The majority of studies on absorptive capacity underscore the importance of absorbing technological knowledge from other firms to create economic value. However, to preserve moral legitimacy and create social value, firms must also discern and adapt to societal values. A comparative case study of eight firms in the food industry reveals how organizations prioritize and operationalize the societal value health in product innovation while navigating inter- and intravalue conflicts. The value-sensitive framework induced in this article extends AC by explaining how (...) technically savvy, economic value–creating firms diverge in their receptivity, articulation, and reflexivity of societal values. (shrink)
In recent years CL diagrams inspired by Lange’s Cubus Logicus have been used in various contexts of diagrammatic reasoning. However, whether CL diagrams can also be used as a formal system seemed questionable. We present a CL diagram as a formal system, which is a fragment of propositional logic. Syntax and semantics are presented separately and a variant of bitstring semantics is applied to prove soundness and completeness of the system.
Drawing the line on physician assistance in physician-assisted death continues to be a contentious issue in many legal jurisdictions across the USA, Canada and Europe. PAD is a medical practice that occurs when physicians either prescribe or administer lethal medication to their patients. As more legal jurisdictions establish PAD for at least some class of patients, the question of the proper scope of this practice has become pressing. This paper presents an argument for restricting PAD to the terminally ill that (...) can be accepted by defenders as well as critics of PAD for the terminally ill. The argument appeals to fairness-based paternalism and the social meaning of medical practice. These two considerations interact in various ways, as the paper explains. The right way to think about the social meaning of medical practice bears on fair paternalism as it relates to PAD and vice versa. The paper contends that these considerations have substantial force when directed against proposals to extend PAD to non-terminally ill patients, but considerably less force when directed against PAD for the terminally ill. The paper pays special attention to the case of non-terminally ill patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression, as these patients present a potentially strong case for extending PAD beyond the terminally ill. (shrink)
: Background: In responsible research and innovation (RRI), innovation is seen as a way in which humankind finds solutions for societal issues. However, studies on commercial innovation show that firms respond in a different manner and at a different speed to the same societal issue. This study investigates what role organizational motives play in the product innovation processes of firms when aiming for socially responsible outcomes. Methods: This multiple-case study investigates the motives of food firms for healthier product innovation by (...) interviewing firms about the organizational motives behind product reformulation and innovation. Results: This study highlights the importance of having both instrumental and moral motives in the innovation process when aiming for socially responsible outcomes, and how both these motives interact and contribute to responsible innovation in industry. Furthermore, the study results question the nature of relational motives as a separate category from the other two categories of motives, as suggested by corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholars. Conclusions: If commercial innovation needs to contribute to solutions for societal issues, the importance of moral motives has to be stressed without annihilating the instrumental objectives of firms. Both motives contribute to the success factors of responsible product innovation in industry. (shrink)
Unrealistic optimism is a bias that leads people to believe, with respect to a specific event or hazard, that they are more likely to experience positive outcomes and/or less likely to experience negative outcomes than similar others. The phenomenon has been seen in a range of health-related contexts—including when prospective participants are presented with the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial. In order to test for the prevalence of unrealistic optimism among participants of early-phase oncology trials, we (...) conducted a survey with patients over 18 years of age who were enrolled in a phase I, phase I/II, or phase II clinical cancer trial in the New York City area between August 2008 and October 2009. Participants in our study were asked to compare their own chances of experiencing a range of risks and benefits related to the trial they were enrolled in with the chances of the other trial participants. We found a significant optimistic bias in their responses. Respondents tended to overestimate the benefits of the trial they were enrolled in and underestimate its risks. In addition, we found no significant relationship between respondents’ understanding of the trial’s purpose and how susceptible they were to unrealistic optimism. Our findings suggest that improving the consent process for oncology studies requires more than addressing deficits in understanding. (shrink)
In order to develop the ontology of tendencies for use in the representation of medical knowledge, tendencies are compared with other kinds of entities possessing the realizable-realization structure, specifically: dispositions, propensities, abilities and virtues. The peculiarities of tendencies are discussed and a standard schema of tendency ascription is developed in order to represent the relations between the ascriptions of tendency tokens to particulars and the ascriptions of tendency types to universals. Two nonstandard cases and their epistemic variants are discussed.
