Recognition that biological systems are stabilized far from equilibrium by self-organizing, informed, autocatalytic cycles and structures that dissipate unusable energy and matter has led to recent attempts to reformulate evolutionary theory. We hold that such insights are consistent with the broad development of the Darwinian Tradition and with the concept of natural selection. Biological systems are selected that re not only more efficient than competitors but also enhance the integrity of the web of energetic relations in which they are embedded. (...) But the expansion of the informational phase space, upon which selection acts, is also guaranteed by the properties of open informational-energetic systems. This provides a directionality and irreversibility to evolutionary processes that are not reflected in current theory.For this thermodynamically-based program to progress, we believe that biological information should not be treated in isolation from energy flows, and that the ecological perspective must be given descriptive and explanatory primacy. Levels of the ecological hierarchy are relational parts of ecological systems in which there are stable, informed patterns of energy flow and entropic dissipation. Isomorphies between developmental patterns and ecological succession are revealing because they suggest that much of the encoded metabolic information in biological systems is internalized ecological information. The geneological hierarchy, to the extent that its information content reflects internalized ecological information, can therefore be redescribed as an ecological hierarchy. (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication of (...) Williams 's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams 's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication of (...) Williams's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
Recent decades have seen a resurgence of contractarian thinking about the nature and origins of the state. Scholars in this tradition ask what constraints rational, self-interested actors might deliberately impose upon themselves. In response, Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, and other early contractarians answered that laws of property were an attractive alternative to “the war of all against all.” More recently, James Buchanan, Russell Hardin, Mancur Olson, Gordon Tullock, and others have used contractarian principles to justify laws that solve a variety of (...) Prisoner's Dilemmas and other collective-action problems. And in the distributional realm, John Rawls and others have applied contractarian analysis to investigate how material wealth ought to be allocated among people. (shrink)
Paul Russell’s The Limits of Free Will is more than the sum of its parts. Among other things, Limits offers readers a comprehensive look at Russell’s attack on the problematically idealized assumptions of the contemporary free will debate. This idealization, he argues, distorts the reality of our human predicament. Herein I pose a dilemma for Russell’s position, critical compatibilism. The dilemma illuminates the tension between Russell’s critical and compatibilist commitments. The problem is not obviously insurmountable, and as a compatibilist who (...) is sympathetic to the view, my aim is to spark further discussion. (shrink)
In the continuing dialogue between Western philosophy and the Christian religion, the central issue has generally been the existence of God. There has however been a discernible shift in the focus of the discussion in recent years. Rather than the existence of God, the issue now seems to be the concept of God. It is increasingly argued by philosophers critical of religion that the concept of God is basically incoherent, and that therefore the question of God's existence or non-existence does (...) not even arise. What cannot be conceived is not even a possible object of faith. (shrink)
Questions on "animal rights" in a cross-national survey conducted in 1993 provide an opportunity to compare the applicability to this issue of two theories of the socio-political changes summed up in "postmodernity": Inglehart's thesis of "postmaterialist values" and Franklin's synthesis of theories of late modernity. Although Inglehart seems not to have addressed human-nonhuman animal relations, it is reasonable to apply his theory of changing values under conditions of "existential security" to "animal rights." Inglehart's postmaterialism thesis argues that new values emerged (...) within specific groups because of the achievement of material security. Although emphasizing human needs, they shift the agenda toward a series of lifestyle choices that favor extending lifestyle choices, rights, and environmental considerations. Franklin's account of nonhuman animals and modern cultures stresses a generalized "ontological insecurity." Under postmodern conditions, changes to core aspects of social and cultural life are both fragile and fugitive. As neighborhood, community,family,and friendship relations lose their normative and enduring qualities, companion animals increasingly are drawn in to those formerly exclusive human emotional spaces.With a method used by Inglehart and a focus in countries where his postmaterialist effects should be most evident, this study derives and tests different expectations from the theories, then tests them against data from a survey supporting Inglehart's theory. His theory is not well supported. We conclude that its own anthropocentrism limits it and that the allowance for hybrids of nature-culture in Franklin's account offers more promise for a social theory of animal rights in changing times. (shrink)
While John B. Watson articulated the intellectual commitments of behaviorism with clarity and force, wove them into a coherent perspective, gave the perspective a name, and made it a cause, these commitments had adherents before him. To document the origins of behaviorism, this series collects the articles that set the terms of the behaviorist debate, includes the most important pre-Watsonian contributions to objectivism, and reprints the first full text of the new behaviorism. Contents: Functionalism, the Critque of Introspection, and the (...) Nature and Evolution of Consciousness: Theoretical Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1842-1914] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 360 pp Studies of Animal and Infant Behaviour. the Experimental and Comparative Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1840-1911] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 412 pp An Introuduction to Comparative Psychology [1894 edition] Conway Lloyd Morgan 628 pp Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology  Jacques Loeb 342 pp Fundamental Laws of Human Behaviour. Lectures on the foundtions of Any Mental or Social Science  Max F. Meyer 264 pp Behaviour. An Introduction to Comparative Psychology [1914 edition] John B. Watson 482 pp. (shrink)
Disagreements over the meaning of the thermodynamic entropy and how it should be defined in statistical mechanics have endured for well over a century. In an earlier paper, I showed that there were at least nine essential properties of entropy that are still under dispute among experts. In this paper, I examine the consequences of differing definitions of the thermodynamic entropy of macroscopic systems.Two proposed definitions of entropy in classical statistical mechanics are (1) defining entropy on the basis of probability (...) theory (first suggested by Boltzmann in 1877), and (2) the traditional textbook definition in terms of a volume in phase space (also attributed to Boltzmann). The present paper demonstrates the consequences of each of these proposed definitions of entropy and argues in favor of a definition based on probabilities. (shrink)
Working memory has been one of the most intensively studied systems in cognitive psychology. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Working Memory brings together world class researchers from around the world to summarise our current knowledge of this field, and directions for future research.
