Plongé au cœur des nanos, Christophe Vieu souligne la diversité des secteurs touchés par l’approche nano. À l’idée d’une convergence des secteurs scientifiques, il oppose l’image d’une espèce invasive. Il se sent de ce fait investi d’une responsabilité de l’ensemble des technosciences.
With a meta-analysis of 85 studies and 190 experiments, the authors test the relationship between socially responsible investing and financial performance to determine whether including corporate social responsibility and ethical concerns in portfolio management is more profitable than conventional investment policies. The study also analyses the influence of researcher methodologies with respect to several dimensions of SRI on the effects identified. The results indicate that the consideration of corporate social responsibility in stock market portfolios is neither a weakness nor a (...) strength compared with conventional investments; the heterogeneous results in prior studies largely reflect the SRI dimensions under study. (shrink)
What is philosophy of science? Numerous manuals, anthologies or essays provide carefully reconstructed vantage points on the discipline that have been gained through expert and piecemeal historical analyses. In this paper, we address the question from a complementary perspective: we target the content of one major journal of the field—Philosophy of Science—and apply unsupervised text-mining methods to its complete corpus, from its start in 1934 until 2015. By running topic-modeling algorithms over the full-text corpus, we identified 126 key research topics (...) that span across 82 years. We also tracked their evolution and fluctuating significance over time in the journal articles. Our results concur with and document known and lesser-known episodes of the philosophy of science, including the rise and fall of logic and language-related topics, the relative stability of a metaphysical and ontological questioning (space and time, causation, natural kinds, realism), the significance of epistemological issues about the nature of scientific knowledge as well as the rise of a recent philosophy of biology and other trends. These analyses exemplify how computational text-mining methods can be used to provide an empirical large-scale and data-driven perspective on the history of philosophy of science that is complementary to other current historical approaches. (shrink)
All known chimpanzee populations have been observed to hunt small mammals for meat. Detailed observations have shown, however, that hunting strategies differ considerably between populations, with some merely collecting prey that happens to pass by while others hunt in coordinated groups to chase fast-moving prey. Of all known populations, Taï chimpanzees exhibit the highest level of cooperation when hunting. Some of the group hunting roles require elaborate coordination with other hunters as well as precise anticipation of the movements of the (...) prey. The meat-sharing rules observed in this community guarantee the largest share of the meat to hunters who perform the most important roles leading to a capture. The learning time of such hunting roles is sometimes especially long. Taï chimpanzee males begin hunting monkeys at about age 10. The hunters’ progress in learning the more sophisticated hunting roles is clearly correlated with age; only after 20 years of practice are they able to perform them reliably. This lengthy learning period has also been shown in some hunter-gatherer societies and confirms the special challenge that hunting represents. (shrink)
Science is now studying biodiversity on a massive scale. These studies are occurring not just at the scale of larger plants and animals, but also at the scale of minute entities such as bacteria and viruses. This expansion has led to the development of a specific sub-field of “microbial diversity”. In this paper, I investigate how microbial diversity faces two of the classical issues encountered by the concept of “ biodiversity ”: the issues of defining the units of biodiversity and (...) of choosing a mathematical measure of diversity. I also show that the extension of the scope of biodiversity to microbial entities such as viruses and many other not-clearly-alive entities raises yet another foundational issue: that of defining a “lower-limit” of biodiversity. (shrink)
Ignoring most published evidence on wild chimpanzees, Tomasello et al.'s claim that shared goals and intentions are uniquely human amounts to a faith statement. A brief survey of chimpanzee hunting tactics shows that group hunts are compatible with a shared goals and intentions hypothesis. The disdain of observational data in experimental psychology leads some to ignore the reality of animal cognitive achievements.
