In this paper I ask whether in Aristotle's metaphysical system the form of a non-living sensible substance, such as the form of this house, is or is not universal. I argue that his position as it stands is self-contradictory, and then try to give some account of the pressures that led to this central contradiction in Aristotle's metaphysical thought.
In this article, we develop an approach for the moral assessment of research and development networks on the basis of the reflective equilibrium approach proposed by Rawls and Daniels. The reflective equilibrium approach aims at coherence between moral judgments, principles, and background theories. We use this approach because it takes seriously the moral judgments of the actors involved in R & D, whereas it also leaves room for critical reflection about these judgments. It is shown that two norms, namely reflective (...) learning and openness and inclusiveness, which are used in the literature on policy and technological networks, contribute to achieving a justified overlapping consensus. We apply the approach to a case study about the development of an innovative sewage treatment technology and show how in this case the two norms are or could be instrumental in achieving a justified overlapping consensus on relevant moral issues. (shrink)
We show there is only one consistent way to update a probability assignment, that given by Bayes's rule. The price of inconsistent updating is a loss of efficiency. The implications of this for the problem of induction are discussed.
Weber-Fechner Law states that the perceived intensity is proportional to the logarithm of the stimulus. Recent experiments suggest that this law also holds true for perception of numerosity. Therefore, the use of a logarithmic scale for the quantification of the perceived intensity may also depend on how the cognitive apparatus processes information. If Weber-Fechner law is the result of natural selection, then the logarithmic scale should be better, in some sense, than other biologically feasible scales. We consider the minimization of (...) the relative error as the target of natural selection and we provide a formal proof that the logarithmic scale minimizes the maximal relative error. (shrink)
The radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing's first book, The Divided Self (1960), is informed by the work of Christian thinkers on scriptural interpretation — an intellectual genealogy apparent in Laing's comparison of Karl Jaspers's symptomatology with the theological tradition of `form criticism'. Rudolf Bultmann's theology, which was being enthusiastically promoted in 1950s Scotland, is particularly influential upon Laing. It furnishes him with the notion that schizophrenic speech expresses existential truths as if they were statements about the physical and organic world. (...) It also provides him with a model of the schizoid position as a form of modern-day Stoicism. Such theological recontextualization of The Divided Self illuminates continuities in Laing's own work, and also indicates his relationship to a wider British context, such as the work of the `clinical theologian' Frank Lake. (shrink)
It is possible to retrieve viable sperm from a dying man or from a recently dead body. This sperm can be frozen for later use by his wife or partner to produce his genetic offspring. But the technical feasibility alone does not morally justify such an endeavour. Posthumous semen retrieval raises questions about consent, the respectful treatment of the dead body, and the welfare of the child to be.We present two cases, discuss these three issues, and conclude that such requests (...) should generally not be honoured unless there is convincing evidence that the dead man would want his widow to carry and bear his child. Even with consent, the welfare of the potential child must be considered. (shrink)
In Nazi Germany, approximately 200 000 mentally ill people were murdered under the guise of euthanasia. Relatively little is known regarding the fate of the Jewish mentally ill patients targeted in this process, long before the Holocaust officially began. For the Nazis, Jewish mentally ill patients were doubly cursed since they embodied both “precarious genes” and “racial toxin”. To preserve the memory of the victims, Yad Vashem, the leading institution dedicated to documentation of the Holocaust, actively collects information and documents (...) the fate of victims in an open online database. Recently, a list of approximately 1200 names of Jewish mentally ill euthanasia victims has been compiled from hospital archives. Their fate remains unknown to surviving family members. Given the duty to preserve medical confidentiality, can this list be publicised for public interest and for notifying families—publicising names and death circumstances, including where “killed” would immediately indicate that the person had had a mental illness? Does the right to medical confidentiality lapse upon death? Is time elapsed since death a factor? Can opposing obligations of preserving victims’ memory over-ride medical confidentiality? What if a family member objects to a grandparent’s name being exposed on the list of mentally ill patients? This article considers these issues as well as the “rational” and “non-rational” factors in ethical decisional making surrounding this unique dilemma. Several possible solutions are proposed including preserving the list in a locked database for access by families and researchers, publicising in the media that such a list exists, publishing the information online without any identifiers and submitting the information to historians, allowing them to process the data as they see fit. (shrink)
Requests by patients or their families for treatment which the patient's physician considers to be "inappropriate" are becoming more frequent than refusals of treatment which the physician considers appropriate. Such requests are often based on the patient's religious beliefs about the attributes of God (sovereignty, omnipotence), the attributes of persons (sanctity of life), or the individual's personal relationship with God (communication, commands, etc). We present four such cases and discuss some of the basic religious tenets of the three Abrahamic faith (...) traditions as they relate to such requests. We suggest that religious reasons for requesting "inappropriate" treatment are "special" and deserve serious consideration. We offer guidance to assist clinicians and clinical ethicists as they attempt to resolve these conflicts, emphasising the importance of understanding the religious beliefs of the patient/surrogate and suggesting the assistance of a religious interpreter. We suggest open discussion with patients and families of both the clinical situation and the theological basis for these requests. We also suggest that clinicians use additional religious doctrines or principles from patients' own traditions to balance the reasons behind the requests. We conclude that most persistent requests for "inappropriate" treatment should be honoured. (shrink)
