We present a distributed control modeling approach for an automated manufacturing system based on the dynamics of one-dimensional cellular automata. This is inspired by the fact that both cellular automata and manufacturing systems are discrete dynamical systems where local interactions given among their elements can lead to complex dynamics, despite the simple rules governing such interactions. The cellular automaton model developed in this study focuses on two states of the resources of a manufacturing system, namely, busy or idle. However, the (...) interaction among the resources such as whether they are shared at different stages of the manufacturing process determines the global dynamics of the system. A procedure is shown to obtain the local evolution rule of the automaton based on the relationships among the resources and the material flow through the manufacturing process. The resulting distributed control of the manufacturing system appears to be heterarchical, and the evolution of the cellular automaton exhibits a Class II behavior for some given disordered initial conditions. (shrink)
This reply addresses observations of Drs. Larsen, Kruse, and Sweeny, and Scherer in their reviews of our published work on the link between positive psychological assets and outcomes of physical health. Inspired by Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative we argue that the interplay between the emotion spectrum and health is likely a complex and heterogeneous amalgam of known and yet unidentified elements melding at the individual level. When exploring the emotion–health link, researchers are challenged to grapple with complex system models by (...) considering multiple hierarchies of information that span individual-level factors, genetic blueprints, and cultural and environmental context. Research is needed to more fully elucidate the mechanism through which emotion influences health, with careful consideration of differences across race/ethnicity, culture, and context. (shrink)
A paradigm shift in public health and medicine has broadened the field from a singular focus on the ill effects of negative states and psychopathology to an expanded view that examines protective psychological assets that may promote improved physical health and longevity. We summarize recent evidence of the link between psychological well-being and physical health, with particular attention to outcomes of mortality and chronic disease incidence and progression. Within this evolving discipline there remain controversies and lessons to be learned. We (...) discuss measurement-related challenges, concerns about the quality of the evidence, and other shortcomings in the field, along with a brief discussion of hypothesized biobehavioral mechanisms involved. Finally, we suggest next steps to move the field forward. (shrink)
Current treatments for chronic pain have limited benefit. We describe a resilience intervention for individuals with chronic pain which is based on a model of viewing chronic pain as dysregulated homeostasis and which seeks to restore homeostatic self-regulation using strategies exemplified by survivors of extreme environments. The intervention is expected to have broad effects on well-being and positive emotional health, to improve cognitive functions, and to reduce pain symptoms thus helping to transform the suffering of pain into self-growth. A total (...) of 88 Veterans completed the pre-assessment and were randomly assigned to either the treatment intervention or control. Fifty-eight Veterans completed pre- and post-testing. The intervention covered resilience strengths organized into four modules: engagement, social relatedness, transformation of pain and building a good life. A broad set of standardized, well validated measures were used to assess three domains of functioning: health and well-being, symptoms, and cognitive functions. Two-way Analysis of Variance was used to detect group and time differences. Broadly, results indicated significant intervention and time effects across multiple domains: Pain decreased in present severity [F = 5.02, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.08], total pain over six domains [F = 14.52, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.21], and pain interference [F = 6.82, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.11]; Affect improved in pain-related negative affect [F = 7.44, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.12], fear [F = 7.70, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.12], and distress [F = 10.87, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.16]; Well-being increased in pain mobility [F = 5.45, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.09], vitality [F = 4.54, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.07], and emotional well-being [F = 5.53, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.09] Mental health symptoms and the cognitive functioning domain did not reveal significant effects. This resilience intervention based on homeostatic self-regulation and survival strategies of survivors of extreme external environments may provide additional sociopsychobiological tools for treating individuals with chronic pain that may extend beyond treating pain symptoms to improving emotional well-being and self-growth.Clinical Trial Registration: Registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. (shrink)
