The National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, MD) reports that approximately 5.2 million Americans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year. PTSD can be severely debilitating and diminish quality of life for patients and those who care for them. Studies have indicated that propranolol, a beta-blocker, reduces consolidation of emotional memory. When administered immediately after a psychic trauma, it is efficacious as a prophylactic for PTSD. Use of such memory-altering drugs raises important ethical concerns, including some futuristic dystopias put forth (...) by the President's Council on Bioethics. We think that adequate informed consent should facilitate ethical research using propranolol and, if it proves efficacious, routine treatment. Clinical evidence from studies should certainly continue to evaluate realistic concerns about possible ill effects of diminishing memory. If memory-attenuating drugs prove effective, we believe that the most immediate social concern is the over-medicalization of bad memories, and its subsequent exploitation by the pharmaceutical industry. (shrink)
Research has shown that both individual difference characteristics and study-specific characteristics influence the extent to which people support or oppose the use of animals in research. The current study examined how three study-specific characteristics influenced attitudes toward the use of animals in biomedical research. Participants read one of 27 scenarios describing the use of an animal in research. Scenarios systematically varied each of the study-specific characteristics described above. Participants then completed a survey to assess their support for, or opposition to, (...) the research described. Data on attachment to pets and attitudes toward the treatment of animals were also collected. Analysis of variance revealed significant main effects for each of the study-specific characteristics. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the individual difference and study-specific characteristics accounted for 49% of the variability in opposition to the use of animals in biomedical research among men, and 37% among women. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed. (shrink)
The evidence-based medicine movement advocates basing all medical decisions on certain types of quantitative research data and has stimulated protracted controversy and debate since its inception. Evidence-based medicine presupposes an inaccurate and deficient view of medical knowledge. Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge both explains this deficiency and suggests remedies for it. Polanyi shows how all explicit human knowledge depends on a wealth of tacit knowledge which accrues from experience and is essential for problem solving. Edmund Pellegrino’s classic treatment of (...) clinical judgment is examined, and a Polanyian critique of this position demonstrates that tacit knowledge is necessary for understanding how clinical judgment and medical decisions involve persons. An adequate medical epistemology requires much more qualitative research relevant to the clinical encounter and medical decision making than is currently being done. This research is necessary for preventing an uncritical application of evidence-based medicine by health care managers that erodes good clinical practice. Polanyi’s epistemology shows the need for this work and provides the structural core for building an adequate and robust medical epistemology that moves beyond evidence-based medicine. (shrink)
This paper is in three sections. The first establishes that Newton, in spite of a well-known passage in a letter to Richard Bentley of 1692, did believe in action at a distance. Many readers may see this merely as an act of supererogation, since it is so patently obvious that he did. However, there has been a long history among Newton scholars of allowing the letter to Bentley to over-ride all of Newton’s other pronouncements in favour of action at a (...) distance, with devastating effects on our understanding of related aspects of his physics and his theology. Furthermore, this misconceived scholarly endeavour shows no sign of abating. The second section then offers a historical reconstruction, based on Newton’s writings, of how, when and why he began to accept actions at a distance and make them one of the cornerstones of his physics. Finally, using this chronological account of Newton’s use of actions at a distance, the paper re-assesses the claims of B. J. T. Dobbs that Newton’s important manuscript, De gravitatione et aequipondio fluidorum, was written, not in the late 1660s or early 1670s as was previously supposed, but during the composition of the Principia, in 1684 or 1685.Keywords: Isaac Newton; Action-at-a-distance; Gravity; Force; Aether; Attraction. (shrink)
