For thousands of years, people have used nature to justify their political, moral, and social judgments. Such appeals to the moral authority of nature are still very much with us today, as heated debates over genetically modified organisms and human cloning testify. The Moral Authority of Nature offers a wide-ranging account of how people have used nature to think about what counts as good, beautiful, just, or valuable. The eighteen essays cover a diverse array of topics, including the connection of (...) cosmic and human orders in ancient Greece, medieval notions of sexual disorder, early modern contexts for categorizing individuals and judging acts as "against nature," race and the origin of humans, ecological economics, and radical feminism. The essays also range widely in time and place, from archaic Greece to early twentieth-century China, medieval Europe to contemporary America. Scholars from a wide variety of fields will welcome The Moral Authority of Nature, which provides the first sustained historical survey of its topic. Contributors: Danielle Allen, Joan Cadden, Lorraine Daston, Fa-ti Fan, Eckhardt Fuchs, Valentin Groebner, Abigail J. Lustig, Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, Katharine Park, Matt Price, Robert N. Proctor, Helmut Puff, Robert J. Richards, Londa Schiebinger, Laura Slatkin, Julia Adeney Thomas, Fernando Vidal. (shrink)
For thousands of years, people have used nature to justify their political, moral, and social judgments. Such appeals to the moral authority of nature are still very much with us today, as heated debates over genetically modified organisms and human cloning testify. _The Moral Authority of Nature_ offers a wide-ranging account of how people have used nature to think about what counts as good, beautiful, just, or valuable. The eighteen essays cover a diverse array of topics, including the connection of (...) cosmic and human orders in ancient Greece, medieval notions of sexual disorder, early modern contexts for categorizing individuals and judging acts as "against nature," race and the origin of humans, ecological economics, and radical feminism. The essays also range widely in time and place, from archaic Greece to early twentieth-century China, medieval Europe to contemporary America. Scholars from a wide variety of fields will welcome _The Moral Authority of Nature_, which provides the first sustained historical survey of its topic. Contributors: Danielle Allen, Joan Cadden, Lorraine Daston, Fa-ti Fan, Eckhardt Fuchs, Valentin Groebner, Abigail J. Lustig, Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, Katharine Park, Matt Price, Robert N. Proctor, Helmut Puff, Robert J. Richards, Londa Schiebinger, Laura Slatkin, Julia Adeney Thomas, Fernando Vidal. (shrink)
Le programme de recherche que l'on trouvera ci-dessous nous semble particulièrement original et utile d'un point de vue rythmanalytique – et cela à double titre. Alors que la vitesse, l'accélération et l'urgence sont, depuis quelques années, les objets d'une littérature pléthorique et désormais assez répétitive, Laurent Vidal et les chercheurs regroupés dans l'ANR TERRIAT s'intéressent, quant à eux, à la « lenteur » et à l'« attente ». Second point fort, ils orientent leur attention vers la question des « (...) (...) - 4. Rythmes du social – Nouvel article. (shrink)
Le programme de recherche que l'on trouvera ci-dessous nous semble particulièrement original et utile d'un point de vue rythmanalytique – et cela à double titre. D'une part, alors que la vitesse, l'accélération et l'urgence sont, depuis quelques années, les objets d'une littérature pléthorique et désormais assez répétitive, Laurent Vidal et les chercheurs regroupés dans l'ANR TERRIAT s'intéressent, quant à eux, à la « lenteur » et à l'« attente ». De l'autre, ils orientent leur attention vers la question du (...) « (...) - 4. Rythmes du social – Nouvel article. (shrink)
If personhood is the quality or condition of being an individual person, brainhood could name the quality or condition of being a brain. This ontological quality would define the `cerebral subject' that has, at least in industrialized and highly medicalized societies, gained numerous social inscriptions since the mid-20th century. This article explores the historical development of brainhood. It suggests that the brain is necessarily the location of the `modern self', and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent (...) to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative). It further argues that the ideology of brainhood impelled neuroscientific investigation much more than it resulted from it, and sketches how an expanding constellation of neurocultural discourses and practices embodies and sustains that ideology. (shrink)
This presentation discusses a notion encountered across disciplines, and in different facets of human activity: autonomous activity. We engage it in an interdisciplinary way. We start by considering the reactions and behaviors of biological entities to biotechnological intervention. An attempt is made to characterize the degree of freedom of embryos & clones, which show openness to different outcomes when the epigenetic developmental landscape is factored in. We then consider the claim made in programming and artificial intelligence that automata could show (...) self-directed behavior as to the determination of their step-wise decisions on courses of action. This question remains largely open and calls for some important qualifications. We try to make sense of the presence of claims of freedom in agency, first in common sense, then by ascribing developmental plasticity in biology and biotechnology, and in the mapping of programmed systems in the presence of environmental cues and self-referenced circuits as well as environmental coupling. This is the occasion to recall attempts at working out a logical and methodological approach to the openness of concepts that are still to be found, and assess whether they can operate the structuring intelligibility of a yet undeveloped or underdeveloped field of study, where a “bisociation" and a unification of knowledge might be possible. (shrink)
