The first Indian institution for scientific research was founded in 1876. The period 1876–1918 was a time of gestation for Indian chemistry, in which pure research gradually replaced the need-based, result-oriented research formerly promoted by the British regime. This formative period in Indian chemistry came to an end after the First World War and was succeeded by a rapid expansion of chemical research. The educational and political background against which these changes took place, and the influence of European chemistry on (...) developments in India, are discussed. Indian achievements in pure research are summarized, special consideration being given to the work of P. C. Ray, educationalist, entrepreneur, and research chemist. (shrink)
Much of economics is built on the assumption that individuals are driven by self-interest and economic development is an outcome of the free play of such individuals. On the few occasions that the existence of altruism is recognized in economics, the tendency is to build this from the axiom of individual selfishness. The aim of this paper is to break from this tradition and to treat as a primitive that individuals are endowed with the ‘cooperative spirit’, which allows them to (...) work in their collective interest, even when that may not be in their self-interest. The paper tracks the interface between altruism and group identity. By using the basic structure of a Prisoner's Dilemma game among randomly picked individuals and building into it assumptions of general or in-group altruism, the paper demonstrates how our selfish rationality interacts with our innate sense of cooperation. The model is used to outline circumstances under which cooperation will occur and circumstances where it will break down. The paper also studies how sub-groups of a society can form cooperative blocks, whether to simply do better for themselves or exploit others. (shrink)
One of the central tenets of mainstream economics is Adam Smith's proposition that, given certain conditions, self-interested behavior by individuals leads them to the social good, almost as if orchestrated by an invisible hand. This deep insight has, over the past two centuries, been taken out of context, contorted, and used as the cornerstone of free-market orthodoxy. In Beyond the Invisible Hand, Kaushik Basu argues that mainstream economics and its conservative popularizers have misrepresented Smith's insight and hampered our understanding (...) of how economies function, why some economies fail and some succeed, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be. Comparing this view of the invisible hand with the vision described by Kafka--in which individuals pursuing their atomistic interests, devoid of moral compunction, end up creating a world that is mean and miserable--Basu argues for collective action and the need to shift our focus from the efficient society to one that is also fair. Using analytic tools from mainstream economics, the book challenges some of the precepts and propositions of mainstream economics. It maintains that, by ignoring the role of culture and custom, traditional economics promotes the view that the current system is the only viable one, thereby serving the interests of those who do well by this system. Beyond the Invisible Hand challenges readers to fundamentally rethink the assumptions underlying modern economic thought and proves that a more equitable society is both possible and sustainable, and hence worth striving for. By scrutinizing Adam Smith's theory, this impassioned critique of contemporary mainstream economics debunks traditional beliefs regarding best economic practices, self-interest, and the social good. (shrink)
Mainstream economics was founded on many strong assumptions. Institutions and politics were treated as irrelevant, government as exogenous, social norms as epiphenomena. As an initial gambit this was fine. But as the horizons of economic inquiry have broadened, these assumptions have become hindrances rather than aids. If we want to understand why some economies succeed and some fail, why some governments are effective and others not, why some communities prosper while others stagnate, it is essential to view economics as embedded (...) in politics and society. Prelude to Political Economy is a study of this embeddedness; it argues for an 'inclusive' approach to institutions and the state.Modern economics recognizes that individuals' pursuit of their own selfish ends can result in socially suboptimal outcomes -- the Prisoner's Dilemma being the stark example. It has been suggested that what we need in such an eventuality is 'third-party' intervention, which can take the form of imposing punishment on players. Kaushik Basu objects to this method of wishing third parties out of thin air. He argues that if a third party that could impose its will on others were available, then it should have been modeled as a player to start with.The adoption of such an inclusive approach has implications for our conception of the state and the law. It means that the law cannot be construed as a factor that changes the game that citizens play. It is instead simply a set of beliefs of citizens; and, as such, it is similar to social norms. What the law does for an economy, so can social norms. The book discusses how the nature of policy advice and our conception of state power are affected by this altered view of the state and the law.As corollaries, the book addresses a variety of important social and philosophical questions, such as whether the state should guarantee freedom of speech, whether determinism is compatible with free will, and whether the free market can lead to coercion. (shrink)
