We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
In everyday language, we readily attribute experiences to groups. For example, 1 might say, “Spain celebrated winning the European Cup” or “The uncovering of corruption caused the union to think long and hard about its internal structure.” In each case, the attribution makes sense. However, it is quite difficult to give a nonreductive account of precisely what these statements mean because in each case a mental state is ascribed to a group, and it is not obvious that groups can have (...) mental states. In this article, I do not offer an explicit theory of collective experience. Instead, I draw on phenomenological analyses and empirical data in order to provide general conditions that a more specific theory of collective experience must meet in order to be coherent. (shrink)
The paper outlines and explores a possible strategy for defending both the action/omission distinction and the principle of double effect. The strategy is to argue that there are degrees of actionhood, and that we are in general less responsible for what has a lower degree of actionhood, because of that lower degree. Moreover, what we omit generally has a lower degree of actionhood than what we actively do, and what we do under known-but-not-intended descriptions generally has a lower degree of (...) actionhood than what we do under known-and-intended descriptions. Therefore, we are in general less responsible for what we omit than for what we do—which is just what AOD says. And we are in general less responsible for what we do under known-but-not-intended descriptions than for what we do under known-and-intended descriptions—which is just what PDE says. (shrink)
Even to disagree, we need to understand each other. If I reject what you say without understanding you, we will only have the illusion of a disagreement. You will be asserting one thing and I will be denying another. Even to disagree, we need some agreement.
The use of vague language in law has important implications for legal theory. Legal philosophers have occasionally grappled with those implications, but they have not come to grips with the characteristic phenomenon of vagueness: the sorites paradox. I discuss the paradox, and claim that it poses problems for some legal theorists. I propose that a good account of vagueness will have three consequences for legal theory: Theories that deny that vagueness in formulations of the law leads to discretion in adjudication (...) cannot accommodate “higher-order” vagueness, A legal theory should accept that the law is partly indeterminate when it can be stated in vague language, However, the traditional formulation of the indeterminacy claim, that a vague statement is “neither true nor false” in a borderline case, is misconceived and should be abandoned. (shrink)
Necessitists hold that, necessarily, everything is such that, necessarily, something is identical to it. Timothy Williamson has posed a number of challenges to contingentism, the negation of necessitism. One such challenge is an argument that necessitists can more wholeheartedly embrace possible worlds semantics than can contingentists. If this charge is correct, then necessitists, but not contingentists, can unproblematically exploit the technical successes of possible worlds semantics. I will argue, however, that the charge is incorrect: contingentists can embrace possible worlds (...) semantics as wholeheartedly as necessitists. Williamson offers a criterion for a class of models of quantified modal logic to be intended, and argues on its basis that contingentists must deny that there is an intended class of models. I argue that Williamson’s criterion is objectionable, supply an alternative that does not support Williamson’s argument, and adapt Williamson’s construction of an intended model structure to the needs of contingentist metaphysics. (shrink)
‘Bioethics still has important work to do in helping to secure status equality for LGBT people’ writes Timothy F. Murphy in a recent Bioethics editorial. The focus of his piece, however, is much narrower than human rights, medical care for LGBT people, or ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Rather, he is primarily concerned with sexuality and gender identity, and the medical intersections thereof. It is the objective of this response to provide an alternate account of bioethics from a Queer perspective. (...) I will situate Queer bioethics within Queer studies, and offer three ‘lessons’ that bioethics can derive from this perspective. These are not definitive rules for Queer bioethics, since it is a field which fundamentally opposes categorizations, favoring pastiche over principles. These lessons are exploratory examples, which both complement and contradict LGBT bioethics. My latter two lessons – on environmental bioethics and disability – overlap with some of Murphy's concerns, as well as other conceptions of LGBT bioethics. However, the first lesson takes an antithetical stance to Murphy's primary focus by resisting all forms of heteroconformity and disavowing reproduction as consonant with Queer objectives and theory. The first lesson, which doubles as a primer in Queer theory, does heavy philosophical lifting for the remainder of the essay. This response to Timothy F. Murphy, whose work is certainly a legacy in bioethics, reveals the multiplicity of discourses in LGBT/Queer studies, many of which are advantageous – even essential – to other disciplines like bioethics. (shrink)
