The paper provides a briefintroduction to the biotechnology revolutionand its impact upon biological researchrelevant to military uses. It describes thestatus of biological weapons today, and currentefforts to strengthen the Biological WeaponsConvention with a legally binding complianceprotocol. Specific modifications ofmicro-organisms that may be of military use arediscussed. Three examples of dual-use researchactivities are then used to highlight issuesand dilemmas in ethical decision making.
The “Model for Reaching Ethical Judgments in the context of Modern Technologies — the Case of Genetic Technology”, which is presented here, has arisen from the project “Ethical Criteria bearing upon Decisions taken in the field of Biotechnology”. This project has been pursued since 1991 in the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Technikforschung (ZIT) of the Technical University of Darmstadt, with the purpose of examining decision-making in selected activities involving the production of transgenic plants that have a useful application. The model is (...) the basis of an outline for interviews to investigate how far decisions concerning the development of such plants with genetic techniques take ethical criteria into account. It was necessary to design this new model because other models for reaching judgments of this kind were not conceptually suited for concrete application. This model represents a problem related approach and combines methodological with substantive typology. In this it differs from comparable models for reaching ethical judgments. (shrink)
Bender, Robert The USA constitution does not have a clause requiring any separation of church and state and until 1948 there were no Supreme Court rulings to ensure that this was seen as a basic constitutional principle. Then in 1945 Vashti McCollum, a 33-year-old part-time squaredancing teacher from Champaign, Illinois, initiated a legal action that changed all that.
Im Alltag äußern wir nicht nur Aussagen darüber, wie die Welt tatsächlich beschaffen ist, sondern auch darüber, was notwendigerweise oder möglicherweise der Fall ist. Doch worin ist die Wahrheit solcher sogenannten Modalaussagen fundiert? Auf diese Frage gibt Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz bereits in der Frühen Neuzeit eine höchst interessante Antwort: Für ihn sind modale Wahrheiten im Intellekt Gottes fundiert. Diese Modalitätskonzeption analysiert Sebastian Bender in der vorliegenden Studie auf systematisch informierte Weise. Dabei kommt er zu folgenden Ergebnissen: Erstens vertritt Leibniz, (...) anders als häufig angenommen, eine nicht-reduktionistische Metaphysik der Modalität– Modales wird von ihm also nicht auf etwas Nicht-Modales reduziert. Zweitens ist Leibniz' Theorie der Modalität kombinatorisch geprägt. Drittens repräsentieren mögliche Welten für Leibniz nicht alles metaphysisch Mögliche. Gott kann im Prinzip auch Ansammlungen von Substanzen erschaffen, die keine Welten konstituieren. Viertens schließlich ist das für Leibniz zentrale Prinzip des zureichenden Grundes kontingent und nicht, wie häufig vorausgesetzt, notwendig. Auf diese Weise gelingt es Leibniz, seinen Rationalismus mit seinem Theismus zu verbinden. (shrink)
We examine how UK listed companies set executive pay, reviewing the implications of following best practice in corporate governance and examining how this can conflict with what shareholders and other stakeholders might perceive as good behaviour. We do this by considering current governance regulation in the light of interviews with protagonists in the debate, setting out the dilemmas faced by remuneration-setters, and showing how the processes they follow can lead to ethical conflicts.Current ‘best’ practice governing executive pay includes the use (...) of market benchmarks to determine salary and bonus levels, significant levels of performance-related pay, the desire for executives to hold equity in their companies, the disclosure of total shareholder return compared to an index, and a perceived need for conformity, in order to grant legitimacy to policies. Whilst each of these may in some circumstances lead to good practice, each has the potential to cause dysfunctional behaviour in executives. Overall, we conclude that although best practice might drive good executive behaviour that coincides with the company’s and key stakeholders’ objectives, there are many reasons why it should not. (shrink)
We have argued that Lehrer's definitions of coherence and justification have serious technical defects. As a result, the definition of justification is both too weak and too strong. We have suggested solutions for some of the problems, but others seem irremediable. We would also argue more generally that if coherence is anything like what Lehrer's theory says it is, then coherence is neither necessary nor sufficient for justification. While our current objections are directed at the ‘letter’ of Lehrer's theory, other (...) criticisms can be aimed at its very ‘spirit’. We would argue that coherence is unnecessary for justification because of the existence of ‘basic beliefs’, those about self-presenting states (‘I have a tingling sensation in my leg’) or self-evident truths (‘All men are men’). Such beliefs may be justified even though there are no other propositions in the subject's acceptance system that makes them more probable than competitors. Coherence is, moreover, insufficient for justification, because it ignores the inferential structure of the subject's acceptance system, and requires no justification of any kind for the subject's acceptance system itself. But we must develop these more fundamental objections on another occasion. (shrink)