It has become somewhat of a platitude to call Aristotle the first epigenesist insofar as he thought form and structure emerged gradually from an unorganized, amorphous embryo. But modern biology now recognizes two senses of “epigenesis”. The first is this more familiar idea about the gradual emergence of form and structure, which is traditionally opposed to the idea of preformationism. But modern biologists also use “epigenesis” to emphasize the context-dependency of the process itself. Used in this sense development is not (...) simply the unfolding of a pre-determined sequence of changes specified in advance by the organism’s genotype. It is also sensitive to inputs from the internal and external environment, which help determine in real-time which of the many potential developmental pathways are actualized during the process. Within this paradigm developing embryos are viewed as dynamic and responsive systems that react to inputs from the internal and external environment ‘on the fly’. In this paper I argue that, while Aristotle was an epigenesist in the first sense, he would have rejected epigenesis in the more modern sense. First, Aristotle’s model of choice for a developing embryo is the automaton that executes a set of preset movements (GA 734b9-13, 741b7-15). The automatons he has in mind are not dynamic AI systems capable of modifying their behaviour on the fly in response to environmental cues but completely deterministic mechanisms whose movements are fixed by their original design. Second, given Aristotle’s views about the different kinds of causal powers there are, it looks like only intentional agents endowed with actual decision-making powers could be capable of the sort of plasticity at the core of a more dynamic epigenesis. For that kind of epigenesis requires powers for alternative outcomes, and Aristotle is explicit that such powers require rational desires (προαίρεσις) that control which of those alternatives to bring about. If I am right, then he could not have made sense of the idea of a developing embryo (as a non-intentional system) making adjustments to its phenotype on the fly in response to emerging problems and opportunities, given the conceptual resources available to him. (shrink)
A part of the “return to religion” now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes’s “I think, I am” as “I feel myself thinking, I am.” In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is “true” or “false.” Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind of truth (...) it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live. Henry argues that Christ undoes “the truth of the world,” that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls “the auto-affection of Life.” In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved. (shrink)
In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities (...) and differences in ways that subserve the explanatory context. Since the explanatory aims of zoology are diverse and variegated, the kinds it recognizes must be equally diverse and variegated. At the same time, there are certain constraints on which kinds can be selected. And those constraints derive more from the causal structure of the world than from the proclivities of the classifier (hence the realism). This distinguishes Aristotle’s version of pluralistic realism from those contemporary versions (like Dupré’s “promiscuous realism”) that treat all or most classifications of a given domain as equally legitimate and not just a sub-set of kinds recognized by the science that studies it. By contrast, Aristotle privileges scientifically important kinds on the basis of their role in causal investigations. On this picture natural kinds are those kinds with the sort of causal structure that allows them to enter into scientific explanations. In the final section I argue that Aristotle’s zoology should remain of interest to philosophers and biologists alike insofar as it combines a pluralistic form of realism with a rank-free approach to classification. (shrink)
In Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, J. L. Schellenberg argues that the phenomenon of “reasonable nonbelief” constitutes sufficient reason to doubtthe existence of God. In this essay I assert the reasonableness of entertaining doubts about the kind of reasonable nonbelief that Schellenberg needs for a cogent argument. Treating his latest set of arguments in this journal, I dispute his claims about the scope and status of “unreflective nonbelief,” his assertion that God would prevent reasonable nonbelief “of any kind and duration,” (...) and his confidence that we can know that some doubters are not self-deceived. (shrink)
Ethical decisions related to computer technology and computer use are subject to three primary influences: (1) the individual's own personal code (2) any informal code of ethical behavior that exists in the work place, and (3) exposure to formal codes of ethics. The relative importance of these codes, as well as factors influencing these codes, was explored in a nationwide survey of information system (IS) professionals. The implications of the findings are important to educators and employers in the development of (...) acceptable ethical standards. (shrink)
Historically embryogenesis has been among the most philosophically intriguing phenomena. In this paper I focus on one aspect of biological development that was particularly perplexing to the ancients: self-organisation. For many ancients, the fact that an organism determines the important features of its own development required a special model for understanding how this was possible. This was especially true for Aristotle, Alexander, and Simplicius, who all looked to contemporary technology to supply that model. However, they did not all agree on (...) what kind of device should be used. In this paper I explore the way these ancients made use of technology as a model for the developing embryo. I argue that their different choices of device reveal fundamental differences in the way each thinker understood the nature of biological development itself. In the final section of the paper I challenge the traditional view (dating back to Alexander's interpretation of Aristotle) that the use of automata in GA can simply be read off from their use in the de motu. (shrink)
