Conventional and well-established guidelines for the ethical conduct of clinical research are necessary but not sufficient for addressing research dilemmas related to public health research. There is a particular need for a public health ethics framework when, in the face of an epidemic, research is urgently needed to promote the common good. While there is limited experience in the use of a public health ethics framework, the value and potential of such an approach is increasingly being appreciated. Here we use (...) two examples of adolescent women as potential candidates for participation in microbicide trials to illustrate how ethical decisions for public health research can be enhanced by drawing on both traditional research ethics guidance, and the emerging framework for public health ethics. (shrink)
South Asian regional integration is seemingly confronting many challenges. The aim of this paper is to identify those challenges and also look for prospects. Although regional integration in South Asia has adopted a kind of institutionalization, it is yet to deliver any concrete outcomes. High-politics and the not-so-conducive regional economic structures hinder any effectual culmination. However, constructivism, as a theory, is given due credence in this paper when looking for future prospects. The paper highlights the issues, and attempts to offer (...) certain policy directions by analyzing the challenges and identifying the prospects in the on-going integration/cooperation process. (shrink)
Versuch eines pragmatischen Empirismus Karim Bschir. vom Rationalismus abzugrenzen, welcher neben der Erfahrung auch die reine Verstandestätigkeit als Erkenntnisquelle zulässt. Auf der anderen Seite benutzt man „Empirismus“ bzw.
On one popular view, the general covariance of gravity implies that change is relational in a strong sense, such that all it is for a physical degree of freedom to change is for it to vary with regard to a second physical degree of freedom. At a quantum level, this view of change as relative variation leads to a fundamentally timeless formalism for quantum gravity. Here, we will show how one may avoid this acute ‘problem of time’. Under our view, (...) duration is still regarded as relative, but temporal succession is taken to be absolute. Following our approach, which is presented in more formal terms in, it is possible to conceive of a genuinely dynamical theory of quantum gravity within which time, in a substantive sense, remains. 1 Introduction1.1 The problem of time1.2 Our solution2 Understanding Symmetry2.1 Mechanics and representation2.2 Freedom by degrees2.3 Voluntary redundancy3 Understanding Time3.1 Change and order3.2 Quantization and succession4 Time and Gravitation4.1 The two faces of classical gravity4.2 Retaining succession in quantum gravity5 Discussion5.1 Related arguments5.2 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Since the publication of Clark and Chalmers' Extended Mind paper, the central claims of that paper, viz. the thesis that cognitive processes and cognitive or mental states extend beyond the brain and body, have been vigorously debated within philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science. Both defenders and detractors of these claims have since marshalled an impressive battery of arguments for and against “active externalism.” However, despite the amount of philosophical energy expended, this debate remains far from settled. We (...) argue that this debate can be understood as answering two metaphysical questions. Yet prominent voices within the debate have assumed that there is a tight relationship between these two questions such that one question can be answered via the other. We defend an alternative ‘wide’ view, whereby mentality is understood as constituted by wide social and cultural factors. Our wide view entails that the two metaphysical questions are separate and should be kept distinct. This suggests that active externalism as understood by prominent voices within that debate requires dissolution, rather than solution. However, if the debate were instead understood as only focusing on the second of the two questions, then there could be a possible future for this debate. (shrink)
