Focusing on the speculative methodologies used to generate models of the financial and meteorological future, this article develops a series of theses on the ‘evental’ and ‘atmospheric’ quality of contemporary power. What is at stake in the circulation of capital today, I argue, is not so much the exchange of equivalents as the universal transmutability of fluctutation. Whether we are dealing with the turbulence of world financial markets or that of complex earth systems, the non-dialectical relation can itself be extracted, (...) recombined and liquefied, as it were, in a dimension of its own. In the same way that financial derivatives price the variable relation between and across national currencies, weather derivatives now make it possible to issue contracts on the unknowable contingencies embedded in complex atmospheric relations. This reconfiguration of value requires a thorough rethinking of classical sociological conceptions of debt, promise and political violence. (shrink)
Can an assessment of individuals’ narcissism help explain the quality of a respondent’s ethical judgment? How is the relationship between religiosity and ethical judgment moderated by the effects of narcissism? With a sample of 385 undergraduate business majors, this study uses a taxonomic approach to examine the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity as well as orthodox Christian beliefs on ethical judgment. Three distinct clusters were identified: Skeptics, Nominals, and Devouts. Surprisingly, of the three clusters, Nominals and Devouts were the (...) only groups impacted by narcissism, although Skeptics overall demonstrate the worst ethical judgment. (shrink)
This article looks at the increasing prominence of bioterrorist threat scenarios in recent US foreign policy. Germ warfare, it argues, is being depicted as the paradigmatic threat of the post-Cold War era, not only because of its affinity for cross-border movement but also because it blurs the lines between deliberate attack and spontaneous natural catastrophe. The article looks at the possible implications of this move for understandings of war, strategy and public health. It also seeks to contextualize the US’s growing (...) military interest in biodefence research within the commercial strategies of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. In its methodology, the article weaves together elements from defence literature, scientific perspectives on infectious disease, catastrophe theory and political economy. The conceptual underpinnings of the strategy of pre-emptive warfare, it argues, lie as much in the theory of biological emergence as in official US defence strategy. (shrink)
Three experiments were designed to investigate effects of mood on college students' capacities of moral reasoning. Following a mood induction, the standard or a modified version of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) was administered to measure moral reasoning. The results of Experiment 1, using the standard short form of the DIT, showed elated subjects performed more poorly and took longer than subjects in neutral and sad mood conditions. The results of Experiment 2, using the self-orientated DIT, showed that mildly depressed (...) subjects performed better than did subjects in neutral and happy mood conditions. The results of the third experiment, presenting more socially disturbing moral dilemmas, showed no effect for either happy or sad mood conditions. Reviewing recent literature of studies on mood and cognition, this study extended the theories and predictions of those studies to the moral context for the purpose of exploring our moral reasoning capacities in real life and enriching our current understanding from moral educational situations. (shrink)
Sketching as a scientific practice goes beyond the simple act of inscribing diagrams onto paper. Scientists produce a wide range of representations through sketching, as it is tightly coupled to model-based reasoning. Chemists in particular make extensive use of sketches to reason about chemical phenomena and to communicate their ideas. However, the chemical sciences have a unique problem in that chemists deal with the unseen world of the atomic-molecular level. Using sketches, chemists strive to develop causal mechanisms that emerge from (...) the structure and behavior of molecular-level entities, to explain observations of the macroscopic visible world. Interpreting these representations and constructing sketches of molecular-level processes is a crucial component of student learning in the modern chemistry classroom. Sketches also serve as an important component of assessment in the chemistry classroom as student sketches give insight into developing mental models, which allows instructors to observe how students are thinking about a process. In this paper we discuss how sketching can be used to promote such model-based reasoning in chemistry and discuss two case studies of curricular projects, CLUE and The Connected Chemistry Curriculum, that have demonstrated a benefit of this approach. We show how sketching activities can be centrally integrated into classroom norms to promote model-based reasoning both with and without component visualizations. Importantly, each of these projects deploys sketching in support of other types of inquiry activities, such as making predictions or depicting models to support a claim; sketching is not an isolated activity but is used as a tool to support model-based reasoning in the discipline. (shrink)
What is now familiarly referred to as the ‘embryonic stem (ES) cell’ is a recent biological category whose origins lie in research into benign and malignant teratomas carried out in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In these studies, the question of the normal or pathological character of the ES cell was a matter of considerable debate and indeed the term ES cell was often used interchangeably with that of the embryonal carcinoma (EC) cell. This article argues that the indecisiveness of (...) the entity known as the ES cell—its refusal to commit to established demarcations between the normal and the pathological—continues to haunt the field of stem cell science. Exploring the prehistory of research into ES cells, early theories of cancer (in particular the embryonal theory expounded by Julius Cohnheim) and recent theoretical critiques of the somatic mutation theory, the article not only points to a shift in understandings of the normal and the pathological but asks under what conditions such shifts are able to take place. (shrink)
The nineteenth century science of teratology concerned itself with the study of malformations or “monstrosities”, as they were then called. The first major contribution to the field was the work of Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Histoire Generale et Particulière des Anomalies de l’Organisation chez l’Homme et les Animaux, published in 1832, whose classifications formed the basis for the later experimental science of teratogeny, the art of reproducing monstrosities in animal embryos. In this article, I will argue that recent developments in the (...) field of regenerative medicine can be situated in the tradition of teratological and teratogenic studies dating back to the nineteenth century. In particular, I will be interested in the historical link between studies in teratogenesis (the artificial production of teratomas) and stem cell research. Recent advances in stem cell research, I will suggest, return us to the questions that animated nineteenth century investigations into the nature of the monstrous or the anomalous. In the process, our most intuitive conceptions of “life itself” are undergoing a profound transformation. (shrink)