Those most intimate with the works of H. Richard Niebuhr, who return to them time after time for theological and ethical sustenance, know that they exemplify a more interesting thinker than his brother, Reinhold. Of course, Reinhold was and remains the more public figure, read seriously in his time by politicians and theologians, celebrated by our current president, and enjoying renewed scholarly interest resulting in new editions of out-of-print works and a number of critical studies. Meanwhile, H. Richard continues to (...) exert decisive influence on American Protestant thought. Such diverse thinkers as Paul Ramsey, James Gustafson, Stanley Hauerwas, William Schweiker, Kathryn Tanner, Gordon Kaufman, Emilie Townes .. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson (2002) has offered an argument for the claim that, necessarily, he exists, that is, that he is a necessary existent.1 Though this argument has attracted a great deal of attention (e.g., Rumfitt 2003 and Wiggins 2003), I present a new argument for the same conclusion which reveals a new way of denying the soundness of Williamson’s argument, one which denies not only that it is necessary that he exists but also that there are any true necessities about (...) Williamson at all. In conclusion, given that it is contingent that Williamson exists, I nevertheless distinguish a sense in which he is, after all, a necessary existent: Williamson necessarily exists, though it is not necessary that he exists. (shrink)
Timothy Michael Fowler has argued that, as a consequence of their commitment to neutrality in regard to comprehensive doctrines, political liberals face a dilemma. In essence, the dilemma for political liberals is that either they have to give up their commitment to neutrality (which is an indispensible part of their view), or they have to allow harm to children. Fowler’s case for this dilemma depends on ascribing to political liberals a view which grants parents a great degree of freedom (...) in deciding on the education of their children. I show that ascribing this view to political liberals rests upon a misinterpretation of political liberalism. Since political liberals have access to reasons based upon the interests of children, they need not yield to parent’s wishes about the education of their children. A correct understanding of political liberalism thus shows that political liberals do not face the dilemma envisaged by Fowler. (shrink)
In 1 Timothy 2:11-15 women are forbidden to teach and have authority over men in the church. The ground for this instruction is the creation account in Genesis 2 that asserts the priority of Adam over Eve in the order of creation. The second reason for the instruction is the deception of Eve according to the account of the Fall in Genesis 3. This pericope has elicited arguments between advocates of egalitarianism and complementarianism revolving over the issues of grammar, (...) the context of the Ephesian church with regard to false teachings and the comparison of this text with the other writings of Paul, for those that subscribe to the authorship of Paul. The contention of this article is that verse 15 provides a major clue as to how this text should be understood. In addition, the author's rhetoric in this text is interrogated with regard to the text's own internal literary and theological logic. In this regard, the author is found to be inconsistent in his outlook, for the grace that was poured out abundantly on him: a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man and on account of his ignorance and unbelief is apparently, being denied women on account of Eve's deception. (shrink)
Philosophers are intellectual cannibals; they feed on the supposed errors of their colleagues. No harm in that, it might be said. With a sophistical argument like that of the Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass to support the punishment of the innocent, progress in philosophy might be thought dependent on such voracious activities. The Queen thought that in replying to the claim that punishing the innocent was wrong one could say that if the victim really was innocent then that (...) produced a better universe than one which contained both the pain of the punishment and that of the original crime. In a similar way it might be argued that if the supposed errors of a colleague really exist, then their correction is beneficial; while if the errors do not exist then at least there is underlying agreement among philosophers, though perhaps not harmony. The sophistry, however, arises from the fact that in both cases there are other, and better, alternatives. The Queen unaccountably forgets that it would be still better in the case of innocence not to punish at all; and the philosophical apologist for intellectual cannibalism forgets, unaccountably, that it might be still better to advertise agreement rather than to feed on supposed errors which do not exist. For one thing, in that latter case the spurious conflict might positively conceal the real disagreements. Something of that latter kind happens in Timothy Sprigge’s comments on my views about William James ; James and Bradley:American Truth and British Reality, Open Court, 1994 ). I cannot, however, take much credit for stimulating Sprigge to adopt positions similar to mine for two reasons. First the apparent conflicts which conceal real agreement are relatively few, although quite important; second his own considered general view of James is certainly different from mine and marks the real disagreement between us. Accordingly I take two bites at this particular cherry; first to consider my supposed errors and second to identify the real differences between us. Timothy Sprigge claims to find a number of minor errors in my account, but I concentrate on the two major cases. (shrink)
Dans cet article, nous proposons d’examiner certains des usages qui sont faits de Descartes en sciences cognitives. Il s’agit plus précisément de s’attacher à la façon dont se trouve pensé l’héritage du cartésianisme dans la science cognitive orthodoxe, souvent conçue comme « cartésienne ». Comment en vient-on à former cette idée de science cognitive cartésienne? Nous répondons en nous appuyant sur deux analyses, celles de Timothy van Gelder et de Michael Wheeler, avec pour objectif de mettre au jour les (...) aspects de la philosophie de Descartes qui sont ici mobilisés, ainsi que les opérations intellectuelles et pratiques qui permettent à ces auteurs d’extraire le cartésianisme de son milieu originel pour le placer sur le terrain de la science cognitive contemporaine. (shrink)