We propose a solution to the problem of time for systems with a single global Hamiltonian constraint. Our solution stems from the observation that, for these theories, conventional gauge theory methods fail to capture the full classical dynamics of the system and must therefore be deemed inappropriate. We propose a new strategy for consistently quantizing systems with a relational notion of time that does capture the full classical dynamics of the system and allows for evolution parametrized by an equitable internal (...) clock. This proposal contains the minimal temporal structure necessary to retain the ordering of events required to describe classical evolution. In the context of shape dynamics (an equivalent formulation of general relativity that is locally scale invariant and free of the local problem of time) our proposal can be shown to constitute a natural methodology for describing dynamical evolution in quantum gravity and to lead to a quantum theory analogous to the Dirac quantization of unimodular gravity. (shrink)
Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...) by Ellis. (shrink)
We develop a formal semantic analysis of the alarm calls used by Campbell’s monkeys in the Tai forest and on Tiwai island —two sites that differ in the main predators that the monkeys are exposed to. Building on data discussed in Ouattara et al. :e7808, 2009a; PNAS 106: 22026–22031, 2009b and Arnold et al., we argue that on both sites alarm calls include the roots krak and hok, which can optionally be affixed with -oo, a kind of attenuating suffix; in (...) addition, sentences can start with boom boom, which indicates that the context is not one of predation. In line with Arnold et al., we show that the meaning of the roots is not quite the same in Tai and on Tiwai: krak often functions as a leopard alarm call in Tai, but as a general alarm call on Tiwai. We develop models based on a compositional semantics in which concatenation is interpreted as conjunction, roots have lexical meanings, -oo is an attenuating suffix, and an all-purpose alarm parameter is raised with each individual call. The first model accounts for the difference between Tai and Tiwai by way of different lexical entries for krak. The second model gives the same underspecified entry to krak in both locations, but it makes use of a competition mechanism akin to scalar implicatures. In Tai, strengthening yields a meaning equivalent to non-aerial dangerous predator and turns out to single out leopards. On Tiwai, strengthening yields a nearly contradictory meaning due to the absence of ground predators, and only the unstrengthened meaning is used. (shrink)
Econophysics is a new and exciting cross-disciplinary research field that applies models and modelling techniques from statistical physics to economic systems. It is not, however, without its critics: prominent figures in more mainstream economic theory have criticised some elements of the methodology of econophysics. One of the main lines of criticism concerns the nature of the modelling assumptions and idealisations involved, and a particular target are `kinetic exchange' approaches used to model the emergence of inequality within the distribution of individual (...) monetary income. This paper will consider such models in detail, and assess the warrant of the criticisms drawing upon the philosophical literature on modelling and idealisation. Our aim is to provide the first steps towards informed mediation of this important and interesting interdisciplinary debate, and our hope is to offer guidance with regard to both the practice of modelling inequality, and the inequality of modelling practice. (shrink)
We propose an operator constraint equation for the wavefunction of the Universe that admits genuine evolution. While the corresponding classical theory is equivalent to the canonical decomposition of General Relativity, the quantum theory contains an evolution equation distinct from standard Wheeler–DeWitt cosmology. Furthermore, the local symmetry principle—and corresponding observables—of the theory have a direct interpretation in terms of a conventional gauge theory, where the gauge symmetry group is that of spatial conformal diffeomorphisms (that preserve the spatial volume of the Universe). (...) The global evolution is in terms of an arbitrary parameter that serves only as an unobservable label for successive states of the Universe. Our proposal follows unambiguously from a suggestion of York whereby the independently specifiable initial data in the action principle of General Relativity is given by a conformal geometry and the spatial average of the York time on the spacelike hypersurfaces that bound the variation. Remarkably, such a variational principle uniquely selects the form of the constraints of the theory so that we can establish a precise notion of both symmetry and evolution in quantum gravity. (shrink)
The `problem of time' is a cluster of interpretational and formal issues in the foundations of general relativity relating to both the representation of time in the classical canonical formalism, and to the quantization of the theory. The purpose of this short chapter is to provide an accessible introduction to the problem.
