This essay outlines the moral dilemma of funding orphan drug research and development. To date, ethical aspects of priority setting for research funding have not been an issue of discussion in the bioethics debate. Conflicting moral obligations of beneficence and distributive justice appear to demand very different levels of funding for orphan drug research. The two types of orphan disease, rare diseases and tropical diseases, however, present very different ethical challenges to questions about allocation of research funds. The dilemma is (...) analysed considering utilitarian and rights based theories of justice and moral obligations of non-abandonment and a professional obligation to advance medical science. The limitations of standard economic evaluation tools and other priority setting tools used to inform health policy decision makers on research funding decisions are outlined. (shrink)
Neglected and tropical diseases, pervasive in developing countries, are important contributors to global health inequalities. They remain largely untreated due to lack of effective and affordable treatments. Resource-poor countries cannot afford to develop the public health interventions needed to control neglected diseases. In addition, neglected diseases do not represent an attractive market for pharmaceutical industry. Although a number of international commitments, stated in the Millennium Development Goals, have been made to avert the risk of communicable diseases, tropical diseases still remain (...) neglected due to delays in international assistance. This delay can be explained by the form international cooperation has generally taken, which is limited to promoting countries’ national interests, rather than social justice at a global level. This restricts the international responsibility for global inequalities in health to a humanitarian assistance. We propose an alternative view, arguing that expanding the scope of international cooperation by promoting shared health and economic value at a global level will create new opportunities for innovative, effective and affordable interventions worldwide. It will also promote neglected diseases as a global research priority. We build our argument on a proposal to replace the patenting system that currently regulates pharmaceutical research with a global fund to reward this research based on actual decreases in morbidity and mortality at a global level. We argue that this approach is beneficent because it will decrease global health inequalities and promote social justice worldwide. (shrink)
“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them...well, I have others.”Groucho MarxWe also know of another superstition of that time: that of the Man of the Book. On some shelf in some hexagon (men reasoned) there must exist a book which is the formula and perfect compendium of all the rest: some librarian has gone through it and he is analogous to a god.... How could one locate the venerated and secret hexagon which housed Him? Someone proposed a (...) regressive method: To locate book A, consult first book B which indicates A’s position; to locate book B, consult first a book C, and so on to infinity... In adventures such as these, I have squandered and wasted my years.2 J.L. Borges, The Library of Babel. (shrink)
In this volume C.A. (Chet) Bowers, whose pioneering work on education and environmental and sustainability issues is widely recognized and respected around the world, brings together a carefully curated selection of his seminal work on the ideological, cultural, and linguistic roots of the ecological crisis; misconceptions underlying modern consciousness; the cultural commons; a critique of technology; and educational reforms to address these pressing concerns. In the World Library of Educationalists, international scholars themselves compile career-long collections of what they judge to (...) be their finest pieces - extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and/practical contributions - so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Readers will be able to follow the themes and strands of their work and see their contribution to the development of a field, as well as the development of the field itself. Contributors to the series include : Michael Apple, James A. Banks, Joel Spring, William F. Pinar, Stephen J. Ball, Elliot Eisner, Howard Gardner, John Gilbert, Ivor F. Goodson, Peter Jarvis. (shrink)
Dr Ian Ramsey has made considerable use of the word ‘disclosure’ in what he has to say about religion and in his attempts to give an account of the meaning of religious language. He sometimes speaks of ‘discernment’ or ‘insight’ but ‘disclosure’ is the word he normally favours. In what follows I shall ask: what a disclosure is, to what extent Dr Ramsey's use of the notion leads to confusions, and what questions have to be faced in order to resolve (...) these confusions. (shrink)
Peter Geach supports his case that the religion of Thomas Hobbes was both genuine and a version of Socinianism principally by comparing the theological and scriptural sections of Leviathan with the main doctrines of Socinianism and its latter-day developments in Unitarianism and Christadelphianism. He pays particular attention to comparisons with the Racovian Catechism, the theological writings of Joseph Priestley and the Christadelphian document Christendom Astray by Robert Roberts.
