Bernard Williams argues that human mortality is a good thing because living forever would necessarily be intolerably boring. His argument is often attacked for unfoundedly proposing asymmetrical requirements on the desirability of living for mortal and immortal lives. My first aim in this paper is to advance a new interpretation of Williams' argument that avoids these objections, drawing in part on some of his other writings to contextualize it. My second aim is to show how even the best version of (...) his argument only supports a somewhat weaker thesis: it may be possible for some people with certain special psychological features to enjoy an immortal life, but no one has good reason to bet on being such a person. (shrink)
Background: Emergency exception to informed consent regulation was introduced to provide a venue to perform research on subjects in emergency situations before obtaining informed consent. For a study to proceed, institutional review boards need to determine if the regulations have been met.Aim: To determine IRB members’ experience reviewing research protocols using emergency exception to informed consent.Methods: This qualitative research used semistructured telephone interviews of 10 selected IRB members from around the US in the fall of 2003. IRB members were chosen (...) as little is known about their views of exception to consent, and part of their mandate is the protection of human subjects in research. Interview questions focused on the length of review process, ethical and legal considerations, training provided to IRB members on the regulations, and experience using community consultation and notification. Content analysis was performed on the transcripts of interviews. To ensure validity, data analysis was performed by individuals with varying backgrounds: three emergency physicians, an IRB member and a layperson.Results: Respondents noted that: emergency exception to informed consent studies require lengthy review; community consultation and notification regulations are vague and hard to implement; current regulations, if applied correctly, protect human subjects; legal counsel is an important aspect of reviewing exception to informed-consent protocols; and IRB members have had little or no formal training in these regulations, but are able to access materials needed to review such protocols.Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that IRB members find emergency exception to informed consent studies take longer to review than other protocols, and that community consultation and community notification are the most difficult aspect of the regulations with which to comply but that they adequately protect human subjects. (shrink)
At the forefront of international concerns about global legislation and regulation, a host of noted environmentalists and business ethicists examine ethical issues in consumption from the points of view of environmental sustainability, economic development, and free enterprise.
Animals used in biological research and testing have become integrated into the trajectories of modern biomedicine, generating increased expectations for and connections between human and animal health. Animal research also remains controversial and its acceptability is contingent on a complex network of relations and assurances across science and society, which are both formally constituted through law and informal or assumed. In this paper, we propose these entanglements can be studied through an approach that understands animal research as a nexus spanning (...) the domains of science, health and animal welfare. We introduce this argument through, first, outlining some key challenges in UK debates around animal research, and second, reviewing the way nexus concepts have been used to connect issues in environmental research. Third, we explore how existing social sciences and humanities scholarship on animal research tends to focus on different aspects of the connections between scientific research, human health and animal welfare, which we suggest can be combined in a nexus approach. In the fourth section, we introduce our collaborative research on the animal research nexus, indicating how this approach can be used to study the history, governance and changing sensibilities around UK laboratory animal research. We suggest the attention to complex connections in nexus approaches can be enriched through conversations with the social sciences and medical humanities in ways that deepen appreciation of the importance of path-dependency and contingency, inclusion and exclusion in governance and the affective dimension to research. In conclusion, we reflect on the value of nexus thinking for developing research that is interdisciplinary, interactive and reflexive in understanding how accounts of the histories and current relations of animal research have significant implications for how scientific practices, policy debates and broad social contracts around animal research are being remade today. (shrink)
The subject of this essay is propria and their relation to essence. Propria, roughly characterized, are those real properties of a thing which are natural but nonessential to it, and which are said to “flow from” the thing’s essence, where this “flows from” relation is understood to designate a kind of explanatory relation. For example, it is said that Socrates’s risibility flows from his essential humanity; and it is said that salt’s solubility in water flows from the essential natures of (...) both salt and water. The question I raise and attempt to answer in this essay is: In what sense do propria “flow from” essences? What kind of explanatory relation is this exactly? Some suggest that it is a relation of logical consequence (e.g., Kit Fine); others, of grounding (e.g., Michael Gorman); and still others, of formal causation (e.g., David Oderberg). In this essay, I reintroduce and defend a view suggested by the late scholastic Spanish philosopher and theologian Francisco Suárez, who in 1597 wrote that effluence is best understood as a very special kind of efficient causation, which we can call the relation of emanation. The thesis of this essay, then, is that propria emanate from essences. Along the way, this paper offers a new taxonomy of types of propria; it explains the significance of propria for the metaphysics and epistemology of essences; it discusses at length varieties of efficient causation (and emanation in particular); and then it offers an extensive abductive argument in favor of Suárez’s account, whereby the former accounts of effluence are critiqued, each in turn, and Suárez’s view is motivated and ultimately shown to be superior to its competitors. (shrink)
The major portion of this important work is the "Summary of the Republic." Coordinated with Grube’s translation, it proceeds book by book, first summarizing a chunk of text anywhere from a couple of Stephanus sections to several pages, then commenting in lettered notes of from two lines to four and a half pages. More technical material, aimed at advanced students and scholars, appears occasionally in smaller type. There is a fine bibliography. The format is successful: the book is easy to (...) use and attractive in appearance. (shrink)
The third volume of Ordo V in the Amsterdam edition of the Latin texts of Erasmus presents the second half of Erasmus’ commentaries on eleven Psalms. Two of them not only explain the psalms themselves, but also deal with topical questions, viz. the war against the Turks and the disintegration of Christendom.