This article will explore a problem which is related to our moral obligations towards species. Although the re-creation of extinct animals has been discussed to some degree both in lay deliberations as well as by scientists, advocates tend to emphasize the technological and scientific value of such an endeavour, and the “coolness” factor, 32–33, 2013). This article will provide an argument in favour of re-creation based on normative considerations. The environmentalist community generally accepts that it is wrong to exterminate species, (...) for reasons beyond any instrumental value these species may have. It is often also claimed that humanity has a collective responsibility to either preserve or at least to not exterminate species. These two beliefs are here assumed to be correct. The argument presented here departs from and places these two ideas in a deontological framework, from which it is argued that when humanity causes the extinction of a species, this is a moral transgression, entailing a residual obligation. Such an obligation implies a positive duty to mitigate any harm caused by our moral failure. In light of recent scientific progress in the field of genetic engineering, it will be argued that humanity has a prima facie obligation to re-create species whose extinction mankind may have caused, also known as de-extinction. (shrink)
We claim that, as it stands, the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett approach to quantum theory is conceptually incoherent. This charge is based upon the approach’s reliance upon decoherence arguments that conflict with its own fundamental precepts regarding probabilistic reasoning in two respects. This conceptual conflict obtains even if the decoherence arguments deployed are aimed merely towards the establishment of certain ‘emergent’ or ‘robust’ structures within the wave function: To be relevant to physical science notions such as robustness must be empirically grounded, and, on (...) our analysis, this grounding can only plausibly be done in precisely the probabilistic terms that lead to conceptual conflict. Thus, the incoherence problems presented necessitate either the provision of a new, non-probabilistic empirical grounding for the notions of robustness and emergence in the context of decoherence, or the abandonment of the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett programme for quantum theory. (shrink)
We present a novel procedure to engage the public in ethical deliberations on the potential impacts of brain machine interface technology. We call this procedure a convergence seminar, a form of scenario-based group discussion that is founded on the idea of hypothetical retrospection. The theoretical background of this procedure and the results of five seminars are presented.
In this article we argue for the existence of ‘analogue simulation’ as a novel form of scientific inference with the potential to be confirmatory. This notion is distinct from the modes of analogical reasoning detailed in the literature, and draws inspiration from fluid dynamical ‘dumb hole’ analogues to gravitational black holes. For that case, which is considered in detail, we defend the claim that the phenomena of gravitational Hawking radiation could be confirmed in the case that its counterpart is detected (...) within experiments conducted on diverse realizations of the analogue model. A prospectus is given for further potential cases of analogue simulation in contemporary science. 1 Introduction2 Physical Background2.1 Hawking radiation in semi-classical gravity2.2 Modelling sound in fluids2.3 The acoustic analogue model of Hawking radiation3 Simulation and Analogy in Physical Theory3.1 Analogical reasoning and analogue simulation3.2 Confirmation via analogue simulation3.3 Recapitulation4 The Sound of Silence: Analogical Insights into Gravity4.1 Experimental realization of analogue models4.2 Universality and the Hawking effect4.3 Confirmation of gravitational Hawking radiation5 Prospectus. (shrink)
A fundamental tenet of Paul Feyerabend’s pluralistic view of science has it that theory proliferation, that is, the availability of theoretical alternatives, is of crucial importance for the detection of anomalies in established theories. Paul Hoyningen-Huene calls this the Anomaly Importation Thesis, according to which anomalies are imported, as it were, into well-established theories from competing alternatives. This article pursues two major objectives: (a) to work out the systematic details of Feyerabend’s ideas on theory proliferation and anomaly import as they (...) are presented in his early publications and his Against Method and (b) to compare Feyerabend’s ideas on theory proliferation and anomaly import with corresponding features in Popper’s critical rationalist philosophy of science. As it turns out, neither the Principle of Proliferation nor the Anomaly Importation Thesis are necessarily incompatible with critical rationalism. In spite of Feyerabend’s general anti-Popperian attitude, I argue that theoretical pluralism can be seen as an advancement of the critical rationalist philosophy and that critical rationalism provides good arguments for pluralism. (shrink)
The ontic structural realist stance is motivated by a desire to do philosophical justice to the success of science, whilst withstanding the metaphysical undermining generated by the various species of ontological underdetermination. We are, however, as yet in want of general principles to provide a scaffold for the explicit construction of structural ontologies. Here we will attempt to bridge this gap by utilizing the formal procedure of quantization as a guide to ontic structure of modern physical theory. The example of (...) non-relativistic particle mechanics will be considered and, for that case, it will be shown that a viable candidate for an ontic structural realism framework can be constituted in terms of the combination of a state-space with Poisson bracket structure, and a set of observables, with Lie algebra structure. 1 Introduction2 Formulation Underdetermination and Structural Ontologies3 Quantization and Structural Ontologies4 The Case of Non-relativistic Particle Mechanics4.1 Formulation underdetermination4.2 The classical ontology4.3 Quantum theory and the generalized structural ontology4.4 Interpretation of results5 Conclusion and Prospects. (shrink)
Brain machine interface (BMI) technology makes direct communication between the brain and a machine possible by means of electrodes. This paper reviews the existing and emerging technologies in this field and offers a systematic inquiry into the relevant ethical problems that are likely to emerge in the following decades.
