Ursula Klein and E. C. Spary : Materials and expertise in early modern Europe: Between market and laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 408pp, $50 HB Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9462-8 Authors Jonathan Simon, LEPS-LIRDHIST, Université Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The collaboration of Language and Computing nv (L&C) and the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS) is guided by the hypothesis that quality constraints on ontologies for software ap-plication purposes closely parallel the constraints salient to the design of sound philosophical theories. The extent of this parallel has been poorly appreciated in the informatics community, and it turns out that importing the benefits of phi-losophical insight and methodology into application domains yields a variety of improvements. L&C’s LinKBase® (...) is one of the world’s largest medical domain ontologies. Its current primary use pertains to natural language processing ap-plications, but it also supports intelligent navigation through a range of struc-tured medical and bioinformatics information resources, such as SNOMED-CT, Swiss-Prot, and the Gene Ontology (GO). In this report we discuss how and why philosophical methods improve both the internal coherence of LinKBase®, and its capacity to serve as a translation hub, improving the interoperability of the ontologies through which it navigates. (shrink)
O presente trabalho tem por objetivo apresentar os principais aspectos do Empirismo Construtivo de Bas C. van Fraassen, particularmente no que diz respeito ao problema do sucesso científico. Nesse contexto, serão examinadas as noções de observável e inobservável e suas relações com o ‘argumento do milagre’ e da ‘coincidência cósmica’, ambos criticados por van Fraassen. As respostas de autores que defendem o Realismo Científico serão então apresentadas, contrapondo-se aos argumentos do Empirismo Construtivo. Finalmente, possíveis dificuldades do Empirismo Construtivo serão ainda (...) examinadas e uma proposta para superá-las será apresentada. (shrink)
The central hypothesis of the collaboration between Language and Computing (L&C) and the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS) is that the methodology and conceptual rigor of a philosophically inspired formal ontology greatly benefits application ontologies. To this end r®, L&C’s ontology, which is designed to integrate and reason across various external databases simultaneously, has been submitted to the conceptual demands of IFOMIS’s Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). With this project we aim to move beyond the level of (...) controlled vocabularies to yield an ontology with the ability to support reasoning applications. Our general procedure has been the implementation of a meta-ontological definition space in which the definitions of all the concepts and relations in LinKBase® are standardized in a framework of first-order logic. In this paper we describe how this standardization has already led to an improvement in the LinKBase® structure that allows for a greater degree of internal coherence than ever before possible. We then show the use of this philosophical standardization for the purpose of mapping external databases to one another, using LinKBase® as translation hub, with a greater degree of success than possible hitherto. We demonstrate how this offers a genuine advance over other application ontologies that have not submitted themselves to the demands of philosophical scrutiny. LinKBase® is one of the world’s largest applications-oriented medical domain ontologies, and BFO is one of the world’s first philosophically driven reference ontologies. The collaboration of the two thus initiates a new phase in the quest to solve the so-called “Tower of Babel”. (shrink)
Background Genomic research is challenging the tradition of informed consent. Genomic researchers in the USA, Canada and parts of Europe are encouraged to use informed consent to address the prospect of disclosing individual research results (IRRs) to study participants. In the USA, no national policy exists to direct this use of informed consent, and it is unclear how local institutional review boards (IRBs) may want researchers to respond. Objective and methods To explore publicly accessible IRB websites for guidance in this (...) area, using summative content analysis. Findings Three types of research results were addressed in 45 informed consent templates and instructions from 20 IRBs based at centres conducting genomic research: (1) IRRs in general, (2) incidental findings (IFs) and (3) a broad and unspecified category of ‘significant new findings’ (SNFs). IRRs were more frequently referenced than IFs or SNFs. Most documents stated that access to IRRs would not be an option for research participants. These non-disclosure statements were found to coexist in some documents with statements that SNFs would be disclosed to participants if related to their willingness to participate in research. The median readability of template language on IRRs, IFs and SNFs exceeded a ninth-grade level. Conclusion IRB guidance may downplay the possibility of IFs and contain conflicting messages on IRR non-disclosure and SNF disclosure. IRBs may need to clarify why separate IRR and SNF language should appear in the same consent document. The extent of these issues, nationally and internationally, needs to be determined. (shrink)
Gaulin, McBurney, and Brakeman-Wartell (1997) found that college students reported both matrilateral and sex biases in the investment of aunts and uncles (aunts invested more than uncles). They interpreted the matrilateral bias as a consequence of paternity uncertainty. We replicated that study with Orthodox Jewish college students, selected because they come from a population we presume to have higher paternity certainty than the general population. The Orthodox sample also showed matrilateral and sex biases. Comparing the two data sets, the Orthodox (...) sample reported more investment, and slightly less matrilateral and sex biases, but the differences were not statistically significant. We did find an interaction between sex of relative and group membership, resulting from greater investment by Orthodox uncles. We interpret the results as reflecting the operation of a facultative investment mechanism whose upper limit is tuned to the maximum levels of paternity certainty found in ancestral environments. Lack of a difference in matrilateral bias between groups may result from levels of paternity certainty near to, or above, that maximum in both groups. (shrink)
Having known classical wave optics and wave mechanics, can we reverse Schrödinger's path and extend the concept of families of rays of light to provide a new exact rendering of quantum optics including the Bose nature of photons? This question is answered in the affirmative, and the implications of the Bose symmetry for certain nonlocal correlations of the many-ray distribution functions are worked out. The similarities and the differences between classical and quantum wave optics are brought out. The ray-ray Bose (...) correlation is analyzed. The generating functional for the many-ray distribution functions is formulated; and the notion of paraxial illumination for quantum optics is made precise. (shrink)
In this article, we develop tame topology over dp-minimal structures equipped with definable uniformities satisfying certain assumptions. Our assumptions are enough to ensure that definable sets are tame: there is a good notion of dimension on definable sets, definable functions are almost everywhere continuous, and definable sets are finite unions of graphs of definable continuous “multivalued functions.” This generalizes known statements about weakly o-minimal, C-minimal, and P-minimal theories.