Tocqueville pessimistically predicted that liberty and equality would be incompatible ideas. Robert Dahl, author of the classic _A Preface to Democratic Theory,_ explores this alleged conflict, particularly in modern American society where differences in ownership and control of corporate enterprises create inequalities in resources among Americans that in turn generate inequality among them as citizens. Arguing that Americans have misconceived the relation between democracy, private property, and the economic order, the author contends that we can achieve a society of (...) real democracy and political equality without sacrificing liberty by extending democratic principles into the economic order. Although enterprise control by workers violates many conventional political and ideological assumptions of corporate capitalism as well as of state socialism. Dahl presents an empirically informed and philosophically acute defense of "workplace democracy." He argues, in the light of experiences here and abroad, that an economic system of worker-owned and worker-controlled enterprises could provide a much better foundation for democracy, political equality, and liberty than does our present system of corporate capitalism. (shrink)
According to many commentators, Davidson’s earlier work on philosophy of action and truth-theoretic semantics is the basis for his reputation, and his later forays into broader metaphysical and epistemological issues, and eventually into what became known as the triangulation argument, are much less successful. This book by two of his former students aims to change that perception. In Part One, Verheggen begins by providing an explanation and defense of the triangulation argument, then explores its implications for questions concerning semantic normativity (...) and reductionism, the social character of language and thought, and skepticism about the external world. In Part Two, Myers considers what the argument can tell us about reasons for action, and whether it can overcome skeptical worries based on claims about the nature of motivation, the sources of normativity and the demands of morality. The book reveals Davidson’s later writings to be full of innovative and important ideas that deserve much more attention than they are currently receiving. (shrink)
It is a daunting task to tell the story of the lives emotions lead, how they are rooted in the deeper folds of the person’s psyche and wax and wane over a lifetime. Wollheim’s book is at times a daring attempt to cast an analytic philosopher in the role of narrator of this fascinating but hard to follow story. Two related story lines run through his book. One repeatedly criticizes contemporary philosophers for turning a blind eye to the psychological reality (...) and developmental nature of desire and emotion. The other, containing the book’s main project, develops an account of the characteristic history of an emotion from its origins in a satisfied or frustrated desire, to the formation of an attitude that lies at the core of an emotion, and finally to the fantasized critic in moral emotions such as shame and guilt. How we rate the success of the project depends in no small part on how we assess the relation between these two themes. (shrink)
Implementing critical thinking across the curriculum is challenging, involving securing substantial agreement on the nature of critical thinking, areas of prospective application, degree of need for a separate course, and the nature of coordination, including leadership, a glossary, selection of courses for incorporation, avoidance of duplication and gaps, acquiring required subject matter, and assessment of the total effort, teaching methods used, and decrease or increase in retention of subject matter.