The challenge of excellence in community health services has been taken up by medical educators in Colombia. Confronted with a nation where the primary indicators of disease mortality and morbidity (cardiovascular disease and infant mortality) were characteristic of First and Third World patterns, respectively, the Ministry of Health and La Asociacion Colombiana de Facultades de Medicina (ASCOFAME), representatives of institutions of medical education, have collaborated to conduct a needs assessment of the country's health needs and devised an implementation plan designed (...) to better address the needs of the majority of that nation's people.As a model, the Colombian reorganization of medical education is an example which could be emulated by the U.S. where policy makers are struggling with troublesome questions of cost, equity and quality. (shrink)
This essay is about the Wolfgang Köhler’s philosophical ideas expressed in his The Place of Value in a World of Facts of 1938. Köhler, who strongly supports a scientific world view, considers the question as to whether science is able to cope with human values, besides natural facts. Relying upon phenomenological analyses, and on his previous researches in natural philosophy, Köhler introduces his doctrine of “epistemological dualism”. From a historical point of view, this theory exhibits some similarity with the (...) philosophical ideas expressed by Köhler’s Berlin mentor Carl Stumpf. It is argued that Köhler’s epistemological dualism actually supports ontological monism and aims at offering a unified view of natural facts and human values. (shrink)
Review of Wolfgang Metzger, Laws of Seeing, trans. Lothar Spillman, Steven Lehar, Mimsey Stromeyer, and Michael Wertheimer. MIT Press, 2006; paperback, 2009. Pp. xxv+203. £18.95 PB. Original German edition published in 1936.
This is one of a pair of discussion notes comparing some features of the account of causation in Wolfgang Spohn’s Laws of Belief with the “interventionist” account in James Woodward’s Making Things Happen. This note locates the core difference of the accounts in the fact that Woodward’s account follows an epistemological order, while Spohn’s follows a conceptual order. This unfolds in five further differences: type- versus token-level causation, reference to time, actual/counterfactual intervention versus epistemic/suppositional wiggling, a circular versus a (...) circle-free conception of the circumstances of a direct causal relation, and absolute versus model-relative causation. (shrink)
This collection includes twenty original philosophical essays in honour of Wolfgang Spohn. The contributions mirror the scope of Wolfgang Spohn’s work. They address topics from epistemology (e.g., the theory of ranking functions, belief revision, and the nature of knowledge and belief), philosophy of science (e.g., causation, induction, and laws of nature), the philosophy of language (e.g., the theory of meaning and the semantics of counterfactuals), and the philosophy of mind (e.g., intentionality and free will), as well as problems (...) of ontology, logic, the theory of practical rationality, and meta-philosophy. ― Contributors: Ansgar Beckermann, Wolfgang Benkewitz, Bernd Buldt, Ralf Busse, Christoph Fehige, Wolfgang Freitag, Gordian Haas, Volker Halbach, Franz Huber, Andreas Kemmerling, Manfred Kupffer, Hannes Leitgeb, Godehard Link, Arthur Merin, Thomas Müller, Julian Nida-Rümelin, Martine Nida-Rümelin, Hans Rott, Holger Sturm, Thomas Ede Zimmermann, Alexandra Zinke. (shrink)
An abstract in English is included in the download. Wolfgang Pauli war einer der Grossen unter den Physikern des 20. Jahrhunderts, nicht ganz so berühmt wie Heisenberg und Einstein, aber annähernd ebenso bedeutend. Er war es, der bei der Entwicklung der Quantenphysik das sogenannte Ausschließungsprinzip entdeckte und damit den Weg zu unserem physikalischen Grundverständnis der ganzen Chemie eröffnete. Seine Gedanken galten aber auch hintergründigen wissenschaftsphilosophischen Fragen, und die gängigen Auffassungen über die Rolle von Vernunft und Materialismus in der Naturwissenschaft (...) waren ihm zu eng. Er betonte vielmehr, dass wissenschaftliches Verständnis immer wesentlich auch psychisch ist, dass das erlebte Glücksgefühl, welches mit einer Entdeckung verbunden ist, entscheidendes Motiv ist, dass dabei Ordnungen der Natur mit Urbildern unserer Psyche verknüpft werden, und dass eine sinnvolle Weltsicht zwar auch, aber nicht nur durch abendländisches Vernunftdenken zustande kommen kann; er strebte nach einer Verbindung mit einem gefühlten Einheitsdenken in der Tradition der östlichen asiatischen Kulturen. Abschliessend betont der Artikel, wie vielseitig überhaupt die Gedanken der Begründer der modernen Physik im 20. Jahrhundert in Bezug auf Grundfragen des religiösen Denkens waren. (shrink)
