Host-microbiome interactions (HMIs) are critical for the modulation of biological processes and are associated with several diseases, and extensive HMI studies have generated large amounts of data. We propose that the logical representation of the knowledge derived from these data and the standardized representation of experimental variables and processes can foster integration of data and reproducibility of experiments and thereby further HMI knowledge discovery. A community-based Ontology of Host-Microbiome Interactions (OHMI) was developed following the OBO Foundry principles. OHMI leverages established (...) ontologies to create logically structured representations of microbiomes, microbial taxonomy, host species, host anatomical entities, and HMIs under different conditions and associated study protocols and types of data analysis and experimental results. (shrink)
Much of the debate about identity in recent decades has been about personal identity, and specifically about personal identity over time, but identity generally, and the identity of things of other kinds, have also attracted attention. Various interrelated problems have been at the centre of discussion, but it is fair to say that recent work has focussed particularly on the following areas: the notion of a criterion of identity; the correct analysis of identity over time, and, in particular, the disagreement (...) between advocates of perdurance and advocates of endurance as analyses of identity over time; the notion of identity across possible worlds and the question of its relevance to the correct analysis of de re modal discourse; the notion of contingent identity; the question of whether the identity relation is, or is similar to, the composition relation; and the notion of vague identity. A radical position, advocated by Peter Geach, is that these debates, as usually conducted, are void for lack of a subject matter: the notion of absolute identity they presuppose has no application; there is only relative identity. Another increasingly popular view is the one advocated by Lewis: although the debates make sense they cannot genuinely be debates about identity, since there are no philosophical problems about identity. Identity is an utterly unproblematic notion. What there are, are genuine problems which can be stated using the language of identity. But since these can be restated without the language of identity they are not problems about identity. (For example, it is a puzzle, an aspect of the so-called “problem of personal identity”, whether the same person can have different bodies at different times. But this is just the puzzle whether a person can have different bodies at different times. So since it can be stated without the language of personal “identity”, it is not a problem about identity, but about personhood.) This article provides an overview of the topics indicated above, some assessment of the debates and suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
This paper is about the moral status of those human beings with profound intellectual disabilities (PIDs). We hold the common sense view that they have equal status to ‘normal’ human beings, and a higher status than any non-human animal. We start with an admission, however: we don’t know how to give a fully satisfying theoretical account of the grounds of moral status that explains this view. And in fact, not only do we not know how to give such an account, (...) but the most satisfying account of moral status that we know (which we call ‘the standard account’) entails that our view is false. It entails that those with PIDs have a lower status than ordinary human beings and an equal status to non-human animals. Now, in this paper, we do absolutely nothing to try to show where the standard account goes wrong, and we do absolutely nothing to resolve the difficulties we see in developing an alternative account that supports our view. Indeed, we do not give any argument against the standard account or in favour of our own view. Instead, we raise the following question: in order to be justified in continuing to hold our view, are we obliged to give such an account? Our answer will be that we are not. (shrink)
In 1952, two well-known characters called ‘A’ and ‘B’ met for the first time to argue about the Identity of Indiscernibles (Black, 1952). A argued that the principle is true, and B that it is false. By all accounts A took a bit of a beating and came out worst-off. Forty-three years later John O’Leary-Hawthorne offered a response on behalf of A that looked as if it would work so long as A was willing to accept the universal-bundle theory of (...) substance (Hawthorne, 1995). In 1997, A and B met again (Zimmerman, 1997). A took Hawthorne’s advice and revealed himself as a universal-bundle theorist. But B was well-prepared, and once more A took a beating. Since then Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (2004) has put the boot in, offering further criticism of A’s position. In recent years A has been rather quiet, leaving B to reign as the undisputed champion. However, it turns out that A is down, but not out. And now it’s time for A’s revenge. (shrink)
Antiques are undoubtedly objects worthy of aesthetic appreciation, but do they have a distinctive aesthetic value in virtue of being antiques? In this article we give an account of what it is to be an antique that gives the thesis that they do have a distinctive aesthetic value a chance of being true and suggests what that distinctive value consists in. After introducing our topic in Section I, in Section II we develop and defend the Adjectival Thesis: the thesis that (...) the concept of being an antique is an adjectival concept. This provides us with the means to formulate our definition, which we do in Section III. In Section IV we further explicate and defend our definition. In Section V we conclude by briefly saying where we think our definition could be improved, by making a few comments about the aesthetics of antiques and by stating an interesting consequence of our definition: that it is not analytic that antiques are old. (shrink)
