The first part of this article examines Patricia O'Grady's recent attempt to identify the method by which Thales might have successfully predicted a solar eclipse. According to O'Grady, some 60% of the potentially visible lunar eclipses were followed 23½ months later by potentially visible solar eclipses. It is shown that this ratio is no more than 23%, and that the method fails to predict after which specific lunar eclipse a solar eclipse will appear. In the second half (...) of the article it is argued that on the basis of his own observations of major solar eclipses, Thales could have concluded that solar eclipses come in clusters of three, the second appearing 17 or 18 months, and the third 35 months, after the first one. In the years after the "predicted" eclipse of 28 May 585 BC, this apparent pattern disappeared again, which would explain why Thales managed to "predict" only one eclipse. (shrink)
The article sums up a number of points made by the author concerning the response to Darwinism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and repeats the claim that a proper understanding of the theory's impact must take account of the extent to which what are now regarded as the key aspects of Darwin's thinking were evaded by his immediate followers. Potential challenges to this position are described and responded to.
This study offers a detailed analysis of an episode of the popularization of astronomy which took place in Portugal, a peripheral country of Europe, and occurring in the early twentieth century. The episode was driven by the 28 May 1900 total solar eclipse which was seen on the Iberian Peninsula . Instead of focusing on one of the ends of the popularization process, we analyze the circulation of knowledge among scientists and the public, contrast the aims of the various (...) expeditions, professional and amateur, which took place on Portuguese soil, analyze their repercussions in the Portuguese astronomical landscape, and the different ways used by the Portuguese political elite and astronomical community to successfully appropriate this astronomical event to serve their varied agendas, political, social and scientific. In this episode of public enthusiasm for science, a central figure emerged in the network of the official commission, professional and amateur communities and the ‘general public’: Frederico Tomás Oom , an astronomer of the Lisbon Astronomical Observatory. This paper aims to illustrate the different layers of the circulation process, and at proving that the popularization of science was not a unidirectional process from scientists to lay people nor did it serve only a particular agenda, be it political, social or scientific. (shrink)
In recent decades, the shift towards the “learnification” of educational discourse has de facto reframed educational purposes and schooling practice, thus reframing what students should know, strive for, and, in a sense, be. In this paper, given the efforts to disrupt the dominance of learning discourse, I seek to engage regarding a specific concern, namely, the progressive removal of imagination within educational official framework. Indeed, imagination has virtually disappeared from the documents, publications, web pages and recommendations of major educational agencies (...) and institutions worldwide, with important and potentially damaging consequences for schooling, teaching and learning. Employing a Deweyan perspective, I argue that imagination plays a crucial role in the creation of pivotal educational features and phenomena, such as knowledge, inquiry, choice and deliberation, critical agency, meaning creation, and, importantly, the openness of possibilities. Therefore, the eclipse of imagination becomes, at the very same time, the eclipse of education; nurturing imagination is about nurturing education. (shrink)
De acordo com Pettit e Skinner, o surgimento do utilitarismo teria contribuído decisivamente para o eclipse da tradição republicana moderna. Os utilitaristas teriam sido responsáveis por uma crítica radical à concepção de liberdade republicana, o que teria resultado no predomínio da concepção de liberdade hobbesiana. A agudeza e a força do ataque utilitarista à concepção de liberdade republicana estariam sintetizadas em um conjunto de objeções formuladas, ainda no final do século XVIII, pelo utilitarista teológico inglês William Paley. Um exame (...) do pensamento de Paley mostra que sua concepção de liberdade, ao contrário do que sugerem Skinner e Pettit, é bastante distinta da concepção hobbesiana. (shrink)
Many people still believe in life after death, but modern institutions operate as though this were the only world - eternity is now eclipsed from view in society and even in the church. This book carefully observes the eclipse - what caused it, how full is it, what are its consequences, will it last? How significant is recent interest in near-death experiences and reincarnation?
