The Monty Hall Problem (MHP), a process of two-stage decision making, was presented in atypical form via a custom software game. Differing from the normal three-box MHP, the game added one additional box on-screen for each game—culminating on game 23 with 25 on-screen boxes to initially choose from. A total of 108 participants played 23 games (trials) in one of four conditions; (1) “Vanish” condition—all non-winning boxes totally removed from the screen; (2) “Empty” condition—all non-winning boxes remain on-screen, but with (...) an “empty” label on them; (3) “Steroids” condition—all non-winning boxes removed from the screen, with initially chosen box becoming 25% larger; (4) “Steroids2” condition—all non-winning boxes removed from the screen, box not currently chosen becomes 25% larger. Results indicate second-stage on-screen presence of boxes influences switching; with their absence having the opposite effect. Size manipulation appears to elicit demand characteristics resulting in indeterminate influence. (shrink)
At the end of I.3, 319a29ff, Aristotle asks a series of questions. This difficult and condensed passage, whose translation is controversial at some points, raises two questions: what is what is not without qualification? and is the matter of earth and fire the same or different? In this essay, I shall focus on the second question.
Background Central to ethically justified clinical trial design is the need for an informed consent process responsive to how potential subjects actually comprehend study participation, especially study goals, risks, and potential benefits. This will be particularly challenging when studying deep brain stimulation and whether it impedes symptom progression in Parkinson’s disease, since potential subjects will be Parkinson’s patients for whom deep brain stimulation will likely have therapeutic value in the future as their disease progresses.Method As part of an expanded informed (...) consent process for a pilot Phase I study of deep brain stimulation in early stage Parkinson’s disease, an ethics questionnaire composed of 13 open-ended questions was distributed to potential subjects. The questionnaire was designed to guide potential subjects in thinking about their potential participation.Results While the purpose of the study was extensively presented during the informed consent process, in returned responses 70 percent focused on effectiveness and 91 percent included personal benefit as potential benefit from enrolling. However, 91 percent also indicated helping other Parkinson’s patients as motivation when considering whether or not to enroll.Conclusions This combination of responses highlights two issues to which investigators need to pay close attention in future trial designs: how, and in what ways, informed consent processes reinforce potential subjects’ preconceived understandings of benefit, and that potential subjects see themselves as part of a community of Parkinson’s sufferers with responsibilities extending beyond self-interest. More importantly, it invites speculation that a different paradigm for informed consent may be needed. (shrink)
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the (...) best life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
I am honoured and pleased to address you this evening on the life and work of an extraordinary American thinker, Charles Sanders Peirce. Although Peirce is perhaps most often remembered as the father of the philosophical movement known as pragmatism, I would like to impress upon you that he was also, and perhaps, especially, a logician, a working scientist and a mathematician. During his life time Peirce most often referred to himself, and was referred to by his colleagues, as (...) a logician. Furthermore, Peirce spent thirty years actively engaged in scientific research for the US Coast Survey. The National Archives in Washington, DC, holds some five thousand pages of Peirce's reports on this work. Finally, the four volumes of Peirce's mathematical papers edited by Professor Carolyn Eisele eloquently testify to his contributions to that field as well. (shrink)
A standard criticism of Cohen's account of historical materialism holds that, in the absence of an elaboration or mechanism, the consequence explanations that connect changes in economic structures (and superstructures) to productive development are less convincing than they could be (and perhaps need to be). Such an elaboration would show how the propensity of specific relations of production to enhance productive power could explain the spread of those relations, and thus changes in economic structures. Cohen provides such a mechanism in (...) his rational-choice case for the explanatory primacy of productive forces over relations of production. This proposal, however, makes unreasonably strong assumptions concerning human knowledge and questionable empirical claims. By contrast, a Darwinian mechanism for historical materialism, which offers an alternative account of the explanatory primacy of productive power, is possible. This revision to the foundations of historical materialism has important implications for the way we conceive of both historical materialism and human history. (shrink)