A pioneer and major thinker in the sociology of science, Joseph Ben-David wrote with refreshing directness on questions central to the history and sociology of science. As they are combined here, Ben-David's essays reveal the richness and synthetic power of his intellect in a way his separate publications never did. Two themes form the heart of Ben-David's ground-breaking work: the emergence, existence, and growth of science as a distinctive activity within society, governed by a specific "scientific (...) ethos"; and the social construction both of new objects of scientific study and of new scientific disciplines. Ben-David argues that only where the scientist's social role is institutionalized, can science as a sustained and continuous activity exist and thrive. By the same token, new scientific objects and disciplines emerge where social circumstances encourage and sustain new social roles. Ben-David's is a distinctly historical sociology of science, providing a theoretical framework capable of integrating both the historical and the synchronic approaches; it is also complementary to the perspective of the sociology of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Since Wittgenstein's Tractatus first appeared in 1921 two interpretations of it have been offered. The received view emphasizes the book's philosophy of mathematics, logic, and language. The alternative view stresses its philosophy of religion, ethics, and aesthetics; it thereby takes seriously Wittgenstein's assertion that the "point" of the Tractatus is ethical. The aim of my dissertation is to build upon and improve the alternative interpretation in three ways. First I show through examination of the Western mystical canon that Wittgenstein's axiology (...) is based on a conception of mentality in which the subject-object distinction is annulled. This clears the ground for clarification of the metaphor of the Tractatus as a "ladder" of transcendence. Next I illustrate through scrutiny of Schopenhauer's theory of art how this metaphor ties up with Wittgenstein's claim that "Ethics and Aesthetics are one." Like Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein holds that moral transformation may be wrought by aesthetic contemplation. I then conclude with a sketch of the Lebensform implied by such transformation which depends on the parallels implied by such transformation which depends on the parallels between Tolstoy's idea of the life outside of time and Wittgenstein's notion of das gute Leben. In so doing I depict the Tractatus's ethical point as gestural, recommending a kind of existence of which the book itself is an expressive part. (shrink)
David Bohm, Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College of the University of London and Fellow of the Royal Society, died of a heart attack on October 29, 1992 at the age of 74. Professor Bohm had been one of the world’s leading authorities on quantum theory and its interpretation for more than four decades. His contributions have been critical to all aspects of the ﬁeld. He also made seminal contributions to plasma physics. His name appears prominently in (...) the modern physics literature, through the Aharonov- Bohm eﬀect , the Bohm-EPR experiment , the Bohm-Pines collective description of particle interactions (random phase approximation), Bohm diﬀusion and the Bohm causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, also sometimes called the de Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory. David Bohm was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on December 20, 1917. A student of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Bohm received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1943. In 1950 he completed the ﬁrst of his six books, Quantum Theory, which became the deﬁnitive exposition of the orthodox (Copenhagen) interpretation of quantum mechanics. Here Bohm presented his reformulation of the paradox of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. It is this Bohm version of EPR which has provided the basis for the enormous expansion of research on the foundations of quantum theory, focusing on nonlocality and the possible incompleteness of the quantum description (the question of “hidden variables”), which has occurred during the past several decades. (shrink)
. What are the assumptions that underline the Jewish Law Project? To what extent is this project relates to Zionism as a political program and national vision? Does the secular version of this project and the religious one have anything in common? I argue that aside from the ideological lines that guide the Jewish Law Project, within it rests a reductionist and utopianist stance vis‐à‐vis halakhah which are considered to be obvious. I shall attempt to claim that reductionism and utopianism (...) as tacit assumptions, which are neither explicit nor declared by the carriers of the Jewish Law Project, are definitely not trivial. Then, by detrivializing these two assumptions I will suggest viewing the halakhic‐legal relations defined by the Jewish Law Project through these same parameters—the reductionism of the halakhah and its utopian approach. (shrink)
This edition presents a letter from Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus to Karl Joseph Hieronymus Windischmann, dated 13 February 1804, in which Paulus thanks Windischmann for his translation of Plato, discuses philosophy, and mentions the pending appointment of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher.
