The importance of non-codifying DNA polymorphism for the administration of justice is now well known. In Spain, however, this type of test has given rise to questions in recent years: Should consent be obtained before biological samples are taken from an individual for DNA analysis? Does society perceive these techniques and methods of analysis as being reliable? There appears to be lack of knowledge concerning the basic norms that regulate databases containing private or personal information and the protection that information (...) of this type must be given. This opinion survey and the subsequent analysis of the results in ethical terms may serve to reveal the criteria and the degree of information that society has with regard to DNA databases. In the study, 73.20% of the population surveyed was in favour of specific legislation for computer files in which DNA analysis results for forensic purposes are stored. (shrink)
In his concept of an anthropological physiology, F.J.J. Buytendijk has tried to lay down the theoretical and scientific foundations for an anthropologically-oriented medicine. The aim of anthropological physiology is to demonstrate, empirically, what being specifically human is in the most elementary physiological functions. This article contains a sketch of Buytendijk''s life and work, an overview of his philosophical-anthropological presuppositions, an outline of his idea of an anthropological physiology and medicine, and a discussion of some episternological and methodological problems. It is (...) demonstrated that Buytendijk''s design of an anthropological physiology is fragmentary and programmatic and that his methodology offers few points of contact for specific anthropological experimental research.Notwithstanding, it is argued that Buytendijk''s description of the subjective, animated body forms a pre-eminent point of reference for all research in physiology and psychology in which the specific human aspect is not ignored beforehand. (shrink)
It is a pleasure for me to give this opening address to the Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference on ‘Explanation’ for two reasons. The first is that it is succeeded by exciting symposia and other papers concerned with various special aspects of the topic of explanation. The second is that the conference is being held in my old alma mater , the University of Glasgow, where I did my first degree. Especially due to C. A. Campbell and George Brown there (...) was in the Logic Department a big emphasis on absolute idealism, especially F. H. Bradley. My inclinations were to oppose this line of thought and to espouse the empiricism and realism of Russell, Broad and the like. Empiricism was represented in the department by D. R. Cousin, a modest man who published relatively little, but who was of quite extraordinary philosophical acumen and lucidity, and by Miss M. J. Levett, whose translation of Plato's Theaetetus formed an important part of the philosophy syllabus. (shrink)
In ‘Belief-In and Belief in God’ , J. N. Williams suggests that belief in God cannot be rational unless one has rational beliefs that God exists. While agreeing with his conclusion , I disagree at almost every step with his method of arriving at it. In particular I suggest that Williams goes astray concerning the dual aspect of belief in , the nature of performatives, the arousal of belief states, and the correct account of belief in God.
This article examines the origins and development of J. J. Thomson's chemical thought, and the reception of his theories by chemists. Thomson's interest in chemical combination and atomic theories of matter dates from his formative schooldays at Owens College, Manchester. These themes constituted a persistent leitmotif in the development of Thomson's style of thought, and provided a powerful stimulus which enabled him to enunciate the concept of electrons as fundamental particles. Thomson's influence on chemists during the years 1903 to 1923 (...) reflects the richness and fertility of his chemical thought. He influenced the absorption of the Victorian physical tradition by American chemists, thus adding a mechanistic, picture-embedded style to theoretical chemistry. Thomson's style of thought resonated with the needs of American chemists, but was ignored in Germany. (shrink)
It is characteristic of realists to separate ontology from epistemology and of idealists to mix the two things up. By ‘idealists’ here I am mainly referring to the British neo-Hegelians but the charge of mixing up ontology and epistemology can be made against at least one ‘subjective idealist’, namely Bishop Berkeley, as his wellknown dictum ‘esse ispercipi’ testifies. The objective idealists rejected the correspondence theory of truth and on the whole accepted a coherence theory. The qualification is needed here because (...) H. H. Joachim, in The Nature of Truth, found the coherence theory unable to deal with the problem of error. (shrink)
J. J. Thomson's discovery of the negatively charged corpuscle in 1897 is customarily regarded as the discovery of the electron. Thomson, however, did not immediately equate the charge of his corpuscle with the unitary charge, that is the ‘electron’, first proposed by Stoney in 1874. The aim of this paper is to clarify the means by which this identification was eventually made. To do this the work carried out by Thomson and his students at the Cavendish Laboratory between 1897 and (...) 1899 has been examined. From this reconstruction it emerges that, following his work on the mass-to-charge ratio of the corpuscle in 1897, Thomson and his school initiated and developed a series of techniques for measuring the charge of the ions. These techniques could not be used directly to measure the charge of the corpuscles because of the conditions required to produce them. Thomson therefore sought some other phenomenon that could be interpreted in terms of corpuscles and which allowed exploitation of the new charge-measuring techniques. He found such a phenomenon in the photoelectric effect, which allowed the measurement of both the charge and the mass-to-charge ratio of the corpuscle to be made. These measurements showed the charge of the corpuscle to be close to that assigned to the ‘electron’, and the two entities gradually became equated with each other. (shrink)
Throughout his life J. J. Thomson was committed to a mechanical interpretation of nature. This work proceeded in several stages. Early in his career he attempted a Lagrangian formulation of mechanics. But due to certain epistemological difficulties with this approach, he began exploring various analogies and models, particularly those involving vortex motion. After his discovery of the electron in 1897, he commenced a synthesis of the electron with his previous physical conceptions. The result was a hypothesis of the ether as (...) being composed of particles even smaller than electrons. (shrink)
I propose, in this paper, to offer a simple, even perhaps a simplified, version of Spinoza's metaphysical views, and to show how these views sometimes affected his epistemological views. When they did affect his epistemological views the effect was always a bad one, since Spinoza's metaphysical system is quite unworkable. It is helpful, and sometimes even inspiring, but it is wrong. In the end, with the epistemology as with the metaphysics, nothing of substance will be salvageable, but Spinoza's new and (...) even radical perspective is worth observing for its own sake, and there are points of detail along the way, ranging from inspired falsehoods to cloudy truths, that still deserve the effort to untangle them. (shrink)
F. J. J.Buytendijk died on October 21st 1974 at the age of 87. His important contribution to the study of animal behaviour is analyzed here in relation to the historical development of animal psychology and ethology. The detailed study of his scientific production suggests, according to the authors, that some important findings, although largely not paid attention to in present-day literature, are akin to the conceptual and methodological evolution of comparative ethology.