Is a bank note identical with the piece of paper of which it consists? On the one hand, John Searle, in his reply to Barry Smith, suggests that they are “one and the same object” that is a social or non-social object only under certain descriptions. On the other hand, Lynne Rudder Baker puts forward the claim that bank note and paper are distinct entities that are bound together by the relation of material constitution. I suggest two possible analyses for (...) Searle’s description relativity claim, the Alternative Subject Analysis and the Predicate Modification Analysis. On both accounts his identity claim gets into serious trouble. While Baker’s definition of material constitution deals well with the bank note example, it fails to account for the constitution of bearerless social entities and groups. I point out five respects in which social constitution can differ from Baker’s account of material constitution and discuss compositional, institutional and interactional constitution as additional varieties of social constitution. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend the ethics of clinical research against the charge of paternalism. We do so not by denying that the ethics of clinical research is paternalistic, but rather by defending the legitimacy of paternalism in this context. Our aim is not to defend any particular set of paternalistic restrictions, but rather to make a general case for the permissibility of paternalistic restrictions in this context. Specifically, we argue that there is no basic liberty-right to participate in clinical (...) research and that considerations of distributive fairness justify some paternalistic protections of research subjects. (shrink)
It is often claimed that the intentions of physicians are multiple, ambiguous, and uncertain—at least with respect to end-of-life care. This claim provides support for the conclusion that the principle of double effect is of little or no value as a guide to end-of-life pain management. This paper critically discusses this claim. It argues that proponents of the claim fail to distinguish two different senses of “intention,” and that, as a result, they are led to exaggerate the extent to which (...) clinical intentions in end-of-life contexts are ambiguous and uncertain. It argues further that physicians, like others who make life and death decisions, have a duty to get clear on what their intentions are. Finally, it argues that even if the principle of double effect should be rejected, clinical intentions remain ethically significant because they condition the meaning of extraordinary clinical interventions, such as that of palliative sedation. (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed a growing concern that terminally illpatients are needlessly suffering in the dying process. This has ledto demands that physicians become more attentive in the assessment ofsuffering and that they treat their patients as `whole persons.'' Forthe most part, these demands have not fallen on deaf ears. It is nowwidely accepted that the relief of suffering is one of the fundamentalgoals of medicine. Without question this is a positive development.However, while the importance of treating suffering has generally (...) beenacknowledged, insufficient attention has been paid to the question ofwhether different types of terminal suffering require differnt responsesfrom health care professionals. In this paper we introduce a distinctionbetween two types of suffering likely to be present at the end of life,and we argue that physicians must distinguish between these types if theyare to respond appropriately to the suffering of their terminally illpatients. After introducing this distinction and explaining its basis,we further argue that the distinction informs a (novel) principle ofproportionality, one that should guide physicians in balancing theircompeting obligations in responding to terminal suffering. As weexplain, this principle is justified by reference to the intereststerminally ill patients have in restoration, as well as in therelief of suffering, at the end of life. (shrink)
The ethical standards that regulate clinical research have multiple rationales. Among them is the need to protect potential subjects from making imprudent decisions, which extends beyond the soft paternalistic concern to protect people from making uninformed decisions to participate in trials. This article argues that a plausible risk/benefit restriction on clinical trials is presumptively justified by hard paternalism, which in turn is supported by a deeper fairness-based rationale. This presumptive case for hard paternalism in research is not defeated by the (...) alleged right to participate in clinical trials, by concerns about insult or status, by the need to conduct early phase trials that promise little to no benefit to participants, or by the recognition that some potential subjects are altruistically motivated. (shrink)