The analysis of the temporal structure of canonical general relativity and the connected interpretational questions with regard to the role of time within the theory both rest upon the need to respect the fundamentally dual role of the Hamiltonian constraints found within the formalism. Any consistent philosophical approach towards the theory must pay dues to the role of these constraints in both generating dynamics, in the context of phase space, and generating unphysical symmetry transformations, in the context of a hypersurface (...) embedded within a solution. A first denial of time in the terms of a position of reductive temporal relationalism can be shown to be troubled by failure on the first count, and a second denial in the terms of Machian temporal relationalism can be found to be hampered by failure on the second. A third denial of time, consistent with both of the Hamiltonian constraints roles, is constituted by the implementation of a scheme for constructing observables in terms of correlations and leads to a radical Parmenidean timelessness. The motivation for and implications of each of these three denials are investigated. (shrink)
Starting from a generalized Hamilton-Jacobi formalism, we develop a new framework for constructing observables and their evolution in theories invariant under global time reparametrizations. Our proposal relaxes the usual Dirac prescription for the observables of a totally constrained system and allows one to recover the influential partial and complete observables approach in a particular limit. Difficulties such as the non-unitary evolution of the complete observables in terms of certain partial observables are explained as a breakdown of this limit. Identification of (...) our observables relies upon a physical distinction between gauge symmetries that exist at the level of histories and states, and those that exist at the level of histories and not states. This distinction resolves a tension in the literature concerning the physical interpretation of the partial observables and allows for a richer class of observables in the quantum theory. There is the potential for the application of our proposal to the quantization of gravity when understood in terms of the Shape Dynamics formalism. (shrink)
Although the biological bases of forgetting remain obscure, the consensus among cognitive psychologists emphasizes interference processes, rejecting decay in accounting for memory loss. In contrast to this view, recent advances in understanding the neurobiology of long-term memory maintenance lead us to propose that a brain-wide well-regulated decay process, occurring mostly during sleep, systematically removes selected memories. Down-regulation of this decay process can increase the life expectancy of a memory and may eventually prevent its loss. Memory interference usually occurs during certain (...) active processing phases, such as encoding and retrieval, and will be stronger in brain areas with minimal sensory integration and less pattern separation. In areas with efficient pattern separation, such as the hippocampus, interference-driven forgetting will be minimal, and, consequently, decay will cause most forgetting. (shrink)
In an illuminating article, Claus Beisbart argues that the recently-popular thesis that the probabilities of statistical mechanics (SM) are Best System chances runs into a serious obstacle: there is no one axiomatization of SM that is robustly best, as judged by the theoretical virtues of simplicity, strength, and fit. Beisbart takes this 'no clear winner' result to imply that the probabilities yielded by the competing axiomatizations simply fail to count as Best System chances. In this reply, we express sympathy for (...) the 'no clear winner' thesis. However, we argue that an importantly different moral should be drawn from this. We contend that the implication for Humean chances is not that there are no SM chances, but rather that SM chances fail to be sharp. (shrink)
The professions have focused considerable attention on developing codes of conduct. Despite their efforts there is considerable controversy regarding the propriety of professional codes of ethics. Many provisions of professional codes seem to exacerbate disputes between the profession and the public rather than providing a framework that satisfies the public''s desire for moral behavior.After examining three professional codes, we divide the provisions of professional codes into those provisions which urge professionals to avoid moral hazard, maintain professional courtesy and serve the (...) public interest. We note that whereas provisions urging the avoidance of moral hazard are uncontroversial, the public is suspicious of provisions protecting professional courtesy. Public interest provisions are controversial when the public and the profession disagree as to what is in the public interest. Based on these observations, we conclude with recommendations regarding the content of professional codes. (shrink)
