This is an excerpt from a report on the workshop on mind and attention in Indian philosophy at Harvard University, on September 21st and 22nd, 2013, written by Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Corns, Nilanjan Das, Zachary Irving, and Lu Teng, and available at http://networksensoryresearch.utoronto.ca/Events_%26_Discussion.html This portion of the report explores the question: What can Indian philosophy tell us about how we perceive the world?
Ong, Caroline Whilst the reason and purpose of suffering may never be fully understood, there are ways of enduring, transcending and growing resilience to how it affects us. Our experience of suffering lies in the web of perceptions that involve our physical, spiritual and cosmological beliefs. Referencing Pain Seeking Understanding: Suffering, Medicine and Faith, edited by Margaret E. Mohrmann and Mark J. Hanson, this article gives a brief exploration of some propositions as to why an all-powerful, good God would allow (...) suffering to exist. From these various perspectives and using examples cited in the book, the article proposes that the healing art of medicine, honed through years of experience, knowledge and wisdom, can help individual patients endure and transcend suffering, and be whole once again. (shrink)
Ong, Caroline In February 2014, the Belgian parliament passed an amendment to the Belgian Act on Euthanasia of May 28th, 2002 removing the age limit of those requesting euthanasia provided that they have discerning capabilities and their parents approve. After mentioning briefly the arguments against legalising euthanasia, this article questions the ethical validity of removing the age limit, as well as the presumption that ending lives prematurely allows people to die with dignity. Caring for people who are vulnerable in their (...) suffering is the proper goal of the healing professions, not terminating lives. (shrink)
Ong, Caroline As health systems become more complex, moral distress is increasingly being recognised as a significant phenomenon amongst health professionals. It can be described as the state of being distressed when one is unable to act according to what one believes to be morally right. It may compromise patient care, the health professional involved and the organisation. Cumulative experiences of incompletely resolved moral distress - a phenomenon which is called moral residue - may leave us susceptible to more frequent (...) and more severe moral distress. Clear open communication, respect, inclusivity, openness to differences, compassion, support, education and the capacity to grow in self-awareness are key aspects in minimising moral distress. Early recognition of its symptoms and addressing both personal and external constraints of actions can also minimise moral residue and build resilience to further distress. (shrink)
Ong, Caroline In the debate about euthanasia, it is important that we consider all views, including those which might not at first seem attractive to us. Whether we believe in God or not, the views of the Catholic Church make a significant contribution to this debate. The Church does not support the deliberate killing either of oneself or another person. It also emphasises our moral obligation to respect life and to uphold the dignity of each person.
This is an excerpt from a report on the workshop on mind and attention in Indian philosophy at Harvard University, on September 21st and 22nd, 2013, written by Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Corns, Nilanjan Das, Zachary Irving, and Lu Teng, and available at http://networksensoryresearch.utoronto.ca/Events_%26_Discussion.html This portion of the report explores the question: How can we train our attention, and what are the benefits of doing so?
This is an excerpt from a report on the workshop on mind and attention in Indian philosophy at Harvard University, on September 21st and 22nd, 2013, written by Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Corns, Nilanjan Das, Zachary Irving, and Lu Teng, and available at http://networksensoryresearch.utoronto.ca/Events_%26_Discussion.html This portion of the report explores the question: Can meditation give us moral knowledge?
Ong, Caroline There was once a strong belief amongst global HIV/AIDS organisations that the key to the prevention of the sexual transmission of HIV was condom use. Other measures such as abstinence and being loyal to one partner were seen as beneficial, but secondary. Thirty years later, the evidence is mounting that behavioural change is much more effective in halting the spread of HIV than condoms.
This is an excerpt from a report on the workshop on mind and attention in Indian philosophy at Harvard University, on September 21st and 22nd, 2013, written by Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Corns, Nilanjan Das, Zachary Irving, and Lu Teng, and available at http://networksensoryresearch.utoronto.ca/Events_%26_Discussion.html This part of the report explores the question: How does the understanding of attention in Indian philosophy bear on contemporary western debates?
