We argue that the concepts of mechanism and autonomy appear to be antagonistic when autonomy is conflated with agency. Once these concepts are disentangled, it becomes clearer how autonomy emerges from complex forms of control. Subsequently, current biomimetic strategies tend to focus on homeostatic regulatory systems; we propose that research in AI and robotics would do well to incorporate biomimetic strategies that instead invoke models of allostatic mechanisms as a way of understanding how to enhance autonomy in artificial systems.
Some philosophers of science have suggested that contemporary science should be the source of inspiration to the new analytic metaphysics (A. Chakra vartty, C. Callender, S. French, J. Ladyman, T. Maudlin, etc.). This paper explores the prospect of a string metaphysics: a research program in analytic metaphysics based on string theory. Different forms of fundamentalism and pluralism are discussed in this context. The paper focus on string metaphysics with S-dualities (a relation between models of string theory at different coupling regimes) (...) and argues that fundamentality and compositionality have to be reconceptualized. String metaphysics with dualities is better couched in terms of metaphysical pluralism. Grounding, as well as a sketch of a string modality, are briefly discussed. The paper concludes with a suggestion for future work: the metaphysician may find a productive ground for research in discussing other dualities (especially the T-dualities, or the AdS/CFT duality), the emergence of spacetime, the concept of time in string theory, the multiverse etc. (shrink)
This paper proposes a model for an artificial autonomous moral agent (AAMA), which is parsimonious in its ontology and minimal in its ethical assumptions. Starting from a set of moral data, this AAMA is able to learn and develop a form of moral competency. It resembles an “optimizing predictive mind,” which uses moral data (describing typical behavior of humans) and a set of dispositional traits to learn how to classify different actions (given a given background knowledge) as morally right, wrong, (...) or neutral. When confronted with a new situation, this AAMA is supposedly able to predict a behavior consistent with the training set. This paper argues that a promising computational tool that fits our model is “neuroevolution,” i.e. evolving artificial neural networks. (shrink)
In a recent book (The Metaphysics within Physics), Tim Maudlin reconstructs metaphysics by taking inspiration from the gauge theories interpreted in the ber bundle framework. I call his project the "fiber bundle metaphysics". Primarily targeted not to Humean Supervenience, but to any metaphysics employing the relation of resemblance among objects (D. Lewis, D. Armstrong), Maudlin's project is novel and promising. I critically analyze the arguments by identifying several objections stemming rst from metaphysics. The metaphysician questions whether gauge theory represented through (...) ber bundles is apt to reform metaphysics. It needs, I claim, a rmer commitment to realism. Second, she cannot see how Maudlin accommodates the metaphysical "loneliness" of objects in the ber bundle metaphysics and complains that the mathematical structures of the ber bundle metaphysics are weakly discernible only. A second class of objections stems from the physics of gauge theories. I see a "conventional" solution to Maudlin's path-dependency argument against Lewis's "pure metaphysical relations": other invariants of affine connections can play the role of internal properties and relations. I raise an objection and address it regarding the duality of the ber bundle representation which is deeply divided among two types of bundles, corresponding to dierent ontologies: gauge elds and spacetime dieomorphism. Several possible paths towards more realistic interpretations of the ber bundle are briefy discussed. Finally, I bring in the provlem of locality, separability and I emphasize some criticisms. My conclusion is that Mauldin's project is assuring, but not powerful enough to reform metaphysics. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss Tim Maudlinâs attempt to reject the theory of universals based on the interpretation of gauge theories in the fiber bundle framework. The project is novel and assuring, but, I argue, it is vulnerable to several objections stemming from both metaphysics and physics. I complement his project by emphasizing two missing elements: first, a commitment to realism; second, the fundamentality or non-fundamentality of gauge theories.
This paper is a survey of the theories of time travel in a perspective close to theories of time. In the last section we discuss the special ontology of the objects that exist on closed timelike curves. We simply assert that CTC need a new ontology and these objects are not simply impossible or unconcevaible.