Researchers and ethicists have long been concerned about the expectations for direct medical benefit expressed by participants in early phase clinical trials. Early work on the issue considered the possibility that participants misunderstand the purpose of clinical research or that they are misinformed about the prospects for medical benefit from these trials. Recently, however, attention has turned to the possibility that research participants are simply expressing optimism or hope about their participation in these trials. The ethical significance of this therapeutic (...) optimism remains unclear. This paper argues that there are two distinct phenomena that can be associated with the term ‘therapeutic optimism’—one is ethically benign and the other is potentially worrisome. Distinguishing these two phenomena is crucial for understanding the nature and ethical significance of therapeutic optimism. The failure to draw a distinction between these phenomena also helps to explain why different writers on the topic often speak past one another. (shrink)
Being an "untimely review", this paper reviews Aristotle's 'Categories' as if they were published today, in the era of computerised information, where categorisation becomes more and more essential for information retrieval. I suggest a systematic ordering of Aristotle's list of categories and argue that Aristotle's discussion of ontological dependency and his focus on concrete entities are still a source of new insight and can indeed be read as a contribution to the emerging field of applied ontology and ontological engineering.
Functional explanations apply not only in cases of normal functioning, but also in the case of malfunctioning. According to a straightforward analysis, a bearer of the function to F is malfunctioning if and only if it does not F although it should do so. This makes malfunctions and malfunctionings analogous to negative causation and thus peculiarly problematic, because they seem to involve absent dispositions and absent processes. This analysis seems also to require that the function to F cannot be identical (...) with the disposition to F. Then we seem to be trapped in a dilemma: Either the realm of functions is separated from the realm of dispositions; then it seems that functions cannot be causally efficacious. Alternatively, functions are considered to be identical with dispositions; but then malfunctioning seems to be conceptually impossible. The paper defends and further develops the thesis of Röhl and Jansen that functions are not a special type of dispositions. For this purpose, it first reviews different varieties of malfunction and malfunctioning and suggests definitions of both malfunction and malfunctioning. It reviews how causal, etiological and intentional theories of functions can deal with these problems. In particular, the paper discusses the special-disposition account of the Basic Formal Ontology. Spear, Ceusters and Smith :103--128, 2016) have defended the special-disposition account of the Basic Formal Ontology by suggesting various strategies how a special-disposition account can deal with malfunctions. On the one side, the paper evaluates these strategies and indicates several problems arising from them. On the other hand, it describes how to account for the non-optionality and the causal efficacy of functions, if functions are not dispositions. While function types are not identical to disposition types, there are important interrelations between functions and dispositions, namely heuristically, from a design perspective for artefact functions, and from an evolutionary perspective for types of biological functions. (shrink)
It has long been a standard practice for the natural sciences to classify things. Thus, it is no wonder that, for two and a half millennia, philosophers have been reflecting on classifications, from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary philosophy of science. Some of the results of these reflections will be presented in this chapter. I will start by discussing a parody of a classification, namely: the purportedly ancient Chinese classification of animals described by Jorge Luis Borges. I will show that (...) many of the mistakes that account for the comic features of this parody appear in real-life scientific databases as well. As examples of the latter, I will discuss the terminology database of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the United States, the NCI Thesaurus. (shrink)
Statements about the behavior of biochemical entities (e.g., about the interaction between two proteins) abound in the literature on molecular biology and are increasingly becoming the targets of information extraction and text mining techniques. We show that an accurate analysis of the semantics of such statements reveals a number of ambiguities that have to be taken into account in the practice of biomedical ontology engineering: Such statements can not only be understood as event reporting statements, but also as ascriptions of (...) dispositions or tendencies that may or may not refer to collectives of interacting molecules or even to collectives of interaction events. (shrink)
