In Alzheimer's disease (AD), pathological processes start in the brain long before clinical dementia. Biomarkers reflecting brain alterations may therefore indicate disease at an early stage, enabling early diagnosis. This raises several ethical questions and the potential benefits of early diagnosis must be weighted against possible disadvantages. Currently, there are few strong arguments favouring early diagnosis, due to the lack of disease modifying therapy. Also, available diagnostic methods risk erroneous classifications, with potentially grave consequences. However, a possible benefit of early (...) diagnosis even without disease modifying therapy is that it may enable early decision making when patients still have full decision competence, avoiding problems of hypothetical consents. It may also help identifying patients with cognitive dysfunction secondary to other diseases that may be responsive to treatment already today. (shrink)
It is not unusual in real-life that one has to choose among finitely many alternatives when the merit of each alternative is not perfectly known. Instead of observing the actual utilities of the alternatives at hand, one typically observes more or less precise signals that are positively correlated with these utilities. In addition, the decision-maker may, at some cost or disutility of effort, choose to increase the precision of these signals, for example by way of a careful study or the (...) hiring of expertise. We here develop a model of such decision problems. We begin by showing that a version of the monotone likelihood-ratio property is sufficient, and also essentially necessary, for the optimality of the heuristic decision rule to always choose the alternative with the highest signal. Second, we show that it is not always advantageous to face alternatives with higher utilities, a non-monotonicity result that holds even if the decision-maker optimally chooses the signal precision. We finally establish an operational first-order condition for the optimal precision level in a canonical class of decision-problems, and we show that the optimal precision level may be discontinuous in the precision cost. (shrink)
Children in the pediatric intensive care unit are indisputably in a vulnerable position, dependent on nurses to acknowledge their needs. It is assumed that children should be approached from a holistic perspective in the caring situation to meet their caring needs. The aim of the study was to unfold the meaning of nursing care through nurses’ concerns when caring for children in the pediatric intensive care unit. To investigate the qualitative aspects of practice embedded in the caring situation, the interpretive (...) phenomenological approach was adopted for the study. The findings revealed three patterns: medically oriented nursing—here, the nurses attend to just the medical needs, and nursing care is at its minimum, leaving the children’s needs unmet; parent-oriented nursing care—here, the nursing care emphasizes the parents’ needs in the situation, and the children are viewed as a part of the parent and not as an individual child with specific caring needs; and smooth operating nursing care orientation—here, the nursing care is focused on the child as a whole human being, adding value to the nursing care. The conclusion drawn suggests that nursing care does not always respond to the needs of the child, jeopardizing the well-being of the child and leaving them at risk for experiencing pain and suffering. The concerns present in nursing care has been shown to be the divider of the meaning of nursing care and need to become elucidated in order to improve the cultural influence of what can be seen as good nursing care within the pediatric intensive care unit. (shrink)
We analyse the reception of Niklas Luhmanns social metatheory in Slovenian social. The first part outlines the intellectual climate that prevailed in the decade before the post-socialist transition. The decline of the previously dominant Marxist ideology created space for other social theories. Luhmanns ideas were the most prominent among social macro theories in the initial phase. The second part describes variations in the reception of his ideas. The initial affirmative approach was upgraded by a number of more selective and (...) critical approaches. The third part shows that, although his ideas are no longer quite so prominent, his work is both well recognized and firmly embedded in Slovenian social thought. (shrink)
The theory of systems formulated by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann is one of the most notable products theoretical from what has been called post-modernity. His great explanatory capacity makes it very interesting as a model for understanding the social, political and legal reality in the current complex. This work tries to interpret this theory from a structural perspective methodologically, that is, explaining the structure of thought on which rests from a hermeneutics that considers her analogical in relation with the (...) Modernity, in order to understand it in the most philosophical field open as possible, the metaphysician, and in the most concrete of the sociological, political and juridical current theory. (shrink)
Sociedades caracteriza das por un alto grado de complejidad y diferenciación que rebasan los marcos teóricos con los cuales se le han interpretado, dan lugar a nuevas perspectivas. Cobra sentido el objeto de este trabajo, el cual es analizar la propuesta teórica de Niklas Luhmann. Los contenidos y a..