Many researchers consider cancer to have molecular causes, namely mutated genes that result in abnormal cell proliferation (e.g. Weinberg 1998). For others, the causes of cancer are to be found not at the molecular level but at the tissue level where carcinogenesis consists of disrupted tissue organization with downward causation effects on cells and cellular components (e.g. Sonnenschein and Soto 2008). In this contribution, I ponder how to make sense of such downward causation claims. Adopting a manipulationist account of causation (...) (Woodward 2003), I propose a formal definition of downward causation and discuss further requirements (in light of Baumgartner 2009). I then show that such an account cannot be mobilized in support of non-reductive physicalism (contrary to Raatikainen 2010). However, I also argue that such downward causation claims might point at particularly interesting dynamic properties of causal relationships that might prove salient in characterizing causal relationships (following Woodward 2010). (shrink)
This essay is intended to explore relations between work and subjectivity (that is, what concerns the individual subject: his or her suffering, pleasure, personal development, and so on). To this end, we shall draw on a body of theory and clinical practice that has been developing in France for some twenty years under the name of the `psychodynamics of work' and ask the three following questions. What is work? This question might seem trivial, but the clinical analysis of the relationship (...) between work and subjectivity shows that work is inseparable from suffering. Working inevitably means experiencing failure—in terms of one's know-how, technique and control of the work process. Is suffering simply an unfortunate consequence of work? We shall attempt to show that in fact it is also at the origin of intelligence and ingeniousness. Which subjectivity? Assuming that we recognise what work owes to subjectivity, we must also reverse the question and ask ourselves what subjectivity (individual development) owes to work. We shall attempt to show that work constitutes a decisive challenge for subjectivity, one that can enhance that subjectivity (self-fulfilment) or, conversely, destroy it (mental pathology). Here, we shall evoke the questions raised by mental pathologies generated by the new forms of work organisation. Subjectivity between work and action? Work is not simply an individual experience. We always work for someone. Working always means encountering others in social relations, or in other words, relations of domination and servitude. Under what conditions do men and women who work agree to cooperate with each other? What conditions allow us to ward off the violence threatening to emerge from the social relations of work? Work offers what is perhaps the most ordinary opportunity to learn about living together (in Aristotle's sense) and democracy. But it can also give rise to the worst—the instrumentalisation of human beings and barbarity. (shrink)
Do trees of life have roots? What do these roots look like? In this contribution, I argue that research on the origins of life might offer glimpses on the topology of these very roots. More specifically, I argue (1) that the roots of the tree of life go well below the level of the commonly mentioned ‘ancestral organisms’ down into the level of much simpler, minimally living entities that might be referred to as ‘protoliving systems’, and (2) that further below, (...) a system of roots gradually dissolves into non-living matter along several functional dimensions. In between non-living and living matter, one finds physico-chemical systems that I propose to characterize by a ‘lifeness signature’. In turn, this ‘lifeness signature’ might also account for a diverse range of biochemical entities that are found to be ‘less-than-living’ yet ‘more-than-non-living’. (shrink)
The article reevaluates the reception of Mendelism in France, and more generally considers the complex relationship between Mendelism and plant breeding in the first half on the 20th century. It shows on the one side that agricultural research and higher education institutions have played a key role in the development and institutionalization of genetics in France, whereas university biologists remained reluctant to accept this approach on heredity. But on the other side, plant breeders, and agricultural researchers, despite an interest in (...) Mendelism, never came to see it as the breeders' panacea, and regarded it instead as of only limited value for plant breeding. I account for this judgment in showing that the plant breeders and Mendelism designed two contrasting kinds of experimental systems and inhabited distinct experimental cultures. While Mendelian geneticists designed experimental systems that allowed the production of definite ratios of different forms that varied in relation to a few characters, plant breeders' experimental systems produced a wide range of variation, featuring combinations between hundreds of traits. Rather than breaking this multiple variation down into simple elements, breeders designed and monitored a genetic lottery. The gene was a unit in a Mendelian experimental culture, an "epistemic thing" as Rheinberger put it, that could be grasped by means of statistical regularities, but it remained of secondary importance for French plant breeders, for whom the strain or the variety -- not the gene -- was the fundamental unit of analysis and manipulation. (shrink)
La fin du xixe siècle est une période difficile pour les Français. La défaite de 1871, la chute du régime impérial, les déboires de la Troisième République et le krach de 1882 les ont amenés à douter de la capacité de leurs gouvernants. La société se fragilise et se divise, favorisant la montée du boulangisme et de l’antisémitisme. Charles Maurras et l’Action française en profitent également, après le suicide du général Boulanger en 1891 et la condamnation du capitaine Dreyfus en (...) 1894. Comtien convaincu, Maurras prend régulièrement position contre Rousseau, dans lequel il voit le principal responsable de la décadence morale et politique de la France. S’ouvre alors une campagne d’une rare violence contre les valeurs morales et esthétiques du romantisme. Erigé en icône du romantisme par les partisans d’une « Nouvelle Renaissance Classique », Rousseau est accusé de tous les maux de la société moderne : l ’individualisme exacerbé, la perversion des mœurs, le cosmopolitisme, le républicanisme, le sionisme, l’anarchisme et même l’homosexualité. (shrink)
Advances in machine learning and natural language processing are revolutionizing the way we live, work, and think. As for any science, they are based on assumptions about what the world is, and how humans interact with it. In this paper, I discuss what is potentially one of these assumptions: structuralism, which states that all cultures share a hidden structure. I illustrate this assumption with political footprints: a machine-learning technique using pre-trained word vectors for political discourse analysis. I introduce some of (...) the benefits and limitations of structuralism when applied to machine learning, and the risks of exploiting a technology before establishing the validity of all its hypotheses. I consider how machine-learning techniques could evolve towards hybrid structuralism or post-structuralism, and how deeply these developments would impact cultural studies. (shrink)
■ Evidence from functional neuroimaging studies on resting state suggests that there are two distinct anticorrelated cortical systems that mediate conscious awareness: an “extrinsic” system that encompasses lateral fronto-parietal areas and has been linked with processes of external input (external awareness), and an “intrinsic” system which encompasses mainly medial brain areas and..
