The acceleration of the market globalisation process over the last three decades has internationalised clinical research and influenced both the way in which it is funded and the development and application of research practices. In addition, in recent years international multicentre randomised clinical trials have become the model par excellence for research on new medicines. The neoliberal model of globalisation has induced a decline in state power, both with regard to establishing national research for health priorities and to influencing the (...) development of adequate ethical guidelines to protect human beings that participate in multinational research. In this respect, poor and low-income countries, which lack sustainable control and review systems to deal with the ethical and methodological challenges of complex studies conducted by researchers from affluent countries and funded by large multinational pharmaceutical companies, are particularly vulnerable. The aim of the present paper is to explore critically some of the actual and possible ethical pitfalls of globalisation of clinical research and propose mechanisms for turning transnational clinical research into a more cooperative and fairer enterprise. (shrink)
The Mind-Brain Identity Theory lived a short life as a respectable philosophical position in the late 1950s, until Hilary Putnam developed his famous argument on the multiple realizability of mental states. The argument was, and still is, taken as the definitive demonstration of the falsity of Identity Theory and the foundation on which contemporary functionalist computational cognitive science was to be grounded. In this paper, in the wake of some contemporary philosophers, we reopen the case for Identity Theory and offer (...) a solution to the problem of multiple realizabilty. The solution is based on the necessity, at the time of establishing identity relations, of appealing to the notions of “homology” and “analogy” developed in the nineteenth century by Richard Owen. We also suggest that these notions are useful in order to correct certain shortcomings of some recent attempts at rebutting the Multiple Realizability argument. (shrink)
In this article we argue for an extension of Pere Alberch’s notion of developmental morphospace into the realm of cognition and introduce the notion of cognitive phenotype as a new tool for the evolutionary and developmental study of cognitive abilities.
The academic literature in research ethics has been marked in the past decade by a much broader focus on the need for the protection of developing communities subjected to international clinical trials. Because of the proximity of the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, completed in October 2008, most papers have addressed the issue of a double standard of care following the use of placebo. However, other no less important issues, such as interactions between the lifestyles structures of low-income communities (...) and the efficiency of risk-minimising procedures also deserve attention. The purpose of this paper is to discuss forms of uncertainty involved in clinical trials in poor and low-income countries that are not addressed by conventional methods of risk assessment. Furthermore, the increase in size of risks that are identified by conventional assessment methods will be addressed. Besides, the difficulty in properly applying risk-minimising procedures will be discussed. Finally, this paper proposes the involvement of research ethics committees in the risk evaluation process and the establishment of national ethics evaluation systems. (shrink)
Legislation usually lacks a systematic organization which makes the management and the access to norms a hard problem to face. A more analytic semantic unit of reference (provision) for legislative texts was identified. A model of provisions (provisions types and their arguments) allows to describe the semantics of rules in legislative texts. It can be used to develop advanced semantic-based applications and services on legislation. In this paper an automatic bottom-up strategy to qualify existing legislative texts in terms of provision (...) types is described. (shrink)
This article explores the change in meaning of the term `utopia' between 1968 and today. It proposes an interpretation of 1968 based on the connection between utopia and desire; the emergence of subjectivity in history meant a new way of becoming subjects of one's own history, and a new understanding of socio-political change, as including daily life and personal emotions.