In this article I present a theory of what it is to be fair. I take my cue from Broome’s well known 1990 account of fairness. Broome’s basic thesis is that fairness is the proportional satisfaction of claims, and with this I am in at least partial agreement. But neither Broome nor anyone else (so far as I know) has laid down a theory of precisely what one must do in order to be fair. The theory offered here does just (...) this. (shrink)
What am I? And what is my relationship to the thing I call ‘my body’? Thus each of us can pose for himself the philosophical problems of the nature of the self and the relationship between a person and his body. One answer to the question about the relationship between a person and the thing he calls ‘his body’ is that they are two things composed of the same matter at the same time (like a clay statue and the piece (...) of clay which presently constitutes it). This is the ‘constitution view’. In this paper we give a novel overview of the literature on personal identity, the constitution view, and surrounding topics. (shrink)
Porpora offers an a priori argument for the conclusion that there are infinitely many thoughts that it is physically possible for us to think. That there should be such an a priori argument is astonishing enough. That the argument should be simple enough to teach to a first-year undergraduate class in about 20 min, as Porpora’s is, is more astonishing still. Porpora’s main target is Max Tegmark’s recent argument for the claim that if current physics is right, then there are (...) mental duplicates of us in far flung regions of the Universe. His argument is directed against Tegmark’s assumption that mental facts supervene upon physical facts. So, if Porpora’s argument is sound then not only is Tegmark’s argument unsound, but physicalism is also false. So, Porpora’s argument is powerful indeed. Who would have thought that a simple a priori argument, together with the physical facts, could solve the issue of whether physicalism is true?. Not I. In this paper I take a closer look at Porpora’s argument and show that it is fallacious. I also consider the other reasons Porpora gives for thinking there are infinitely many thinkable thoughts and find them similarly lacking. (shrink)
What is the nature of time? Does it flow? Do the past and future exist? Drawing connections between historical and present-day questions, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time provides an up-to-date guide to one of the most central and debated topics in contemporary metaphysics. Introducing the views and arguments of Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Newton and Leibniz, this accessible introduction covers the history of the philosophy of time from the Pre-Socratics to the beginning of the 20th Century. The (...) historical survey presents the necessary background to understanding more recent developments, including McTaggarts 1908 argument for the unreality of time, the open future, the perdurance/endurance debate, the possibility of time travel, and the relevance of current physics to the philosophy of time. Informed by cutting-edge philosophical research, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time evaluates influential historical arguments in the context of contemporary developments. (shrink)
Background and objective: Code status discussions may fail to address patients’ treatment-related goals and their knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This study aimed to investigate patients’ resuscitation preferences, knowledge of CPR and goals of care. Design, setting, patients and measurements: 135 adults were interviewed within 48 h of admission to a general medical service in an academic medical centre, querying code status preferences, knowledge about CPR and its outcome probabilities and goals of care. Medical records were reviewed for clinical information (...) and code status documentation. Results: 41 (30.4%) patients had discussed CPR with their doctor, 116 (85.9%) patients preferred full code status and 11 (8.1%) patients expressed code status preferences different from the code status documented in their medical record. When queried about seven possible goals of care, patients affirmed an average of 4.9 goals; their single most important goals were broadly distributed, ranging from being cured (n = 36; 26.7%) to being comfortable (n = 8; 5.9%). Patients’ mean estimate of survival to discharge after CPR was 60.4%. Most patients believed it was helpful to discuss goals of care (n = 95; 70.4%) and the chances of surviving inhospital CPR (n = 112; 83.0%). Some patients expressed a desire to change their code status after receiving information about survival following inhospital CPR (n = 11; 8.1%) or after discussing goals of care (n = 2; 1.5%). Conclusions: Doctors need to address patients’ knowledge about CPR and take steps to avoid discrepancies between treatment orders and patients’ preferences. Addressing CPR outcome probabilities and goals of care during code status discussions may improve patients’ knowledge and influence their preferences. (shrink)
