Globally active companies are involved in the discursive construction of moral legitimacy. Establishing normative conformance is problematic given the plurality of norms and values worldwide, and is particularly difficult for companies operating in morally controversial industries. In this paper, we investigate how organizations publicly legitimize the trade of human tissue for private profit when this practice runs counter to deep-seated and widespread moral beliefs. To do so, we use inductive, qualitative methods to analyze the website discourse of three types of (...) organizations that trade in human tissue and are associated with different degrees of moral controversy with respect to tissue procurement and use. Our analysis reveals an object-oriented approach to moral legitimizing centered on the human tissue as a morally disputed good. We find that the website discourse translates human tissue into technology, constructs normative meaning around a dominant instrumental value associated with human-tissue-as-technology, and reproduces and stabilizes this meaning by six discursive mechanisms that amplify and anchor it. Moreover, the use of amplifying and anchoring discourse was greater in organizations associated with greater controversy. The results are consistent with an object-oriented sociality. (shrink)
What role does non-genetic inheritance play in evolution? In recent work we have independently and collectively argued that the existence and scope of non-genetic inheritance systems, including epigenetic inheritance, niche construction/ecological inheritance, and cultural inheritance—alongside certain other theory revisions—necessitates an extension to the neo-Darwinian Modern Synthesis (MS) in the form of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES). However, this argument has been challenged on the grounds that non-genetic inheritance systems are exclusively proximate mechanisms that serve the ultimate function of calibrating organisms (...) to stochastic environments. In this paper we defend our claims, pointing out that critics of the EES (1) conflate non-genetic inheritance with early 20th-century notions of soft inheritance; (2) misunderstand the nature of the EES in relation to the MS; (3) confuse individual phenotypic plasticity with trans-generational non-genetic inheritance; (4) fail to address the extensive theoretical and empirical literature which shows that non-genetic inheritance can generate novel targets for selection, create new genetic equilibria that would not exist in the absence of non-genetic inheritance, and generate phenotypic variation that is independent of genetic variation; (5) artificially limit ultimate explanations for traits to gene-based selection, which is unsatisfactory for phenotypic traits that originate and spread via non-genetic inheritance systems; and (6) fail to provide an explanation for biological organization. We conclude by noting ways in which we feel that an overly gene-centric theory of evolution is hindering progress in biology and other sciences. (shrink)
The current paper provides readers some clarifications on the nature and goals of mass media campaigns designed to promote organ donation. These clarifications were necessitated by an earlier essay by Rady et al. (Med Health Care Philos 15:229–241, 2012) who present erroneous claims that media promotion campaigns in this health context represent propaganda that seek to misrepresent the transplantation process. Information is also provided on the nature and relative power of media campaigns in organ donation promotion.
Delivering high quality genomics-informed care to patients requires accurate test results whose clinical implications are understood. While other actors, including state agencies, professional organizations, and clinicians, are involved, this article focuses on the extent to which the federal agencies that play the most prominent roles — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enforcing CLIA and the FDA — effectively ensure that these elements are met and concludes by suggesting possible ways to improve their oversight of genomic testing.
Intrauterine insemination is one of many treatments provided to infertility patients. Many factors such as, but not limited to, quality of semen, the age of a woman, and reproductive hormone levels contribute to infertility. Therefore, the aim of our study is to establish a statistical probability concerning the prediction of which groups of patients have a very good or poor prognosis for pregnancy after IUI insemination. For that purpose, we compare the results of two analyses: Cluster Analysis and Kohonen Neural (...) Networks. The k-means algorithm from the clustering methods was the best to use for selecting patients with a good prognosis but the Kohonen Neural Networks was better for selecting groups of patients with the lowest chances for pregnancy. (shrink)
Early in his career Thomas Hunt Morgan was interested in embryology and dedicated his research to studying organisms that could regenerate. Widely regarded as a regeneration expert, Morgan was invited to deliver a series of lectures on the topic that he developed into a book, Regeneration (1901). In addition to presenting experimental work that he had conducted and supervised, Morgan also synthesized and critiqued a great deal of work by his peers and predecessors. This essay probes (...) into the history of regeneration studies by looking in depth at Regeneration and evaluating Morgan's contribution. Although famous for his work with fruit fly genetics, studying Regeneration illuminates Morgan's earlier scientific approach which emphasized the importance of studying a diversity of organisms. Surveying a broad range of regenerative phenomena allowed Morgan to institute a standard scientific terminology that continues to inform regeneration studies today. Most importantly, Morgan argued that regeneration was a fundamental aspect of the growth process and therefore should be accounted for within developmental theory. Establishing important similarities between regeneration and development allowed Morgan to make the case that regeneration could act as a model of development. The nature of the relationship between embryogenesis and regeneration remains an active area of research. (shrink)
We develop an axiomatic theory of “generalized Routley-Meyer logics.” These are first-order logics which are can be characterized by model theories in a certain generalization of Routley-Meyer semantics. We show that all GRM logics are subclassical, have recursively enumerable consequence relations, satisfy the compactness theorem, and satisfy the standard structural rules and conjunction and disjunction introduction/elimination rules. We also show that the GRM logics include classical logic, intuitionistic logic, LP/K3/FDE, and the relevant logics.
