IntroductionBisphenol A is highly debated and studied in relation to a variety of health outcomes. This large variation in the literature makes BPA a topic that is prone to selective use of literature, in order to underpin one’s own findings and opinion. Over time, selective use of literature, by means of citations, can lead to a skewed knowledge development and a biased scientific consensus. In this study, we assess which factors drive citation and whether this results in the overrepresentation of (...) harmful health effects of BPA.MethodsA citation network analysis was performed to test various determinants of citation. A systematic search identified all relevant publications on the human health effect of BPA. Data were extracted on potential determinants of selective citation, such as study outcome, study design, sample size, journal impact factor, authority of the author, self-citation, and funding source. We applied random effect logistic regression to assess whether these determinants influence the likelihood of citation.ResultsOne hundred sixty-nine publications on BPA were identified, with 12,432 potential citation pathways of which 808 citations occurred. The network consisted of 63 cross-sectional studies, 34 cohort studies, 29 case-control studies, 35 narrative reviews, and 8 systematic reviews. Positive studies have a 1.5 times greater chance of being cited compared to negative studies. Additionally, the authority of the author and self-citation are consistently found to be positively associated with the likelihood of being cited. Overall, the network seems to be highly influenced by two highly cited publications, whereas 60 out of 169 publications received no citations.ConclusionIn the literature on BPA, citation is mostly driven by positive study outcome and author-related factors, such as high authority within the network. Interpreting the impact of these factors and the big influence of a few highly cited publications, it can be questioned to which extent the knowledge development in human literature on BPA is actually evidence-based. (shrink)
Background Informed consent is a requirement for all research. It is not, however, clear how much information is sufficient to make an informed decision about participation in research. Information on an online questionnaire about childhood development was provided through an unfolding electronic participant sheet in three levels of information. Methods 552 participants, who completed the web-based survey, accessed and spent time reading the participant information sheet (PIS) between July 2008 and November 2009. The information behaviour of the participants was investigated. (...) The first level contained less information than might be found on a standard PIS, the second level corresponded to a standard PIS, and the third contained more information than on a standard PIS. The actual time spent on reading the information provided in three incremental levels and the participants' evaluation of the information were calculated. Results 77% of the participants chose to access the first level of information, whereas 12% accessed the first two levels, 6% accessed all three levels of information and 23% participated without accessing information. The most accessed levels of information were those that corresponded to the average reading times. Conclusion The brief information provided in the first level was sufficient for participants to make informed decisions, while a sizeable minority of the participants chose not to access any information at all. This study adds to the debate about how much information is required to make a decision about participation in research and the results may help inform the future development of information sheets by providing data on participants' actual needs when deciding about questionnaire surveys. (shrink)
BackgroundKnowledge development depends on an unbiased representation of the available evidence. Selective citation may distort this representation. Recently, some controversy emerged regarding the possible impact of swimming on childhood asthma, raising the question about the role of selective citation in this field. Our objective was to assess the occurrence and determinants of selective citation in scientific publications on the relationship between swimming in chlorinated pools and childhood asthma.MethodsWe identified scientific journal articles on this relationship via a systematic literature search. The (...) following factors were taken into account: study outcome, other content-related article characteristics, content-unrelated article characteristics, author characteristics, and citation characteristics. To assess the impact of these factors on citation, we performed a series of univariate and adjusted random-effects logistic regressions, with potential citation path as unit of analysis.ResultsThirty-six articles were identified in this network, consisting of 570 potential citation paths of which 191 were realized. There was strong evidence that articles with at least one author in common, cited each other more often than articles that had no common authors 5.2, 95% confidence interval 3.1–8.8). Similarly, the chance of being cited was higher for articles that were empirical rather than narrative, that reported a large sample size, and that were written by authors with a high authority within the network. Further, there was some evidence for citation bias: articles that confirmed the relation between swimming and asthma were cited more often, but this finding was not robust.ConclusionsThere is clear evidence of selective citation in this research field, but the evidence for citation bias is not very strong. (shrink)
