Germ-line therapy has long been regarded with great caution both by scientists and by ethicists. Even those who do not reject germ-line therapy in principle have tended to reject it in practice as carrying unacceptable risks in our current state of knowledge. For this reason, a recent paper by Rubenstein, Thomasma, Shon, and Zinaman is unusual in putting forward a serious proposal for the use of germ-line therapy in the foreseeable future.
The approaches in question here are exhibited in examinations of specific problems, rather than surveyed or generally summarized. Most of the volume should interest philosophers. Recent linguistic theory has been torn between the generative semanticists, who fuse syntax and semantics in maintaining that "the rules of grammar are identical to the rules relating surface forms to their corresponding logical forms", and the interpretive semanticists, who find syntactic deep structure a well-defined notion and who believe that the semantic interpretation of sentences (...) derives from inputs from several levels of linguistic structure. J. Bresnan, in "Sentence Stress and Syntactic Transformations," gives a clear and elegant version of her defense of one aspect of the interpretivist position. She argues that aspects of the stress pattern of sentences can be easily and compactly explained only if lexical items are inserted at the level of syntactic deep structure before the application of syntactical transformations. W. C. Watt’s "Late Lexicalizations" argues the generativist position that the lexical peculiarities of natural languages tend to be introduced at various stages in the application of syntactical transformations. Bresnan’s paper is particularly helpful to philosophers who want to make sense of linguist’s current arguments: her evidential appeals, reasoning, and terminology can be grasped by someone with little background in technical linguistics. The volume also includes three papers, two by Hamburger and Wexler and one by Peters and Ritchie, on the abstract theory of grammar, which has come some distance since Chomsky’s contributions. These papers follow out various aspects of the realization that, when abstractly considered, transformational, and even somewhat less powerful rules, are too powerful to allow nonarbitrary solutions to the problem of identifying the grammars of particular languages. (shrink)
The King Report on Corporate Governance (1994) evoked unprecedented interest in corporate governance in South Africa. This does not mean that corporate governance was not an issue of concern before the release of this historical report. To the contrary, corporate governance in its broader sense has been at stake since the inception of the first publicly owned companies in South Africa. This article intends to give an overview of corporate governance in South Africa. It starts by making a distinction between (...) broad and narrow conceptions of corporate governance. Before applying this distinction to the practice of corporate governance in South Africa, a brief overview of the corporate landscape in South Africa is provided. Then the South African situation with regard to broad and narrow corporate governance respectively is analysed. The article ends with a discussion of the review of corporate governance that currently is in the making in South Africa. Throughout the article both the financial and ethical dimensions of corporate governance is attended to. (shrink)
When a risk is exchanged, the exact value for the minimum price (positive or negative) that the purchaser (investor, or insurer) is willing to pay is given by the certainty equivalent wealth level, which in turn depends on his specific utility function. When this utility function is unknown, then only a sufficient condition on the price can ever be found. This paper provides methods for calculating such a sufficient condition, when only limited information on the utility function is known.
In a recent BioEssays paper [W. F. Martin, BioEssays 2017, 39, 1700115], William Martin sharply criticizes evolutionary interpretations that involve lateral gene transfer into eukaryotic genomes. Most published examples of LGTs in eukaryotes, he suggests, are in fact contaminants, ancestral genes that have been lost from other extant lineages, or the result of artefactual phylogenetic inferences. Martin argues that, except for transfers that occurred from endosymbiotic organelles, eukaryote LGT is insignificant. Here, in reviewing this field, we seek to correct some (...) of the misconceptions presented therein with regard to the evidence for LGT in eukaryotes. A recent paper dismisses claims of lateral gene transfer into eukaryotic genomes. We counter the arguments made in that paper and discuss the extensive evidence for LGT in eukaryotes. (shrink)
The objective of the study was to investigate the relationship between childhood IQ of parents and characteristics of their adult offspring. It was a prospective family cohort study linked to a mental ability survey of the parents and set in Renfrew and Paisley in Scotland. Participants were 1921-born men and women who took part in the Scottish Mental Survey in 1932 and the Renfrew/Paisley study in the 1970s, and whose offspring took part in the Midspan Family study in 1996. There (...) were 286 offspring from 179 families. Parental IQ was related to some, but not all characteristics of offspring. Greater parental IQ was associated with taller offspring. Parental IQ was inversely related to number of cigarettes smoked by offspring. Higher parental IQ was associated with better education, offspring social class and offspring deprivation category. There were no significant relationships between parental IQ and offspring systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, lung function, weight, body mass index, waist hip ratio, housing, alcohol consumption, marital status, car use and exercise. Structural equation modelling showed parental IQ associated with offspring education directly and mediated via parental social class. Offspring education was associated with offspring smoking and social class. The smoking finding may have implications for targeting of health education. (shrink)
In order to introduce protists to philosophers, we outline the diversity, classification, and evolutionary importance of these eukaryotic microorganisms. We argue that an evolutionary understanding of protists is crucial for understanding eukaryotes in general. More specifically, evolutionary protistology shows how the emphasis on understanding evolutionary phenomena through a phylogeny-based comparative approach constrains and underpins any more abstract account of why certain organismal features evolved in the early history of eukaryotes. We focus on three crucial episodes of this history: the origins (...) of multicellularity, the origin of sex, and the origin of the eukaryote cell. Despite ongoing uncertainty about where the root of the eukaryote tree lies, and residual questions about the precise endosymbioses that have produced a diversity of photosynthesizing eukaryotes, evolutionary protistology has illuminated with considerable clarity many aspects of protist evolution. Our main message in light of evolutionary protistology is that these ‘other eukaryotes’ are in fact the organisms through which the rest of the eukaryotes should be understood. (shrink)
Spinoza’s Ethics must contain some of philosophy’s most baffling statements. All things are animate; the order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things: what would I be committed to in agreeing with these doctrines? His austere mode of exposition, sparing of illustrations and discursive explanations, ensures that any answer must be highly speculative.His weakness for dark sayings seems to have communicated itself to some of his best-known commentators. Of course where a philosopher’s thought (...) is itself opaque one would be unreasonable to expect lucidity in a commentator’s exposition of it. However he has been described as holding puzzling, to my mind unintelligible opinions on subjects concerning which, as far as I can see, his own statements more naturally suggest a much clearer and more comprehensible interpretation. There are problems enough in understanding his thought without adding needlessly to the list. I think there has been such an addition in discussion of his doctrines about the causal relationship between God and finite creatures, and this paper is devoted to suggesting another account of his thought on that topic which combines, I think, the advantages of being more intelligible and a more natural construction to place on his own statements, than the set of opinions generally laid at his door. (shrink)
We describe the results of an experiment on decision making in an insurance context. The experiment was designed to test for the underlying rationality of insurance consumers, where rationality is understood in usual economic terms. In particular, using expected utility as the preference function, we test for positive marginal utility, risk aversion, and decreasing absolute risk aversion, all of which are normal postulates for any microeconomic decision context under uncertainty or risk. We find that there the discrepancy from rational decision (...) making increases with the sophistication of the rationality criteria, that irrationality concerning fair premium contracts is uncharacteristically high, and that the slope of absolute risk aversion seems to depend on the format of the insurance contract. (shrink)