Assuming that critical thinking dispositions are at least as important as critical thinking abilities, Ennis examines the concept of critical thinking disposition and suggests some criteria for judging sets of them. He considers a leading approach to their analysis and offers as an alternative a simpler set, including the disposition to seek alternatives and be open to them. After examining some gender-bias and subject-specificity challenges to promoting critical thinking dispositions, he notes some difficulties involved in assessing critical thinking dispositions, and (...) suggests an exploratory attempt to assess them. (shrink)
Discussions of critical thinking across the curriculum typically make and explain points and distinctions that bear on one or a few standard issues. In this article Robert Ennis takes a different approach, starting with a fairly comprehensive concrete proposal for a four-year higher-education curriculum incorporating critical-thinking at hypothetical Wisdom University. Aspects of the Program include a one-year critical thinking freshman course with practical everyday-life and academic critical thinking goals; extensive infusion of critical thinking in other courses; a senior project; (...) attention to both critical thinking dispositions and skills; a glossary of critical thinking terms; emphasis on teaching ; communication at all levels; and last, but definitely not least, assessment. Advantages and disadvantages will be noted. Subsequently, Ennis takes and defends a position on each of several relevant controversial issues, including: 1) having a separate critical thinking course, or embedding critical thinking in existing subject matter courses, or doing both ; 2) the meaning of “critical thinking”; 3) the importance of teaching critical thinking because of its role in our everyday vocational, civic, and personal lives, as well as in our academic experiences; 4) the degree of subject-specificity of critical thinking; 5) the importance of making critical thinking principles explicit; and 6) the possible threat to subject matter coverage from the addition of critical thinking to the curriculum. (shrink)
And I find myself knowing the things that I knew Which is all that you can know on this side of the blueIs there such a thing as direct, non-conceptual experience, or is all experience, by its very nature, conceptually mediated? Is some notion of non-conceptual sensory awareness required to account for our ability to represent and negotiate our physical environment, or is it merely an artifact of deep-seated but ultimately misguided Cartesian metaphysical assumptions? Perhaps conscious experience in humans is (...) inextricably tied to the representational or self-reflexive capacities of language; if so, does it necessarily follow that newborn infants and animals are not conscious? Is the very notion of non-conceptual... (shrink)
A popular three-stage argument appraisal strategy calls for (1) identifying the parts of the argument, (2) classifYing the argument as deductive, inductive, or some other type, and (3) appraising the argument using the standards appropriate for the type. This strategy fails for a number of reasons. I propose a comprehensive alternative approach that distinguishes between inductive, deductive, and other standards; calls for the successive application of standards combined with assumption-ascription, according to policies that depend for their selection on the goals (...) of the appraiser; and provides for qualified reasoning. (shrink)
Even more so than in other areas of medicine, issues at the end of life elucidate the importance of religion and culture, as well as the role of the family and other social structures, in how these issues are framed. This article presents an overview of the variation in end-of-life treatment issues across 12 highly disparate countries. It finds that many assumptions held in the western bioethics literature are not easily transferred to other cultural settings.
As is evident from the other articles in this special issue, end-of-life treatment has engendered a vigorous dialogue in the United States over the past few decades because decision making at the end of life raises broad and difficult ethical issues that touch on health professionals, patients, and their families. This concern is exacerbated by the high cost related to the end of life in the U.S. Moreover, in light of demographic patterns, progressively scarce health care resources, and an expanding (...) array of life-saving technologies, decisions at the end of life are becoming problematic matters of public and, thus, scholarly concern in most countries. Issues at the end of life are central not only to bioethics but also raise important ancillary policy dimensions. (shrink)
This paper accepts as given that business students want to get ahead. It criticizes business schools for their failure to reduce the incongruence between doing what is right and doing what it takes to get ahead. Because of this failure business school graduates carry negative ideas, attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis social responsibility from business schools into the business world. Recommendations are made for increasing the social responsibility of business schools.
The radical empiricism of William James was first formally presented in his seminal papers of 1904, 'Does Consciousness Exist?' and 'A World of Pure Experience'. In James's view, pure experience was to serve as the source for psychology's primary data and radical empiricism was to launch an effective critique of experimentalism in psychology, a critique from which the problem of experimentalism within science could be addressed more broadly. This collection of papers presents James's formal statements on radical empiricism and a (...) representative sample of contemporary responses from psychologists and philosophers. With only a few exceptions, these responses indicate just how badly James was misread - psychologists ignoring the heart of James's message and philosophers transforming James's metaphysics into something quite unintelligible to the emerging generation of experimental psychologists. (shrink)
This paper attempts to respond to the critique that critical thinking courses may reflect a cultural bias. After elaborating a list of constitutive dispositions and abilities taught in the critical thinking curriculum , the author considers arguments for why several of these might reflect Western, non-universal values. In each case, the author argues for the conclusion that these values, though they could be applied in ways that reflect a cultural bias, are not inherently biased. Next, the author offers an outline (...) of a more systematic examination of cultural bias. After reiterating the “tentative conclusion” that critical thinking is not culturally biased, the paper concludes by considering the various ways in which critical thinking might be promoted so as to ensure its sensitivity to cultural differences. (shrink)