In a friendly interdisciplinary debate, we interrogate from several vantage points the question of “personhood” in light of contemporary and near-future forms of social AI. David J. Gunkel approaches the matter from a philosophical and legal standpoint, while Jordan Wales offers reflections theological and psychological. Attending to metaphysical, moral, social, and legal understandings of personhood, we ask about the position of apparently personal artificial intelligences in our society and individual lives. Re-examining the “person” and questioning prominent construals of that (...) category, we hope to open new views upon urgent and much-discussed questions that, quite soon, may confront us in our daily lives. (shrink)
Individualism: The Cultural Logic of Modernity is an edited collection of sixteen essays on the idea of the modern sovereign individual in the western cultural tradition. Reconsidering the eighteenth-century realist novel, twentieth-century modernism, and underappreciated topics on individualism and literature, this volume provocatively revises and enriches our understanding of individualism as the generative premise of modernity itself.
This volume offers a carefully argued, compelling theory of bioethics while eliciting practical implications for a wide array of issues including medical assistance-in-dying, the right to health care, abortion, animal research, and the definition of death. The authors' dual-value theory features mid-level principles, a distinctive model of moral status, a subjective account of well-being, and a cosmopolitan view of global justice. In addition to ethical theory, the book investigates the nature of harm and autonomous action, personal identity theory, and the (...) 'non-identity problem' associated with many procreative decisions. Readers new to particular topics will benefit from helpful introductions, specialists will appreciate in-depth theoretical explorations and a novel take on various practical issues, and all readers will benefit from the book's original synoptic vision of bioethics. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core. (shrink)
The notion of an agent and the notion of a self are connected, for agency is one role played by the self. Millgram argues for a disunity thesis of agency on the basis of extreme incommensurability across some major life events. We propose a similar negative thesis about the self, that it is composed of relatively independent threads reflecting the different roles and different mind-sets of the person's life. Our understanding of those threads is based on theories of the narrative (...) construction of the self. Our disunity thesis is that there need be no overarching narrative that unifies those narrative threads. To explain how the threads hang together to produce coherent action, we make these positive claims: control normally switches smoothly and unconsciously between threads as circumstances require, within one thread there is likely to be acknowledgment of other threads, some situations require a temporary blending of threads, and some plans and policies reach across different threads and contribute to some coordination among them. Our account of a self provides an account of agency that has merits in comparison to Millgram's. Our narrative approach allows explanations of actions beyond rational deliberation. (shrink)
In this essay, we examine the use of resting state fMRI data for psychological inferences. We argue that resting state studies hold the paired promises of discovering novel functional brain networks, and of avoiding some of the limitations of task-based fMRI. However, we argue that the very features of experimental design that enable resting state fMRI to support exploratory science also generate a novel confound. We argue that seemingly key features of resting state functional connectivity networks may be artefacts resulting (...) from sampling a ‘mixture distribution’ of diverse brain networks active at different times during the scan. We explore the consequences of this ‘mixture view’ for attempts to theorize about the cognitive or psychological functions of resting state networks, as well as the value of exploratory experiments. (shrink)
Informed consent in medical practice is essential and a global standard that should be sought at all the times doctors interact with patients. Its intensity would vary depending on the invasiveness and risks associated with the anticipated treatment. To our knowledge there has not been any systematic review of consent practices to document best practices and identify areas that need improvement in our setting. The objective of the study was to evaluate the informed consent practices of surgeons at University teaching (...) Hospitals in a low resource setting. (shrink)
Joseph Priestley, the eighteenth-century scientist who discovered oxygen, was one of the most remarkable thinkers of his time. This collection of essays by a team of experts covers the full range of his work in the fields of education, politics, philosophy, and theology, and firmly re-establishes him as a major intellectual figure.