Abstract This essay explores what it means to be human in an age of infomedia. Appropriating Niklas Luhmann's systems theory/media theory in dialogue with other resources, I propose a post-Luhmannian paradigm of (1) extended media/meaning that conceives the world as world multimedia systems processing variegated meanings, and (2) an embodied, contextualized soft posthumanist anthropology that conceives the human as emergent collective phenomena of distinct meaning making by body-mind-society-technology media couplings. I argue: (1) Homo sapiens is Homo medialis distinct with (...) mediatic communication that emerged to cope with contingencies. (2) Evolution is the mediatization/codification of the world that culminated with the outcome of Homo medialis uniquely equipped to process transcendent meanings and to mediatize the world via diverse media—Mediatized Co-Mediatizer or Codified Co-Codifier. (3) This anthropic universe is possibly the most “meaningful” (full of meaning possibilities) of all possible worlds. (4) Social fragmentation could be an optimization; science-and-religion is an infomedium optimizing religion's manifest and science’ latent observation of divine manifestations. (shrink)
This paper introduces Niklas Luhmann's final work, Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (The Society of Society). According to Luhmann, sociologists have failed to produce even a partially adequate theory of society. Epistemological obstacles and humanist concerns for rationality and justice have prevented true progress in the discipline. With his "radically antihumanist, radically antiregional, and radically constructivistic" social system theory, Luhmann intends to bring about a sociological enlightenment. Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft focuses on communication as the only genuinely social phenomenon. Social (...) systems differentiate and evolve as they communicate in three separate dimensions: the social, temporal, and functional. The path of evolution results from a history of variation, selection, and restabilization within these dimensions. Communication, bit by bit, produces social structures that, recursively, produce future structures. Society is communication. Sociology, as the science of society, is communication about how different societal systems operate, communicate, evolve, and maintain their boundaries. (shrink)
In an essay on `the modernity of modern society', written after the demise of the Soviet model but against the premature triumphalism of mainstream modernization theory, Niklas Luhmann proposes to broaden the perspectives of sociological analysis by drawing on neglected or misunderstood traditions. A re-reading of Marx and a reconstruction of Romantic insights into the modern condition serve to problematize the conventional functionalist account of modernization. But at the same time, Luhmann re-defines the conceptual framework of systems theory in (...) such a way that the unorthodox inputs can be adapted to a more flexible version of functional analysis. The emphasis on reference and coding as different but interconnected interpretive operations leads to a more radical conception of the autonomy of subsystems; the interepretive aspect is, however, confined within the limits of a closed and uniform model. A comparison with Weber casts doubt on Luhmann's claim to have given a more adequate account of differentiation; the Weberian conception of world orders, although less developed than the functionalist alternative, seems to provide a better starting-point for the understanding of ambivalence and interpretive conflict as constitutive aspects of modernity. (shrink)
The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems of Luhmann's theory (...) of morals and ethics are demonstrated by analyzing the concepts of risk and responsibility. Finally, the author demands that ethics should be understood even more as social ethics which reflect upon their social foundation in a more consequent way. (shrink)
Relying on Niklas Luhmann's systems theoretical redescription of modern society, this article aims at questioning the basic theoretical notions of the ongoing inclusion/exclusion debate. The most remarkable aspect of Luhmann's reassessment of the inclusion/exclusion relationship within functionally differentiated societies is that individuals are basically situated within the exclusion domain of society, and thus cannot but partially be included within society's function systems and organizations. This reassessment not only allows Luhmann to raise fundamental questions with respect to the implicit norm (...) of full inclusion which still dominates the debate on inclusion and exclusion, but it also directs his attention to the different inclusion/exclusion conditions within function systems, organizations and interaction systems. Eventually Luhmann's position comes down to the idea that exclusion rather than inclusion is the rule, and, moreover, that inclusions differ from one another. The article closes off with a critical evaluation of Luhmann's redescription of the inclusion/exclusion debate. It is argued that systems theory might suffer from empirical deficiency, as it seems to have difficulties to detect and to depict the actual mechanisms of social exclusion without resorting to theories that are more geared to empirical reality and that are of help in observing it. Key Words: evolution function systems inclusion/exclusion Niklas Luhmann networks organizations. (shrink)
The article is an introduction to a special section in TCS on the work of Niklas Luhmann. The first part of the article provides a general introduction to Luhmann's work with an emphasis on the basic elements of Luhmann's general systems theory, in particular Luhmann's notions of autopoiesis and meaning, and the traditions on which it is based. The second part of the text is a presentation of the articles in the special section.