Embodied and extended cognition is a relatively new paradigm within cognitive science that challenges the basic tenet of classical cognitive science, viz. cognition consists in building and manipulating internal representations. Some of the pioneers of embodied cognitive science have claimed that this new way of conceptualizing cognition puts pressure on epistemological and ontological realism. In this paper I will argue that such anti-realist conclusions do not follow from the basic assumptions of radical embodied cognitive science. Furthermore I will show that (...) one can develop a form of realism that reflects rather than just accommodates the core principles of non-representationalist embodied cognitive science. (shrink)
As we learn more about the human brain, novel biotechnological means to modulate human behaviour and emotional dispositions become possible. These technologies could be used to enhance our morality. Moral bioenhancement, an instance of human enhancement, alters a person’s dispositions, emotions or behaviour in order to make that person more moral. I will argue that moral bioenhancement could be carried out in three different ways. The first strategy, well known from science fiction, is behavioural enhancement. The second strategy, favoured by (...) prominent defenders of moral bioenhancement, is emotional enhancement. The third strategy is the enhancement of moral dispositions, such as empathy and inequity aversion. I will argue that we ought to implement a combination of the second and third strategies. Furthermore, I will argue that the usual arguments against other instances of human enhancement do not apply to moral bioenhancement, or apply only to the first strategy, behavioural enhancement. (shrink)
A complex brain network, centered on the hippocampus, supports episodic memories throughout their lifetimes. Classically, upon memory encoding during active behavior, hippocampal activity is dominated by theta oscillations (6-10Hz). During inactivity, hippocampal neurons burst synchronously, constituting sharp waves, which can propagate to other structures, theoretically supporting memory consolidation. This 'two-stage' model has been updated by new data from high-density electrophysiological recordings in animals that shed light on how information is encoded and exchanged between hippocampus, neocortex and subcortical structures such as (...) the striatum. Cell assemblies (tightly related groups of cells) discharge together and synchronize across brain structures orchestrated by theta, sharp waves and slow oscillations, to encode information. This evolving dynamical schema is key to extending our understanding of memory processes. (shrink)
According to agency theory, agents base their economic decisions on self-interests when adverse selection conditions exist. However, cognitive moral development theory predicts that ethics/morals may influence decision-makers not to behave egoistically. Rutledge and Karim (1999; Accounting, Organizations and Society 24(2), 173–184) find both the moral reasoning level of the managers and an adverse selection condition affect a manager’s project evaluation decisions significantly. Since prior studies have shown that national␣culture might influence the application of agency theory in project evaluation, this (...) current study uses a different moral development measurement to reexamine Rutledge and Karim’s hypotheses in another culture. A total of 73 Taiwanese executive MBA students with an average of 12.17 years work experience participated in this study. We found that both moral development level and adverse selection conditions significantly affect managers’ project continuance decisions. The interaction effect of these two factors indicates that, when adverse selection conditions exist, participants with a high level of moral development exhibit less of a tendency to continue an unprofitable project than those with a low level of moral development. With subjects from a different culture, our results confirm the findings of Rutldege and Karim. That is, the effects of moral development and adverse selection conditions on managers’ project continuance decisions are robust and can be generalized to different cultures. Implications of the findings of this study to multinational firms are also discussed. (shrink)