The ‘beautiful axiom’ to which Dickens refers is a central feature of Thomas Hobbes' thinking but its precise role in his moral philosophy remains unclear. I shall here attempt both to dispel the unclarity and to evaluate the adequacy of the position that emerges. Given the high level of contemporary interest in Hobbes' thought, both within and beyond philosophical circles, this is an enterprise of considerable importance. None the less, my interest is not merely interpretative, since the assessment of Hobbes' (...) attitude to ‘the beautiful axiom’ raises important and difficult questions about what might be termed the preconditions of morality. (shrink)
"One basic and underlying assumption of this investigation will be that there is a distinct continuity and development in Berkeley's thought which can be traced through all of his reflective analyses of the problem of perception." The essay argues for Berkeley's theory of perception as a "prototype of the phenomenalists." It argues also for Berkeley's incorporation of elements from the representative theory of perception. Of special interest is the treatment of Berkeley's doctrine of "suggestion" and its connection with the role (...) of imagination in the perception of physical objects. The linguistic aspect of Berkeley's work is minimized. Berkeley's theory of notions receives only a passing reference. The last third of the book is a clear and useful discussion of Berkeley and contemporary phenomenalism. It is suggested, though not shown, that Berkeley has affinity with contemporary phenomenology of perception.--A. S. C. (shrink)
In an article in Philosophy R. G. Swinburne set out to argue that none of Hume's formal objections to the design argument ‘have any validity against a carefully articulated version of the argument’ . This, he maintained, is largely because Hume's criticisms ‘are bad criticisms of the argument in any form’ . The ensuing controversy between Swinburne and Olding 1 has focused upon the acceptable/unacceptable aspects of the dualism presupposed in Swinburne's defence of the design argument; upon whether any simplification (...) is achieved by reducing scientific explanation to agent explanation; and upon the problems which arise from taking a man's acting upon his body as the analogy for understanding a disembodied agent acting upon matter. In this article I shall refer to the Swinburne-Olding controversy when appropriate but my main concern is to return to Swinburne's original article and argue, seriatim , that Hume's individual criticisms of the design argument are for the most part a great deal more powerful than Swinburne allowed. I shall contend that cumulatively they destroy the design argument as any sort of rational foundation for theistic belief. But first I shall indicate briefly the character of the argument together with one or two of the distinctions and refinements in terms of which it has been found helpful to carry on the discussion in recent years. (shrink)
Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions (...) in the areas of history, law, mathematics, and psychology. (shrink)
The Three Papers comprising this series, together with my earlier  also published in this journal, constitute an attempt to set out the major issues in the theoretical domain of reduction and to develop a general theory of theory reduction. The fourth paper, , though published separately from this trio, is integral to the presentation and should be read in conjunction with these papers. Even so, the presentation is limited in scope – roughly, to intertheoretic reduction among empirical theories – (...) and informal in presentation – not least because a satisfying formal account of theories has yet to be offered. And despite the length, the treatment is still condensed; often corroborating and/or intuitively helpful detail has had to be consigned to footnotes or omitted. I approach the problem from within my own naturalistic realist philosophy of science and formal analysis of abstract hierarchy in theory. The sources for the former are , , , and  and those for the latter essentially  and . Hierarchical notions played a significant role in the already published . (shrink)
Any theory of reduction that goes only so far as carried in Parts I and II does only half the job. Prima facie at least, there are cases of would-be reduction which seem torn between two conflicting intuitions. On the one side there is a strong intuition that reduction is involved, and a strongly retentive reduction at that. On the other side it seems that the concepts at one level cross-classify those at the other level, so that there is no (...) way to identify properties at one level with those at the other. There is evidence to suggest that there will be no unique mental state/neural state association that can be set up, because, e.g., many different parts of the nervous system are all capable of taking over ‘control’ of the one mental function. And it is alleged that infinitely many, worse: indefinitely many, different bio-chemo-physical states could correspond to the economic property ‘has a monetary system of economic exchange’; and similarly for the property ‘has just won a game of tennis’. Yet one doesn't want an economic system or a game of tennis to be some ghostly addition to the actual bio-chemo-physical processes and events involved. Similarly one hopes that neurophysiology allied with the rest of natural science will render human experience and behaviour explicable. (shrink)
Part I of this trilogy, Historical and Scientific Setting, set out a general context for selecting a certain subclass of inter-theoretic relations as achieving appropriate explanatory and ontological unification – hence for properly being labelled reductive. Something of the complexity of these relations in real science was explored. The present article concentrates on the role which identity plays in structuring the reduction relation and so in achieving ontological and explanatory unification.
