Abstract: Cognition of the third kind, or scientia intuitiva, is supposed to secure beatitudo, or virtue itself (E5p42). But what is scientia intuitiva, and how is it different from (and superior to) reason? I suggest a new answer to this old and vexing question at the core of Spinoza’s project in the Ethics. On my view, Spinoza’s scientia intuitiva resembles Descartes’s scientia more than has been appreciated. Although Spinoza’s God is not Descartes’s benevolent, transcendent God, Spinoza agrees with Descartes that (...) the highest certainty requires that a cognizer correctly conceive of God and her causal relation to God; it is only with cognition of the third kind that a cognizer can be certain that her adequate (that is, clear and distinct) representations of extramental things agree with formally real, extramental ideata, and so are true. If this is right, a reading of Spinoza that has dominated scholarship since the Ethics’ publication is misguided: for Spinoza, it is not always the case that having (and recognizing that one has) a clear and distinct idea is sufficient for knowing that that idea is true. I end the chapter by suggesting why scientia is intuitive for Spinoza: Spinoza attempts to avoid Cartesian-Circle-style circularity by insisting that a cognizer must intuit the correct representation of God and God’s relation to things. (shrink)
Background Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is expected to help find the elusive, causative genetic defects associated with Bipolar Disorder (BD). This article identifies the importance of NGS and further analyses the social and ethical implications of this approach when used in research projects studying BD, as well as other psychiatric ailments, with a view to ensuring the protection of research participants. Methods We performed a systematic review of studies through PubMed, followed by a manual search through the titles and abstracts (...) of original articles, including the reviews, commentaries and letters published in the last five years and dealing with the ethical and social issues raised by NGS technologies and genomics studies of mental disorders, especially BD. A total of 217 studies contributed to identify the themes discussed herein. Results The amount of information generated by NGS renders individuals suffering from BD particularly vulnerable, and increases the need for educational support throughout the consent process, and, subsequently, of genetic counselling, when communicating individual research results and incidental findings to them. Our results highlight the importance and difficulty of respecting participants’ autonomy while avoiding any therapeutic misconception. We also analysed the need for specific regulations on the use and communication of incidental findings, as well as the increasing influence of NGS in health care. Conclusions Shared efforts on the part of researchers and their institutions, Research Ethics Boards as well as participants’ representatives are needed to delineate a tailored consent process so as to better protect research participants. However, health care professionals involved in BD care and treatment need to first determine the scientific validity and clinical utility of NGS-generated findings, and thereafter their prevention and treatment significance. (shrink)
According to the proponents of Developmental Systems Theory and the Causal Parity Thesis, the privileging of the genome as “first among equals” with respect to the development of phenotypic traits is more a reflection of our own heuristic prejudice than of ontology - the underlying causal structures responsible for that specified development no more single out the genome as primary than they do other broadly “environmental” factors. Parting with the methodology of the popular responses to the Thesis, this paper offers (...) a novel criterion for ‘causal primacy’, one that is grounded in the ontology of the unique causal role of dispositional properties. This paper argues that, if the genome is conceptualised as realising dispositional properties that are “directed toward” phenotypic traits, the parity of ‘causal roles’ between genetic and extra-genetic factors is no longer apparent, and further, that the causal primacy of the genome is both plausible and defensible. (shrink)
Janssens’s careful edition brings to a close the publication of the Medieval Latin version of the Avicennian appropriation of Aristotle’s Physics. Avicenna’s “encyclopedia” called al-Shifâ’ comprises a series of writings on natural philosophy. The first of them corresponds to the Physics, and Janssens gives here the translation of the third treatise of this book, made in Spain in the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries.Editing the Medieval Latin text of Avicenna’s Physics is fraught with difficulties. First, the translation was left incomplete, (...) as it does not include the last four chapters of... (shrink)
The limits of gnoseologic paradigm, from Aristotle to Locke. The effort here has its basis in the need to overcome limits of interpretation, tabulations and classifications that often accompany analyses on classic empirism, in general and his Locke, in particular. We try to find aut in Greek philosophy the germs of moderat empirism. And if Aristotel is undeniable, such a possible start, will wonder, perhaps, Plato's thought.