Although Caenorhabditis elegans was chosen and modified to be an organism that would facilitate a reductionist program for neurogenetics, recent research has provided evidence for properties that are emergent from the neurons. While neurogenetic advances have been made using C. elegans which may be useful in explaining human neurobiology, there are severe limitations on C. elegans to explain any significant human behavior.
Those who deny the usefulness of the concept of “motive” for psychology commonly bring two arguments in support of theirview. The first is that the whole notion of “motive” is “animistic” and “folklorish”, since a motive cannot be directly observed. The second is that “motives” cannot be accurately observed, and therefore are beyond the scope of scientific study, because they are “the secret of the agent”, and the agenthimself has no indubitable knowledge of his “motives”. In a recent article, Professor (...) MacIver defends the view that the imputation of “motives” is necessary to a complete explanation of behaviour. To the first of the above criticisms, he replies that such a view neglects a part of reality and that since “motives” exist they should be studied by psychology. This reply does nothing to demonstrate the necessity of imputing motives in order to obtain a complete explanation of behaviour. To the second criticism he replies “motives” are not the secret of the agent, and we can only assert that the agent has mistaken his “motive” if we can gain indepen-dent knowledge of it. We can do this, Professor MacIver asserts, by observing typical behaviour in typical circum-stances, and making inferences from the coherence of total situations. Professor MacIver's replies to the second of the above criticisms are valid only if “motive” is defined as equivalent to “need”, so that we can say “under such-and-such conditions, such-and-such behaviour occurs”. A statement of this type says nothing about the agent's awareness of his goal. When the term “consciousness” is carefully defined along the lines suggested by Boring, the methods of imputation described by Professor MacIver can be seen to lead us only to the agent's “drives”, or “needs”, defined without reference to the agent's awareness of his goal. Professor MacIver uses “motives” to mean “awareness of the goal”, but gives us no clue as to how they may be imputed, and adduces no proof that their imputation is necessary. A possible criterion of the presence of a “motive” is the degree of direction observable in the organism's varied reac-tions in response to frustration, though the more precise definition of such a criterion must await further experiment. In view of the ambiguity of the term “motive” and its penumbra of false suggestion, it is desirable that the term be dropped from psychology. (shrink)
The average male–female performance difference in the three sports of track athletics, swimming and time trial cycling are examined between the years 1948 and 1976. During this period females have gradually come to participate in a much larger number of events, particularly those of longer duration. In each of these three sports, women's performances in relation to men's have more or less continuously improved and it appears that if the changes between 1948 and 1976 are maintained, average female performance will (...) equal that of males for all events currently competed in by both sexes in these sports at some time during the next century. Estimates as to when, precisely, this will occur vary somewhat according to the basis on which the calculations are made. The other main change evident during these years is that in all three sports women's performances relative to men's for events of long duration have become as good or better than their relative performance at events of short duration. (shrink)
With disagreement, doubts, or ambiguous grounds in end–of-life decisions, doctors are advised to involve a clinical ethics committee. However, little has been published on doctors’ experiences with discussing an end-of-life decision in a CEC. As part of the quality assurance of this work, we wanted to find out if clinicians have benefited from discussing end-of-life decisions in CECs and why. We will disseminate some Norwegian doctors’ experiences when discussing end-of-life decisions in CECs, based on semi-structured interviews with fifteen Norwegian physicians (...) who had brought an end-of-life decision case to a CEC. Almost half of the cases involved conflicts with the patients’ relatives. In a majority of the cases, there was uncertainty about what would be the ethically preferable solution. Reasons for referring the case to the CEC were to get broader illumination of the case, to get perspective from people outside the team, to get advice, or to get moral backing on a decision already made. A great majority of the clinicians reported an overall positive experience with the CECs’ discussions. In cases where there was conflict, the clinicians reported less satisfaction with the CECs’ discussions. The study shows that most doctors who have used a CEC in an end-of-life decision find it useful to have ethical and/or legal aspects illuminated, and to have the dilemma scrutinized from a new perspective. A systematic discussion seems to be significant to the clinicians. (shrink)