The term “exploitation” has gained wide currency in recent discussions of biomedical and research ethics. This is due in no small measure to the influence of Alan Wertheimer’s path-breaking work on the topic (Wertheimer 1999, 2011). Wertheimer presented a clear and compelling non-Marxist account of the concept of exploitation—one that stressed the connection between exploitation and unfair distributive outcomes. On this account, when one party exploits another, she takes advantage of the other to gain unfairly. A number of contemporary bioethicists (...) have accepted Wertheimer’s account of exploitation and have proceeded to apply it to a range of issues in research ethics (Hawkins and Emanuel 2008; Miller and Brody .. (shrink)
Dispositions and tendencies feature significantly in the biomedical domain and therefore in representations of knowledge of that domain. They are not only important for specific applications like an infectious disease ontology, but also as part of a general strategy for modelling knowledge about molecular interactions. But the task of representing dispositions in some formal ontological systems is fraught with several problems, which are partly due to the fact that Description Logics can only deal well with binary relations. The paper will (...) discuss some of the results of the philosophical debate about dispositions, in order to see whether the formal relations needed to represent dispositions can be broken down to binary relations. Finally, we will discuss problems arising from the possibility of the absence of realizations, of multi-track or multi-trigger dispositions and offer suggestions on how to deal with them. (shrink)
In order to develop the ontology of tendencies for use in the representation of medical knowledge, tendencies are compared with other kinds of entities possessing the realizable-realization-structure, specifically: dispositions, propensities, abilities and virtues. The peculiarities of tendencies are discussed and a standard schema of tendency ascription is developed in order to represent the relations between the ascriptions of tendency tokens to particulars and the ascriptions of tendency types to universals. Two non-standard cases and their epistemic variants are discussed.
: "Clinical pragmatism" is an important new method of moral problem solving in clinical practice. This method draws on the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey and recommends an experimental approach to solving moral problems in clinical practice. Although the method may shed some light on how clinicians and their patients ought to interact when moral problems are at hand, it nonetheless is deficient in a number of respects. Clinical pragmatism fails to explain adequately how moral problems can be solved experimentally, (...) it underestimates the relevance and importance of judgment in clinical ethics, and it presents a questionable account of the role that moral principles should play in moral problem solving. (shrink)
: Some commentators have recently proposed that "clinical equipoise," although widely accepted, is not necessary for morally acceptable research on human subjects. If this concept is rejected, however, we may find that trials not in the best medical interests of their subjects--bad deal trials--could be justified. To avoid exploiting participants, we must find a way to distribute the risks fairly, even if it means embracing radical changes in the way clinical research is conducted.
Ethical research on human subjects requires that subjects, if they have the capacity to do so, give free and informed consent to participate in the trials in which they are enrolled. This requirement, which is commonly referred to as the principle of informed consent, was prominently endorsed by the authors of the Belmont Report in 1978, and it remains widely accepted today. Yet while the principle of informed consent is by now almost universally accepted, the responsibilities that it imposes on (...) those who conduct research on human subjects is a more contentious matter. New challenges to securing informed consent have emerged since the publication of the Belmont Report, and responding to these challenges requires... (shrink)
In an era of rapidly rising health care costs, physicians and policymakers are searching for new and effective ways to contain health care spending without sacrificing the quality of services provided. These proposals are increasingly articulated in terms of an ethical duty of stewardship. The duty of stewardship in medicine, however, is not at present well understood, and it is frequently conflated with other duties. This article presents a critical analysis of the notion of stewardship, which shows that it has (...) an important and distinctive place in medical ethics. It claims that stewardship in medicine concerns the responsible use of a society’s medical resources and it discusses the extent to which medical professionals are the proper stewards of these resources. The article argues that the duty of stewardship is best understood as a duty that applies in a space between the obligations of health care providers to provide beneficent care to their patients on the one hand and the obligations of citizens to bring about and support a just health care system on the other. Seen with clear eyes, stewardship in medicine is neither a consequence of beneficent medical care nor a substitute for justice. