This paper sketches a general account of how to respond in an epistemically rational way to moral disagreement. Roughly, the account states that when two parties, A and B, disagree as to whether p, A says p while B says not-p, this is higher-order evidence that A has made a cognitive error on the first-order level of reasoning in coming to believe that p. If such higher-order evidence is not defeated, then one rationally ought to reduce one’s confidence with respect (...) to the proposition in question. We term this the higher-order evidence account, and present it as a superior to what we might call standard conciliationism, which holds that when agents A and B disagree about p, and are epistemic peers, they should both suspend judgement about p or adjust their confidence towards the mean of A and B’s prior credences in p. Many have suspected that standard conciliationism is implausible and may have skeptical implications. After presenting the HOE account, we put it to work by applying it to a range of cases of moral disagreement, including those that have feature in recent debates assuming standard conciliationism. We show that the HOE account support reasonable, non-skeptical verdicts in a range of cases. Note that this is a paper on moral disagreement, not on the HOE account, thus the account is merely stated here, while defended more fully elsewhere. (shrink)
This article presents an overview ofregulations, guidelines and societal debates ineight member states of the EC about a)embryonic and fetal tissue transplantation(EFTT), and b) the use of human embryonic stemcells (hES cells) for research into celltherapy, including `therapeutic' cloning. Thereappears to be a broad acceptance of EFTT inthese countries. In most countries guidance hasbeen developed. There is a `strong' consensusabout some of the central conditions for `goodclinical practice' regarding EFTT.International differences concern, amongstothers, some of the informed consent issuesinvolved, and the (...) questions whether anintermediary organisation is necessary, whetherthe methods of abortion may be influenced bythe possible use of EFT, and whether EFTTshould only be used for the experimentaltreatment of rare disorders. The potential useof hES cells for research into cell therapy hasgiven a new impetus to the debate about (human)embryo research. The therapeutic prospects withregard to the retrieval and research use of hEScells appear to function as a catalyst for theintroduction of less restrictive regulationsconcerning research with spare embryos, atleast in some European countries. It remains tobe seen whether the prospect of treatingpatients suffering from serious disorders withtransplants produced by therapeutic cloningwill decrease the societal and moral resistanceto allowing the generation of embryos for`instrumental' use. (shrink)
Artifacts are probably our most obvious everyday encounter with technology. Therefore, a good understanding of the nature of technical artifacts is a relevant part of technological literacy. In this article we draw from the philosophy of technology to develop a conceptualization of technical artifacts that can be used for educational purposes. Furthermore we report a small exploratory empirical study to see to what extent teachers’ intuitive ideas about artifacts match with the way philosophers write about the nature of artifacts. Finally, (...) we suggest a teaching and learning strategy for improving teachers’ concepts of technical artifacts through practical activities. (shrink)
Ethical approval must be obtained before medical research can start. We describe the differences in EA for an pseudonymous, non-interventional, observational European study. Sixteen European national coordinators of the international study on very old intensive care patients answered an online questionnaire concerning their experience getting EA. N = 8/16 of the NCs could apply at one single national ethical committee, while the others had to apply to various regional ECs and/or individual hospital institutional research boards. The time between applying for (...) EA and the first decision varied between 7 days and 300 days. In 9/16 informed consent from the patient was not deemed necessary; in 7/16 informed consent was required from the patient or relatives. The upload of coded data to a central database required additional information in 14/16. In 4/16 the NCs had to ask separate approval to keep a subject identification code list to de-pseudonymize the patients if questions would occur. Only 2/16 of the NCs agreed that informed consent was necessary for this observational study. Overall, 6/16 of the NCs were satisfied with the entire process and 8/16 were unsatisfied. 11/16 would welcome a European central EC that would judge observational studies for all European countries. Variations in the process and prolonged time needed to get EA for observational studies hampers inclusion of patients in some European countries. This might have a negative influence on the external validity. Further harmonization of ethical approval process across Europe is welcomed for low-risk observational studies. Getting ethical approval for low-risk, non-interventional, observational studies varies enormously across European countries. (shrink)
