Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
The concept of freedom is one which Hegel thought of very great importance; indeed, he believed that it is the central concept in human history. ‘Mind is free’, he wrote, ‘and to actualise this, its essence – to achieve this excellence – is the endeavour of the worldmind in world-history’ . Those who already have an interest in Hegel will doubtless be interested in his views on a topic which he thought so important; on the other hand, the many philosophers (...) who are either indifferent to or hostile to Hegel may point out that it does not follow that, because the subject of freedom interested Hegel, his views about this subject are of general interest. It will be the aim of this paper to show that they are of general interest; in the meantime, it may be recalled that Isaiah Berlin has argued that Hegel's concept of freedom is one of a type, called by him the concept of positive freedom, which is ‘at the heart of many of the nationalist, communist, authoritarian and totalitarian creeds of our day’. It will surely be worth while to see to what extent this is true of Hegel, and to what extent Hegel's views about freedom are true. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with two theories of history—those of Hegel and of Marx. Its primary aim is to clarify. The writings of Hegel are notoriously obscure, and those of Marx have been variously interpreted, so there is room for a paper which tries to ensure that when the theories of history propounded by Marx and Hegel are criticized, what are criticized are views which they actually held. It is no part of this paper's thesis that, in his theory of (...) history, Marx consciously borrowed from Hegel. But it will be argued that there is more of Hegel in Marx than is sometimes supposed, and that if this fact is ignored one seriously distorts Marx. (shrink)
Properties sometimes attributed to the “particle” aspect of a neutron, e.g., mass and magnetic moment, cannot straightforwardly be regarded in the Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics as localized at the hypothetical position of the particle. This is shown by examining a series of effects in neutron interferometry. A related thought-experiment also provides a variation of a recent demonstration that which-way detectors can appear to behave anomolously in the Bohm theory.
The astute manger should be aware that, in organizations, the deck is frequently ‘stacked’ against higher levels of ethical behavior. This deck stacking occurs because of socialization processes, environmental influences, and the organization hierarchy. As a result of bosses using hierarchical leverage to take the ethical dimension of decision-making away from subordinates, the stage is set for a they-made-me-do-it defense of their moral integrity by these subordinates if and when violations of ethical norms come to light. There is also at (...) work, however, an I-made-them-do-it situation in which professionals who prefer to ‘nest’ in the more technical aspects of their work ‘delegate’ — upward — to their bosses ethical decision-making. Understanding these dynamics is crucial in an age which is especially sensitized to the ethical facet of organizational behavior. (shrink)
J. S. Bell's classic 1966 review paper on the foundations of quantum mechanics led directly to the Bell nonlocality theorem. It is not widely appreciated that the review paper contained the basic ingredients needed for a nonlocality result which holds in certain situations where the Bell inequality is not violated. We present in this paper a systematic formulation and evaluation of an argument due to Stairs in 1983, which establishes a nonlocality result based on the Bell-Kochen-Specker “paradox” in quantum mechanics.
Context: Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana worked closely together for several short episodes and wrote joint publications during the 1970s and 1980s. After that their respective paths in life diverged. Problem: What is the common ground and what are the differences between these two authors with respect to their lives and aims? Method: The author reconstructs their common history in the form of personal reflections and conversations with Varela. Results: The personal reflections reveal the intellectual path Maturana took to develop (...) his way of thinking, in particular his fascination with explanatory processes and the phenomenon of life. The conversations with Varela portray him as a man of great “cognitive autonomy,” whose career started with the intention to study “psychism in the universe.” For Varela it seemed possible, through meditation, to reach transcendental reality as something that exists externally to the living of human beings and that can be known as such. Maturana, by contrast, claims that there is no way to refer to such a universal truth. Rather, human beings generate all the worlds they live in. Implications: While the two men collaborated in both teaching and writing, they eventually created two different constructivist approaches driven by a different set of questions. Constructivist content: Both Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela have decisively contributed to constructivist approaches. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “The Autopoiesis of Social Systems and its Criticisms” by Hugo Cadenas & Marcelo Arnold. Upshot: I discuss the foundations of what I have said in my work as a biologist on autopoiesis, molecular autopoietic systems and social systems. I argue that the theme of sociology should be to understand how is it that we come out of the social manner of living that is the foundation of our origin as languaging and reflecting human beings.
Objective Recent legislation mandating the inclusion of children in clinical trials has resulted in an increase in the number of children participating in research. We reviewed the literature regarding the reasons parents chose to accept or decline an invitation to enrol their children in clinical research. Methods We searched for qualitative studies, written in the English language that considered the experiences of parents who had been invited to enrol their children in research. SCOPUS and Web of Knowledge electronic databases and (...) reference lists of retrieved articles and review papers were searched. Retrieved articles were synthesised using the narrative synthesis method. Results 16 qualitative studies exploring the experiences of parents living in five countries whose children had a range of health conditions of varying severity were included. The health status of the child appeared to influence parents' reasons for participation. Parents whose children had life threatening conditions often considered they had no choice but to participate and many welcomed the innovation offered through research participation. Such parents also viewed the risks of research less negatively than those whose children were healthy or in the stable stage of a chronic condition. This raises questions regarding the voluntariness of informed consent by such parents. Conclusions A tailored approach is needed when discussing research participation with parents of eligible children. While parents of healthy children may be more open to discussions of altruism, those whose children have life threatening illnesses should be given adequate information about the alternatives to, and risks of, research participation. (shrink)
I argue that the current view (as held by, eg., Warnock, Anscombe and Stenius) of Wittgenstein's theory of language in the Tractates is mistaken. This view maintains that Wittgenstein's theory is one of 'isomorphism'; that, roughly, a sentence has meaning in virtue of its being a facsimile of a fact or possible fact. But a detailed study of significant passages in the Tractattis shows that Wittgenstein held no such view. His use of important terms, such as Salz, Bild, Sachverhalt, Tatsache (...) , etc., has been crucially misunderstood. There is no isomorphism. The theory is not about sentences at all, but about talking sense. (shrink)