The following is a transcript of the interview I (YasukoKitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
The debate over whether free will and determinism are compatible is controversial, and produces wide scholarly discussion. This paper argues that recent studies in experimental philosophy suggest that people are in fact “natural compatibilists”. To support this claim, it surveys the experimental literature bearing directly or indirectly upon this issue, before pointing to three possible limitations of this claim. However, notwithstanding these limitations, the investigation concludes that the existing empirical evidence seems to support the view that most people have compatibilist (...) intuitions. (shrink)
Robustness is a fundamental property of biological systems, observed ubiquitously across species and at different levels of organization from gene regulation to ecosystem. The theory of biological robustness argues that robustness fosters evolv-ability and that together they entail various tradeoffs as well as characteristic architectures and mechanisms. We argue that classes of biological systems have evolved to enhance their robustness by extending their system boundary through a series of symbioses with foreign biological entities . A series of major biological innovations (...) has been achieved by events consistent with this framework: horizontal gene transfer, serial endosymbiosis, oocytes-mediated vertical infection, and host-symbiont mutualism for bacterial flora. Self-extending symbiosis contributes to robustness because symbiotic foreign biological entities can enhance the adaptative capacity of the system against environmental perturbations as well as contribute novel functions. In addition, evolutionary history indicates that the degree of symbiosis achieved has substantially changed from tight integration into the genome to loose integration as bacterial flora . The most dramatic example can be seen in the symbiosis of host immune system and bacterial flora in which substantial function of host defense depends on the proper maintenance of bacterial flora and its adaptive capability. Biological systems following this type of evolutionary path might have attained high levels of functionality, robustness, and evolvability. Thus, robustness, evolution, and self-extending symbiosis may form essential system principles for biology. (shrink)
This study aimed to: (1) develop and evaluate the Moral Distress Scale for Psychiatric nurses (MDS-P); (2) use the MDS-P to examine the moral distress experienced by Japanese psychiatric nurses; and (3) explore the correlation between moral distress and burnout. A questionnaire on the intensity and frequency of moral distress items (the MDS-P: 15 items grouped into three factors), a burnout scale (Maslach Burnout Inventory — General Survey) and demographic questions were administered to 391 Japanese psychiatric nurses in 2007—2008. These (...) nurses experienced relatively low levels of moral distress despite the fact that they were commonly confronted by morally distressing situations. All the circumstances in which the participants experienced moral distress were included in the ‘low staffing’ factor, which reflects the characteristics of Japanese psychiatric care. The frequency score of the low staffing factor was a significant predictor of burnout. (shrink)
In a refrigerated warehouse, workers organize distribution and exchange of frozen seafood by the spatial and temporal arrangement of loads. Using videotapes of workers' activities and interviews, this paper investigates how workers organize space, time and artifacts in the activity of frozen seafood distribution and exchange, and how organized space, time and artifacts systematize workers' multiple courses of actions and give direction to them. Particular attention is paid to how the workers use artifacts such as various documents and computers as (...) part of their practices, because the activity of distribution and exchange in this workplace is regarded as the activity of organizing space and time with various artifacts in multiple contexts. Through the analysis of situated literacy of using artifacts, it was shown that the activity of using artifacts is always embedded in multiple contexts. At the same time, diverse artifacts organize multiple contexts of work. Thus, there is the reflexive interaction between the artifacts and the contexts. (shrink)
A challenge in human genome research is how to describe the populations being studied. The use of improper and/or imprecise terms has the potential to both generate and reinforce prejudices and to diminish the clinical value of the research. The issue of population descriptors has not attracted enough academic attention outside North America and Europe. In January 2012, we held a two-day workshop, the first of its kind in Japan, to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars in the humanities, social (...) sciences, medical sciences, and genetics to begin an ongoing discussion of the social and ethical issues associated with population descriptors. (shrink)