The central ideas coming out of the so-called pragmatic turn in philosophy have set in motion what may be described as a pragmatic turn in normative political theory. It has become commonplace among political theorists to draw on theories of language and meaning in theorising democracy, pluralism, justice, etc. The aim of this paper is to explore attempts by political theorists to use theories of language and meaning for such normative purposes. Focusing on Wittgenstein's account, it is argued that these (...) attempts are unsuccessful. It is shown that pragmatically influenced political theorists draw faulty epistemological, ontological and semantic conclusions from Wittgenstein's view in their normative theorising, and it is argued that pragmatically influenced theories of language and meaning, however full of insight, cannot be put to substantial normative use in political theory. The general scope of the thesis is motivated by pointing to the general form of the argument and by moving beyond Wittgenstein to other philosophers of mind and language, illustrating how similar overextensions are made with regard to Robert Brandom's theory of language and meaning. (shrink)
Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four "dimensions" in evolution -- four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and symbolic. These systems, they argue, can all (...) provide variations on which natural selection can act. Evolution in Four Dimensions offers a richer, more complex view of evolution than the gene-based, one-dimensional view held by many today. The new synthesis advanced by Jablonka and Lamb makes clear that induced and acquired changes also play a role in evolution.After discussing each of the four inheritance systems in detail, Jablonka and Lamb "put Humpty Dumpty together again" by showing how all of these systems interact. They consider how each may have originated and guided evolutionary history and they discuss the social and philosophical implications of the four-dimensional view of evolution. Each chapter ends with a dialogue in which the authors engage the contrarieties of the fictional "I.M.," or Ifcha Mistabra -- Aramaic for "the opposite conjecture" -- refining their arguments against I.M.'s vigorous counterarguments. The lucid and accessible text is accompanied by artist-physician Anna Zeligowski's lively drawings, which humorously and effectively illustrate the authors' points. (shrink)
A key feature of facial behavior is its dynamic quality. However, most previous research has been limited to the use of static images of prototypical expressive patterns. This article explores the role of facial dynamics in the perception of emotions, reviewing relevant empirical evidence demonstrating that dynamic information improves coherence in the identification of affect (particularly for degraded and subtle stimuli), leads to higher emotion judgments (i.e., intensity and arousal), and helps to differentiate between genuine and fake expressions. The findings (...) underline that using static expressions not only poses problems of ecological validity, but also limits our understanding of what facial activity does. Implications for future research on facial activity, particularly for social neuroscience and affective computing, are discussed. (shrink)
Mary Shelley in her writings relies on the romanticised notions of nature: in addition to its beauties, the sublime quality is highlighted in its overwhelming greatness. In her ecological fiction, The Last Man, the dystopian view of man results in the presentation of the declining civilization and the catastrophic destruction of infested mankind. In the novel, all of the characters are associated with forces of culture and history. On the one hand, Mary Shelley, focussing on different human bonds, warns against (...) the sickening discord and dissonance, the lack of harmony in the world, while, on the other hand, she calls for the respect of nature and natural order. The prophetic caring female characters ‘foresee’ the events but cannot help the beloved men to control their building and destroying powers. Mary Shelley expresses her unmanly view of nature and the author’s utopian hope seems to lie in ‘unhuman’ nature. While the epidemic, having been unleashed by the pests of patriarchal society and being accelerated by global warming, sweeps away humanity, Mother Nature flourishes and gains back her original ‘dwelling place’. (shrink)
Previous research has shown that female leaders lead slightly more effective than male leaders. However, women are still underrepresented in higher management. In this study, we seek to contribute to a deeper understanding of this paradox by proposing and testing an innovative model that integrates different research streams on gender and leadership. Specifically, we propose power motivation and transformational leadership as two central yet opposing dynamics that underlie the relation between gender and leadership role occupancy. We tested this model in (...) a sample of 256 employees. Results provided support for the proposed relations. These findings contribute to a more detailed and comprehensive understanding for central dynamics that link gender and leadership role occupancy. Moreover, they provide important insights for interventions that are targeted at reducing the gender gap in leadership. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings. (shrink)
