Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that overexpression of p25, an activator of cdk5, led to increased levels of BACE1 mRNA and protein in vitro and in vivo. A p25/cdk5 responsive region containing multiple sites for signal transducer and activator of transcription was identified in the BACE1 promoter. STAT3 interacts with the BACE1 promoter, and p25-overexpressing mice had elevated levels of pSTAT3 and BACE1, whereas cdk5-deficient mice had reduced levels. Furthermore, mice with a (...) targeted mutation in the STAT3 cdk5 responsive site had lower levels of BACE1. Increased BACE levels in p25 overexpressing mice correlated with enhanced amyloidogenic processing that could be reversed by a cdk5 inhibitor. These data demonstrate a pathway by which p25/cdk5 increases the amyloidogenic processing of APP through STAT3-mediated transcriptional control of BACE1 that could have implications for AD pathogenesis. (shrink)
We argue performance in the serial reaction time task is associated with gradations of awareness that provide examples of fringe consciousness [Mangan, B. . Taking phenomenology seriously: the “fringe” and its implications for cognitive research. Consciousness and Cognition, 2, 89–108, Mangan, B. . The conscious “fringe”: Bringing William James up to date. In B. J. Baars, W. P. Banks & J. B. Newman , Essential sources in the scientific study of consciousness . Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.], and address limitations (...) of the traditional SRT procedure, including criticism of exclusion generation tasks. Two experiments are conducted with a modified SRT procedure where irrelevant stimulus attributes obscure the sequence rule. Our modified paradigm, which includes a novel exclusion task, makes it easier to demonstrate a previously controversial influence of response stimulus interval on awareness. It also allows identification of participants showing fringe consciousness rather than explicit sequence knowledge, as reflected by dissociations between different awareness measures. The NEO-PI-R variable Openness to Feelings influenced the diversity of subjective feelings reported during two awareness measures, but not the degree of learning and awareness as previously found with traditional SRT tasks [Norman, E., Price, M. C., & Duff, S. C. . Fringe consciousness in sequence learning: the influence of individual differences. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 723–760.]. This suggests possible distinctions between two components of fringe consciousness. (shrink)
The book offers a proposal on how to define truth in all its complexity, without reductionism, showing at the same time which questions a theory of truth has to answer and which questions, although related to truth, do not belong within the scope of such a theory. Just like any other theory, a theory of truth has its structure and limits. The semantic core of the position is that truth-ascriptions are pro-forms, i.e. natural language propositional variables. The book also offers (...) an explanation of the syntactic behaviour of truth-terms, and the pragmatic roles of truth-acts. The theory of truth we present is a technical proposal, relatively uncontaminated by radical philosophical discussion. It makes indeed philosophical points, but it is intended to be a conceptual analysis, as neutral as possible, of the aspects that may serve as a point of departure for more philosophically-laden destinations. Like the Fregean account of quantifiers, which is prior to and, to a large extent, independent of the metaphysical debate about existence and its forms, or the Kaplanian view on demonstratives, that is neutral regarding the debate about individuals and the possibilities we have to actually “reach” them in a referring act, we intend our proposal about truth to be a sophisticated and explicative setting that helps to situate other debates about truth accurately, far from the distorted and sometimes strongly ideological discussions that have turned the topic into a paradigm of philosophical impasse. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive survey of Hegel's philosophical thought via a systematic exploration of over 100 key terms, from `absolute' to `will'. By exploring both the etymological background of such terms and Hegel's particular use of them, Michael Inwood clarifies for the modern reader much that has been regarded as difficult and obscure in Hegel's work.
Neuroethics has developed rapidly, driven in large part by developments in neuroscience. This article reviews neuroethics from the standpoint of its growing real-world relevance. It opens up with an analysis of the history of neuroscience that suggests the reason for the emergence of neuroethics now, in the early twenty-first century. It proceeds to survey current applications of neuroscience to diverse real-world problems. Published research in the field of neuromarketing is more focused on academic issues, such as the nature of the (...) brain activity underlying consumer behavior and the accuracy of brain-behavior predictions, than it is on the real-world utility of neuromarketing for improving business. Finally, this article concludes with a discussion of the ethical issues raised by these developments, and outlines three general challenges for society in the age of neuroscience. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a view beyond that which would narrowly reduce the role of parents in medical decision making to acting as custodians of the best interests of children and toward an account of family authority and family autonomy. As a fundamental social unit, the good of the family is usually appreciated, at least in part, in terms of its ability successfully to instantiate its core moral and cultural understandings as well as to pass on such commitments to (...) future generations. The putative rights of children to expression, information, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and to freedom of association with others are, in this essay, assessed from the perspective of those conditions necessary for the family to function as a moral community. In so doing, I respond to the move to liberate children from parental authority and to effect the transformation of the family as implied by the United Nations’ "Convention on the Rights of the Child" and the pediatric bioethics it supports. (shrink)
In “Imposing Risks,” Judith Thomson gives a case in which, by turning on her stove, she accidentally causes her neighbor’s death. She claims that both the following are true: (1) she ought not to have caused her neighbor’s death; (2) it was permissible for her to turn her stove on. In this paper it is argued that it cannot be that both (1) and (2) are true, that (2) is true, and that therefore (1) is false. How this is so (...) is explained, and the implications of this position regarding the relation between rights and duties is explored. (shrink)
These two texts are fundamental for the understanding not only of Neoplatonism but also of the conventions of biography in late antiquity. Neither has received such extensive annotation before in English, and this new commentary makes full use of recent scholarship. The long introduction is intended both as a beginner’s guide to Neoplatonism and as a survey of ancient biographical writing.
David Lewis's modal realism claims that nothing can exist in more than one world or time, and that statements about how something would have been are to be analysed in terms of its counterpart. I first explain why the counterpart relation depends on de re modal statements in an intensional language, so that intuitive properties of similarity relations cannot be used to show that the counterpart relation is not an equivalence relation. I then look at test sentences in natural language, (...) and show that none of them provide compelling evidence that a counterpart semantics is needed. (shrink)
The principal question of this paper is: Why are religious values special in refusal of lifesaving medical treatment? This question is approached through a critical examination of a common kind of refusal of treatment case, one involving a rational adult. The central value cited in defence of honouring such a patient's refusal is autonomy. Once autonomy is isolated from other justificatory factors, however, possible cases can be imagined which cast doubt on the great valuational weight assigned it by strong anti-paternalists. (...) This weight is sufficient, in their estimation, to justify honouring the patient's refusal. There is thus a tension between the strong anti-paternalist's commitment to the sufficiency of autonomy and our intuitions respecting such cases. Attempts can be made to relieve this tension, such as arguing that patients aren't really rational in the circumstances envisaged, or that other values, such as privacy or bodily integrity, if added to autonomy, are sufficient to justify an anti-paternalistic stance. All such attempts fail, however. But what does not fail is the addition of religious freedom, freedom respecting a patient's religious beliefs and values. Why religious freedom reduces the tension is then explained, and the specialness of religious beliefs and values examined. (shrink)