Early in his career Thomas Hunt Morgan was interested in embryology and dedicated his research to studying organisms that could regenerate. Widely regarded as a regeneration expert, Morgan was invited to deliver a series of lectures on the topic that he developed into a book, Regeneration. In addition to presenting experimental work that he had conducted and supervised, Morgan also synthesized and critiqued a great deal of work by his peers and predecessors. This essay probes into (...) the history of regeneration studies by looking in depth at Regeneration and evaluating Morgan’s contribution. Although famous for his work with fruit fly genetics, studying Regeneration illuminates Morgan’s earlier scientific approach which emphasized the importance of studying a diversity of organisms. Surveying a broad range of regenerative phenomena allowed Morgan to institute a standard scientific terminology that continues to inform regeneration studies today. Most importantly, Morgan argued that regeneration was a fundamental aspect of the growth process and therefore should be accounted for within developmental theory. Establishing important similarities between regeneration and development allowed Morgan to make the case that regeneration could act as a model of development. The nature of the relationship between embryogenesis and regeneration remains an active area of research. (shrink)
Infertility is recognized as a major problem of modern society. Assisted Reproductive Technology is the one of many available treatment options to cure infertility. However, the efficiency of the ART treatment is still inadequate. Therefore, the procedure’s quality is constantly improving and there is a need to determine statistical predictors as well as contributing factors to the successful treatment. There is a concern over the application of adequate statistical analysis to clinical data: should classic statistical methods be used or would (...) it be more appropriate to apply advanced data mining technologies? By comparing two statistical models, Multivariable Logistic Regression analysis and Artificial Neural Network it has been demonstrated that Multivariable Logistic Regression analysis is more suitable for theoretical interest but the Artificial Neural Network method is more useful in clinical prediction. (shrink)
What promised to be a refreshing addition to cumulative cultural evolution, by moving the focus from cultural transmission to technological innovation, falls flat through a lack of thoroughness, explanatory power, and data. A comprehensive theory of cumulative cultural change must carefully integrate all existing evidence in a cohesive multi-level account. We argue that the manuscript fails to do so convincingly.
Analyzing the rate at which languages change can clarify whether similarities across languages are solely the result of cognitive biases or might be partially due to descent from a common ancestor. To demonstrate this approach, we use a simple model of language evolution to mathematically determine how long it should take for the distribution over languages to lose the influence of a common ancestor and converge to a form that is determined by constraints on language learning. We show that modeling (...) language learning as Bayesian inference of n binary parameters or the ordering of n constraints results in convergence in a number of generations that is on the order of n log n. We relax some of the simplifying assumptions of this model to explore how different assumptions about language evolution affect predictions about the time to convergence; in general, convergence time increases as the model becomes more realistic. This allows us to characterize the assumptions about language learning (given the models that we consider) that are sufficient for convergence to have taken place on a timescale that is consistent with the origin of human languages. These results clearly identify the consequences of a set of simple models of language evolution and show how analysis of convergence rates provides a tool that can be used to explore questions about the relationship between accounts of language learning and the origins of similarities across languages. (shrink)
A great deal is known about the technical issues surrounding the introduction of Hugo De Vries's mutation theory and the subsequent development of the modern genetical theory of natural selection. But so far little has been done to relate these events to the wider issues of the time. This article suggests that extra-scientific factors played a significant role, and substantiates this by comparing De Vries's respect for the original Darwinian spirit with Thomas Hunt Morgan's use of the mutation (...) theory as part of an attack on the whole philosophy of Darwinism. In particular, it is argued that Morgan's attitude was dictated by his moral objections to the picture of a world dominated by struggle. (shrink)
Human and automated tutors attempt to choose pedagogical activities that will maximize student learning, informed by their estimates of the student's current knowledge. There has been substantial research on tracking and modeling student learning, but significantly less attention on how to plan teaching actions and how the assumed student model impacts the resulting plans. We frame the problem of optimally selecting teaching actions using a decision-theoretic approach and show how to formulate teaching as a partially observable Markov decision process planning (...) problem. This framework makes it possible to explore how different assumptions about student learning and behavior should affect the selection of teaching actions. We consider how to apply this framework to concept learning problems, and we present approximate methods for finding optimal teaching actions, given the large state and action spaces that arise in teaching. Through simulations and behavioral experiments, we explore the consequences of choosing teacher actions under different assumed student models. In two concept-learning tasks, we show that this technique can accelerate learning relative to baseline performance. (shrink)