: Standard ethical frameworks struggle to deal with transhumanism, ecological issues and the rising technodiversity because they are focused on guiding and evaluating human behavior. Ethics needs its Copernican revolution to be able to deal with all moral agents, including not only humans, but also artificial intelligent agents, robots or organizations of all sizes. We argue that embracing the complexity worldview is the first step towards this revolution, and that standard ethical frameworks are still entrenched in the Newtonian worldview. We (...) first spell out the foundational assumptions of the Newtonian worldview, where all change is reduced to material particles following predetermined trajectories governed by the laws of nature. However, modern physical theories such as relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory and thermodynamics have drawn a much more confusing and uncertain picture, and inspired indecisive, subjectivist, relativist, nihilist or postmodern worldviews. Based on cybernetics, systems theory and the new sciences of complexity, we introduce the complexity worldview that sees the world as interactions and their emergent organizations. We use this complexity worldview to show the limitations of standard ethical frameworks such as deontology, theology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, evolutionary ethics and pragmatism. Keywords: Complexity, philosophy, ethics, cybernetics, transhumanism, universal ethics, systems ethics. (shrink)
There is no systematic knowledge about how individuals with Locked-in Syndrome experience their situation. A phenomenology of LIS, in the sense of a description of subjective experience as lived by the ill persons themselves, does not yet exist as an organized endeavor. The present article takes a step in that direction by reviewing various materials and making some suggestions. First-person narratives provide the most important sources, but very few have been discussed. LIS barely appears in bioethics and neuroethics. Research on (...) Quality of Life provides relevant information, one questionnaire study explores the sense of personal continuity in LIS patients, and LIS has been used as a test case of theories in “embodied cognition” and to explore issues in the phenomenology of illness and communication. A systematic phenomenology of LIS would draw on these different areas: while some deal directly with subjective experience, others throw light on its psychological, sociocultural and materials conditions. Such an undertaking can contribute to the improvement of care and QOL, and help inform philosophical questions, such as those concerning the properties that define persons, the conditions of their identity and continuity, or the dynamics of embodiment and intersubjectivity. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: How can we think about a universal ethics that could be adopted by any intelligent being, including the rising population of cyborgs, intelligent machines, intelligent algorithms or even potential extraterrestrial life? We generally give value to complex structures, to objects resulting from a long work, to systems with many elements and with many links finely adjusted. These include living beings, books, works of art or scientific theories. Intuitively, we want to keep, multiply, and share such structures, as well as (...) prevent their destruction. Such objects have value not because more information would simply mean more value. Instead, they have value because they require a long computational history, numerous interactions for their construction that we can assimilate to a computation, and they display what we call organized complexity. To propose the foundations of a universal ethics based on the intrinsic value of organized complexity, we first discuss conceptions of complexity, and argue that Charles Bennett’s logical depth is certainly a first approximation of what we are looking for. We then put forward three fundamental imperatives: to preserve, augment and recursively promote organized complexity. We show a broad range of applications with human, non-human and non-living examples. Finally, we discuss some specific issues of our framework such as the distribution of complexity, of managing copies and erasures, and how our universal ethics tackles classical ethical issues. In sum, we propose a clear, homogenous and consistent ethical foundation that can integrate many universal ethics desiderata. (shrink)
Philosophy lacks criteria to evaluate its philosophical theories. To fill this gap, this essay introduces nine criteria to compare worldviews, classified in three broad categories: objective criteria (objective consistency, scientificity, scope), subjective criteria (subjective consistency, personal utility, emotionality), and intersubjective criteria (intersubjective consistency, collective utility, narrativity). The essay first defines what a worldview is and exposes the heuristic used in the quest for criteria. After describing each criterion individually, it shows what happens when each of them is violated. From the (...) criteria, it derives assessment tests to compare and improve different worldviews. These include the is-ought, ought-act, and is-act first-order tests; the critical and dialectical second-order tests; the mixed-questions and first-second-order third-order tests; and the we-I, we-it, and it-I tests. The essay then applies these criteria and tests to a concrete example, comparing the Flying Spaghetti Monster deity with Intelligent Design. For another application, it draws more general fruitful suggestions for the dialogue between science and religion. (shrink)