Citing of previous publications is an important factor in knowledge development. Because of the great amount of publications available, only a selection of studies gets cited, for varying reasons. If the selection of citations is associated with study outcome this is called citation bias. We will study determinants of citation in a broader sense, including e.g. study design, journal impact factor or the funding source of the publication. As a case study we assess which factors drive citation in the human (...) literature on phthalates, specifically the metabolite mono phthalate. A systematic literature search identified all relevant publications on human health effect of MEHP. Data on potential determinants of citation were extracted in duplo. Specialized software was used to create a citation network, including all potential citation pathways. Random effect logistic regression was used to assess whether these determinants influence the likelihood of citation. 112 Publications on MEHP were identified, with 5684 potential citation pathways of which 551 were actual citations. Reporting of a harmful point estimate, journal impact factor, authority of the author, a male corresponding author, research performed in North America and self-citation were positively associated with the likelihood of being cited. In the literature on MEHP, citation is mostly driven by a number of factors that are not related to study outcome. Although the identified determinants do not necessarily give strong indications of bias, it shows selective use of published literature for a variety of reasons. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to investigate and critically analyse some of the formative factors which led to the spiritual maturation of a leading Vīraśaiva saint, Basava. This inquiry focuses on a single event in the life of this great reformer of medieval times, i.e. his spiritual conflict leading to his rejection of the upanayana ceremony. The study will proceed through an investigation of the earliest and subsequent sources which veil the personality of Basava. The traditional view will be (...) challenged as one-sided. By critically comparing the sources, a more comprehensive and plausible account will be suggested. (shrink)
Background: Debates over legalisation of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia often warn of a “slippery slope”, predicting abuse of people in vulnerable groups. To assess this concern, the authors examined data from Oregon and the Netherlands, the two principal jurisdictions in which physician-assisted dying is legal and data have been collected over a substantial period.Methods: The data from Oregon comprised all annual and cumulative Department of Human Services reports 1998–2006 and three independent studies; the data from the Netherlands comprised all four (...) government-commissioned nationwide studies of end-of-life decision making and specialised studies. Evidence of any disproportionate impact on 10 groups of potentially vulnerable patients was sought.Results: Rates of assisted dying in Oregon and in the Netherlands showed no evidence of heightened risk for the elderly, women, the uninsured , people with low educational status, the poor, the physically disabled or chronically ill, minors, people with psychiatric illnesses including depression, or racial or ethnic minorities, compared with background populations. The only group with a heightened risk was people with AIDS. While extralegal cases were not the focus of this study, none have been uncovered in Oregon; among extralegal cases in the Netherlands, there was no evidence of higher rates in vulnerable groups.Conclusions: Where assisted dying is already legal, there is no current evidence for the claim that legalised PAS or euthanasia will have disproportionate impact on patients in vulnerable groups. Those who received physician-assisted dying in the jurisdictions studied appeared to enjoy comparative social, economic, educational, professional and other privileges. (shrink)
Bhattacharyya, K. The Advaita concept of subjectivity.--Deutsch, E. Reflections on some aspects of the theory of rasa.--Nakamura, H. The dawn of modern thought in the East.--Organ, T. Causality, Indian and Greek.--Chatterjee, M. On types of classification.--Lacombe, O. Transcendental imagination.--Bahm, A. J. Standards for comparative philosophy.--Herring, H. Appearance, its significance and meaning in the history of philosophy.--Chang Chung-yuan. Pre-rational harmony in Heidegger's essential thinking and Chʼan thought.--Staal, J. F. Making sense of the Buddhist tetralemma.--Enomiya-Lassalle, H. M. The mysticism of Carl Albrecht (...) and Zen.--Parrinder, G. The nature of mysticism.--Cairns, G. E. Axiological contributions of East and West to the spiritual development of mankind.--Mayeda, S. Śaṇkara's view of ethics.--Mercier, A. On peace.--Barlingay, S. S. A discussion of some aspects of Gaudapāda's philosophy. (shrink)
The purpose of this note is to examine the notion of obligations to future generations, a notion that finds increasing use in discussions of social policies and programs, particularly as concerns population distribution and control and environment control. Thus, it may be claimed, the solution of problems in these areas is not merely a matter of enhancing our own good, improving our own conditions of life, but is also a matter of discharging an obligation to future generations.
