Este artículo es una breve introducción al opúsculo De veritate propositionis de Roberto Grosseteste , acompañada por una traducción inédita de dicho opúsculo, la primera que por primera vez puede ser leído en español. En él Grosseteste comenta el problema de los futuros contingentes tal y como fue expuesto por Aristóteles en Sobre la interpretación, capítulo IX. Las soluciones de Aristóteles y Grosseteste son similares, aunque la idea de necesidad en Grosseteste está más vinculada a la eternidad que a la (...) temporalidad. (shrink)
Este repertorio registra los artículos sobre Platón que se encuentran en la Hemeroteca de la Biblioteca Central de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. El listado abarca las publicaciones existentes hasta el primer semestre del año 2000.
En este trabajo se presentan las ideas más representativas que para el siglo XVI, durante la fundación de Bogotá, influyeron en la concepción del imaginario de ciudad. El artículo plantea tres momentos clave: en el primero, se realiza un acercamiento al pensamiento de Aristóteles, a través del análisis de dos de sus obras La política y La ética a Nicómaco. De ellas se deducen seis características que, probablemente, fueron conocidas y estudiadas por los humanistas y renacentistas y aplicadas por la (...) Corona española para dar fisonomía y orden a la fundación de ciudades en toda la América descubierta, conquistada y colonizada por España en los siglos XVI y XVII. En el segundo momento, muestra la influencia de las ideas aristotélicas en el pensamiento de hombres como santo Tomás y León Battista Alberti; además presenta las concepciones de inferioridad de ciertos hombres y de acciones mágicas que, según el imaginario de la época, permiten controlar el espacio a los seres que lo habitan. Cada una de estas concepciones influyó en la manera como los españoles se relacionaron con este territorio y con las razas india y negra. En un tercer momento, se presenta un acercamiento a la ciudad colonial establecida en el siglo XVI, cuyo ordenamiento social estaba enmarcado en la fisonomía ortogonal o damérica de sus calles, con lo cual se buscaba orden y control social. (shrink)
El presente trabajo, escrito en ocasión del centenario de García Bacca, pretende poner de manifiesto la dimensión pedagógica del Maestro. Y ello, a propósito de su trabajo como estudioso de la Filosofía Colonial Venezolana, tema frecuentemente obviado cuando se valora el trabajo de este filósofo.
This paper presents the notion of transfinite developed by García Bacca in his «Infinito, transfinito, finito». This concept is a reaction to the Aristotelian concepts of «nature» and «finite», making man a historical being. García Bacca argues that man has lost his nature and his finitude through technology. So, strictly speaking, is not finite, nor infinite.
What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
Many theists of a traditional bent have been bothered by the apparent tension between God's essential omnipotence and his essential moral goodness. Nelson Pike draws attention to the conflict between these two attributes in his article ‘Omnipotence and God's Ability to Sin’, and there have been many attempts to respond to it since that time. Most of these responses argue that the essential omnipotence and essential goodness of God are not logically incompatible, so that the traditional conception of God is (...) not incoherent; I think the arguments have been largely successful. However, some theists have found the typical responses to Pike less than convincing, and are tempted to surrender the claim that God has moral perfection essentially in favour of the more modest claim that God is morally perfect in the actual world though in some possible worlds God is morally defective. I argue in this paper that this fall-back position is incoherent. More accurately, I argue that a necessary being who is essentially omniscient and essentially omnipotent cannot be contingently morally perfect or contingently morally defective. Any such being is either essentially good or essentially evil. Since the latter alternative seems unattractive, I argue that theists should embrace the essential moral perfection of God. (shrink)
Se plantean los problemas y algunas temáticas características de la "independencia literaria" en Hispanoamérica, a la luz de la coyuntura de la emancipación política de España. Este tema desborda los marcos temporales o la periodización de las guerras de independencia; recorre todo el siglo XIX y pa..
