We describe a prototype ontology-driven information system (ODIS) that exploits what we call Portion of Reality (POR) representations. The system takes both sensor data and natural language text as inputs and composes on this basis logically structured POR assertions. The goal of our prototype is to represent both natural language and sensor data within a single framework that is able to support both axiomatic reasoning and computation. In addition, the framework should be capable of discovering and representing new kinds of (...) situations and thematic roles, (e.g., roles such as agent, patient and instrument), based on new compositions of existing representations. We applied our prototype in an intelligence analysis use case to test the hypothesis that a framework of this sort can produce usefully structured information from combined natural language and sensor data inputs. We further tested our hypothesis by adding an enhanced US Air Force ontology framework to our ODIS in order to (1) process a collection of sensor data, intel reports, and mission plans; (2) build composite POR representations from these data; and (3) machine analyze the fused results to infer mission threats. (shrink)
Maintaining systems of military plans is critical for military effectiveness, but is also challenging. Plans will become obsolete as the world diverges from the assumptions on which they rest. If too many ad hoc changes are made to intermeshed plans, the ensemble may no longer lead to well-synchronized and coordinated operations, resulting in the system of plans becoming itself incoherent. We describe in what follows an Adaptive Planning process that we are developing on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory (...) (Rome) with the goal of addressing problems of these sorts through cyclical collaborative plan review and maintenance. The interactions of world state, blue force status and associated plans are too complex for manual adaptive processes, and computer-aided plan review and maintenance is thus indispensable. We argue that appropriate semantic technology can 1) provide richer representation of plan-related data and semantics, 2) allow for flexible, non-disruptive, agile, scalable, and coordinated changes in plans, and 3) support more intelligent analytical querying of plan-related data. (shrink)
This paper seeks to analyse small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) managers' representations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CSR communication in a corporate communication perspective. The basic question is: how strategic is CSR communication in SMEs? Corporate communication and CSR theories are used to establish an ideal typology of CSR concepts informing an analysis of qualitative data in the form of interviews with three middle managers in two Danish SMEs. A CSR communication model published earlier by the authors is challenged (...) from a SME perspective. Results from an Internet-based questionnaire survey of 1071 SMEs pave the way for the analysis. Our analysis shows that SME managers clearly have an inside-out approach to CSR, with a strong emphasis on the internal (corporate culture) dimension. However, SMEs and/or SME managers tend not to communicate externally about the CSR activities of the company. Based on these findings, the paper argues that CSR communication in SMEs is challenged by the global economy and is under revision. The contribution of the paper is to provide an insight into SMEs' present stage in relation to a possible future approach to strategic CSR communication. The paper also reminds us that SMEs have no interest in turning their local and authentic practice into a forced marketing and branding exercise, leaving them with an artificial picture of who they are and strive to be in the future. They should keep on acting locally but force themselves to think globally. (shrink)
This article analyses the moral status of racial profiling from a consequentialist perspective and argues that, contrary to what proponents of racial profiling might assume, there is a prima facie case against racial profiling on consequentialist grounds. To do so it establishes general definitions of police practices and profiling, sketches out the costs and benefits involved in racial profiling in particular and presents three challenges. The foundation challenge suggests that the shifting of burdens onto marginalized minorities may, even when profiling (...) itself is justified, serve to prolong unjustified police practices. The valuation challenge argues that although both costs and benefits are difficult to establish, the benefits of racial profiling are afflicted with greater uncertainty than the costs, and must be comparatively discounted. Finally, the application challenge argues that using racial profiling in practice will be complicated by both cognitive and psychological biases, which together reduce the effectiveness of profiling while still incurring its costs. Jointly, it is concluded, these challenges establish a prima facie case against racial profiling, so that the real challenge consists in helping officers practice the art of the police and not see that which it is useless that they should see. (shrink)
In a recent paper on realism and pragmatism published in this journal, Osmo Kivinen and Tero Piiroinen have been pleading for more methodological work in the philosophy of the social sciences—refining the conceptual tools of social scientists—and less philosophically ontological theories. Following this de-ontologizing approach, we scrutinize the debates on social explanation and contribute to the development of a pragmatic social science methodology. Analyzing four classic debates concerning explanation in the social sciences, we propose to shift the debate away from (...) (a) the ontologizing defenses of forms of social explanation, and (b) a winner-takes-all-approach. Instead, we advocate (c) a pragmatic approach towards social explanation, elaborating a rigorous framework for explanatory pluralism detached from the debates on social ontology. (shrink)
