The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
This book provides an introduction to the study of words, their main properties and how we use them to create meaning. It offers a detailed description of the organizational principles of the lexicon, and of the categories used to classify various lexical phenomena, including polysemy, meaning variation, behaviour in composition, and the interface with pragmatics. Elisabetta Ježek uses empirical data from digitalized corpora and speakers' judgements, combined with the formalisms developed in the field of general and theoretical linguistics, to (...) propose representations for each of these phenomena. The book's clear structure and accessible approach make it an ideal textbook for all students of linguistics and a valuable resource for scholars and students of language in the fields of cognitive science and philosophy. (shrink)
Baccarini and Malatesti (2017) defend the idea that we must use coercively biomedical means to enhance the morality of a specific group of individuals: psychopaths, diagnosed through the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) standards (Hare, 2003). Their argument is theoretical, thus it goes independently from the actual effectiveness of existent treatments, and it is based on a logical reasoning. Moral bioenhancement (MB) means include psychotropic drugs, brain stimulations, neurosurgeries, genetic editing, etc. -/- In short, the authors apply Gerald Gaus' account of open (...) justification (Gaus, 1996, 2011), according to which “a prescription addressed to an agent is a reasoning that includes premises that consider the system of reasons (such as beliefs, preferences, etc.) of that agent” (Baccarini and Malatesti, 2017, p. 1). In their view, coercive MB of psychopaths is morally sound and deducible by reasons within the psychopath's cognitive-affective system—even if the psychopath needs not to be able to consciously or sincerely endorse them. We believe that this argument is flawed. In sum, we argue that the psychopath's cognitive-affective system would consistently justify reasons against mandatory MB to herself, even if she wishes differently for others, and that the prescription cannot be extended. (shrink)
Cet ouvrage explore l'itinéraire intellectuel d'André-François Boureau-Deslandes (1689-1757), commissaire général de la Marine, philosophe, savant, moraliste, historien des techniques. Cette étude comporte une analyse détaillée de tous les travaux de l'auteur, en privilégiant ses textes inédits, erronément attribués, ignorés ou à peine recensés. Le but de cette étude est d'attirer l'attention sur une figure complexe d'écrivain et de penseur, dont l'œuvre devrait finalement trouver sa place dans la discipline de l'Histoire de la philosophie et mériterait d'être considérée dans son intégralité, (...) non seulement pour sa valeur intrinsèque, mais aussi parce qu'elle permet, par sa singularité, de mettre en évidence le clair-obscur d'un contexte philosophique, aussi bien culturel que moral : celui de la rencontre et de l'enchevêtrement de l'esprit libertin et l'esprit des Lumières dans la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle. (shrink)
Advanced medical imaging, such as CT, fMRI and PET, has undergone enormous progress in recent years, both in accuracy and utilization. Such techniques often bring with them an illusion of immediacy, the idea that the body and its diseases can be directly inspected. In this paper we target this illusion and address the issue of the reliability of advanced imaging tests as knowledge procedures, taking positron emission tomography in oncology as paradigmatic case study. After individuating a suitable notion of reliability, (...) we argue that PET is a highly theory-laden and non-immediate knowledge procedure, in spite of the photographic-like quality of the images it delivers; the diagnostic conclusions based on the interpretation of PET images are population-dependent; PET images require interpretation, which is inherently observer-dependent and therefore variable. We conclude with a three-step methodological proposal for enhancing the reliability of advanced medical imaging. (shrink)
A growing body of scholarship has documented the experiences of different groups of migrants involved in the maintenance and development of transnational families worldwide showing that proximity is not a prerequisite of family life and that families can successfully be done from a distance. While most work deals with the experiences of labour migrants less attention has been paid to forced migrants. Still little is known about families that fail to operate transnationally and are broken by the migration experience. For (...) instance, when can we say that this type of family cannot be sustained? This article, drawing on the transnational motherhood literature and on Zontini previous study on Filipino labour migrants in Southern Europe, highlights the factors that shape transnational parenting. The authors then use this framework to explore the experiences of a group of Zimbabwean asylum seeking mothers in the UK. In doing so, the authors point out some of the specificities of this particular group; highlighting the differentiated impact of transnationalism and contributing to refining the literature on transnational parenthood. (shrink)
