There are two main theories about the persistence of objects through time: endurantism and perdurantism. Endurantists hold that objects are three-dimensional, have only spatial parts, and wholly exist at each moment of their existence. Perdurantists hold that objects are four-dimensional, have temporal parts, and only partly exist at each moment of their existence. In this paper we argue that endurantism is poorly suited to describe the persistence of objects in a world governed by Special Relativity, and can accommodate a relativistic (...) world only at a high price, one that we argue is not worth paying. Perdurantism, on the other hand, fits beautifully with our current scientific understanding of the world. Furthermore, we make this argument from implications of the Lorentz transformations, without appeals to geometrical interpretations, dimensional analogies, or auxillary premises like temporal eternalism. (shrink)
Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...) those in (special) relativistic circumstances, it becomes clear that only a perdurance account of change is adequate. (shrink)
We examined participants' reading and recall of informed consent documents presented via paper or computer. Within each presentation medium, we presented the document as a continuous or paginated document to simulate common computer and paper presentation formats. Participants took slightly longer to read paginated and computer informed consent documents and recalled slightly more information from the paginated documents. We concluded that obtaining informed consent online is not substantially different than obtaining it via paper presentation. We also provide suggestions for improving (...) informed consent-in both face-to-face and online experiments. (shrink)
This article presents three experiments that examine the relation between order effects and frequency learning, with the following results. First, when frequencies of occurrence are presented as sequences of real events, base rates can be learned and used with a high degree of accuracy. However, conditional probabilities for multiple sequentially presented evidence items cannot be completely learned, due to the distortion of a recency order effect for actual decisions. Second, there is also a recency order effect for belief evaluations, which (...) cannot be eliminated even if base rates are used correctly. Third, base rates learned in one environment can be transferred to another environment, but the transfer soon diminishes due to learning in the new environment. However, belief evaluations are not transferred from one environment to another The existing models of frequency learning cannot explain the order effect for actual decisions because they do not consider sequential information. The existing models of belief updating can explain both types of order effects, but they do not have any mechanisms for frequency learning. To account for the complete spectrum of frequency learning and order effects, we outline our initial effort in developing a unified model that integrates frequency learning and order effects. (shrink)
Review of Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen and Guy Kahane eds., Enhancing Human Capacities Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9148-y Authors Thomas Johnson, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490.
Although we agree with Newell and Anderson & Lebiere (A&L) that a unified theory of cognition is needed to advance cognitive science, we disagree on how to achieve it. A hybrid system can score high in the Newell Test but may not offer a veridical and coherent theory of cognition. A multilevel approach, involving theories at both psychological and brain levels, is suggested.
This note analyses a recent case of the English Court of Appeal in which the applicant, R.G., a gay, H.I.V. positive Colombian claimed asylum on grounds of persecution due to his sexuality. Both the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and the Court of Appeal rejected R.G.’s claim for asylum. The Court of Appeal’s first and most significant reason was that the alleged persecution was not sufficiently serious or life threatening, since R.G. had not suffered actual physical violence throughout the 13 years (...) that he had lived as a closeted gay man in Colombia. Secondly, the court considered the real reason for R.G.’s seeking asylum was his desire to access free health care in order to manage his H.I.V. His allegations of persecution on the grounds of sexuality were viewed as a sham. This note is critical of the approach taken by the Court, which, it is argued, displays an insensitivity to the complexity of sexual identity and its performance and has the effect of perpetuating and legitimating discrimination against lesbians and gay men. (shrink)
As a descriptive theory, moral fictionalism proposes that moral claims are typically based on the fundamental error of attributing moral values with an objective, independent status that they cannot possess. This illusory belief in the reality of moral values has been aptly described as naïve moral realism. Yet, the assumed prevalence of moral realism, however naïve, is a crucial question that has not been adequately defended by proponents of moral fictionalism and is found to be inconsistent with much empirical research (...) in moral psychology that reveals a much more sophisticated understanding of the meanings of moral beliefs and judgements. In addition to these empirical weaknesses, moral fictionalism tends to rely on a naïve interpretation of: (1) the conceptual validity and scope of the cognitivivist/non-cognitivist distinction (2) the categoricity of moral judgements (3) the descriptive language of moral discourse These serious flaws provide good reason for describing the theory itself as naïve moral fictionalism. (shrink)
