In a recent editorial, Raymond Spier expresses skepticism over claims that climate change is driven by human actions and that humanity should act to avoid climate change. This paper responds to this skepticism as part of a broader review of the science and ethics of climate change. While much remains uncertain about the climate, research indicates that observed temperature increases are human-driven. Although opinions vary regarding what should be done, prominent arguments against action are based on dubious factual and ethical (...) positions. Thus, the skepticisms in the recent editorial are unwarranted. This does not diminish the general merits of skeptical intellectual inquiry. (shrink)
Concerns about the risks of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions are growing. At the same time, confidence that international policy agreements will succeed in considerably lowering anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is declining. Perhaps as a result, various geoengineering solutions are gaining attention and credibility as a way to manage climate change. Serious consideration is currently being given to proposals to cool the planet through solar-radiation management. Here we analyze how the unique and nontrivial risks of geoengineering strategies pose fundamental questions at (...) the interface between science and ethics. To illustrate the importance of integrated ethical and scientific analysis, we define key open questions and outline a coupled scientific-ethical research agenda to analyze solar-radiation management geoengineering proposals. We identify nine key fields of coupled research including whether solar-radiation management can be tested, how quickly learning could occur, normative decisions embedded in how different climate trajectories are valued, and justice issues regarding distribution of the harms and benefits of geoengineering. To ensure that ethical analyses are coupled with scientific analyses of this form of geoengineering, we advocate that funding agencies recognize the essential nature of this coupled research by establishing an Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications program for solar-radiation management. (shrink)
Anthropogenic climate change poses some difficult ethical quandaries for non-anthropocentrists. While it is hard to deny that climate change is a substantial moral ill, many types of non-human organisms stand to benefit from climate change. Modelling studies provide evidence that net primary productivity (NPP) could be substantially boosted, both regionally and globally, as a result of warming from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. The same holds for deployment of certain types of climate engineering, or large-scale, technological modifications of the global (...) environment in order to prevent or slow anthropogenic climate change. For example, solar radiation management with stratospheric aerosol injections could benefit plant life by promoting enhanced photosynthesis, increasing diffuse radiation, and reducing heat stress. This has a surprising implication: from some non-anthropocentric perspectives, certain scenarios of climate change and climate engineering might bring about morally better states of affairs when compared to emission-mitigation baselines. (shrink)
As we look beyond our terrestrial boundary to a multi-planetary future for humankind, it becomes paramount to anticipate the challenges of various human factors on the most likely scenario for this future: permanent human settlement of Mars. Even if technical hurdles are circumvented to provide adequate resources for basic physiological and psychological needs, Homo sapiens will not survive on an alien planet if a dysfunctional psyche prohibits the utilization of these resources. No matter how far we soar into the stars, (...) our psychologies for future generations will be forever tethered to the totality of our surroundings. By shaping our environment toward survival and welfare during the voyage to Mars and in a Martian colony, we indirectly shape our psyches and prepare them for a mission of unprecedented alienation and duration. Once on Mars, human factors such as leadership structure, social organization and code of conduct, group size, gender balance, developmental cycle, mobility, length of stay and the ecological settings and type and manner of subsistence, will create a novel Martian culture. The degree that settlers are severed from the Earth will affect how radically foreign this culture will be when compared with cultures on Earth. (shrink)
According to the universal entropy bound, the entropy of a complete weakly self-gravitating physical system can be bounded exclusively in terms of its circumscribing radius and total gravitating energy. The bound’s correctness is supported by explicit statistical calculations of entropy, gedanken experiments involving the generalized second law, and Bousso’s covariant holographic bound. On the other hand, it is not always obvious in a particular example how the system avoids having too many states for given energy, and hence violating the bound. (...) We analyze in detail several purported counterexamples of this type, and exhibit in each case the mechanism behind the bound’s efficacy. (shrink)
