A constitution is, as Article VI of the United States Constitution declares, the fundamental law of the land, supreme as a legal matter over any other nonconstitutional law. But that almost banal statement raises a number of theoretically vexed issues. What is law? How is constitutional law to be distinguished from nonconstitutional law? How do morality and moral rights fit into the picture? And what are the implications of the answers to these questions for such questions as how and by (...) whom should constitutions be interpreted? These are the issues that I shall address. Alexander proceeds as follows: In section I he takes up law's principal function of settling controversies over what we are morally obligated to do. In section II he then relate law's settlement function to the role of constitutional law. In particular, he discusses how constitutional law is distinguished from ordinary law, and he also discusses the role of constitutions in establishing basic governmental structures and enforcing certain moral rights. In section III he addresses the topic of constitutional interpretation, and in section IV the topic of judicial review. Finally, in section V, he discusses constitutional change, both change that occurs through a constitution's own rules for amendments and change that is the product of constitutional misinterpretations and revolutions. (shrink)
Although research into the biosemiotic mechanisms underlying the purposeful behavior of brainless living systems is extensive, researchers have not adequately described biosemiosis among neurons. As the conscious use of signs is well-covered by the various fields of semiotics, we focus on subconscious sign action. Subconscious semiotic habits, both functional and dysfunctional, may be created and reinforced in the brain not necessarily in a logical manner and not necessarily through repeated reinforcement. We review literature that suggests hypnosis may be effective in (...) changing subconscious dysfunctional habits, and we offer a biosemiotic framework for understanding these results. If it has been difficult to evaluate any psychological approach, including hypnosis, this may be because contemporary neuroscience lacks a theory of the sign. We argue that understanding the fluid nature of representation in biological organisms is prerequisite to understanding the nature of the subconscious and may lead to more effective of treatments for dysfunctional habits developed through personal experience or culture. (shrink)
Biological mimicry is regarded by many as a textbook illustration of Darwin’s idea of evolution by random mutation followed by differential selection of reproductively fit specimens, resulting in gradual phenotypic change in a population. In this paper, I argue that some cases of so-called mimicry are probably merely look-a-likes and do not gain an advantage due to their similarity in appearance to something else. In cases where a similar appearance does provide a benefit, I argue that it is possible that (...) these forms of mimicry were created in a single generation. An interpretive response to an appearance as a sign can make a new structure perform drastically differently in an environment. In such cases, Darwin’s natural selection mechanism only helps to explain gradual the spread of these new forms, not the creation of them. I argue that biosemiosis should be regarded as a much more powerful mechanism for affecting evolutionary trajectories than the gradualist view allows. I focus on two cases of butterfly mimicry: the Viceroy and Monarch butterflies, supposed Müllerian mimics, and deadleaf mimic butterflies. (shrink)
Presents a plethora of approaches to developing human potential in areas not conventionally addressed. Organized in two parts, this international collection of essays provides viable educational alternatives to those currently holding sway in an era of high-stakes accountability.
???Everyone agrees that the moral features of things supervene on their natural features??? , 22). Everyone is wrong, or so I will argue. In the first section, I explain the version of moral supervenience that Smith and others argue everyone should accept. In the second section, I argue that the mere conceptual possibility of a divine command theory of morality is sufficient to refute the version of moral supervenience under consideration. Lastly, I consider and respond to two objections, showing, among (...) other things, that while DCT is sufficient to refute this version of moral supervenience it is not necessary. (shrink)
Legal and social norms regarding gender relations have undergone dramatic changes in the past 25 years. The changes have come about largely because of the confluence of changing economic and technological realities, the unfolding of the norm dictating equal treatment of individuals, the sexual revolution and its corollaries of improved contraception and legal abortion, the rise of women as a self-conscious group and a presence in the academy, and the interrelations of all of these factors. As men and women have (...) come to share dormitories and workplaces, and as the old mores governing sex—and male-female relations in general—have broken down, there has been struggle and uncertainty over what norms should apply to sexual relations. (shrink)
In his book Attention, Professor Alan White says ‘When you see X, it follows that if X is Y, you see Y whether you realise it or not.’ If, in passing through Paris, I saw a tall complex iron structure and that structure is the Eiffel Tower, then I saw the Eiffel Tower whether I realised it or not. I accept this, but because recent philosophical writings and discussions have cast doubt on the validity of the inference-pattern I saw x (...) ; x is y ; so I saw y and certain related patterns, it is clear that we cannot be content with this unvarnished statement. Various entertaining examples are produced to show that some instances of this pattern are invalid and therefore that the pattern itself is invalid. If I saw Jones at noon and at noon Jones was bribing Smith then, it is alleged, I cannot conclude that I saw Jones bribing Smith. Similarly, it is said, from the facts that I saw a man in the far distance and that that man was my father, I cannot conclude that I saw my father in the far distance; from the facts that I saw a foot and that that foot was Lloyd George's I cannot conclude that I saw Lloyd George. (shrink)
Mill predicted that “[t]he Liberty is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written … because the conjunction of [Harriet Taylor’s] mind with mine has rendered it a kind of philosophic text-book of a single truth, which the changes progressively taking place in modern society tend to bring out in ever greater relief.” Indeed, _On Liberty_ is one of the most influential books ever written, and remains a foundational document for the understanding of vital political, philosophical and (...) social issues. In addition to its many useful appendices, this new edition includes a chronology, bibliography, and a substantial introduction which outlines Mill’s life and works, and sets this central work of 1859 in the context of both his own intellectual development and of the play of ideas and political forces in Victorian society. (shrink)