Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
The words quoted above distill the common secular conception of death. If we decline the traditional religious reassurances of an afterlife, or their fuzzy new age equivalents, and instead take the hard-boiled and thoroughly modern materialist view of death, then we likely end up with Gonzalez-Cruzzi. Rejecting visions of reunions with loved ones or of crossing over into the light, we anticipate the opposite: darkness, silence, an engulfing emptiness. But we would be wrong.
The Treatment Escalation Plan (TEP) was introduced into our trust in an attempt to improve patient involvement and experience of their treatment in hospital and to embrace and clarify a wider remit of treatment options than the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order currently offers. Our experience suggests that the patient and family are rarely engaged in DNR discussions. This is acutely relevant considering that the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) now obliges these discussions to take place. The TEP is a form (...) that the doctor completes, ideally with the competent patient or close relative, documenting what treatment options would be appropriate if that patient were to become acutely unwell. Ventilation of the lungs, cardiac resuscitation, renal replacement therapy, intravenous fluids and antibiotics are all discussed. The study evaluated patient and relative experiences with the TEP. 55 patients or their relatives were interviewed regarding their experience of the TEP and thoughts regarding the process. 96% of patients and relatives evaluated thought that the TEP was a good idea. Free text comments were all positive and only 34% of patients claimed to feel anxious when completing the form. Following this study, the TEP has been expanded hospital wide and into the community within our trust. Discussions are currently taking place in hospitals within our region to introduce the TEP form into other local trusts. (shrink)
REMARKS ON EVOLUTION AND TIME-SCALES, Graham Cairns-Smith; HODGSON'S BLACK BOX, Thomas Clark; DO HODGSON'S PROPOSITIONS UNIQUELY CHARACTERIZE FREE WILL?, Ravi Gomatam; WHAT SHOULD WE RETAIN FROM A PLAIN PERSON'S CONCEPT OF FREE WILL?, Gilberto Gomes; ISOLATING DISPARATE CHALLENGES TO HODGSON'S ACCOUNT OF FREE WILL, Liberty Jaswal; FREE AGENCY AND LAWS OF NATURE, Robert Kane; SCIENCE VERSUS REALIZATION OF VALUE, NOT DETERMINISM VERSUS CHOICE, Nicholas Maxwell; COMMENTS ON HODGSON, J.J.C. Smart; THE VIEW FROM WITHIN, Sean Spence; COMMENTARY ON HODGSON, Henry Stapp.
In this paper, we discuss the macroscopic quantum behavior of simple superconducting circuits. Starting from a Lagrangian for electromagnetic field with broken gauge symmetry, we construct a quantum circuit model for a superconducting weak link (SQUID) ring, together with the appropriate canonical commutation relations. We demonstrate that this model can be used to describe macroscopic excitations of the superconducting condensate and the localized charge states found in some ultrasmall-capacitance weak-link devices.
This paper critiques the view that consciousness is likely something extra which accompanies or is produced by neural states, something beyond the functional cognitive processes realized in the brain. Such a view creates the `explanatory gap'between function and nomenology which many suppose cannot be filled by functionalist theories of mind. Given methodological considerations of simplicity, ontological parsimony, and theoretical conservatism, an alternative hypothesis is recommended, that subjective qualitative experience is identical to certain information-bearing, behaviour-controlling functions, not something which emerges from (...) them. This hypothesis explains the isomorphism between the structure of experience and neural organization, while providing a naturalistic account of qualiait's relational properties of informational states, not a sparate ontology of phenomenal essences. On this functionalist view, the hard, empirical problem of consciousness is to discover precisely which neural functions constitute subjective experience. (shrink)
Phenomenal consciousness is often thought to involve a first-person perspective or point of view which makes available to the subject categorically private, first-person facts about experience, facts that are irreducible to third-person physical, functional, or representational facts. This paper seeks to show that on a representational account of consciousness, we don't have an observational perspective on experience that gives access to such facts, although our representational limitations and the phenomenal structure of consciousness make it strongly seem that we do. Qualia (...) seem intrinsic and functionally arbitrary, and thus categorically private, because they are first-order sensory representations that are not themselves directly represented. Further, the representational architecture that on this account instantiates conscious subjectivity helps to generate the intuition of observerhood, since the phenomenal subject may be construed as outside, not within, experience. Once the seemings of private phenomenal facts and the observing subject are discounted, we can understand consciousness as a certain variety of neurally instantiated, behaviour controlling content, that constituted by an integrated representation of the organism in the world. Neuroscientific research suggests that consciousness and its characteristic behavioural capacities are supported by widely distributed but highly integrated neural processes involving communication between multiple functional sub- systems in the brain. This 'global workspace' may be the brain's physical realization of the representational architecture that constitutes consciousness. (shrink)
This article explores Polanyi’s views on religion. Reviewing the debate on his understanding of religion, which originated in Richard Gelwick and Harry Prosch’s conflicting readings of Polanyi on the theme, the article proposes that there are ambiguities within his writings on the theme which cannot be resolved. There is a weakness in Polanyi’s work on religion which reflcets his limited experience of religious practices and theological traditions. Nevertheless, his insight that religious knowledge is rooted in the practices of religious worship (...) is one from which theology has much to learn. (shrink)