This article traces the roots of the author’s doctoral work to his pre-doctoral experiences in varied realms of professional practice. The research choices made are thus inevitably influenced by these experiences. These include the selection of an interdisciplinary domain to locate his doctoral work, the choice of a “boundary object” as the unit of analysis and the formulation of a methodological mix that reflected the multidimensionality of the research topic. These choices also reflect the researcher’s quest for personal meaningfulness and (...) consequently, a certain degree of irrationality that is characteristic of any human endeavor. The idea of creative research as negotiating the boundary of acceptability is explored and the importance of freedom and tolerance for experimentation to aid this enterprise is highlighted. (shrink)
Recently, John Doe, an undocumented immigrant who was detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was admitted to a hospital off-site from a detention facility. Custodial officers accompanied Mr. Doe into the exam room and refused to leave as physicians examined him. In this analysis, we examine the ethical dilemmas this case brings to light concerning the treatment of patients in immigration detention and their rights to privacy. We analyze what US law and immigration detention standards allow regarding immigration (...) enforcement or custodial officers’ presence in medical exams and documentation of detainee health information. We describe the ethical implications of the presence of officers in medical exam rooms, including its effects on the quality of the patient-provider relationship, patient privacy and confidentiality, and provider's ability to provide ethical care. We conclude that the presence of immigration enforcement or custodial officers during medical examination of detainees is a breach of the right to privacy of detainees who are not an obvious threat to the public. We urge ICE and the US Department of Homeland Security to clarify standards for and tighten enforcement around when officers are legally allowed to be stationed in medical exam rooms and document detainees’ information. (shrink)
I propose an experiment that may be performed, with present low temperature and cryogenic technology, to reveal Wheeler’s quantum foam. It involves coupling an optical photon’s momentum to the center of mass motion of a macroscopic transparent block with parameters such that the latter is displaced in space by approximately a Planck length. I argue that such displacement is sensitive to quantum foam and will react back on the photon’s probability of transiting the block. This might allow determination of the (...) precise scale at which quantum fluctuations of space–time become large, and so differentiate between the brane-world and the traditional scenarios of spacetime. (shrink)
We prove the existence of a generalization of Kelvin's circulation theorem in general relativity which is applicable to perfect isentropic magnetohydrodynamic flow. The argument is based on a new version of the Lagrangian for perfect magnetohydrodynamics. We illustrate the new conserved circulation with the example of a relativistic magnetohydrodynamic flow possessing three symmetries.
It is pointed out that the Higgs field may be supplanted by an ordinary Klein-Gordon field conformally coupled to the space-time curvature, and with very small, real, rest mass. Provided there is a bare cosmological constant of order of its square mass, this field can induce spontaneous symmetry breaking with a mass scale that can be as large as the Planck-Wheeler mass, but may be smaller. It can thus play a natural role in grand unified theories. In the theory presented (...) here the physical cosmological constant is small, being of order of the squared mass, and can meet observational constraints without having to be cancelled accurately. The physical gravitational constant differs somewhat from the coupling constant in Einstein's equation, and is temperature dependent in the broken symmetry regime. Symmetry restoration occurs at high temperature. (shrink)
This paper conducts a critical examination of the "usual psychopharmacology standards" for clinical research. Four main areas are inspected: What is "it" that is being treated in a clinical drug study? How much is really known concerning the psychological alterations brought about by psychiatric drug treatment? To what extent are sources of bias actually controlled for in "controlled" drug treatment studies? How does the usual "dropout pattern" influence the alleged "clinical findings" of controlled drug treatment studies? The overall conclusion reached (...) is that the "usual standards" cannot produce a realistic picture of either safety or efficacy. Conceptual and methodological reforms are suggested. (shrink)
Objective: Deep brain stimulation targeted to the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus is effective for motor symptoms in essential tremor, but there is limited data on cognitive outcomes. We examined cognitive outcomes in a large cohort of ET DBS patients.Methods: In a retrospective analysis, we used repeated-measures ANOVA testing to examine whether the age of tremor onset, age at DBS surgery, hemisphere side implanted with lead, unilateral vs. bilateral implantations, and presence of surgical complications influenced the cognitive outcomes. Neuropsychological (...) outcomes of interest were verbal memory, executive functioning, working memory, language functioning, visuospatial functioning, and general cognitive function.Results: We identified 50 ET DBS patients; 29 males; the mean age of tremor onset was 35.84 years with a median age of 38 years. The mean age at DBS was 68.18 years. There were 37 unilateral 30 left, seven right, and 13 bilateral brain implantations. In the subgroup analysis, there was a significant interaction between assessment and age of tremor onset ; F = 4.47; p = 0.043 for working memory. The post hoc testing found improvements for younger onset ET. Similarly, there was a significant interaction between assessment and complications vs. no complications subgroups; F = 4.34; p = 0.043 for verbal memory with worsening scores seen for ET patients with complications. The remaining tests were not significant.Conclusion: In this large cohort of ET patients with, DBS was not accompanied by a significant decline in many cognitive domains. These outcomes were possibly related to the selection of patients with normal cognitive functioning before surgery, unilateral DBS implantations for the majority, and selection of patients with optimal response to DBS. (shrink)