Society’s relationship with modern animal farming is an ambivalent one: on the one hand there is rising criticism about modern animal farming; on the other hand people appreciate certain aspects of it, such as increased food safety and low food prices. This ambivalence reflects the two faces of modernity: the negative (exploitation of nature and loss of traditions) and the positive (progress, convenience, and efficiency). This article draws on a national survey carried out in the Netherlands that aimed at gaining (...) a deeper understanding about the acceptance of modern dairy farming in Dutch society. People take two dimensions into account when evaluating different aspects of modern dairy farming: (1) the way living beings are used for production and (2) the way a dairy farm functions as a business. In both these dimensions people appeared to adopt cautious opinions: most people preferred relatively traditional and natural farms and were concerned about the use of nature and treatment of animals in modern production—although this did not imply an outright rejection of modern animal farming. The study also looked for (and sought to explain) differences of opinion between social groups. Besides socio-demographic factors such as age and gender, farming experience and value-orientation (such as socially minded and professional) appeared to be important variables. The values and convictions within modern society can help to explain why some people are greatly concerned about animal welfare while some show less concern. This diversity also helps to explain why general information campaigns are quite ineffective in allaying concerns about modern animal farming. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary course was designed as an introduction to the applications of, and the socio-economic issues associated with, biotechnology. College students enrolled in the course were surveyed prior to the first formal lecture, and again upon completion of the course. Assessment was made of the impact of the educational materials on the attitudes and perceptions of the students toward the applications of biotechnology to agriculture. Data were collected for the first three semesters in which the course was offered. Answers to (...) survey questions were analyzed on a before and after basis. It was found that students were very accepting of biotechnology prior to taking the course, despite a generally low level of exposure to this type of technology. The course was effective in increasing the knowledge base of the students, but not as effective in allaying their perceptions of risks associated with biotechnology. (shrink)
Most discussion about clinical care in clinical trials has concerned whether subjects’ care may be compromised by research procedures. The possibility that clinical researchers might give priority to helping their “patients” even if that required deviating from the imperatives of the research protocol has been largely ignored. We conducted an online survey of clinical researchers—including physicians, research nurses, and other research staff—to assess the ways in which clinical trials may be at risk for compromise due to clinical researchers’ attempting to (...) address the clinical needs of subjects. The survey covered recruitment, clinical management while in the trial, and termination decisions. It produced a 72% response rate, and the results showed significant biases. Almost 64% of respondents thought that researchers should deviate from the protocol to improve subjects’ care. Of the 52% of respondents who worked on a trial that prohibited using a medication that they believed to be in a subject’s best medical interest, over 28% reported giving the restricted medication at least once. Of the 69% of respondents who reported having had a patient ineligible to participate in a trial, but for whom they believed the trial would be beneficial, 22% recruited the patient anyway. And of the 36% who said one of their patients had met termination criteria but seemed to benefit medically from the trial, 9% reported that they kept the subject in the trial. These results show that the scientific validity of clinical trials may be compromised by researchers’ desire to act in subjects’ best medical interests. (shrink)
This article treats the political thought of Simón Bolívar, a leading figure in South America's struggle for independence. It describes Bolívar's ideas by reference to both their broadly Atlantic origins and their specifically American concerns, arguing that they comprise a theory of `republican imperialism', paradoxically proposing an essentially imperial project as a means of winning and consolidating independence from European rule. This basic tension is traced through Bolívar's discussions of revolution, constitutions, and territorial unification, and then used to frame a (...) comparison with the founders of the United States. It suggests, in closing, that contextual similarities amongst the American revolutions make them particularly apt subjects for comparative study of the history of political thought. (shrink)
Acquaintance with the Absolute is the first collected volume of essays devoted to the thought of Yves r. Simon, a thinker widely regarded as one of the great teachers and philosophers of our time. Each piece in this collection of essays thoughtfully complements the others to offer a qualifiedly panoramic look at the work and thought of philosopher Yves R. Simon. The six essays presented not only treat some major areas of Simon’s thought, pointing out their lucidity (...) and originality, but also his underpinning metaphysics, so central to his thought. Rather than attempt to present all aspects of this patient, careful, and penetrating thinker, these essays select enough to situate Simon’s philosophical excavations – especially his moral, political and action theory – among contemporary Thomistic philosophy. In defending philosophy as a valid way of knowing, Simon gives us an approach we can use to avoid contemporary dilemmas in the philosophy of science. Simon holds that philosophical truths both justify scientific method as a way of knowing the real and provide a basis for distinguishing what is ontologically significant in a scientific theory from what is not. This view allows us to avoid the apparently irrational conclusions of quantum mechanics without reducing scientific theories to being mere projections of our conceptual systems. Though aspects of some of the essays are suited for students of Simon’s thought, the essays as a whole introduce the less familiar reader to this great thinking and, further, invite him or her to pursue Simon’s own texts. The volume is enhanced by the inclusion of a definitive Yves R. Simon bibliography 1923-1996. The annotated bibliography is cross-reference in detail, revealing the astonishing variety of topics Simon treated. (shrink)