Reductionist explanations in biology generally assume that biological mechanisms are highly deterministic and basically similar between individuals. A contrasting view has emerged recently that takes into account the degeneracy of biological processes—the ability to arrive at a given endpoint by a variety of available paths, even within the same individual. This perspective casts significant doubt on the prospects for the ability to predict behavior accurately based on brain imaging or genotyping, and on the ability of neuroscience to stipulate ethics.
The life sciences in the 20th century were guided to a large extent by a reductionist program seeking to explain biological phenomena in terms of physics and chemistry. Two scientists who figured prominently in the establishment and dissemination of this program were Jacques Loeb in biology and Ivan P. Pavlov in psychological behaviorism. While neither succeeded in accounting for higher mental functions in physical-chemical terms, both adopted positions that reduced the problem of consciousness to the level of reflexes and associations. (...) The intellectual origins of this view and the impediment to the study of consciousness as an object of inquiry in its own right that it may have imposed on peers, students, and those who followed is explored. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the macroscopic quantum behavior of simple superconducting circuits. Starting from a Lagrangian for electromagnetic field with broken gauge symmetry, we construct a quantum circuit model for a superconducting weak link (SQUID) ring, together with the appropriate canonical commutation relations. We demonstrate that this model can be used to describe macroscopic excitations of the superconducting condensate and the localized charge states found in some ultrasmall-capacitance weak-link devices.
The statistical properties of a single quantum object and an ensemble of independent such objects are considered in detail for two-level systems. Computer simulations of dynamic zero-point quantum fluctuations for a single quantum object are reported and compared with analytic solutions for the ensemble case.
The purpose of this research is to present the major factors that lead to ethical dissolution in an organization. Specifically, drawing from a wide spectrum of sources, this study explores the impact of organizational, individual, and contextual factors that converge to contribute to ethical dissolution. Acknowledging that ethical decisions are, in the final analysis, made by individuals, this study presents a model of ethical dissolution that gives insight into how a variety of elements coalesce to draw individuals into decisions that (...) result in the ethical undoing of an otherwise healthy organization. ENRON, TYCO and WorldCom did not happen in a vacuum. Nor can such debacles be explained as simply one or two individuals who were morally corrupt. The ethical breakdowns that occurred in these companies happened over a period of time, involved numerous individuals both inside and outside of the organization, and brought about the implosion of viable companies. Seeking to extend the work of previous researchers, this study attempts to tie together a disparate set of factors into a cohesive explanation of ethical breakdowns in organizations. (shrink)
In this overview article, we first explain what we take informal logic to be, discussing misconceptions and distinguishing our conception of it from competing ones; second, we briefly catalogue recent informal logic research, under 14 headings; third, we suggest four broad areas of problems and questions for future research; fourth, we describe current scholarly resources for informal logic; fifth, we discuss three implications of informal logic for philosophy in particular, and take note ofpractical consequences of a more general sort.