Advances in life-saving technologies in the past few decades have challenged our traditional understandings of death. Traditionally, death was understood to occur when a person stops breathing, their heart stops beating and they are cold to the touch. Today, physicians determine death by relying on a diagnosis of ‘total brain failure’ or by waiting a short while after circulation stops. Evidence has emerged, however, that the conceptual bases for these approaches to determining death are fundamentally flawed and depart substantially from (...) the established biological conception of death. We argue that the current approach to determining death consists of two different types of unacknowledged legal fictions. These legal fictions were developed for practices that are largely ethically legitimate but need to be reconciled with the law. The considerable debate over the determination of death in the medical and scientific literature has not informed the public that vital organs are being procured from still-living donors and it seems unlikely that this information can remain hidden for long. Given the instability of the status quo and the difficulty of making the substantial legal changes required by complete transparency, we argue for a second-best policy solution: acknowledging the legal fictions involved in determining death to move in the direction of greater transparency. This may someday result in more substantial legal change to directly confront the challenges raised by life-sustaining and life-preserving technologies without the need for fictions. (shrink)
Professor R. J. Getty has drawn attention to a tenth- or early eleventh-century manuscript of Statius’ Thebaid, hitherto examined only in Book I, namely Turonensis . Dr. Klotz, in his Teubner edition of 1908, gave citations from Book I, and wrote , ‘dolendum est sane de hoc codice primum tantum librum innotuisse, sed cum Roffensis libri maxime affinis accuratiorem notitiam haberemus, collatione quamvis -aegre careri posse nobis visum est.’ I have collated both T and Roffensis in full, and find firstly (...) that the citations of r by Klotz are far from accurate, especially in the last six books, and secondly that while it is indeed true thatT and r are very closely related, T is a much better representative than r of their common source. (shrink)
Responding to the interlocutors, Ricoeur, utilizing Kantian aesthetic theory, addresses the nature of the work of art, its universality and communicability, and explores its temporality — its ‘transhistoricity’ — by utilizing concepts derived from medieval philosophy, including ‘sempiternality’ and ‘monstration’. He expands on hermeneutics, defends it against charges of relativism, expatiates on the danger of aestheticism, and explains the value of mimesis in art. He explores the different art forms, focusing with Merleau-Ponty on Cézanne as a model of the ‘ipseity’ (...) of the artist; and he dwells particularly on the singularity of music and its ‘pathic’ moods. A discussion of literature culminates in an emphasis on the special importance of Holocaust texts. (shrink)
For politics to measure up to reason, two requirements have long been acknowledged: first, that the ends of political action be universal, and second, that the pursuit of such universal ends consist in political self-determination, that is, in self-government.Aristotle set the stage for all further political inquiry by distinguishing political association through the universality of its end or good, while identifying the end of politics with political activity itself, an activity in which citizens rule over one another while presiding over (...) all other associations, which fall under political dominion owing to the particularity of their pursuits. Aristotle joined the universality of politics with the activity of self-rule by recognising political activity to be an end in itself that is also a master end for the sake of which all other conduct is to be pursued. As such, politics was itself the highest good, making ethics possible by overcoming the hegemony of instrumental action, whose every end is devoid of intrinsic value, leaving conduct ultimately pointless.Two corollary difficulties, however, undermine Aristotle's enterprise. On the one hand, he is unable to give the universal end of political association a non-arbitrary content. Politics may claim universality by being both an end in itself and a master end, but this is just a recipe for ‘might makes right’, where any prevailing rule would be identical with the highest good. Appeal to a distinctly human function or to forms of rule that pursue the common good rather than the particular interests of some ruler can provide no remedy. (shrink)
The pre-designationist, anti-inductivist and operationalist tenor of Neyman-Pearson theory give that theory an obvious affinity to several currently influential philosophies of science, most particularly, the Popperian. In fact, one might fairly regard Neyman-Pearson theory as the statistical embodiment of Popperian methodology. The difficulties raised in this paper have, then, wider purport, and should serve as something of a touchstone for those who would construct a theory of evidence adequate to statistics without recourse to the notion of inductive probability.
Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are internally inconsistent and (...) underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views. (shrink)
Initial responses to questionnaires used to assess participants' understanding of informed consent for malaria vaccine trials conducted in the United States and Mali were tallied. Total scores were analyzed by age, sex, literacy (if known), and location. Ninety-two percent (92%) of answers by United States participants and 85% of answers by Malian participants were correct. Questions more likely to be answered incorrectly in Mali related to risk, and to the type of vaccine. For adult participants, independent predictors of higher scores (...) were younger age and female sex in the United States, and male sex in Mali. Scores in the United States were higher than in Mali (P = 0.005). Despite this difference participants at both sites were well informed overall. Although interpretation must be qualified because questionnaires were not intended as research tools and were not standardized among sites, these results do not support concerns about systematic low understanding among research participants in developing versus developed countries. (shrink)
It has been alleged that Bayesian usage of prior probabilities allows one to obtain empirical statements on the basis of no evidence whatever. We examine this charge with reference to several examples from the literature, arguing, first, that the difference between probabilities based on weighty evidence and those based on little evidence can be drawn in terms of the variance of a distribution. Moreover, qua summaries of vague prior knowledge, prior distributions only transmit the empirical information therein contained and, therefore, (...) their consequences for long-run frequency behavior are "a priori" in at best a Pickwickian sense. (shrink)
This study examines the impact that research and development (R&D) intensity has on corporate social responsibility (CSR). We base our research on the resource-based view (RBV) theory, which contributes to our analysis of R&D intensity and CSR because this perspective explicitly recognizes the importance of intangible resources. Both R&D and CSR activities can create assets that provide firms with competitive advantage. Furthermore, the employment of such activities can improve the welfare of the community and satisfy stakeholder expectations, which might vary (...) according to their prevailing environment. As expressions of CSR and R&D vary throughout industries, we extend our research by analysing the impact that R&D intensity has on CSR across both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries. Our results show that R&D intensity positively affects CSR and that this relationship is significant in manufacturing industries, while a non-significant result was obtained in non-manufacturing industries. (shrink)