Prenatal screening pathways, as nowadays offered in most Western countries consist of similar tests. First, a risk-assessment test for major aneuploides is offered to pregnant women. In case of an increased risk, invasive diagnostic tests, entailing a miscarriage risk, are offered. For decades, only conventional karyotyping was used for final diagnosis. Moreover, several foetal ultrasound scans are offered to detect major congenital anomalies, but the same scans also provide relevant information for optimal support of the pregnancy and the delivery. Recent (...) developments in prenatal screening include the application of microarrays that allow for identifying a much broader range of abnomalities than karyotyping, and non-invasive prenatal testing that enables reducing the number of invasive tests for aneuploidies considerably. In the future, broad NIPT may become possible and affordable. This article will briefly address the ethical issues raised by these technological developments. First, a safe NIPT may lead to routinisation and as such challenge the central issue of informed consent and the aim of prenatal screening: to offer opportunity for autonomous reproductive choice. Widening the scope of prenatal screening also raises the question to what extent ‘reproductive autonomy’ is meant to expand. Finally, if the same test is used for two different aims, namely detection of foetal anomalies and pregnancy-related problems, non-directive counselling can no longer be taken as a standard. Our broad outline of the ethical issues is meant as an introduction into the more detailed ethical discussions about prenatal screening in the other articles of this special issue. (shrink)
New computer systems of discovery create a research program for logic and philosophy of science. These systems consist of inference rules and control knowledge that guide the discovery process. Their paths of discovery are influenced by the available data and the discovery steps coincide with the justification of results. The discovery process can be described in terms of fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence such as heuristic search, and can also be interpreted in terms of logic. The traditional distinction that places (...) studies of scientific discovery outside the philosophy of science, in psychology, sociology, or history, is no longer valid in view of the existence of computer systems of discovery. It becomes both reasonable and attractive to study the schemes of discovery in the same way as the criteria of justification were studied: empirically as facts, and logically as norms. (shrink)
The cosmological theory of the author, discussed in (Greben in Found Sci 15(2):153–176, 2010 ), has a number of implications for the interpretation of initial conditions and the fine-tuning problem as discussed by Vidal (Found Sci 15(4):375–393, 2010a ).
This paper studies intentional action in stit logic. The formal logic study of intentional action appears to be new, since most logical studies of intention concern intention as a static mental state. In the formalization we distinguish three modes of acting: the objective level concerning the choices an agent objectively exercises, the subjective level concerning the choices an agent knows or believes to be exercising, and finally, the intentional level concerning the choices an agent intentionally exercises. Several axioms constraining the (...) relations between these different modes of acting will be considered and discussed. The side effect problem will be analyzed as an interaction between knowingly doing and intentionally doing. Non-successful action will be analyzed as a weakening of the epistemic attitude towards action. Finally, the notion of ‘attempt’ will be briefly considered as a further weakening in this direction. (shrink)
This article examines the political perspective of corporate social responsibility from the standpoint of normative Islam. We argue that large firms within Muslim majority countries have the moral obligation to assist governments in addressing challenges related to sustainable socioeconomic development and in advancing human rights. In substantiating our argument, we draw upon the Islamic business ethics, stakeholder theory, and corporate governance literatures, as well as the concepts of Maqasid al Shariah and fard al ‘ayn versus fard al kifayah to introduce (...) a normative model elucidating critical Islamic precepts. Finally, we propose an Islamic “political” corporate governance framework, which democratizes firm decision making by embedding “core” stakeholders, nongovernmental organizations, and Shariah scholars in the corporate board, thereby enhancing the ability of businesses to respond to stakeholder concerns and priorities, while mitigating interstakeholder and intraboard power asymmetries. (shrink)