Renaissance logician, philosopher, humanist, and teacher, Peter Ramus (1515-72) is best known for his attack on Aristotelian logic, his radical pedagogical theories, and his new interpretation for the canon of rhetoric. His work, published in Latin and translated into many languages, has influenced the study of Renaissance literature, rhetoric, education, logic, and--more recently--media studies. Considered the most important work of Walter Ong's career, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue is an elegant review of the history of Ramist scholarship and (...) Ramus's quarrels with Aristotle. A key influence on Marshall McLuhan, with whom Ong enjoys the status of honorary guru among technophiles, this challenging study remains the most detailed account of Ramus's method ever published. Out of print for more than a decade, this book--with a new foreword by Adrian Johns--is a canonical text for enthusiasts of media, Renaissance literature, and intellectual history. (shrink)
This piece, included in the drift special issue of continent. , was created as one step in a thread of inquiry. While each of the contributions to drift stand on their own, the project was an attempt to follow a line of theoretical inquiry as it passed through time and the postal service(s) from October 2012 until May 2013. This issue hosts two threads: between space & place and between intention & attention . The editors recommend that to experience the (...) drifiting thought that attention be paid to the contributions as they entered into conversation one after another. This particular piece is from the BETWEEN INTENTION & ATTENTION thread: Jeremy Fernando, Sitting in the Dock of the bay, watching... * R.H. Jackson, Reading Eyes * Gina Rae Foster, Nyctoleptic Nomadism: The Drift/Swerve of Knowing * Bronwyn Lay, Driftwood * Patricia Reed, Sentences on Drifitng * David Prater, drift: a way * * * * * Australia, Summer, 2012. …. essential humanity exists, and runs its course, within a system whose first principle is the preservation of balance. And arching over it all, is the logos of The Dreaming. How shall we state this when we fully understand it I do not know, but I should think we are more likely to ennoble it than not. Equilibrium ennobled is abidingness.” 1 On return to birthplace I write. Caught between jetlag and surprise, a relentless sun cracks my skin. Upright words fall under cockatoo roars. The attempt to settle, to be attentive, is shaken. Some kind of Dreaming surrounds and elements intrude without consent. Homeless at home. Exhausted, I fight sleep’s hard currents. Their victory would confuse the body clock, so the in-between wins. Half-there — half-awake — here in this place — I am driftwood. Driftwood: wood floating in or washed ashore by a body of water. A severed limb set adrift from the birthing body. Tossed from home it’s cast into processes of wind, water, sand, bacteria, decay and movement. Driftwood is orphaned members at the mercy and agency of weather, currents, submersion, and being thrown into dry world. Driftwood — singular plural. White man got no dreaming. Him go ‘nother way. White man, him go different Him got road belong himself. 2 photo: Bronwyn Lay The old man comes from the northern rivers. A while ago, he could no longer pay attention to wage slavery, so retreated north to be with dead redgum that lay abandoned in dry riverbeds. Derived from driftwood peoples tossed here by the sea, he followed the fragile river veins of his birth. He walked along water bodies and through country’s lungs. Some kind of displaced ancestral song compelled his leathered hands to pick up centuries old driftwood from flood plains. It emerged from under muddy creeks, was flung up by salt soaked coves, pushed underground by cracks in the claypan and lay embedded in mud and salinized soil. Smoothed and grooved in equal measure, the branches were marked by an organic alphabet that preceded him. As he held the wood, he touched decomposing circles that started with a blast and never ceased writing into abandoned flesh. When the ute was full the old man returned home having been away with the stuff that ‘growed