In this paper I address an important question in Aristotle’s biology, What are the causal mechanisms behind the transmission of biological form? Aristotle’s answer to this question, I argue, is found in Generation of Animals Book 4 in connection with his investigation into the phenomenon of inheritance. There we are told that an organism’s reproductive material contains a set of "movements" which are derived from the various "potentials" of its nature (the internal principle of change that initiates and controls development). (...) These movements, I suggest, function as specialized vehicles for communicating the parts of the parent’s heritable form during the act of reproduction. After exploring the details of this mechanism, I then take up Aristotle’s theory of inheritance proper. At the heart of the theory are three general principles (or 'laws') that govern the interactions between the maternal and paternal movements, the outcome of which determines the pattern of inheritance for the offspring. Although this paper is primarily aimed at providing a detailed analysis of Aristotle’s account of inheritance, the results of that analysis have implications for other areas of Aristotle’s biology. One of the most interesting of these is the question of whether Aristotle’s biology is anti-evolutionary (as traditionally assumed) or whether (as I argue) it leaves room for a theory of evolution by natural selection, even if Aristotle himself never took that step. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason claims that the existence of reflective persons who long to solve the problem of God’s existencebut cannot do so constitutes an evil rendering God’s existence improbable. In this essay, I present Schellenberg’s argument and argue that the kind of reasonable nonbelief Schellenberg needs for his argument to succeed is unlikely to exist. Since Schellenberg’s argument is an inductive-style version of the problem of evil, the empirical improbability of the premise I challenge renders (...) the conclusions derived from it empirically improbable as well. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the level of gender bias in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals while exercising due care in the analysis of its arguments. I argue that while the GA theory is clearly sexist, the traditional interpretation fails to diagnose the problem correctly. The traditional interpretation focuses on three main sources of evidence: (1) Aristotle’s claim that the female is, as it were, a “disabled” (πεπηρωμένον) male; (2) the claim at GA IV.3, 767b6-8 that females are (...) a departure from the kind; and (3) Aristotle’s supposed claim at GA IV.3, 768a21-8 that the most ideal outcome of reproduction is a male offspring that perfectly resembles its father. I argue that each of these passages has either been misunderstood or misrepresented by commentators. In none of these places is Aristotle suggesting that females are imperfect members of the species or that they result from the failure to achieve some teleological goal. I defend the view that the GA does not see reproduction as occurring for the sake of producing males; rather, what sex an embryo happens to become is determined entirely by non-teleological forces operating through material necessity. This interpretation is consistent with Aristotle’s view in GA II.5 that females have the same soul as the male (741a7) as well as the argument in Metaphysics X.9 that sexual difference is not part of the species form but is an affection (πάθος) arising from the matter (1058b21-4). While the traditional interpretation has tended to exaggerate the level of sexism in Aristotle’s developmental biology, the GA is by no means free of gender bias as some recent scholarship has claimed. In the final section of the paper I point to one passage where Aristotle clearly falls back on sexist assumptions in order to answer the difficult question, “Why are animals divided into sexes?”. I argue that this passage in particular poses a serious challenge to anyone attempting to absolve Aristotle’s developmental biology of the charge of sexism. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor of (...) Aristotle’s own principle, expressed by the famous dictum “nature does nothing in vain but always what is best for the substance from among the possibilities concerning each kind of animal” (Progression of Animals II, 704b12-18). The paper is focused around exploring three questions that arise in connection with Aristotle’s use of this optimality principle: (1) How do we understand the concept of “the best” at work in the principle? (2) How does Aristotle conceive of “the range of possibilities”? And, finally, (3) what role does optimality reasoning play in Aristotle’s natural science? Is it a special form of demonstration in which the optimality principle functions as one of its premises, or is it a heuristic device that helps uncover those causally relevant features of a natural substances that ultimately serve as middle terms in demonstrations? In the final section I return to the comparison between Plato and Aristotle and argue that, while both see the natural world as the product of an optimizing agent and while both see this assumption as licensing a pattern of reasoning that appeals to a certain conception of “the best”, they disagree fundamentally over what the optimization agent is and how it operates. Thus, despite their general agreement, it would be a mistake to think that Aristotle simply took over Plato’s use of optimality reasoning without significant modifications. (shrink)
Translator's preface -- Introduction: The question of phenomenology -- Hyletic phenomenology and material phenomenology -- The phenomenological method -- Pathos-with reflections on Husserl's Fifth cartesian meditation -- For a phenomenology of community.
