Advances in molecular biological research in the latter half of the twentieth century have made the story of the gene vastly complicated: the more we learn about genes, the less sure we are of what a gene really is. Knowledge about the structure and functioning of genes abounds, but the gene has also become curiously intangible. This collection of essays renews the question: what are genes? Philosophers, historians and working scientists re-evaluate the question in this volume, treating the gene as (...) a focal point of interdisciplinary and international research. It will be of interest to professionals and students in the philosophy and history of science, genetics and molecular biology. (shrink)
Scientific and medical practice both relate to and differ from each other, as do discussions of how to handle decisions under uncertainty in the laboratory and clinic respectively. While studies of science have pointed out that scientific practice is more complex and messier than dominant conceptions suggest, medical practice has looked to the rigour of scientific and statistical methods to address clinical uncertainty. In this article, we turn to epistemological studies of the laboratory to highlight how clinical practice already has (...) strategies for dealing with messiness. We draw on Hans-Jo ̈rg Rheinberger’s Toward a History of Epistemic Things, in which he invokes the metaphor of a spider’s web to explain the role of tacit practices in experimental biochemistry for helping practitioners manage messiness. We argue that diagnostic practices in clinical medicine employ similar, albeit codified, procedures to evaluate epistemic significance, ensure sensitivity to the unforeseen, and allow focused grounds for action. We consider three practices: (a) the pre-set structure of medical records, ensuring broad coverage in initial anamnesis, (b) the use of lists of differential diagnoses and ongoing ‘anchoring and adjusting’ as inquiry progresses, and (c) shared decision-making as an occasion to synthesize empirical evidence and reopen inquiry for potential missed information. We end by suggesting that while philosophy of medicine may learn from laboratory epistemology, the sciences may learn something from medical practice. (shrink)
This paper presents a platform for developing, testing and executing synchronous collaborative applications in a distributed, heterogeneous environment. Even though several environments exist nowadays, specific problems are not treated satisfactorily. Especially in ‘real’ network environments, problems like unstable network connections and low bandwidths have to be considered.The DreamTeam platform addresses the special needs of environments with non-optimal characteristics which can, be found in distance learning scenarios. DreamTeam comprises a development environment, a simulation environment and a runtime environment; it is based (...) upon the concept of a fully decentralised architecture and encourages rapid prototyping.DreamTeam supports developers of shared applications through a component concept. Using components helps to divide a software project into well-defined parts. Well-documented interfaces help to reduce integration efforts and improve software quality. A selection of sample applications with DreamTeam validates our design concept. (shrink)
Originally published in 1973 the editors of this book collected together those studies which had been considered at the time to yield the best evidence in support of Freudian theory, and found on close examination that they failed to provide any such proof. Each paper is printed in full and is followed by a critical discussion which raises questions of statistical treatment, sufficiency of controls and alternative interpretations. The particular usefulness of this format is that it allows readers to form (...) their own opinions while providing helpful suggestions and guidelines on how to approach experimental studies with a critical mind. (shrink)
Memory is a general attribute of living species, whose diversification reflects both evolutionary and developmental processes. Episodic-autobiographical memory is regarded as the highest human ontogenetic achievement and as probably being uniquely human. EAM, autonoetic consciousness and the self are intimately linked, grounding, supporting and enriching each other’s development and cohesiveness. Their development is influenced by the socio-cultural–linguistic environment in which an individual grows up or lives. On the other hand, through language, textualization and social exchange, all three elements leak into (...) the world and participate to the dynamic shaping and re-shaping of the cultural scaffolding of the self, mental time traveling and EAM formation. Deficits in self-related processing, autonetic consciousness, emotional processing and mental time traveling can all lead to or co-occur with EAM disturbances, as we illustrate by findings from EAM impairments associated with neurological or psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
Modern jurisprudence has typically been presented as a debate between legal positivism and natural law. Though the demise of legal positivism has been touted despite its pre-eminence in past decades, it is clear that there remains a vigorous debate surrounding this theory. It is noteworthy that Hans J. Morgenthau’s legal thought and critique of legal positivism have remained unexplored in the context of this debate. Largely forgotten, his legal thought answers questions that lie at the heart of the natural (...) law and legal positivist debate. It showcases his deeply nuanced understanding of legal and political theory and contains a powerful and insightful commentary on the fundamental problems faced by international law. Building on existing literature, this paper unearths Morgenthau’s critique of legal positivism. It does this by re-examining his works, which address the question of whether moral considerations are relevant to determining the content of the law in force. It brings his legal thought to light, which highlights the artificiality of the division between law and morality and offers a nuanced analysis of problems inherent in international law. Ultimately, the paper challenges the claim that the law can be determined without resorting to moral judgement and shows how Morgenthau’s insights remain relevant to legal positivism and natural law debates today. (shrink)
Can we sensibly attribute some of the happenings in our world to the agency of some of the things around us? We do this all the time, but there are conceptual challenges purporting to show that attributable agency, and specifically one of its most important subspecies, human free agency, is incoherent. We address these challenges in a novel way: rather than merely rebutting specific arguments, we discuss a concrete model that we claim positively illustrates attributable agency in an indeterministic setting. (...) The model, recently introduced by one of the authors in the context of artificial intelligence, shows that an agent with a sufficiently complex memory organization can employ indeterministic happenings in a meaningful way. We claim that these considerations successfully counter arguments against the coherence of libertarian free will. (shrink)
To this day, an adequate interpretation in English of Fichte’s entire philosophy is lacking. Even Frederick Copleston, whose sixty-two pages on Fichte in his History of Philosophy I should recommend as the best general introduction so far available, capitulates at the end before the task of seeing a unity in the thought of this philosopher.
Unser modernes Wissen gleicht Inseln im Ozean der Unbestimmtheit. An seinen undefinierten Randern vagabundieren Unsicherheit, Indeterminiertheit, Vagheit und Unentschiedenheit. Der Autor referiert an detaillierten Beispielen die neuesten Forschungen zu komplexen Systemen und schlagt Brucken von den Naturwissenschaften zur Philosophie. Erst wenn die enormen Fortschritte und die noch unverstandenen Grenzgebiete, das Bestimmte und das Unbestimmte, zusammen gesehen werden, kann sich unser Wissen uber Fachgrenzen hinaus entfalten. Spezielle Methoden dazu aus der Informationstheorie, Hermeneutik und Zeichentheorie werden dargestellt.