Many African scholars have expressed varied thoughts about the concept of a person, specifically about that which constitutes a person in African philosophy. These philosophers include Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye and Segun Gbadegesin. What they have in common, though, is that their ideas on the concept of a person issue largely from the traditional philosophies of some West African peoples. Wiredu and Gyekye reflect on Akan conceptions while Gbadegesin carries out his discussions from the Yoruba cultural perspective. This paper examines (...) the thoughts of these prominent philosophers, with a particular focus on the constitution of the person and the nature of his or her destiny. (shrink)
Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. Early in the disease, the most obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Doctors do not know what causes it and finds difficulty in early diagnosing the presence of Parkinson’s disease. An artificial neural network system with back propagation algorithm is presented in this paper for helping doctors in identifying (...) PD. Previous research with regards to predict the presence of the PD has shown accuracy rates up to 93% ; however, accuracy of prediction for small classes is reduced. The proposed design of the neural network system causes a significant increase of robustness. It is also has shown that networks recognition rates reached 100%. (shrink)
That brings me to the crux of my disagreement with Hillis Miller. The central contention is not simply that I am sometimes, or always, wrong in my interpretation, but instead that I—like other traditional historians—can never be right in my interpretation. For Miller assents to Nietzsche's challenge of "the concept of 'rightness' in interpretation," and to Nietzsche's assertion that "the same text authorizes innumerable interpretations : there is no 'correct' interpretation."1 Nietzsche's views of interpretation, as Miller says, are relevant to (...) the recent deconstructive theorists, including Jacques Derrida and himself, who have "reinterpreted Nietzsche" or have written "directly or indirectly under his aegis." He goes on to quote a number of statements from Nietzsche's The Will to Power to the effect, as Miller puts it, "that reading is never the objective identifying of a sense but the importation of meaning into a text which had no meaning 'in itself.'" For example: "Ultimately, man finds in things nothing but what he himself has imported into them." "In fact interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something."2 On the face of it, such sweeping deconstructive claims might suggest those of Lewis Carroll's linguistic philosopher, who asserted that meaning is imported into a text by the interpreter's will to power: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things.""The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all." But of course I don't believe that such deconstructive claims are, in Humpty Dumpty fashion, simply dogmatic assertions. Instead, they are conclusions which are derived from particular linguistic premises. I want, in the time remaining, to present what I make out to be the elected linguistic premises, first of Jacques Derrida, then of Hillis Miller, in the confidence that if I misinterpret these theories, my errors will soon be challenged and corrected. Let me eliminate suspense by saying at the beginning that I don't think that their radically skeptical conclusions from these premises are wrong. On the contrary, I believe that their conclusions are right—in fact, they are infallibly right, and that's where the trouble lies. · 1. "Tradition and Difference," Diacritics 2 : 8, 12.· 2. Ibid. M. H. Abrams’s contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Rationality and Imagination in Cultural History: A Reply to Wayne Booth" and "Behaviorism and Deconstruction: A Comment on Morse Peckham's 'The Infinitude of Pluralism'". (shrink)
Clinicians' work depends on sincere and complete disclosures from their patients; they honour this candidness by confidentially safeguarding the information received. Breaching confidentiality causes harms that are not commensurable with the possible benefits gained. Limitations or exceptions put on confidentiality would destroy it, for the confider would become suspicious and un-co-operative, the confidant would become untrustworthy and the whole climate of the clinical encounter would suffer irreversible erosion. Excusing breaches of confidence on grounds of superior moral values introduces arbitrariness and (...) ethical unreliability into the medical context. Physicians who breach the agreement of confidentiality are being unfair, thus opening the way for, and becoming vulnerable to, the morally obtuse conduct of others. Confidentiality should not be seen as the cosy but dispensable atmosphere of clinical settings; rather, it constitutes a guarantee of fairness in medical actions. Possible perils that might accrue to society are no greater than those accepted when granting inviolable custody of information to priests, lawyers and bankers. To jeopardize the integrity of confidential medical relationships is too high a price to pay for the hypothetical benefits this might bring to the prevailing social order. (shrink)
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a famous dystopia, frequently called upon in public discussions about new biotechnology. It is less well known that 30 years later Huxley also wrote a utopian novel, called Island. This paper will discuss both novels focussing especially on the role of psychopharmacological substances. If we see fiction as a way of imagining what the world could look like, then what can we learn from Huxley’s novels about psychopharmacology and how does that relate to the (...) discussion in the ethical and philosophical literature on this subject? The paper argues that in the current ethical discussion the dystopian vision on psychopharmacology is dominant, but that a comparison between Brave New World and Island shows that a more utopian view is possible as well. This is illustrated by a discussion of the issue of psychopharmacology and authenticity. The second part of the paper draws some further conclusions for the ethical debate on psychopharmacology and human enhancement, by comparing the novels not only with each other, but also with our present reality. It is claimed that the debate should not get stuck in an opposition of dystopian and utopian views, but should address important issues that demand attention in our real world: those of evaluation and governance of enhancing psychopharmacological substances in democratic, pluralistic societies. (shrink)
Let us call an integer part of an ordered field any subring such that every element of the field lies at distance less than 1 from a unique element of the ring. We show that every real closed field has an integer part.
