Abstract Moral education in South Africa has always been a matter of priority to parents and educationalists alike. Although it is not taught as a separate subject in the schooling process, much attention is paid to it throughout the school curriculum. Particularly in religious education and in social studies time is devoted to matters of moral conduct. The basis for moral education has almost right through been a Christian approach to life. This is the case in schools for black and (...) for white pupils. A great number of devoted teachers go to great lengths to prepare young people for life in such a way that they may become steadfast citizens of the country. The role of parents, youth organizations, churches and ?? in the case of black youths ?? tribal customs, should, however, not be underestimated in the moral training of young people. (shrink)
In recent years, schools and education authorities world wide have been paying increasing attention to issues surrounding diversity and religious tolerance. The term 'tolerance' is, however, clouded by considerable confusion and vagueness. This article seeks to contribute to recent scholarly attempts at understanding tolerance and the term that denotes it. After a brief semantic analysis of the term 'tolerance', arguments concerning the onticity of tolerance as phenomenon or entity are discussed. By examining its onticity we explore and explain some of (...) the essential features of tolerance. The article ends with a brief discussion of some of the implications of our examination that we foresee for education. (shrink)
The contribution that Professor Pieter M. Venter has made to the study of the Old Testament during his academic and ecclesiastic career is reviewed. After a brief biographical introduction, the article surveys the development of his research interests, focusing specifically on his contributions to the study of wisdom literature, narratives and narratology, second temple literature, the formation of the canon, and Old Testament Theology. The review concludes with reference to his way of practising critical theology, taking full cognisance of (...) research into the linguistic, historical critical, narratological and ideological aspects of Old Testament texts, but always with a sensitivity for the needs of the church as interpretive community. (shrink)
For decades, the discussion on children’s competence to consent to medical issues has concentrated around normative concerns, with little progress in clinical practices. Decision-making competence is an important condition in the informed consent model. In pediatrics, clinicians need to strike a proper balance in order to both protect children’s interests when they are not fully able to do so themselves and to respect their autonomy when they are. Children’s competence to consent, however, is currently not assessed in a standardized way. (...) Moreover, the correlation between competence to give informed consent and age in children has never been systematically investigated, nor do we know which factors exactly contribute to children’s competence. (shrink)
In this paper we disambiguate the design stance as proposed by Daniel C. Dennett, focusing on its application to technical artefacts. Analysing Dennett’s work and developing his approach towards interpreting entities, we show that there are two ways of spelling out the design stance, one that presuppose also adopting Dennett’s intentional stance for describing a designing agent, and a second that does not. We argue against taking one of these ways as giving the correct formulation of the design stance in (...) Dennett’s approach, but propose to replace Dennett’s original design stance by two design stances: an intentional designer stance that incorporates the intentional stance, and a teleological design stance that does not. Our arguments focus on descriptions of technical artefacts: drawing on research in engineering, cognitive psychology and archaeology we show that both design stances are used for describing technical artefacts. A first consequence of this disambiguation is that a design stance, in terms of interpretative assumptions and in terms of the pragmatic considerations for adopting it, stops to be a stance that comes hierarchically between the physical stance and the intentional stance. A second consequence is that a new distinction can be made between types of entities in Dennett’s approach. We call entities to which the intentional designer stance is applied tools and entities to which the teleological design stance is applied instruments, leading to a differentiated understanding of, in particular, technical artefacts. (shrink)
Although law is established on a strong presumption that persons younger than a certain age are not competent to consent, statutory age limits for asking children’s consent to clinical research differ widely internationally. From a clinical perspective, competence is assumed to involve many factors including the developmental stage, the influence of parents and peers, and life experience. We examined potential determining factors for children’s competence to consent to clinical research and to what extent they explain the variation in competence judgments.
