Aim To ascertain the quantity and nature of gifts and items provided by the pharmaceutical industry in Australia to medical specialists and to consider whether these are appropriate in terms of justifiable ethical standards, empirical research and views expressed in the literature.
: Catholic teaching has no moral difficulties with research on stem cells derived from adult stem cells or fetal cord blood. The ethical problem comes with embryonic stem cells since their genesis involves the destruction of a human embryo. However, there seems to be significant promise of health benefits from such research. Although Catholic teaching does not permit any destruction of human embryos, the question remains whether researchers in a Catholic institution, or any researchers opposed to destruction of human embryos, (...) could participate in research on cultured embryonic stem cells, or whether a Catholic institution could use any therapy that ultimately results from such research. This position paper examines how such research could be conducted legitimately in a Catholic institution by using an ethical analysis involving a narrative context, the nature of the moral act, and the principle of material cooperation, along with references to significant ethical assessments. It also offers tentative guidelines that could be used by a Catholic institution in implementing such research. (shrink)
The broad analysis made by Home and Watanabe of the development of physics in Australia during the period from 1914 to 1945 is generally accepted; however, details relating to the backgrounds of certain of these developments are questioned.
R. Kevin Hill argues that while Walsh is correct in urging caution regarding Rand's polemical characterizations of Kant, interpreting her charitably reveals surprising insights into the underlying structure of Kant's thought. Rand's objections to Kant's epistemology, psychology and metaphysics are truer to Kant's intentions than revisionist attempts to save him from himself. Her objections to Kantian ethics contain promising critiques of both Kant's rational reconstructive-methodology and his misuse of the concept of agent-neutral reasons. Lastly, though she paints too broadly (...) in her account of Kant's influence, two questionable tendencies in contemporary thought are traceable to him. (shrink)
Summary This paper is concerned with a mechanical calendar described by the great scientist al-B?r?n?, who died in 440/1048. The description occurs in a book devoted to the construction of various types of astrolabe and related instruments. The Arabic text presented in this paper was prepared from three manuscripts. This is preceded by a brief introduction which gives a sketch of the life and works of al-B?r?n? together with information about the provenance and contents of the three manuscripts. The text (...) is followed by an English translation and the paper concludes with a technical commentary which discusses the construction and operation of the instrument. This commentary is accompanied by explanatory drawings reconstructed from al-B?r?n?'s descriptions. Photographs from the illustrations in the manuscripts are also provided. (shrink)
The United States Sentencing Commission’s guidelines for the sentencing of organizations found guilty of violating federal laws recently became effective. Dramatically increased penalties are possible under these gudelines, but so too is a substantial reduction in the penalties imposed on organizations that have an effective program in place to prevent and detect violations. This provides corporations with a tremendous new incentive in inaugurate organizational ethics audits both to avoid violations in the first instance and to reduce the penalty imposed in (...) the event that a violation occurs. We argue, however, that there have always been very good reasons for organizations to conduct such audits, which emphasize the identification of the organizational factors that create incentives for unethical behavior. Corporate ethics programs initiated without reference to such factors cannot reasonably be expected to be effective in improving a company’s internal ethical environment. (shrink)
Many journals in the physical sciences require authors to submit assurances of compliance with human subjects and other research ethics standards. These requirements do not cover all disciplines equally, however. In this paper we report on the findings of a survey of perceptions of ethical and managerial problems from journal editors in political science and related disciplines. Our results show that few journals in political science require assurance statements common to journals for other scientific disciplines. We offer some reasons for (...) this as well as some recommendations for implementing ethical assurance safeguards for political science. (shrink)
This paper examines social network size in contemporary Western society based on the exchange of Christmas cards. Maximum network size averaged 153.5 individuals, with a mean network size of 124.9 for those individuals explicitly contacted; these values are remarkably close to the group size of 150 predicted for humans on the basis of the size of their neocortex. Age, household type, and the relationship to the individual influence network structure, although the proportion of kin remained relatively constant at around 21%. (...) Frequency of contact between network members was primarily determined by two classes of variable: passive factors (distance, work colleague, overseas) and active factors (emotional closeness, genetic relatedness). Controlling for the influence of passive factors on contact rates allowed the hierarchical structure of human social groups to be delimited. These findings suggest that there may be cognitive constraints on network size. (shrink)