It is necessary to take into account the data of science in the theoretical debates conducted by scientists contributing ontological theories in order to develop new approaches to theological issues in Islamic thought. Even, Kalam scholars with the duty of defending and basing the principles of Islam in the classical sense have established a theological understanding intertwined with science in understanding both existence philosophically and the Script theologically. With its discoveries and theories in the last century, it can be argued (...) that modern science has made a serious progress compared to the past. Maintaining its own methodology and paradigm, every scientific discipline has the opportunity to benefit from the methods and data of other disciplines. Consequently, it is possible to assert that Kalam can enjoy the same opportunity too, as long as staying in its own problem area. According to modern science, the motion system is the unity of structures that enable living things to move. Moreover, Bones and joints, which are the structures of the skeletal system, are passive elements of the movement system. Muscles, on the other hand, are the active elements of the movement system and provide the movement of the body by affecting the bones and joints. Muscle tissue shapes the body by adhering to the bones, besides enabling movement activity to occur. One of the most important systems that provide movement is the nervous system. Because for a person to have movement, the muscles must contract, and the muscles must be stimulated for the contraction of the muscles. The system that enables this contraction to occur is the nervous system. Energy is also required for contraction to occur in the human body. Muscles create energy for movement by first providing their energy from the ATP molecule present in the muscle cells. Considering the movement theories of classical theology scholars, it is seen that they shaped the occurrence of human actions through the concept of potency. While the scholars classify power as spiritual/mental and physical strength in terms of its structure, they have characterized it as accident in terms of its nature. In this context, we can say that the equivalent of the power, which is regarded as necessary for the formation of human acts by the theologians, is the movement system in today's science. The spirit/mental that scholars regard as a structure of power for the occurrence of human action can be regarded as the electrical activity that activates muscles when considered within the framework of the movement system of today's science. It is seen that Kalam scholars emphasize physical competence in their definitions of power as well. At this point, Ash'arians defined the power as the soundness of organs, Mu’tazila expressed it as the presence of organs and their being away from disasters, and the Mâturîdîs stated it as the organs being healthy. With these definitions, Kalam scholars mean that a person should also be physically competent to make a movement. The structures scientifically accepted as biological and physical competence in the movement system are the skeletal system, muscles and nervous system. Therefore, we can say that the strength of the physical fitness/well-being emphasized in the definition of power by theologians corresponds scientifically to the skeletal system, muscles and nervous system. One of the issues that Kalam scholars discuss about power is the issue of the accident of power. The reason why they describe power as an accident is to emphasize its impermanence and to show that it was created by Allah. So, in modern science, electrical activity must occur in the brain in order for human organs to move. The occurrence of this electrical activity is independent of the human being. The fact that electrical activity occurs independently from human beings shows that it conforms to Kalam scholars’ definition of the accident. As a result, we can say that the theory of power created by scholars for human movement has a counterpart in the movement system put forward by today's science. (shrink)
I explore the view that the imago Dei is essential to us as humans but accidental to us as persons. To image God is to resemble God, and resemblance comes in degrees. This has the straightforward—and perhaps disturbing—implication that we can be more or less human, and possibly cease to be human entirely. Hence, I call it the spectrum view. I argue that the spectrum view is complementary to the Biblical data, helps explain the empirical reality of horrendous evil, and (...) offers an elegant rapprochement between the traditional view of hell and its rivals. (shrink)
I argue that beliefs about what appears possible are justified in much the same way as beliefs about what appears actual. I do so by chisholming, and then modalizing, the epistemic principle associated with phenomenal conservatism. The principle is tested against a number of examples, and it gives the intuitively correct results. I conclude by considering how it can be used to defend two controversial modal arguments, a Cartesian argument for dualism and an ontological argument for the existence of God.
