Economics as a science of human behavior has been grounded in a remarkably parsimonious postulate: that of the self-interested, isolated individual who chooses freely and rationally between alternative courses of action after computing their prospective costs and benefits. In recent decades, a group of economists has shown considerable industry and ingenuity in applying this way of interpreting the social world to a series of ostensibly noneconomic phenomena, from crime to the family, and from collective action to democracy. The “economic” or (...) “rational-actor” approach has yielded some important insights, but its onward sweep has also revealed some of its intrinsic weaknesses. As a result, it has become possible to mount a critique which, ironically, can be carried all the way back to the heartland of the would-be conquering discipline. That the economic approach presents us with too simpleminded an account of even such fundamental economic processes as consumption and production is the basic thesis of the present paper. (shrink)
4E cognition (embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended) is a relatively young and thriving field of interdisciplinary research. It assumes that cognition is shaped and structured by dynamic interactions between the brain, body, and both the physical and social environments. -/- With essays from leading scholars and researchers, The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition investigates this recent paradigm. It addresses the central issues of embodied cognition by focusing on recent trends, such as Bayesian inference and predictive coding, and presenting new insights, (...) such as the development of false belief understanding. -/- The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition also introduces new theoretical paradigms for understanding emotion and conceptualizing the interactions between cognition, language, and culture. With an entire section dedicated to the application of 4E cognition in disciplines such as psychiatry and robotics, and critical notes aimed at stimulating discussion, this Oxford handbook is the definitive guide to 4E cognition. -/- Aimed at neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and philosophers, The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in this young and thriving field. (shrink)
Relativity is the most important scientific idea of the twentieth century. Albert Einstein is the unquestioned founder of modern physics. His Special and General theories of Relativity introduced the idea to the world. In this classic short book he explains clearly, using the minimum amount of mathematical terms, the basic ideas and principles of his theory of Relativity. Unsurpassed by any subsequent books on Relativity, this remains the most popular and useful exposition of Einstein's immense contribution to human knowledge.
Western and Indian thought -- The historical Jesus -- The kingdom of God -- Religion in modern civilization -- The decay of civilization -- Civilization and ethics -- The optimistic world-view in Kant -- Schopenhauer and Nietzsche's quest for elementary ethics -- Reverence for life -- The ethics of reverence for life -- The problem of ethics in the evolution of human thought -- Bach and aesthetics -- Goethe the philosopher -- Gandhi and the force of nonviolence -- The problem (...) of peace in the world today -- My life is my argument. (shrink)
How much by way of economic reward is due to health care providers? Although this problem usually presents itself as a practical matter of policy, it has buried within it a number of philosophical issues, for it can be regarded as a question in the theory of economic justice. The formal principle of justice is that we should render persons what is due to them. But on what consideration in the case of health care providers can we make an assessment (...) of what is due? The answer we give to this question has significant implications for the ethical appraisal of the allocation of resources in the health care system. Some of the most difficult issues of ethical appraisal emerge when we consider the problems of allocating potentially life-saving resources between different groups of patients. Many of the most significant current issues in medical ethics—the role of QALYs, the meaning of equality and the economic evaluation of life—find their point of reference in the ‘tragic choices’ that are created when there are insufficient resources to meet apparently legitimate medical need. Yet, as Robert Evans has pointed out, it is a simple matter of accounting identity that health care expenditures must equal health providers' incomes. So, in asking how we limit or allocate costly health care resources, we are implicitly offering an answer to the question of how much we should pay providers. I hope by seeking an answer explicitly to that question to throw light on the problems that are raised when considering ethically the allocation of health care resources. (shrink)
Conditionals are central to inference. Before people can draw inferences about a natural language conditional, they must interpret its meaning. We investigated interpretation of uncertain conditionals using a probabilistic truth table task, focussing on (i) conditional event, (ii) material conditional, and (iii) conjunction interpretations. The order of object (shape) and feature (color) in each conditional's antecedent and consequent was varied between participants. The conditional event was the dominant interpretation, followed by conjunction, and took longer to process than conjunction (mean di (...) erence 500 ms). Material conditional responses were rare. The proportion of conditional event responses increased from around 40% at the beginning of the task to nearly 80% at the end, with 55% of participants showing a qualitative shift of interpretation. Shifts to the conditional event occurred later in the feature-object order than in the object-feature order. We discuss the results in terms of insight and suggest implications for theories of interpretation. (shrink)
The major divide in contemporary epistemology is between those who embrace and those who reject a priori knowledge. Albert Casullo provides a systematic treatment of the primary epistemological issues associated with the controversy. By freeing the a priori from traditional assumptions about the nature of knowledge and justification, he offers a novel approach to resolving these issues which assigns a prominent role to empirical evidence. He concludes by arguing that traditional approaches to the a priori, which focus primarily on (...) the concepts of necessity and analyticity, are misguided. (shrink)
Bioethics represents a dramatic revision of the centuries-old professional ethics that governed the behavior of physicians and their relationships with patients. This venerable ethics code was challenged in the years after World War II by the remarkable advances in the biomedical sciences and medicine that raised questions about the definition of death, the use of life-support systems, organ transplantation, and reproductive interventions. In response, philosophers and theologians, lawyers and social scientists joined together with physicians and scientists to rethink and revise (...) the old standards. Governments established commissions to recommend policies. Courts heard arguments and legislatures passed laws. This book is the first broad history of the growing field of bioethics. Covering the period 1947-1987, it examines the origin and evolution of the debates over human experimentation, genetic engineering, organ transplantation, termination of life-sustaining treatment, and new reproductive technologies. It assesses the contributions of philosophy, theology, law and the social sciences to the expanding discourse of bioethics. Written by one of the field's founders, The Birth of Bioethics is based on extensive archival research into sources that are difficult to obtain and on interviews with many of the leading figures in the moral debates in medicine. A very readable and comprehensive account of the evolution of bioethics, this book stresses the history of ideas but does not neglect the social and cultural context and the people involved. It will serve the information needs of philosophers, ethicists, social historians, and everyone interested in the origins of some of today's most hotly debated issues. (shrink)
It is argued that certain recent advances in the construction of a theory of the collapses of Quantum Mechanical wave functions suggest the possibility of new and improved foundations for statistical mechanics, foundations in which epistemic considerations play no role.