El cuidado en el florecimiento o desarrollo humano personal: reflexiones desde la psicología para la bioética del cuidado Cuidado no florescimento ou desenvolvimento humano pessoal: reflexões da psicologia para a bioética do cuidado This paper looks into the place care holds in personal development. It begins considering care as a universal and necessary category for human life and asks about the role it plays and how it influences one’s own personal development. Even though the framework that surrounds this reflection is (...) a multidimensional humanistic anthropological perspective—that is, it recognizes the richness of the person with his different dimensions: biological, psychological, and social, all of them involved in personal development—, it specifically analyzes the psychological dimension of care under three aspects: being taken care of, taking care of others, and being aware of both realities. Para citar este artículo / To reference this article / Para citar este artigo Hernáez-García M. El cuidado en el florecimiento o desarrollo humano personal: reflexiones desde la psicología para la bioética del cuidado. pers. bioét. 2018; 22: 271-287. DOI: 10.5294/pebi.2018.22.2.6. (shrink)
Kwaku Marfo, Danielle Garcia, Saira Khalique, Karen Berger, Amy LuMontefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USABackground: Medication errors are a prime concern for all in healthcare. As such the use of information technologies in drug prescribing and administration has received considerable attention in recent years, with the hope of improving patient safety. Because of the complexity of drug regimens in renal transplant patients, occurrence of medication errors is inevitable even with a well adopted computerized physician order entering system. Our objective was (...) to quantify medication error type and frequency in an inpatient renal transplant unit.Methods: Systemic evaluation of all medication errors during an initial 10-day audit and a 28-day follow-up audit in an inpatient renal transplant unit. Each error was concurrently evaluated for potential to result in adverse patient consequences, error type and associated medication class.Results: A total of 103 clinically significant medication errors were detected during the 10-day and 28-day audit time periods. The most common errors were wrong medication dose ordered and wrong time of drug administration. Thirty-six out of 66 prescribing/ordering errors reached the patient.Conclusions: Even with utilization of computerized physician order entry system in an inpatient renal transplant unit, post-kidney transplant patients are at risk for adverse outcomes due to medication errors. The risk factors may be multifactorial and will require both organizational and technical approaches to resolve.Keywords: medication errors, CPOE, inpatient, renal transplant patients. (shrink)
Belandria, Margarita Artículos El erotismo como experiencia vinculada a lo sagrado Eroticism as an experience linked to the sacred order Castrejón, Gilberto Laberintos de sabiduría: Entre la razón y el mito Labyrinths of the knowledge: Between the reason and the myth Espar, Teresa Hacia una noción de "globalización" Towards a globalization notion González R., Javier y Belandria, Margarita Filosofía, semiótica, y ritmo Philosophy, semiotics, and rhythm Hocevar, Drina Más allá del pensamiento determinante, el pensamiento reflexionante Beyond deterministic thought, reflexive thought (...) Maldonado, Rebeca La muerte como imaginario social: una mirada de la modernidad a la postmodernidad cultural Death as a social imaginary: A view modernity to cultural postmodernity Mora García, José Pascual El impacto de la ideología y la política en la cultura y el arte de la América Latina Ideological and political interference related to artistic and cultural creations in the Latin American ambit Peña, Edilio Ontología de la trascendencia Metaphysics of Transcendence Ramis Muscato, Pompeyo Sentido de una reforma general de la educación The meaning of a general reform on education Suzzarini, Andrés Traducciones H. Arendt y la idea del derecho moderno Renaut, Alain y Sosoe, Lukas Interdisciplinares Los personajes femeninos en las novelas de Alejo Carpentier Márquez Rodríguez, Alexis Gobernabilidad y constituciones (De la colonización a la emancipación Zambrano Labrador, Laurencio Recensiones Conozca al investigador: Elías Capriles Acercamiento a la obra: Individuo Sociedad y Ecosistema Velasco, Fabiola CDCHT. (shrink)
The philosopher's paper Alonso, Ángel Castigo y derecho sin libre albedrío ni responsabilidad Punishment and law without free will and no responsibility López Corredoira, Martín De los metarrelatos a la "muerte de los intelectuales". Una mirada al "Humanismo impenitente" desde la reconstrucción neonietzscheana postmoderna From meta - reports to the "demise of intellectuals". A view of "impenitent humanism" from post-modern neo-Nietzschean deconstruction Mora García, José Pascual Kant y el método de trascender en la filosofía de Karl Jaspers Kant and (...) the transcendental method in the Karl Jaspers philosophy Portuondo Pajón, Gladys L. La creatio ex Nihilo y sus implicaciones fenomenológicas en Levitas La creatio ex Nihilo and it's phenomenology implications in Levinas Ramírez, Gustavo ¿Qué significa meditar? What does it mean to meditate? Ramis Muscato, Pompeyo Sobre la violencia: Orígenes y antídoto Regarding violence: Origens and antidotes Vasquez, Eduardo Interdisciplinares Louis Kahn: Filosofía, arte y arquitectura Louis Kahn: Philosophy, arte and architecture Arellano Spinetti, Leonardo La oligarquía venezolana en el siglo XXI: Del estereotipo al anacronismo The Venezuelan oligarchy in the XXI century: From the stereotype to the anachronism Varela Manrique, Luz Coromoto Traducciones El arte de pensar Maurois, André Friedrich Nietzsche. 1844-1900. (shrink)