Despite tremendous advances in neuroscience, the topic “brain, sex and gender” remains a matter of misleading interpretations, that go well beyond the bounds of science. In the 19th century, the difference in brain sizes was a major argument to explain the hierarchy between men and women, and was supposed to reflect innate differences in mental capacity. Nowadays, our understanding of the human brain has progressed dramatically with the demonstration of cerebral plasticity. The new brain imaging techniques have revealed the role (...) of the environment in continually re-shaping our brain all along our lifetimes as it goes through new experiences and acquires new knowledge. However, the idea that biology is a major determining factor for cognition and behavioral gender differentiation, is still very much alive. The media are far from being the only guilty party. Some scientific circles actively promote the idea of an innate origin of a gender difference in mental capacities. Experimental data from brain imaging, cognitive tests or genetics are often distorted to serve deterministic ideas. Such abuse of “scientific discourses” have to be counteracted by effective communication of clear and unbiased information to the citizens. This paper presents a critical analysis of selected examples which emphasize sex differences in three fields e.g. skills in language and mathematics, testosterone and financial risk-taking behavior, moral cognition. To shed light on the data and the methods used in some papers, we can now—with today’s knowledge on cerebral plasticity—challenge even more strongly, many false interpretations. Our goal here is double: we want to provide evidence against archaic beliefs about the biological determinism of sex differences but also promote a positive image of scientific research. (shrink)
The acceleration of the market globalisation process over the last three decades has internationalised clinical research and influenced both the way in which it is funded and the development and application of research practices. In addition, in recent years international multicentre randomised clinical trials have become the model par excellence for research on new medicines. The neoliberal model of globalisation has induced a decline in state power, both with regard to establishing national research for health priorities and to influencing the (...) development of adequate ethical guidelines to protect human beings that participate in multinational research. In this respect, poor and low-income countries, which lack sustainable control and review systems to deal with the ethical and methodological challenges of complex studies conducted by researchers from affluent countries and funded by large multinational pharmaceutical companies, are particularly vulnerable. The aim of the present paper is to explore critically some of the actual and possible ethical pitfalls of globalisation of clinical research and propose mechanisms for turning transnational clinical research into a more cooperative and fairer enterprise. (shrink)
This article focuses on defective conditionals ? namely indicative conditionals whose antecedents are false and whose truth-values therefore cannot be determined. The problem is to decide which formal connective can adequately represent this usage. Classical logic renders defective conditionals true whereas traditional mathematics dismisses them as irrelevant. This difference in treatment entails that, at the propositional level, classical logic validates some sentences that are intuitively false in plane geometry. With two proofs, I show that the same flaw is shared by (...) a family of trivalent logics. I go on to examine the strict conditional and its derivatives. This family is the only one to avoid the faulty inference but it does so without addressing the status of the truth-value assigned to defective conditionals. (shrink)
Since its emergence in the early 2000s, neuroethics has become a recognized, institutionalized and professionalized field. A central strategy for its successful development has been the claim that it must be an autonomous discipline, distinct in particular from bioethics. Such claim has been justified by the conviction, sustained since the 1990s by the capabilities attributed to neuroimaging technologies, that somehow ‘the mind is the brain’, that the brain sciences can illuminate the full range of human experience and behavior, and that (...) neuroscientific knowledge will have dramatic implications for views of the human, and challenge supposedly established beliefs and practices in domains ranging from self and personhood to the political organization of society. This article examines how that conviction functions as neuroethics’ ideological condition of possibility. (shrink)
Jan Greben criticized fine-tuning by taking seriously the idea that “nature is quantum mechanical”. I argue that this quantum view is limited, and that fine-tuning is real, in the sense that our current physical models require fine-tuning. Second, I examine and clarify many difficult and fundamental issues raised by Rüdiger Vaas’ comments on Cosmological Artificial Selection.