We maximally extend the quantum‐mechanical results of Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) establishing the ‘weak discernibility’ of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite‐dimensional Hilbert spaces. This confutes the currently dominant view that ( A ) the quantum‐mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that ( B ) the only way to save PII is by adopting some heavy metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceitas or Adamsian primitive thisness. We (...) take sides with Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) against this currently dominant view, which has been expounded and defended by many. *Received July 2008; revised May 2009. †To contact the authors, please write to: F. A. Muller, Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burg. Oudlaan 50, H5–16, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; e‐mail: [email protected] , and Institute for the History and Foundations of Science, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, IGG–3.08, 3584 CD Utrecht, The Netherlands; e‐mail: [email protected] . M. P. Seevinck, Institute for the History and Foundations of Science, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, IGG–3.08, 3584 CD Utrecht, The Netherlands; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
This white paper aims to identify an open problem in 'Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality' -namely whether quantum theory and special relativity are formally compatible-, to indicate what the underlying issues are, and put forward ideas about how the problem might be addressed.
** The primary topic of this dissertation is the study of the relationships between parts and wholes as described by particular physical theories, namely generalized probability theories in a quasi-classical physics framework and non-relativistic quantum theory. ** A large part of this dissertation is devoted to understanding different aspects of four different kinds of correlations: local, partially-local, no-signaling and quantum mechanical correlations. Novel characteristics of these correlations have been used to study how they are related and how they can be (...) discerned via Bell-type inequalities that give non-trivial bounds on the strength of the correlations. ** The study of quantum correlations has also prompted us to study a) the multi-partite qubit state space with respect to its entanglement and separability characteristics, and b) the differing strength of the correlations in separable and entangled qubit states. Results include a novel classification of multipartite (partial) separability and entanglement, strong constraints on the monogamy of entanglement and of non-local correlations, and many new entanglement detection criteria that are directly experimentally accessible. ** Because of the generality of the investigation these results also have strong foundational as well as philosophical repercussions for the different sorts of physical theories as a whole; notably for the viability of hidden variable theories for quantum mechanics, for the possibility of doing experimental metaphysics, for the question of holism in physical theories, and for the classical vs. quantum dichotomy. (shrink)
In this paper I hope to show that a conception of human rights requires a view of the social ideal and the good life, and requires a view of the nature of human community. But what I say in favor of these points hardly amounts to a demonstration. Instead I try to exhibit how we think and talk about rights in general, and what the presuppositions of such thought and talk are. Throughout, I emphasize the pragmatic side of rights-discourse and (...) I try to establish some of the contexts in which such discourse can be significantly employed. Much of what I say is motivated by the consideration that an historically important factor in the generation of various rights, their acknowledgement and implementation, and their extension to increasingly larger segments of the population, has been the claims put forward and the demands made by individuals and groups against individuals and groups. This factor constitutes a suggestive clue for the development of a theory of rights. The treatment here, however, is largely programmatic and fragmentary. The space allotted does not permit more. Moreover, I lead up to—but do not go into—the social ideal and the human community. The title of this essay indicates its limited scope. The above points are, of course, hardly novel; many older writers laid great stress upon them. But of late they have not received the attention that they in my view deserve. What does it mean for someone to maintain a conception of human rights? How is this conception given any concrete content? The answers to these questions, I believe, ultimately lead to a consideration of social ideals and the human community. What follows is meant to stimulate new thinking on these old-fashioned topics. (shrink)
The traditional paradox of the stone may be interpreted as posing a competition between a pair of omnipotent beings, represented by God at two different times. The new paradox poses a question about simultaneous competition between a pair of omnipotent beings. We make use of an attractive Thomistic response to the former paradox in arguing that the latter situation is logically possible.