It is not intended as some sort of revelation on my part that Greenberg's cultural theory was originally Marxist in its stresses and, indeed in its attitude to what constituted explanation in such matters. I point out the Marxist and historical mode of proceeding as emphatically as I do partly because it may make my own procedure later in this paper seem a little less arbitrary. For I shall fall to arguing in the end with these essay's Marxism and their (...) history, and I want it understood that I think that to do so is to take issue with their strengths and their main drift.But I have to admit there are difficulties here. The essays in question ["Avant-Garde and Kitsch" and "Towards a Newer Lacoön"] are quite brief. They are, I think, extremely well written: it was not for nothing the Partisan Review described Clement Greenberg, when he first contributed to the journal early in 1939, as "a young writer who works in the New York customs house"—fine, redolent avant-garde pedigree, that! The language of these articles is forceful and easy, always straightforward, blessedly free from Marxist conundrums. Yet the price paid for such lucidity, here as so often, is a degree of inexplicitness—certain amount of elegant skirting round the difficult issues, where one might otherwise be obliged to call out the ponderous armory of Marx's concepts and somewhat spoil the low of the prose from one firm statement to another. The Marxism, in other words, is quite largely implicit; it is stated on occasion, with brittle and pugnacious finality, as the essay's frame of reference, but it remains to the reader to determine just how it works in the history and theory presented—what that history and theory depend on, in the way of Marxist assumptions about class and capital or even abase and superstructure. That is what I intend to do in this paper: to interpret and extrapolate from the texts, even at the risk of making their Marxism declare itself more stridently than the "young writer" seems to have wished. And I should admit straight away that there are several point in what follows where I am genuinely uncertain as to whether I am diverging from Greenberg's argument or explaining it more fully. This does not worry me overmuch, as long as we are alerted to the special danger in this case, dealing with such transparent yet guarded prose, and as long as we can agree that the project in general—pressing home a Marxist reading of texts which situate themselves within the Marxist tradition—is a reasonable one.22. This carelessness distinguishes the present paper from two recent studies of Greenberg's early writings, Serge Guilbaut's "The New Adventures of the Avant-Garde in America," October 15 , and Fred Orton and Griselda Pollock's "Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed," Art History 3 I am indebted to both these essays and am sure that their strictures on the superficiality—not to say the opportunism–of Greenberg's Marxism are largely right. But I am nonetheless interested in the challenge offered to most Marxist, and non-Marxist, accounts of modern history by what I take to be a justified though extreme, pessimism as t the nature of established culture since 1870. That pessimism is characteristic, I suppose, of what Marxists call an ultraleftist point of view. I believe, as I say, that a version of some such view is correct and would therefore with to treat Greenberg's theory as if it were a decently elaborated Marxism of an ultraleftist kind, on which issues in certain mistaken views but which need not so issue and which might still provide, cleansed of those errors, a good vantage for a history of our culture.T. J. Clark, professor of fine arts at Harvard University, is the author of The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 and Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. His book on impressionist painting and Paris is forthcoming. (shrink)
The statistical properties of a single quantum object and an ensemble of independent such objects are considered in detail for two-level systems. Computer simulations of dynamic zero-point quantum fluctuations for a single quantum object are reported and compared with analytic solutions for the ensemble case.
As a worldview , naturalism depends on a set of cognitive commitments from which flow certain propositions about reality and human nature. These propositions in turn might have implications for how we live, for social policy, and for human flourishing. But the presuppositions, basis, and implications of naturalism are not uncontested, and indeed there’s considerable debate about them among naturalists themselves.
Our aim in this article is to provide a counterbalance to the substantial body of academic opinion supportive of the decision in the medical non-disclosure case of Chester v Afshar  UKHL 41,  1 AC 134, while at the same time identifying some misconceptions that have arisen about the case. Our critique is consistent with the reasoning of the High Court of Australia in its recent decision in Wallace v Kam  HCA 19, (2013) 87 ALJR 648. The article (...) is divided into three sections. In the first section, we argue that the decision in Chester was a departure from orthodox negligence principles. In the second section, we critically examine the autonomy-based justification the majority in Chester gave for departing from those principles. And in the third section we consider a number of alternative ways in which protection could be given to the autonomy interests at stake in medical non-disclosure cases. Several more general points relating to the autonomy concept and the scope of liability doctrine in negligence law emerge from our critique. Our analysis also suggests that negligence law is ill-suited to the task of providing an appropriate legal solution to the problem of medical non-disclosure. (shrink)
The ongoing debate over multiculturalism involves, among other issues, what might be called the quest for cultural validation: the desire of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities to be seen as legitimate in their own right. Black, feminist, and gay subcultures, among others, wish to assert their particular differences from prevailing social norms and want to be accepted by the larger culture they are challenging. Legitimacy will be achieved when society incorporates the subcultural differences as normal social variation and when (...) minorities secure the same rights and protections enjoyed by those in the mainstream. This process of validation and acceptance, slow though it may be, is characteristic of our liberal western democracy, so that the indigenous cultural "repertoire" or "palette" has become increasingly diverse. (shrink)
This article reviews contributions to The Volitional Brain, some of which defend a libertarian, contra-causal account of free will, while others take a so-called compatibilist view, in which adequate conceptions of human liberty and moral responsibility are claimed to be compatible with naturalistic causality. Siding with compatibilism, this review finds that defenders of libertarian free will place undue weight on the first person feeling of freedom, while discounting scientific evidence that human choices are fully a function of antecedent causes at (...) various levels of description. It is argued that morality, justice, and personal responsibility and efficacy do not require the assumption that persons are first causes, so that we need not fear mechanism when applied to human agency. (shrink)