Nicolas de Cues, Kant et Cassirer forment un triptyque philosophique au sein duquel l’auteur de la Philosophie des formes symboliques a pu révéler un chiasme fort éclairant : Kant ne saurait être lu sans que ne soit prêté attention au coup d’envoi cusanien, mais Nicolas de Cues ne saurait être compris sans le prisme des lunettes kantiennes grâce auquel la théorie de la connaissance servirait de guide pour la compréhension des textes de Nicolas. Il s’agit donc, dans la présente contribution, (...) d’interroger ce qu’il peut y avoir de kantien chez le Cusain, et de cusanien chez Kant, en prenant comme fil directeur le problème de la relation sujet-objet et la question de la chose en soi. (shrink)
Contrary to the widespread concern about over-treatment at the end of life, today, patient preferences for palliative care at the end of life are frequently respected. However, ethically challenging situations in the current healthcare climate are, instead, situations in which a competent patient requests active treatment with the goal of life-prolongation while the physician suggests best supportive care only. The argument of futility has often been used to justify unilateral decisions made by physicians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. However, (...) we argue that neither the concept of futility nor that of patient autonomy alone is apt for resolving situations in which physicians are confronted with patients' requests for active treatment. Instead, we integrate the relevant arguments that have been put forward in the academic discussion about ‘futile’ treatment into an ethical algorithm with five guiding questions: (1) Is there a chance that medical intervention will be effective in achieving the patient's treatment goal? (2) How does the physician evaluate the expected benefit and the potential harm of the treatment? (3) Does the patient understand his or her medical situation? (4) Does the patient prefer receiving treatment after evaluating the benefit-harm ratio and the costs? (5) Does the treatment require many resources? This algorithm shall facilitate approaching patients' requests for treatments deemed futile by the physician in a systematic way, and responding to these requests in an ethically appropriate manner. It thereby adds substantive considerations to the current procedural approaches of conflict resolution in order to improve decision making among physicians, patients and families. (shrink)
'...a challenging and useful book, both because it provokes a careful scrutiny of one's own basic ideas regarding evolutionary theory, and because it cuts across so many biological disciplines.' -The Quarterly Review of Biology 'In my view, this work exemplifies Theoretical Biology at its best...here is rampant speculation that is consistently based on cautious reasoning from the available data. Even more refreshing is the absence of sloganeering, grandstanding, and 'isms'.' -Biology and Philosophy 'Epigenetics is fundamental to understanding both development and (...) gene expression, and not surprisingly, evolutionary biologists have long been fascinated with its proper place in evolutionary theory...Enter Jablonka and Lamb, who provide a thoughtful review of the recent molecular literature and suggest a number of potential consequences.' -EvolutionSince first publication of this controversial book, much of the initial opposition to the ideas it contained has been replaced by a general, although often grudging, acceptance of them. Advances in knowledge, especially at the molecular level, have enhanced general awareness and interest in epigenetics and the evolution of systems that store and transmit information and put any of the authors' speculations on a more solid basis. This paperback edition contains a new Preface that sets out the major changes in the scientific world and in the authors' own thinking that have occurred since the book was published. A new Appendix provides a selected bibliography of the many books and articles about epigenetic inheritance and its role in evolution that have appeared since first publication. (shrink)
Conscientious objection has spurred impassioned debate in many Western countries. Some Norwegian general practitioners (GPs) refuse to refer for abortion. Little is know about how the GPs carry out their refusals in practice, how they perceive their refusal to fit with their role as professionals, and how refusals impact patients. Empirical data can inform subsequent normative analysis.
Nietzsche's notion of the Übermensch is one of his most famous. While he himself never defined or explained what he meant by it, many philosophical interpretations have been offered in secondary literature. None of these, however, has examined the significance of the notion for Nietzsche the man, and this essay therefore attempts to address this gap.The idea of the Übermensch occurred to Nietzsche rather suddenly in the winter of 1882-1883, when his life was in turmoil after yet another deep personal (...) setback. The early loss of his father had deprived Nietzsche of a meaningful “mirroring” and a chance to experience realistic, age appropriate disappointment. This left him with a lifelong tendency towards idealisation. It became his proverbial Achilles’ heel and the source of repeated disillusionments and sorrow. The Übermensch may thus have been a culmination of his impulse to create altars and worlds before which he could kneel. Trying to cope with his own vulnerability, Nietzsche evoked an ideal of the Übermensch, a mask of hardness that was designed, if unconsciously, to ward off any future assaults on his fragile self.The double aspect of Nietzsche's personality is explored in this essay. While a highly provocative, belligerent and uncompromising Nietzsche often emerges from his published works, a vulnerable, lonely and sometimes self-pitying Nietzsche lurks in his letters and the accounts of his friends and acquaintances. But could an “ideal of strength”, such as the Übermensch, serve as a protective mask for someone with a sensitive, passionate interior? Nietzsche's descent into madness would suggest that no ideal can be a substitute for human, all too human, compassion. (shrink)