Abstract This paper reports the results obtained in an aid project designed to improve transport in the municipal area of Jocotán (Guatemala). The rural road network of an area occupied by indigenous people was analysed and a road chosen for repair using the labour-intensive method–something never done before in this area. The manpower required for the project was provided by the population that would benefit from the project; the involvement of outside contractors and businesses was avoided. All payment for labour (...) went into the pockets of the local people. The small earth movements made and the use of local materials guaranteed the project’s environmental sustainability, while the on-site training of the local community prepared its members for the continued maintenance of the road, thus investing the project with social sustainability. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-24 DOI 10.1007/s11948-011-9290-2 Authors Rodrigo Ares, BIPREE Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain José-María Fuentes, BIPREE Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain Eutiquio Gallego, BIPREE Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain Francisco Ayuga, BIPREE Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain Ana-Isabel García, BIPREE Research Group, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain Journal Science and Engineering Ethics Online ISSN 1471-5546 Print ISSN 1353-3452. (shrink)
For centuries, international trade has been seen as essential to the wealth and power of nations. More recently we have started to understand its problematic role as an engine of distributive justice. In this compelling book Frank J. Garcia proposes a new way to evaluate, construct and manage international trade - one that is based on norms of economic justice, comparative advantage and national interest. Garcia examines three ways to conceptualize the problem of trade and global justice, drawn from Rawlsian (...) liberalism, communitarianism and consent theory. These approaches illustrate specific issues of importance to the way global justice has been theorized, offering a pluralistic mode of arguing for global justice and highlighting the unique modes of discourse we employ when engaging with global justice and their implications for conceptualizing and arguing the problem. Garcia suggests a new direction for trade agreements built around truly consensual trade negotiations and the kind of international economic system they would structure. (shrink)
I first sketch an account of humility as a character trait in which we are unimpressed with our good, envied, or admired features, achievements, etc., where these lack significant salience for our image of ourselves, because of the greater prominence of our limitations and flaws. I situate this view among several other recent conceptions of humility (also called modesty), dividing them between the inward-directed and outward-directed, distinguish mine from them, pose problems for each alternative account, and show how my understanding (...) of humility captures truths present but exaggerated in several of them. Responding to some problems for my view, including what I call “Driver’s Paradox”(i.e., the strangeness of someone’s proclaiming ‘I’m humble!’), I suggest that some over-ambitious claims about our moral responsibilities may indicate a lack of proper humility. I discuss the relationship of the character trait of humility both to what humiliates and to what humbles, concluding with consideration of the background assumptions against which, and the circumstances in which, humility may reasonably be classified as a moral virtue. (shrink)
Recent neuroscientific evidence brings into question the conclusion that all aspects of consciousness are gone in patients who have descended into a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Here we summarize the evidence from human brain imaging as well as neurological damage in animals and humans suggesting that some form of consciousness can survive brain damage that commonly causes PVS. We also raise the issue that neuroscientific evidence indicates that raw emotional feelings (primary-process affects) can exist without any cognitive awareness of those (...) feelings. Likewise, the basic brain mechanisms for thirst and hunger exist in brain regions typically not damaged by PVS. If affective feelings can exist without cognitive awareness of those feelings, then it is possible that the instinctual emotional actions and pain "reflexes" often exhibited by PVS patients may indicate some level of mentality remaining in PVS patients. Indeed, it is possible such raw affective feelings are intensified when PVS patients are removed from life-supports. They may still experience a variety of primary-process affective states that could constitute forms of suffering. If so, withdrawal of life-support may violate the principle of nonmaleficence and be tantamount to inflicting inadvertent "cruel and unusual punishment" on patients whose potential distress, during the process of dying, needs to be considered in ethical decision-making about how such individuals should be treated, especially when their lives are ended by termination of life-supports. Medical wisdom may dictate the use of more rapid pharmacological forms of euthanasia that minimize distress than the de facto euthanasia of life-support termination that may lead to excruciating feelings of pure thirst and other negative affective feelings in the absence of any reflective awareness. (shrink)