Background Regarding controversial medical services, many have argued that if physicians cannot in good conscience provide a legal medical intervention for which a patient is a candidate, they should refer the requesting patient to an accommodating provider. This study examines what US physicians think a doctor is obligated to do when the doctor thinks it would be immoral to provide a referral. Method The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 2000 US physicians from all specialties. The (...) primary criterion variable was agreement that physicians have a professional obligation to refer patients for all legal medical services for which the patients are candidates, even if the physician believes that such a referral is immoral. Results Of 1895 eligible physicians, 1032 (55%) responded. 57% of physicians agreed that doctors must refer patients regardless of whether or not the doctor believes the referral itself is immoral. Holding this opinion was independently associated with being more theologically pluralistic, describing oneself as sociopolitically liberal, and indicating that respect for patient autonomy is the most important bioethical principle in one's practice (multivariable ORs, 1.6–2.4). Conclusions Physicians are divided about a professional obligation to refer when the physician believes that referral itself is immoral. These data suggest there is no uncontroversial way to resolve conflicts posed when patients request interventions that their physicians cannot in good conscience provide. (shrink)
The inconsistent definition of empathy has had a negative impact on both research and practice. The aim of this article is to review and critically appraise a range of definitions of empathy and, through considered analysis, to develop a new conceptualisation. From the examination of 43 discrete definitions, 8 themes relating to the nature of empathy emerged: “distinguishing empathy from other concepts”; “cognitive or affective?”; “congruent or incongruent?”; “subject to other stimuli?”; “self/other distinction or merging?”; “trait or state influences?”; “has (...) a behavioural outcome?”; and “automatic or controlled?” The relevance and validity of each theme is assessed and a new conceptualisation of empathy is offered. The benefits of employing a more consistent and complete definition of empathy are discussed. (shrink)
Women who had had breast cancer and had been enrolled in a large genetic breast cancer epidemiological study were interviewed about their experience of participation in the study, their attitudes to the confidentiality of data, and the feedback of personal and general research results. Collection of family history information seemed more salient in indicating the genetic nature of the study than the enrolment information sheet. There were no concerns about confidentiality.While participants would have welcomed general feedback about the results of (...) the study and were critical that this had not been provided, the feedback of personal information proved complicated and, sometimes, difficult. It is suggested that individual feedback of genetic test information in epidemiological studies should be undertaken only when there are specific reasons. (shrink)
In recent years philosophers have given much attention to the ‘ontological problem’ of events. Donald Davidson puts the matter thus: ‘the assumption, ontological and metaphysical, that there are events is one without which we cannot make sense of much of our common talk; or so, at any rate, I have been arguing. I do not know of any better, or further, way of showing what there is’. It might be thought bizarre to assign to philosophers the task of ‘showing what (...) there is’. They have not distinguished themselves by the discovery of new elements, new species or new continents, nor even of new categories, although there has often been more dreamt of in their philosophies than can be found in heaven or earth. It might appear even stranger to think that one can show what there actually is by arguing that the existence of something needs to be assumed in order for certain sentences to make sense. More than anything, the sober reader will doubtlessly be amazed that we need to assume , after lengthy argument, ‘that there are events’. (shrink)
Institutional review boards and investigators are used to talking about risks of harm. Both low risks of great harm and high risks of small harm must be disclosed to prospective subjects and should be explained and categorized in ways that help potential subjects to understand and weigh them appropriately. Everyone on an IRB has probably spent time at meetings arguing over whether a three-page bulleted list of risk description is helpful or overkill for prospective subjects. Yet only a small fraction (...) of all the time and attention lavished on risk disclosure has been devoted to discussing whether and when potential benefit to subjects can reasonably be claimed and, if so, how it should be described in the consent form and process.Traditionally, IRBs and regulators have worked to ensure that clear lines can be drawn between research that, by definition, carries no potential for direct benefit — because it uses healthy volunteers or because it is not foreseeably focused on the development of treatments — and research that does have the development of effective treatments as its goal. (shrink)
Science education is most efficacious and enduring when undertaken within a philosophical framework akin to that of science, itself. This entails recognition that, above all, science is a mode of rational inquiry pursued by those who are curious about the natural world and motivated to seek rational answers to personally meaningful questions. The key to successful science instruction lies in fostering a student' 's self-motivation and productively channeling his innate curiosity. To do this a science educator must convey to students (...) an accurate and sympathetic impression of the importance of science to their cultural development; help students develop an ability to evaluate information critically and arrive at logical conclusions; provide students opportunities to engage in creative, personally meaningful scientific research. (shrink)