Yoga is believed to have beneficial effects on cognition, attenuation of emotional intensity and stress reduction. Previous studies were mainly performed on eastern experienced practitioners or unhealthy subjects undergoing concomitant conventional therapies. Further investigation is needed on the effects of yoga per se, as well as its possible preventive benefits on healthy subjects. We investigated the effects of yoga on memory and psychophysiological parameters related to stress, comparing yoga practice and conventional physical exercises in healthy men . Memory tests, salivary (...) cortisol levels and stress, anxiety, and depression inventories were assessed before and after 6 months of practice. Yoga practitioners showed improvement of the memory performance, as well as improvements in psychophysiological parameters. The present results suggest that regular yoga practice can improve aspects of cognition and quality of life for healthy individuals. An indirect influence of emotional state on cognitive improvement promoted by yoga practice can be proposed. (shrink)
The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in 2006 was heralded as a major breakthrough in stem cell research. Since then, progress in iPS cell technology has paved the way towards clinical application, particularly cell replacement therapy, which has refueled debate on the ethics of stem cell research. However, much of the discourse has focused on questions of moral status and potentiality, overlooking the ethical issues which are introduced by the clinical testing of iPS cell replacement therapy. First-in-human trials, (...) in particular, raise a number of ethical concerns including informed consent, subject recruitment and harm minimisation as well as the inherent uncertainty and risks which are involved in testing medical procedures on humans for the first time. These issues, while a feature of any human research, become more complex in the case of iPS cell therapy, given the seriousness of the potential risks, the unreliability of available animal models, the vulnerability of the target patient group, and the high stakes of such an intensely public area of science. Our paper will present a detailed case study of iPS cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease to highlight these broader ethical and epistemological concerns. If we accept that iPS cell technology is fraught with challenges which go far beyond merely refuting the potentiality of the stem cell line, we conclude that iPS cell research should not replace, but proceed alongside embryonic and adult somatic stem cell research to promote cross-fertilisation of knowledge and better clinical outcomes. (shrink)
What is philosophy of mathematics and what is it about? The most popular answer, I suppose, to this question would be that philosophers should provide a justification for our presently most cherished mathematical theories and for the most important tool to develop such theories, namely logico-mathematical proof. In fact, it does cover a large part of the activity of philosophers that think about mathematics. Discussions about the merits and faults of classical logic versus one or other ‘deviant’ logics as the (...) logical basis for mathematical theories, ranging from intuitionist over modal logic to paraconsistent logic, typically belong to this area, as do debates about the natural-number concept, its ‘nature’, its properties, especially its uniqueness, and so on. No doubt sociologists of knowledge could explain why philosophers of mathematics came to select these particular problems and deal with them the way they do. What it does imply, however, is that the question is meaningful whether different kinds of philosophies of mathematics are possible, and—why not?—perhaps even desirable. To a certain extent, the answer is trivial: look at what, e.g., phenomenologists have to say about mathematics and you must notice it does not fit into the scheme sketched above.1 Rather, the question should be whether there are forms that, on the one hand, reinterpret the whole enterprise, and, on the other hand, somehow remain related to the work of ‘mainstream’ philosophers of mathematics today.The book under review here does precisely that. Let me be a bit more precise. The general proposal, present throughout all the contributions, is that even at a first, superficial, glance at what mathematicians do when they do mathematics, it is far more complex than ‘just thinking about and …. (shrink)
Level statistics and nodal point distribution in a rectangular semiconductor quantum dot are studied for different degrees of spin-orbit coupling. The chaotic features occurring from the spin-orbit coupling have no classical counterpart. Using experimental values for GaSb/InAs/GaSb semiconductor quantum wells we find that level repulsion can lead to the semi-Poisson distribution for nearest level separations. Nodal lines and nodal points are also investigated. Comparison is made with nodal point distributions for fully chaotic states.
Some men can obtain hundred years or more, but the grounds are as yet unknown. Till now medical research has given no specific clues. Intensive consideration shows that life under quite natural (no longer found), not too hard social and climatic conditions (more maritime than arid) and in mountainous regions is decisive. It is clear that few territories of the earth come into consideration. The specific mental situation of mountain dwellers which contrasts in important points to that of the inhabitants (...) of flat country, plays a decisive part. (shrink)