Whenever a structure with a particularly interesting computability-theoretic property is found, it is natural to ask whether similar examples can be found within well-known classes of algebraic structures, such as groups, rings, lattices, and so forth. One way to give positive answers to this question is to adapt the original proof to the new setting. However, this can be an unnecessary duplication of effort, and lacks generality. Another method is to code the original structure into a structure in the given (...) class in a way that is effective enough to preserve the property in which we are interested. In this paper, we show how to transfer a number of computability-theoretic properties from directed graphs to structures in the following classes: symmetric, irreflexive graphs; partial orderings; lattices; rings ; integral domains of arbitrary characteristic; commutative semigroups; and 2-step nilpotent groups. This allows us to show that several theorems about degree spectra of relations on computable structures, nonpreservation of computable categoricity, and degree spectra of structures remain true when we restrict our attention to structures in any of the classes on this list. The codings we present are general enough to be viewed as establishing that the theories mentioned above are computably complete in the sense that, for a wide range of computability-theoretic nonstructure type properties, if there are any examples of structures with such properties then there are such examples that are models of each of these theories. (shrink)
We show that, when the number of participating agents n tends to infinity, all classical social choice rules are asymptotically strategy -proof with the proportion of manipulable profiles being of order O.
In the intellectual autobiography that opens this book, Chisholm divides philosophers into “drones” and “commentators,” placing himself in the first group. As a drone, Chisholm proposed solutions to philosophical problems and asked his students and colleagues to try to refute him. He reports that they often did, sending him back to the drawing board. Chisholm’s wry self-description says much about his manner as well as his method. A more pretentious philosopher might have spoken of his dogged search for philosophical truth (...) in an age when many have come to disparage that quest. (shrink)
"Full of vitality as well as profundity, and resonating with something I can only term friendship, these meditations / memoirs belong to the great tradition of metaphysical prose, alongside the works of Nietzsche, Shklovsky, Kierkegaard, ...
The environment has often been thought to consist of resources that are unowned, and hence subject to the well-known tragedy of the commons. But in recent years, property ideas have been increasingly recruited for environmental protection, in a manner that appears to vindicate the view that property rights evolve along with the needs for resource management. Nevertheless, property regimes have some pitfalls for environmental resources: the relevant parties may not be able to come to agreement; property regimes may be weak (...) or ineffective; they may be aimed at purposes inconsistent with environmental protection; property rights definitions may not work well for environmental resources; modern property regimes may promote monoculture rather than diverse environments. This essay describes these problems and asks to what degree they apply to a new effort to use property rights approaches, namely cap-and-trade programs to control greenhouse gases. It concludes that property rights, while imperfect and something of a retreat from a regime of complete liberty, may offer gains for environmental protection. But success will depend on close attention to the accountability and effectiveness of the governmental institutions necessary to support environmental property regimes. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
CQ: The Baby Bas Ross case stirred much public debate in The Netherlands since 1988 -a newborn infant with Down's syndrome whose parents refused to consent to a surgery that would have repaired an otherwise fatal congenital anomaly. Can you share your thoughts with us on this case?HD: I was the first ethicist to comment on this case because I was a friend of Dr. Molenaar, who was the final surgical decision maker for Baby Bas. A physician and I supported (...) his decision throughout the prosecution that followed. We also summarized the case in the N.T.V.G., the Dutch Magazine of Medicine. We argued In the article that parents should have the option to make nontreatment decisions. Moreover, In cases where the physician has to perform aggressive medical interventions, there certainly must be thorough and sound justification to ensure that the decision to Intervene Is in the best interest of the child.Heleen M. Dupuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Bioethics at the Leiden University School of Medicine, where she heads the Department of Metamedica and teaches in the Department of Philosophy. She is also a member of the Institutional Review Board/Ethics Committee of the Leiden University Hospital and a member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal Dutch Society of Medicine. (shrink)
Several variants of Lewis's Best System Account of Lawhood have been proposed that avoid its commitment to perfectly natural properties. There has been little discussion of the relative merits of these proposals, and little discussion of how one might extend this strategy to provide natural property-free variants of Lewis's other accounts, such as his accounts of duplication, intrinsicality, causation, counterfactuals, and reference. We undertake these projects in this paper. We begin by providing a framework for classifying and assessing the variants (...) of the Best System Account. We then evaluate these proposals, and identify the most promising candidates. We go on to develop a proposal for systematically modifying Lewis's other accounts so that they, too, avoid commitment to perfectly natural properties. We conclude by briefly considering a different route one might take to developing natural property-free versions of Lewis's other accounts, drawing on recent work by Williams. (shrink)
The debate that raged in the interwar period between the Austrian economists and socialist economists was, narrowly conceived, a debate in positive economics. What was being discussed was certainly not the morality of capitalism or of socialism. Nor, strictly speaking, was the debate even about society's economic well-being under socialism; it concerned the ability of central planners to make decisions that take appropriate account of relevant resource scarcities, in the light of consumer preference rankings. To be sure, the extraordinary interest (...) which surrounded the debate and the passions that lurked barely below its surface testified to the powerful implications of the debate for crucial issues in welfare economics. The Austrians were not merely exploring the economies of socialism; they were in effect demonstrating that, as an economic system attempting to serve the needs of its citizens, socialism must inevitably fail. But, even if the debate is interpreted in its broadest terms, as a debate in welfare economics, it represented a sharp break widi traditional polemics relating to the socialism-capitalism issue. Traditionally the arguments for or against capitalism had, until 1920, been deeply involved in ediical questions. Mises's 1920 challenge to socialism, in contrast, was explicit in making no attempt to address any claims concerning the alleged moral superiority of socialism. He simply argued that, as an economic system, socialism was inherendy incapable of fulfilling the objectives of its proponents; central planners are unable to plan centrally. (shrink)
The pragmatic character of the Dutch book argument makes it unsuitable as an "epistemic" justification for the fundamental probabilist dogma that rational partial beliefs must conform to the axioms of probability. To secure an appropriately epistemic justification for this conclusion, one must explain what it means for a system of partial beliefs to accurately represent the state of the world, and then show that partial beliefs that violate the laws of probability are invariably less accurate than they could be otherwise. (...) The first task can be accomplished once we realize that the accuracy of systems of partial beliefs can be measured on a gradational scale that satisfies a small set of formal constraints, each of which has a sound epistemic motivation. When accuracy is measured in this way it can be shown that any system of degrees of belief that violates the axioms of probability can be replaced by an alternative system that obeys the axioms and yet is more accurate in every possible world. Since epistemically rational agents must strive to hold accurate beliefs, this establishes conformity with the axioms of probability as a norm of epistemic rationality whatever its prudential merits or defects might be. (shrink)
Writing in 1912, before the Bolshevik Revolution, American socialist John Spargo said that it was “inconceivable” that a democratic socialist society would ever abolish the “sacred right” of freedom of publication which had been won at so great a sacrifice. According to Spargo, “every Socialist writer of note” agreed with Karl Kautsky that the freedom of the press, and of literary production in general, is an “essential condition” of democratic socialism.
