Niklas Luhmann is widely recognized as one of the most original thinkers in the social sciences today. This major new work further develops the theories of the author by offering a challenging analysis of the relationship between society and the environment. Luhmann extends the concept of "ecology" to refer to any analysis that looks at connections between social systems and the surrounding environment. He traces the development of the notion of "environment" from the medieval idea--which encompasses both human and (...) natural systems--to our modern definition, which separates social systems from the external environment. In Luhmann's thought, human beings form part of the environment, while social systems consist only of communications. Utilizing this distinctive theoretical perspective, Luhmann presents a comprehensive catalog of society's reactions to environmental problems. He investigates the spheres of the economy, law, science, politics, religion, and education to show how these areas relate to environmental issues. Ecological Communication is an important work that critically examines claims central to our society--claims to modernity and rationality. It will be of great importance to scholars and students in sociology, political science, philosophy, anthropology, and law. (shrink)
This work represents Niklas Luhmann's definitive application of systems theory to the understanding of law. In it Luhmann reviews past attempts to create a theory of law and argues they all fail to capture how law operates in modern society. He presents an alternative, critical theory through analysing law as a system of communication.
Donald Davidson has made enormous contributions to the philosophy of action, epistemology, semantics and philosophy of mind and today is recognized as one of the most important analytical philosophers of the late twentieth century. Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning and Knowledge addresses several issues including Davidson's writings on epistemology and theory of language with their implications of ontology and philosophy of mind and his advances in the philosophy of mind in relation to the views of Williard V. Quine, John McDowell and (...) Peter F. Strawson, in essays by Roger Gibson and Anita Avarmides. (shrink)
What challenges must a principle of need for prioritisations in health care meet in order to be plausible and practically useful? Some progress in answering this question has recently been made by Hope, Østerdal and Hasman. This article continue their work by suggesting that the characteristic feature of principles of needs is that they are sufficientarian, saying that we have a right to a minimally acceptable or good life or health, but nothing more. Accordingly, principles of needs must answer two (...) distributive questions: when do we have sufficient and how should we prioritise among those who do not yet have a sufficiency? Furthermore, it is argued that Roger Crisp’s theory of need, which combines sufficientarianism with prioritarianism below the threshold of need, is better equipped than alternatives to answer these questions as well as meeting the challenges formulated by Hope, Østerdal and Hasman. However, Crisp’s theory faces two major challenges. First, it has to say something about the currency of distribution: a principle of need must be complemented either with a theory on the human good or a theory about the proper goals of health care. Second, it has to say something about where the threshold should be set. However, any attempt to set a threshold seems morally arbitrary in the light of the sufficientarian idea that those just above the threshold never should be given priority over those just below the threshold. (shrink)
This article is about the justifiability of accepting worse cost effectiveness for orphan drugs, that is, treatments for rare diseases, in a publicly financed health care system. Recently, three arguments have been presented that may be used in favour of exceptionally advantageous economic terms for orphan drugs. These arguments share the common feature of all referring to considerations of justice or fairness: the argument of the irrelevance of group size, the argument from the principle of need, and the argument of (...) identifiability. It is argued that all of these arguments fail to support the conclusion that orphan drugs should be subsidized to a larger extent than treatments for common diseases. The argument of the irrelevance fails to distinguish between directly and indirectly relevant considerations of fairness or justice. The recent attempt to revive the moral relevance of identifiability has provided no novel reasons to think that identifiability is morally relevant in itself or due to considerations of fairness and justice. The argument from the principle of need does not fail due to any inherent flaw in the principle as such. Rather, this principle can be interpreted in different ways, and none of these interpretations support exceptionally advantageous terms economically for treating rare diseases specifically. It is concluded that we are awaiting justice based reasons for the preferential treatment of orphan drugs. (shrink)
Niklas Luhmann elaborated his account of the political system in a complex, though often implicit, debate with Carl Schmitt. Underlying his systems-theoretical model of politics, and of the legitimacy of politics, is the anti-Schmittian view that modern society's communications about itself are neither coordinated by, nor embodied in, a political centre, and that politics is always an unemphatic aspect of these communications. However, this article proposes an immanent critique of Luhmann's analysis of the political system, and it argues that (...) his theory uses highly selective and puristic techniques to support its limitation of society's politics. If interpreted critically, in fact, Luhmann's political sociology illuminates the specific politicality and political emphasis of certain communications, it underlines the distinction of politics from other systems of social communication, and it calls for a re-insistence on the political as a primary category of social analysis. (shrink)
Trotz Luhmanns und Bourdieus Grundlagenwerke hat die Soziologie die empirische Erforschung und theoretische Analyse der Kunst weitgehend vernachlässigt. Ein soziologisch fundierter aktueller Aufriss des Kunstsystems liegt nicht vor. Einen Versuch dazu unternimmt Müller-Jentsch mit dieser Publikation, die fokussiert auf die soziologischen Begriffe von Organisation, Profession und Strategie Beiträge zu einer empirisch gerichteten Soziologie des Kunstsystems versammelt.