In this paper, we describe a framework for studying social agents’ individual decision making, that takes account of the environment and social dynamics. We describe a study in which we explored the efficiency of foraging strategies within a group of individuals faced with a resource-limited environment. We investigated to what extent cooperative and non-cooperative behaviors impacted on the survival rates of a population of individuals. In the experiment presented here, we considered two different types of individuals: selfish individuals who gather (...) energy for their own use, and cooperative individuals who share the energy they gather with others, thus reducing their own individual chances of survival. In order to study the trade-off between non-cooperative and cooperative behaviors in a pseudo-realistic two-dimensional environment, we introduced an agent-based modeling and simulation tool called ACACIA-ES, which simulated local interactions and spatial behavior for large numbers of individuals in complex environments. The main result from our simulation was that a group of cooperative individuals displayed better survival strategies than groups of selfish individuals when faced with a variety of environmental pressures; however, it was very unlikely that such cooperative strategies could resist competition from selfish individuals, if the outcome of past social interactions was memorized, even when a very small group of selfish individuals was introduced. (shrink)
A Kuhnian reformulation of the recent debate in psychiatric nosography suggested that the current psychiatric classification system (the DSM) is in crisis and that a sort of paradigm shift is awaited (Aragona, 2009). Among possible revolutionary alternatives, the proposed fi ve-axes etiopathogenetic taxonomy (Charney et al., 2002) emphasizes the primacy of the genotype over the phenomenological level as the relevant basis for psychiatric nosography. Such a position is along the lines of the micro-reductionist perspective of E. Kandel (1998, 1999), which (...) sees mental disorders reducible to explanations at a fundamental epistemic level of genes and neurotransmitters. This form of micro-reductionism has been criticized as a form of genetic-molecular fundamentalism (e.g. Murphy, 2006) and a multi-level approach, in the form of the burgeoning Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, was proposed. This article focuses on multi-level mechanistic explanations, coming from Cognitive Science, as a possible alternative etiopathogenetic basis for psychiatric classification. The idea of a mechanistic approach to psychiatric taxonomy is here defended on the basis of a better conception of levels and causality. Nevertheless some critical remarks of Mechanism as a psychiatric general view are also offered. (shrink)
This book provides an introduction to the study of words, and how we use words to create meaning. It offers an accessible description of the main properties of words and the organizational principles of the lexicon, based on theoretical accounts and extensive empirical data.
Italy is in the forefront of forensic neuroscience practice among European nations. In recent years, the country presented two major criminal cases, the Trieste Case in 2009 and the Como Case in 2011, which were the first cases employing neurogenetic and functional neuroimaging methods in European courts. In this paper we will discuss the consequences that an understanding of the neural and genetic determinants of human (mis)behavior will have on law, especially on the Italian legal context. Some claim that such (...) consequences will actually be revolutionary, while others argue that legal doctrine assumptions won’t be undermined by neuroscientific findings. In the first section of the paper, we introduce the general debate and follow with a section devoted to the two Italian cases. In the third and final section, we discuss epistemological and ethical issues regarding Italian neurolaw. We defend a position which diverges from those prevailing in the debate. While negative outcomes and concerns were usually evidenced, we focus on positive changes coming with the new paradigm of interaction between neuroscience and the law. Our view is that these cases are clearly pioneering ones, anticipating what will happen in the courtrooms of the European Union in the whole, in the near future. (shrink)
There is a lot of conceptual engineering going on in medical research. I substantiate this claim with two examples, the medical debate about cancer classification and about obesity as a disease I also argue that the proper target of conceptual engineering in medical research are experts’ conceptions. These are explicitly written down in documents and guidelines, and they bear on research and policies. In the second part of the chapter, I propose an externalist framework in which conceptions have both the (...) explanatory power of psychological concepts and that of semantic concepts. It is likely, however, that human activities and practices distinct from medical research, and regulated by different practices and epistemic rules, call for different targets for conceptual engineering. I conclude with indicating an open agenda of problems for philosophers of medicine interested in conceptual engineering. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on Machery's eliminativist claim, that ought to be eliminated from the theoretical vocabulary of psychology because it fails to denote a natural kind. I argue for the more traditional view that concepts are a functional kind, which provides the simplest account of the empirical evidence discussed by Machery.