The editors of the invaluable "Philosophische Bibliothek" perceived the need of providing readers of German with translations of both the Prior and the Posterior Analytics, two volumes in their edition of the Organon that had been out of print for some time. Having lost hope—so they tell us in the Vorwort—of obtaining fresh versions of them in the near future, they decided to reprint the old Rolfes translation of the Posteriora which had appeared in the series for the first time (...) in 1922. In spite of Rolfes’s undeniable merits as a translator of Aristotle, the solution seems to be unsatisfactory. On the one hand, the quality of the Greek text and our understanding of Aristotelian idioms and terminology in this treatise have been improved considerably in the last fifty years. A landmark in this type of studies is doubtless the edition with an extensive and valuable commentary by Sir David Ross. On the other hand, contemporary developments in logic and philosophy of science have led to new and sometimes more accurate assessments of Aristotelian ideas on demonstrative science. There is in fact an excellent English translation with notes by Jonathan Barnes conceived along these lines. One token example of the disadvantages of a translation that cannot take into account scholarly work done after 1922 can be seen at 89b25-26 where Aristotle speaks about "putting into number" a certain type of question. Both Ross and Barnes warn us that the phrase is curious, that it is bizarre, and we may easily infer that not much weight should be put on it in interpreting the passage. Rolfes, on the contrary, has an uncritical attitude towards the expression. He translates it literally and then goes on to comment on it as if it were normal Aristotelian usage. Needless to say, this can easily mislead the unexperienced student of Aristotle to pursue a chain of false problems. But the tendency to translate as literally as possible has its advantages, and it is fair to say that Rolfes’s translation is sufficiently accurate to be of considerable help in many difficult passages. (shrink)
This paper describes the topological aspect of a logic-based, artificial intelligence approach to formalising the qualitative description of spatial properties and relations, and reasoning about those properties and relations. This approach, known as RCC theory, has been under development for several years at the University of Leeds. The main rationale for this project is that qualitative descriptions of spatial properties and relationships, and qualitative spatial reasoning, are of fundamental importance in human thinking about the world: even where quantitative spatial data (...) are most important, they must be attached to the components of a perceived spatial structure if we are to make use of them. RCC theory covers other qualitative aspects of spatial description and reasoning, but the topological properties and relations of spatially extended entities are fundamental to our work. The topological formalisms used by mathematicians are, in general, not well suited to the task of formalising the kinds of ‘common-sense’ or ‘everyday’ qualitative spatial description and reasoning which are our primary interest. Nevertheless, we must come to grips with the concepts of topology as practised by mathematicians if we are not to risk constantly ‘reinventing wheels’. (shrink)
‘Truly this is the sweetest of theologies’, William said, with perfect humility, and I thought he was using that insidious figure of thought that rhetors call irony, which must always be prefaced by the pronunciatio, representing its signal and its justification – something William never did. For which reason the abbot, more inclined to the use of figures of speech, took William literally….
