Background: The process of obtaining informed consent continues to be a contentious issue in clinical and public health research carried out in resource-limited settings. We sought to evaluate this process among human research participants in randomly selected active research studies approved by the School of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University. Methods: Data were collected using semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaires on clinic days after initial or repeat informed consent procedures for the respective clinical studies (...) had been administered to each study participant. Results: Of the 600 participants interviewed, two thirds (64.2 %, 385/600) were female. Overall mean age of study participants was 37.6 (SD = 7.7) years. Amongst all participants, less than a tenth (5.9 %, 35/598) reported that they were not given enough information before making a decision to participate. A similar proportion (5.7 %, 34/597) reported that they had not signed a consent form prior to making a decision to participate in the study. A third (33.7 %, 201/596) of the participants were not aware that they could, at any time, voluntarily withdraw participation from these studies. Participants in clinical trials were 50 % less likely than those in observational studies [clinical trial vs. observational; (odds ratio, OR = 0.5; 95 % CI: 0.35-0.78)] to perceive that refusal to participate in the parent research project would affect their regular medical care. Conclusions: Most of the participants signed informed consent forms and a vast majority felt that they received enough information before deciding to participate. On the contrary, several were not aware that they could voluntarily withdraw their participation. Participants in observational studies were more likely than those in clinical trials to perceive that refusal to participate in the parent study would affect their regular medical care. (shrink)
The process of obtaining informed consent continues to be a contentious issue in clinical and public health research carried out in resource-limited settings. We sought to evaluate this process among human research participants in randomly selected active research studies approved by the School of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University.
Naturalism about the mind is typically associated with some kind of physicalism. This paper argues that this association is a mistake and that, gi-ven the naturalist’s commitment to the primacy of empirical evidence, natural-ists should be open to different commitments. It is further argued that natural-ists about the mind should be emergentists because of the epistemological attitude that is at the core of the emergentist position, properly understood.
The Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, Italy, possesses an astrolabe with five latitude plates that is now attributed to the Duisburg workshop of Gerard Mercator. Although it is known that Mercator made instruments, this is the first surviving example to be identified. Another latitude plate is shown to come from the workshop of the Florentine, Giovan Battista Giusti. A seventh plate, possibly engraved by Rumold Mercator, provides the only known Mercatorian polar stereographic projection. The role of Egnazio (...) Danti, cosmographer to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in the acquisition of the astrolabe in about 1570 is considered. (shrink)
This article argues that balm, or balsam, was, by the late medieval period, believed to be a panacea, capable of healing wounds and illnesses, and also preventing putrefaction. Natural history and pharmacological texts on balm from the ancient and late antique periods emphasized specific qualities of balm, especially its heat; these were condensed and repeated in medieval encyclopedias. The rarity and cost of balsam, from antiquity through the medieval period, and the high rate of counterfeiting also demonstrate its high demand (...) and significance in medicine and religious ritual. Travel writing and itineraria from the early and central medieval periods added a new layer to ideas about the capabilities of balsam: that it originated from a Christian miracle and was a particularly Christian plant. (shrink)
This paper examines the purport of epact tables encountered on scientific instruments, and explains their use. The epact is a valuable chronological aid for calculating the age of the moon. In handbooks of chronology, usually two types of epacts are distinguished: the epact used in medieval times, and the so-called Lilian epact used after 1582 in the Gregorian perpetual calendar. By examining the rules for calculating the age of the moon, it turns out that the Julian and Gregorian epacts encountered (...) on instruments must be distinguished from the medieval and Lilian epacts. It is shown that the Julian epact was already in use in 1478, and that, by adjusting for the shift of ten days in the date of the vernal equinox, the Gregorian epact was derived from it in 1582. The common association of the latter with the Lilian epact employed in the Gregorian perpetual calendar is incorrect. It is further shown that in contrast to the medieval and Lilian epacts, which served purely ecclesiastical purposes, the Julian and Gregorian epacts were mainly used to calculate the true age and zodiacal position of the moon. This knowledge was applied to secular interests such as ‘lunar astrology’, tidal computations, and the conversion of lunar into solar time. (shrink)