In response to the continued expansion of “red flag” laws allowing broader classes of people to petition a court for the removal of firearms from individuals who exhibit dangerous conduct, this paper argues that state laws should adopt a double-filter provision that balances individual rights and government public safety interests. The main component of such a provision is a special statutory category — “reporting party” — that enables a broader social network, such as co-workers or school administrators, to request that (...) a law enforcement officer file a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. A double-filter provision would not give reporting parties a right to file a court petition directly. Instead, parties would file a request for petition with law enforcement officers, who must seek an ERPO from the court if they find the reporting party's information credible. That information is then transmitted to the court as a sworn affidavit of the reporting party. The goal is to facilitate a balanced policy model that widens the reporting circle in order to feed more potentially life-saving information into the system, mitigates the risk of erroneous deprivation of constitutionally protected due process and Second Amendment rights. (shrink)
Throughout an illustrious career of teaching and writing that spans five decades, philosopher Needleman has always tackled the "big questions" of life. In this collection of six feature interviews that began in the 1980s, Miller and Needleman discuss "Making Sense of Mysticism, The Secrets of Time and Love, The Meanings of Money, Searching for the Soul of America, Meeting God without Religion, " and "The Need for Philosophy.".
I explore two accounts of properties within a dispositional essentialist (or causal powers) framework, the pure powers view and the powerful qualities view. I ﬁrst attempt to clarify precisely what the pure powers view is, and then raise objections to it. I then present the powerful qualities view and, in order to avoid a common misconception, oﬀer a restatement of it that I shall call the truthmaker view. I end by brieﬂy defending the truthmaker view against objections.
Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...) properties-based theory of modality and explore several specific ways to flesh the general proposal out, including my favored version, the powers theory. And, fourth, I offer a powers semantics for counterfactuals that each version of the properties-based theory of modality can accept, mutatis mutandis. Together with a definition of possibility and necessity in terms of counterfactuals, the powers semantics of counterfactuals generates a semantics for modality that appeals to causal powers and not possible worlds. (shrink)
Objectives: To examine associations of changing employment conditions, specifically switching to working from home or job loss, with mental health, using data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods: Data from 2,301 US adults in employment prior to COVID-19 were collected April 3rd−7th, 2020. Participants reported whether their employment remained unchanged, they were WFH when they had not been before, or they had lost their job due to the pandemic. Outcomes were symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and positive mental health assessed (...) using validated questionnaires. Linear regression quantified associations of employment changes with mental health outcomes, controlling for age, sex, race, BMI, smoking status, screen time, physical activity, marital status, chronic conditions, and current COVID-19 containment strategies being followed.Results: Compared to participants whose employment remained unchanged, those who switched to WFH did not differ in any measures of mental health. Participants who had lost their job reported higher symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, and lower PMH. Loneliness did not differ between groups.Conclusion: This study demonstrates that concerns around potential adverse mental health effects, particularly increases in loneliness, should not preclude WFH in the general population, while considering each individual's personal circumstances, and the acute adverse association of job loss with mental health. Tailored and sensitive interventions may be required to prevent deteriorations in mental health associated with job loss during periods of societal stress. (shrink)
We use concepts of causal powers and their relatives-dispositions, capacities, and abilities-to describe the world around us, both in everyday life and in scientific practice. This volume presents new work on the nature of causal powers, and their connections with other phenomena within metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind.
