The INBIOSA project brings together a group of experts across many disciplines who believe that science requires a revolutionary transformative step in order to address many of the vexing challenges presented by the world. It is INBIOSA’s purpose to enable the focused collaboration of an interdisciplinary community of original thinkers. This paper sets out the case for support for this effort. The focus of the transformative research program proposal is biology-centric. We admit that biology to date has been more fact-oriented (...) and less theoretical than physics. However, the key leverageable idea is that careful extension of the science of living systems can be more effectively applied to some of our most vexing modern problems than the prevailing scheme, derived from abstractions in physics. While these have some universal application and demonstrate computational advantages, they are not theoretically mandated for the living. A new set of mathematical abstractions derived from biology can now be similarly extended. This is made possible by leveraging new formal tools to understand abstraction and enable computability. [The latter has a much expanded meaning in our context from the one known and used in computer science and biology today, that is "by rote algorithmic means", since it is not known if a living system is computable in this sense (Mossio et al., 2009).] Two major challenges constitute the effort. The first challenge is to design an original general system of abstractions within the biological domain. The initial issue is descriptive leading to the explanatory. There has not yet been a serious formal examination of the abstractions of the biological domain. What is used today is an amalgam; much is inherited from physics (via the bridging abstractions of chemistry) and there are many new abstractions from advances in mathematics (incentivized by the need for more capable computational analyses). Interspersed are abstractions, concepts and underlying assumptions “native” to biology and distinct from the mechanical language of physics and computation as we know them. A pressing agenda should be to single out the most concrete and at the same time the most fundamental process-units in biology and to recruit them into the descriptive domain. Therefore, the first challenge is to build a coherent formal system of abstractions and operations that is truly native to living systems. Nothing will be thrown away, but many common methods will be philosophically recast, just as in physics relativity subsumed and reinterpreted Newtonian mechanics. -/- This step is required because we need a comprehensible, formal system to apply in many domains. Emphasis should be placed on the distinction between multi-perspective analysis and synthesis and on what could be the basic terms or tools needed. The second challenge is relatively simple: the actual application of this set of biology-centric ways and means to cross-disciplinary problems. In its early stages, this will seem to be a “new science”. This White Paper sets out the case of continuing support of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for transformative research in biology and information processing centered on paradigm changes in the epistemological, ontological, mathematical and computational bases of the science of living systems. Today, curiously, living systems cannot be said to be anything more than dissipative structures organized internally by genetic information. There is not anything substantially different from abiotic systems other than the empirical nature of their robustness. We believe that there are other new and unique properties and patterns comprehensible at this bio-logical level. The report lays out a fundamental set of approaches to articulate these properties and patterns, and is composed as follows. -/- Sections 1 through 4 (preamble, introduction, motivation and major biomathematical problems) are incipient. Section 5 describes the issues affecting Integral Biomathics and Section 6 -- the aspects of the Grand Challenge we face with this project. Section 7 contemplates the effort to formalize a General Theory of Living Systems (GTLS) from what we have today. The goal is to have a formal system, equivalent to that which exists in the physics community. Here we define how to perceive the role of time in biology. Section 8 describes the initial efforts to apply this general theory of living systems in many domains, with special emphasis on crossdisciplinary problems and multiple domains spanning both “hard” and “soft” sciences. The expected result is a coherent collection of integrated mathematical techniques. Section 9 discusses the first two test cases, project proposals, of our approach. They are designed to demonstrate the ability of our approach to address “wicked problems” which span across physics, chemistry, biology, societies and societal dynamics. The solutions require integrated measurable results at multiple levels known as “grand challenges” to existing methods. Finally, Section 10 adheres to an appeal for action, advocating the necessity for further long-term support of the INBIOSA program. -/- The report is concluded with preliminary non-exclusive list of challenging research themes to address, as well as required administrative actions. The efforts described in the ten sections of this White Paper will proceed concurrently. Collectively, they describe a program that can be managed and measured as it progresses. (shrink)
Between the Psyche and the Social is the first collection that specifically features the field of psychoanalytic social theory emerging in and between psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonial studies, and queer theory, and across the disciplines of philosophy, literary, film, and cultural studies. This collection of essays takes the psychoanalytic study of social oppression in some new directions by engaging—indeed, stirring up—unconscious fantasies and ethical tensions at the heart of social subjectivity.