In this chapter I discuss the attempts by Theodor Kaluza [Kaluza, T., 1921. Zum Unitätproblem der Physik. Sitzungsber. der K. Ak. der Wiss. zu Berlin, 966–972] and by Oskar Klein [Klein, O., 1926a. Quantentheorie und fünfdimensionale Relativitätstheorie. Zeitschrift für Physik 37 (12), 895–906; Klein, O., 1926b. The atomicity of electricity as a quantum theory law. Nature 118, 516], respectively, to unify electromagnetism and general relativity within a five-dimensional Riemannian manifold. I critically compare Kaluza's results to Klein's. Klein's theory possesses more (...) explanatory power and unificatory strength and uses less types of brute facts than Kaluza's. The characteristic feature of Klein's theory is that it relies on an extrinsic element of unification, i.e. the wavefunction behavior, which is not intrinsic to EM or GR. Finally, I compare and discuss Kaluza's and Klein's theories in the context of Tim Maudlin's [Maudlin, T., 1996. On the unification of physics. Journal of Philosophy 93 (3), 129–144] ranking of unification and I clarify in what sense they constitute counterexamples to some of Margaret Morrison's [Morrison, M., 2000. Unifying Scientific Theories: Physical Concepts and Mathematical Structures. Cambridge University Press] assertions about unification. (shrink)
In string theory with S-dualities, there is an object-oriented realism and a structure-oriented realism. This paper discusses the advantages of “string structural realism”, a form of the latter, having a multi-aspected structure with a “model-oriented” pluralistic ontology, and grounded in the relation among fundamental objects of various string models.
This paper proposes a model of the Artificial Autonomous Moral Agent (AAMA), discusses a standard of moral cognition for AAMA, and compares it with other models of artificial normative agency. It is argued here that artificial morality is possible within the framework of a “moral dispositional functionalism.” This AAMA is able to “read” the behavior of human actors, available as collected data, and to categorize their moral behavior based on moral patterns herein. The present model is based on several analogies (...) among artificial cognition, human cognition, and moral action. It is premised on the idea that moral agents should not be based on rule-following procedures, but on learning patterns from data. This idea is rarely implemented in AAMA models, albeit it has been suggested in the machine ethics literature (W. Wallach, C. Allen, J. Gips and especially M. Guarini). As an agent-based model, this AAMA constitutes an alternative to the mainstream action-centric models proposed by K. Abney, M. Anderson and S. Anderson, R. Arkin, T. Powers, W. Wallach, i.a. Moral learning and moral development of dispositional traits play here the fundamental role in cognition. By using a combination of neural networks and evolutionary computation, called “soft computing” (H. Adeli, N. Siddique, S. Mitra, L. Zadeh), the present model reaches a certain level of autonomy and complexity, which illustrates well “moral particularism” and a form of virtue ethics for machines, grounded in active learning. An example based on the “lifeboat metaphor” (G. Hardin) and the extension of this model to the NEAT architecture (K. Stanley, R. Miikkulainen, i.a.) are briefly assessed. (shrink)
Up to the present, there have not been any specific norms regarding medically assisted human reproduction in Romanian legislation. Due to this situation the general legislation regarding medical assistance, the Penal and Civil law and the provisions of the Code of Deontology of the Romanian College of Physicians are applied to the field of medically assisted human reproduction. By analysing the ethical and legal conflicts regarding medically assisted human reproduction in Romania, some characteristics cannot be set apart because they derive (...) from religious, cultural and socio-economic aspects. In this article the authors identify the development stages of medically assisted human reproduction in Romania, beginning from these characteristics and insisting upon the failure of the legal system in this specific field. The authors consider that the law regarding medically assisted human reproduction cannot be effective because it did not take into account the ethical and cultural aspects that might appear. Furthermore, in this framework of the legal process, no public debate involving the representatives of civil society was undertaken although the Council of Europe Oviedo Convention approved by our country according to law no. 17/2001 stipulated exactly this working method. Content Type Journal Article Pages 4-13 Authors Beatrice Ioan, PHD, MD, MA IN BIOETHICS, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania Vasile Astarastoae, PHD, MD, JD, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2 / 2008. (shrink)
This paper investigates Nietzsche’s reception of Spinoza in order to develop our understanding of the complex relations between their respective philosophies starting from their shared commitment to ontologies of power. The first three sections of this essay contain a diachronic analysis of Nietzsche’s engagement with Spinoza and a discussion of the major themes in play. The last section consists in an evaluation of Nietzsche’s explicit and implicit criticisms that helps us gain a sense of the coherence running through them, as (...) well of the core similarities and differences between two philosophies steeped in immanence and naturalism. Even if Nietzsche’s criticisms do not always do justice to Spinoza’s thinking, they nevertheless offer invaluable clues to guide our comparative project. (shrink)
