Welch :263–279, 2017) has recently proposed two possible explanations for why the field of evolutionary biology is plagued by a steady stream of claims that it needs urgent reform. It is either seriously deficient and incapable of incorporating ideas that are new, relevant and plausible or it is not seriously deficient at all but is prone to attracting discontent and to the championing of ideas that are not very relevant, plausible and/or not really new. He argues for the second explanation. (...) This paper presents a twofold critique of his analysis: firstly, the main calls for reform do not concern the field of evolutionary biology in general but rather, or more specifically, the modern evolutionary synthesis. Secondly, and most importantly, these calls are not only inspired by the factors, enumerated by Welch, but are also, and even primarily, motivated by four problematic characteristics of the modern synthesis. This point is illustrated through a short analysis of the latest reform challenge to the modern synthesis, the so-called extended evolutionary synthesis. We conclude with the suggestion that the modern synthesis should be amended, rather than replaced. (shrink)
Nothing seems to follow strictly from 'X believes that p'. But if we reinterpret it to mean: 'X can consistently be described as consistently believing p'--which roughly renders, I think, Hintikka's notion of "defensibility"--we can get on with the subject, freed from the inhibitions of descriptive adequacy. But defensibility is neither necessary nor sufficient for truth: it tells us little, therefore, about the concept of belief on which it is based. It cannot, in particular, specify necessary conditions for the consistent (...) ascription of belief--as opposed to rational belief. If there are no such conditions, all belief ascriptions must be treated as atomic: which is implausible. If there are some, they must be settled on before an account of consistency can be complete. The reason is simple: it is that we have beliefs about our own beliefs. A set of first order beliefs is consistent if they can all be true together; but it is a lesson of Moore's paradox that consistency of second-order beliefs requires additional constraints. If someone both believes that p and that he does not believe that p, the propositions he believes might all be true together, yet he is inconsistent. And the characterization of second order consistency will remain incomplete, so long as nothing is said about the consistency of first order belief ascriptions. Suppose someone says and believes: "I am inconsistent: I believe both p and ~p." This is "indefensible": but is it insight, or nonsense? Breast-beating of this sort is guaranteed success: something he believes is bound to be false. But that remains diagnostically frustrating: is he inconsistent because what he said is true, or on the contrary because it is inconsistent? (shrink)
Living donation provides important access to organ transplantation, which is the optimal therapy for patients with end-stage liver or kidney failure. Paired exchanges have facilitated thousands of kidney transplants and enable transplantation when the donor and recipient are incompatible. However, frequently willing and otherwise healthy donors have contraindications to the donation of the organ that their recipient needs. Trans-organ paired exchanges would enable a donor associated with a kidney recipient to donate a lobe of liver and a donor associated with (...) a liver recipient to donate a kidney. This article explores some of the ethical concerns that trans-organ exchange might encounter including unbalanced donor risks, the validity of informed consent, and effects on deceased organ donation. (shrink)
Modelos neurocognitivos têm sido propostos para investigar a consciência. O objetivo é responder à pergunta sobre como o cérebro é capaz de produzir estados conscientes qualitativos. Os modelos são representações teóricas baseadas em algumas pesquisas empíricas. Contudo, a questão central, aparentemente trivial para alguns autores, refere-se à representatividade e confiabilidade dos modelos, i.e., saber se são capazes de explicar como a consciência emerge de processos neurais. Esses modelos são considerados como guia no estudo científico da consciência: os modelos cognitivos de (...) Dennett e Baars, os modelos neurobiológicos de Edelman, Dehaene et al., de Damásio, e o modelo neurodinâmico proposto por Freeman. O presente texto visa a analisar a coerência e a plausibilidade dos modelos, i.e., se realmente explicam a “consciência” e suas propriedades em termos neurais ou se explicam apenas mecanismos neurobiológicos subjacentes no cérebro. O objetivo é avaliar escopo e limites dos modelos além da aplicabilidade na resolução do problema da consciência. Neurocognitive models are proposed in order to study the problem of consciousness. The models are attempts to answer the question of how the brain can generate conscious and qualitative states. Models are theoretical representations based on empirical data. Nonetheless, the central question concerns the reliability and the representativeness of the models, i.e., whether they in fact represent what they are supposed to explain, viz., how consciousness can emerge from neuronal processes. Such models are taken to be a guide for the scientific study of consciousness. Presently, there are six models: the multiple draft, the global workspace, the dynamic core, the global neuronal workspace, the somatic markers hypothesis, and the neurodynamic model. This text is a survey and a philosophical analysis of the models of consciousness, and it considers their plausibility and coherence. I will concentrate on two points: whether the neuroscientific models are able to explain ‘consciousness’ and its properties in neural terms, or whether the models only explain the neural correlates of conscious states, and the scope, limitations and applicability of the models in the attempt to solve the problem of consciousness. (shrink)
The logical independence of two statements is tantamount to their probabilistic independence, the latter understood in a sense that derives from stochastic independence. And analogous logical and probabilistic senses of having the same factual content similarly coincide. These results are extended to notions of non-symmetrical independence and independence among more than two statements.
Ainslie’s Picoeconomics presents an ingenious theory, based on a remarkably simple basic law about the rate of discounting the value of future prospects, which explains a vast number of psychological phenomena. Hyperbolic discount rates result in changes in the ranking of interests as they get closer in time. Thus quasi-homuncular “interests” situated at different times compete within the person. In this paper I first defend the generality of scope of Ainslie’s model, which ranges over several personal and subpersonal levels of (...) psychological analysis. I raise a problem which results from the temporal relativity of assessments of value, and affects the possibility of objective values. Finally, I offer one example of a form of time-related irrationality on which Ainslie’s scheme does not seem to have a grip, namely one which relates not to a situation’s relative position in time, but to its temporal (‘progressive’ or ‘perfect’) temporal aspect. (shrink)
We introduce the notion of a dice model as a framework for describing a class of probabilistic relations. We investigate the transitivity of the probabilistic relation generated by a dice model and prove that it is a special type of cycle-transitivity that is situated between moderate stochastic transitivity or product-transitivity on the one side, and Lukasiewicz-transitivity on the other side. Finally, it is shown that any probabilistic relation with rational elements on a three-dimensional space of alternatives which possesses this particular (...) type of cycle-transitivity, can be represented by a dice model. The same does not hold in higher dimensions. (shrink)