In the 1950s, long before his ascent to international renown, Michel Foucault published a scant few works. His early writings on psychology, psychopathology, and anthropology have been dismissed as immature. However, recently discovered manuscripts from the mid-1950s, when Foucault was a lecturer at the University of Lille, testify to the significance of the work that the philosopher produced in the years leading up to the “archaeological” project he launched with History of Madness. Elisabetta Basso offers a groundbreaking and in-depth (...) analysis of Foucault’s Lille manuscripts that sheds new light on the origins of his philosophical project. She considers the epistemological style and methodology of these writings as well as their philosophical context and the scholarly networks in which Foucault was active, foregrounding his relationship to existential psychiatry. Young Foucault blurs the boundaries between biography and theory, exploring the transformations—and, at times, contradictions—that characterize the intellectual trajectory of a philosopher who, as Foucault himself put it, “turned to psychology, and from psychology to history.” Retracing the first steps of the philosopher’s intellectual journey, Basso shows how Foucault’s early writings provide key insights into his archaeological work of the 1960s. Assembling a vast array of archival sources—including manuscripts, reading notes, notes for lectures and conferences, and correspondence—this book develops a new and deeper understanding of Foucault’s body of work. (shrink)
Based on the empirical findings correlating disgust with conservatism, most disgust scholars have fed arguments for its moral unreliability and concluded with moral condemnation of this emotion. In this paper, I will examine common arguments about whether relying on disgust in the moral domain is to be considered good or bad. I will problematize the suggestion that we are justified in firmly believing that disgust is an ethically «dumb» – or an ethically «smart» – emotion. It rather seems that moral (...) disgust can be rational or irrational, pro-social or anti-social, liberal or conservative depending on the eliciting contexts, and that such case-by-case conclusions rely on additional meta-ethical premises. (shrink)
We raise a problem of applicability of RCTs to validate nuclear diagnostic imaging tests. In spite of the wide application of PET and other similar techniques that use radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic purposes, RCT-based evidence on their validity is sparse. We claim that this is due to a general conceptual problem that we call Prevalence of Treatment, which arises in connection with designing RCTs for testing any diagnostic procedure in the present context of medical research, and is particularly apparent in this (...) case. We also identify three practical reasons why RCTs do not qualify as the best option for PET validation, which have to do with specific characteristics of nuclear diagnostic imaging, and of radiopharmaceuticals. The paper is meant to contribute both to the philosophical discussion on the EBM hierarchy of evidence, and on the specific debate on radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine. (shrink)
This paper examines an argument by Schaffer (2017) that aims to prove how, contrary to what many philosophers hold, there is no special explanatory gap occurring in the connection between the physical and the phenomenal. This is because a gap of the same kind can be found in every connection between a more fundamental and a less fundamental level of reality. These gaps lurk everywhere in nature. For Schaffer, they can be bridged by means of substantive metaphysical principles such as (...) grounding principles. He thus puts forward a version of grounding-based physicalism, which is supposed to provide this kind of substantive bridge principle. My main contention is as follows: even if Schaffer’s argument indeed proves the existence of a gap in every connection between fundamental and derivative entities, and such gaps can be bridged by means of grounding principles, a different gap remains open in the psycho-physical connection. (shrink)
In this paper, the role played in learning to argue by an essential and yet under-researched epistemic and argumentative norm is discussed, namely, the consistency requirement. An argumentative intervention is presented, that is designed to enhance the understanding of this norm among high school students, to enable them to recognize contradictions in the process of argumentation and to familiarize them with the argumentative strategies related to the reductio ad absurdum. There follows a description of how the designed intervention was implemented (...) in two Italian high schools, which served as an exploratory case study, and the results obtained are discussed. (shrink)