Social systems are always exposed to critical processes in which their organization, or part of it, is questioned by the society that demands solutions through different critical saliences. The traditional approach to such social crises has mainly focused on their anticipation and management, implying that the focus is on trying to deal with crises once they occur, rather than delving in their essential characteristics that seemingly depend on the adaptive nature of the system and the increase in its internal complexity. (...) To address this issue, we propose a dual approach that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods in order to delve into the relationship between the complexity of the social system, its adaptation, and critical episodes. Our analysis shows how an explosive economic growth affects a social system, increasing its complexity. This complexity produces different demands from the system itself. These demands manifest signatures of complexity such as a heterogeneous and rich social structure, which emerges during moments when the society acts strongly. (shrink)
Science in film, and usual equivalents such asscience on filmorscience on screen, refer to the cinematographic representation, staging, and enactment of actors, information, and processes involved in any aspect or dimension of science and its history. Of course, boundaries are blurry, and films shot as research tools or documentation also display science on screen. Nonetheless, they generally count asscientific film, andscience inandon filmorscreentend to designate productions whose purpose is entertainment and education. Moreover, these two purposes are often combined, and inherently (...) concern empirical, methodological, and conceptual challenges associated withpopularization,science communication, and thepublic understanding of science. It is in these areas that the notion of thedeficit modelemerged to designate a point of view and a mode of understanding, as well as a set of practical and theoretical problems about the relationship between science and the public. (shrink)
Allen (2001) proposed the “Getting Things Done” (GTD) method for personal productivity enhancement, and reduction of the stress caused by information overload. This paper argues that recent insights in psychology and cognitive science support and extend GTD’s recommendations. We first summarize GTD with the help of a flowchart. We then review the theories of situated, embodied and distributed cognition that purport to explain how the brain processes information and plans actions in the real world. The conclusion is that the brain (...) heavily relies on the environment, to function as an external memory, a trigger for actions, and a source of affordances, disturbances and feedback. We then show how these principles are practically implemented in GTD, with its focus on organizing tasks into “actionable” external memories, and on opportunistic, situation-dependent execution. Finally, we propose an extension of GTD to support collaborative work, inspired by the concept of stigmergy. (shrink)
This paper presents the first possible world semantics for concessive conditionals (i.e., even if A, C conditionals) constructed in a compositional way. First, the meaning of if is formalized through a semantics that builds on the proposal given by Stalnaker (1968). A major difference from Stalnaker’s approach is that irrelevant conditionals (i.e., conditionals where the antecedent and the consequent have no connection) are false in this new setting. Second, the meaning of even is analyzed through a formal semantics based on (...) the notion of scale. This analysis overcomes the problems arising in standard approaches, in which even is analyzed with the help of pragmatic presuppositions. Finally, the two particles are combined in order to provide a formal analysis of even if. This theory predicts the major phenomena concerning the behavior of concessive conditionals and without any call to pragmatic explanations. More generally, this approach creates the possibility of a compositional analysis of other conditionals such as if then or only if forms. (shrink)
The academic literature in research ethics has been marked in the past decade by a much broader focus on the need for the protection of developing communities subjected to international clinical trials. Because of the proximity of the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, completed in October 2008, most papers have addressed the issue of a double standard of care following the use of placebo. However, other no less important issues, such as interactions between the lifestyles structures of low-income communities (...) and the efficiency of risk-minimising procedures also deserve attention. The purpose of this paper is to discuss forms of uncertainty involved in clinical trials in poor and low-income countries that are not addressed by conventional methods of risk assessment. Furthermore, the increase in size of risks that are identified by conventional assessment methods will be addressed. Besides, the difficulty in properly applying risk-minimising procedures will be discussed. Finally, this paper proposes the involvement of research ethics committees in the risk evaluation process and the establishment of national ethics evaluation systems. (shrink)
I discuss some of the speculations proposed by Stewart ( 2010a ). These include the following propositions: the cooperation at larger and larger scales, the existence of larger scale processes, the enhancement of the tuning as the universe cycle repeats, the transmission between universes and the motivations to produce a new universe.