R. M. Hare, one of the most influential moral philosophers of the twentieth century, presents a definitive summary of his fundamental views on ethics, incorporating a critical taxonomy of rival ethical theories. Sorting Out Ethics is a characteristically lucid and lively guide to the subject and Hare's place in it.
Kurt Godel, the greatest logician of our time, startled the world of mathematics in 1931 with his Theorem of Undecidability, which showed that some statements in mathematics are inherently "undecidable." His work on the completeness of logic, the incompleteness of number theory, and the consistency of the axiom of choice and the continuum theory brought him further worldwide fame. In this introductory volume, Raymond Smullyan, himself a well-known logician, guides the reader through the fascinating world of Godel's incompleteness theorems. The (...) level of presentation is suitable for anyone with a basic acquaintance with mathematical logic. As a clear, concise introduction to a difficult but essential subject, the book will appeal to mathematicians, philosophers, and computer scientists. (shrink)
Is information about a person's genome, whether derived from the analysis of DNA or otherwise, protected by the right to privacy? If it is, why and in what manner? It often appears that some people believe that the answer to this question is to be found in molecular genetics itself. They point to the rapid progress being made in basic and applied aspects of this field of biology; this progress has remarkably increased what is known about human genetics. Since knowledge (...) of a particular person's genetic makeup entails a potential intrusion into that person's most private realms and exposes him or her to dire results if revealed to others, they argue, the law needs to protect “genetic privacy.” There is nothing inherently wrong with this account, but it certainly presupposes that we know—and agree about—what it means to protect privacy and, indeed, what interests are implicated in the concept and why they matter. Rather than make this assumption, in this essay I first elaborate a concept of privacy before turning to the potential privacy implications that arise at the intersection of human genetics and the field of insurance. I argue that the core value here is self-determination broadly conceived—that control over one's genetic information may be important for achieving self-determination—but that at least in the context of contracts for life insurance, we should be reluctant to recognize “rights” that would permanently preclude the use of genetic data by insurers. (shrink)
Precision Medicine has become a common label for data-intensive and patient-driven biomedical research. Its intended future is reflected in endeavours such as the Precision Medicine Initiative in the USA. This article addresses the question whether it is possible to discern a new ‘medical cosmology’ in Precision Medicine, a concept that was developed by Nicholas Jewson to describe comprehensive transformations involving various dimensions of biomedical knowledge and practice, such as vocabularies, the roles of patients and physicians and the conceptualisation of disease. (...) Subsequently, I will elaborate my assessment of the features of Precision Medicine with the help of Michel Foucault, by exploring how precision medicine involves a transformation along three axes: the axis of biomedical knowledge, of biomedical power and of the patient as a self. Patients are encouraged to become the managers of their own health status, while the medical domain is reframed as a data-sharing community, characterised by changing power relationships between providers and patients, producers and consumers. While the emerging Precision Medicine cosmology may surpass existing knowledge frameworks; it obscures previous traditions and reduces research-subjects to mere data. This in turn, means that the individual is both subjected to the neoliberal demand to share personal information, and at the same time has acquired the positive ‘right’ to become a member of the data-sharing community. The subject has to constantly negotiate the meaning of his or her data, which can either enable self-expression, or function as a commanding Superego. (shrink)
According to recent arguments for panpsychism, all physical properties are dispositional, dispositions require categorical grounds, and the only categorical properties we know are phenomenal properties. Therefore, phenomenal properties can be posited as the categorical grounds of all physical properties—in order to solve the mind–body problem and/or in order avoid noumenalism about the grounds of the physical world. One challenge to this case comes from dispositionalism, which agrees that all physical properties are dispositional, but denies that dispositions require categorical grounds. In (...) this paper, I propose that this challenge can be met by the claim that the only dispositional properties we know are phenomenal properties, in particular, phenomenal properties associated with agency, intention and/or motivation. Versions of this claim have been common in the history of philosophy, and have also been supported by a number of contemporary dispositionalists. I will defend a new and updated version of it. Combined with other premises from the original case for panpsychism—which are not affected by the challenge from dispositionalism—it forms an argument that dispositionalism entails panpsychism. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)