We discuss a new theory of the universe in which the vacuum energy is of classical origin and dominates the energy content of the universe. As usual, the Einstein equations determine the metric of the universe. However, the scale factor is controlled by total energy conservation in contrast to the practice in the Robertson–Walker formulation. This theory naturally leads to an explanation for the Big Bang and is not plagued by the horizon and cosmological constant problem. It naturally accommodates the (...) notion of dark energy and proposes a possible explanation for dark matter. It leads to a dual description of the universe, which is reminiscent of the dual theory proposed by Milne in 1937. On the one hand one can describe the universe in terms of the original Einstein coordinates in which the universe is expanding, on the other hand one can describe it in terms of co-moving coordinates which feature in measurements. In the latter representation the universe looks stationary and the age of the universe appears constant. The paper describes the evolution of this universe. It starts out in a classical state with perfect symmetry and zero entropy. Due to the vacuum metric the effective energy density is infinite at the beginning, but diminishes rapidly. Once it reaches the Planck energy density of elementary particles, the formation of particles can commence. Because of the quantum nature of creation and annihilation processes spatial and temporal inhomogeneities appear in the matter distributions, resulting in residual proton (neutron) and electron densities. Hence, quantum uncertainty plays an essential role in the creation of a diversified complex universe with increasing entropy. It thus seems that quantum fluctuations play a role in cosmology similar to that of random mutations in biology. Other analogies to biological principles, such as recapitulation, are also discussed. (shrink)
The article 'Nominal Aspect' in Journal of Semantics (1991) is now outdated. For a more recent account of nominal aspect marking and Seinsart, see, for example: - Rijkhoff, Jan. 2010. On flexible and rigid nouns. In Umberto Ansaldo, Jan Don and Roland Pfau (eds.), Parts of Speech: Empirical and Theoretical Advances (Benjamins Current Topics 25), 227-252. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins (= Rijkhoff, Jan. 2008. On flexible and rigid nouns. Studies in Language 32-3, 727-752). - Rijkhoff, Jan. 2002(Hb)/2004(Pb). The Noun Phrase. (...) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 28-59 (= Chapter 2) and pp. 100-121 (= section 4.2). -/- SEINSART (Rijkhoff 2002/2004: 59): "It is also important to emphasize at this point that languages do not so much differ in the kind of nominal properties they predicate of entities, but rather in the way the meaning definition of the noun specifies how the property is represented in the spatial dimension in terms of the features Shape and Homogeneity. Just as languages can make different choices as to the way they represent verbal properties in the temporal dimension (Aktionsart, verbal aspect), languages can also make different choices as to the way they represent nominal properties in the spatial dimension (Seinsart, nominal aspect). For instance, we can refer to the same thing as: '50 grapes' (as when they are going to be distributed individually), 'a pound of grapes', or 'a bunch of grapes'. In other words, in the act of referring different spatial features of the property "grapeness" can be emphasized. It can be referred to as a number of distinct individual objects, as a mass, or as a collective entity (cf. Adams 1989: 3)." -/- NOMINAL ASPECT (Rijkhoff 2002/2004: 101): "We can define the notion "aspect" as the way in which a property or relation designated by a predicate is represented in some dimension. Depending on the type of predicate involved, two kinds of aspect can be distinguished: verbal and nominal aspect. Verbal aspect is concerned with representations in the temporal dimension, and nominal aspect with representations in the spatial dimension. The study of verbal aspect has a long tradition, but nominal aspect has only been introduced recently, at least in the sense in which it is used here. I have already mentioned the difference between covert and overt ways of marking aspectual distinctions (cf. section 2.6 on Aktionsart vs. verbal aspect marking and Seinsart vs. nominal aspect marking). In this chapter we will only be concerned with overt, inflectional expressions of nominal aspect." . (shrink)
Lawyers write, blog and are otherwise producers of words; they structure public life through legal discourse and integrate all issues that reinforce legal reasoning. Even if one is inclined not to justify the power of their words in the context of a democratic theory, one is hardly able to challenge its public acceptance. But semiotic analyses harden the question whether these emperors wear nothing but robes. That attitude intensifies where medicine becomes increasingly relevant for legal discourse, as becomes clear where (...) for instance US political viewpoints bring bioethical issues to the Courts. One major theme in today’s medicine pertains to identity in its psychological, philosophical and social dimensions. Identity thus becomes a groundbreaking semiotic issue in law and medicine; both discourses are particular important to the otherness of the other. A US criminal law case interests here (Harrington v. State of Iowa, 2003; cited as: 659N.W.2d 509). The case is decided with “information about what the person has stored in his brain”. A chain of signs is involved: from “brain-function” to “brain-storage” via “brain-scan” to “brain-fingerprint”, for which the case became famous. A long series of signs and meanings belong here to intertwined discourses. Central is a particular sign in each discourse: “brain” means brain scan, and “fingerprint” means law! The two display trading mechanisms, which determine the otherness of the other and the self! The chain of signs in the Harrington case shows inter-disciplinarity in law and inter-discursivity among law and medicine. The trading itself underlines the semiotic dimensions in cyberspace, in particular the semiotics of the virtual (Hayles, Kurzweil) and their effects on legal discourse. (shrink)
Face to Face.Jan M. Broekman - 2009 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 22 (1):45-59.details