According to the method of transparency, genuine self-knowledge is the outcome of an inference from world to mind. A. Byrne has developed a theory in which the method of transparency consists in following an epistemic rule in order to form self-verifying second-order beliefs. In this paper, I argue that Byrne’s theory does not establish sufficient conditions for having self-knowledge of first-order beliefs. Examining a case of self-deception, I strive to show that following such a rule might not result in self-knowledge (...) when one is involved in rational deliberation. In the case under consideration, one precisely comes to believe that one believes that p without coming to believe that p. The justification for one’s not forming the belief that p with its distinctive causal pattern in mental life and behaviour, is that one already had the unconscious belief that not- p, a belief that is not sensitive to the principles governing theoretical and practical reasoning. (shrink)
The name of the Genevan critic Jean Starobinski will most likely evoke masterful\nreadings of Rousseau and Montaigne, or insightful reconstructions of the world\nof the Enlightenment. With the possible exception of the history of melancholy,\nmuch more rarely will it be associated with the history of psychology and\npsychiatry. A small number of the critic’s contributions to this field have\nappeared in some of his books. Most of them, however, remain scattered, and\nnothing suggests that they are known as widely as they deserve.\nStarobinski’s work in (...) the history of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis\nis exemplary in its perspective of the problematic relations between\npsychological concepts and experiences, and between medical thought and the\nlarger culture. (shrink)
Siguiendo la aproximación de Peacocke a la naturaleza de los conceptos, este artículo presenta una teoría del concepto de primera persona en términos de su condición de posesión. Propongo que tal condición de posesión es cuestión de, necesariamente, estar dispuesto a realizar un juicio de orden superior con el contenido cuando uno tiene un pensamiento consciente con el contenido. Consecuentemente, intento motivar y defender esta concepción respondiendo a supuestos contraejemplos. Adicionalmente, proporciono una teoría de la determinación del valor semántico respecto (...) a cómo esa condición de posesión individúa el concepto de primera persona dando la condición que alguien tiene que satisfacer para ser su referente. Following Peacocke's approach to the nature of concepts, this paper presents a possession condition theory of the first-person concept. I propose that such a possession condition is a matter of, necessarily, one's being disposed to make a higher-order judgement with the content just when one has a conscious thought with the content. Accordingly, I try to motivate and defend this view responding to supposed counterexamples. In addition, I provide a theory of the determination of the semantic value as to how that possession condition individuates the first-person concept by giving the condition that someone has to satisfy in order to be its referent. (shrink)
Since the 19th century, and despite tremendous progress in science, the topic of 'brain and sex' remains a matter of misleading interpretations, far beyond the field of science. The media are not solely responsible for this situation. Some scientific circles still actively promote the ideology of biological determinism in their attempt to explain differences in behaviour and cognitive abilities between men and women. Experimental data from brain imaging studies, cognitive tests or the discovery of new genes are often distorted to (...) serve deterministic ideas. As biotechnologies and genetic engeneering represent today a new economic and lucrative challenge, the question of what is innate and what is acquired is becoming more and more significant, requiring vigilant scrutiny from us all. (shrink)
Physical laws are irresistible. Logical rules are not. That is why logic is said to be normative. Given a system of logic we have a Norma, a standard of correctness. The problem is that we need another Norma to establish when the standard of correctness is to be applied. Subsequently we start by clarifying the senses in which the term ‘Iogic’ and the term ‘normativity’ are being used. Then we explore two different epistemologies for logic to see the sort of (...) defence of the normativity of logic they allow for; if any. The analysis concentrates on the case of classical logic. In particular the issue will be appraised from the perspective put forward by the epistemology based on the methodology of wide reflective equilibrium and the scientific one underlying the view of logic as model. (shrink)
The first part of this paper proposes a precise definition of what a worldview is, and why there is a necessity to have one. The second part suggests how to construct integrated scientific worldviews. For this attempt, three general scientific approaches are proposed: the general systems theory as the endeavor for a universal language for science, a general problem-solving approach and the idea of evolution, broadly construed. We close with some remarks about limitations of scientific worldviews.
This paper contains a survey of the main definitions and results obtained to date related to Temporal Equilibrium Logic, a nonmonotonic hybrid approach that combines Equilibrium Logic (the best-known logical characterisation for the stable models semantics of logic programs) with Linear-Time Temporal Logic.
This paper presents some modern and interdisciplinary concepts about creativity and creative processes specially related to problem solving. Central publications related to the theme are briefly reviewed. Creative tools and approaches suitable to support problem solving are also presented. Finally, the paper outlines the authorâs experiences using creative tools and approaches to: Facilitation of problem solving processes, strategy development in organisations, design of optimisation systems for large scale and complex logistic systems, and creative design of software optimisation for complex non-linear (...) systems. (shrink)
Crane envisions the speculative conjecture that intelligent civilizations might want and be able to produce black holes in the very far future. He implicitly suggests two main purposes of this enterprise: (i) energy production and (ii) universe production. We discuss those two options. The commentary is obviously highly speculative and should be read accordingly.
I articulate a classical-Marxist theory of technical change in the capitalist labour process, highlighting two contradictions. The management contradiction is the conflict managers experience between coordination and discipline. The workforce contradiction is the tension workers experience between productive socialisation and alienation. I submit that both contradictions were substantially muted from the earliest stages of capitalism through the Fordist stage but have become intensified in the postfordist period. Under postfordism, the basis of efficiency is economies of scope and flexibility, and thus (...) there is a real efficiency advantage to empowering workers, via both multiskilling and employee involvement in problem-solving and decision-making. Postfordist capitalism has thus initiated an intensification of the management and workforce contradictions. In response, capitalist management is increasingly impeding the growth of the productive forces by failing to empower workers. (shrink)