To assess ethics pedagogy in science and engineering, we developed a new tool called the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT). ESIT measures moral judgment in a manner similar to the Defining Issues Test, second edition, but is built around technical dilemmas in science and engineering. We used a quasi-experimental approach with pre- and post-tests, and we compared the results to those of a control group with no overt ethics instruction. Our findings are that several (but not all) stand-alone classes (...) showed a significant improvement compared to the control group when the metric includes multiple stages of moral development. We also found that the written test had a higher response rate and sensitivity to pedagogy than the electronic version. We do not find significant differences on pre-test scores with respect to age, education level, gender or political leanings, but we do on whether subjects were native English speakers. We did not find significant differences on pre-test scores based on whether subjects had previous ethics instruction; this could suggest a lack of a long-term effect from the instruction. (shrink)
This paper draws on the philosophy of Karl Popper to present a descriptive evolutionary epistemology that offers philosophical solutions to the following related problems: ‘What happens when learning takes place?’ and ‘What happens in human learning?’ It provides a detailed analysis of how learning takes place without any direct transfer of information from the environment to the learner, and it significantly extends the author's earlier published work on this topic. She proposes that learning should be construed as a special case (...) of ‘problem solving’ and as a fundamentally critical and creative process in which learning organisms develop ‘expectations’ that are not purely an outcome of genetic inheritance or random mutation. Human learning is then characterised with reference to: objectified knowledge; descriptive and argumentative language; theoretical problems; the search for error and specific limitation. If the author's evolutionary analysis of learning is valid, it would suggest that we should, if we wish to promote learning, be wary of corralling children and older students in environments that inhibit autonomous activity, that discourage criticality and creativity and generally limit opportunities for trial and error‐elimination. But education institutions, particularly those for older children and adolescents, are very often environments of this constraining kind. Traditionally, educationists have vastly underestimated the human potential for imaginative criticism—because in general they have not recognised the extent to which it lies at the heart of what humans, including the youngest children, do in order to succeed at even the most basic tasks. (shrink)
Erdelyi argues persuasively for his unified theory of repression. Beyond this, what can studying repression bring to our understanding of other aspects of emotional function? Here we consider ways in which work on repression might inform the study of, on one hand, emotional memory, and on the other, the emotional numbing seen in patients with chronic persistent depersonalization symptoms.
I ask four questions: (1) Why should we think that our hominid ancestor's predation is not just a causal influence but the main causal factor responsible for human cruelty? (2) Why not think of human cruelty as a necessary part of a syndrome in which other phenomena are necessarily involved? (3) What definitions of cruelty does Nell propose that we operate with? And (4) what about the meaning of cruelty for human beings?
The controversy surrounding Popper's proposed solution to the problem of induction is beginning to display many of the symptoms of being interminable. For decades the discussion has continued, apparently without any progress being made. Again and again, Popperians and their critics have accused each other of ‘missing the point’. The essay attempts to explain what exactly is ‘the point’ of the problem of induction, and asks whether Popper does indeed miss it. An answer is proposed, and on this basis an (...) explanation for the puzzling interminability and emptiness of the above dialogue is put forward. (shrink)
This paper discusses the chemistry manuscript collection in an institution that does not readily come to mind when searching for unpublished matter on the history of chemistry, the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. This collection includes personal papers of some twentieth-century American chemists and biochemists, lecture notes of British and American chemistry courses of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries from a variety of institutional settings, and extended oral histories of some major figures in the history of modern (...) chemistry and biochemistry. Among those represented in this collection are Joseph Black, Louis Pasteur, George B. Wood, Donald D. Van Slyke, and Albert Szent-Györgyi. In addition to illustrating the type of resources available, this paper also suggests some specific ways in which the collection can contribute to research in the history of chemistry. (shrink)
Von Hippel & Trivers suggest that people enhance their own self-views as a means of persuading others to adopt similarly inflated perceptions of them. We question the existence of a pervasive desire for self-enhancement, noting that the evidence the authors cite could reflect self-verification strivings or no motive whatsoever. An identity negotiation framework provides a more tenable approach to social interaction.
Greenfield (1991t) fails in an attempt to defend her own original synthesis of cognitivist and nativist accounts of language development. The proposed synchronous stages of object and phoneme combination are not supported by the empirical data she presents. The functional specification of hypothetical neural circuits is almost entirely speculative. Nor is it likely that new data could save her model, since it is formulated in a simplistic information processing framework that is now of little more than historical interest.