A course focusing on ethical issues in physics has been taught to undergraduate students at Eastern Michigan University since 1988. The course covers both responsible conduct of research and ethical issues associated with how physicists interact with the rest of society. Since most undergraduate physics majors will not have a career in academia, it is important that a course such as this address issues that will be relevant to physicists in a wide range of job situations. There is a wealth (...) of published work that can be drawn on for reading assignments. (shrink)
The propagation of errors in physics research is studied, with particular attention being paid to the effectiveness of the erratum in avoiding error propagation. We study the citation history of 17 physics papers which have significant errata associated with them. It would appear that the existence of an erratum does not significantly decrease the frequency with which a paper is cited and in most cases the erratum isnot cited along with the original paper. The authors comment on implications for the (...) responsibilities of authors. (shrink)
An agent may abandon an initiated action plan, although he doesnot acquire new information or encounter unforeseen obstacles.Such dynamic inconsistency can be to the agent'';s guaranteeddisadvantage, and there is a debate on how it should rationallybe avoided. The main contenders are the sophisticated andthe resolute approaches. I argue that this debate is misconceived,since both approaches rely on false assumptions about theperformability of action plans. The debate can be reformulated,so as to avoid these mistaken assumptions. I try to show that sucha (...) reformulation must rely on certain implausible claims. (shrink)
The practice of corporate social responsibility has often been described as a balance of profitability and social or societal responsibility by scholars as well as practitioners. It is assumed that regulations and guidelines of CSR practices link competitiveness and responsibility together. While recognising that formal CSR statements represent a goal-oriented managerial approach to CSR, we argue based on the description of a qualitative case study that the relationship between profitability and social or societal responsibility is not as clear and simple (...) as it is often described. Instead, CSR should be considered as a continuously negotiated process between companies and stakeholders. Hence, the creation of a constructive link between profitability and social or societal responsibility is dependent on the amount of effort that has been put into exploring the concerns of the stakeholders, vis-a-vis the company, while simultaneously accepting changes when they are necessary. (shrink)
A survey was conducted of a subset of the physics community in order to gain insight into attitudes towards integrating ethics into the physics curriculum. The results indicated significant support among some groups for such an integration yet also revealed significant barriers to this process. Respondents were also asked to suggest topics which should be covered under the heading of ethical issues in physics. The great variety of results indicates both that there are many issues worth investigating and that many (...) in the physics community have given a great deal of thought to these issues. (shrink)
The aim of the present investigation was to describe and to classify significant ethical problems encountered by the members of the staff during the daily clinical work at a hospital medical department. A set of definitions was prepared for the purpose, including the definition of a 'significant ethical problem'. During a three month period 426 inpatients and 173 outpatients were admitted. Significant ethical problems were encountered during the management of 106 in-patients (25 per cent) and 9 out-patients (5 per cent). (...) No significant difference was found between the frequency of ethical problems in female and male patients, but a positive correlation was noted between the number of problems and the patients' age. The problem types were classified according to a problem list. The results of this investigation suggest that greater attention must be paid to discussions about ethical problems among doctors and other categories of health personnel and that, among others, medical students ought to be taught the analysis of ethical problems. (shrink)
This study examines the moral and ethical arguments presented by public relations practitioners in online debate on the appropriateness of representing the tobacco industry or tobacco interests. It is a descriptive and inferential analysis of 21 e-mail messages posted during a 14-month debate on the PRForum, an online newsgroup for public relations professionals, applying Kohlberg's cognitive-development theory of moralization. Debate focused on the right of an organization to promote a legal product versus a practitioner's obligation to protect the welfare of (...) society. Intensity of disagreement, and the inability to achieve consensus, suggests that personal ethical baselines are subjective, that practitioner perceptions of right or wrong are injluenced by their level of cognitive and moral development, and that codes of behavior of professional organizations are too ambiguous to use in dealing with complex ethical issues. (shrink)
Material kept in the National Library of Finland shows that from 1963 until 1969 Erik Stenius (1911–1990) worked on a book on antinomies , having been invited by the Dutch logician Evert Beth (1908–1964) to contribute a monograph to the North-Holland series Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics . The book was never published, but the manuscript has been found, and it is the purpose of this note to report on this finding.