It has frequently been lamented that while the human species has made immense progress in science it is nevertheless ethically backward. This ethical backwardness is all the more dangerous because the advanced state of scientific knowledge has made available a technology with which we are able to destroy ourselves—indeed a technology which may have got so much out of hand that we may not even have the capacity to prevent it from destroying us.
In this essay I propose to offer some observations in due course on how Christian thought and practice in general might profit from a central theme in the theology of Rāmānuja, a Tamil Vaisnava Brahmin whose traditional date straddles the eleventh and twelfth centuries of the Christian era. The central theme I have in mind is expressed in Rāmānuja's view that the ‘world’ is the ‘body’ of Brahman or God. We shall go on to explain what this means, but let (...) me state first that my overall aim is to further inter-religious understanding, especially between Christian and Hindu points of view. In professing a concern for inter-religious dialogue I know that I reflect a longstanding interest of Professor H. D. Lewis. I shall seek to show that the Christian religion can profit both from the content and the method of Rāmānuja's body-of-God theology. To this end this essay is divided into two sections. Section I is the longer: it contains an analysis of what Rāmānuja did mean by his body-of-God theme – doubtless unfamiliar ground for most of the readers of this essay – and serves as a propaedeutic for what follows in section 2. In section 2 I shall attempt to ‘extrapolate’ Rāmānuja's thinking into a Christian context, with dialogue in mind. Section 2 cannot be appreciated for the promise I hope it holds out without the detail of the first section. (shrink)
In Religious Studies xxvi Harold W. Noonan and Charles B. Daniels severally take issue with my ‘Reincarnation and Relativized Identity’. Both make valuable points but both, I think, have somewhat missed the point of my original article. In that paper I singled out five different views on the possibility of life after death: that we are reincarnated in the self-same body we had in our pre-mortem state; that we are reincarnated in another — in a different — body; that we (...) continue to exist in a disembodied form, which may or may not culminate in re-embodiment; that pre-mortem life is a dream from which postmortem life is the awakening; that none of the above holds: there is no life after death. (shrink)
I want to consider in this paper a question that is looming large in the theology of most world religions, not least in the Christian tradition. The following discussion will be confined to the Christian standpoint, though I hope mutatis mutandis the main points will be seen to apply to other religious perspectives as well. Specifically then, this question can be ex–pressed in two ways. We may ask, in the context of the contemporary dialogue situation, how is the committed Christian (...) to regard the adherents of non–Christian religions? and what status do these alien belief–systems have with respect to the Christian faith–response? Both forms of the issue are often discussed it seems to me without due attention being given to an important distinction between them. So, at the outset, it will be useful to make one or two observations about this. First of all, it is inevitable, I think, that an evaluational factor is implied by both formulations. We are pondering a basically Christian assessment of religious traditions that are non–Christian, and any solution suggested which eventually eliminates a one-sided overall perspective will apparently put us in a dilemma. For, on the one hand, a Christian theology of religions will be expected to produce a Christian result; on the other hand, a finally nonevaluational solution seems unable to be called a Christian view of things at all. In the event of such a ‘neutral theology’ as the latter resulting , is the dilemma that becomes apparent a genuine one, or can it be resolved by a more stringent analysis of the relevant issues? (shrink)
This paper completes a small but long desiderated act of restitution to the Euripidean scholarship of J. J. Scaliger . In 1694 Joshua Barnes published at Cambridge a complete edition of Euripides; he included either in his text or notes a number of conjectures transcribed from marginalia in a copy of W. Canter's Euripides owned successively by Scaliger, his pupil Daniel Heinsius , to whom Scaliger bequeathed the book, and Jan Rutgers . The book passed to the Bodleian Library at (...) Oxford ; in the early nineteenth century P. Elmsley re-examined it for his editions of Medea and Bacchae, and complained that Barnes had not only failed to report all Scaliger's conjectures but frequently disguised the source of those he had noted or even silently appropriated them to himself. (shrink)
There are five main claims that may be made about life after death: We are reincarnated in the self-same body we had in life. We are reincarnated in another body. We are revived, or continue to live in a disembodied form.
This paper is partly to get rid of some irritation which I have felt at the quite common tendency of philosophers to elucidate ‘is red’ in terms of ‘looks red’. For a relatively recent example see, for example, Frank Jackson and Robert Pargetter, ‘An Objectivist′s Guide to Subjectivism about Colour’. However rather than try to make a long list of references, I would rather say ‘No names, no pack drill’. I have even been disturbed to find the use of the (...) words ‘looks red’ that I am opposing ascribed to me by Keith Campbell in his useful article ‘David Armstrong and Realism about Colour’. I am not saying that such talk is necessarily wrong. Talk of ‘looks red’ may be a way of harmlessly referring to the behavioural discriminations with respect to colour of a human percipient. Where it is dangerous, at least to those of us who wish to argue for a broadly physicalist account of the mind, is that it may have concealed overtones of reference to epiphenomenal and irreducibly psychic properties of experiences. Moreover even if it does not do so it may be fence sitting on this issue and liable to misinterpretation. (shrink)