Clinical and research practices designed by developed countries are often implemented in host nations of the Third World. In recent years, a number of papers have presented a diversity of arguments to justify these practices which include the defence of research with placebos even though best proven treatments exist; the distribution of drugs unapproved in their country of origin; withholding of existing therapy in order to observe the natural course of infection and disease; redefinition of equipoise to a more bland (...) version, and denial of post-trial benefits to research subjects. These practices have all been prohibited in developed, sponsoring countries, even though they invariably have pockets of poverty where conditions comparable to the Third World prevail. Furthermore, the latest update of the Declaration of Helsinki clearly decries double ethical standards in research protocols. Under these circumstances, it does not seem appropriate that First World scholars should propose and defend research and clinical practices with less stringent ethical standards than those mandatory in their own countries. Recent years have witnessed frequent reports of less stringent ethical standards being applied to both clinical and research medical practices, for the most part in the field of drug trials and drug marketing, initiated by developed countries in poorer nations. Still more unsettling, a number of articles have endorsed the policy of employing ethical norms in these host countries, which would be unacceptable to both the legislations and the moral standards of the sponsor nations. Also, these reformulations often contravene the Declaration of Helsinki or one of its updates. This paper is not so much concerned with the actual practices, which have been subjected to frequent scrutiny and publicly decried when gross misconduct occurred. Rather, my concern relates to the approval and support such practices have found in the literature on bioethics from authors who might be expected to use their energy and scholarship to explore and endorse the universalisability of ethics rather than to develop ad hoc arguments that would allow exceptions and variations from accepted moral standards. To this purpose, issue will be taken with arguments in three fields: medical and pharmaceutical practices, research strategies, and local application of research results. (shrink)
The themes, problems and challenges of developmental systems theory as described in Cycles of Contingency are discussed. We argue in favor of a robust approach to philosophical and scientific problems of extended heredity and the integration of behavior, development, inheritance, and evolution. Problems with Sterelny's proposal to evaluate inheritance systems using his `Hoyle criteria' are discussed and critically evaluated. Additional support for a developmental systems perspective is sought in evolutionary studies of performance and behavior modulation of fitness. -/- .
This brief reply gives a few references and clarifies some points in order to emphasize that a number of Professor Seedhouse's assertions are debatable and that his criticism of slovenly scholarship and his unbridled ad hominem argumentation are out of place and easily refuted.
Next SectionAccording to numerous commentators, clinical freedom, the art of medicine, and, by implication, a degree of patient welfare, are threatened by evidence based medicine (EBM). As EBM has developed over the last fifteen years, claims about better evidence for medical treatments, and improvements in healthcare delivery, have been matched by critiques of EBM’s reductionism and uniformity, its problematic application to individual patients, and its alleged denial of the continuing need for clinical interpretation, insight, and judgment. Most of these attacks (...) on EBM and defences of clinical freedom fail. They are based on erroneous understandings of the relationships between inductive knowledge, clinical uncertainty, and action. Evidence based medicine is a necessary condition for clinical freedom, not a threat to it, and EBM is not something to be balanced with either clinical experience or patient preferences. The art and science of medicine are more conceptually and practically connected than the defenders of clinical freedom, whatever they conceive that to be, are willing to admit. (shrink)
A number of recent publications by the philosopher David Seedhouse are discussed. Although medicine is an eminently ethical enterprise, the technical and ethical aspects of health care practices can be distinguished, therefore justifying the existence of medical ethics and its teaching as a specific part of every medical curriculum. The goal of teaching medical ethics is to make health care practitioners aware of the essential ethical aspects of their work. Furthermore, the contention that rational bioethics is a fruitless enterprise because (...) it analyses non-rational social events seems neither theoretically tenable nor to be borne out by actual practice. Medical ethics in particular and bioethics in general, constitute a field of expertise that must make itself understandable and convincing to relevant audiences in health care. (shrink)