This article reflects on the convergence of revolutionary anti-capitalism and moral fundamentalism in the contemporary Islamic revival. It is concerned more generally with the recurrent appeal to fundamental value — of a sexual, genealogical or economic kind — in the history of anti-imperial and anti-capitalist movements. Exploring the tradition of Islamist philosophies of finance, the article suggests that Islamic political theology is unique in its ability to separate absolute law from territory . Transgressing the boundaries of nation-state postcolonialism, it thereby (...) relocates absolute value, and hence absolute prohibition, in the realm of the sexual and the divine. (shrink)
The relation between sex hormones and responses to partner infidelity was explored in two studies reported here. The first confirmed the standard sex difference in relationship jealousy, that males (n=133) are relatively more distressed by a partner’s sexual infidelity and females (n=159) by a partner’s emotional infidelity. The study also revealed that females using hormone-based birth control (n=61) tended more toward sexual jealousy than did other females, and reported more intense affective responses to partner infidelity (n=77). In study two, 47 (...) females were assessed four times across one month. Patterns of response to partner infidelity did not vary by week of menstrual cycle, but significant relations between salivary estradiol level and jealousy responses were obtained during the time of rising and high fertility risk. The implications, at least for females, are that any evolved psychological, affective, or behavioral dispositions regarding reproduction-related relationships are potentially moderated by estradiol, and that the use of synthetic hormones may disrupt this relation. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to argue for the necessity of an ethics of the practice of the specialist-technologist in medicine. In the first part I sketch three stages of medical ethics, each with a particular viewpoint regarding the technology of medicine. I focus on Brody's consideration of the physician's power as a example of contemporary medical ethics which explicitly excludes the specialist-technologist as a locus of development of medical ethics. Next, the philosophy of Heidegger is examined to suggest (...) an approach to the problem, and, finally, some of Levinas' contributions regarding the other are introduced to suggest a preliminary approach to a medical ethics of the specialist-technologist. (shrink)
Several recent publications have suggested that hermeneutics, the method of literary criticism, might prove to be useful in medicine. In this essay I consider this thesis with particular attention to the claim that medicine is hermeneutics all the way down. After examining an anti-positivist critique of positivist medicine and arguing that hermeneutic interpretation involves a more radical critique of modern medicine, I examine the supposed consequences of hermeneutical universalism:relativism, skepticism andantirealism which further evaluation reveals to be only potential consequences of (...) hermeneutics. A brief discussion ofphronesis and of the possible texts of medicine concludes the article. (shrink)
From March 1841 until the end of 1845, W. R. Grove held the post of Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the London Institution. No previous study of the Institution has dealt in detail with the period of Grove's tenure of this, the first professorship. Here, by reference to the various manuscripts and publications of the Institution, and to Grove's papers and correspondence, it is possible to describe the background to Grove's appointment and the achievements of his term of office.
Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris lived in St Lawrence's Hospital one of the large learning disability institutions which were built round the edges of London. In this paper, Mabel and Gloria share their memories of three nurses at St Lawrence's, supported by Jane Abraham and in this process reveal a number of ethical issues that remain relevant today.
To develop critical thinking skills, higher order ethical reasoning, a better grasp of the implications of ethical decisions, and a basis for ethical knowledge, it is necessary to explore the philosophical premises foundational to one’s ethical persuasion. No philosophical premises are more important than those pertaining to the nature of human personhood and business’ responsibility to respect the inherent value of human beings. Philosophical naturalism assigns the essence of human personhood strictly to causal interactions of physical matter. Substance dualism, on (...) the other hand, posits both a physical aspect and an immaterial substance to personhood, interacting within the totality of each being. This paper argues for the logical superiority of substance dualism in achieving the overriding objective of discerning ethical knowledge. Substance dualism offers a better explanation – and one that more closely follows the way most people commonly experience themselves and others–than naturalism for free agency and accountability, meaningful moral standards, confidence in knowing what ethical decisions to make, and the moral drive residing in conscience. (shrink)
Because physicians use scientific inference for the generalizations of individual observations and the application of general knowledge to particular situations, the Bayesian probability solution to the problem of induction has been proposed and frequently utilized. Several problems with the Bayesian approach are introduced and discussed. These include: subjectivity, the favoring of a weak hypothesis, the problem of the false hypothesis, the old evidence/new theory problem and the observation that physicians are not currently Bayesians. To the complaint that the prior probability (...) is subjective, Bayesians reply that there will be ultimate convergence, but the rebuttal to this is that there will not be uniform convergence. Secondly, since the Bayesian scheme favors a weak hypothesis, theories turn out to be a gratuitous risk. The problem with the false hypothesis comes out in the denominator of the theorem, revealing that a factor which is not a theory at all is being considered in the reasoning. On the old evidence/new theory problem old evidence cannot confirm a new theory so that the posterior probability will equal the prior probability. Finally, empiric studies have shown that current physicians are not Bayesians. But on consideration of Bayesian inference as a system of inference, it can be reasoned that physicians should be Bayesians. However, the problem of physicians' and patients' own subjectivity continue to plague this system of medical decision making. (shrink)
Ulf Schmidt, writing on “Medical Ethics and Nazism” in the recently published Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics, states:In 1920, the lawyer Karl Binding and the psychiatrist Alfred Hoche published their tract Permission for the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life. … Their positivistic theory was a combination of legal norms and medical arguments that granted the state fundamental rights while overriding the rights of individuals. The traditional moral belief system that advocated care and compassion for the weak and unproductive (...) was radically called into question. The book was written in the wake of World War I; readers were asked to compare the “battlefields littered with.. (shrink)