Peirce shows how he presupposes that a ‘most general science of semeiotic’ is entirely a matter of culture. Semiotics unfolds even beyond the debate on specific differences between nature and culture. The expression ‘semiotics of culture’ entails all components of a true pleonasm. Pierce finds his parallel in the philosophy of Hegel and both philosophers consider the close ties between expressiveness and consciousness as a specifically human, cultural and spiritual activity. That viewpoint leads not only to linguistic but also to (...) other expressive phenomena, among which the body. Faces are perhaps the most outstanding bodily carriers of expression, so that Peirce’s analyses of Thirdness relate to the human face, not as a natural but as a cultural datum, in particular an artifice. A face-to-face relationship is embedded in a regulative discourse rather than an ethical appeal or other metaphysical dimensions. Three cases show various degrees of artificiality with different semiotic implications: Tilda Swinton’s appearance at the recent 2008 Oscar ceremony, the body art of Orlan and the first 2005 facial transplant of Isabelle Dinoire. The three do not only show how the human face is an artifice, but also how realities can appear to be fictitious within patterns of semiotic nature. Any sign can be a correlative to a fictitious world! (shrink)
The Roberta Kevelson Seminar on Law and Semiotics is integrated in the regular program of a US Law School and student enrollment is honored with credit points. Hitherto, the study of Legal Semiotics has mainly been located outside the Law Schools in the US and the Faculties of Law in the EU. Two important questions within the more general theme of Legal Semiotics and Legal Education arose: (1) the program requirements in an education context, and (2) the attention and interests (...) of the students. This IJSL issue offers essays presented during the Round Table which closed the Seminar, provides some experience-based suggestions for a Seminar program and discusses how to deal with the pragmatic attitude of law students. It interests how those topics relate to legal and semiotic literature and how they focus globally important viewpoints, as can be concluded in the example of the legal semiotics of family structures. (shrink)
This paper presents a comprehensive account of Peirce's post-1900 theory of abduction. The account aims at bringing together various strands of discussion in Peirce's work, showing how their interaction creates a more coherent picture of his thoughts on abductive reasoning as manifest after the turn of the century. The discussion is of a historical nature, rather than a critical assessment.
Taking the letter of the law literally would equal the death of our hopeand expectation that law and its practices of justice will createimproved social realities. This insight is, however, seldom formulatedin legal discourse. A more profound analysis shows how ``the literal'',taken as a legal expression, covers the management of law's semanticsrather than delivering the precise description of a state of affairs inlaw. This pertains in particular to the ``well informed citizen'' (A.Schutz). Can legal meanings that should enter and perhaps (...) change thecitizen's life sphere for the better, transcend the boundaries of legaldiscourse by means of appealing to a literal meaning? (shrink)
Patients in a vegetative state/ unresponsive wakefulness syndrome pose ethical dilemmas to those involved. Many conflicts occur between professionals and families of these patients. In the Netherlands physicians are supposed to withdraw life sustaining treatment once recovery is not to be expected. Yet these patients have shown to survive sometimes for decades. The role of the families is thought to be important. The aim of this study was to make an inventory of the professional perspective on conflicts in long-term care (...) of patients in VS/UWS. A qualitative study of transcripts on 2 Moral Deliberations in 2 cases of patients in VS/UWS in long-term care facilities. Six themes emerged: 1) Vision on VS/UWS; 2) Treatment and care plan; 3) Impact on relationships; 4) Feelings/attitude; 5) Communication; 6) Organizational aspects. These themes are related to professionals and to what families had expressed to the professionals. We found conflicts as well as contradictory feelings and thoughts to be a general feature in 4 of these themes, both in professionals and families. Conflicts were found in several actors: within families concerning all 6 themes, in nurse teams concerning the theme treatment and care plan, and between physicians concerning all 6 themes. Different visions, different expectations and hope on recovery, deviating goals and contradictory feelings/thoughts in families and professionals can lead to conflicts over a patient with VS/UWS. Key factors to prevent or solve such conflicts are a carefully established diagnosis, clarity upon visions, uniformity in treatment goals and plans, an open and empathic communication, expertise and understanding the importance of contradictory feelings/thoughts. Management should bridge conflicts and support their staff, by developing expertise, by creating stability and by facilitating medical ethical discourses. Shared compassion for the patient might be a key to gain trust and bridge the differences from non-shared to shared decision making. (shrink)
This paper presents logics for reasoning about extension and reduction of partial information states. This enterprise amounts to nonpersistent variations of certain constructive logics, in particular the so-called logic of constructible falsity of Nelson. We provide simple semantics, sequential calculi, completeness and decidability proofs.