Academics and/or scholars increasingly feel that their academic voice (combined or individual) has been squelched by the demands of performativity in its various guises, and resultantly, that they have been caught up in a process of steady disempowerment. Rather, it should be their right to be free to use their positions in the pursuit of scholarship as their conscience and their expert knowledge of their subject dictate. Academics should be free to question for themselves the boundaries of their limitations, and (...) not have these i mposedon them by the state or government bureaucracy. In order to help empower academics to regain their academic voice and identity, this article transposes six of the philosophical ideas of Belgian philosopher Rudi Visker to the world of academia. It explores the possibilities of using these ideas as instruments for the promotion and maintenance of academic freedom. Key concepts: academic freedom, managerialism, institutions of higher learning, Rudi Visker. (shrink)
Abstract This paper is a brief and informal response to Professor P. C. Potgieter's paper Moral Education in South Africa which appeared in the January 1980 edition of this Journal (Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 130?3). In response to Potgieter the author attempts to present some of the more obvious philosophical and sociological inconsistencies and problems appearing in Potgieter's paper. He concludes, basically, that Potgieter has assumed a marked consensual model of South African society and, therefore, (...) his analysis serves only to misinform the reader as to the complexities of moral education in South Africa. (shrink)
BackgroundFor many decades, the debate on children’s competence to give informed consent in medical settings concentrated on ethical and legal aspects, with little empirical underpinnings. Recently, data from empirical research became available to advance the discussion. It was shown that children’s competence to consent to clinical research could be accurately assessed by the modified MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research. Age limits for children to be deemed competent to decide on research participation have been studied: generally children of 11.2 (...) years and above were decision-making competent, while children of 9.6 years and younger were not. Age was pointed out to be the key determining factor in children’s competence. In this article we reflect on policy implications of these findings, considering legal, ethical, developmental and clinical perspectives.DiscussionAlthough assessment of children’s competence has a normative character, ethics, law and clinical practice can benefit from research data. The findings may help to do justice to the capacities children possess and challenges they may face when deciding about treatment and research options. We discuss advantages and drawbacks of standardized competence assessment in children on a case-by-case basis compared to application of a fixed age limit, and conclude that a selective implementation of case-by-case competence assessment in specific populations is preferable. We recommend the implementation of age limits based on empirical evidence. Furthermore, we elaborate on a suitable model for informed consent involving children and parents that would do justice to developmental aspects of children and the specific characteristics of the parent-child dyad.SummaryPrevious research outcomes showed that children’s medical decision-making capacities could be operationalized into a standardized assessment instrument. Recommendations for policies include a dual consent procedure, including both child as well as parents, for children from the age of 12 until they reach majority. For children between 10 and 12 years of age, and in case of children older than 12 years in special research populations of mentally compromised patients, we suggest a case-by-case assessment of children’s competence to consent. Since such a dual consent procedure is fundamentally different from a procedure of parental permission and child assent, and would imply a considerable shift regarding some current legislations, practical implications are elaborated. (shrink)
One way to address such questions about artifact kinds is to look for clues in the available literature on parallel questions that have been posed with respect to kinds in the natural domain. Philosophers have long been concerned with the ...
The South African-Dutch research group responsible for this article started its activities in 2012 by looking at religious tolerance as a means of addressing the tendency for religious intolerance, extremism and fundamentalism. While tolerance seemed to be a promising way to counter religious intolerable behaviour, some shortcomings also became apparent. For example, the concept of tolerance includes an aspect of passivity towards others who adhere to another religion. The concept also does not appear to be able to respond to attitudes (...) and values such as respect, human rights and diversity. Accurate investigation of this problem, both conceptually and empirically, led to the understanding that hospitality is a concept that embodies more active adaptation to those who are different. Hospitality, therefore, seems to be a more promising concept than tolerance for reducing religious tension between individuals and groups. The inner contradiction discovered by Derrida in the notion of hospitality does not detract from the concept of being defined from a Biblical point of view. Hospitality can also be taught to young people. Although there are no formal provisions for hospitality in the national curricula, an analysis of the Dutch and South African national curricula shows that there is room for hospitality education. (shrink)
In this paper we present a functional analysis of biotechnology and identify the particular status that genetic engineering has relative to other biotechnological techniques such as domestication. The analysis builds on work by Dan Sperber and characterises biotechnology in primarily technical and biological functional terms as symbiotic interactions in which humans modify other organisms. We identify three main routes by which these interactions are established in biotechnology. We argue that two of these routes have in-built mechanisms for preventing an uncontrolled (...) dissemination of the modified organisms, and that one has an in-built mechanism for promoting such dissemination. The three routes are available to traditional forms of biotechnology as to state-of-the-art genetic engineering. Drawing now on work by Alfred Nordmann on the uncanniness of modern technologies, we show that genetic engineering is set apart by the epistemic consequences of the microscopic size of its progeny: genetically modified organisms, when disseminating, do so beyond our perceptual and conceptual control. Existing strategies against unwanted dissemination of organisms modified in traditional biotechnology are therefore typically not adequate against possible unwanted dissemination of genetically modified organisms, giving this dissemination a status similar to that of untraceable natural disasters. (shrink)
The ICE-theory of technical functions Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-22 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9642-9 Authors E. Weber, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University (UGent), Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium T. A. C. Reydon, Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz University Hannover, Im Moore 21, 30167 Hannover, Germany M. Boon, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands W. Houkes, Philosophy and Ethics, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, (...) The Netherlands P. E. Vermaas, Department of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Selection on grandparental investment is more complex than Coall & Hertwig (C&H) propose. Patterns of investment are subject to an intergenerational conflict over how resources should be distributed to maximize fitness. Grandparents may be selected to distribute resources unevenly, while their descendants will be selected to manipulate investment in their own favor. Here we outline the evolutionary basis of this conflict.