The purpose of this paper is to establish the importance of what is sometimes called ‘the literary and dramatic character’ of Hume's Dialogues. This importance is such that not taking this specific character of the Dialogues into account leads to conclusions opposite to the ones Hume, in the special form he gave to his work, was trying to impart to his readers. I will offer my analysis in opposition to the one, voiced by, for instance D. W. Harward, in which (...) ‘the apparent philosophical inconsistencies in the Dialogues are resolved without appeal to Hume's commitment to “literary or dramatic balance,” an appeal few of us find convincing or philosophically interesting’. The last part of Harward's statement is of course only of biographical interest; however, the attempt to offer an interpretation of Hume's Dialogues in which the literary character of the work is wilfully set aside, comes to missing a basic understanding for the man and the work. In what follows I will make this explicit by a number of points, each of which shows the importance of this literary and dramatic character of the Dialogues. In each case the result could not be reached without taking this special character into account. (shrink)
The gulf separating Anglo-American and continental philosophers is due in large part to the different problems with which they are concerned. Where their interests cross, the differences in approach make mutual appreciation difficult. A pleasant exception to this is Consciousness and the Acquisition of Language. The book is an edition of lectures transcribed by students and then approved for publication by Merleau-Ponty; for this reason, it lacks the developed, consequential form of a finished work. First delivered in 1949-50, the lectures (...) are programmatic and introductory to his subsequent essays on language, most of which fall within the period 1949-59; yet, and more importantly, they are able to stand on their own right and present from the viewpoint of another tradition results nonetheless germane to the Anglo-American discussion of language. (shrink)
Abstract Kaldor, one of the leading figures of the post?war ?Cambridge School?, has produced a large volume of methodological writings since the mid?1960s, which we will argue represents one of the major critiques of orthodox equilibrium economic theory produced this century. While Kaldor's position represents a fundamental and radical rejection of the methodological basis of equilibrium economics, he did not provide a systematically formulated alternative methodology for economics. Recent attempts at providing such a reconstruction has argued that scientific realism provides (...) the most convincing philosophical interpretation of Kaldor's methodological contributions. In this paper we will argue that van Fraassen's constructive empiricism represent a more compelling alternative methodological framework to realism for systematizing Kaldor's important contributions. In particular it will be argued that this constructive empiricist reading of Kaldor has the capacity to critically undermine the methodological basis of orthodox equilibrium economics. In addition we explore the potential of this alternative framework to provide a novel and challenging reconstruction of economic methodology. (shrink)
This is the first full-length commentary on De Motu Animalium since Albertus Magnus's thirteenth century treatise, De Principiis Motus Progresivi. Several paraphrases, and numerous editions, have appeared over the years, but a general belief, particularly in the nineteenth century, that MA was not an authentic work of Aristotle's, and doubt about the overall importance of this brief and cryptic work, had served to discourage more ambitious projects. Scholarly opinion changed in this century, and the authenticity of MA is now generally (...) accepted. Nussbaum relates this history, establishes MA's authenticity beyond a doubt, and finds ample philosophical reason for bringing her--and our--attention to a full-length commentary. For MA, as she shows, is a treatise not only in biology, but also in cosmology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, theory of action, and practical reasoning. (shrink)
Is aesthetics a viable discipline? Berel Lang in Art and Inquiry admits that despite the efforts of philosophers like Aristotle and Kant aesthetics has little to show for itself in its "verbose career" and hence there is reason for genuine doubt about its viability. Why has the work of aesthetics been so futile? Although Lang does not state the matter this way, the method of the book discloses the answer and the need which Lang felt for having to write the (...) book: the verbose career of aesthetics accords to a lack of understanding of what the aesthetic moment itself is. Because that lack precludes a straight-forward differentiation of the aesthetic from the nonaesthetic moment, Lang chooses a transcendental approach, beginning with an analysis of talk about art—namely, criticism—and disclosing by means of that analysis the object about which criticism purports to be. If we understand criticism, we have a possible answer to the question what is art. This answer is a possible, perhaps a probable one, Lang asserts, though certainly not a necessary one. For a final answer must transcend aesthetics. The categories which demarcate the aesthetic and non-aesthetic moments are metaphysical ones whose final test lies outside of aesthetics. (shrink)
Contemporary developments in economicmethodology have produced a vibrant agenda ofcompeting positions. These include, amongothers, constructivism, critical realism andrhetoric, with each contributing to the Realistvs. Pragmatism debate in the philosophies of thesocial sciences. A major development in theneo-pragmatist contribution to economicmethodology has been Quine's pragmatic assaulton the dogmas of empiricism, which are nowclearly acknowledged within contemporaryeconomic methodology. This assault isencapsulated in the celebrated Duhem-Quinethesis, which according to a number ofcontemporary leading philosophers of economics,poses a particularly serious methodologicalproblem for economics. This problem, (...) asreflected in Hausman's analysis, consists ofthe inability of economics to learn fromexperience, thereby subverting the capacity totest economic theories. In this paper wedispute this position. Our argument is basedon a combination of Quine's holism with VanFraassen's constructive empiricism, especiallythe latter's analysis of empirical adequacy andhis pragmatic approach to explanation. Theresulting reorientation of economic methodologyrestores the capacity of economics to learnfrom experience and reinstates the imperativeof developing alternatives to orthodoxtheorizing in economics. (shrink)