Introduction: Why study ethics? -- Christian ethics -- Ethical systems and ways of moral reasoning -- Making ethical decisions -- Abortion and embryonic stem cell research -- Reproductive technologies -- Biotechnology, genetics, and human cloning -- Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia -- Capital punishment -- Sexual ethics -- The morality of war -- Ethics and economics.
In response to the articles by Eibach and Groenhut in this issue, I argue that there is a general connection between sickness and the entrance of sin into the world. There are times when there is a causal link between more specific sin and sickness, though often the patient is the one who has been sinned against. Illness can also expose sin in a patient's life. Integrating the reality of illness into the life history of a patient is a significant (...) pastoral care issue and can be done with humility and sensitivity if done in accordance with the teaching of Job and Ecclesiastes. These books argue that ?under the sun? or this side of eternity, human beings can't grasp the coherence of life, including the ?why? of illness. Rather, God provides His loving presence, through His people as a comfort to those suffering from illness. (shrink)
Legal Responses to some of the New Developments in Reproductive Technologies Part.3 The Future of Reproductive Technologies and the Law Content Type Journal Article Pages 24-28 Authors Andrew Scott, L.L.B., University of Aberdeen, Scotland Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2 / 2002.
--The energy of the new world, By E. E. Slosson.--The new energies and the new man, by W. D. Scott.--The future of our economic system, by F S. Deibler.--Business in the new era, by W. B. Hotchkiss.--Consumers in the modern world, by Stuart Chase.
Context: The field of psychology consists of many specialist domains of activity, which lack shared foundations. This means that the field as a whole lacks conceptual coherence. Problem: The aim of the article is to show how second-order cybernetics can provide both foundations and a unifying conceptual framework for psychology. Method: The field of psychology is overviewed. There is then a demonstration of how cybernetics can provide both foundations and a unifying conceptual framework. This entails defining some key cybernetics concepts (...) and showing how they have already permeated the field, largely implicitly, and showing how, when made explicit, they can unify the field. Results: I show how concepts from second-order cybernetics can unify “process” and “person” approaches within psychology and can also unify individual psychology and social psychology, a unification that also builds conceptual bridges with sociology. Implications: The results are of value for bringing order to an otherwise inchoate field. They afford better communication between those working in the field, which is likely to give rise to new research questions and more effective ways of tackling them. Constructivist content: Central to the article is a reliance on concepts taken from the constructivist perspective of second-order cybernetics. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “A Computational Constructivist Model as an Anticipatory Learning Mechanism for Coupled Agent–Environment Systems” by Filipo Studzinski Perotto. Upshot: In making a contribution to artificial intelligence research, Perotto has taken note of work on human cognition. However, there are certain aspects of human cognition that are not taken into account by the author’s model and that, generally, are overlooked or ignored by the artificial intelligence research community at large.
Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to provide a constructivist account of the "self as subject" that avoids the need for any metaphysical assumptions. Findings: The thesis developed in this paper is that the human "psychological individual," "self" or "subject" is an emergent within the nexus of human social interaction. With respect to psychological and social wholes (composites) there is no distinction between the form of the elements and the form of the composites they constitute i.e., all elements have (...) the form of composites. Further, recursively, composites may serve as elements within higher order composites. Implications for a rational theory of ethics are discussed. Original Value: The thesis contributes in a fundamental way to the research programme of radical constructivism by demonstrating that metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the "subject" are not an a priori necessity. Although the thesis in itself is not original, the paper offers a useful synthesis of ideas from a number of key thinkers in the disciplines of cybernetics, biology, psychology and philosophy. (shrink)
Context: Although there are rich descriptive accounts of skill acquisition in the literature, there are no satisfactory explanatory models of the cognitive processes involved. Problem: The aim of the paper is to explain some key phenomena frequently observed in the acquisition of motor skills: the loss of conscious access to knowledge of the structure of a skill and the awareness that an error has been made prior to the receipt of knowledge of results. Method: In the 1970s, the first author (...) implemented a computer program model of the cognitive processes involved in learning and skill acquisition, based on a series of empirical investigations. Recently, with assistance from the second author, the model has been reviewed, updated and re-implemented. Result: The model provides a constructivist account of skill acquisition and associated phenomena. Implications: The model adds to the understanding of motor skill acquisition and will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in physical therapy and sports science. It is also provides a constructivist cognitive architecture that can be fruitfully contrasted with non-constructivist cognitive architectures well-known in cognitive science. (shrink)
Purpose: Gordon Pask has left behind a voluminous scientific oeuvre in which he frequently uses technical language and a detail of argument that makes his work difficult to access except by the most dedicated of students. His ideas have also evolved over a long period. This paper provides introductions to three of Pask's key concepts: "conversations," "individuals," and "concepts." Method: Based on the author's close knowledge of Pask's work, as his collaborator for ten years and as someone who has had (...) access to and is familiar with almost all of his published work, the paper selects three of Pask's key concepts for elucidation in order to motivate the interested reader to explore Pask's work in the original. Results: Pask's key concepts, "conversations," "individuals," and "concepts," which are central in his conversation theory and his later elaborations in "interaction of actors theory," are shown to be grounded in fundamental principles from cybernetics. Furthermore, the form of Pask's theorising is that of second order (reflexive) metatheorising, developing theories of theorising that explain their own form and genesis. (shrink)
Upshot: I discuss further why my proposals may not be taken up by all and say more about their usefulness, my understanding of what it is to be a cybernetician and the underlying coherent form that I see amongst different “versions” of cybernetics. I also elaborate on what is social about psychosocial unities and elaborate their relevance for studies of social systems.
