het is niet makkelijk deze beslissingen op te sporen en te beoordelen welke in de Verenigde Staten getroffen werden onder invloed van de ontwikkeling van deze systeembenadering. Toch is het met vrij grote zekerheid te stellen dat de tastbare resultaten gering zijn omdat de veelheid aan oude programma's die tenslotte toch de voornaamste potentiële bronnen zijn van nieuwe middelen, nooit werden aangevochten.De intrinsieke waarde van PPBS kan daarom evenwel niet worden genegeerd. Wat wel dient aangeklaagd is de traagheid van zijn aanslepende ontwikkeling. Deze traagheid is te verklaren door het feit dat het systeem slechts vruchten kan afwerpen zo het ingeplant wordt in degelijk voorbereid terrein.De brutaliteit en de onhandigheden bij de operatie die in 1965 werd ingezet in het amerikaans federaal overheidsbestel konden niets anders dan de weerstand tegen de verandering versterken en afbreuk doen aan het uiteindelijk slagen van het systeem. Gelukkiglijk blijven de vooruitzichten gunstig want de nieuwe beleidsvoerders sinds de presidentsverkiezingen, blijken ermee te willen doorgaan en de staten en lokale overheden zijn ermee van wal gestoken onder veel betere omstandigheden. Het doorslaggevend besluit uit de amerikaanse ervaringen terzake is wel dat elke instantie welke belangstelling heeft voor PPBS, nodig moet op zo breed mogelijk vlak de wil doen groeien om het systeem te ontwikkelen en er ook de nodige middelen toe ter beschikking stellen. Dit betekent tevens dat het weinig aan te bevelen is de strijd op alle fronten terzelvertijd aan te binden maar wel geleidelijk doorbraken te verwezenlijken. Dit brengt dan evenwel ook met zich dat informatie en vorming essentieel zijn bij deze strategie. In dit verband moet dan ook gezegd worden dat reeds het invoeren van sommige deelementen van het systeem, zoals de programmastructuur en het programmabudget, voor de beslisser nuttig kan zijn voor zijn persoonlijk inzicht en vorming.De te voeren actie dient nog slechts te worden toegespitst op het overtuigen van de verantwoordelijken. Het instrument is immers gebruiksklaar en degelijk, er is alleen nog het wachten op de wil van de gebruiker dit instrument ter hand te nemen. (shrink)
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