Like the virtue it purports to explain, St Thomas Aquinas' treatment of modestia in the Summa Theologiae is something that can easily be overlooked. Such neglect is unfortunate, for it is liable to obscure the surprising character of Aquinas' account, departing as it does from many of his philosophical sources , to say nothing of our own contemporary assumptions. This novel treatment is especially significant given its potential value in addressing the social and political needs of the current age, for (...) rather than being the virtue least fitted for contemporary life, the modesty that emerges in Thomas' moral theology may have an enduring civic significance. This essay therefore begins with an exegesis of Aquinas' account of modestia and concludes with an analysis of its political dimensions. (shrink)
Our research is based on a rather large "library" of various works by M. Drahomanov, which contains his views on religion. Among them: Paradise and Progress, From the History of Relations Between Church and State in Western Europe, Faith and Public Affairs, Fight for Spiritual Power and Freedom of Conscience in the 16th - 17th Centuries,, "Church and State in the Roman Empire", "The Status and Tasks of the Science of Ancient History," "Evangelical Faith in Old England," "Populism and Popular (...) Progress in Austrian Rus, Austrian-Russian Remembrance," "Pious The Legend of the Bulgarians "," The Issues of Religious Freedom in Russia, "" On the Brotherhood of the Baptist or the Baptist in Ukraine, "" The Foreword, " Shevchenko, Ukrainianophiles and Socialism "," Wonderful thoughts about the Ukrainian national affair "," Zazdri gods "," Slavic variants of one Gospel legend "," Resurrection of Christ ", etc. (shrink)
This article reviews the Dutch societal debate on euthanasia/assisted suicide in dementia cases, specifically Alzheimer's disease. It discusses the ethical and practical dilemmas created by euthanasia requests in advance directives and the related inconsistencies in the Dutch legal regulations regarding euthanasia/assisted suicide. After an initial focus on euthanasia in advanced dementia, the actual debate concentrates on making euthanasia/assisted suicide possible in the very early stages of dementia. A review of the few known cases of assisted suicide of people with so-called (...) early dementia raises the question why requests for euthanasia/assisted suicide from patients in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease are virtually non-existent. In response to this question two explanations are offered. It is concluded that, in addition to a moral discussion on the limits of anticipatory choices, there is an urgent need to develop research into the patient's perspective with regard to medical treatment and care-giving in dementia, including end-of-life care. (shrink)
Informed consent in clinical research is widely regarded as broken, but essential nonetheless. The most recent attempt to reform it comes as part of the first revisions to the Common Rule since it became truly “common” in 1991. This change, the addition of a “key information” requirement for most consent forms, is intended to support and promote a reasoned decision-making process by potential subjects. The key information requirement is both promising and problematic. It is promising because it encourages clarity and (...) honesty about research participation, creativity in information disclosure, and mutual learning through the investigator-subject relationship. It is problematic because those goals — which have remained aspirational since the beginning — may be difficult to achieve in what has become an excessively compliance-oriented regulatory regime. (shrink)
Throughout its history philosophy has been thought to be a member of a community of intellectual disciplines united by their common pursuit of knowledge. It has sometimes been thought to be the queen of the sciences, at other times merely their under-labourer. But irrespective of its social status, it was held to be a participant in the quest for knowledge – a cognitive discipline.
Chomsky is widely mentioned in those philosophical circles whose interest centers on the analysis of language, but until now he has really been little read; this new work will remedy that situation. Here Chomsky, building on a presupposed acquaintance with linguistics, provides a stimulating examination of four major areas of linguistic theory: first, generative grammars are studied in their relation to language learning and understanding, then they are further considered as theories of linguistic use and competence; Chomsky here sets out (...) the criteria required for a grammar to be considered adequate—the justification of grammars. The second chapter examines syntactic theory with reference to depth structure and the problem of the relation of syntactic description to the traditional, correct account of how language is used. Depth structures and their import with reference to transformations within grammars are the subject matter of the third chapter. The last section considers, among other problems, the interface between syntax and semantics, especially the problems of degrees of grammaticality. A number of notes which go further into certain topics appear after the main text, and there is a useful bibliography. The main thrust of the book is a syntactical treatment of natural language by using transformational generative grammars as descriptive. Although he suggests empirical tests for the models he has constructed, he does not provide an attempt to fully verify the proposed system. This book will certainly be essential for an understanding of the structure of language viewed from the syntactic point of view.—P. J. M. (shrink)