Timothy Mahoney discovers and champions an ecologically benign account of Plato in opposition to my own critical analysis of the reason-centeredness, reason-nature dualism, and nature and body devaluation in the Platonic dialogues, in which multiple linked dualisms of reason and nature associated with systems of oppression provide major organizing principles for Platonic philosophy. I show first that Mahoney's criticisms of my interpretation involve some careless and mistaken readings of my own text. Second, I argue that Mahoney* s account of (...) nature is significantly different from Plato's. Mahoney's interpretation of Plato is an overly generous and idealized one which plays on the multiplicity and elasticity of the concept of nature and the notorious vagueness of the concept of participation to conflate, among other things, Plato's attitude to celestial nature with his attitude to biological nature. Mahoney's interpretation involves setting aside Plato's gender politics, playing down some of Plato's most offensive and revealing passages of earth disparagement, and ignoring the network of social meanings from which Plato's philosophy emerges. Finally, I give some reasons why Mahoney's accounts of participation and nature, even considered as a reworking of Plato, would be highly problematic as the foundation for an ecological philosophy. (shrink)
One of the fundamental components of the concept of economic rationality is that preference orderings are “complete,” i.e., that all alternative actions an economic agent can take are comparable. The idea that all actions can be ranked may be called the single utility assumption. The attractiveness of this assumption is considerable. It would be hard to fathom what choice among alternatives means if the available alternatives cannot be ranked by the chooser in some way. In addition, the efficiency criterion makes (...) sense only if one can infer that an individual's choice reflects the best, in expected welfare terms, among all choices that individual could have made. The possibility that a rearrangement of resources could make someone “better off” without making others “worse off” can be understood only if the post-rearrangement world is comparable with the pre-rearrange-ment world. (shrink)
Althusser called a recent essay: ‘Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy?’ My title, intentionally provocative, echoes that question. Following Althusser, I shall answer it in the negative and, in so doing, shall raise a series of further questions concerning the nature of and connections between politics, science and philosophy. My lecture will keep turning on these three points, just as Althusser's own work has turned on them, ever since his first book, a monograph on Montesquieu, up to (...) his most recent critical interventions on the role and organization of the French Communist Party in the 1970s. In an interview given in 1968, characteristically entitled ‘Philosophy as a revolutionary weapon’, Althusser linked the three points in an autobiographical comment: In 1948, when I was thirty, I became a teacher of philosophy and joined the French Communist Party. Philosophy was an interest; I was trying to make it my profession. Politics was a passion; I was trying to become a communist militant. (shrink)
Drama Trauma is a difficult book to review because it both does and does not hang together as one sustained linear argument. Made up of pieces originally written for another book-length project and of more recent critical readings of cultural performance, the book moves from a lengthy section on Shakespeare to much briefer sections on contemporary drama, performance art and installation pieces. And since there's no conclusion, it's not always clear how the sections interact with one another; how they hang (...) together, so to speak. But the sections themselves make for a provocative read; and, if one accepts the book as a loosely organized attempt to 'reflect the non-linear incursions of theory and political performance that have altered our understanding of dramatic 'genre' over more than the past decade' (21), Drama Trauma marks an important contribution to the fields of drama scholarship, performance studies, cultural studies and media studies. (shrink)
Carson Strong argues, in that if cloning of humans by somatic cell nuclear transfer were to become a safe procedure, then infertile couples should have access to it as a last resort. He lists six reasons such couples might desire genetically related children. Of these, two are relevant to justifying their access to cloning—namely, that they want to jointly participate in the creation of a person, and that having a genetically related child would constitute an affirmation of their mutual love. (...) According to Strong, these reasons justify at least some infertile couples' freedom to clone themselves. He wants to prevent the widespread use of cloning technology by making it available to only infertile couples and only as a last resort. One way to enforce this restriction, he suggests, is to penalize physicians who carry out disallowed clonings. After all, fertile couples and many infertile couples can satisfy their need to have genetically related children in other ways. (shrink)
Jean E. Chambers and Timothy F. Murphy responded to my article “Cloning and Infertility” and extended the debate over human cloning in interesting ways. I had argued that none of the objections to cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer are successful in the context of infertile couples who use cloning to have genetically related children, assuming the issue of safety is overcome by scientific advances.
Emergence and reduction in context: Philosophy of science and/or analytic metaphysics Content Type Journal Article Category Survey Review Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9671-4 Authors Michael Silberstein, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.