Watching another person take actions to complete a goal and making inferences about that person's knowledge is a relatively natural task for people. This ability can be especially important in educational settings, where the inferences can be used for assessment, diagnosing misconceptions, and providing informative feedback. In this paper, we develop a general framework for automatically making such inferences based on observed actions; this framework is particularly relevant for inferring student knowledge in educational games and other interactive virtual environments. Our (...) approach relies on modeling action planning: We formalize the problem as a Markov decision process in which one must choose what actions to take to complete a goal, where choices will be dependent on one's beliefs about how actions affect the environment. We use a variation of inverse reinforcement learning to infer these beliefs. Through two lab experiments, we show that this model can recover people's beliefs in a simple environment, with accuracy comparable to that of human observers. We then demonstrate that the model can be used to provide real-time feedback and to model data from an existing educational game. (shrink)
Garland E. Allen’s 1978 biography of the Nobel Prize winning biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan provides an excellent study of the man and his science. Allen presents Morgan as an opportunistic scientist who follows where his observations take him, leading him to his foundational work in Drosophila genetics. The book was rightfully hailed as an important achievement and it introduced generations of readers to Morgan. Yet, in hindsight, Allen’s book largely misses an equally important part of (...) class='Hi'>Morgan’s work – his study of development and regeneration. It is worth returning to this part of Morgan, exploring what Morgan contributed and also why he has been seen by contemporaries and historians such as Allen as having set aside some of the most important developmental problems. A closer look shows how Morgan’s view of cells and development that was different from that of his most noted contemporaries led to interpretation of his important contributions in favor of genetics. This essay is part of a special issue, revisiting Garland Allen's views on the history of life sciences in the twentieth century. (shrink)
Log-linear analysis is a practical tool for examining relationships, successfully applied in many fields of science. This paper discusses the topic of estimation of the chance of getting pregnant in couples that underwent ART insemination. The authors focus on finding significant interactions between variables, on the basis of which statistical models are built. With the use of results of log-linear analysis, a model predicting the chances of achieving a clinical pregnancy that contained interactions was successfully built. Moreover, it was more (...) complete than the model obtained with the use of logistic regression alone. (shrink)
While the extended cognition (EC) thesis has gained more followers in cognitive science and in the philosophy of mind and knowledge, our main goal is to discuss a different area of significance of the EC thesis: its relation to philosophy of science. In this introduction, we outline two major areas: (I) The role of the thesis for issues in the philosophy of cognitive science, such as: How do notions of EC figure in theories or research programs in cognitive science? Which (...) versions of the EC thesis appear, and with which arguments to support them? (II) The potentials and limits of the EC thesis for topics in general philosophy of science, such as: Can naturalism perhaps be further advanced by means of the more recent EC thesis? Can we understand “big science” or laboratory research better by invoking some version of EC? And can the EC thesis help in overcoming the notorious cognitive/social divide in science studies? (shrink)
Although the construction of neo-Darwinism grew out of Thomas Hunt Morgan's melding of Darwinism and Mendelism, his evidence did not soley support a model of gradual change. To the contrary, he was confronted with observations that could have led him to a more "evo-devo" understanding of the emergence of novel features. Indeed, since Morgan was an embryologist before he became a fruit-fly geneticist, one would have predicted that the combination of these two lines of research would have (...) resulted in early formulations of concepts relevant to evolutionary developmental biology. It is thus of interest to review Morgan's thought processes and arguments for at first rejecting both Darwinism and Mendelism, and then for later dismissing data that would have yielded a model of rapid morphological change in favor of a model of change based on the accumulation of minor mutations and their morphological consequences. (shrink)
The paper analyzes the early theory building process of Thomas Hunt Morgan from the 1910s to the 1930s and the introduction of the invisible gene as a main explanatory unit of heredity. Morgan’s work marks the transition between two different styles of thought. In the early 1900s, he shifted from an embryological study of the development of the organism to a study of the mechanism of genetic inheritance and gene action. According to his contemporaries as well as (...) to historiography, Morgan separated genetics from embryology, and the gene from the whole organism. Other scholars identified an underlying embryological focus in Morgan’s work throughout his career. Our paper aims to clarify the debate by concentrating on Morgan’s theory building—characterized by his confidence in the power of experimental methods, and carefully avoiding any ontological commitment towards the gene—and on the continuity of the questions to be addressed by both embryology and genetics. (shrink)