Genetic determinism can be described as the attribution of the formation of traits to genes, where genes are ascribed more causal power than what scientific consensus suggests. Belief in genetic determinism is an educational problem because it contradicts scientific knowledge, and is a societal problem because it has the potential to foster intolerant attitudes such as racism and prejudice against sexual orientation. In this article, we begin by investigating the very nature of belief in genetic determinism. Then, we investigate whether (...) knowledge of genetics and genomics is associated with beliefs in genetic determinism. Finally, we explore the extent to which social factors such as gender, education, and religiosity are associated with genetic determinism. Methodologically, we gathered and analyzed data on beliefs in genetic determinism, knowledge of genetics and genomics, and social variables using the “Public Understanding and Attitudes towards Genetics and Genomics” instrument. Our analyses of PUGGS responses from a sample of Brazilian university freshmen undergraduates indicated that belief in genetic determinism was best characterized as a construct built up by two dimensions or belief systems: beliefs concerning social traits and beliefs concerning biological traits; levels of belief in genetic determination of social traits were low, which contradicts prior work; associations between knowledge of genetics and genomics and levels of belief in genetic determinism were low; and social factors such as age and religiosity had stronger associations with beliefs in genetic determinism than knowledge. Although our study design precludes causal inferences, our results raise questions about whether enhancing genetic literacy will decrease or prevent beliefs in genetic determinism. (shrink)
Decisions are taken by humans very often during professional as well as leisure activities. It is particularly evident during surfing the Internet: selecting web sites to explore, choosing needed information in search engine results or deciding which product to buy in an on-line store. Recommender systems are electronic applications, the aim of which is to support humans in this decision making process. They are widely used in many applications: adaptive WWW servers, e-learning, music and video preferences, internet stores etc. In (...) on-line solutions, such as e-shops or libraries, the aim of recommendations is to show customers the products which they are probably interested in. As input data the following are taken: shopping basket archives, ratings of the products or servers log files.The article presents a solution of recommender system which helps users to select an interesting product. The system analyses data from other customers' ratings of the products. It uses clustering methods to find similarities among the users and proposed techniques to identify users' profiles. The system was implemented in Apache Mahout environment and tested on a movie database. Selected similarity measures are based on: Euclidean distance, cosine as well as correlation coefficient and loglikehood function. (shrink)
The article is an introduction to a special section in TCS on the work of Niklas Luhmann. The first part of the article provides a general introduction to Luhmann's work with an emphasis on the basic elements of Luhmann's general systems theory, in particular Luhmann's notions of autopoiesis and meaning, and the traditions on which it is based. The second part of the text is a presentation of the articles in the special section.
One well known problem regarding quantifiers, in particular the 1st order quantifiers, is connected with their syntactic categories and denotations.The unsatisfactory efforts to establish the syntactic and ontological categories of quantifiers in formalized first-order languages can be solved by means of the so called principle of categorial compatibility formulated by Roman Suszko, referring to some innovative ideas of Gottlob Frege and visible in syntactic and semantic compatibility of language expressions. In the paper the principle is introduced for categorial languages generated (...) by the Ajdukiewicz’s classical categorial grammar. The 1st-order quantifiers are typically ambiguous. Every 1st-order quantifier of the type k > 0 is treated as a two-argument functor-function defined on the variable standing at this quantifier and its scope (the sentential function with exactly k free variables, including the variable bound by this quantifier); a binary function defined on denotations of its two arguments is its denotation. Denotations of sentential functions, and hence also quantifiers, are defined separately in Fregean and in situational semantics. They belong to the ontological categories that correspond to the syntactic categories of these sentential functions and the considered quantifiers. The main result of the paper is a solution of the problem of categories of the 1st-order quantifiers based on the principle of categorial compatibility. (shrink)
The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems of Luhmann's theory (...) of morals and ethics are demonstrated by analyzing the concepts of risk and responsibility. Finally, the author demands that ethics should be understood even more as social ethics which reflect upon their social foundation in a more consequent way. (shrink)