Psychiatry is a discipline that deals with both the physical and the mental lives of individuals and though it is true that, largely because of this characteristic, different models are used for different disorders, there is still a remnant tendency towards reductionist views in the field. In this paper I argue that the available empirical evidence from psychiatry gives us reasons to question biological reductionism and that in its place we should adopt a pluralistic explanatory model that is more suited (...) to the needs of the discipline and to the needs of the patients it is meant to help. This will allow us to retain psychiatry as an autonomous science that can productively co-exist with neuroscience while also giving patients the kind of attention they need. I further argue that this same evidence supports a view of the mind that is anti-reductive and that allows that causation can be both bottom-up and top-down and that such a view is available in emergentism coupled with an interventionist model of causation. (shrink)
In this paper Peter Klein's criticism of Wittgenstein in "Certainty: A Refutation of Scepticism" is addressed. Klein claims that, according to Wittgenstein, we attribute knowledge of a proposition p to a person only if that person is not certain of p. I argue that a careful reading of Wittgenstein's On Certainty reveals that there are two kinds of objective certainty that Wittgenstein had in mind; propositional objective certainty and normative objective certainty. Klein fails to distinguish between the two and uses (...) what I call propositional objective certainty to make his point against Wittgenstein. I claim that when Wittgenstein said that knowledge and certainty belong to different categories he was talking of normative objective certainty and, therefore, that Klein's criticism is misplaced and attributes to Wittgenstein a position that is not his. (shrink)
A detailed description of an as yet unrecorded astrolabe quadrant in a private collection is presented. A date between 1291 and 1310 is deduced from the calendrical data engraved on it. The characteristics of the newly recorded instrument have been compared with those of six other medieval astrolabe quadrants. The newly recorded instrument appears to present an early, if not the earliest, stage of development in the history of the astrolabe quadrant. In the comparison the newly recorded instrument is also (...) distinguished by the red and black colours applied to differentiate between the superposed scales of the astrolabe quadrant. The names and the positions of the stars on the instruments were used to establish a connection between two of the instruments studied, those in Rouen and Oxford, and a manuscript tradition on the construction of the astrolabe quadrant, exemplified by MS Oxford Ashmole 1522. The data on three other astrolabe quadrants are shown to stem from star lists in treatises on astrolabes. For two instruments, those dated earliest and latest, no such connection was found. Some star names on the newly recorded instrument have hitherto not been recorded. Finally, the competence of the later medieval artisans has been investigated by analysing the accuracy of these instruments. (shrink)
ABSTRACTEffects of metaphorical framing of political issues on opinion have been studied widely by two approaches: a critical-discourse approach and a response-elicitation approach. The current article reports a systematic literature review that examines whether these approaches report converging or diverging effects. We compared CDA and REA on the metaphorical frames that were studied and their reported effects. Results show that the CDA frames are typically more negative, nonfictional, and extreme than REA frames. Reported effects in CDA and REA studies differ (...) in terms of presence, directionality, and strength, with CDA typically reporting strong effects in line with the frame, compared to REA. These differences in effects can be explained by the different frame characteristics. However, differences in the methods applied by CDA and REA could be responsible for these differences as well. In all, we conclude that the research field is fragmented on the impact of metaphors in politics. (shrink)
Naturalism about the mind is typically associated with some kind of physicalism. This paper argues that this association is a mistake and that, given the naturalist’s commitment to the primacy of empirical evidence, naturalists should be open to different commitments. It is further argued that naturalists about the mind should be emergentists because of the epistemological attitude that is at the core of the emergentist position, properly understood.
Though pluralism is given a lot of lip service it is not the status quo in psychiatry. In this paper I argue that following the recent Research Domain Criteria project of the National Institute of Mental Health, we run the danger of promoting a reductionist agenda that current evidence and research suggests is not the right way of tackling mental disorders. I further argue that in order to better address the needs of the patients and maintain the ethical standards required (...) in the psychiatric profession we ought to maintain a pluralistic attitude in psychiatric research as well as practice. (shrink)
Summary This paper describes a medieval instrument, a quadrans novus, which turned up during archaeological works in England. The invention of the instrument by Profacius in 1288 is discussed in terms of two other medieval instruments, the quadrans vetus and the common astrolabe. The characteristics of the present instrument are compared with those of the seven other known medieval quadrants. It is shown that the new quadrant was made in England for explicit use with the Sun.