Freedom and moral responsibility have one foot in the practical realm of human affairs and the other in the esoteric realm of fundamental metaphysics—or so we believe. This has been denied, especially in the metaphysics-bashing era occupying the first two-thirds or so of the twentieth century, traces of which linger in the present day. But the reasons for this denial seem to us quite implausible. Certainly, the argument for the general bankruptcy of metaphysics has been soundly discredited. Arguments from Strawson (...) and others that our moral practices are too deeply embedded in human life to rest on anything as tenuous as a metaphysical doctrine far from the thoughts of ordinary people would seem to prove too much: we can easily imagine fantastic scenarios far from the thoughts of ordinary people—involving, say, alien manipulation or massive deception—that, if true, would clearly undermine claims to freedom and responsibility. For still other philosophers, the separation of the moral life from (some) metaphysical issues is prescriptive, not descriptive: it is a recommendation that we revise ordinary moral thought by severing its allegedly problematic links to metaphysics. (Some philosophers appear to hover undecided between such a prescriptive project and a Strawsonian descriptive claim.) We suspect that the prospects of retaining the binding force of ordinary moral thought, were such a reconceived moral practice widely embraced, are bleak. A transition to something closer to moral nihilism seems at least as likely. In any case, our interest here is in descriptive metaphysics, not revisionary. -/- To say as we do that freedom and moral responsibility have a partly metaphysical character is not to suggest that they can be had only if some highly specific version of a particular metaphysical framework is correct. Instead, we suggest in what follows, it is a broadly neo-Humean metaphysics that is not hospitable to freedom (for reasons distinctive to the metaphysics), while a broadly neo-Aristotelian metaphysics is. But we also think (and it is the main aim of our paper to show) that different versions of the neo- Aristotelian metaphysics lead to rather different metaphysical accounts of free and responsible action. Specifically, we will argue that (1) the most satisfactory account of human freedom within the broadly neo-Aristotelian metaphysics is agent-causal, but that (2) two different versions of the general metaphysics will lead to important differences in the agent-causal account of freedom. Adjust the details of your general metaphysics, and the details of your account of freedom are transformed in significant ways. Action theory cannot properly be pursued in isolation from general metaphysics. (shrink)
Introduction 1 P. D. Magnus and Jacob Busch 1. Form-driven vs. Content-driven Arguments for Realism 8 Juha Saatsi 2. Optimism about the Pessimistic Induction 29 Sherrilyn Roush 3. Metaphysics between the Sciences and Philosophies of Science 59 Anjan Chakravartty 4. Nominalism and Inductive Generalizations 78 Jessica Pfeifer 5. Models and Scientific Representations 94 Otávio Bueno 6. The Identical Rivals Response to Underdetermination 112 Gregory Frost-Arnold and P. D. Magnus 7. Scientific Representation and the Semiotics of Pictures 131 Laura Perini (...) 8. Philosophy of the Environmental Sciences 155 Jay Odenbaugh 9. Value Judgements and the Estimation of Uncertainty in Climate Modeling 172 Justin Biddle and Eric Winsberg 10. Feminist Standpoint Empiricism: Rethinking the Terrain in Feminist Philosophy of Science 198 Kristen Intemann 11. Naturalism and the Enlightenment Ideal: Rethinking a Central Debate in the Philosophy of Social Science 226 Daniel Steel 12. New Approaches to the Division of Cognitive Labor 250 Michael Weisberg. (shrink)
Performance appraisals are widely used as an HR instrument. This study among 332 police officers examines the effects of performance appraisals from a behavioral ethics perspective. A mediation model relating justice perceptions of police officers’ last performance appraisal to their work affect, perceived supervisor and organizational support and, in turn, their ethical (pro-organizational proactive) and unethical (counterproductive) work behavior was tested empirically. The relationship between justice perceptions and both, ethical and unethical behavior was mediated by perceived support and work affect. (...) Hence, a singular yearly performance appraisal was linked to both ethical and unethical behaviors at work. The finding that ethical and unethical aspects of employee behavior share several of the same organizational antecedents, namely organizational justice perceptions, has strong practical implications which are discussed as well. (shrink)
We explain the thesis that human mental states are ontologically emergent aspects of a fundamentally biological organism. We then explore the consequences of this thesis for the identity of a human person over time. As these consequences are not obviously independent of one's general ontology of objects and their properties, we consider four such accounts: transcendent universals, kind-Aristotelianism, immanent universals, and tropes. We suggest there are reasons for emergentists to favor the latter two accounts. We then argue that within such (...) ontologies, emergentism about properties pushes one to the stronger claim that there are emergent individuals, though not individuals which are dual to person's bodies—substance emergentism, but not substance dualism. (shrink)