Several philosophers have argued that the factivity of knowledge poses a problem for epistemic contextualism (EC), which they have construed as a knowability problem. On a proposed minimalistic reading of EC’s commitments, Wolfgang Freitag argues that factivity yields no knowability problem for EC. I begin by explaining how factivity is thought to generate a contradiction out of paradigmatic contextualist cases on a certain reading of EC’s commitments. This reductio results in some kind of reflexivity problem for the contextualist when (...) it comes to knowing her theory: either a knowability problem or a statability problem. Next, I set forth Freitag’s minimalistic reading of EC and explain how it avoids the reductio, the knowability problem and the statability problem. I argue that despite successfully evading these problems, Freitag’s minimalistic reading saddles EC with several other serious problems and should be rejected. I conclude by offering my own resolution to the problems. (shrink)
The continuing ramifications of the financial crisis of 2007–2008 have forced social scientists to raise fundamental questions about the relationship between capitalism, democracy and inequality. In particular, Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Wolfgang Streeck’s Buying Time focus on, respectively, the economic and the political contradictions of capitalistic societies. Piketty argues that capitalism naturally tends towards the exacerbation of rent-based wealth inequality, whereas Streeck suggests that capitalism and democracy are ultimately incompatible. A striking feature of these two contributions is that their (...) authors are social democrats, not Marxists or radical anti-capitalist thinkers. In this review article, I illustrate how the combination of social democratic convictions and the acknowledgment that capitalism cannot be tamed generates interesting tensions between the diagnosis offered by the two monographs and the solutions that are proposed. I end the piece by raising two remarks on the implications... (shrink)
Media archaeological methods for extending the lifetime of new media into ‘old media’ have experienced a revival during the past years. In recent media theory, a new context for a debate surrounding media archaeology is emerging. So far media archaeology has been articulated together with such a heterogeneous bunch of theorists as Erkki Huhtamo, Siegfried Zielinski, Thomas Elsaesser and to a certain extent Friedrich Kittler. However, debates surrounding media archaeology as a method seem to be taking it forward not only (...) as a subdiscipline of history, but increasingly into what will be introduced as materialist media diagrammatics. This article maps some recent media archaeological waves in German media theory. The text addresses Wolfgang Ernst’s mode of media archaeology and his provocative accounts on how to rethink media archaeology as a fresh way of looking into the use and remediation of media history as a material monument instead of a historical narrative and as a recent media theoretical wave from Germany that seems to not only replicate Kittler’s huge impact in the field of materialist media studies but develop that in novel directions. However, as will be argued towards the end, Ernst’s provocative take that hopes to distinguish itself as a Berlin brand of media theory in its hardware materiality and time-critical focus resonates strongly with some of the recent new directions coming from US media studies, namely in software and platform studies. (shrink)
"Symmetry" was one of the most important methodological themes in 20th-century physics and is probably going to play no lesser role in physics of the 21st century. As used today, there are a variety of interpretations of this term, which differ in meaning as well as their mathematical consequences. Symmetries of crystals, for example, generally express a different kind of invariance than gauge symmetries, though in specific situations the distinctions may become quite subtle. I will review some of the various (...) notions of "symmetry" and highlight some of their uses in specific examples taken from Pauli's scientific oevre. This paper is based on a talk given at the conference "Wolfgang Pauli's Philosophical Ideas and Contemporary Science", May 20.-25. 2007, at Monte Verita, Ascona, Switzerland. (shrink)
Nobel Laureate in physics Wolfgang Pauli studied philosophy and the history of ideas intensively, especially in his later years, to form an accurate ontology vis-à-vis quantum theory. Pauli's close contacts with the Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung gave him special qualifications for also understanding the basic problems of empirical knowledge. After Pauli's sudden death in 1958, this work was maintained mainly in his posthumously published correspondence, which so far extends only to 1939. Because Pauli's view differs essentially from the direction (...) physics research took after the deaths of the founding fathers of quantum theory, this article attempts to describe the main features in Pauli's revolutionary thought, which is based on nature's “epistemological lesson” as revealed by Pauli's atomic research. Pauli's conclusions have important implications for various issues in Western culture, not least with the limits of science and the relation of science to religion. (shrink)