Consider: You can save either a human or a normal adult dog from a burning building (with no risk to yourself and at little cost), but not both. However, the human is a human with a severe intellectually disability (or, as we shall say, a “SID”). -/- Which one should you save? There is disagreement in the literature about which this issue. Two opposing camps exist, which we call “the intrinsic property camp ” and “the special relations camp.” Those in (...) the intrinsic property camp think that in most cases it is equally permissible to save either the dog or the human, and that in fact in some cases you should save the dog and not the human. Those in the special relations camp, by contrast, maintain that you should always save the human and not the dog. There is disagreement between these two camps about the answer to this question because there is disagreement between them about the moral significance of SIDs. Those in the intrinsic property camp believe that the moral value of a human with a SID is equal to (and in some cases less than) the moral value of a nonhuman animal such as a dog. (They thus believe that the value of a human with a SID is strictly less than the value of a normal adult human.) Those in the special relations camp believe that the value of a human with a SID is strictly higher than the value of a nonhuman animal. (But they are not thereby committed to, but may nonetheless believe, that a human with a SID has equal moral value to a normal adult human.) The questions we address in this chapter include: 1. Why do those in each camp hold the view that they do? 2. Which camp is right? (shrink)
In this article I reply to Thomas Schramme's argument that there are no good reasons for the prohibition of severe forms of voluntary non-therapeutic body modification. I argue that on paternalistic assumptions there is, in fact, a perfectly good reason.
Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...) either that there cannot be vague objects or that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate for ontic reasons. And we further acknowledge that it does not by itself establish that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate in virtue of the existence of vague objects. We then go on to argue that, despite this, one who believes in vague objects cannot endorse Evans’s argument. To establish this we offer supplementary arguments that show that if vague objects exist then identity is vague, and that if identity is vague then vague objects exist. Finally we draw attention to an argument parallel to that of Evans’s, but safer, which can be employed against the putative ontic indeterminacy in identity of vague objects which can be differentiated by identity-free properties. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that if a completed neuroscience of consciousness is to be attained, we must give the synchronic and diachronic application conditions for brain states and phenomenal states. I argue that, due to the temporal nature of our experiences, such states must be viewed as being temporally extended events, and illustrate how to give such application conditions using examples of other temporally extended events. However, I also raise some difficulties for the project of giving application conditions for (...) brain states and phenomenal states and suggest these as challenges for further philosophical work. (shrink)
The effects of birth spacing on neonatal and post-neonatal mortality in Brazil were found to be very consistent with models based on data from other South American countries. The model for neonatal mortality simplified to three significant variables, whereas the model for post-neonatal mortality included four significant interactions.
In a recent paper we argued that a Moorean strategy can be employed to justify our continuing to believe the following proposition, even in the presence of philosophical views that entail it is false, without any philosophical argument against those views, and without any positive philosophical argument in its favour: -/- H>A: Humans have an equal moral status that is higher than the moral status of non-human animals. -/- The basic idea is that our confidence in the truth of this (...) proposition is greater than our confidence in the propositions that make up those philosophical views that entail it is false, and that this is sufficient to justify rejecting those views and to continue to believe H>A. -/- Roberts has recently responded to our argument by claiming: -/- (i) Although the Moorean strategy is valid, it is not powerful. (ii) A resort to the Moorean strategy reflects too great a pessimism about the accounts available that purport to justify H>A. -/- In this short rejoinder we explain why Roberts fails to establish his two claims. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the view that a zygote is a human from the fission objection that is widely thought to be decisive against the view. I do so, drawing upon a recent discussion of this issue by John Burgess, by explaining in detail the metaphysical position the proponent of the view should adopt in order to rebut the objection.
This article seeks to conceptualize global counterterror actor types by examining the designated terrorist organizations lists of six countries; the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Russia, and China. It is argued that these countries should be placed into one of three distinct categories: Trendsetters, Trend Followers, and Individual Players. Being able to classify countries according to these categories is important for global policymakers. It raises awareness of the differences between countries, and emphasizes that “one-fits-all” policies are inappropriate and (...) have little chance of achieving global endorsement. (shrink)