Early observations of the southern celestial sky were reported in many sixteenth-century books and compilations of voyages of discovery. Here we analyse these accounts in order to find out what was really seen and reported by the first navigators. Our analysis had resulted in new interpretations of the phenomena reported by Amerigo Vespucci and Andreas Corsali. Thus, a reassessment of the discovery of the Coalsack Nebula, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Southern Cross can be made. From a comparative review of (...) the observations of the latter constellation as published between 1500 and 1600, we demonstrate that only questionable records found their way to contemporary compilations of voyages of discovery, and that as a result public knowledge about this constellation at the end of the sixteenth century was entirely unreliable. Another problem we discuss is that although the stars of the Southern Cross were the first to be discovered, and were observed again and again by many navigators, it was not until 1678 that their proper positions were found in stellar atlases and star catalogues accessible to astronomers. We explain how negligence of and subsequently confidence in Ptolemy's astronomy by, respectively, the early navigators and cartographers, were at the root of this amazingly long-lasting gap in the knowledge of the southern celestial sky. (shrink)
The paper investigates the acquisition of the semantics/pragmatics of two Modern Greek evidential markers taha (¿supposedly¿) and dithen (¿as if¿, ¿so-called¿) and possible correlations with children¿s mind-reading abilities. Between (a) an evidential¿ironical interpretation and (b) a pretence interpretation, earliest uses of these particles (in spontaneous children¿s speech) suggest that pretence-interpretations, rather than evidential ones, are the first to develop (Ifantidou, to appear). This production finding is mapped onto input occurrences of taha and dithen in (i) children¿s readers, (ii) adults¿ prose, (...) and (iii) adults¿ speech. High prevalence of pretence interpretations is observed in (i), with high prevalence of evidential interpretations in (ii) and (iii). These findings are cross-checked by linguistic tasks run with nursery (4¿5 years old) and 6¿12 year-old children. The results also point to an early acquisition of the pretence-interpretation and a later acquisition of the particles¿ evidential uses. Finally, non-linguistic experiments are run with the nursery (4¿5 year-old) children to assess their evidential cognitive abilities. Two questions arise: (1) If children lack the semantics/pragmatics of evidential taha and dithen, do they also lack the relevant mind-reading abilities? (2) If children exhibit an earlier working capacity of pretence-interpretations, is there an explanation for why this is so? In addressing these issues, I will explore the possibility that availability of evidential lexical items in language presupposes availability of relevant concepts, and suggest, in turn, a degree of developmental interdependence between cognition and language. (shrink)
The impact on globe making of the change from a Ptolemaic to a Copernican world-view is examined. As well as showing a map of the Earth and the Heavens, the main use of globes originally was to demonstrate the natural phenomena as these are observed from a geocentric perspective. In the second half of the eighteenth century some belated attempts were made to construct so-called Copernican globes for this purpose. This late response did not stop the production and use of (...) the common Ptolemaic globe. It is argued that the technological developments of the nineteenth century made the role of the globe as a demonstration model superfluous and thus contributed more to the downfall of the common Ptolemaic globe than did any revolution in science. (shrink)
This book focuses on philosophical questions about the nature and scope of educational practices, methods, and epistemological issues regarding the acquisition of the understanding of the truth about “how things are” and the relevance of the sociopolitical context.
Wittgenstein's writing is notoriously obscure. And his epistemological views are not widely read and, as much as they are, they are not widely accepted. This dissertation is a defense of these views as published under the title of On Certainty. Given the obscurity of his writing and the variety of interpretations it lends itself to, in order to defend his position I spell out what I take Wittgenstein's position to consist in as well as what its aim is, namely a (...) dissolution rather than refutation of the skeptical position. My aim is to bring to the forefront Wittgenstein's views as a real and worthy alternative to widely read responses to skepticism. (shrink)