The Protein Ontology (PRO; http://proconsortium.org) formally defines protein entities and explicitly represents their major forms and interrelations. Protein entities represented in PRO corresponding to single amino acid chains are categorized by level of specificity into family, gene, sequence and modification metaclasses, and there is a separate metaclass for protein complexes. All metaclasses also have organism-specific derivatives. PRO complements established sequence databases such as UniProtKB, and interoperates with other biomedical and biological ontologies such as the Gene Ontology (GO). PRO relates to (...) UniProtKB in that PRO’s organism-specific classes of proteins encoded by a specific gene correspond to entities documented in UniProtKB entries. PRO relates to the GO in that PRO’s representations of organism-specific protein complexes are subclasses of the organism-agnostic protein complex terms in the GO Cellular Component Ontology. The past few years have seen growth and changes to the PRO, as well as new points of access to the data and new applications of PRO in immunology and proteomics. Here we describe some of these developments. (shrink)
To assess ethics pedagogy in science and engineering, we developed a new tool called the Engineering and Science Issues Test. ESIT measures moral judgment in a manner similar to the Defining Issues Test, second edition, but is built around technical dilemmas in science and engineering. We used a quasi-experimental approach with pre- and post-tests, and we compared the results to those of a control group with no overt ethics instruction. Our findings are that several stand-alone classes showed a significant improvement (...) compared to the control group when the metric includes multiple stages of moral development. We also found that the written test had a higher response rate and sensitivity to pedagogy than the electronic version. We do not find significant differences on pre- test scores with respect to age, education level, gender or political leanings, but we do on whether subjects were native English speakers. We did not find significant differences on pre- test scores based on whether subjects had previous ethics instruction; this could suggest a lack of a long-term effect from the instruction. (shrink)
Higher-order thought theories of consciousness attempt to explain what it takes for a mental state to be conscious, rather than unconscious, by means of a HOT that represents oneself as being in the state in question. Rosenthal Consciousness and the self: new essays, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011) stresses that the way we are aware of our own conscious states requires essentially indexical self-reference. The challenge for defenders of HOT theories is to show that there is a way to explain (...) the required reference-fixing mechanisms that is compatible with the theory. According to Rosenthal, the reference to oneself as such is grounded in the disposition to identify the individual the HOT refers to as the individual who has that HOT. I argue that this leads to a vicious infinite regress on the more than plausible assumption that our cognitive capacities are limited. This leaves such theories without a foundation, since self-reference is thought essential to consciousness. (shrink)
Ever since the early days of quantum mechanics it has been suggested that consciousness could be linked to the collapse of the wave function. However, no detailed account of such an interplay is usually provided. In this paper we present an objective collapse model where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other proposals in (...) which “consciousness causes the collapse of the wave function,” our model is fully consistent with a materialistic view of the world and does not require the postulation of entities suspicious of laying outside of the quantum realm. (shrink)
Kevin Smith's utilitarian argument against homeopathy1 is flawed because he did not review and refute the relevant basic science literature on ultra-high dilutions. He also failed to appreciate that allopathic medicine is based on a deductive-nomothetic method and that homeopathic medicine is based on an inductive-idiographic method, and thus that the implications for clinical research are very different. His misunderstanding of provings and of the holism of homeopathic medicine also demonstrated his failure to understand the history, philosophy and method of (...) homeopathy. Finally, I questioned the value of introducing ethical judgment into an ongoing scientific debate. (shrink)
Alleged self-evidence aside, conceivability arguments are one of the main reasons in favor of the claim that there is a Hard Problem. These arguments depend on the appealing Kripkean intuition that there is no difference between appearances and reality in the case of consciousness. I will argue that this intuition rests on overlooking a distinction between cognitive access and consciousness, which has received recently important empirical support. I will show that there are good reasons to believe that the intuition is (...) misguided—at least on the reading that the conceivability arguments require—and hence that the arguments are unsupported. This, in turn, alleviates the Hard Problem but leaves us with what I think is a not easy problem. (shrink)
Many philosophers and scientists have argued that the difference between phenomenally conscious states and other kind of states lies in the implicit self-awareness that conscious states have. Higher-Order Representationalist theories, attempt to explain such a self-awareness by means of a higher-order representation. Consciousness relies on our capacity to represent our own mental states, consciousness depends on our Theory of Mind. Such an ability can, at least conceptually, be decomposed into another two: mindreading and metacognition. In this paper I will argue (...) that consciousness cannot depend on mindreading. The tenability of HOR theories depends, therefore, on the relation between mindreading and metacognition. I analyze several views on such a relation and argue that none of them seem to be a plausible option for HOR theories. (shrink)
