Isolated habitats, the consequence of the fragmentation process, are the object of external disturbance. This divides the patch area into two zones: interior and edge. The interior-to-edge ratio quantifies the potential disturbance impact. A method is presented to calculate a reference value for the interior-to-edge ratio, based upon the minimum edge for a given interior. The method is based on pixel geometry features and mathematical morphology. A corrected interior-to-edge ratio is defined using the reference value. The method is illustrated for (...) woodlot fragments in the Belgian Kempen region. (shrink)
Perforation or gap formation in a vegetation is a major process in landscape transformation. The occurrence of gaps profoundly alters the microclimatical conditions in a vegetation. A method is proposed to quantify perforation by using the three main 2-D characteristics of the gaps: area, number and boundary length. New measures are developed by normalizing the observed values to the reference status of minimum and maximum perforation. As minimum perforation status, the presence of one single gap with area equal to the (...) map resolution is assumed. The new measures are combined using a 3-D Euclidean distance to visualize the process and to detect changes. The method is exemplified using a field case of gaps in a tropical terra firme rainforest at Tiputini, Ecuador. (shrink)
The South African Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act 92 of 1996 gives women the right to voluntary abortion on request. The reality factor, however, is that five years later there are still more ‘technically illegal’ abortions than legal ones. Amongst other factors, one of the main obstacles to access to this constitutionally enshrined human right is the right to conscientious objection/refusal. Although the right to conscientious objection is also a basic human right, the case of refusal to provide abortion (...) services on conscientious objection grounds should not be seen as absolute and inalienable, at least in the developing world. In the developed world, where referral to another service provider is for the most part accessible, a conscientious objector to abortion does not really put the abortion seeker’s life at risk. The same cannot be said in developing countries even when abortion is decriminalised. This is because referral procedures are fraught with major obstacles. Therefore, it is argued that the right to conscientious objection to abortion should be limited by the circumstances in which the request for abortion arises. (shrink)
This article deals with the concept of sentience, and more specifically with the argument from sentience as it is used by utilitarians in the abortion debate and in the advocacy of animal rights. It is argued that sentience is more than feeling pleasure and pain (with empha sis on pain), and that pain is an inborn protection required to fit into the world rather than the substance of evil. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.23(3) 2004: 292-301.
ABSTRACTThe principle of informed refusal poses a specific problem when it is invoked by a pregnant woman who, in spite of having accepted her pregnancy, refuses the diagnostic and/or therapeutic measures that would ensure the well‐being of her endangered fetus. Guidelines issued by professional bodies in the developed world are conflicting: either they allow autonomy and informed consent to be overruled to the benefit of the fetus, or they recommend the full respect of these principles. A number of medical ethicists (...) advocate the overruling of alleged irrational or unreasonable refusal for the benefit of the fetus. The present essay supports the view of fetal rights to health and to life based on the principle that an ‘accepted’ fetus is a ‘third person’. In developing countries, however, the implementation of the latter principle is likely to be in conflict with a ‘communitarian’ perception of the individual – in this case, the pregnant woman. Within the scope of the limitations to the right to autonomy of J.S. Mill's ‘harm principle’, the South African Patients’ Charter makes provision for informed refusal. The fact that, in practice, it is not implemented illustrates the well‐known difficulty of applying Western bioethical principles in real life in the developing world. (shrink)
In his introduction to this extraordinarily important and useful volume, Herman Geertman points out that the editions of the Liber Pontificalis produced around a century ago by Theodor Mommsen and Louis Duchesne made the Liber more an instrument, than an object, of research. For some years an international group of scholars under the leadership of Girolamo Arnaldi, François Bougard, Paolo Delogu, and G. himself, have been conducting a collaborative project on “The Liber Pontificalis as Source for the History and Material (...) Culture of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: A Collective Research Project on the Biographies from 314 to 891.” This book arises out of that project. But the present study, reflecting in particular G.'s interests, does not confine itself to “history” and “material culture.” Although the volume contains many valuable contributions on these important subjects, it also emphasizes the nature of the text of the Liber Pontificalis, the intentions of its redactors, and the accessibility of the text in terms of its language, contents, and conceptual underpinnings. G. notes that the project and the book also attempt a systematic updating of Duchesne's historical and archaeological material. The volume under review contains excellent papers that do indeed update DUCHESNE, but it cannot be said that this volume is “systematic” if by that word one understands comprehensive and exhaustive. I am not, be it emphasized, criticizing G. and his collaborators for failing to accomplish the impossible. It is important to say, however, that G.'s approach makes the Liber Pontificalis once again an object as well as an instrument of research. (shrink)
In some respects this book can be considered as an elaboration of Clarke's earlier Descartes' Philosophy of Science. The latter work contains Clarke's analysis of the natural philosophy of Descartes with special attention to the role of experience and experiment in the formation and confirmation of theories. The present work focuses on the ways in which French philosophers and scientists tried to work out the general views of De l'Homme and the Principia during the period 1650-1700.
[Eve] Sedgwick examines from an explicitly feminist, implicitly Marxist perspective the relation of homosexuality to more general social bonds between members of the same sex . She argues that the similarity between homosocial desire and homosexuality lies at the root of much homophobia. Moreover, she sees this tension as misogynist to the extent that battles fought over patriarchy within the homosocial world automatically exclude women from that patriarchal power. Thus she places homosexuality and its attendant homophobia within a wider dynamic (...) of social relationships.1Yet even as Sedgwick invents a more sophisticated definition of “homophobia,” she may permit misreading of a more elementary sort. Her use of vocabulary is troubling. In a slangy prose that regularly juxtaposes James Hogg and Louis Lepke, Tennyson and Howard Keel, references to the “campiness” of Thackeray’s “bitchy” bachelors or the “feminized” cuckolds of Wycherley’s The Country Wife seem tame enough. Yet there is a political difference between the jokes. One can burlesque fifties musicals or organized crime with impunity; to refer to sexually embattled men with feminine adjectives, however, is to reinforce a sexual stereotype that sees in the supposed effeminacy of homosexuals a sign of their deviance. Nor are women empowered when terms of female degradation like “bitch” are turned back against men: the ironic reversal does not challenge the terms’ validity but reaffirms it, showing they have an even wider range of applicability than had been thought. 1. Throughout my analysis, I use “homosexual” and “gay” exclusively in reference to male sexuality. I do so in part to echo Sedgwick’s emphasis and in part because the logic of my own argument does not empower me to speak on female homosexuality. David Van Leer is associate professor of English and American literature at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Emerson’s Epistemology: The Argument of the Essays and articles on American literature and popular culture. (shrink)
The observable/unobservable distinction, realistically construed, is a feature which lies at the very heart of van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. The aim of this paper is to approach it by taking a close look at van Fraassen’s concept of observation. We will argue that if van Fraassen’s most recent writings about “literate experience”, especially his remarks on the status of observation reports and his general a-metaphysical stance, are taken into account, his realistic interpretation of the observable/unobservable distinction paves the road for (...) inconsistency. In particular, we will show that a dilemma emerges to the effect that van Fraassen is forced to accept skeptical consequences blatantly at odds with constructive empiricism and its restatement of the aim of science. We will finally suggest that the only way out for van Fraassen involves giving up his realistic construal of observability and thus taking sides with constructivism. (shrink)
In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and (...) influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)