A cornerstone of physics, Maxwell‘s theory of electromagnetism, apparently contains a fatal flaw. The standard expressions for the electromagnetic field energy and the self-mass of an electron of finite extension do not obey Einstein‘s famous equation, \, but instead fulfill this relation with a factor 4/3 on the left-hand side. Furthermore, the energy and momentum of the electromagnetic field associated with the charge fail to transform as a four-vector. Many famous physicists have contributed to the debate of this so-called 4/3-problem (...) without arriving at a complete solution. It has generally been assumed that, as originally suggested by Poincaré, the problems are connected to the question of stability of the charge distribution, and that relativistic equivalence between energy and self-mass can only be restored by inclusion of stabilizing forces. Alternative solutions to the problems have also been proposed. Nearly a century ago Fermi suggested a covariant definition of the electromagnetic energy and momentum, and sixty years later Kalckar et al. argued that the 4/3 problem is caused by omission of a relativistic correction in the standard evaluation of the self-force from Coulomb self-interaction. However, the relation between these suggestions has not been clear. We show that the relativistic correction implies that the mechanical momentum of an accelerated rigid body must be defined as the sum of the momenta of its parts for fixed time in the momentary rest frame of the body. For the total momentum of particles and field to be conserved, the total energy–momentum tensor must be divergence free, and this then requires that the momentum of the associated electromagnetic field be defined in the same way, consistent with the suggestion by Fermi. This comprehensive solution of the 4/3-problem demonstrates that there is no conflict of Maxwell‘s theory with special relativity and the questions of equivalence of electromagnetic energy and self-mass and of stability of a classical charge distribution are independent. In appendices we discuss the relations of our treatment with Fermi‘s seminal paper and with a classic paper by Dirac where he evaluated the damping self-force on a point electron from transport of energy and momentum in the electromagnetic field. (shrink)
If it is true, as suggested by Sir Michael Marmot and other researchers, that status impacts health and therefore accounts for some of the social gradient in health, then it seems to be the case that it would be possible to bring about more equality in health by equalizing status. The purpose of this article is to analyze this suggestion. First, we suggest a working definition of what status precisely is. Second, following a luck egalitarian approach to distributive justice, we (...) consider whether and to which extent individuals are responsible themselves for their position in a status hierarchy. Third, we consider the contours of a difficult question, namely which political measures are feasible in order to reduce health-affective inequalities in status and fourth, whether or to what extent such measures are legitimate. We argue that on the basis of these considerations, we have at least some prima facie reasons to counter (at least some) status inequalities in order to equalize health. (shrink)
The author argues that the theory of a dorsal/ventral stream for visual processing can be used to reconcile the constructivist and direct perception theories. My commentary discusses neurophysiological and psychophysical studies that run counter to the view. In addition, the central issue of debate between the constructionist and direct perception approaches regarding what is visual information is discussed.
The essay presents Giorgio Agamben’s theory of the paradigm in the first chapter of The Signature of All Things. On Method in order to better understand the well-known use of references to and qoutations from literature in philosophical reasoning and theory. Agamben’s uncommented reference to two short stanzas from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Description without Place”, which he consider the best definition of a paradigmatic ontology, is briefly commented. A gathering of three ‘literary singularities’ from Friedrich Hölderlin/Sophocles, James Joyce, and Samuel (...) Beckett in a suggested paradigm on time is presented as an example of a solely literary way of philosophical thinking. (shrink)
The essay discusses the presumption of one's singularity, the uniqueness of one's time, the picturesqueness of one actions, and the capacity of human beings, whether corporately or individually, to begin everything or indeed anything again from scratch. Such presumptions are indeed present in some varieties of contemporary fanaticism, but, more to the point, it is suggested that the feeling of doing something for the first time is the oldest feeling in the world.
Grigorieff showed that forcing to add a subset of ω using partial functions with suitably chosen domains can add a generic real of minimal degree. We show that forcing with partial functions to add a subset of an uncountable κ without adding a real never adds a generic of minimal degree. This is in contrast to forcing using branching conditions, as shown by Brown and Groszek.
ZusammenfassungDer niederländische Tierpsychologe Frederik J. J. Buytendijk entwickelte in seinen Forschungen der 1920er und 1930er Jahre in Abgrenzung zum Behaviorismus eine antireduktionistische Zugangsweise auf Verhaltensexperimente. So bezog er in seinen Experimentalpraktiken explizit die subjektive Erfahrung des Versuchsleiters mit ein. Damit entwarf Buytendijk eine Wissenschaftstheorie, die methodologisch auf die Phänomenologie, Hermeneutik wie auf gestalttheoretische Ganzheitskonzepte zurückgriff, quantitative Datenerhebungen aber dennoch nicht aufgab. Vielmehr untersuchte Buytendijk auf der Grundlage des Biotheoretikers Jakob von Uexküll in seinem physiologischen Institut in Groningen konkret die (...) These einer „Tier-Umwelt-Einheit“. Der vorliegende Beitrag ermittelt anhand der institutionellen Rahmenbedingungen und zweier Experimente, inwiefern Buytendijk seine Aussage, dass das Tier „mit und in seiner Umwelt geboren [ist]“, die zugleich sein wissenschaftsphilosophisches Konzept stützte, zu verifizieren wusste. Dass die Umwelt dem Tier ein Organ ist, ist bei Buytendijk dementsprechend nicht nur metaphorisch, sondern ganz real zu verstehen. (shrink)
This collects some of the remarks made at the 2016 Pacific APA Memorial session for Patrick Suppes and Jaakko Hintikka. The full list of speakers on behalf of these two philosophers: Dagfinn Follesdal; Dana Scott; Nancy Cartwright; Paul Humphreys; Juliet Floyd; Gabriel Sandu; John Symons.