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has defended the claim that her plural subject theory can give a reasonable account of retrospective (or backward-looking) collective responsibility. On one occasion, publishing in this periodical, she writes that she deliberately left out the discussion of prospective (or forward-looking) collective responsibility, or the “responsibilities” of a collective. In the present paper, I want to show that plural subject theory, in fact, also allows accounting for prospective responsibilities of groups and institutions. In order to do so, I will (...) first sketch the social ontological background of my discussion which is, in fact, an amended version of Gilbert’s theory of plural subjects (§ 2). Based on the assumption that a prospective responsibility accrues from some kind of commissioning, I will then discuss a variety of possible sources of prospective collective responsibilities: self-commissioning, third-party commissioning and what I will call commissioning by unique capability (§ 3). Having done so, I will discuss some consequences of this account and defend it against objections (§ 4). (shrink)
Currently, there is not yet a full-fledged philosophical sub-discipline devoted to artifacts. In order to establish such a general philosophical discourse on artifacts, two topics are of special importance: artifact functionality and artifact categorization. Both are central to the question of what artifacts are in general and in particular. This introduction first presents the current state of the art in the debates on functions, both in general and in the domain of artifacts in particular. It then unfolds the three debates (...) relevant for artifact kinds, namely the ontological, epistemological and semantic debates on artifact categorization, and presents the most important theory options currently under scrutiny in these fields. It proceeds by introducing the contributions in this special issue on the functions and kinds of art works and other artifacts, and discusses possible perspectives for a general philosophy of artifacts. (shrink)
This book discusses the philosophy of influential contemporary philosopher Peter van Inwagen. Looking at perennial philosophical problems from a modern point of view, Peter van Inwagen’s philosophy masterfully combines positions that have been considered irreconcilable: incompatibilism concerning free will, materialism, organicism, theism and realism concerning fictional entities. As readers will discover, his arguments are witty, surprising and deep. -/- The book includes Peter van Inwagen’s Münster Lecture of 2015 on free will, as well as eleven papers from the Münster colloquium (...) discussing central themes of his philosophy, and a reply to each paper by Peter van Inwagen himself. Introducing his philosophy and relating his work to other contemporary views, this book is of interest to graduate students and professionals in philosophy alike. (shrink)
The constituents of social entities (and of social continuants in particular) determine whether or not a social thing comes to be, persists and perishes. John Searle hints at two very different accounts for the persistence of social entities, a mere past related account and an acceptance theoretic account, whereas Margaret Gilbert's account is based on deontic entities like obligations or joint commitments. I demonstrate that Gilbert's account can also accommodate Searle's examples. While oblivion, protests or violence can be historical causes (...) of the destruction of social entities, they cannot be considered to be the ultimate causes of the perishing from Gilbert's point of view. Social entities rather perish because of the treatises or divorces that dissolve their deontic constituents. (shrink)
Given the assertion of a relation between two types, like: “Epidermis has part some Keratinocyte”, we define silent change as any kind of change of the instance-relata of the relation in question that does not change the truth-value of the respective type-level assertion. Such assertions are notoriously difficult to model in OWL 2. To address this problem, we distinguish different modes of type-level relatedness giving rise to this problem and describe a conservative extension to the BFO top-level ontology that allows (...) expressing these modes. (shrink)
Purpose Recent research has found unrealistic optimism among patient-subjects in early-phase oncology trials. Our aim was to investigate the cognitive and motivational factors that evoke this bias in this context. We expected perceptions of control to be a strong correlate of unrealistic optimism. Methods A study of patient-subjects enrolled in early-phase oncology trials was conducted at two sites in the USA. Respondents completed questionnaires designed to assess unrealistic optimism and several risk attribute variables that have been found to evoke the (...) bias in other contexts. Results One hundred and seventy-one patient-subjects agreed to be interviewed for our study. Significant levels of perceived controllability were found with respect to all nine research-related questions. Perceptions of control were found to predict unrealistic optimism. Two other risk attribute variables, awareness of indicators and mental image, were correlated with unrealistic optimism. However, in multivariate regression analysis, awareness and mental image dropped out of the model and perceived controllability was the only factor independently associated with unrealistic optimism. Conclusion Patient-subjects reported that they can, at least partially, control the benefits they receive from participating in an early-phase oncology trial. This sense of control may underlie unrealistic optimism about benefiting personally from trial participation. Effective interventions to counteract unrealistic optimism may need to address the psychological factors that give rise to distorted risk/benefit processing. (shrink)