Numerous studies suggest that both emotion knowledge and language abilities are powerfully related to young children’s theory of mind. Nonetheless, the magnitude and direction of the associations between language, emotion knowledge, and theory-of-mind performance in the first years of life are still debated. Hence, the aim of this study was to assess the direct effects of emotion knowledge and language on theory-of-mind scores in 2- and 3-year-old children. A sample of 139 children, aged between 24 and 47 months (M = (...) 35.5 months; SD = 6.73), were directly administered measures of emotion knowledge, theory of mind, and language. We conducted structural equation modeling (SEM) to evaluate the effects of these variables within a single comprehensive framework, while also controlling for any effects of age and gender. The proposed structural equation model provided an excellent fit for the data, indicating that both children’s emotion knowledge and their language ability had direct positive effects on theory of mind scores. In addition, age was found to wield statistically significant effects on all the variables under study, whereas gender was not significantly associated with any of them. These findings suggest the importance of fostering young children’s emotion knowledge and language with a view to enhancing their comprehension of mental states. (shrink)
È possibile perseguire intenzionalmente la speranza o si tratta di una postura interiore che sfugge alla volontà? E se scaturisce da una ricerca, può essere trasmessa, sollecitata?Declinata in una pratica da perseguire nella relazione di aiuto? È realistico considerare la capacità di schiudere nuove possibilità per abitare con senso la vita, una competenza professionale del lavoro di cura? Nell’intento di dare risposta a questi interrogativi la riflessione attraversa il pensiero di alcuni tra i maggiori filosofi del Novecento, secondo un orientamento (...) fenomenologico che prende le mosse dall’esperienza vissuta.Is it possible to “intentionally” pursue the hope or is it an inner attitude beyond anyone’s will? And if it derives from a research, can it be transmitted, aroused? Can it be declined as a practice to be followed in a helping relationship? Is it realistic to consider the capacity of disclosing new possibilities of living a meaningful as a professional skill in care job?The intention of giving an answer to these questions crosses the beliefs of some of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, in compliance with a phenomenological orientation taking its moves from lived experience. (shrink)
Trolley-like dilemmas are other cases of what Bermúdez refers to as (conscious) quasi-cyclical preferences. In these dilemmas, identical outcomes are obtained through morally non-identical actions. I will argue that morality is the context where descriptive invariance and ecological relevance may be crucially distinguished. Logically irrational moral choices in the short term may promote greater social benefits in the longer term.
Health care systems can positively influence our personal decision-making and health-related behavior only if we trust them. I propose a conceptual analysis of the trust relation between the public and a healthcare system, drawing from healthcare studies and philosophical proposals. In my account, the trust relation is based on an epistemic component, epistemic authority, and on a value component, the benevolence of the healthcare system. I argue that it is also modified by the vulnerability of the public on healthcare matters, (...) and by the system’s credibility. I apply my proposed analysis of public trust in health care systems to the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy, a tendency to question vaccine policies, and to seek alternative vaccine schedules or to refuse vaccination. Understanding the role of trust and its components can be key to understanding the phenomenon. (shrink)
Aristotle's discussion of legal change in Politics II.8 is the subject of this article. The aim is to show that Aristotle viewed legal change positively, when changes to the law are required, and that his discussion was mainly concerned with the two rather distinct roles of the demos and of the legislator. The analysis involves a re-examination of 1268b 25ss in book II of Aristotle’s Politics and its connection with book III. The analysis is also extended to Aristotle’s Rhetoric and (...) Nicomachean Ethics, and to Plato’s Politicus and Laws. (shrink)
The distinction between concept and conception has been widely debated in political philosophy, whereas in the philosophy of psychology is frequently used, but rarely focused on. This paper aims at filling in this lacuna. I claim that far from being explanatorily idle, the distinction makes it possible to provide an adequate description of phenomena such as genuine disagreement, and concept contestation, which would otherwise remain implausibly puzzling. I illustrate and assess three accounts of the concept-conception distinction. Finally I propose a (...) social externalist account, which relies on deference to experts, and builds on Tyler Burge’s ideas of many decades ago. The debate on concepts and conceptions thus shows a connection with the increasing research work on experts and expertise in psychology and social epistemology. (shrink)