One well known problem regarding quantifiers, in particular the 1storder quantifiers, is connected with their syntactic categories and denotations. The unsatisfactory efforts to establish the syntactic and ontological categories of quantifiers in formalized first-order languages can be solved by means of the so called principle of categorial compatibility formulated by Roman Suszko, referring to some innovative ideas of Gottlob Frege and visible in syntactic and semantic compatibility of language expressions. In the paper the principle is introduced for categorial languages generated (...) by the Ajdukiewicz’s classical categorial grammar. The 1st-order quantifiers are typically ambiguous. Every 1st-order quantifier of the type k > 0 is treated as a two-argument functorfunction defined on the variable standing at this quantifier and its scope (the sentential function with exactly k free variables, including the variable bound by this quantifier); a binary function defined on denotations of its two arguments is its denotation. Denotations of sentential functions, and hence also quantifiers, are defined separately in Fregean and in situational semantics. They belong to the ontological categories that correspond to the syntactic categories of these sentential functions and the considered quantifiers. The main result of the paper is a solution of the problem of categories of the 1st-order quantifiers based on the principle of categorial compatibility. (shrink)
The paper concentrates on the problem of adequate reflection of fragments of reality via expressions of language and inter-subjective knowledge about these fragments, called here, in brief, language adequacy. This problem is formulated in several aspects, the most being: the compatibility of language syntax with its bi-level semantics: intensional and extensional. In this paper, various aspects of language adequacy find their logical explication on the ground of the formal-logical theory T of any categorial language L generated by the so-called classical (...) categorial grammar, and also on the ground of its extension to the bi-level, intensional and extensional semantic-pragmatic theory ST for L. In T, according to the token-type distinction of Ch.S. Peirce, L is characterized first as a language of well-formed expression-tokens (wfe-tokens) - material, concrete objects - and then as a language of wfe-types - abstract objects, classes of wfe-tokens. In ST the semantic-pragmatic notions of meaning and interpretation for wfe-types of L of intensional semantics and the notion of denotation of extensional semanics for wfe-types and constituents of knowledge are formalized. These notions allow formulating a postulate (an axiom of categorial adequacy) from which follow all the most important conditions of the language adequacy, including the above, and a structural one connected with three principles of compositionality. (shrink)
The main objective of the paper is to provide a conceptual apparatus of a general logical theory of language communication. The aim of the paper is to outline a formal-logical theory of language in which the concepts of the phenomenon of language communication and language communication in general are defined and some conditions for their adequacy are formulated. The theory explicates the key notions of contemporary syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The theory is formalized on two levels: token-level and type-level. As (...) such, it takes into account the dual – token and type – ontological character of linguistic entities. The basic notions of the theory: language communication, meaning and interpretation are introduced on the second, type-level of formalization, and their required prior formalization of some of the notions introduced on the first, token-level; among others, the notion of an act of communication. Owing to the theory, it is possible to address the problems of adequacy of both empirical acts of communication and of language communication in general. All the conditions of adequacy of communication discussed in the presented paper, are valid for one-way communication (sender-recipient); nevertheless, they can also apply to the reverse direction of language communication (recipient-sender). Therefore, they concern the problem of two-way understanding in language communication. (shrink)
This book presents a formal and philosophical analysis of language syntax. It refers to some ideas of E.Husserl and G. Frege, to S. Leśniewski's theory of syntactic categories and K. Ajdukiewicz's conception of formal grammar, also to Ch.S. Pierces's distinction between tokens (concrete linguistic entities) and types (ideal linguistic entities) and to A.A. Markov's theory of algorithms. The central aim of the book is - in the spirit of these ideas - to provide both strict yet comprehensive lectures on two (...) axiomatic theories of languages (grammars) irrespective of specific structure of their expression and the notation used in them. The main feature of these theories are that definitions of well-formed expression allow the formulation of algorithms for the examination of syntactic correctness of expressions and that their formalizations are bi-level, in reference to opposite philosophical orientations: nominalistic and idealistic. The theoretical considerations in the book speak in favour of the former. The book contains a translation of the basic contents of the book in Polish "Teorie języków syntaktycznie kategorialnych ("Theories of syntactically categorial languages"), PWN, Warszawa-Wrocław 1985, and extensive Introduction and Final Remarks. In Introduction are discussed the main assumptions, objectives and conditionings of presented theories and intuitive foundations of these theories. Final Remarks are connected with the subject-matter of the book and the ability to build syntax theories in the opposition spirit, because of the Platonic approach to language syntax. -/- . (shrink)