Carbon monoxide intoxication leads to acute and chronic neurological deficits, but little is known about the specific noxious mechanisms. 1 H magnetic resonance spectroscopy may allow insight into the pathophysiology of CO poisoning by monitoring neurochemical disturbances, yet only limited information is available to date on the use of this protocol in determining the neurological effects of CO poisoning. To further examine the short-term and long-term effects of CO on the central nervous system, we have studied seven patients with CO (...) poisoning assessed by gray and white matter MRS, magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological testing. Five patients suffered from acute high-dose CO intoxication and were in coma for 1–6 days. In these patients, MRI revealed hyperintensities of the white matter and globus pallidus and also showed increased choline and decreased N -acetyl aspartate ratios to creatine, predominantly in the white matter. Lactate peaks were detected in two patients during the early phase of high-dose CO poisoning. Two patients with chronic low-dose CO exposure and without loss of consciousness had normal MRI and MRS scans. On follow-up. five of our seven patients had long-lasting intellectual impairment, including one individual with low-dose CO exposure. The MRS results showed persisting biochemical alterations despite the MRI scan showing normalization of morphological changes. In conclusion, the MRS was normal in patients suffering from chronic low-dose CO exposure; in contrast, patients with high-dose exposure showed abnormal gray and white matter levels of NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr and lactate, as detected by 1 H MRS, suggesting disturbances of neuronal function, membrane metabolism and anaerobic energy metabolism, respectively. Early increases in Cho/Cr and decreases of NAA/Cr may be related to a poor long-term outcome, but confirmation by future studies is needed. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or the sceptical theistic strategy for responding (...) to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
Jan Albert van Laar and Erik Krabbe’s paper “Splitting a difference of opinion” studies an important type of dialogue shift, namely that from a deliberation dialogue over action or policy options where critical and persuasive argumentation is exchanged about the rational acceptability of the policy options proposed by various parties, to a negotiation dialogue where agreement is reached by a series of compromises, or trade-offs, on the part of each side in the disagreement.
Erik Banks does several things in this slender yet substantial book on realistic empiricism (aka neutral monism). First, he encapsulates the main ideas of this tradition. While he goes into greater depth on some of these ideas than other introductions do, these pages are still accessible to nonspecialists. Second, he traces the the history of this tradition through the Austrian scientist, Ernst Mach, the American psychologist, William James, the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and others. These four chapters are a (...) valuable source for readers seeking to understand neutral monism in depth. Third, he develops his own version of neutral monism to deal with problems in the philosophies of mind and science. Most of my commentary will pertain to his own theory, which has some similar roots to my own. (shrink)
Erik Wielenberg’s new book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism aims at defending a non-theistic of ‘robust normative realism’: the metaethical view that normative properties exist, and have four features: (1) objectivity, (2) non-naturalness, (3) irreducibility, and (4) causal inertness. In my review I criticize that Wielenberg does not address semantic issues which are crucial both to defending robust normative realism, and to assessing the empirical claims he makes. Moreover, and relatedly, I suggest that Wielenberg’s (...) main psychological and evolutionary claims may be less well-founded than suggested. Despite these worries, however, Robust Ethics is a highly valuable contribution to metaethics. Wielenberg’s writing is extremely accessible, engaging, witty, and clear, he develops various fascinating novel arguments, and skilfully links analytic reflections with the consideration of empirical data. (shrink)
Classical thermochemistry is inextricably bound up with the problem of chemical affinity. In 1851, when Julius Thomsen began his career in thermochemistry, the concept of chemical affinity had been in the centre of chemical enquiry for more than a century. In spite of many suggestions, preferably to explain affinity in terms of electrical or gravitational forces, almost nothing was known about the cause and nature of affinity. In this state of puzzling uncertainty some chemists felt it more advantageous to (...) establish an adequate experimental measure of affinity, whatever its nature was. One way of providing affinity with a quantitative description was by means of the heats evolved in chemical processes. (shrink)
In the history of chemistry, the Danish chemist Julius Thomsen is best known for his contributions to thermochemistry. Throughout his life, he was a pronounced atomist and a tireless advocate of neo-Proutian views as to the constitution of matter. On many occasions, especially in his later years, he engaged in speculations concerning the unity of matter and the complexity of atoms. In this engagement, Thomsen was alone in Danish chemistry, but his works were representative of a large number (...) of 19th-century chemists, particularly in England and Germany. Thomsen's ideas as to the constitution of matter, the periodic system and the noble gases, may be seen as typical of this vigorous trend in fin de siècle chemistry. (shrink)
The Dutch Roman Catholic theologian Erik Borgman, who developed a cultural theology, was appointed as a visiting professor at the liberal Protestant theological Mennonite Seminary in Amsterdam. In this article, his progressive Roman Catholic theology is compared to a liberal Protestant approach. The historical backgrounds of these different types of theology are expounded, all the way back to Aquinas and Scotus, in order to clarify their specific character for the sake of a better mutual understanding. Next, the convergence of (...) these two types of theology in the twentieth century is explained with reference to the philosophy of Heidegger. Finally, the difficulties posed by postmodern philosophies to both a progressive Roman Catholic theology and a liberal Protestant theology are shown. It is asserted that both types of theology claim that the insights of their particular tradition can be relevant beyond this tradition to modern and postmodern humans. (shrink)
This comment on Erik Claes values his treatment of in-depth interviews to gain a better understanding of how volunteers make sense of their activities, but it questions the representativeness, meaningfulness and civicness of what is found. Meaning as deep personal commitment to an objective value is probably quite exceptional. The values and goals of Claes’s volunteers are deeply human and wide-ranging, but too ignorant of disagreement, power and politics to be called civic.