Against much of the philosophical tradition, Spinoza and Nietzsche defend an understanding of freedom opposed to free will and formulated as an ethical ideal consisting in a transition from a smaller to a greater power of acting. Starting from a shared commitment to necessity and radical immanence, they present freedom as a passage to a greater power of self-determination and self-expression of the body. Nevertheless, the continuities between their power ontologies and their respective commitments to a life of knowledge break (...) down in their discussion of the various possible manifestations of power. I will argue that Nietzsche's distinctive formulation of power as struggle between wills to power enables him to formulate the question of the qualitative dimension of empowerment in a way that is foreign to Spinoza's rational determinism. While acknowledging the profound similarities, I will argue that we must see Nietzsche's discussion of affirmation as the culmination of his disagreement with his predecessor on the topic of freedom and empowerment. (shrink)
Medical communication in Western-oriented countries is dominated by concepts of shared decision-making and patient autonomy. In interactions with Roma patients, these behavioral patterns rarely seem to be achieved because the culture and ethnicity have often been shown as barriers in establishing an effective and satisfying doctor–patient relationship. The study aims to explore the Roma’s beliefs and experiences related to autonomy and decision-making process in the case of a disease with poor prognosis. Forty-eight Roma people from two Romanian counties participated in (...) semi-structured interviews, conducted by a research team from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi. Participants were recruited among the chronically ill patients and caregivers. The Roma community opposes informing the terminal patients about their condition, the “silence conspiracy” being widely practiced. The family fully undertakes the right of decision making, thus minimizing the patient’s autonomy. We identified ethical dilemmas concerning autonomy, lack of patients’ real decision-making power, and paternalistic attitudes exerted firstly by the family and, on demand, by the physician. Instead, the Roma patient benefits from a very active support network, being accompanied at the hospital by numerous relatives. The patient’s right to make autonomous decisions promoted in the Western countries and stipulated by the Romanian law has diminished value in the Roma community. For the Roma, the understanding of dignity is not simply individual and personal, but it is closely related to their cultural particularities. Ignoring their cultural values could create conflicts between healthcare providers and community. (shrink)
In order to assure optimal care of patients with chronic illnesses, it is necessary to take into account the cultural factors that may influence health-related behaviors, health practices, and health-seeking behavior. Despite the increasing number of Romanian Roma, research regarding their beliefs and practices related to healthcare is rather poor. The aim of this paper is to present empirical evidence of specificities in the practice of healthcare among Romanian Roma patients and their caregivers. Using a qualitative exploratory descriptive design, this (...) study is based on data gathered through three focus groups with 30 health mediators in the counties of Iasi and Cluj (Romania). We identified various barriers to access to healthcare for Roma patients: lack of financial resources and health insurance coverage, lack of cognitive resources or lack of personal hygiene, but also important cultural issues, such as the shame of being ill, family function, disclosure of disease-related information, patient’s autonomy, attitudes towards illness and health practices, that should be considered in order to create a culturally sensitive environment in Romanian medical facilities:… The role of the health mediators within the context of cultural diversity is also discussed, as cultural brokers contributing to health care quality among Romanian Roma patients Bridging cultural differences may improve patient–healthcare provider relationships, but may have limited impact in reducing ethnic disparities, unless coupled with efforts of Roma communities to get involved in creating and implementing health policies. (shrink)