On the traditional view, Butler maintains that forgiveness involves a kind of “conversion experience” in which we must forswear or let go of our resentment against wrongdoers. Against this reading, I argue that Butler never demands that we forswear resentment but only that we be resentful in the right kind of way. That is, he insists that we should be virtuously resentful, avoiding both too much resentment exhibited by the vices of malice and revenge and too little resentment where we (...) merely condone the wrongdoer and leave ourselves open to future injury. I argue that this Butlerian approach offers us a more attractive account of forgiveness as a “virtue” than many recent discussions. In the final section, I address Butler’s challenging thesis that forgiveness is an unconditional moral duty. I argue against those who claim that forgiveness is supererogatory (Kolnai/Calhoun) or else merely morally conditional and even morally blameworthy in some cases (Murphy/Hampton/Novitz/Richards). By contrast, I defend a context-sensitive account of forgiveness which recognizes that it takes place on many different levels. I conclude by taking up the difficult issue of whether anybody can be ultimately “unforgivable”, offering some Butlerian and Strawsonian reflections that might help mitigate our judgments about such matters. (shrink)
This article focuses on the follow question: Are human enhancement technologies likely to be justice impairing or justice promoting? We argue that human enhancement technologies may not be inherently just or unjust, but when situated within obtaining social contexts they are likely to exacerbate rather than alleviate social injustices.
In this paper, I discuss Colin McGinn’s claim that the mind is not miraculous but merely mysterious, and that this mystery is due to the limits of our cognitive faculties. To adequately present the flow and unity of McGinn’s overall argument, I offer an extended and uninterrupted précis of his case, followed by a critique. I will argue that McGinn’s argument is unsuccessful if it is intended to persuade non-naturalists, but nevertheless may be a plausible position for a naturalist, qua (...) naturalist, to take on the mind. (shrink)
This paper uses tools of philosophical analysis critically to examine accounts of the nature of racism that have recently been offered by writers including existentialist philosopher Lewis Gordon, conservative theorist Dinesh D'Souza, and sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant. These approaches, which conceive of racism either as a bad-faith choice to believe, a doctrine, or as a type of 'social formation', are found wanting for a variety of reasons, especially that they cannot comprehend some forms of racism. I propose an (...) account that conceives racism chiefly as a motivational/volitional matter, in short, as a form of moral viciousness. I show how this approach offers a unified account that comprises inter alia individual and institutional racism, expressed and unexpressed racism. I point out advantages that my view has over Thomas Schmid's somewhat similar suggestion, and use the account to examine a number of claims made about racism by H. L. Gates, Jr, Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, Gertrude Ezorsky, and others. Finally, I defend this approach from the general criticism that Benjamin DeMott has levelled against any effort so to understand racism. Key Words: Benjamin DeMott • Dinesh D'Souza • existentialism • Lewis Gordon • moral concepts • Michael Omi • racism • social formation • Howard Winant. (shrink)
The term 'therapeutic misconception' (TM) was introduced in 1982 to conceptualize how some psychiatry trial participants perceived and interpreted their involvement in research. TM has since been identified in many settings and is a major component in research ethics discussions. A qualitative study included a subgroup of interviews with five parents (two couples, one mother) who declined to enrol their baby in a neonatal trial. Analysis suggested the possibility of a counterpart to TM which, given the original terminology, we term (...) the 'injurious misconception' (IM). While TM is closely linked to the elision of care and research, and involves an over-stated sense of benefit and protection, IM may be a product of a particularly keen and discomforting sense of distinctions between care and research and a correspondingly over-stated sense of risk and threat. (shrink)
The experience of the last thirty years has shown that whether the different methodologies used in clinical ethics work well or not depends on certain external factors, such as the mentality with which they are used. This article aims to analyze two of these mentalities: the “dilemmatic” and the “problematic.” The former uses preferably the decision-making theory, whilst the latter emphasizes above all the role of deliberation. The author considers that Clinical Ethics must be deliberationist, and that only in this (...) context the different methodologies can be used correctly. (shrink)
This essay rebuts Gary Seay's efforts to show that committing euthanasia need not conflict with a physician's professional duties. First, I try to show how his misunderstanding of the correlativity of rights and duties and his discussion of the foundation of moral rights undermine his case. Second, I show aspects of physicians' professional duties that clash with euthanasia, and that attempts to avoid this clash lead to absurdities. For professional duties are best understood as deriving from professional virtues and the (...) commitments and purposes with which the professional as such ought to act, and there is no plausible way in which her death can be seen as advancing the patient's medical welfare. Third, I argue against Prof. Seay's assumption that apparent conflicts among professional duties must be resolved through "balancing" and argue that, while the physician's duty to extend life is continuous with her duty to protect health, any duty to relieve pain is subordinate to these. Finally, I show that what is morally determinative here, as throughout the moral life, is the agent's intention and that Prof. Seay's implicitly preferred consequentialism threatens not only to distort moral thinking but would altogether undermine the medical (and any other) profession and its internal ethics. (shrink)