We would like to thank the commentators for their generous comments, valuable insights and helpful suggestions. We begin this response by discussing the selfishness axiom and the importance of the preferences, beliefs, and constraints framework as a way of modeling some of the proximate influences on human behavior. Next, we broaden the discussion to ultimate-level (that is evolutionary) explanations, where we review and clarify gene-culture coevolutionary theory, and then tackle the possibility that evolutionary approaches that exclude culture might be sufficient (...) to explain the data. Finally, we consider various methodological and epistemological concerns expressed by our commentators. (shrink)
Joseph Butler was an Anglican priest and later a bishop who wrote about ethics, religion, and other philosophical themes. He is not well known today. During his lifetime and into the early part of the twentieth century he was better known especially for his major work the Analogy of Religion (1736). Today he is known mostly for his sermons which are interpreted as essays on ethics and for his essay on identity. Butler had a profound effect on J. H. (...) Newman, Matthew Arnold, and W. E. Gladstone and some effect on many other popular, academic, and professional readers. This book is as much about Butler’s sources and his reception as it is about the way he arranged and presented the evidence in the first half of the 18th century. He was a good man and is recognized by the Anglican church as a divine. We have no interest in taking a nostalgic look at a quaint figure in English church history. To those who claim Butler is unknown, that he was “blown out of the water” by John Wesley or Karl Barth, or Cornelius van Til, we can only say Butler is not as well known in the 20th and 21st centuries as in the 19th, but he is certainly not unknown to those who have taken any interest in philosophy, religion, or ethics. Today there has been a revival of interest in Bishop Butler. Our concern is to build and maintain a bridge that will help to keep this momentum. He offers an ethic that is universal and clearly Christian, yet it is based on the nature of man. Kant had a similar project, but in our opinion, Butler makes more compelling arguments. What is of interest to the Christian apologist is Butler’s work in this area. The purpose of this book is to present Butler’s ideas. We believe that his ethics have a universality that is applicable to people of all religious faiths and those that have none. It is common sense way of looking at ethics for everyday interaction. This book is a narrative argument presenting in detail how Butler’s creative arrangement of the evidence served as a bridge between the ancients as known in the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew originals, and the moderns, mostly Anglophone, who constituted Butler’s work environment and his reception in the latter day down to the present. We can hardly expect everyone to agree with Butler on all points, we certainly do not. The point at issue is rather whether he merits a seat at the present-day round table of deliberation on matters pertaining to philosophy, religion, and ethics. (shrink)
The shortage of organs for transplantation by its nature prompts ethical dilemmas. For example, although there is an imperative to save human life and reduce suffering by maximising the supply of vital organs, there is an equally important obligation to ensure that the process by which we increase the supply respects the rights of all stakeholders. In a relatively unexamined practice in the USA, organs are procured from unrepresented decedents without their express consent. Unrepresented decedents have no known healthcare wishes (...) or advance care planning document; they also lack a surrogate. The Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 2006 sends a mixed message about the procurement of organs from this patient population and there are hospitals that authorise donation. In addition, in adopting the RUAGA, some states included provisions that clearly allow organ procurement from unrepresented decedents. An important unanswered question is whether this practice meets the canons of ethical permissibility. The current Brief Report presents two principled approaches to the topic as a way of highlighting some of the complexities involved. Concluding remarks offer suggestions for future research and discussion. (shrink)
In 2014, Colonel M. Shane Riza published an article in this journal arguing that remotely piloted aircraft and robotic weapons threaten the US Air Force’s warrior ethos. Riza has clearly articulated the sentiments of one side of a vibrant debate within our service. This paper presents an alternative view; a view held by some who have experienced these new forms and tools of war, and who have wrestled with their implications first-hand. In this paper, we address some methodological concerns with (...) Riza’s approach and then engage some misunderstandings about RPA’s relationship to military history and to risk. The second part of this paper takes a close look at some of the early Just War thinkers to determine what implications the tradition may have on the warrior ethos. We propose, as an alternative to Riza’s position, a return to an ethos grounded in humility, charity, and a conception of war as a last resort; in short, a return to the Just Warrior Ethos. (shrink)
One widely used method for allocating health care resources involves the use of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) to rank treatments in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained. CEA has been criticized for discriminating against people with disabilities by valuing their lives less than those of non-disabled people. Avoiding discrimination seems to lead to the ’QALY trap’: we cannot value saving lives equally and still value raising quality of life. This paper reviews existing responses to the QALY trap and argues that all (...) are problematic. Instead, we argue that adopting a moderate form of prioritarianism avoids the QALY trap and disability discrimination. (shrink)