In the Book of Common Prayer’s Rite II version of the Eucharist, the congregation confesses, “we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed”. According to this confession we wrong God not just by what we do and what we say, but also by what we think. The idea that we can wrong someone not just by what we do, but by what think or what we believe, is a natural one. It is the kind of wrong we feel (...) when those we love believe the worst about us. And it is one of the salient wrongs of racism and sexism. Yet it is puzzling to many philosophers how we could wrong one another by virtue of what we believe about them. This paper defends the idea that we can morally wrong one another by what we believe about them from two such puzzles. The first puzzle concerns whether we have the right sort of control over our beliefs for them to be subject to moral evaluation. And the second concerns whether moral wrongs would come into conflict with the distinctively epistemic standards that govern belief. Our answer to both puzzles is that the distinctively epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. This account of moral encroachment explains how epistemic norms governing belief are sensitive to the moral requirements governing belief. (shrink)
We care what people think of us. The thesis that beliefs wrong, although compelling, can sound ridiculous. The norms that properly govern belief are plausibly epistemic norms such as truth, accuracy, and evidence. Moral and prudential norms seem to play no role in settling the question of whether to believe p, and they are irrelevant to answering the question of what you should believe. This leaves us with the question: can we wrong one another by virtue of what we believe (...) about each other? Can beliefs wrong? In this introduction, I present a brief summary of the articles that make up this special issue. The aim is to direct readers to open avenues for future research by highlighting questions and challenges that are far from being settled. These papers shouldn’t be taken as the last word on the subject. Rather, they mark the beginning of a serious exploration into a set of questions that concern the morality of belief, i.e., doxastic morality. (shrink)
Past decades have witnessed the growing success of branding as a corporate activity as well as a rise in anti-brand activism. While appearing to be contradictory, both trends have emerged from common sources – the transition from industrial to post-industrial society, and the advent of globalization – the examination of which might lead to a socially grounded understanding of why brand success in the future is likely to demand more than superior product performance, placing increasing demand on corporations with regard (...) to a broader envelop of socially responsible behavior. Directions for strategic and managerial options are suggested. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the instrumental perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in practice and theory by relying on sociological analyses of a well known organization: the Italian Mafia. Legal businesses might share features of the Mafia, such as the propensity to exploit a governance vacuum in society, a strong organizational identity that demarcates the inside from the outside, and an extreme profit motive. Instrumental CSR practices have the power to accelerate a firm’s transition to (...) Mafia status through its own pathologies. The boundaries of such instrumentalism are explored and lessons for future CSR research derived, with specific emphasis on a firm’s social and normative embeddedness, taking into account the inherent challenge of regulating corporate behaviour in the global economy. (shrink)
In the curve fitting problem two conflicting desiderata, simplicity and goodness-of-fit, pull in opposite directions. To this problem, we propose a solution that strikes a balance between simplicity and goodness-of-fit. Using Bayes' theorem we argue that the notion of prior probability represents a measurement of simplicity of a theory, whereas the notion of likelihood represents the theory's goodness-of-fit. We justify the use of prior probability and show how to calculate the likelihood of a family of curves. We diagnose the relationship (...) between simplicity of a theory and its predictive accuracy. (shrink)