This volume handles in various perspectives the concept of function and the nature of functional explanations, topics much discussed since two major and conflicting accounts have been raised by Larry Wright and Robert Cummins’s papers in the 1970s. Here, both Wright’s ”etiological theory of functions’ and Cummins’s ”systemic’ conception of functions are refined and elaborated in the light of current scientific practice, with papers showing how the ”etiological’ theory faces several objections and may in reply be revisited, while its counterpart (...) became ever more sophisticated, as researchers discovered fresh applications for it. Relying on a firm knowledge of the original positions and debates, this volume presents cutting-edge research evincing the complexities that today pertain in function theory in various sciences. Alongside original papers from authors central to the controversy, work by emerging researchers taking novel perspectives will add to the potential avenues to be followed in the future. Not only does the book adopt no a priori assumptions about the scope of functional explanations, it also incorporates material from several very different scientific domains, e.g. neurosciences, ecology, or technology. In general, functions are implemented in mechanisms; and functional explanations in biology have often an essential relation with natural selection. These two basic claims set the stage for this book’s coverage of investigations concerning both ”functional’ explanations, and the ”metaphysics’ of functions. It casts new light on these claims, by testing them through their confrontation with scientific developments in biology, psychology, and recent developments concerning the metaphysics of realization. Rather than debating a single theory of functions, this book presents the richness of philosophical issues raised by functional discourse throughout the various sciences. Content Level » Research Keywords » Causal role theory of functions - Determination of content - Ecosystem selection - Etiological theory of function - Evolutionary biology - Functional explanations - Historical concepts in biology - Larry Wright - Neurosciences - New mechanism - Selected effects functions - Systemic theory of functions - William Wimsatt Related subjects » Anthropology & Archaeology - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Neuroscience - Philosophy TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction.- Section I. Biological functions and functional explanations: genes, cells, organisms and ecosystems.- Part 1.A. Functions, organization and development in life sciences.- Chapter 1. William C. Wimsatt. Evolution and the Stability of Functional Architectures.- Chapter 2. Denis M. Walsh. Teleological Emergence: The Autonomy of Evo-Devo.- Chapter 3. Jean Gayon. Does oxygen have a function, or: where should the regress of biological functions stop?.- Part 1.B. Functional pluralism for biologists? Chapter 4. Frédéric Bouchard. How ecosystem evolution strengthens the case for functional pluralism.- Chapter 5. Robert N. Brandon. A general case for functional pluralism.- Chapter 6. Philippe Huneman. Weak realism in the etiological theory of functions.- Section 2. Section II. Psychology, philosophy of mind and technology: Functions in a man’s world.- Part 2.A. 2A. Metaphysics, function and philosophy of mind.- Chapter 7. Carl Craver. Functions and Mechanisms in Contemporary Neuroscience.- Chapter 8. Carl Gillett. Understanding the sciences through the fog of ”functionalism.’.- 2.B. Philosophy of technology, design and functions.- Chapter 9. Fran¸ coise Longy. Artifacts and Organisms: A Case for a New Etiological Theory of Functions.- Chapter 10. Pieter Vermaas and Wybo Houkes. Functions as Epistemic Highlighters: An Engineering Account of Technical, Biological and Other Functions.- Epilogue.- Larry Wright. Revising teleological explanations: reflections three decades on. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the development of the concept of a ‘law’ (of nature) in the work of the Dutch natural philosopher and experimenter Petrus van Musschenbroek (1692–1761). Since Van Musschenbroek is commonly described as one of the first ‘Newtonians’ on the Continent in the secondary literature, we focus more specifically on its relation to Newton’s views on this issue. Although he was certainly indebted to Newton for his thinking on laws (of nature), Van Musschenbroek’s views can be seen (...) to diverge from Newton’s on crucial points. We show, moreover, how his thinking on laws of nature was shaped by both international and local factors. We start with a brief discussion of Newton’s concept of ‘laws of nature’ in order to set the stage for Van Musschenbroek’s. We then document the development of Van Musschenbroek’s views on laws of nature in chronological order. We demonstrate how his thinking on laws of nature was tied to institutional, theological and scientific factors. We conclude by pointing to the broader significance of this case study for our understanding of the development of the concept ‘law of nature’ during the eighteenth century. (shrink)
This book is about how to understand quantum mechanics by means of a modal interpretation. Modal interpretations provide a general framework within which quantum mechanics can be considered as a theory that describes reality in terms of physical systems possessing definite properties. Quantum mechanics is standardly understood to be a theory about probabilities with which measurements have outcomes. Modal interpretations are relatively new attempts to present quantum mechanics as a theory which, like other physical theories, describes an observer-independent reality. In (...) this book, Pieter Vermaas summarises the results of this work. The book will be of great value to undergraduates, graduate students and researchers in philosophy of science, and physics departments with an interest in learning about modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. (shrink)