The socioeconomic and ethnic characteristics of parents are some of the most important correlates of adverse health outcomes in childhood. However, the relationships between ethnic, economic, and behavioral factors and the health outcomes responsible for this pervasive finding have not been specified in child health epidemiology. The general objective of this paper is to propose a theoretical approach to the study of maternal behaviors and child health in diverse ethnic and socioeconomic environments. The specific aims are: (a) to describe a (...) causal pathway between the utility that women obtain through work outside the home and through child care and disease hazard rates in childhood using an optimization model; (b) to specify the influence of ethnic and socioeconomic factors on model constraints; (c) to use the model as a tool to learn about how different combinations of maternal wage labor and child care time might influence child health outcomes in diverse social contexts; (d) to identify parameters that will require measurement in future research; (e) to discuss research strategies that will enable us to obtain these measurements; and (f) to discuss the implications of the model for biostatistical modeling and public health intervention. Optimization models are powerful heuristic tools for understanding how ethnic, environmental, family, and personal characteristics can place important constraints on both the quality and quantity of care that women can provide to their children. They provide a quantitative appreciation for the difficult trade-offs that most women face between working in order to purchase basic goods that children cannot do without (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, health insurance), and increasing offspring well-being through child care (e.g., training in social skills, affection, protection from environmental hazards, help with homework). (shrink)
Currently, the widely used notion of activity is increasingly present in computer science. However, because this notion is used in specific contexts, it becomes vague. Here, the notion of activity is scrutinized in various contexts and, accordingly, put in perspective. It is discussed through four scientific disciplines: computer science, biology, economics, and epistemology. The definition of activity usually used in simulation is extended to new qualitative and quantitative definitions. In computer science, biology and economics disciplines, the new simulation activity definition (...) is first applied critically. Then, activity is discussed generally. In epistemology, activity is discussed, in a prospective way, as a possible framework in models of human beliefs and knowledge. (shrink)
Background: Many people participating in dementia research may lack capacity to give informed consent and the relationship between cognitive function and capacity remains unclear. Recent changes in the law reinforce the need for robust and reproducible methods of assessing capacity when recruiting people for research.Aims: To identify numbers of capacitous participants in a pragmatic randomised trial of dementia treatment; to assess characteristics associated with capacity; to describe a legally acceptable consent process for research.Methods: As part of a pragmatic randomised controlled (...) trial of Ginkgo biloba for mild-moderate dementia, we used a consenting algorithm that met the requirements of existing case law and the exigencies of the new Mental Capacity Act. We decided who had capacity to give informed consent for participation in the trial using this algorithm and sought predictors of capacity.Results: Most participants with mild-moderate dementia in this trial were unable to give informed consent according to the legal criteria. When adjusted for confounding, the Mini Mental State examination did not predict the presence of capacity.Conclusion: Cognitive testing alone is insufficient to assess the presence of capacity. Researchers and clinicians need to be aware of the challenging processes regarding capacity assessment. We outline a procedure which we believe meets the ethical and legal requirements. (shrink)
The survival of a unique set of drawings, complemented by a contemporary description and a sale catalogue, enable us to ‘reconstruct’ the cabinet of Bonnier de la Mosson , a miscellaneous collection formed in Paris c. 1740. A brief assessment is offered of the status of such cabinets in the growth and diffusion of science in ancien régime France. We also point to a link with the decorative arts: in a study of such a subject the intellectual and aesthetic dimensions (...) must be treated as a unity if we are fully to evoke the context of the cabinet in the age of the rococo. Only the modern ‘discipline’-oriented viewpoint forces a separation between the history of science and the history of art. (shrink)
Strategies to involve agribusiness in the development of sustainable agricultural systems have been limited by the lack of a comprehensive conceptual framework for identifying the most critical supportive policies, programs and regulations. In this paper, we propose an efficiency/substitution/redesign framework to categorize strategies for modifying agribusiness practices. This framework is then used to identify a diverse range of short, medium, and long-term strategies to be pursued by governments, community groups, academics and agribusiness to support the transition. Strategies discussed include corporate (...) greening, ethical investment, changing the legal status of the corporaton, new business forms and the development of ecological economics. (shrink)