When faced with an ambiguous ethical situation related to computer technology (CT), the individual's course of action is influenced by personal experiences and opinions, consideration of what co-workers would do in the same situation, and an expectation of what the organization might sanction. In this article, the judgement of over three-hundred Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) members concerning the actions taken in a series of CT ethical scenarios are examined. Respondents expressed their personal judgement, as well as their perception (...) of their co-workers' judgement, and their understanding of the organization's judgement of the actions described in the scenarios. The findings show that there are differences in respondents' judgements for self, co-workers, and organization. Definitive patterns were also found between groups with and without organizational codes related to CT. (shrink)
Scientific developments take place in a socio-political context but scientists often ignore the ways their innovations will be both interpreted by the media and used by policy makers. In the rush to neuroscientific discovery important questions are overlooked, such as the ways: (1) the brain, environment and behavior are related; (2) biological changes are mediated by social organization; (3) institutional bias in the application of technical procedures ignores race, class and gender dimensions of society; (4) knowledge is used to the (...) advantage of the powerful; and (5) its applications may reinforce existing structures of power that pose ethical questions about distributive justice. The case of crime, deception and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) shows the complexity, and the political and ethical challenges that confront those who seek to use neuroscience to explain the etiology of crime, and who base policy on its findings. An ethically grounded neuroscience needs to take account of existing structures of power and difference, and to develop a public neuropolitical consciousness that ensures that those subject to risk by the application of science and technology are participants in the decision-making processes involving the implementation of policies that affect them. (shrink)
This paper draws attention to the crucial importance of a new kind of precisely defined law of nature in the Scientific Revolution. All explanations in the mechanical philosophy depend upon the interactions of moving material particles; the laws of nature stipulate precisely how these interact; therefore, such explanations rely on the laws of nature. While this is obvious, the radically innovatory nature of these laws is not fully acknowledged in the historical literature. Indeed, a number of scholars have tried to (...) locate the origins of such laws in the medieval period. In the first part of this paper these claims are critically examined, and found at best to reveal important aspects of the background to the later idea, which could be drawn upon for legitimating purposes by the mechanical philosophers. The second part of the paper argues that the modern concept of laws of nature originates in René Descartes's work. It is shown that Descartes took his concept of laws of nature from the mathematical tradition, but recognized that he could not export it to the domain of physico-mathematics, to play a causal role, unless he could show that these laws were underwritten by God. It is argued that this is why, at an early stage of his philosophical development, Descartes had to turn to metaphysics. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. This paper considers two sets ethical obligations owed by a firm and its management to stockholders and employees with respect to layoffs. Literature and research from ethics and agency are used to frame ethical issues that pertain to age discrimination in layoffs. An actual court case provides an example for focus, analysis, and discussion. Points of discussion include management''s obligations to employees and factors of injustice related to prejudice against age.
Paget introduces the general reader to Afro-Caribbean philosophy in this ground-breaking work. Since Afro-Caribbean thought is inherently hybrid in nature, he traces the roots of this discourse in traditional African thought and in the Christian and Enlightenment traditions of Western Europe.
