Public health and service delivery programmes, interventions and policies are typically developed and implemented for the primary purpose of effecting change rather than generating knowledge. Nonetheless, evaluations of these programmes may produce valuable learning that helps determine effectiveness and costs as well as informing design and implementation of future programmes. Such studies might be termed ‘opportunistic evaluations’, since they are responsive to emergent opportunities rather than being studies of interventions that are initiated or designed by researchers. However, current ethical guidance (...) and registration procedures make little allowance for scenarios where researchers have played no role in the development or implementation of a programme, but nevertheless plan to conduct a prospective evaluation. We explore the limitations of the guidance and procedures with respect to opportunistic evaluations, providing a number of examples. We propose that one key missing distinction in current guidance is moral responsibility: researchers can only be held accountable for those aspects of a study over which they have control. We argue that requiring researchers to justify an intervention, programme or policy that would occur regardless of their involvement prevents or hinders research in the public interest without providing any further protections to research participants. We recommend that trial consent and ethics procedures allow for a clear separation of responsibilities for the intervention and the evaluation. (shrink)
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
MicroRNAs are non‐coding regulators of gene expression and key factors in development, disease, and targets for bioengineering. Consequently, microRNAs have become essential elements of already burgeoning draft plant genome descriptions where their annotation is often particularly poor, contributing unduly to the corruption of public databases. Using the Citrus sinensis as an example, we highlight and review common failings of miRNAome annotations. Understanding and exploiting the role of miRNAs in plant biology will be stymied unless the research community acts decisively to (...) improve the accuracy of miRNAome annotations. We encourage genome annotation teams to do it right or not at all. (shrink)
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
Ambitiously identifying fresh issues in the study of complex systems, Peter J. Taylor, in a model of interdisciplinary exploration, makes these concerns accessible to scholars in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and science studies. Unruly Complexity explores concepts used to deal with complexity in three realms: ecology and socio-environmental change; the collective constitution of knowledge; and the interpretations of science as they influence subsequent research. For each realm Taylor shows that unruly complexity-situations that lack definite boundaries, where (...) what goes on "outside" continually restructures what is "inside," and where diverse processes come together to produce change-should not be suppressed by partitioning complexity into well-bounded systems that can be studied or managed from an outside vantage point. Using case studies from Australia, North America, and Africa, he encourages readers to be troubled by conventional boundaries-especially between science and the interpretation of science-and to reflect more self-consciously on the conceptual and practical choices researchers make. (shrink)
Born in 1126 to a family of Maliki legal scholars, Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, enjoyed a long career in religious jurisprudence at Seville and Cordoba while at the same time advancing his philosophical studies of the works of Aristotle. This translation of Averroes’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s _De Anima_ brings to English-language readers the complete text of this influential work of medieval philosophy. Richard C. Taylor provides rich notes on the Long Commentary and a generous introduction that (...) discusses Averroes’ most mature reflections on Aristotle’s teachings as well as Averroes' comprehensive philosophical views on soul and intellect. It is only in the Long Commentary that Averroes finally resolves to his satisfaction the much vexed issue of the nature of intellect, Taylor shows. (shrink)
Language, Duty, and Value Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik James Opie Urmson, Edited by Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik, and C. C. W. Taylor. reasons in general. This is freedom in the sense of acting on reasons, yet not those ...
The Battle for the American Mind brings together religion, politics, economics, science, and literature to present a compelling history of the American people. In this brief and entertaining book, noted historian Carl J. Richard argues that there have been three worldviews that have dominated American thought—theism, humanism, and skepticism. By clearly explaining what Americans believed, exploring why they did so, and showing how that impacted the nation's development, Richard presents a unique portrait of the United States—past and present.
The utilitarian fallacy, most egregiously committed by J. S. Mill but perpetuated ever since, consists of supposing that “pleasure”, being a noun, is, in every true statement in which it occurs, the name of a feeling, and that “pleasant”, in any such statement, means that whatever is so described is conducive to that feeling. In fact, “pleasant” is more commonly used as a positive term of appraisal, indicating that the thing so described is liked, and usually liked for its own (...) sake, and “pleasure” typically has a similar use. These terms thus resemble words like “awful”, “wonderful” and so on, which typically do not mean evocative of awe, wonder and so on. What follows from this is that the feeling of pleasure, while perhaps good for its own sake, is not uniquely so. Almost anything correctly described as pleasant is apt to be such. Similar observations apply to the term “happiness”. Therefore utilitarianism, according to which there is only one thing good as an end, or for its own sake - namely, pleasure or happiness - is false as a philosophical theory of ethics. (shrink)
456 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY or PHILOSOPHY 34:3 JULY 1996 of reflection about rhetorical practices that I suspect Aristotle was trying to elicit in his own time and that Garver is trying to elicit in his. DAVID J. DEPEW California State University, FuUerton Fran O'Rourke, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999. Pp. xvi + 3oo. Cloth, $8o.oo. The importance of doctrines found in the Latin translations of the late fifth-century Greek works of pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite for (...) the formation of the theologi- cal and philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas is obvious to anyone well-versed in the texts of Aquinas. However, it is by no means obvious how Aquinas read, under- stood, and transformed the Christian Neoplatonic theology of this apparent disciple of Proclus or Damascius so as to make it an integral part of his understanding of God and creation. O'Rourke rightly conceived his task as twofold: first, the texts of Dionysius must be properly understood; second, the interpretation and use of these by Aquinas can itself be assessed and appreciated in its own thirteenth-century con- text. In the first part of the book he examines the question of knowledge of God, with one chapter devoted to Dionysius and a second devoted to Aquinas's use of "Dionysian Elements" in discovering God. Part Two examines their teachings on the "Transcendence of Being and Good" in chapters 3 and 4. Part Three contains three chapters on the "Unity.. (shrink)
In this paper we give a positive answer to Julia Robinson's question whether the definability of + and · from S and ∣ that she proved in the case of positive integers is extendible to arbitrary integers (cf. [JR, p. 102]).