This paper focuses on the causation of diseases, particularly on the idea of a “genetic cause” taking Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as an example. We (1) provide some historical information and a synopsis of the current knowledge on the etiology and pathogenesis of AD, (2) analyse some conceptual problems related to the notion of “genetic disease” (3) elaborate on the alleged (genetic) cause of AD, and (4) place the discussion on the cause of AD in a broader philosophical context, paying attention (...) to a constructivist perspective, the notions of causal connection and causal selection, and to some practical and normative consequences of our analysis. We conclude (a) that AD is not a specific disease entity with one specific cause, (b) that the idea of a single (sufficient) cause can still function as a heuristic tool in AD research and practice, and (c) that a “belief” in causation can go together with the notions of multicausality and probability. (shrink)
In this paper we analyse some ethical and philosophical questions related to the development of memory enhancing drugs (MEDs) and anti-dementia drugs. The world of memory enhancement is coloured by utopian thinking and by the desire for quicker, sharper, and more reliable memories. Dementia is characterized by decline, fragility, vulnerability, a loss of the most important cognitive functions and even a loss of self. While MEDs are being developed for self-improvement, in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) the self is being lost. Despite (...) this it is precisely those patients with AD and other forms of dementia that provide the subjects for scientific research on memory improvement. Biomedical research in the field of MEDs and anti-dementia drugs appears to provide a strong impetus for rethinking what we mean by ‘memory’, ‘enhancement’, ‘therapy’, and ‘self’. We conclude (1) that the enhancement of memory is still in its infancy, (2) that current MEDs and anti-dementia drugs are at best partially and minimally effective under specific conditions, (3) that ‘memory᾿and ‘enhancement᾿are ambiguous terms, (4) that there is no clear-cut distinction between enhancement and therapy, and (5) that the research into MEDs and anti-dementia drugs encourages a reductionistic view of the human mind and of the self. (shrink)
This paper suggests that certain traditional ways of analysing the self start off in situations that are abstract or detached from normal experience, and that the conclusions reached in such approaches are, as a result, inexact or mistaken. The paper raises the question of whether there are more contextualized forms of self- consciousness than those usually appealed to in philosophical or psychological analyses, and whether they can be the basis for a more adequate theoretical approach to the self. First, we (...) develop a distinction between abstract and contextualized actions and intentions by drawing on evidence from studies of rehabilitation after brain damage, and we introduce the notion of intentional attitude. Second, we discuss several interesting conclusions drawn from theoretically and experimentally abstract approaches. These conclusions raise some important issues about both the nature of the self and reflexive consciousness. At the same time they indicate the serious limita- tions concerning what we can claim about self and self-consciousness within such abstract frameworks. Such limitations motivate the question of whether it is possible to capture a sense of self that is more embedded in contextualized actions. Specifically, our concern is to focus on first-person approaches. We identify two forms of self-consciousness, eco- logical self-awareness and embedded reflection, that (1) function within the kinds of contextualized activity we have indicated, and (2) can be the basis for a theoretical account of the self. Both forms of self-consciousness are closely tied to action and promise to provide a less abstract basis for developing a theoretical approach to the self. (shrink)
The significance of consciousness in modern science is discussed by leading authorities from a variety of disciplines. Presenting a wide-ranging survey of current thinking on this important topic, the contributors address such issues as the status of different aspects of consciousness; the criteria for using the concept of consciousness and identifying instances of it; the basis of consciousness in functional brain organization; the relationship between different levels of theoretical discourse; and the functions of consciousness.
This paper provides an overview of the contemporary debate on the concepts and definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Sustainability (CS). The conclusions, based on historical perspectives, philosophical analyses, impact of changing contexts and situations and practical considerations, show that "one solution fits all"-definition for CS(R) should be abandoned, accepting various and more specific definitions matching the development, awareness and ambition levels of organizations.