This study described and analysed the circumstances surrounding a fatal car accident involving personnel of a multinational corporation in a developing country. For some companies, road accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in developing countries. This reality highlights the ethical dilemmas encountered in a global workplace. Questions as to how a company addresses safety concerns outside the standard work environment, the ethics of operating in a risky environment and the requirements for international consistency in compensation standards for loss (...) of life were addressed. The authors argued that multinational companies should localize health and safety practices to address the important asymmetries between different regions of the world regarding social, cultural and infrastructural issues. Furthermore, the authors analysed the leadership role that should be played by multinational companies to help and support national governments to reduce traffic fatalities in developing countries. From this perspective, the article represents a contribution for the body of knowledge dealing with the business–society relations. The authors used an action research approach to address these issues, both in response to the particular incident and to contribute to the body of research in this field. (shrink)
Background: Sharing information with relatives of elderly patients in primary care and in hospital has to fit into the complex set of obligations, justifications and pressures concerning the provision of information, and the results of some studies point to the need for further empirical studies exploring issues of patient autonomy, privacy and informed consent in the day-to-day care of older people.Objectives: To know the frequency with which “capable” patients over 65 years of age receive information when admitted to hospital, the (...) information offered to the families concerned, the person who gives consent for medical intervention, and the degree of satisfaction with the information received and the healthcare provided.Method: A descriptive questionnaire given to 200 patients and 200 relatives during the patients’ stay in hospital.Results: Only 5% of patients confirmed that they had been asked whether information could be given to their relatives. A significantly higher proportion of relatives received information on the successive stages of the care offered than did patients themselves. As the age of the patients increased, so the number who were given information, understood the information and were asked for their consent for complementary tests decreased. The degree of satisfaction with the information offered was high for both patients and relatives , despite the irregularities observed.Conclusions: The capacity of elderly patients to participate in the decision-making process is frequently doubted simply because they have reached a certain age and it is thought that relatives should act as their representatives. In Spain, the opinion of the family and doctors appears to play a larger role in making decisions than does the concept of patient autonomy. (shrink)
Recently, there has been a growing interest, both within theoretical biology and the philosophy of biology, in the possibility and desirability of a theory of development. Among the many issues raised within this debate, the questions of the spatial and temporal boundaries of development have received particular attention. In this article, noting that so far the discussion has mostly centered on the processes of morphogenesis and organogenesis, we argue that an important missing element in the equation, namely the development of (...) language and cognition in general, may play an important role in settling the issue of temporal boundaries. After examining the idea that the development of language, cognition, and action are bona fide biological processes, we explore the consequences for a general theory of development of taking them into consideration. (shrink)
In this article we offer a detailed assessment of current approaches to the origins of language, with a special foots on their historical and theoretical underpinnings. It is a widely accepted view within evolutionary linguistics that an account of the emergence of human language necessarily involves paying special attention to its communicative function and its relation to other animal communication systems. Ever since Darwin, some variant of this view has constituted the mainstream version in evolutionary linguistics; however, it is our (...) contention in this article that this approach is seriously flawed, and that “animal communication” does not constitute a natural kind on which a sound theoretical model can be built. As a consequence, we argue that this communicative perspective is better abandoned in favor of a structural/formal approach based on the notion of homology, and that some interesting and unexpected similarities may be found by applying this venerable comparative method founded in the 19th century by Richard Owen. (shrink)
This paper aims to demonstrate how philosophy and ethics shed light on professional ethics. One of the most important issues in professional ethics nowadays is to establish and justify rules to achieve and sustain good behavior in persons involved in specific activities. During the second half of the twentieth century, professional ethics became increasingly more important for philosophy, while the number of codes of ethics continues to grow. This exposition is based on some fundamental ethical concepts, like ‘end,’ ‘rule,’ ‘virtue,’ (...) etc., some of which are taken from Alasdair MacIntyre’s thought. (shrink)
The main goal of this work is to place the Regional History of Education into the broader context of general history and to create a theoretical structure that includes its main approaches and characteristics while avoiding the frequent confusions and oversights with which it is often associated. Our outline of regional history alludes to its conceptual foundations, defines the object of its analysis and also identifies the convergence of factors that shape this area of study, such as genealogy, multicentrism, comparison (...) and social synthesis. Once these different aspects have been described it will be easier to understand that the past is not only a dependent variable of time but also, to a great degree, of space. (shrink)
El cine se ha descubierto como una herramienta efectiva y útil para el estudio de la Historia y la Sociología. Esa es la intención del análisis de dos películas clásicas del cine español como son ‘Historias de la Radio’ e ‘Historias de la Tele’, ambas dirigidas por el polémico José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, conocido por sus lazos familiares con el creador de Falange Española y su relación con el General Franco. Lejos de polémicas controversias y lecturas políticas, este artículo (...) intenta describir las diferencias entre la sociedad española de los años 50 y 60 usando el cine como base para el análisis. (shrink)
El objetivo del siguiente texto es presentar la distinción entre sufrimiento y dolor; y ofrecer unas nociones básicas sobre cómo los pensamientos y emociones pueden influir directamente sobre respuestas fisiológicas, de qué forma los factores psicológicos afectan también a su modo de afrontarlo; e ilustrarlo con ejemplos. Así se pretende ayudar a entender, por ejemplo, cómo los sentimientos de indefensión pueden incrementar la percepción de dolor, o cómo las relaciones con otras personas pueden muy bien reforzarlo.