Objectives: To investigate whether Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong share similar perceptions with their Western counterparts regarding their capacity for autonomous decision-making, and secondarily whether Chinese parents underestimate their adolescent children's desire and capacity for autonomous decision-making.Method:‘Healthy Adolescents’ and their parents were recruited from four local secondary schools, and ‘Sick Adolescents’ and their parents from the pediatric wards and outpatient clinics. Their perceptions of adolescents' understanding of illnesses and treatments, maturity in judgment, risk-taking, openness to divergent opinions, pressure from parents (...) and doctors, submission to parental authority and preference for autonomy in medical decision-making are surveyed by a 50-item questionnaire on a five-point Likert scale.Results: Findings indicate that Chinese adolescents aged 14–16 perceive themselves to possess the necessary cognitive abilities and maturity in judgment to be autonomous decision-makers like their Western counterparts. Paradoxically, although they hesitate to assert their autonomy, they are also unwilling to surrender that autonomy to their parents even under coercion or intimidation. Parents tend to underestimate their adolescents' preferences for making autonomous decisions and overestimate the importance of parental authority in decision-making.Conclusion:‘14-and-above’ Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong perceive themselves as capable of autonomous decision-making in medically-related matters, but hesitate to assert their autonomy, probably because of the Confucian values of parental authority and filial piety that are deeply embedded in the local culture. (shrink)
This paper reports two cases in Hong Kong involving two native Chinese adolescent cancer patients (APs) who were denied their rights to consent to necessary treatments refused by their parents, resulting in serious harm. We argue that the dynamics of the 'AP-physician-family-relationship' and the dominant role Chinese families play in medical decision-making (MDM) are best understood in terms of the tendency to hierarchy and parental authoritarianism in traditional Confucianism. This ethic has been confirmed and endorsed by various Chinese writers from (...) Mainland China and Hong Kong. Rather than giving an unqualified endorsement to this ethic, based more on cultural sentimentalism than rational moral reasoning, we warn that a strong familism in MDM, which deprives 'weak' family members of rights, represents the less desirable elements of this tradition, against which healthcare professionals working in this cultural milieu need to safeguard. Specifically for APs, we suggest that parental authority and family integrity should be re-interpreted in terms of parental responsibility and the enhancement of children's interests respectively, as done in the West. This implies that when parents refuse to consent to necessary treatment and deny their adolescent children's right to consent, doctors, as the only remaining advocates of the APs' interest, have the duty to inform the state, which can override parental refusal to enable the doctors to fulfill their professional and moral obligations. In so doing the state exercises its 'parens patriae' power to defend the defenseless in society and the integrity of the medical profession. (shrink)
This collection of essays by leading American philosophers honors John E. Smith, a major figure in the struggle for the American profession of philosophy to redefine itself and return to its grander traditions.