A patient suffering from a severe illness that is entering its terminal stage is forced to develop a coping process. Of all the coping patterns, the religious one stands out as being a psychological resource available to all patients regardless of culture, learning, and any age. Religious coping interacts with other values or practices of society, for example the model of a society that takes care of it's elder members among family or in an institutionalized environment or the way the (...) health system offers or not psychological support for a terminally ill patient. Health care providers should have at least some psychological coping patterns training because not all patterns of religious coping are equally effective, and some have been described as increasing the level of stress or producing other negative psychological effects on the patient. This article aims to review the complex models of religious coping that are unanimously accepted in psychooncology, arguments in favor of religious coping, the types of patients that use this model, ethical dilemmas that could be reinterpreted using religious arguments. Finally, we will also discuss the need of Romanian patients to embrace a religious coping in case of an incurable illness, and also the support that they can receive from both curative and palliative health care providers.  . (shrink)
In this paper inter-denominational cooperation is treated as part of the church-state relation because the propensity for inter-denominational cooperation is influenced by the legislative framework that regulates church-state relations. Although inter-denominational cooperation is hard to achieve, the author argues that some policy solutions are accessible to the government to encourage churches to cooperate at the level of church-based NGOs. The model is similar in some aspects to the faith-based and community initiatives developed in the United States. The author also attempts (...) to uncover the possible problems that arise when dealing with the potential for inter- denominational cooperation. (shrink)
The present study proposes a valorization of the work of professor and philosopher Ioan Biriş. The statistics of his books and studies, their distribution by areas of interest, and especially the ideas in his work confirm the need for philosophy in the Romanian cultural life. As a whole, his philosophical endeavor is based on the concept of totality. Thus in the Hegelian spirit, Ioan Biriş successfully convinces us that the logical may exceed the limits of formal exercise and (...) become the organon of philosophy. In this capacity, the logical may operate on the real and valorize the multiple relationships between identity and difference. His books Filosofia și logica științelor sociale, Totalitate, sistem, holon, Rolul imaginarului în cunoașterea științifică, Istorie şi cultură, as well as a series of studies among which let me mention: “L’identité symbolique et la logique partitive des valeurs spirituelles”, “On the logic of religious terms”, “Le rapport identite-difference et la conjonction collective. Aspects logiques”, clearly prove the author’s capacity to integrate existential, religious, cognitive and axiological issues into a unitary vision. As Noica would say, he succeeded to enter the spirit’s life thorough the intellect’s gate. (shrink)
The present study proposes a valorization of the work of professor and philosopher Ioan Biri ş. The statistics of his books and studies, their distribution by areas of interest, and especially the ideas in his work confirm the need for philosophy in the Romanian cultural life. As a whole, his philosophical endeavor is based on the concept of totality. Thus in the Hegelian spirit, Ioan Biri ş successfully convinces us that the logical may exceed the limits of formal (...) exercise and become the organon of philosophy. In this capacity, the logical may operate on the real and valorize the multiple relationships between identity and difference. His books Filosofia ș i logica ș tiin ț elor sociale, Totalitate, sistem, holon, Rolul imaginarului în cunoa ș terea ș tiin ț ifică, Istorie ş i cultură, as well as a series of studies among which let me mention: “L’identité symbolique et la logique partitive des valeurs spirituelles”, “On the logic of religious terms”, “Le rapport identite-difference et la conjonction collective. Aspects logiques”, clearly prove the author’s capacity to integrate existential, religious, cognitive and axiological issues into a unitary vision. As Noica would say, he succeeded to enter the spirit’s life thorough the intellect’s gate. (shrink)
The idea of presenting the correspondence between Ioan Petru Culianu and Ugo Bianchi involves reviewing the topics specific to Bianchi’s school of History of Religion for a period of more than a decade and the manner in which the Romanian-born historian of religions builds his academic career. The academic relation between Bianchi and Culianu has a major common point: an acute preoccupation with the epistemological construction of the HR discipline. What is it that separates Culianu from Bianchi and even (...) from a large majority of the academic community in his ultimate view on religion and the religious phenomena? From a historical and religious point of view, the answer is very simple: Culianu developed a holistic theory about religion whose conceptual directions led to what Bianchi called reductio ad unum. This article focuses on presenting the biographical data correlated to the most solid scholarly education that Culianu ever had in Italy. I will also reiterate the idea that the centre of gravity of Culianu’s ultimate concerns does not necessarily fall on the methodological disputes of HR, but especially on a new understanding of cognitive sciences in general. (shrink)