him up’. His shed filled with red sawdust and the sound of tools at labour. His hands sculptured driftwood. History carved into itinerant skin. I sit opposite the old man. His body no longer holds the repetition of carpentry. He can no longer gift driftwood its detail. Outside redgum bits lie scattered around the fence line and beside the dam. He crouches over an unreliable computer researching the massacres of indigenous peoples that occurred along the same river veins that ‘growed him up’ long ago. Staring into the remnants of frontier resistance that he and I inherit, his eyes nurture fire. He discovers severed limbs and the slicing of tribes. In the ashes of sentences he sifts the lies that smoulder into our histories. In the 30’s the anthropologist Stanner said that due to certain factors — lack of change and isolation — the ideal and real come very close together in indigenous Dreaming. They are a people who were able to defeat history. 3 “If the Ideal and the Real drift too far away from one another (as they did at the end of the middle ages and seem increasingly to do this century) men face some difficult options. They have to change their way of life, or their philosophy, or both, or live unhappily somewhere in-between.” 4 Stanner says Indigenous Dreaming is blackfella thinking. 5 Dreamtime is not ethereal, not utopic, or otherworldly. It’s fused with the real and it’s not mine. I might never understand, but it’s the substance of my home. This here place ‘growed me up’. Is driftwood the unhappy in-between? Is it a radical itinerant written upon by currents? Where are we? The settler restless? photo: Alison Pouliot I return to the bush late one night, tired from high talk in city cafes, to find the old man at his computer. He’s either researching his white farming ancestors, or tracing unrecorded massacres of blackfellas. I laugh, “You know Dad, if you were indigenous you might go out by the dam and sing up your ancestors rather than try find them on a screen.” He peers over his glasses. His stare delivers an ancestral scold. He’s white man. Of course he archives. This is our way. One may see that, like all men, he is a metaphysician in being able to transcend himself. With the metaphysician goes a mood and spirit, which I can only call a mood or spirit of assent, neither despair nor resignation, optimism not pessimism, quietism nor indifference. The mood, and the outlook beneath it, make him hopelessly out of place in a world in which the renaissance has triumphed only to be perverted, and in which the products of secular humanism, rationalism and science challenge their own hopes, indeed their beginnings.” 6 The clinamen sometimes comes abstract — the rarefied swerve of possibility. But in the place we gather &mdash where this text has landed — in the heart of settler colony denial — the clinamen reminds of familiar violence and goes maximum. The earth’s swerve. Topography’s tip. Physics gone violent. Here, drift is initiated by the tear of flesh, scurvy voyages, frontier blood and the deracination from belonging. Here, war precedes drift. We all got tossed. Here. Pay attention. The country has its own gaze. ‘Lest we forget’. The seasonal turn on aborescent substances starts with a fall, an upwards rupture, a drop, a cut, a storm, a violence, a loss, forced migration, refugees, agricultural imperialism, settler wheat and poisoned rations. Pay attention to aftermath debris. Don’t drift too far from the real. History hasn’t settled into the water. It still tosses limbs back and forth. Surrounded by the backdrop of Dreaming country the old man archives and dreams. Both ways of settling into the real. But lest we forget, time, in this place, has no textual tick — tock. Our bodies know this, even though we persist with shipwreck illusions. It’s difficult being here. Here. Pay inattention. I walk through eucalyptus, over dried out clay pans and under kookaburras. It’s been two years in-between. This time country speaks strong underfoot. Forget books, forget texts, forget other lands and times, beginning and end. Be here. All falls raw. Leaves drop and refuse to compost. Bark untethers quick. Light