We propose a revision operator on a stratified belief base, i.e., a belief base that stores beliefs in different strata corresponding to the value an agent assigns to these beliefs. Furthermore, the operator will be defined as to perform the revision in such a way that information is never lost upon revision but stored in a stratum or layer containing information perceived as having a lower value. In this manner, if the revision of one layer leads to the rejection of (...) some information to maintain consistency, instead of being withdrawn it will be kept and introduced in a different layer with lower value. Throughout this development we will follow the principle of minimal change, being one of the important principles proposed in belief change theory, particularly emphasized in the AGM model. Regarding the reasoning part from the stratified belief base, the agent will obtain the inferences using an argumentative formalism. Thus, the argumentation framework will decide which information prevails when sentences of different layers are used for entailing conflicting beliefs. We will also illustrate how inferences are changed and how the status of arguments can be modified after a revision process. (shrink)
In the 1970s, Alvin Plantinga made use of the Anselmian concept of God to develop a modal version of Anselm's ontological argument for God's existence. His definition describes the God of perfect-being theology as one that exists necessarily and is essentially omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect, and this definition has become standard in discussions about the nature and existence of the God of western theism. Hence, these discussions operate with a relatively thin conception of God, since many of the key (...) terms in the definition, including essential moral perfection, remain undefined. Philosophers find this attractive in some ways, since it permits an a priori approach to explicating the divine perfections. One drawback for the minimalist approach, however, is that it can impede the effort to connect philosophical theology with religious faith. This article discusses three major ways of modelling divine moral perfection and considers some of the major objections to the claim that God is necessarily morally perfect. (shrink)
In this paper, I elicit a number of ways in which, according to the Sartre of The Transcendence of the Ego, we can miss the truth about our own self or, more simply, about ourselves. In order to do that, I consider what I call “statements about one's own self,” that is, statements of the form “I ...” where the predicate of the statement is meant to express things that are true of what is evidently given in reflection. I argue (...) that, although statements about one's own self can, according to Sartre, be true on final philosophical analysis, there are at least three senses in which statements about one's own self can or do miss the truth, even when they are (by hypothesis) true. How they miss the truth depends on the different level of philosophical analysis at which we take Sartre to be working. (shrink)
The paper defends the thesis that for S to V intentionally is for S to V as (in the way) S intended to. For the normal agent the relevant sort of intention is an intention that one's intention to V generate an instance of one's V-ing along some (usually dimly-conceived) productive path. Such an account allows us to say some actions are intentional to a greater or lesser extent (a desirable option for certain cases of wayward causal chains), preserves the (...) intuitive link between intention and intentionally, and supports the common sense view that the concept of intending is more basic than those of acting with an intention and of acting intentionally. The remainder of the paper responds to certain apparent counter-examples offered by Audi, Harman, and Bratman. In the course of this, I discuss connections between intending to V and hoping to V, and I argue that one can intend to do what one doesn't expect to do, and that one always intends what one attempts. (shrink)
In contrast to most Western countries, routine offer of prenatal screening is considered problematic in the Netherlands. The main argument against offering it to every pregnant woman is that women would be brought into a moral dilemma when deciding whether to use screening or not. This paper explores whether the active offer of a prenatal screening test indeed confronts women with a moral dilemma. A qualitative study was developed, based on a randomised controlled trial that aimed to assess the decision-making (...) process of women when confronted with a test offer. A sample of 59 women was interviewed about the different factors balanced in decision-making. Participants felt themselves caught between a need for knowledge and their unwillingness to take on responsibility. Conflict was reported between wishes, preferences and ethical views regarding parenthood; however, women did not seem to be caught in a choice between two or more ethical principles. Participants balanced the interests of the family against that of the fetus in line with their values and their personal circumstances. Therefore, we conclude that they are not so much faced with an ethical dilemma as conflicting interests. We propose that caregivers should provide the opportunity for the woman to discuss her wishes and doubts to facilitate her decision. This approach would help women to assess the meaning of testing within their parental duties towards their unborn child and their current offspring. (shrink)
