This paper examines and critiques the ethical issues in postmortem sperm retrieval and the use of postmortem sperm to create new life. The article was occasioned by the recent request of the parents of a West Point cadet who died in a skiing accident at the Academy to retrieve and use his sperm to honor his memory and perpetuate the family name. The request occasioned national media attention. A trial court judge in New York in a two-page order authorized both (...) the retrieval and use of the postmortem sperm. (shrink)
It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
Public health communications often attempt to persuade their audience to adopt a particular belief or pursue a particular course of action. To a large extent, the ethical defensibility of persuasion appears to be assumed by public health practitioners; however, a handful of academic treatments have called into question the ethical defensibility of persuasive risk- and health communication. In addition, the widespread use of persuasive tactics in public health communications warrants a close look at their ethical status, irrespective of previous critiques. (...) In this article, we review some ethical objections previously advanced against the use of persuasion in public health communications, and also consider some novel but potentially relevant objections. We conclude that persuasion is ethically problematic in some circumstances and attempt to clarify what these circumstances are. However, whereas persuasion may be ethically problematic in some circumstances, it need not be viewed as intrinsically problematic. (shrink)
The following are not among the least puzzling remarks in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : 572. Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: ‘What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?’ 573.… What, in particular cases, do we regard as criteria for someone's being of such and such an opinion? (...) When do we say: he reached this opinion at that time? When he has altered his opinion? And so on. The picture which the answers to these questions give us shews what gets treated grammatically as a state here. (shrink)
It is a curious thing about the philosophy of mind, that it includes surprisingly little about minds. In an average anthology on the subject, or a book like Ryle's, one finds discussions of thinking, imagining, believing, willing, remembering, and so on, but not of minds. It seems to be assumed that investigating these topics is investigating minds; but whether that is true is not itself made a topic for investigation.
Visual imagery is a form of sensory imagination, involving subjective experiences typically described as similar to perception, but which occur in the absence of corresponding external stimuli. We used the Activation Likelihood Estimation algorithm (ALE) to identify regions consistently activated by visual imagery across 40 neuroimaging studies, the first such meta-analysis. We also employed a recently developed multi-modal parcellation of the human brain to attribute stereotactic co-ordinates to one of 180 anatomical regions, the first time this approach has been combined (...) with the ALE algorithm. We identified a total 634 foci, based on measurements from 464 participants. Our overall comparison identified activation in the superior parietal lobule, particularly in the left hemisphere, consistent with the proposed ‘top-down’ role for this brain region in imagery. Inferior premotor areas and the inferior frontal sulcus were reliably activated, a finding consistent with the prominent semantic demands made by many visual imagery tasks. We observed bilateral activation in several areas associated with the integration of eye movements and visual information, including the supplementary and cingulate eye fields (SCEFs) and the frontal eye fields (FEFs), suggesting that enactive processes are important in visual imagery. V1 was typically activated during visual imagery, even when participants have their eyes closed, consistent with influential depictive theories of visual imagery. Temporal lobe activation was restricted to area PH and regions of the fusiform gyrus, adjacent to the fusiform face complex (FFC). These results provide a secure foundation for future work to characterise in greater detail the functional contributions of specific areas to visual imagery. (shrink)
This lecture is divided, roughly, into three parts. First, there is a general and perhaps rather simple-minded discussion of what are the ‘facts’ that social anthropologists study; is there anything special about these ‘facts’ which makes them different from other kinds of facts? It will be useful to start with the common-sense distinction between two kinds or, better, aspects of social facts; first—though neither is analytically prior to the other—and putting it very crudely, ‘what people do’, the aspect of social (...) interaction, and second, ‘what—and how—people think’, the conceptual, classifying, cognitive component of human culture. Now in reality, of course , these two aspects are inextricably intertwined. But it is essential to distinguish them analytically, because each aspect gives rise to quite different kinds of problems of understanding for the social anthropologist. We shall see that the problem of how to be ‘objective’, and so to avoid ethnographic error, arises in both contexts, but in rather different forms in each. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for (...) word-types which allow us to individuate words such that it can be the case that two particular word-instances are instances of the same word-type. One solution, recently further developed by Irmak, holds that words are individuated by their history. In this paper, I argue that this view either fails to account for our intuitions about word identity, or is too vague to be a plausible answer to the problem of word individuation. (shrink)
In recent years, many philosophers of modern physics came to the conclusion that the problem of how objectivity is constituted (rather than merely given) can no longer be avoided, and therefore that a transcendental approach in the spirit of Kant is now philosophically relevant. The usual excuse for skipping this task is that the historical form given by Kant to transcendental epistemology has been challenged by Relativity and Quantum Physics. However, the true challenge is not to force modern physics into (...) a rigidly construed static version of Kant's philosophy, but to provide Kant's method with flexibility and generality. In this book, the top specialists of the field pin down the methodological core of transcendental epistemology that must be used in order to throw light on the foundations of modern physics. First, the basic tools Kant used for his transcendental reading of Newtonian Mechanics are examined, and then early transcendental approaches of Relativistic and Quantum Physics are revisited. Transcendental procedures are also applied to contemporary physics, and this renewed transcendental interpretation is finally compared with structural realism and constructive empiricism. The book will be of interest to scientists, historians and philosophers who are involved in the foundational problems of modern physics. (shrink)