The focus on translational research in clinical trials has the potential to generate clinically relevant genetic data that could have importance to patients. This raises challenging questions about communicating relevant genetic research results to individual patients. An exploratory pharmacogenetic analysis was conducted in the international ovarian cancer phase III trial, AGO-OVAR 16, which found that patients with clinically important germ-line BRCA1/2 mutations had improved progression-free survival prognosis. Mechanisms to communicate BRCA results were evaluated, because these findings may be beneficial to (...) patients and their families. Communicating individual BRCA results was not anticipated during clinical trial design. Consequently, options were not available for patients to indicate their preference for receiving their individual results when they signed pharmacogenetic informed consent. Differences in local requirements, clinical practice, and opinion regarding the ethical aspects of how to convey genetic results to patients are all potential barriers to returning individual BRCA results to patients. Communicating the aggregate BRCA result from this study provided clinical investigators with a mechanism to disseminate the overall study finding to patients while taking individual circumstances, local guidelines and clinical practice into account. This study illustrates the importance of increasing the clarity and scope of informed consent and the need for patient engagement to ensure clinical trial participants can indicate their preference regarding receipt of potentially important individual pharmacogenetic results. This study was registered in the NCT Clinical Trial Registry under NCT00866697 on March 19, 2009, following approval from participating ethics committees. (shrink)
This essay explores the degree to which public reason can sustain political liberalism's commitment to justice and pluralism without attending to the role of what Jeffrey Stout calls “cultural inheritance” in shaping and justifying political commitments. At issue is whether public reason is the best resource for guiding conversations on political matters that are enmeshed in religious commitments and moral beliefs. Unless public reason can account for cultural inheritance, and foster a deliberative context in which political actors might grapple with (...) the relationship between overlapping political claims and comprehensive doctrines, public reason will remain narrow and inadequate in a contemporary world where epistemic diversity is increasingly at odds with political liberalism's normative model of social cooperation and public deliberation. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak on a topic that is of interest to all of us, inasmuch as it pertains to our summer endeavor, Franciscan education. I will do so, however, from the perspective of Roger Bacon – the Doctor Mirabilis – a friar who held his Order's education system in contempt. His scathing attacks included equally strong words for the Augustinians, Carmelites and Dominicans, (...) whom he lumped together with the Franciscans and dismissed as the ordines puerorum. Although he was a Franciscan, let me assure you that Bacon did not intend the "order of young boys" to be an endearing description of his confreres – but more about this later.Bacon's sharpest attacks are found in his Compendium studii philosophiae, written around 1271-1272. For those of you who are not familiar with this English friar, let me sketch out his biography. In all seriousness, what we know of his provenance, education, and career is indeed sketchy. Depending on how we read selected autobiographical remarks, he was born around 1214 or 1220 and died around 1292. After studying in Oxford, he became one of the first masters to comment on Aristotle in the Faculty of Arts in Paris during the 1240s and subsequently returned to England. Whether it was there, or perhaps later in France that he entered the Minorite Order is uncertain, nevertheless we find him in the Franciscan habit in 1256 and living in Paris. It will be from the vantage point of Paris that Brother Bacon will argue for radical curricular reform and critique the prevailing mendicant educational system. Later, perhaps back in England after 1268, he continues his criticism until his death in 1292.As I begin, allow me a few moments to explain why I think Bacon's critique should not be ignored by Franciscans nor relegated to an obscure footnote by educators. To offer a critique of a position, belief, or view is something that is to be expected from those in colleges and universities who have been educated in what we call "critical thinking." However, as Michael Roth noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, to critique is the beginning, not the end or goal of the process. His article, entitled "Beyond Critical Thinking," warns educators that many of our best students are considered intelligent because of their sharply-honed, acquired ability to take apart, unmask, or deconstruct the beliefs of others. Experts at exorcizing and banishing meaning