In the past thirty years, two fundamental issues have emerged in the philosophy of science. One concerns the appropriate attitude we should take towards scientific theories--whether we should regard them as true or merely empirically adequate, for example. The other concerns the nature of scientific theories and models and how these might best be represented. In this ambitious book, da Costa and French bring these two issues together by arguing that theories and models should be regarded as partially rather than (...) wholly true. They adopt a framework that sheds new light on issues to do with belief, theory acceptance, and the realism-antirealism debate. The new machinery of "partial structures" that they develop offers a new perspective from which to view the nature of scientific models and their heuristic development. Their conclusions will be of wide interest to philosophers and historians of science. (shrink)
As a result of the developments in science and technology, humanity began to experience a digital transformation after the 19th century. With this digital transformation, it is seen that a serious change has occurred in human beings biologically, socially, and, more specifically, religiously. One could say that different trends have emerged at many points where human relations, the relationship of the human with the environment and with God are also affected. Among the most comprehensive and prominent of these trends is (...) transhumanism because of its aims for humanity and the world. Transhumanism, which views technology as the main point of reference for the future of humanity, is also considered a cultural, social, and ideological human movement with its statements intended for society. It considers immortality as a goal, along with such claims as improving welfare, extending human life, and wiping out diseases by using technology in every aspect of human life. Transhumanists, who claim that they can achieve immortality thanks to technology, argue that this will happen in two ways. The first is biological immortality. It will be achieved by eliminating all kinds of biological factors that lead to humans aging and death. The second is digital or virtual immortality, which is achieved by transferring human consciousness from the biological body to computer interfaces and installing it in any desired entity. This perspective must be critically examined as it can be considered an attempt to challenge death, which is the basic doctrine of classical religions. In the present study, human immortality, considered the most important claim made by transhumanists, is criticized within kalām, Islamic theology. Of course, transhumanists’ account of human immortality is impossible, according to kalām. It can be said that transhumanists view of immortal human can be considered in the category of created beings, which is defined in kalām as "the being created later and needs another being in order to exist and to continue its existence". Given that transhumanists base the idea of the immortal being upon biological healing or digital transmission, it is clear that both types of beings need someone else. Therefore, one could say that it would be more reasonable to define transhumanists’ notion of immortality as the act of prolonging human life. It is because the life of immortal beings, accepted as biological or digital entities, is shaped by many factors. If these factors disappear, so does the being. On the other hand, the attribute of immortality, which belongs to the eternal being only, according to kalām, must come from itself without needing any other being. Therefore, the notion of immortal being suggested by the transhumanists must be reexamined within kalām and be redefined as the extension of life. The redefined immortality as the extension of life hardly poses kalāmī (or theological) problems. In fact, Islam encourages using all types of tools and equipment to enable humans to have a healthy and blissful life. (shrink)
Da Costa and French explore the consequences of adopting a 'pragmatic' notion of truth in the philosophy of science. Their framework sheds new light on issues to do with belief, theory acceptance, and the realism-antirealism debate, as well as the nature of scientific models and their heuristic development.
Although the concept of psychopathy retains its currency in British psychiatry, apparently being meaningful as well as useful to practitioners (1), it is often taken to refer to a purely legal category with social control functions rather than a medical diagnosis with treatment implications. I wish, in this brief article, to suggest that it is essentially, and most usefully, an ethical category which stands outside the diagnostic framework of present-day psychiatry.
Would the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life conflict in any way with Christian belief? We identify six areas of potential conflict. If there be no conflict in any of these areas—and we argue ultimately there is not—we are confident in declaring that there is no conflict, period. This conclusion underwrites the integrity of theological explorations into the existence of ETI, which has become a topic of increasing interest among theologians in recent years.
The development of public policy on bioethical issues can be approached through substantive moral and philosophic reasoning, or through balancing perceived societal views as to what is ethically acceptable. The Human Embryo Research Panel had to apply the first approach to the question of the moral status of the preimplantation embryo. Only after concluding that the preimplantation embryo was not a full human subject could the panel consider the conditions under which embryo research was ethically acceptable, given a range of (...) societal views, concerns, and interests. (shrink)
A new frame of reference, which in its fundamental structuring differs radically from the structuring of the familiar western Indo-European viewpoints (logical, mathematical, scientific, philosophical, etc.), already exists. Recently, by the strategem of systematically disallowing a previously unnoticed untenable assumption encoded in the traditional Western symbolic logics, set theories, etc., in particular and in the Western World-View in general, this frame of reference has generated its own, entirely non-traditional, formalized language. The Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic has accepted for (...) publication a first paper presenting this non-standard formalized language (Hilgartner, 1975).As one of its accomplishments, this new frame of reference delivers a general theory of living. This theory purports to span the entire domain of what we call living systems, human or non-human. (shrink)
In this response to Jonny Anomaly’s ‘Is Obesity a Public Health Problem?’ I argue, contra the author that public health actually increases individuals’ abilities to choose actions that further their health goals, specifically in the case of obesity. The intractability of obesity as an individual medical problem combined with the health benefits of modest (5–10 per cent of body weight) weight loss suggest that public health measures helping people make small changes in eating habits improve population health. I argue that (...) such measures are available to public health via behavioral economic research and policy proposals from libertarian paternalists. I respond to author’s claim that obesity does not constitute a public health problem because: (i) it is not an epidemic and (ii) obesity reduction is not a public good. I argue that epidemic status is not required for classification as a public health problem, but that obesity does have the status of an epidemic. I also point out flaws in author’s reasoning about obesity, public health and social costs. I conclude by suggesting that public health, in partnership with stakeholders and other areas of government, is poised to help create conditions for modest weight loss and increased population health overall. (shrink)