We present an original emergent individuals view of human persons, on which persons are substantial biological unities that exemplify metaphysically emergent mental states. We argue that this view allows for a coherent model of identity-preserving resurrection from the dead consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine, one that improves upon alternatives accounts recently proposed by a number of authors. Our model is a variant of the “falling elevator” model advanced by Dean Zimmerman that, unlike Zimmerman’s, does not require a closest continuer account (...) of personal identity. We end by raising some remaining theological concerns. (shrink)
Though foreign—and perhaps shocking—to many in the west, the doctrine of theosis is central in the theology and practice of Eastern Orthodoxy. Theosis is “the ultimate goal of human existence”1 and indeed is “a way of summing up the purpose of creation”:2 That God will unite himself to all of creation with humanity at the focal point. What are human persons, that they might be united to God? That is the question I explore in this paper. In particular, I explore (...) an account of human nature inspired by an Eastern Orthodox conception of theosis. In section 1, I present a theological vision of theosis in the Eastern Church. In section 2, I oﬀer an interpretation of what it might mean for human nature to become deformed by the fall and transformed by the Incarnation. Then, in section 3, I present an (admittedly speculative) account of human nature, based on a robustly metaphysical reading of an Orthodox conception of theosis. On that account—to overly simplify things, and postponing important qualiﬁcations—we might say that a human being is the union of soul and body with God. Finally, given that account of human nature, I oﬀer in section 3 some brief reﬂections on the prospects of a scientiﬁc anthropology. (shrink)
Causal powers, say, an electron’s power to repel other electrons, are had in virtue of having properties. Electrons repel other electrons because they are negatively charged. One’s views about causal powers are shaped by—and shape—one’s views concerning properties, causation, laws of nature and modality. It is no surprise, then, that views about the nature of causal powers are generally embedded into larger, more systematic, metaphysical pictures of the world. This dissertation is an exploration of three systematic metaphysics, Neo-Humeanism, Nomicism and (...) Neo-Aristotelianism. I raise problems for the first two and defend the third. A defense of a systematic metaphysics, I take it, involves appealing to pre-theoretical commitments or intuitions, and theoretical issues such as simplicity or explanatory power. While I think that Neo-Aristotelianism is the most intuitive of the available general metaphysical pictures of the world, these kinds of intuitions do not settle the matter. The most widely held of the alternative pictures, Neo-Humeanism, is accepted in great part because of its theoretical power. In contrast, a systematic Neo-Aristotelian metaphysic is, at best, nascent. The way forward for the Neo-Aristotelian, therefore, is a contribution to an ongoing research program, generating Neo-Aristotelian views of modality, causation and laws of nature from the Neo-Aristotelian understanding of causal powers. The central argument of this dissertation is that such views are defensible, and so the Neo-Aristotelian metaphysic ought to be accepted. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
Cette étude entend mettre au jour l’influence de l’angélologie scotiste sur le développement des doctrines modernes de la liberté d’indifférence humaine dans la tradition jésuite et franciscaine. Cette archéologie médiévale permet de démonstrer l’articulation complexe qui existe entre logique et éthique dans la scolastique, à la faveur d’une réflexion sur les rapports entre les actes de la volonté et les instants temporels, l’applicabilité des distinctions logiques entre sens divisé et sens composé à l’action ou encore le rapport entre causalité contingente (...) et liberté d’indifférence.This study aims at showing the influence of Scotistic angelology on the development of early-modern conceptions of human liberty of indifference, mainly in Jesuit and Franciscan scholasticism. This medieval archeology will shed a new light on the complex relationship between logic and ethics in the scholastic tradition, addressing issues such as the parallelism between acts of the will and temporal instants, the applicability of the logical distinctions between divided and composite sense to action and the relationship between contingent causality and liberty of indifference. (shrink)
In this article the picture of Jacob in Genesis is compared with that of Jacob/Israel in Hosea 12. While a tendency exists in exegetical literature to choose between a negative or a positive view, the thesis here proposed is that the negative image of Jacob in Genesis as well as in Hosea is a preparation for his change into Israel. Hosea uses the ambiguity of Jacob/Israel as an example for his audience. They love to cheat, but (...) can find in Jacob a way to become Israel. (shrink)