The idea that deep brain stimulation induces changes to personality, identity, agency, authenticity, autonomy and self is so deeply entrenched within neuroethics discourses that it has become an unchallenged narrative. In this article, we critically assess evidence about putative effects of DBS on PIAAAS. We conducted a literature review of more than 1535 articles to investigate the prevalence of scientific evidence regarding these potential DBS-induced changes. While we observed an increase in the number of publications in theoretical neuroethics that mention (...) putative DBS-induced changes to patients’ postoperative PIAAAS, we found a critical lack of primary empirical studies corroborating these claims. Our findings strongly suggest that the theoretical neuroethics debate on putative effects of DBS relies on very limited empirical evidence and is, instead, reliant on unsubstantiated speculative assumptions probably in lieu of robust evidence. As such, this may reflect the likelihood of a speculative neuroethics bubble that may need to be deflated. Nevertheless, despite the low number of first-hand primary studies and large number of marginal and single case reports, potential postoperative DBS changes experienced by patients remain a critical ethical concern. We recommend further empirical research in order to enhance theoretical neuroethics work in the area. In particular, we call for the development of better instruments capable of capturing potential postoperative variations of PIAAAS. (shrink)
The effects in a quantum-mechanical system form a partial algebra and a partially ordered set which is the prototypical example of the effect algebras discussed in this paper. The relationships among effect algebras and such structures as orthoalgebras and orthomodular posets are investigated, as are morphisms and group- valued measures (or charges) on effect algebras. It is proved that there is a universal group for every effect algebra, as well as a universal vector space over an arbitrary field.
While there seems to be much evidence that perceptual states can occur without being conscious, some theorists recently express scepticism about unconscious perception. We explore here two kinds of such scepticism: Megan Peters and Hakwan Lau's experimental work regarding the well-known problem of the criterion -- which seems to show that many purported instances of unconscious perception go unreported but are weakly conscious -- and Ian Phillips' theoretical consideration, which he calls the 'problem of attribution' -- the worry that many (...) purported examples of unconscious perception are not perceptual, but rather merely informational and subpersonal. We argue that these concerns do not undermine the evidence for unconscious perception and that this sceptical approach results in a dilemma for the sceptic, who must either deny that there is unconscious mentality generally or explain why perceptual states are unique in the mind such that they cannot occur unconsciously. Both options, we argue, are problematic. (shrink)
The article Deflating the "DBS causes personality changes" bubble, written by Frederic Gilbert, J. N. M. Viaña and C. Ineichen, was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal on 19 June 2018 without open access.
A four dimensional approach to Newtonian physics is used to distinguish between a number of different structures for Newtonian space-time and a number of different formulations of Newtonian gravitational theory. This in turn makes possible an in-depth study of the meaning and status of Newton's Law of Inertia and a detailed comparison of the Newtonian and Einsteinian versions of the Law of Inertia and the Newtonian and Einsteinian treatments of gravitational forces. Various claims about the status of Newton's Law of (...) Inertia are critically examined including these: the Law of Inertia is not an empirical law but a definition; it is not a law simpliciter but a family of schemata; it is a convention and gravitational forces exist only by convention; it is (or is not) redundant; the concepts it embodies can be dispensed with in favor of operationally defined entities; it is unique for a given theory. More generally, the paper demonstrates the importance of space-time structure for the philosophy of space and time and provides support for a realist interpretation of space-time theories. (shrink)
In this first English translation the author has included all of the original text and has added new footnotes, preface, and 150 more pages of text. The new material is conveniently starred. A monumental work which develops the view Popper calls "deductivism" --the theory of the deductive method of testing.--J. E. M.
The aim of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework that will help in understanding and evaluating, along social and ethical lines, the issue of killing day-old male chicks and two alternative directions of responsible innovations to solve this issue. The following research questions are addressed: Why is the killing of day-old chicks morally problematic? Are the proposed alternatives morally sound? To what extent do the alternatives lead to responsible innovation? The conceptual framework demonstrates clearly that there is a (...) moral “lock-in”, and why the killing of day-old chicks is indeed an issue. Furthermore, it is shown that both alternative directions address some important objections with regard to the killing of day-old chicks, but that they also raise new dilemmas. It also becomes clear that the framework enables and secures anticipation, reflection, deliberation with and responsiveness to stakeholders, the four dimensions of responsible innovation, in a structured way. (shrink)
Shifty epistemologists allow that the truth value of “knowledge”-ascriptions can vary not merely because of such differences, but because of factors not traditionally deemed to matter to whether someone knows, like salience of error possibilities and practical stakes. Thus, contextualists and subject-sensitive invariantists are both examples. This paper examines two strategies for arguing for shifty epistemology: the argument-from-instances strategy, which attempts to show that the truth-value of knowledge-ascriptions can vary by proposing cases in which they vary (e.g., the bank cases, (...) the airport case), and the argument-from-principles strategy, which attempts to specify general features of knowledge or ‘knowledge’ which guarantee the existence of cases of truth-value variation. This paper urges shifty epistemologists to consider the merits of emphasizing the latter strategy over the former. (shrink)
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