Background: The intentions of clinicians are widely considered to be relevant to the ethical assessment of their actions. A better understanding of the psychological factors that influence the ascription of intentions in clinical practice is important for improving the self-understanding of clinical decision-making and, ultimately, the ethics of clinical care. Drawing on empirical research on intentionality that has been done in other contexts, this is the first study to test whether the “asymmetric effect” of intention ascription is exhibited by respondents (...) when presented with clinical decision-making scenarios. Objective: To assess how individuals attribute intentions to clinical actors in clinical decision-making scenarios. Methods: A total of 149 first and second year medical students was randomly assigned to two groups. Subjects in each group read two scenarios and submitted anonymous responses to questions regarding each scenario. Results: The asymmetric effect was strongly exhibited by the responses given to scenario 2, but it was not exhibited by the responses given to scenario 1. Conclusion: The present study provided evidence for the view that people’s ascription of intentions to others is influenced by their previous evaluative judgement of the conduct in question. (shrink)
Like the doctrine of the categories in general, Aristotle’s category of the relative fulfils disparate functions: On the one hand, the category of the pros ti fulfils a dialectic or logical function that aims at the avoidance of fallacies. On the other hand, the category respects the peculiar mode of being of the relative. Taking these two different functions into consideration helps with the interpretation of Aristotle’s two definitions of the relative and his treatment of the properties of the relative (...) in Cat. 7, with the question whether corresponding relatives are of equal priority or ontologically independent, with the genus-species problem , and with the categorical classification of potency and act. (shrink)
After a short sketch of Lowe’s account of his four basic categories, I discuss his theory of formal ontological relations and how Lowe wants to account for dispositional predications. I argue that on the ontic level Lowe is a pan-categoricalist, while he is a language dualist and an exemplification dualist with regard to the dispositional/categorical distinction. I argue that Lowe does not present an adequate account of disposition. From an Aristotelian point of view, Lowe conflates dispositional predication with hôs epi (...) to poly statements about what is normally or mostly the case. (shrink)
We are currently in the midst of a revival of interest in thevirtues. A number of contemporary moral philosophers havedefended a virtue-based approach to ethics. But does thisrenewal of interest in the virtues have much to contributeto medical ethics and medical practice? This paper criticallydiscusses this question. It considers and rejects a number ofimportant arguments that purport to establish the significanceof the virtues for medical practice. Against these arguments,the paper seeks to show that while the virtues have a genuinerole to (...) play in medical ethics, it is a limited role, one thatis subordinate to the role that other moral concepts such asrules and principles play. (shrink)
There is broad agreement among research ethicists that investigators have a duty to obtain the informed consent of all subjects who participate in their research trials. On a common view, the duty to obtain this informed consent follows from the need to respect persons and their autonomous decisions. However, the nature of informed consent and the demands it places on investigators are open to dispute and recently have been challenged. Respect for persons, it has been claimed, does not require investigators (...) to guarantee that the subjects enrolled in their trials comprehend the risk/benefit information disclosed to them or even that they appreciate the difference between research and therapy. According to this critique, the significance of defects in informed consent, like therapeutic misconception or unrealistic optimism, has been greatly exaggerated. This article reevaluates informed consent in clinical research in light of this critique. It not only rebuts the main points the critics raise, but also shows that other points they raise can be accepted by a doctrine of informed consent that resembles the common view in maintaining that autonomous authorization is central to informed consent. (shrink)