from firmly held texts, they are likewise unable to find or construct meaning in their own lives from these sources which have inspired, formed, and challenged countless individuals through the centuries.Let me offer you an example from my own experience at Flagler College. I have taught everything from Introduction to the Old Testament to upper-level Contemporary Theological Thought. Over the years I have seen that taking a critical approach to the material is crucial, yet there is a corresponding need to assist students along the path toward wisdom through the integration of our academic critique within a coherent worldview. For any number of reasons it is an exhilarating, empowering, and I would say, even a liberating experience for some to learn that the Scriptures are problematic, and thereby open to various interpretations. This opens the door for some to challenge the authority their parents and pastors have wielded over them, while emboldening other students to challenge and even embarrass peers. For example, one of my students discovered that the King James Bible contained John 5:4 which many modern translations eliminated since scholars hold that it was something similar to a gloss. He subsequently challenged others by questioning how they could believe that God had an eternal claim on anyone when scholars were not even sure what parts of the Bible were legitimate, or even true. His proof text in these discussions.. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:IntroductionWhen I first came across Dieter Hattrup's analysis of the De reductione I noted that the professor from Paderborn was trying, step by step, to trace the authorship back to friars influenced by Roger Bacon – a reductio ad Baconem, if you will. Hattrup's argument that Roger Bacon was indirectly involved in the composition of the De reductione evoked the fleeting memory of a pop culture game created by (...) American college students in the 1990s called the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," whereby the characters in any given film must be linked to a film with the Hollywood actor, Kevin Bacon, by comparing no more than six films. To mention the esteemed theologian in such a fleeting cultural context is not meant to trivialize his argument in any way; rather, the intent is to underscore, admittedly tongue in cheek, the intricacies of his argument against Bonaventurian authorship of the De reductione as outlined in the monograph Ekstatik der Geschichte: Die Entwicklung der christologischen Erkenntnistheorie Bonaventuras and the journal article, "Bonaventura zwischen Mystik und Mystifikation: Wer ist der Autor von De reductione?" While Hattrup hesitates to claim Bacon as the author of De reductione, he does develop a systematic study that eventually leads, step by step, association by association, back to Roger Bacon. This essay examines and disputes Hattrup's claim by analyzing the historical context of his argument, the chronology and sources in question, the theme of the fourfold light and scripture, and the relationship between the sciences and theology. The numerous questions raised will underscore the fragility of his argument. Subsequent essays will treat the contemporary theological implications as well as the literary-theological genre and academic occasion of Bonaventure's De reductione.Historical ContextBefore we examine Hattrup's argument against Bonaventure as the author of the De reductione, let us first evoke the historical situation he suggests as the possible origin of the text. In 1267, Bonaventure warns his Minorite confreres of the dangers inherent in the sciences in the Collations on the Ten Commandments, and then, once again in 1268 in the Collations on Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The brothers in Bacon's circle are concerned because they contend that the sciences must be cultivated and consequently compose the De reductione. Their intent is to demonstrate how the sciences are integral to theology, such that even natural philosophy contains the wisdom of God. Hattrup sees this text stemming from Bacon's circle as a conscious attempt to subvert Bonaventure's understanding of the relationship between faith and reason in favor of the sciences by utilizing some of the General Minister's own language as mirrored in the Journey of the Soul into God and Francis of Assisi's experience of God in the natural world. The resulting text of the De reductione, according to Hattrup, is an intentional mystification of Bonaventure's own mystical or ecstatic methodology.Hattrup suggests that the De reductione came to Bonaventure's attention in 1270, but he is preoccupied with affairs in the early 1270s and only returns later to address the dangers he recognizes in the De reductione in another collation series in May of 1273, the Collations on the Six Days, or Hexaëmeron. The General Minister warns of those who entered religious life as friends of the sciences, the "hospites scientiae." They must place limits on their efforts in these fields of inquiry and not promote them as essential to theological reflection, as posited by the De reductione, if they wish to remain faithful to the ascetical-mystical vision of the Minorite Order. Unable to finish the Hexaëmeron due to ecclesial obligations, Bonaventure died unexpectedly in July of 1274 at the Council of Lyon. The text of the De reductione, found among Bonaventure's other writings, was dutifully copied and included among the Seraphic Doctor's literary corpus since at first glance this kurze Denkschrift appears to be from the deceased General Minister.Hattrup readily admits that.. (shrink)