denudes worlds. The heated horizon melts monoliths. It’s enough to make Cartesians shiver. Awake. Refuse the temptation to run. Have enough courage to drift into here. Love with a gum tree. Stand with her whole and dissolving. She moves light between our limbs, tossing them to wind. She — the original romance — is the dream that dares touch flesh and reaches over nightmares with elemental desire. I gaze and lose me. There’s no distance. The land that ‘growed me up’ speaks with symbiotic breath. There’s no division, no separation, no other. The gum is plastic arborescence. You be my body for me, always were. …..but I wake to driftwood histories and recall slaughters. Drifted, wicked fellow citizen — the other is someone else’s blind sleep. Betrayal maintains the other as mine. Archives reveal this place doesn’t belong to me. Body articulates that it became here. Gumtree cares not………her arms take me in anyway. “Like all men he is a philosopher in being able to use his power of abstract reason. His genius, his metier, and in some sense — his fate is that because of endowment and circumstance this power has channelled itself mainly into one activity, making sense out of social relations among men living together.” 7 The old man excavates seven generations of settler ancestors. They’re an ordinary lot with written-upon skin. He records genocides that occurred alongside his peoples fertility. Bodies rise from riverbeds like sovereign sacrifices. It hurts. It disrupts. He labours at the past with gestures that might go unnoticed in a country suffocated by rich amnesia. Inside walls, he seems attentive to historical details. Outside he seems inattentive to time, lost to us and embedded in a family of active matter — the bush. His driftwood skin appears around my eyes - grooves of experience, the rush of cruel sun, the push of blind winds, and the love of everything. The sovereign’s reluctant children are thrown here by, with and through blood, but country gets in and sculpts us here. photo: Chris Corrigan “But his abstractions do not put him at war with himself.” 8 The kangaroo family appears at dusk. When the sun is soft I follow the old man into the back paddock. Children skip behind us. In-between generations, I step into the old man’s driftwood leanings. My feet find traces of his understanding – the archivist that reads trees. Here, on home dirt, inattention and attention collapse as we wander into where we are. The roo family gaze at us. Through the grass the old man’s wooden finger articulates kin’s details. He points to the head male, the mother holding a joey in pouch and the young warriors side by side. My children, quieter than ever, meet the laser - eyed silence of another family. In half-light Dad, me, and the kids mirror the kangaroo constellation and stand gentle together. At the bushblock’s limit we encounter ancestral desires. White peoples are subject to driftwood histories. We’re severed limbs attempting to fuse here now, with what was, only to discover our skin becomes racked and embedded with the weather. Into the shelter and fissures of this difficult and ambiguous inheritance, I fall into dream light until balance saturates. Light breaks when the kangaroos move. They bounce someplace else without effort or impact. We turn and tread through the dark towards home. It’s time to sleep. Driftwood skin covers the country. Dreaming is still. photo: Bronwyn Lay NOTES W.E.H. Stanner, The Dreaming and Other Essays , (Melbourne: Black Inc. Agenda, 2009), 72. Ibid., 56. Stanner is recalling one intelligent old man who said to him, “with a cadence almost as though he had been speaking in verse.” Ibid., 60. Ibid., 69. Ibid., 58. Ibid., 67. Ibid., 68. Ibid., 59.  . (shrink)
We examine the notion of conditionals and the role of conditionals in inductive logics and arguments. We identify three mistakes commonly made in the study of, or motivation for, non-classical logics. A nonmonotonic consequence relation based on evidential probability is formulated. With respect to this acceptance relation some rules of inference of System P are unsound, and we propose refinements that hold in our framework.