Open peer commentary on the article “Luhmann and the Constructivist Heritage: A Critical Reflection” by Eva Buchinger. Upshot: I acknowledge the value of Buchinger’s contribution to my understanding of Luhmann’s theory of social systems and seek some clarification and elaboration concerning specific issues. In particular, I raise some questions about the concepts of meaning processing and of psychic systems and persons, with reference to related ideas developed by Gordon Pask and myself. I also question how Luhmann uses the term “autopoiesis.”.
Context: Both Luhmann and Pask have developed detailed theories of social systems that include accounts of the role of learning. Problem: Rather than see the theories as competing, we believe it is worthwhile to seek ways in which a useful synthesis of the two approaches may be developed. Method: We compare the two approaches by identifying key similarities and differences. Results: We show it is possible to make useful mappings between key concepts in the two theories. Implications: We believe it (...) is worthwhile for social scientists to be familiar with the two theories and that it is not a case of “either/or,” rather, it is a case of “both/and.”. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “A Cybernetic Approach to Contextual Teaching and Learning” by Philip Baron. Upshot: I expand on Philip Baron’s discussion of conversation theory and its applications. I go on to address the question of how to help learners, as a collective, become more sophisticated in their understandings of ethics and epistemology.
Upshot: I thank Mallen for providing some historical background concerning the origin of the Typist models and for helping clarify the theoretical issues addressed and motivations for creating the models. Whilst de Zeeuw acknowledges the Typist models as a useful contribution to first-order cybernetics, he questions their relevance for second-order cybernetics. I argue that, in the context of research on human learning, de Zeeuw’s characterisation is third- rather than second-order. Stewart questions the status of the model with respect to the (...) CTM and is concerned by our cursory treatment of “consciousness,” “semantics” and “embodiment.” We point out that the Typist models are digital models of cognitive processes rather than part of the CTM tradition. Franchi raises challenging questions about cognition and its embodiment. We acknowledge the contradiction implied when we talk about “implementing” the Typist models in a different form of processor, one that accommodates concurrency, as a processor of that kind would not be “programmable” in a conventional sense. (shrink)
A common view holds that consciousness is needed for knowledge acquired in one domain to be applied in a novel domain. We present evidence for the opposite; where the transfer of knowledge is achieved only in the absence of conscious awareness. Knowledge of artificial grammars was examined where training and testing occurred in different vocabularies or modalities. In all conditions grammaticality judgments attributed to random selection showed above-chance accuracy , while those attributed to conscious decisions did not. Participants also rated (...) each string’s familiarity and performed a perceptual task assessing fluency. Familiarity was predicted by repetition structure and was thus related to grammaticality. Fluency, though increasing familiarity, was unrelated to grammaticality. While familiarity predicted all judgments only those attributed to random selection showed a significant additional contribution of grammaticality, deriving primarily from chunk novelty. In knowledge transfer, as in visual perception , the unconscious may outperform the conscious. (shrink)
The influence of prior familiarity with components on the implicit learning of relations was examined using artificial grammar learning. Prior to training on grammar strings, participants were familiarised with either the novel symbols used to construct the strings or with irrelevant geometric shapes. Participants familiarised with the relevant symbols showed greater accuracy when judging the correctness of new grammar strings. Familiarity with elemental components did not increase conscious awareness of the basis for discriminations but increased accuracy even in its absence. (...) The subjective familiarity of test strings predicted grammaticality judgments. However, prior exposure to relevant symbols did not increase overall test string familiarity or reliance on familiarity when making grammaticality judgments. Familiarity with the symbols increased the learning of relations between them thus resulting in greater familiarity for grammatical versus ungrammatical strings. The results have important implications for models of implicit learning. (shrink)
Overgaard, Timmermans, Sandberg, and Cleeremans ask if the conscious experience of people in implicit learning experiments can be explored more fully than just confidence ratings allow. We show that confidence ratings play a vital role in such experiments, but are indeed incomplete in themselves: in addition, use of structural knowledge attributions and ratings of fringe feelings like familiarity are important in characterizing the phenomenology of the application of implicit knowledge.