SummaryJohn Dalton's atomic theory, with its postulate of compound formation through atom-to-atom combination, brought a new perspective to weight relationships in chemical reactions. A presumed one-to-one combination of atoms A and B to form a simple compound AB allowed Dalton to construct his first table of relative atomic weights from literature analyses of appropriate binary compounds. For such simple binary compounds, the atomic theory had little advantages over affinity theory as an explanation of fixed proportions by weight. For ternary compounds (...) of the form AB2, however, atomic theory made quantitative predictions that were not deducible from affinity theory. Atomic theory required that the weight of B in the compound AB2 be exactly twice that in the compound AB. Dalton, Thomas Thomson and William Hyde Wollaston all published within a few years of each other experimental data that claimed to give the predicted results with the required accuracy. There are nonetheless several experimental barriers to obtaining the desired integral multiple proportions. In this paper I will discuss replication experiments which demonstrate that only Wollaston's results are experimentally reliable. It is likely that such replicability explains why Wollaston's experiments were so influential. (shrink)
In this paper a corporate social responsibility audit is developed following the underlying methodology of the quality award/excellence models. Firstly the extent to which the quality awards already incorporate the development of social responsibility is examined by looking at the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the European Quality Award. It will be shown that the quality awards do not yet include ethical aspects in relation to social responsibility. Both a clear definition of social responsibility and an improved audit instrument (...) are required. A definition and an audit instrument are developed which stimulate movement in that direction and help organisations to reflect on their position in relation to social responsibility. (shrink)
Déjà vu is the striking sense that the present situation feels familiar, alongside the realization that it has to be new. According to the Gestalt familiarity hypothesis, déjà vu results when the configuration of elements within a scene maps onto a configuration previously seen, but the previous scene fails to come to mind. We examined this using virtual reality technology. When a new immersive VR scene resembled a previously-viewed scene in its configuration but people failed to recall the previously-viewed scene, (...) familiarity ratings and reports of déjà vu were indeed higher than for completely novel scenes. People also exhibited the contrasting sense of newness and of familiarity that is characteristic of déjà vu. Familiarity ratings and déjà vu reports among scenes recognized as new increased with increasing feature-match of a scene to one stored in memory, suggesting that feature-matching can produce familiarity and déjà vu when recall fails. (shrink)
Background While prenatal surgery historically was performed exclusively for lethal conditions, today intrauterine surgery is also performed to decrease postnatal disabilities for non-lethal conditions. We sought to describe physicians' attitudes about prenatal surgery for lethal and non-lethal conditions and to elucidate characteristics associated with these attitudes. Methods Survey of 1200 paediatric surgeons, neonatologists and maternal–fetal medicine specialists. Results Of 1176 eligible physicians, 670 responded. In the setting of a lethal condition for which prenatal surgery would likely result in the child (...) surviving with a severe disability, most respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed that they would recommend the surgery. Male physicians were twice as likely to recommend surgery for the lethal condition, as were physicians who believe that abortion is morally wrong. Older physicians were less likely to recommend surgery. For non-lethal conditions, most respondents agreed that they would recommend prenatal surgery, even if the surgery increases the risk of prematurity or fetal death. Compared with MFMs, surgeons were less likely to recommend such surgery, as were physicians not affiliated with a fetal centre, and physicians who were religious. Conclusion Physician’s attitudes about prenatal surgery relate to physicians’ beliefs about disability as well as demographic, cultural and religious characteristics. Given the variety of views, parents are likely to receive different recommendations from their doctors about the preferable treatment choice. (shrink)
Legally blind participants were able to identify a visual stimulus attribute in the absence of consciously identifying its presence. Specifically, participants—with their corrective lenses removed—correctly guessed the hour-hand position above chance on a clockface shown on a computer screen. This occurred both when presented in a 1-clockface display , as well as when shown a display containing 4 clockfaces , in which only 1 face contained a hand. Even more striking, hand identification accuracy in the 4-clockface condition was comparable whether (...) the clockface containing the hand was or was not correctly identified. That legally blind individuals are capable of identifying stimulus attributes without conscious awareness provides an additional vehicle for exploring implicit perception. Consistent with previous research, the visualsystem can apparently cope with degraded visual input through information available through a secondary pathway via the superior colliculi. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm. His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several???asymmetries???. I shall argue here that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows that existence is often not a harm.
The “Adam Smith problem” has traditionally been concerned with the issue of authorial integrity: the issue of how a single author, Adam Smith, could have written two such apparently dissimilar, even contradictory, works as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. As the problem to be resolved was the single authorial origin of two such works, the perceived incompatibilities between them were explained in terms of Smith's intellectual biography – for example, Smith's travels to France, Smith's meetings (...) with the physiocrats, or the mental incapacities of an aging man. The current consensus is that the Adam Smith problem is a “pseudo problem” and that Smith's works represent a unified project, but the same reference to authorial origins now provides thr opposite claim that “the same man” wrote both books. Here the postulate of authorial integrity, “of stable integrated character, not subject to deep intellectual doubts or fissures” provides an assurance that such a man is unlikely to have written two entirely different books, an assurance underwritten by a coherent authorial intentionality that guarantees the consistency of the two works. (shrink)
In his Comment ‘Adam Smith on the Morality of the Pursuit of Fortune’, Richard Arlen Kleer accepts much of the argument in my article ‘Signifying Voices’ but insists that I have ‘gone too far’. Kleer agrees that there is a moral hierarchy in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments where benevolence and self-command are ranked higher than justice and prudence, but he is uneasy with the conclusion that economic activity and the pursuit of gain are ‘amoral’ activities and insists that (...) they do have a significant moral standing. In addition, although Kleer accepts a good deal of the stylistic analysis, again he is uneasy with the results that are derived from it. This reply will take each of these aspects in turn. (shrink)