According to Pettit and Skinner the rising of utilitarianism would have decisively contributed to the eclipse of the modern republican tradition. The Utilitarians would have been responsible for a radical critique of the concept of republican liberty, which would have resulted in the predominance of the Hobbesian conception of freedom. The sharpness and strength of the utilitarian attack to the conception of republican liberty would have be summarized in a set of objections formulated, in the late eighteenth century, by (...) the English theological utilitarian William Paley. An examination of Paley's thought shows that his conception of liberty, contrary to what suggest Skinner and Pettit, is quite distinct from the Hobbesian concept. (shrink)
Plutarch's dialogue De facie in orbe lunae contains a mention of an eclipse, the identification of which would give a terminus post quern, for the composition of the work. The speaker is the Etruscan Lucius, the Pythagorean friend of Sulla the Carthaginian, and his words are as follows : ‘Concede me this, remembering this recent eclipse, which, beginning immediately after midday , caused many stars to appear in many quarters of the sky.’ For such a phenomenon to occur (...) the eclipse must have been nearly or quite total. (shrink)
In her 1996 book, Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge, Deborah Mayo argues that use- (or heuristic) novelty is not a criterion we need to consider in assessing the evidential value of observations. Using the notion of a ''severe'' test, Mayo claims that such novelty is valuable only when it leads to severity, and never otherwise. To illustrate her view, she examines the historical case involving the famous 1919 British eclipse expeditions that generated observations supporting Einstein's theory of (...) gravitation over Newton's. My plan here is to defend use-novelty as a valuable methodological principle. I begin by exposing a weakness in Mayo's criticism of use-novelty. Remedying this weakness re-establishes the worth of use-novelty under specific conditions; in particular, heuristically novel data are to be preferred, as I will say, ''prima facie''. Armed with this revised version of use-novelty, I re-examine the history of the eclipse experiments and offer an interpretation of this episode that to an extent-and contrary to Mayo-restores the mildly heretical, Earman/Glymour evaluation of this episode offered in their (1980). I conclude by responding to criticism of my assessment of Mayo's work. (shrink)
Despite its virtues, lay decision-making in medicine shares with professional decision-making a disturbing common feature, reflected both in formal policies prohibiting high-risk research and in informal policies favoring treatment decisions made when a crisis or change of status occurs, often late in a downhill course. By discouraging patient decision-making but requiring dedication to the patient's interests by those who make decisions on the patient's behalf, such practices tend to preclude altruistic choice on the part of the patient. This eclipse (...) is to be regretted not just because widescale altruism has the capacity to provide important social goods and correct injustices in distribution, but for intrinsic reasons as well. It is argued that preserving the possibility of altruism obliges patients – and future patients – to make decisions about dying and other medical matters in advance, thus avoiding that displacement of decision-making onto lay and professional second parties which results in altruism's eclipse. Keywords: altruism, medical decision-making, patient's interest, self-interest, autonomy, death and dying decisions, refusal of treatment, prolongation of life, allowing to die, high-risk research CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper distinguishes four recognisably different geographical processes in principle causing species to die out. One of these processes, the one we dub “range eclipse”, holds that one range expands at the expense of another one, thereby usurping it. Channell and Lomolino (2000a, Journal of Biogeography 27: 169–179; 2000b, Nature 403: 84–87; see also Lomolino and Channell, 1995, Journal of Mammalogy 76: 335–347) measured the course of this process in terms of the proportion of the total range remaining in (...) its original centre, thereby essentially assuming a homogeneous distribution of animals over the range. However, part of their measure seems mistaken. By giving a general, analytical formulation of eclipsing ranges, we estimate the exact course of this process. Also, our formulation does not partition a range into two spatially equal parts, its core and its edge, but it assumes continuity. For applying this model to data on the time evolution of species, individual time series should be available for each of them. For practical purposes we give an alternative way of plotting and interpreting such time series. Our approach, being more sensitive than Channell and Lomolino’s, gives a less optimistic indication of range eclipses than theirs once these have started. (shrink)
La condición “líquida” de la ciudad contemporánea, en la que asistimos a un eclipse de la experiencia individual y colectiva y a una pérdida de los marcos de referencia social, no es más que la instancia última de un proceso histórico de desposesión hegemónica de las formas de existencia autónomas de la multitud, operado mediante una revolución permanente del espacio-tiempo social. En dicho proceso la ordenación del territorio y la planificación urbana han jugado un papel protagonista. El presente artículo (...) analiza los motivos y dimensiones de esta dinámica en una perspectiva teórica, identifica su evolución histórica a través de una serie de casos y esboza el escenario de conflicto que se abre ante una multitud postfordista que quiera reapropiarse de manera autónoma del espacio-tiempo social y el territorio. (shrink)
During the 1920s and 1930s, many biologists questioned the viability of Darwin’s theory as a mechanism of evolutionary change. In the early 1940s, and only after a number of alternatives were suggested, Darwinists succeeded to establish natural selection and gene mutation as the main evolutionary mechanisms. While that move, today known as the neo-Darwinian synthesis, is taken as signalling a triumph of evolutionary theory, certain critical problems in evolution—in particular the evolution of animal function—could not be addressed with this approach. (...) Here I demonstrate this through reconstruction of the evolutionary theory of Joseph Needham (1900–1995), who pioneered the biochemical study of evolution and development. In order to address such problems, Needham employed Herbert Spencer’s principles of emergence and Ernst Haeckel’s theory of recapitulation. While Needham did not reject Darwinian theory, Spencerian and Haeckelian frameworks happened to better fit his findings and their evolutionary relevance. He believed selectionist and genetic approaches to be important but far from sufficient for explaining how evolutionary transformations occur. (shrink)
Several inquires about healthcare over the past several decades have shown that the evolution of healthcare practices exhibit their own microcosm of local and political influences. Likewise, other studies have shown clearly the ways in which both external and internal institutional factors establish the sectors within which healthcare is delivered. Although restrictions have always been present in some form, it seems obvious that whatever the precise form of healthcare delivery that results from current changes in its organization, there are going (...) to be broader restrictions not only on the choices that providers will be able to make about individual patients' care and needs, but also regarding the character of their clinical judgments. Indeed, there are already reports of instances where physicians' contracts with managed care organizations forbid them to disclose the existence of services not covered by a plan. (shrink)
The first occurrence of the Latin word ‘totalitas’ can be dated back to the 12th century. ‘Totalitas’ is not quite synonymous with the Aristotelian signification of whole’s quiddity. In fact, in his Commentary on the Sentences, Albert the Great hesitates between a pseudo-Augustinian definition of totalitas and a Peripatetic one. According to the first definition, totalitas is beyond the classical relationship between a whole and its parts; on the contrary, it refers to the capacity of the soul to be present (...) to itself without being a whole that is composed of parts. By contrast, according to the second definition, totalitas is to be identified with universitas. Although this second signification became the standard one in 13th century, Albert the Great attempts to juxtaposing the pseudo-Augustinian and the Peripatetic significations by means of the notion of totum potestativum. This notion allows the identity between ‘whole’ and ‘perfect’. While the first menaning of totalitas was not consequential on late... (shrink)