My great-grandfather died before I was born. He never saw me. But I see him occasionally—when I look at photographs of him. They are not great photographs, by any means, but like most photographs they are transparent. We see things through them.Edwin Martin objects. His response consists largely of citing examples of things which, he thinks, are obviously not transparent, and declaring that he finds no relevant difference between them and photographs: once we slide down the slippery slope as (...) far as photographs there will be not stopping short of absurdity. The examples fail in their purpose, but they will help to clarify the reasons for the transparency of photographs. Several of them can be disposed of by noting that they jeopardize the transparency of photographs only if they jeopardize the very possibility of perception. The others appear to reflect a misconception of the issue before us and the nature of my claim.To perceive something is, in part, to have perceptual experiences caused by the object in question. This is scarcely controversial. It is also uncontroversial that additional restrictions are needed—not all causes of one’s visual experiences are objects of sight—although exactly what the required restrictions are is a notoriously tricky question. One important restriction is that the causation must be appropriately independent of human action , in a sense which I explained . This, I argued, is what distinguishes photographs from “handmade” pictures, which are not transparent. Seismographs and footprints are caused just as “mechanically” as ordinary photographs are. So are photographs that are so badly exposed or focused that they fail to present images of the objects before the camera. So, also, are the visual experiences of those who look at seismograms, footprints, and such badly focused or exposed photographs. Yet we obviously do not see the causes of these things through them, Martin claims. How is it, then, that we see through ordinary photographs? Kendall L. Walton is professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan and author of a book on representation in the arts . His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, “Transparent Pictures: On the Nature of Photographic Realism,” appeared in the December 1984 issue. (shrink)
The early to middle nineteenth century saw a radical change in the nature of the British state, with many activities becoming the responsibility of public authorities. A key figure in this process was the journalist Edwin Chadwick. Anthony Brundage's new biography, England's Prussian Minister, gives a clear and arresting picture of the political processes which led to this growth and of Chadwick's role. However, his account is limited because of his acceptance of the necessity for government growth, which recent (...) research shows to be problematic. (shrink)
The confusion of categories in Spinoza's ethics, by E. Albee.--Hegel's criticism of Spinoza, by K. E. Gilbert.--Rationalism in Hume's philosophy, by G. H. Sabine.--Freedom as an ethical postulate: Kant, by R. A. Tsanoff.--Mill and Comte, by N. C. Barr.--The intellectualistic voluntarism of Alfred Fouillée, by A. T. Penney.--Hegelianism and the Vedanta, by E. L. Hinman.--Coherence as organization, by G. W. Cunningham.--Time and the logic of monistic idealism, by J. A. Leighton.--The datum, by W. B. Pillsbury.--The limits of the physical, by (...) G. A. de Laguna.--Is the dualism of mind and matter final? By H. W. Wright.--The revolt against dualism, by A. H. Jones. (shrink)
Edwin Cannan, prodigious author and scholar whose name is inextricably linked with two great economic institutions, Adam Smith and the London School of Economics , probably had his greatest success as a professor. He nurtured a generation of scholars, teachers and writers at the LSE during his three decades as a dominant figure in economics there, from when the school opened in 1895 until the spring term of 1926 when he retired. Cannan was almost solely responsible for the gradual (...) change of direction of the economic thought of the LSE from Marshallian economics to classical liberalism. For this he was very much admired; at his death the student paper wrote: 'His influence was truly remarkable. To the outside world, and to his students, whether specialists in economics or not, he typified the School'. Among other accomplishments throughout his life, Cannan contributed twenty-five entries to the original Palgrave's Dictionary of Poitical Economy and between 1895 and 1935 had sixty book reviews published in The Economic Journal . This collection brings together Cannon's major contributions to the theory of distribution, quantity theory and the definition of "Classical Economics" as well as touching on his life at a more personal level in the articles and reminiscences written by scholars and friends. (shrink)
The pioneering work of Edwin T. Jaynes in the field of statistical physics, quantum optics, and probability theory has had a significant and lasting effect on the study of many physical problems, ranging from fundamental theoretical questions through to practical applications such as optical image restoration. Physics and Probability is a collection of papers in these areas by some of his many colleagues and former students, based largely on lectures given at a symposium celebrating Jaynes' contributions, on the occasion (...) of his seventieth birthday and retirement as Wayman Crow Professor of Physics at Washington University. The collection contains several authoritative overviews of current research on maximum entropy and quantum optics, where Jaynes' work has been particularly influential, as well as reports on a number of related topics. In the concluding paper, Jaynes looks back over his career, and gives encouragement and sound advice to young scientists. All those engaged in research on any of the topics discussed in these papers will find this a useful and fascinating collection, and a fitting tribute to an outstanding and innovative scientist. (shrink)