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
In this exchange, Peter Coghlan and Nick Trakakis discuss the problem of natural evil in the light of the recent Asian tsunami disaster. The exchange begins with an extract from a newspaper article written by Coghlan on the tsunami, followed by three rounds of replies and counter-replies, and ending with some final comments from Trakakis. While critical of any attempt to show that human life is good overall despite its natural evils, Coghlan argues that instances of natural evil, even (...) horrific ones, can be justified as the unavoidable by-product of a natural system on which human life and culture depends. Trakakis, however, rejects this view, counselling instead a degree of skepticism about our ability to construct a plausible theodicy for horrific evil. (shrink)
In this review essay, I review in detail Abram de Swann's fine new book, The Killing Compartments. The book is a theoretical analysis of the varieties and causes of genocides and other mass asymmetrical killing campaigns. I then suggest several criticisms of his analysis.
With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore a corresponding opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for standard utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological (...) development, but rather that we ought to maximize its safety, i.e. the probability that colonization will eventually occur. This goal has such high utility that standard utilitarians ought to focus all their efforts on it. Utilitarians of a ‘person-affecting’ stripe should accept a modified version of this conclusion. Some mixed ethical views, which combine utilitarian considerations with other criteria, will also be committed to a similar bottom line. (shrink)
I discuss a rarely mentioned correspondence between Einstein and Swann on the constructive approach to the special theory of relativity, in which Einstein points out that the attempts to construct a dynamical explanation of relativistic kinematical effects require postulating a fundamental length scale in the level of the dynamics. I use this correspondence to shed light on several issues under dispute in current philosophy of spacetime that were highlighted recently in Harvey Brown’s monograph Physical Relativity, namely, Einstein’s view on (...) the distinction between principle and constructive theories, and the consequences of pursuing the constructive approach in the context of spacetime theories. r 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Given that Nick Land is one of the central influences on certain strands of accelerationism, xenofeminism, and inhumanism, it is important to understand how he himself first developed and deployed the concepts of acceleration, the feminine, and the inhuman, which others would go on to appropriate for their own purposes. This article will trace the four feminine figures throughout Land's philosophical trajectory, which he sees as agents for accelerating the transcendental critique of both anthropocentrism and phallocentrism: the slave turned (...) lesbian; the sister; the sexborg; and the Sphinx. Having elucidated the importance of these figures for Land's thought, this article will conclude by drawing upon the younger Land's feminist resources to immanently critique the disappearance of women from his more recent neoreactionary philosophy in favor of concessions to patriarchal traditionalists. (shrink)
This essay critically comments on Contingent Future Persons (1997), an anthology of thirteen papers on the same topic as Obligations to Future Generations (1978), namely, the morality of decisions affecting the existence, number and identity of future persons. In my discussion, I identify the basic point of dispute between R. M. Hare and Michael Lockwood on potentiality; I criticize Nick Fotion's thesis that the Repugnant Conclusion is too far-fetched to be philosophically valuable; I object to Clark Wolf's "Impure Consequentialist (...) Theory of Obligation"; and I discuss the Non-Identity Problem in connection with essays by Robert Elliot and Ingmar Persson. (shrink)
O presente artigo pretende refletir, a partir de contribuições de Theodor W. Adorno, sobre aspectos da formação objetiva do sujeito. Isso é feito por meio da apropriação de conceitos como autoconservação, autocrítica e crítica imanente. Tomamos como exemplo parte do projeto de à la recherche du temps perdu de Marcel Proust, nomeadamente, Un amour de Swann . A análise do processo de formação de Swann permite observar nexos e tensões que o sujeito elabora com o mundo objetivo. A (...) ação do Swann incorpora na sua relação co m o mundo objetivo os processos próprios da Obra de Arte autêntica para empreender a crítica necessária ao contexto social em que está inserido. Crítica esta, também, voltada a si próprio. (shrink)
Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman (eds): The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9218-0 Authors Geoff Pfeifer, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