We argue that current discussions of criteria for actual causation are ill-posed in several respects. (1) The methodology of current discussions is by induction from intuitions about an infinitesimal fraction of the possible examples and counterexamples; (2) cases with larger numbers of causes generate novel puzzles; (3) “neuron” and causal Bayes net diagrams are, as deployed in discussions of actual causation, almost always ambiguous; (4) actual causation is (intuitively) relative to an initial system state since state changes are relevant, but (...) most current accounts ignore state changes through time; (5) more generally, there is no reason to think that philosophical judgements about these sorts of cases are normative; but (6) there is a dearth of relevant psychological research that bears on whether various philosophical accounts are descriptive. Our skepticism is not directed towards the possibility of a correct account of actual causation; rather, we argue that standard methods will not lead to such an account. A different approach is required. Once upon a time a hungry wanderer came into a village. He filled an iron cauldron with water, built a fire under it, and dropped a stone into the water. “I do like a tasty stone soup” he announced. Soon a villager added a cabbage to the pot, another added some salt and others added potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was a meal for all. (shrink)
The anecdote of Zhuangzi and Hui Shi's brief discussion on a bridge above the Hao river gives us a nice piece of reasoning in ancient Chinese texts that may serve as a platform for a productive philosophical exchange between the East and the West. The present study examines Hansen's inferential analysis of Zhuangzi and Hui Shi's discussion in this spirit. It is argued that Hansen's analysis founders. To do justice to both Hui Shi and Zhuangzi, the present study proposes that (...) we apply the logic developed in the later Mohist text, the Lesser Pick, to an analysis of their discussion. The re-analysis shows that the intricate dialectic of the reasoning in which Zhuangzi and Hui Shi engage, neatly accords with the pattern of discourse expounded in the Lesser Pick, and gives us global insight into Zhuangzi's final statement in the anecdote, which is notoriously recondite, or confusing. (shrink)
This paper attempts to clarify and critically examine Fodor's language of thought (LOT) hypothesis, focusing on his contention that the systematicity of language use provides a solid ground for the LOT hypothesis. (edited).
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of social support on comprehension and recall of consent form information in a study of Parkinson disease patients and their caregivers.DESIGN and METHODS: Comparison of comprehension and recall outcomes among participants who read and signed the consent form accompanied by a family member/friend versus those of participants who read and signed the consent form unaccompanied. Comprehension and recall of consent form information were measured at one week and one month respectively, using Part A of the (...) Quality of Informed Consent Questionnaire .RESULTS: The mean age of the sample of 143 participants was 71 years . Analysis of covariance was used to compare QuIC scores between the intervention group and control group . In the 1-week model, no statistically significant intervention effect was found . However, the intervention status by patient status interaction was statistically significant . In the 1-month model, no statistically significant intervention effect was found . Again, however, the intervention status by patient status interaction was statistically significant . At both time periods, intervention group patients scored higher on the QuIC than did intervention group caregivers, and control group patients scored lower on the QuIC than did control group caregivers.IMPLICATIONS: Social support played a significant role in enhancing comprehension and recall of consent form information among patients. (shrink)
Searle's Chinese room argument is analyzed from a cognitive point of view. The analysis is based on a newly developed model of conceptual integration, the many space model proposed by Fauconnier and Turner. The main point of the analysis is that the central inference constructed in the Chinese room scenario is a result of a dynamic, cognitive activity of conceptual blending, with metaphor defining the basic features of the blending. Two important consequences follow: (1) Searle's recent contention that syntax is (...) not intrinsic to physics turns out to be a slightly modified version of the old Chinese room argument; and (2) the argument itself is still open to debate. It is persuasive but not conclusive, and at bottom it is a topological mismatch in the metaphoric conceptual integration that is responsible for the non-conclusive character of the Chinese room argument. (shrink)
The rule of adjunction is intuitively appealing and uncontroversial for deductive inference, but in situations where information can be uncertain, the rule is neither needed nor wanted for rational acceptance, as illustrated by the lottery paradox. Practical certainty is the acceptance of statements whose chances of error are smaller than a prescribed threshold parameter, when evaluated against an evidential corpus. We examine the failure of adjunction in relation to the threshold parameter for practical certainty, with an eye towards reinstating the (...) rule of adjunction in some restricted forms, by observing the conditions under which the overall chance of error of the joint statements can be variously bounded. (shrink)