This article re-conceptualises the ‘constitutive outside’ through Roberto Esposito’s theory of immunity to detach it from Laclau and Mouffe’s political antagonism. It identifies Esposito’s thought as an innovative epistemological perspective to dissolve post-ontological political theories of community from the intertwinement with a foundational self/other dialectic. Esposito shows how a community can sustain its relations through introversive immunisation against a primarily undefined outside. But it is argued that his theory of immunity slips back to a vitalist depth ontology which ultimately de-politicises (...) the construction of the communal outside. This article draws on Niklas Luhmann’s immunity theory to resituate immunisation in the political production of social connectivity. Following Luhmann, politics relies on immunisation through contradictions to reproduce its functional role as a decision-making institution, but is at the same time constantly exposed to potential rupture through the political op... (shrink)
The individual-society relationship remains a central issue in the social sciences which has not yet reached a consensual explanation. This article presents the way in which Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems deals with the subject. I discuss some of the critical approaches this theory has arises. Then I present social system’s concepts and partial theories that describe the individual-society relationship. I conclude with some reflections about what we consider to be "theoretical advantages" regarding Luhmann’s theory vis-a-vis common explanations (...) in sociology. This, because in Luhmann’s theory of social systems -contrary to critical judgments-, individuals are theoretically placed in society’s environment, thus maintaining a relative autonomy which allows them to consider without idealism their actual possibilities to influence society. La relación individuo-sociedad continúa siendo un problema central en las ciencias sociales, sin haber encontrado aún una solución teórica que alcance un mínimo consenso. Este artículo discute el abordaje al tema por parte de la teoría de sistemas sociales propuesta por Niklas Luhmann, considerando algunas de las críticas que ha suscitado. Se presentan los conceptos y teorías parciales con que la teoría de sistemas sociales describe la relación individuo-sociedad. Se concluye con una reflexión sobre lo que se pueden considerar "ventajas teóricas" respecto de la teoría luhmanniana en oposición a explicaciones tradicionales de la sociología, por cuanto, contrario a los juicios críticos, en la teoría de sistemas sociales los individuos concebidos teóricamente en el entorno de la sociedad conservan una autonomía relativa que les permite evaluar, sin idealizaciones, sus posibilidades concretas de influir en ella. (shrink)
Our aim is to put into consideration the topics of “semantics”, “types”, “lifeworld” and “intersubjectivity” following the social theories of Alfred Schutz and Niklas Luhmann. First of all, and inversely to Luhmann’s perspective which receives the schutzian theory comparing equal types and semantics, we will show that types are inherent to subjectivity. Secondly, and consequently, we state that the social systems theory in the analysis of the “lifeworld”, does not pay attention to the past character of its constitution. Last, (...) but not least, we will point out that all these aspects are framed in a critique of the phenomenological notion of intersubjectivity, which from the luhmannian point of view, ignores the autonomy of consciousness, as well as the emergent character of the social. (shrink)
The work of Niklas Luhmann represents perhaps the last major body of social theory of the twentieth century. Beginning with Social Theory or Social Technology: What Does Systems Research Achieve? jointly published with Jürgen Habermas in 1971, Luhmann spent the following three decades up until his death in 1998 laying out the basis for a comprehensive theory of social systems.1 The author of some sixty books and three hundred and eighty essays and articles, Luhmann has had an enormous impact (...) on social and cultural theory in the German-speaking world. In Britain and North America, however, he remains a relatively marginal…. (shrink)
The hypothesis that administering a diagnostic test to an asymptomatic population can detect a relevant proportion of prevalent cases in an early phase and therefore improve the chances of curing disease dates back to the sixties and has been tested and applied mainly to neoplastic diseases. Meanwhile, the practice of screening has benefitted from the progress of diagnostic technology and from the development, particularly in Europe, of efficient national health systems.Half a century later, two Swedish researchers, Niklas Juth and (...) Christian Munthe, undertake the task of reexamining various aspects of screening practices in light of the ethical justification of this secondary prevention tool. Their analysis encompasses all public health actions in which the personal benefit is contrasted with collective health considerations. Screening generates such doubts and conflicts, which are inherently ethical.The publication could be split in two parts. The first is a long section, mainly infor .. (shrink)
Niklas Luhmann´s theory of social systems is, in westen social thought, the most important proposal for an analysis of society from a Complexity perspective. In this Article we begin by aiming to show, in general, the basic as sumptions ot this theoretical alternative offered by the german socilogi..
In this paper we review the critical reception given by Niklas Luhmann's General Theory of Social Systems to the classical Information Theory, as basis of its postulation of a General Sociological Theory entirely founded on the Theory of Communication. Our hypothesis suggests that the formulation of the synthetic model of communication re-formulates the classical model of Shannon, through a replacement of tele-communicative accents by sociological accents. En este trabajo revisamos la recepción crítica dada por la teoría de sistemas sociales (...) de Niklas Luhmann a la teoría de la información clásica, en el marco de su postulación de una teoría general de la sociología fundada en la teoría de la comunicación. La hipótesis que defendemos es que la formulación del modelo sintético de la comunicación reformula el modelo clásico de Shannon, mediante una sustitución de los acentos telecomunicativos por acentos sociológicos. (shrink)
El presente artículo está centrado en la teoría de sistemas de Niklas Luhmann, y su aporte a la teoría de la complejidad. A partir de la necesidad de observar y generar una nueva teoría que pudiese dar cuenta de las diversas relaciones que surgen de los fenómenos sociales, Luhmann trata de construir una teoría, introduciendo diversos conceptos que le permiten reducir la complejidad; pero a la vez, esa misma operacionalización posibilitó en Luhmann una creciente complejización de sus ideas, siendo (...) uno de los primeros intelectuales que se interesó y que aportó significativamente a la teoría de la complejidad. (shrink)
Context: Niklas Luhmann is considered to be a major proponent of the constructivist movement who based his highly complex sociological theory on constructivist concepts such as Maturana’s autopoiesis and Spencer Brown’s distinction. Problem: Despite heavily borrowing from constructivism, there are doubts as to whether his epistemological standpoint was properly constructivist. Method: In six papers and 14 Open Peer Commentaries, Luhmann’s epistemological understanding, understanding of science, and use and development of constructivist concepts is examined. Results: The authors’ papers and commentaries (...) cover a broad range of topics including the concepts of the observer, meaning, environment, and structural coupling. (shrink)