This essay is an interpretation of Nietzsche’s enigmatic idea of the Eternal Return of the Same in the context of his life rather than of his philosophy. Nietzsche never explained his ‘abysmal thought’ and referred to it directly only in a few passages of his published writings, but numerous interpretations have been made in secondary literature. None of these, however, has examined the significance of this thought for Nietzsche, the man. The idea belongs to a moment of ecstasy which Nietzsche (...) experienced during the summer of 1881 in Sils-Maria, in the Swiss Alps. Like Dante, in ‘the middle of life’, he walked down the wooded Alpine slope and entered his own Inferno. On the anniversary of long-buried loss and pain, his psyche was temporarily flooded by archetypal imagery. This event is interpreted in the light of Freud’s theory of repetition compulsion, the uncanny, and the oedipal confrontation with the unconscious. From the turbulent and frightful experience, a symbol of transfiguration emerged in the shape of Eternal Return. Its likeness to Mandala, a Jungian archetype of wholeness and the self, is striking. In the years that followed, Nietzsche produced his greatest works that assured him an unassailable place in Western philosophy. And yet, there was something disturbing about this dream-thought, and Nietzsche shuddered at any mention of the thought. Linking it with the head of Medusa in his unpublished notes, he hinted at its petrifying quality. The beguiling beauty of Medusa makes her an ambiguous symbol of exhilaration, as well as terror. Under her captivating gaze, a hero’s journey towards selfhood becomes a journey into the night of madness. (shrink)
The goal of this dissertation is to demonstrate that construals of our emotional responses to fictions as irrational or merely pseudo-emotional are not the only explanations available to us, and that necessary and sufficient conditions for an emotional response to a fiction can be established without abandoning either its intentionality or the assignment of a causal role to our beliefs. ;Colin Radford's claim that our emotional responses to fictions are irrational and inconsistent is challenged in two ways. First, distinctions can (...) be drawn between our reactions to fiction and indisputably irrational emotional reactions which preclude arriving at Radford's conclusion via an argument from analogy. Further, the conditions for rationality put forward in several analyses of emotion, ranging from that of David Hume to that of Ronald de Sousa, are not violated by our emotional responses to fictions. ;Kendall Walton's contention that such affective reactions are merely quasi-emotions is contested on the ground that the absence of the existentially committed beliefs which Walton allies with all genuine emotional responses does not demonstrate an absence of cognitive content. Existentially uncommitted evaluative beliefs, thoughts, and even beliefs about the world can be linked to our emotional experience of fictions, and can serve a function necessary to the identification of the emotion, a function which Walton assigns to the existentially committed belief. ;In our experience of fictions, the objects of our emotion are various. However, a direct response to a fictional entity or event is characterized in terms of Peter Lamarque's account: as a response to the content of a thought, a response to what has been thought or imagined rather than to the thought itself. The roles played both by evaluative beliefs and beliefs about what can occur in the world are investigated and found to constitute necessary conditions for an emotional response to a fiction. An account of the role of the imagination, which borrows from Boruah, David Novitz, and Susan Feagin, provides another condition which, together with the two preceding, appears sufficient for such a response. (shrink)
How can ethical decision-making in organizations be further reinforced? This article explores the relevance of Michel Foucault’s ideas on art-of-living for ethics education in organizations. First, we present a theoretical analysis of art-of-living in the work of Foucault as well as in the work of two philosophers who greatly influenced his work, Friedrich Nietzsche and Pierre Hadot. Next, we illustrate how art-of-living can be applied in ethics education. In order to examine some of the benefits and challenges of applying the (...) art-of-living in the practice of ethics education, we discuss an example of how the art-of-living concept has been used in a train-the-trainer course on military ethics. We suggest that Foucauldian art-of-living may foster awareness of power dynamics which are in play when military personnel face moral dilemmas. (shrink)
Love's Labor explores the relations that dependency work fosters between women and between men and women, and argues that dependency is not exceptional but integral to human life. The commentaries point to more facets of dependency such as the importance (and limitation) of personal narrative in philosophizing dependency (Ruddick); the role of spirituality that Gottlieb addresses with regard to his disabled daughter; and the application of the theory to the situation of elderly women (Tong).