Costly punishment's scarcity does not belie strong reciprocity theory as Guala claims. In the presence of strong reciprocators, strategic defectors will cooperate and sanctioning will not occur. Accordingly, natural field experiments are necessary to assess a reading of costly punishment experiments. One such field experiment exists, and it supports the hypothesis that costly punishment promotes cooperation.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:This essay considers hagiography as a spatial-theological genre emerging, so to speak, from the crypts of Christian martyrs where liturgical celebrations commemorate their paradoxical witness to the Paschal mystery, whereby the faithful gain eternal life through temporal death. Later the virtues and miracles of holy men and women, such as ascetics, bishops, mystics and founders of religious communities, are recounted in vitae intended for liturgical offices and contemplative reflection. (...) The relics of these saints are a site for the construction of religious identity and a locus of pilgrimage, as the faithful gather in the churches where the bodily remains are located. Often miracle accounts, collected soon after the death of the saint, are accompanied by miracles at the tomb thereby initiating or furthering the process of veneration and canonization, whence the relics are subsequently transferred to a prominent place within the church, such as the area near the altar. Miracle stories are a constant in liturgical legends, and the vitae of Saint Francis are no exception.In the case of Francis of Assisi, canonization and construction are contemporaneous, since Thomas of Celano's official legend, the Life of Saint Francis, is presented during the initial building phase of the sepulcher basilica. The Paschal paradox of the miraculous, evident in the spatial localization of transcendent power, informs Celano's hagiographical account of miracles in his first text, as well as in the later Legend for Use in the Choir, the Remembrance of the Desire of the Soul, and the Treatise on Miracles. Bonaventure's subsequent conceptualization of Francis's dream body in the Journey of the Soul into God and literary reorganization of the miracle stories in the Major Life, and the absence of Francis's reliquary remains in the Minor Life, dislodges the miraculous from sepulchral stone and regional locales into textual space, which is located in a narrative history but freed from the spatial constraints of ecclesial edifices and geographical locations. As a result, the thaumaturgical founder of Celano's narratives, whose wonders in life and death find a spatial locus in Italy and, particularly, at the basilica tomb, is replaced by the stigmatized Francis. He is the central miracle of Bonaventure's narratives, and readily present anywhere – albeit mediated by the General Minister's own memory – in prayer. This essay posits that this "transitus" of Francis from miracle worker to abiding miracle, especially noticeable in Celano's Legend for Use in the Choir and Bonaventure's Minor Life, is best understood when the performative nature of liturgical legends in sacred space is recognized.1. Choir Legends, Sacred Space and Performative IdentityChoir legends are primarily conceived, composed, and received as spatial texts, ritually performed in a designated sacred space and season. Their ritual context is the Liturgy of the Hours, where believers enter into a dialogical exchange with the divine, grounded in the paradox of the Paschal mystery. Choir legends are unique witnesses to a particular communal image of a saint, whose life of virtue and miraculous deeds is recounted within the dynamics of liturgical prayer and the dominant cultic-cultural identity. Given their essential status within worship, these biographical texts assume a level of iconicity not shared by non-liturgical documents. Specifically intended for communal contemplation and not the promulgation of the saint's cult throughout the universal church, choir legends are similar to opaque windows opening inward on a secluded courtyard of those gathered to recount their family story. While the narrative is accessible to all those who gaze through the aperture and listen attentively, the locus of intent is within the religious community. When the community members – or at least influential leaders – no longer espouse this "prayed" likeness of their father or mother figure, a new image may be constructed, and the previous choir legend is supplanted or even suppressed by another legend that reflects the revised cultural-theological identity. Evidence of this process is found among second.. (shrink)
The erstwhile sedentary Parisian theologian, Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, traveled extensively throughout Europe after his election as Minister General of the Minorite Order in 1257. In the fall of 1259 he arrived on Mount La Verna in Tuscany. As he ruminated on the stigmatized flesh of Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure composed the classical mystical text, Itinerarium mentis in Deum. Utilizing Michel de Certeau's work on prayer, travel narratives and spatial practices, this essay explores how Bonaventure rereads the story of the Poverello (...) in the Itinerarium mentis in Deum as a mystic narrative of peripatetic prayer. (shrink)