The current debate around better measures of progress and going ‘beyond-Gross Domestic Product ’ raises the question of implications for businesses and their sustainability efforts. Bhutan, with its Gross National Happiness development approach provides an interesting case to investigate businesses in an economy focused on improving the conditions for wellbeing and happiness in society, alongside the goal of growing GDP. This study explores if and how GNH influences business conduct and sustainability efforts in Bhutan. It also investigates Bhutanese business and (...) government leaders perceptions of the concept of GNH in relation to concepts such as Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability. Some preliminary findings include that the Bhutanese value-system forms the foundation of business leaders’ world-views and influences their business conduct and decision-making more than the recent formulation of the GNH framework. A comparison of the CSR, CS and GNH frameworks shows however that the GNH model has the potential to offer a sustainability framework that goes beyond-CSR. (shrink)
Though Indian courts at present are riddled with issues concerning music on the copyright front, significance of another aspect of music based on its essence is largely lost and unexplored. Though courts refer to popular songs in judgments, they are few and far in between. The understanding is that law today is neither poetic nor musical. Music, however, expresses mankind’s faith, hope and aspiration. The use of popular music by Indian courts to write creatively, though not necessarily improve the judgment (...) is restricted and largely unexplored. This paper proposes to explore the dimensions of labour movement through music and the role of law in the making of India as a nation. The association of political dissent through music and the determination of the nation state to procure a stake in the management of the popular music that is sought to belong to itself will be the key theme for understanding the songs that make a nation. Beginning from the struggle for India’s independence to modern day labour movements using music for critique and promoting the vernacular culture are the essence of the paper. Historically, the role of music is central for workers in any labour movement worldwide and is now explored in the Indian context, beginning from the early years of struggle in the nineteenth century to the year of independence in 1947. Recent movements including the protests against profiteering and displacement of persons will also form part of the discussions in this paper. The roles of music and the law have periodically been addressed in the scholarly legal arena but the topic has seldom been explored in-depth from a labour perspective, as paper ventures to do. (shrink)
Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theories of consciousness maintain that the kind of awareness necessary for phenomenal consciousness depends on the cognitive accessibility that underlies reporting. -/- There is empirical evidence strongly suggesting that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report visual experiences depends on the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). This area, however, is highly deactivated during the conscious experiences we have during sleep: dreams. HOT theories are jeopardized, as I will argue. I will briefly present HOT (...) theories in the first section. Section 2 offers empirical evidence to the effect that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report depends on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: dlPFC is the neural correlate of HOTs. Section 3 shows the evidence we have of the deactivation of this brain area during dreams and, in section 4, I present my argument. Finally, I consider and rejoin two possible replies that my opponent can offer: the possibility of an alternative neural correlate of HOTs during dreams and the denial that we have phenomenally conscious experiences during sleep. (shrink)
Let me make it clear from the outset that my main point is not either of the following: one, that there should be more women economists and research on “women's issues”, or two, that women as a class do, or should do, economics in a manner different from men. My argument is different and has to do with trying to gain an understanding of how a certain way of thinking about gender and a certain way of thinking about economics have (...) become intertwined through metaphor – with detrimental results – and how a richer conception of human understanding and human identity could broaden and improve the field of economics for both female and male practitioners. (shrink)
An article by Luigino Bruni and Robert Sugden published in this journal argues that market relations contain elements of what they call ‘fraternity’. This Response demonstrates that my own views on interpersonal relations and markets – which originated in the feminist analysis of caring labour – are far closer to Bruni and Sugden's than they acknowledge in their article, and goes on to discuss additional important dimensions of sociality that they neglect.
Nelson argues the best we can hope for in a nonsexist society is to revalue those feminine qualities that have previously been devalued. I argue that those qualities are the result of a sexist construction of gender categories, and that a nonsexist society would have no reason to preserve them.
Commenting on recent articles by Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle, the author questions the way in which the debate between methodological individualists and holists has been presented and contends that too much weight has been given to metaphysical and ontological debates at the expense of giving attention to methodological debates and analysis of good explanatory practice. Giving more attention to successful explanatory practice in the social sciences and the different underlying epistemic interests and motivations for providing explanations or reducing (...) theories (which ask for different kinds of explanatory information to be found on the social or on the individual level) might lead to real progress in the debate on methodological individualism, and away from the unending battles of (metaphysical) intuitions. Key Words: methodological individualism • nonreductive materialism • pluralism • pragmatics of explanation. (shrink)
Among the various issues in Global Justice that I address in Morality and Global Justice: Justifications and Applications, international immigration is one of the most important. Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez and Julie Kirsch have written sensitive queries about my position that I will address in order.