Scholars have long noticed a similarity of motifs between Catullus’ Carmen 63 and the fifth book of the Odyssey, where the story of Odysseus’ captivity on Ogygia is narrated. A detailed analysis of the poems shows that Catullus wanted the reader to see in this Homeric episode a kind of matrix for the interpretation of Attis’ sojourn at Cybele. The discovery of this dependence casts a light on some of the hitherto proposed interpretations of Carmen 63.
In the history of the Indian grammatical tradition, Bhartṛhari (about fifth century C.E.) is the fourth great grammarian - after Pāṇini, Kātyāyana and Patañjali - and the first to make the philosophical aspects of language and grammar the main subject of an independent work. This work, the Vākyapadīya (VP), consists of about 2000 philosophical couplets or kārikās. Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, the VP has been known to Western Sanskritists, but its language-philosophical contents have started to receive (...) serious attention only in the last few decennia. The subject matter of the VP resonates strongly with crucial themes in twentieth-century Western thought, although the background and the way the issues are elaborated are quite different. Scholars have compared and contrasted Bhartṛhari's ideas with those of de Saussure, Wittgenstein and Derrida. A theme which, as a leitmotiv, pervades the entire VP is the relation between language, thought and reality. In several Indian traditions, a proper insight into this relation was (and still is) held to be of importance for attaining 'liberation'. (shrink)
Is the European Union a new Walden? Although a contrast in form and format, the Union is surprisingly close to the latter's underlying philosophy. One can read this proximity in the Treaties or the many facets of the European idea which mirrors in the Union's emerging legal system. Today there is no longer a Union of a limited number of Nation States desiring to end divisions among themselves, to acquire mutual respect and prosperity or a higher standard of living and (...) working conditions for its members. European citizenship shows a global orientation and is in continuous competition with the discourse of a globalizing economy and its Internet democracy. Analyses of concepts such as political geography, global, (supra)national and regional citizenship, democracy, learning society, native tongue and market lead to the insight that the Union's legal system wishes to ensure its citizens a legally engendered, formatted and protected global position for action. Walden's philosophy has a new face. (shrink)
One vivid description of folktale research, still applicable although more than a half century old, reads, “Folktale study is like a desert journey, where the only landmarks are the bleached bones of earlier theories.” Because theories have proven to be so ephemeral in comparison with the tales themselves , it might seem prudent to place more stock in the tales and less in the theories or at least to take an eclectic approach toward theorizing so as to hedge bets; but (...) not all scholars of folktales exercise more circumspection now than their predecessors did fifty years ago. For example, in Little Red Riding Hood: A Casebook Alan Dundes — one of the most prominent American folklorists of our day — adduces no material dated from before 1697 that is related to the tale “Little Red Riding Hood” but manages nonetheless to question sharply the very notion of valuing early written evidence. By scrutinizing a short Latin poem written in the first quarter of the eleventh century, I hope to refute Dundes's dismissal of literary evidence and to underscore the pertinence of studying medieval literature in coming to grips with that beautiful and elusive phenomenon to which English-speakers give the name “fairy tale.”. (shrink)