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that Leibniz’s form/matter defense of omnipotence is paradoxical, but not irretrievably so. Leibniz maintains that God necessarily must concur only in the possibility for evil’s existence in the world (the form of evil), but there are individual instances of moral evil that are not necessary (the matter of evil) with which God need not concur. For Leibniz, that there is moral evil in the world is contingent on God’s will (a dimension of (...) divine omnipotence), with the result that even though it is necessary that God exerts his will, there are particular products of his will that are contingent and unnecessary—including human moral evil. If there are instances of evil which are contingent on God’s will and yet unnecessary, then the problematic conclusion for Leibniz’s view must be that human evil depends upon divine concurrence, not just for its possibility in the world (which is necessary) but for its instance (which is contingent). If the form/matter defense of omnipotence contains a true paradox, then God concurs in the form as well as the matter of evil. To assuage this difficulty for Leibniz, I will argue that he could either give up an Augustinian notion of evil, or rely upon a distinction between *potenta absoluta* and *potenta ordinate*, which was popular among important thinkers in the medieval period. (shrink)
The involvement of children in non-beneficial clinical research is extremely important for improving pediatric care, but its ethical acceptability is still disputed. Therefore, various pro-research justifications have been proposed throughout the years. The present essay aims at contributing to the on-going discussion surrounding children’s participation in non-beneficial clinical research. Building on Wendler’s ‘contribution to a valuable project’ justification, but going beyond a risk/benefit analysis, it articulates a pro-research argument which appeals to a phenomenological view on the body and vulnerability. It (...) is claimed that children’s bodies are not mere physical objects, but body-subjects due to which children, as persons, can contribute to research that may hold no direct clinical benefit to them even before they can give informed consent. (shrink)
In this article I examine the proposition that severe cognitive disability is an impediment to moral personhood. Moral personhood, as I understand it here, is articulated in the work of Jeff McMahan as that which confers a special moral status on a person. I rehearse the metaphysical arguments about the nature of personhood that ground McMahan’s claims regarding the moral status of the “congenitally severely mentally retarded” (CSMR for short). These claims, I argue, rest on the view that only intrinsic (...) psychological capacities are relevant to moral personhood: that is, that relational properties are generally not relevant. In addition, McMahan depends on an argument that species membership is irrelevant for moral consideration and a contention that privileging species membership is equivalent to a virulent nationalism (these will be discussed below). In consequence, the CSMR are excluded from moral personhood and their deaths are less significant as their killing is less wrong than that of persons. To throw doubt on McMahan’s conclusions about the moral status and wrongness of killing the CSMR I question the exclusive use of intrinsic properties in the metaphysics of personhood, the dismissal of the moral importance of species membership, and the example of virulent nationalism as an apt analogy. I also have a lot to say about McMahan’s empirical assumptions about the CSMR. (shrink)
Nietzsche’s cardinal ideas - God is Dead, Übermensch and Eternal Return of the Same - are approached here from the perspective of psychiatric phenomenology rather than that of philosophy. A revised diagnosis of the philosopher’s mental illness as manic-depressive psychosis forms the premise for discussion. Nietzsche conceived the above thoughts in close proximity to his first manic psychotic episode, in the summer of 1881, while staying in Sils-Maria (Swiss Alps). It was the anniversary of his father’s death, and also of (...) the break-up of his friendship with Wagner, the most important relationship in his life. Despite having been acquainted with these ideas from reading philosophy and literature, Nietzsche created them de novo and imbued them with very personal meaning. Surprisingly, he never defined or explained his cardinal thoughts in his published writings, perhaps because rationally he could not. A resultant hermeneutic vacuum provoked an avalanche of interpretations in secondary literature. But could these ideas be delusions? A current definition of delusion is challenged, and an attempt is made at a limited comparison between delusion, scientific/philosophical doctrine and poetic creation. It is also argued that psychosis is a way of re-living trauma, and delusions can therefore be seen as a form of reasoning that helps to make sense of the world in a state of psychotic disintegration. Far from being false beliefs, delusions are a true expression of one’s innermost feelings and pain, albeit indirectly. The relationship between early parental loss and repeated trauma, psychosis and creativity is also explored. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 8, Edition 1 May 2008. (shrink)
The easiest and most tempting solution of these problems is to dissolve them by pointing out the artificiality of the issues leading to these "third things." Though tempted, I am not convinced that Kant's philosophy can be treated thus as an exercise in a complicated solution of pseudo-problems. Also, I would thereby deprive myself of the uncomfortable and nagging sense of obscure importance which assails me—and many Kant students share this feeling—whenever I consider these points. I am prepared to admit (...) that the problems may be represented as artificial. But I want to maintain, with special emphasis on the Kantian schema, that a serious reconsideration repays the effort, even if it should force us to reconsider critically also some of Kant's systematic assumptions. (shrink)
This essay focuses on some important concepts in Beauvoir's philosophy: ambiguity, desire, and appeal (appel). Ambiguity and appeal, concepts originating in Beauvoir's moral philosophy, are in The Second Sex connected to the female body and feminine desire. This indicates the complexity of Beauvoir's image of femininity. This essay also proposes a comparative reading of Beauvoir's and Sartre's concepts of appeal, a reading that indicates differences in their views of the relationship among ethics, desire, and gender.