This article treats recent bioethical discussions of double effect reasoning (DER), offering a summary account of DER and construing it as rooted in a sensible view of what is central to someone's identity as a moral agent. It then treats objections raised in recent years by Judith Thomson, Alison McIntyre, and Frances Kamm against familiar ways of applying DER to certain controversies within medical ethics, especially, that over physician-assisted suicide. After detailing, interpreting, and attempting to rebut the challenges from these (...) philosophers, who are especially interesting because their criticisms of DER come from allies in DER's struggle against consequentialist reasoning, the essay engages DER's contribution to a recent dispute over treatment of patients in what is called ‘persistent vegetative state.' Near its end, the paper sketches several possible points of entry to DER and sources of justification for it. The essay concludes by indicating a connection between these paths and its opening idea of moral identity. (shrink)
Schelling’s late philosophy is characterized by its division of philosophy into a “negative” and a “positive” approach. After developing positive philosophy, Schelling goes back in his last work (Darstellung der reinrationalen Philosophie) to a negative philosophy that is to play a critical role within Schelling’s late system by showing pure rationally the limits of pure reason. This critical task requires the failure and crisis of negative philosophy. In the article, I show why Schelling understands his late negative project as a (...) radicalization of Kantian criticism, undertaken by recourse to Aristotle and his notion of actuality. By taking the Aristotelian inspiration into account, I propose a new way of understanding two problems of Schelling scholarship: the need for a late negative philosophy, and the problem of the transition from negative into positive philosophy. (shrink)
There is an argument that has recently been deployed in favor of thinking that the mind is mostly (or even exclusively) composed of cognitive modules; an argument that draws from some ideas and concepts of evolutionary and of developmental biology. In a nutshell, the argument concludes that a mind that is massively composed of cognitive mechanisms that are cognitively modular (henceforth, c-modular) is more evolvable than a mind that is not c-modular (or that is scarcely c-modular), since a cognitive mechanism (...) that is c-modular is likely to be biologically modular (henceforth, b-modular), and b-modular characters are more evolvable (e.g., Sperber 2002, Carruthers 2005). In evolutionary biology, the evolvability of a character in an organism is understood as the “organism’s capacity to facilitate the generation of non-lethal selectable phenotypic variation from random mutation” with respect to that character. Here I will argue that the notion of cognitive modularity needed to make this argument plausible will have to be understood in terms of the biological notion of variational independence; that is, it will have to be understood in such a way that a cognitive feature is c-modular only if few or no other morphological changes (cognitive and not) are significantly correlated with variations of that feature arising in members of the relevant population. I will also argue that all –except for (possibly) one—of the connotations contained in a cluster of notions of cognitive modularity widely accepted in some of the mainstream currents of thought in classical cognitive science, are simply irrelevant to the argument. In order to argue for this, I will have to examine the question as to whether there are any strong theoretical connections between (1) those connotations and (2) notions of modularity accepted in biology, specially in evolutionary and in developmental biology, that are thought to be most relevant to arguments to the effect that biological modularity enhances evolvability. (shrink)
On 5 August 1968, publication of the Harvard Committee’s report on the subject of “irreversible coma” established a standard for diagnosing death on neurological grounds. On the same day, the 22nd World Medical Assembly met in Sydney, Australia, and announced the Declaration of Sydney, a pronouncement on death, which is less often quoted because it was overshadowed by the impact of the Harvard Report. To put those events into present-day perspective, the authors reviewed all papers published on this subject and (...) the World Medical Association web page and documents, and corresponded with Dr A G Romualdez, the son of Dr A Z Romualdez. There was vast neurological expertise among some of the Harvard Committee members, leading to a comprehensible and practical clinical description of the brain death syndrome and the way to diagnose it. This landmark account had a global medical and social impact on the issue of human death, which simultaneously lessened reception of the Declaration of Sydney. Nonetheless, the Declaration of Sydney faced the main conceptual and philosophical issues on human death in a bold and forthright manner. This statement differentiated the meaning of death at the cellular and tissue levels from the death of the person. This was a pioneering view on the discussion of human death, published as early as in 1968, that should be recognised by current and future generations. (shrink)