Recent empirical work on the concept of intentionality suggests that people’s assessments of whether an action is intentional are subject to uncertainty. Some researchers have gone so far as to claim that different people employ different concepts of intentional action. These possibilities have motivated a good deal of work in the relatively new ﬁeld of experimental philosophy. The ﬁndings from this empirical research may prove to be relevant to medical ethics. In this article, we address this issue head on. We (...) ﬁrst describe a study we conducted on intention ascription. Drawing on recent work in experimental philosophy, we investigated the possibility that the ascription of intentions to clinical actors in clinical settings is inﬂuenced by prior judgments about the goodness or badness of the consequences of the action in question. Our study was modeled on experimental studies in other contexts that have shown that people, when presented with a range of scenarios, are more likely to classify a side effect of an action as intended if the side effect is negative or reﬂects poorly on the actor than if it is positive or reﬂects well on the actor. We investigated whether this asymmetry in intention ascriptions was also present among physicians who were asked to ascribe intentions to clinical actors in certain well-deﬁned clinical scenarios. After describing the study and its results, we discuss its implications for medical ethics. (shrink)
What standard or principle should guide decisionmaking concerning the permissibility of allowing children to be organ donors? For a long time, it has been widely assumed that the best interest of the child is the appropriate standard. But recently, several critics have charged that this standard fails to give due weight to the interests of the family and the intimate relationships that the family makes possible.1,2 This article reviews and rejects both the best-interest standard and the alternative standard recommended by (...) the critics. I then propose a new standard to help parents, healthcare professionals, and judges decide when it is and is not permissible for children to serve as organ donors. This new standard modifies and broadens the best-interest standard to allow it to account adequately for the contribution that intimate relationships make to the well-being of children. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of writers have proposed voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as an alternative to physician-assisted suicide. This paper calls attention to and discusses some of the ethical complications that surround the practice of voluntary stopping of eating and drinking. The paper argues that voluntary stopping of eating and drinking raises very difficult ethical questions. These questions center on the moral responsibility of clinicians who care for the terminally ill as well as the nature and limits (...) of the authority they exercise over them. (shrink)
Like the doctrine of the categories in general, Aristotle’s category of the relative fulfils disparate functions: On the one hand, the category of the pros ti fulfils a dialectic or logical function that aims at the avoidance of fallacies. On the other hand, the category respects the peculiar mode of being of the relative. Taking these two different functions into consideration helps with the interpretation of Aristotle’s two definitions of the relative and his treatment of the properties of the relative (...) in Cat. 7, with the question whether corresponding relatives are of equal priority or ontologically independent, with the genus-species problem, and with the categorical classification of potency and act. (shrink)
BACKGROUND -/- In biomedical ontologies, mereological relations have always been subject to special interest due to their high relevance in structural descriptions of anatomical entities, cells, and biomolecules. This paper investigates two important subrelations of has_proper_part, viz. the relation has_grain, which relates a collective entity to its multiply occurring uniform parts (e.g., water molecules in a portion of water), and the relation has_component, which relates a compound to its constituents (e.g., molecules to the atoms they consist of). -/- METHOD -/- (...) We distinguish between four kinds of complex entities and characterize them in first order logic. We then discuss whether similar characterizations could be given in description logics, and finally apply the results to mixtures. -/- RESULTS -/- At first sight, collectives and compounds seem to be disjoint categories. Their disjointness, however, relies on agreement about what are uniform entities, and thus on the granularity of description. For instance, the distinction between isomeric subtypes of a molecule can be important in one use case but might be neglected in another one. We demonstrate that, as implemented in the BioTop domain upper level ontology, equivalence or subsumption between different descriptions of same or similar entities cannot be achieved. Using OWL-DL, we propose a new design pattern that avoids primitive subrelations at the expense of more complex descriptions and thus supports the needed inferences. (shrink)