Luminance and color are strong and self-sufficient cues to pictorial depth in visual scenes and images. The present study investigates the conditions Under which luminance or color either strengthens or overrides geometric depth cues. We investigated how luminance contrasts associated with color contrast interact with relative height in the visual field, partial occlusion, and interposition in determining the probability that a given figure is perceived as ‘‘nearer’’ than another. Latencies of ‘‘near’’ responses were analyzed to test for effects of attentional (...) selection. Figures in a pair were supported by luminance contrast or isoluminant color contrast and combined with one of the three geometric cues. The results of Experiment 1 show that luminance contrasts associated with hue, when it does not interact with other hues, produces the same effects as achromatic luminance contrasts: The probability of‘‘near’’ increases with luminance contrast while the latencies for ‘‘near’’ responses decrease. Partial occlusion is found to be a strong enough pictorial cue to support a weaker red luminance contrast. Interposition cues lose out against cues of spatial position and partial occlusion. The results of Experiment 2, with isoluminant displays of varying color contrast, reveal that red color contrast on a light background supported by any of the three geometric cues wins over green or white supported by any of the three geometric cues. On a dark background, red color contrast supported by the interposition cue loses out against green or white color contrast supported by partial occlusion. These findings reveal that color is not an independent depth cue, but is strongly influenced by luminance contrast and stimulus geometry. Systematically shorter response latencies for stronger ‘‘near’’ percepts demonstrate that selective visual attention reliably detects the most likely depth cue combination in a given configuration. (shrink)
In recent cancer research, strong and apparently conflicting epistemological stances have been advocated by different research teams in a mist of an ever-growing body of knowledge ignited by ever-more perplexing and non-conclusive experimental facts: in the past few years, an 'organicist' approach investigating cancer development at the tissue level has challenged the established and so-called 'reductionist' approach focusing on disentangling the genetic and molecular circuitry of carcinogenesis. This article reviews the ways in which 'organicism' and 'reductionism' are used and opposed (...) in this context, with an aim at clarifying the debate. Methodological, epistemological and ontological implications of both approaches are discussed. We argue that the 'organicist/reductionist' opposition in the present case of carcinogenesis is more a matter of diverging heuristics than a claim about theoretical or ontological (ir)reducibility. As a matter of fact, except for the downward causation claim, which we question, we argue that the organicist arguments are compatible with the reductionist approach. Moreover, we speculate that both approaches, which currently focus on specific entities i.e., genes versus tissues, will need to shift their conceptual frameworks to studying complex arrays of relationships potentially ranging over several levels of entities, as is the case with 'systems biology'. (shrink)
Artificial stimulation of the peripheral vestibular system has been shown to improve ownership of body parts in neurological patients, suggesting vestibular contributions to bodily self-consciousness. Here, we investigated whether galvanic vestibular stimulation interferes with the mechanisms underlying ownership, touch, and the localization of one’s own hand in healthy participants by using the “rubber hand illusion” paradigm. Our results show that left anodal GVS increases illusory ownership of the fake hand and illusory location of touch. We propose that these changes are (...) due to vestibular interference with spatial and/or temporal mechanisms of visual-tactile integration leading to an enhancement of visual capture. As only left anodal GVS lead to such changes, and based on neurological data on body part ownership, we suggest that this vestibular interference is mediated by the right temporo-parietal junction and the posterior insula. (shrink)
A socioeconomic and demographic analysis of U.S. Google Trends for queries about Business Ethics and Greed is proposed in the context of the 2008 financial crisis. The framework is grounded in the ethical decision-making literature. Two models using micro and macro-type variables are tested using GLM and GEE regression techniques. The frequency of these Google queries varies positively with the ratio of females, educational attainment, younger adult age, some measures of economic hardship or inequalities, and the lesser the weight of (...) the finance industry represented in each State. The frequency of queries intensifies for these same socioeconomic and demographic categories, in the aftermath of the financial crisis. This article is the first to study the salience of business ethics as an issue in the empirical literature using a nationwide database. It also provides a first empirical study in the specialized literature on “ethics in a time of crisis”. This study lays a preliminary groundwork to identify pro-ethical reform segments of the population, with practical use for financial regulatory agencies. (shrink)
Showing a very early interest in Descartes, after having first considered him as a Christian thinker in the perspective of a deconstruction of religious life, Heidegger soon regards him as the major obstacle to the phenomenological analyses he wants to develop, as part of the first ontological search he gave himself: that of a hermeneutics of facticity. Therefore, the latter immediately takes in his work the shape of a hermeneutics of the I think, therefore I am, its author being blamed (...) for having entirely ignored the sense of being in the I am, focused as he is on the thinking ego, the ins and outs of which he develops. But the criticism also applying to Husserl, it is by laying the blame on his master, that Heidegger intends to radicalize the project of his own master, hence the necessity to throw light on the origin and the foundations of what we can call the Cartesian question in Heidegger. (shrink)