The focus of this paper is Aristotle's solution to the problem inherited from Socrates: How could a man fail to restrain himself when he believes that what he desires is wrong? In NE 7 Aristotle attempts to reconcile the Socratic denial of akrasia with the commonly held opinion that people act in ways they know to be bad, even when it is in their power to act otherwise. This project turns out to be largely successful, for what Aristotle shows us (...) is that if we distinguish between two ways of having knowledge (potentially and actually), the Socratic thesis can effectively account for a wide range of cases (collectively referred to here as drunk-akrasia) in which an agent acts contrary to his general knowledge of the Good, yet can still be said to know in the qualified sense that his actions are wrong. However, Book 7 also shows that the Socratic account of akrasia cannot take us any farther than drunk-akrasia, for unlike drunk-akrasia, genuine akrasia cannot be reduced to a failure of knowledge. This agent knows in the unqualified sense that his actions are wrong. The starting-point of my argument is that Aristotle's explanation of genuine akrasia requires a different solution than the one found in NE 7 which relies on the distinction between qualified and unqualified knowing: genuinely akratic behaviour is due to the absence of an internal conflict that a desire for the proper pleasures of temperance would create if he could experience them. (shrink)
Harry Collins’ book Tacit and Explicit Knowledge seeks to clarify the concept of tacit knowledge made famous by Michael Polanyi. Collins’ tripartite taxonomy of tacit knowledge is explained using illustrative examples from clinical medicine. Collins focuses on distinguishing the kinds of tacit knowledge that can (in principle) be made wholly explicit from the kinds of tacit knowledge that are inescapably tacit. Polanyi’s writings, on the other hand, emphasize the process of tacit knowing. Collins’ investigation of tacit knowledge makes an important (...) scholarly contribution that is distinct from and complementary to investigations that focus on tacit knowing. (shrink)
This report highlights and explores five questions that arose from the multisensory integration workshop at the University of Toronto on May 9th and 10th, 2014: 1. What Is Multisensory Integration? 2. Do Multisensory Percepts Involve Emergent Features? 3. What Can Multisensory Processing Tell Us about Multisensory Awareness? 4. Is Language Processing a Special Kind of Multisensory Integration? 5. What Is the Purpose of Multisensory Integration?
Previous research has identified a relationship between acts of cruelty to animals other than humans and involvement in other forms of antisocial behavior. The current study sought to extend these findings by examining this relationship among a sample of college students using a self-report delinquency methodology. In addition, the current study explored the relationship between a history of observing or engaging in acts of animal cruelty and attitudes of sensitivity/concern regarding the treatment of nonhuman animals. College students enrolled in an (...) Introduction to Psychology course comprised the sample. Results indicated that those participants who observed acts of animal cruelty and those who participated in acts of animal cruelty had higher scores on a self-report delinquency scale than did those who had never observed or participated in acts of animal cruelty. Observation of acts of animal cruelty interacted with sex to predict attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Observation of animal cruelty and par ticipation in animal cruelty affected delinquency scores independently. The current study discusses implications and directions for future research. (shrink)
Henry More (1614–1687), the most influential of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and arguably the leading philosophically-inclined theologian in late seventeenth-century England, has come in for renewed attention lately. He was the subject of a detailed intellectual biography in 2003 by Robert Crocker, and in 2012 Jasper Reid published a philosophically penetrating and enlightening study of More’s metaphysics (Crocker 2003; Reid 2012). David Leech’s study of More’s idiosyncratic concept of immaterial spirit—and the role that it plays in his philosophy and theology—is (...) as detailed and penetrating as Reid’s study of his metaphysics, but perhaps more far-reaching in its ambitions. As the sub-title of this new book suggests, More’s philosophical theology is presented here as leading to the unintended consequence of promoting the incipient atheism of the early modern period.Leech’s study is clearly and helpfully structured in three parts and ten chapters. The first part, “Atheism and Spir .. (shrink)