The Totonac homegarden is a traditionally designed agroecosystem mixing different elements, such as cultivated and wild plants, and livestock. Our objective was to understand the role and importance of homegardens as a strategy for subsistence and natural resources management. Anthropological fieldwork was carried out in Coxquihui, Veracruz, Mexico, a Totonac community. Conventional sampling using a questionnaire yielded a sample of 40 individuals, each representing a family group. Personal interviews, life stories, observations, and field transects enriched survey information. Fieldwork permitted identification (...) of four types of Totonac homegardens: backyards, cropping fields, acahuales or fallow fields, and fences or field edges. Each of these gardens yields an array of products and services important for several cultural roles and natural resource management aims. Totonacs see land as the dominant and most critical resource. A great deal of terrain is steeply sloped and soils are poor. Homegardens play a key role in a production system that minimizes these site limitations, striking a balance between resource maintenance and subsistence needs. Their functions are ecological, to foster a multistrata vegetation cover, and a continuous supply of organic matter to the soil; economic, serving as living storehouses where diverse products (food, timber, firewood, forage, animals, ceremonial supplies, medicinal products), are kept through the annual cycle; and social, performing various social roles such as growing medicinal, ritual, and edible plants, thus supporting beliefs and culture continuity. Studies like this contribute to a better understanding of Totonac culture and native ecology, and give ideas for a better land management. (shrink)
Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...) property of being an A. In this respect, its logical form is the same as that of relative frequencies. For instance, we might talk about the probability of a human baby being female. That probability is about human babies in general — not about individuals. If we examine a baby and determine conclusively that she is female, then the definite probability of her being female is 1, but that does not alter the indefinite probability of human babies in general being female. Most objective approaches to probability tie probabilities to relative frequencies in some way, and the resulting probabilities have the same logical form as the relative frequencies. That is, they are indefinite probabilities. The simplest theories identify indefinite probabilities with relative frequencies.3 It is often objected that such “finite frequency theories” are inadequate because our probability judgments often diverge from relative frequencies. For example, we can talk about a coin being fair (and so the indefinite probability of a flip landing heads is 0.5) even when it is flipped only once and then destroyed (in which case the relative frequency is either 1 or 0). For understanding such indefinite probabilities, it has been suggested that we need a notion of probability that talks about possible instances of properties as well as actual instances.. (shrink)
In this issue of Journal of Medical Ethics, Pugh1 offers a pluralist justice-based argument in support of the spirit, if not the precise letter, of the UK approach to the use of genetic test results to underwrite life insurance. We agree with Dr Pugh’s general contention that there is ethical and philosophical support for curtailment of insurers’ access to, and use of, applicants’ GTR in underwriting. However, we disagree with the contention that broad revisionary implications of certain theories of justice (...) render them unpersuasive. In fact, despite the competing theories, the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights has already made a clear statement on this issue. Article 6 of the Declaration,2 unanimously adopted in 1997 by 77 countries, along with a resolution for its implementation,3 states, ‘No one shall be subjected to discrimination based on genetic characteristics that is intended to infringe or has the effect of infringing human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity.’ Further, Article 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of life insurance. These statements are not contingent on the acceptability of the degree of revisionary implications. They are clear, unambiguous statements about the obligations of signatory countries. Despite this, few countries have taken steps commensurate with this expectation, possibly due to the scale of changes required for proper ratification. However, genetic discrimination is recognised as one …. (shrink)
The theory that AIDS originated from contaminated polio vaccines raises a number of challenging issues with ethical dimensions. The Journal of Medical Ethics dealt with a submission about the theory a decade ago; subsequent developments have raised further issues. Four areas of contention are addressed: whether the theory should be investigated; whether anyone should be blamed; whether defamation actions are appropriate, and whether the scientific community has a responsibility to examine unorthodox theories.
The aim of this paper is to set out some of the ontologies amongst which some forms of anti-realism must select. This provides the appropriate setting for presenting an alternative realist ontology. The argument is that the choice between the varieties of anti-realism and realism is inevitably a choice between ontologies.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors is a working group of editors of selected medical journals that meets annually. Founded in Vancouver, Canada, in 1978, it currently consists of 11 member journals and a representative of the US National Library of Medicine. The major purpose of the Committee is to address and provide guidance for the conduct and publishing of biomedical research and the ethical tenets underpinning these activities. This advice is detailed in the Committee's Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts (...) Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication . Recently, the ICMJE has adopted an interventionist role to ensure transparency of conflict of interest revelations in the conduct and publication of industry supported research. It also pursues a policy for the lodgement with trial registries of specified details of Phase III clinical trials. Failure to comply would jeopardise publication of trial outcomes in ICMJE member journals. This policy has resulted in the coming on stream of trial registries, international agreement on trial minimal datasets and compliance with trial registration requirements. (shrink)
Editorial independence is crucial for the viability of a journal and editors have many masters - the public, the readers, the authors and the owners. Negotiating the resultant minefield requires a purposeful and independent stance. This is particularly so in instances of a relatively modern phenomenon: concerted attempts by clinical groups to influence, or even abort, publication of articles, which may threaten their practice. Moreover, modern social media facilitates this manipulation.
Although universal schooling has been adopted as a goal by international organizations, bilateral aid agencies, national governments, and non-profit organizations, little sustained international attention has been devoted to the purposes or goals of universal education. What is universal primary and secondary education intended to accomplish? This book, which grew out of a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, offers views from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America on the purposes of universal education while considering diverse (...) cultures, religions, and professions. It is the first book in which renowned authors from around the world have proposed, considered, and debated goals of basic and secondary education, engaging in a constructive dialogue on one of the most pressing issues facing education today. (shrink)