The plurality of definitions of life is often perceived as an unsatisfying situation stemming from still incomplete knowledge about ‘what it is to live’ as well as from the existence of a variety of methods for reaching a definition. For many, such plurality is to be remedied and the search for a unique and fully satisfactory definition of life pursued. In this contribution on the contrary, it is argued that the existence of such a variety of definitions of life undermines (...) the very feasibility of ever reaching a unique unambiguous definition. It is argued that focusing on the definitions of specific types of ‘living systems’ – somehow in the same way that one can define specific types of ‘flying systems’ – could be more fruitful from a heuristic point of view than looking for ‘the’ right definition of life, and probably more accurate in terms of carving Nature at its joints. (shrink)
Probably the most distinctive feature of synthetic biology is its being “synthetic” in some sense or another. For some, synthesis plays a unique role in the production of knowledge that is most distinct from that played by analysis: it is claimed to deliver knowledge that would otherwise not be attained. In this contribution, my aim is to explore how synthetic biology delivers knowledge via synthesis, and to assess the extent to which this knowledge is distinctly synthetic. On the basis of (...) distinctions between knowledge-how and knowledge-why, and between syntheses that succeed and syntheses that fail, I argue that the contribution of synthesis to knowledge is best understood when syntheses are construed as experimental interventions that aim at probing causal relationships between properties of the entities that are combined through these syntheses and properties of their target products. The distinctiveness of synthetic biology in its quest for knowledge through synthesis stems from its ability to sample at will a space of empirical possibilities that is not only huge but also that has been so scarcely sampled by nature. (shrink)
I analyse the impact of search engines on our cognitive and epistemic practices. For that purpose, I describe the processes of assessment of documents on the Web as relying on distributed cognition. Search engines together with Web users, are distributed assessment systems whose task is to enable efficient allocation of cognitive resources of those who use search engines. Specifying the cognitive function of search engines within these distributed assessment systems allows interpreting anew the changes that have been caused by search (...) engine technologies. I describe search engines as implementing reputation systems and point out the similarities with other reputation systems. I thus call attention to the continuity in the distributed cognitive processes that determine the allocation of cognitive resources for information gathering from others. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn Sinicized Asia, justice, conceptualized and institutionalized in its current form on a Western mold is part of a singular and ancient Confucian legal tradition.In this paper, it will be argued that Confucians initially articulated the concept of justice in relation to their own explanation of the world and their ideal, which distinguishes and rewards men’s actions according to their merits and social condition.It will be shown that Confucius’s thinking is primarily political and suggests ways of harmoniously organizing and reforming (...) society in which justice is conceived both as a principle of government, a principle of social conduct and one of the essential virtues, or a ‘moral sense’ that everyone must possess, while, in practice, Confucian justice will put forward the imperatives of retributive justice. This, despite its philosophical aversion for sanctions and for what upsets harmony. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss ethical implications of the use of mobile phone apps in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact tracing is a well-established feature of public health practice during infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics. However, the high proportion of pre-symptomatic transmission in COVID-19 means that standard contact tracing methods are too slow to stop the progression of infection through the population. To address this problem, many countries around the world have deployed or are developing mobile phone apps (...) capable of supporting instantaneous contact tracing. Informed by the on-going mapping of ‘proximity events’ these apps are intended both to inform public health policy and to provide alerts to individuals who have been in contact with a person with the infection. The proposed use of mobile phone data for ‘intelligent physical distancing’ in such contexts raises a number of important ethical questions. In our paper, we outline some ethical considerations that need to be addressed in any deployment of this kind of approach as part of a multidimensional public health response. We also, briefly, explore the implications for its use in future infectious disease outbreaks. (shrink)
Many researchers consider cancer to have molecular causes, namely mutated genes that result in abnormal cell proliferation (e.g. Weinberg 1998); yet for others, the causes of cancer are to be found not at the molecular level but at the tissue level and carcinogenesis would consist in a disrupted tissue organization with downward causation effects on cells and cellular components (e.g. Sonnenschein & Soto 2008). In this contribution, I ponder how to make sense of such downward causation claims. Adopting a manipulationist (...) account of causation (Woodward 2003), I propose a formal definition of downward causation, and discuss further requirements (in light of Baumgartner 2009). I then show that such an account cannot be mobilized in support of non-reductive physicalism (contrary to Raatikainen 2010). However, I also argue that such downward causation claims might point at particularly interesting dynamic properties of causal relationships that might prove salient in characterizing causal relationships (following Woodward 2010). (shrink)