Tye argues that visual mental images have their contents encoded in topographically organized regions of the visual cortex, which support depictive representations; therefore, visual mental images rely at least in part on depictive representations. This argument, I contend, does not support its conclusion. I propose that we divide the problem about the depictive nature of mental imagery into two parts: one concerns the format of image representation and the other the conditions by virtue of which a representation becomes a depictive (...) representation. Regarding the first part of the question, I argue that there exists a topographic format in the brain but that does not imply that there exists a depictive format of image representation. My answer to the second part of the question is that one needs a content analysis of a certain sort of topographic representations i n order to make sense of depictive mental representations, and a topographic representation becomes a depictive representation by virtue of its content rather than its form. (shrink)
A great deal of progress has been made on information ethics. Which portion is not sufficient? That might be the comparison from countries to countries. The purpose of this study was closely examined using the cross-cultural method for comparison. To determine the ethics cognitions and behaviors of the students, a comprehensive survey was distributed. The questionnaire for the study used Mason’s four essential factors in information ethics that included Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Accessibility (PAPA). The samples were comprised of Kaohsiung (...) Taiwan and Nanjing China, junior high school students in 2006. The sample and the survey were obtained from two stages of random sampling that was conducted using an Internet website. Students could read the online questionnaire in the computer laboratory and then send immediate feedback to the website server. The result of the experiment showed the divergence of information ethics in cognition and behavior between Kaohsiung and Nanjing school children. The effects of background and correlation are from cognition and behavior between two regions. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore and discuss the use of the concept of being affected in biomedical decision making processes in Germany. The corresponding German term ‘Betroffenheit’ characterizes on the one hand a relation between a state of affairs and a person and on the other an emotional reaction that involves feelings like concern and empathy with the suffering of others. An example for the increasing relevance of being affected is the postulation of the participation of people with disabilities and (...) chronic or acute diseases in the discourse, as partly realized in the German National Ethics Council or the Federal Joint Committee. Nevertheless, not only on the political level, the resistance against the participation of affected people is still strong; the academic debate seems to be cross-grained, too. Against this background, we explore the meaning and argumentative role of the concept of being affected as it is used by affected and lay people themselves. Our analysis is based on four focus group discussions in which lay people, patients and relatives of patients discuss their attitudes towards biomedical interventions such as organ transplantation and genetic testing. This setting allows for a comparison of how affected and non-affected people are concerned and deliberate about medical opportunities, but also of how they position themselves as being affected or non-affected with respect to (scientific) knowledge and morality. On this basis, we discuss the normative relevance of being affected for the justification of political participation. (shrink)
This paper contributes towards a lay ethics of nanotechnology through an analysis of talk from focus groups designed to examine how laypeople grapple with the meaning of a technology ‘in-the-making’. We describe the content of lay ethical concerns before suggesting that this content can be understood as being structured by five archetypal narratives which underpin talk. These we term: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’; ‘kept in the dark’; ‘opening Pandora’s box’; ‘messing with nature’; and ‘be careful (...) what you wish for’. We further suggest that these narratives can be understood as sharing an emphasis on the ‘giftedness’ of life, and that together they are used to resist dominant technoscientific and Enlightenment narratives of control and mastery which are encapsulated by nanotechnology. (shrink)
Great hope has been placed on biobank research as a strategy to improve diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention. It seems to be a common opinion that these goals cannot be reached without the participation of commercial actors. However, commercial use of biobanks is considered morally problematic and the commercialisation of human biological materials is regulated internationally by policy documents, conventions and laws. For instance, the Council of Europe recommends that: “Biological materials should not, as such, give rise to financial gain”. Similarly, (...) Norwegian legislation reads: “Commercial exploitation of research participants, human biological material and personal health data in general is prohibited”. Both articles represent kinds of common moral intuitions. A problem, however, is that legislative documents are too vague and provide room for ample speculation. Through the use of focus group interviews with Norwegian biobank donors, we have tried to identify lay intuitions and morals regarding the commercial use of biobanks. Our findings indicate that the act of donation and the subsequent uses of the samples belong to two different spheres. While concerns around dignity and commodification were present in the first, injustice and unfairness were our informants’ major moral concerns in the latter. Although some opposition towards commercial actors was voiced, these intuitions show that it is possible to render commercial use of biobanks ethically acceptable based on frameworks and regulations which hinder commodification of the human body and promote communal benefit sharing. (shrink)