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
An Internet persona known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of my book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. I respond to the review here.
In Shaping Our Selves, Erik Parens offers both a personal history of bioethics and a cleverly clarifying lens to train on disputes in bioethics about emerging technologies. The question for readers is whether this lens, as useful as it is, leaves too much outside our field of vision. Parens, born in 1957, comes from the first wave of bioethics scholars—those of us who still mostly happened into bioethics as a field, before it was sufficiently well-established to be identified as (...) a career pathway. Bioethics enjoys a fascinating diversity of origin stories, and Parens’s is no exception. He began his studies at the University of Chicago’s pan-disciplinary Committee on Social Thought, one of a handful.. (shrink)
Erik Erikson's work in psychosocial developmental theory has made valuable contributions to the field of religious ethics on some very basic issues. This paper makes scattered elements of Erikson's explicit ethical perspective available in concise fashion for critical ethical reflection. It does this in such a way as to highlight the centrally important fact for religious ethics that implicitly operative in Erikson's view is a criterion of "self-transcendence" as definitive of mature personal (fully human, ethical) development.
Erik Schokkaert's note presents a very good summary of the theory of macrojustice and a very good list of the directions of research it points to. This is quite fitting since a research programme defines a paradigm, and he sees this proposal as a paradigm shift. This is also very appropriate since his own qualifications are the best for advancing fast in these research topics. I have only a very small number of qualifications to add to his presentation, but (...) I prefer to begin with emphasizing the most important issues. Two aspects can be seen as the most important: the de facto axiomatic derivation of the solution ELIE and its application on the one hand, and the present state of scholarly studies of the optimum or just distribution of income on the other hand. Let us enter by the second door (as opposed to what is done in the book Macrojustice). This will lead us to conclude with a more synthetic and broader view of the basic logic of the paradigms of justice and of the surprising recent history of their interpretations. (shrink)
The twentieth century has been described as the time of man’s discovery of himself; few have contributed more to this cause than Erik Erikson. _The Clinical Erik Erikson: A psychoanalytic method of engagement and activation_ highlights Erikson’s transforming contributions to the field of psychoanalysis and honors his legacy by providing unpublished clinical case illustrations of his actual psychotherapeutic work. The publication of case material—simple memorable fragments and clinical vignettes— brings the reader into Erikson’s consultation room, providing a portrait (...) of his clinical technique and demonstrating how he actually worked. Stephen Schlein, an authority on Erikson, presents an illuminating account of Erikson’s pioneering work through an exhaustive search of his early monographs on child psychoanalysis, clinical writings, psychotherapeutic case studies, and participation at case conferences at The Austen Riggs Center. Erikson’s writings reveal a psychoanalytic method of extraordinary richness that emphasizes essential ingredients of an interpersonal-relational clinical method and articulates interactional dimensions that have restorative potential. His vision focuses on the relationship, its powerful affects, and a belief that human beings have a potent capacity for real change. This book will be essential reading for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists. (shrink)
In Radicalizing Enactivism, D. D. Hutto and E. Myin develop a theory of mind they call ‘Radical Enactive (or Embodied) Cognition’ (REC). They argue that extant enactivist and embodied theories of mind are, although pretty radical, not radical enough, because such theories buy into the representationalist doctrine that perceptual experience (along with other forms of ‘basic’ mentality) possesses representational content. REC denies this doctrine. It implies that perceptual experience lacks reference, truth conditions, accuracy conditions, or conditions of satisfaction. In this (...) review I summarise their anti-representationalist argument and show that it has at least three major weaknesses. (shrink)