This paper is interested in commodity fetishism as a signal of collapsing marital mandates in the genre of lad lit. Instead of focusing solely on its late twentieth-century moment of emergence as a response to chick lit, the paper proposes a longer historical view in order to understand the crisis of masculinity that lad lit lays bare in its protagonists’ inherently queer status as collectors. The analysis puts critical pressure on the collectible object by re-reading the “lad” through the literary (...) figure of the fop, who represents a recurring response to similar crises in gender from the seventeenth-century’s comedy of manners to the novels of Jane Austen. The fop’s overinvestment in style and consequent marginalization is considered in Nick Hornby’s novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, in which the protagonists’ obsessive collecting of objects can be understood as both a dominant feature of their masculinity and the roadblock to their participation in heteronormative rituals of romance. Instead of reading Hornby’s characters as straightforwardly queer, this paper focuses on the commodity as a signal of queerness, and in turn its central role in the creation of, and the challenge to, the lad’s masculinity. (shrink)
Nick Joaquin, one of the Philippines’ pillars of literature in English, is regrettably known locally for his nostalgic take on the Hispanic aspect of Philippine culture. While Joaquin did spend a great deal of time creatively exploring the Philippines’ Hispanic past, he certainly did not do so simply because of nostalgia. As recent studies have shown, Joaquin’s classic techniques that often echo the Hispanic influence on Philippine culture may also be considered as a form of resistance against both the (...) American neocolonial influence and the nativist brand of nationalism in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite the emergence of Gothic criticism in postcolonial writing, Joaquin’s works have rarely received the attention they deserve in this critical area. In this context, this paper explores the idea of the Gothic in Joaquin’s writing and how it relates to Joaquin being the “most original voice in postcolonial Philippine writing.” In 1972, the University of Queensland Press featured Joaquin’s works in its Asian and Pacific writing series. This “new” collection, Tropical Gothic, contained his significant early works published in Prose and Poems plus his novellas. This collection’s title highlights a specific aspect of Joaquin’s writing, that of his propensity to use Gothic tropes such as the blending of the real and the fantastic, or the tragic and the comic, as shown in most of the stories in the collection. In particular, I examine how his novella interrogates the neurosis of the nation—a disconnection from the past and its repercussions on the present/future of the Philippines. (shrink)
Es ist nicht leicht, dieser Studie im Umfang v. 557 Seiten gerecht zu werden. Der behandelte Text der spätbyzantinischen Vierfüßlergeschichte, der in älteren Ausgaben von W. Wagner in dessen Carmina Graeca Medii Aevi und von Vassiliki Tsiouni als Bd. 15 der Miscellanea Byzantina Monacensia, Diss. London 1970 vorlag, umfaßt selbst nur knapp 1100 Verse. Die Autoren, - der eine, George Baloglou, ist Mathematik-professor an der State University of New York, Oswego, der andere, Nick Nicholas, Research Fellow bei den Linguisten (...) an der Universität von Melbourne und Mitarbeiter am Thesaurus Linguae Graecae in Irvine - USA - sind von Haus aus also keine Fachleute für die Herausgabe von Texten der byzantinischen Volksliteratur, vermitteln aber auf so gut wie jeder Seite ihres Werks ihren wissenschaftlichen Impetus und Enthusiasmus, diesem Text bis in die letzten Falten seines Gewands nachzuspüren. (shrink)
Se examina la noción de institución de un sentimiento, que Merleau-Ponty expone en curso en el College de France, y se toma como caso ejemplar el amor, en particular, el de Swann, descrito por M. Proust. Se delinea primero la noción central de institución, para trazar luego los principales aspectos de la institución del amor y confrontar así la visión de ambos autores. The aim of the following article is to examine the notion of the institution of a feeling, (...) as presented by Merleau-Ponty in his Course Notes from the Collège de France, using love as an example; we will more specifically analyze Swann's love, described by M. Proust. In order to achieve our aim, we will first try to delimit the core notion of institution. We will then outline the main aspects in the institution of love and compare both of the authors' visions. (shrink)
In this ambitious, erudite and at the same time impassioned book on conceptualisations of war since the seventeenth century, Nick Mansfield starts from the premise that war can only be thought in relation to its other. This other can assume different guises, such as peace, the social, sovereignty and so on. Mansfield persuasively argues that only a ‘humanist sentimentality’ would see war’s other as unquestionably good. Such naivete forgets that wars have always been fought and crimes have always been (...) perpetrated in the name of a purported defence of humanity, even of life itself. ‘Peace might be the most aggressive thing of all.’. (shrink)
Darwinian matters : life, force and change -- Biological difference -- The evolution of sex and race -- Nietzsche's Darwin -- History and the untimely -- The eternal return and the overman -- Bergsonian differences -- The philosophy of life -- Intuition and the virtual -- The future.