Since the 2004 publication of his book The Good in the Right, Robert Audi has been at the forefront of the current resurgence of interest in intuitionism – the idea that human beings have an intuitive sense of right and wrong – in ethics. The New Intuitionism brings together some of the world’s most important contemporary writers from such diverse fields as metaethics, epistemology and moral psychology to explore the latest implications of, and challenges to, Audi’s work. The book also (...) includes an opening chapter that surveys the development of contemporary intuitionism and a conclusion that lays the ground for future developments and debates both written by Audi himself, making this an essential survey of this important school of ethical thought for anyone working in the field. (shrink)
The age of ubiquitous photography has not only embedded the ability to easily share photographs, it has also constructed widespread expectations of content being shared. Such presumptions of sharing are profoundly influencing our relationship with photography, particularly as the hypervisibility of shared images produces an increasingly unstable invisibility of ‘unshared’ images. These contemporary concerns can be productively explored and theorized by considering the work of artists Eva and Franco Mattes. In recent works that use personal photographs, the Matteses reveal prescient (...) insights into photographic concerns around latency, visibility and shifting distinctions between personal/private/public. By investigating the Matteses’ works through these prisms, I argue that the age of social media entails internalized and naturalized presumptions of sharing. This has not only affected how and why photographs are taken, it transforms the status of contemporary photography more generally, creating conditions where once unshared/private personal photographs may now instead exist in a broader state of ‘social latency’. (shrink)
Every so often an experiment trying to give reliable evidence for a metallic hydrogen solid is reported. Such evidence is, however, not too convincing. As Eric Scerri has recently reiterated, “the jury is still out on that issue” . This search stems from the common spectroscopy shared by the hydrogen atom and all the alkali metal atoms, and perhaps is guided by a desire to place hydrogen atop the alkali metals, in Mendeleiev’s Table, reinforced by the fact pointed out by (...) Scerri that there is no other obvious place for hydrogen in said Table. But H2 is a light gas at room temperature, while Li, Na, K and the other alkali elements form solid metal crystals. At very low temperatures, of course, hydrogen solidifies, but it is formed by H2 molecules . Our purpose here is to use a new argument to break this impasse: “should H be grouped with the alkali metals with which it shares a common spectroscopy, but which solidifies in a completely different fashion?” This argument has been proposed before in a couple of papers in this journal to establish a similar question for He and the alkaline earths , as is discussed in “Precedents” section. (shrink)
Socially responsible business and ethical behaviour of companies have been of interest to academia and practice for decades. But the focus has almost exclusively been on large corporations while small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) have not received as much attention. Thus, this paper focuses on socially responsible business practices of SME entrepreneurs or owner–managers in Germany. Based on the assumption that decision-makers in SMEs are the central point where all business activities start, members of a German entrepreneurs association were approached (...) in the course of a qualitative and quantitative survey. They were asked to assess in what way their social responsibility is expressed in specific management practices towards selected stakeholder groups. These practices in turn were assumed to result in perceived positive reactions of the respective stakeholders and subsequently to positively influence the firm's financial performance, i.e. cost reductions and increase in profits. In the paper, a research model is presented that elaborates the relationship between an SME executive's social responsibility and the value creation of a firm, i.e. whether (personal) values create (economic) value. It was found that socially responsible management practices towards employees, customers and to a lesser extent society have a positive impact on the firm and its performance. As such, values can create additional value. (shrink)
In this article, we address a major outstanding question of probabilistic Bayesian epistemology: how should a rational Bayesian agent update their beliefs upon learning an indicative conditional? A number of authors have recently contended that this question is fundamentally underdetermined by Bayesian norms, and hence that there is no single update procedure that rational agents are obliged to follow upon learning an indicative conditional. Here we resist this trend and argue that a core set of widely accepted Bayesian norms is (...) sufficient to identify a normatively privileged updating procedure for this kind of learning. Along the way, we justify a privileged formalization of the notion of ‘epistemic conservativity’, offer a new analysis of the Judy Benjamin problem, and emphasize the distinction between interpreting the content of new evidence and updating one’s beliefs on the basis of that content. (shrink)
In his target article, Koonin discusses the insights into the evolution of bacterial genomes provided by the CRISPR-Cas system. This evolved defense system is based on intrinsic processes of genome engineering which, as he argues, enable Lamarckian inheritance. In this commentary I discuss some historical and conceptual issues that pertain to Koonin’s analysis of this aspect of the CRISPR-Cas system, extending and qualifying his discussion.