This paper attempts to argue for the theory-ladenness of evidence. It does so by employing and analysing an episode from the history of eighteenth century chemistry. It delineates attempts by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier to construct entirely different kinds of evidence for and against a particular hypothesis from a set of agreed upon observations or data. Based on an augmented version of a distinction, drawn by J. Bogen and J. Woodward, between data and phenomena it is shown that the (...) role of theoretical auxiliary assumptions is very important in constructing evidence for a theory from observation or data. In revolutionary situations, rival groups hold radically different theories and theoretical auxiliary assumptions. These are employed to construct very different evidence from the agreed upon set of observations or data. Hence, theory resolution becomes difficult. It is argued that evidence construction is a multi-layered exercise and can be disputed at any level. What counts as unproblematic observation or data at one level may become problematic at another level. The contingency of these constructions and the problematic nature of evidence are shown to be partially dependent upon the scientific knowledge that the scientific community possesses.Author Keywords: Theory-ladenness of evidence; Eighteenth century chemical philosophy; Construction of evidence; Observation/data; Theory resolution. (shrink)
Much of economics is built on the assumption that individuals are driven by self-interest and economic development is an outcome of the free play of such individuals. On the few occasions that the existence of altruism is recognized in economics, the tendency is to build this from the axiom of individual selfishness. The aim of this paper is to break from this tradition and to treat as a primitive that individuals are endowed with the , which allows them to work (...) in their collective interest, even when that may not be in their self-interest. The paper tracks the interface between altruism and group identity. By using the basic structure of a Prisoner's Dilemma game among randomly picked individuals and building into it assumptions of general or in-group altruism, the paper demonstrates how our selfish rationality interacts with our innate sense of cooperation. The model is used to outline circumstances under which cooperation will occur and circumstances where it will break down. The paper also studies how sub-groups of a society can form cooperative blocks, whether to simply do better for themselves or exploit others. (shrink)
This is a broad overview of how the prevalent family systems in the developing world influence sex preference for children. Son preference is evident in the data in East Asia and South Asia, and in the Middle East and North Africa, where patriarchal family systems make sons more valuable than daughters to parents in terms of economic, physical, and emotional sustenance. In sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, there is little difference between the levels of support parents can expect (...) from sons and daughters—and little revealed sex preference in the data. (shrink)
In this paper we shall try to understand what it is to beg the question, and since begging the question is generally believed to be linked with circularity, we shall also explore this relationship. Finally, we shall consider whether certain forms of valid argument can go through smoothly in anepistemio context without begging the question. We shall consider, especially, the claims of the disjunctive syllogism in this regard.
In this paper, a novel approach for word extraction and character segmentation from the handwritten Bangla document images is reported. At first, a modified Run Length Smoothing Algorithm, called Spiral Run Length Smearing Algorithm, is applied for the extraction of words from the text lines of unconstrained handwritten Bangla document images. This technique has helped to overcome some of the drawbacks of standard horizontal and vertical RLSA techniques. SRLSA technique has been applied on the Bangla handwritten document image database CMATERdb1.1.1 (...) and the success rate of the word extraction is found to be 86.01%. In the second part of the work, we have presented a useful solution to the problem on how best word images of handwritten Bangla script can be segmented into constituent characters. Moreover, the technique can segment the words having discontinuity in Matra, a prominent feature of Bangla script. It also optimizes the trade-off between under/over segmentation as Matra region and segmentation points are estimated more precisely. As a result, better word segmentation accuracy is achieved with minimal data loss. Here, a success rate of 92.48% is observed on a dataset of 750 handwritten Bangla words which is 3.35% higher than that of our earlier techniques. (shrink)
Marriage distance is an important variable in human genetics. The distribution of marriage distance has been studied among the Santals, a large agricultural tribe of eastern India, in the neighbourhood of Giridih, Bihar. A Type III Pearsonian curve was fitted to the observed distribution; the fit was found to be good. Possible explanations have been suggested for the distribution pattern among the Santals and for the difference with respect to this pattern between the Santals and other populations.
This article offers a brief historical analysis of power-in-use by both secular and sacred institutions. With examples the author shows that while both sacred religion and secular science have tried to correct each other's shortcomings, the virus of separative egoism has afflicted them both. While the sacred implies reduction of egoism as an indispensable precondition, yet this is frequently forgotten. So abuse of power often accompanies the sacred as well. This unfortunate tendency is a problem that needs attention.