Prenatal screening pathways, as nowadays offered in most Western countries consist of similar tests. First, a risk-assessment test for major aneuploides is offered to pregnant women. In case of an increased risk, invasive diagnostic tests, entailing a miscarriage risk, are offered. For decades, only conventional karyotyping was used for final diagnosis. Moreover, several foetal ultrasound scans are offered to detect major congenital anomalies, but the same scans also provide relevant information for optimal support of the pregnancy and the delivery. Recent (...) developments in prenatal screening include the application of microarrays that allow for identifying a much broader range of abnomalities than karyotyping, and non-invasive prenatal testing that enables reducing the number of invasive tests for aneuploidies considerably. In the future, broad NIPT may become possible and affordable. This article will briefly address the ethical issues raised by these technological developments. First, a safe NIPT may lead to routinisation and as such challenge the central issue of informed consent and the aim of prenatal screening: to offer opportunity for autonomous reproductive choice. Widening the scope of prenatal screening also raises the question to what extent ‘reproductive autonomy’ is meant to expand. Finally, if the same test is used for two different aims, namely detection of foetal anomalies and pregnancy-related problems, non-directive counselling can no longer be taken as a standard. Our broad outline of the ethical issues is meant as an introduction into the more detailed ethical discussions about prenatal screening in the other articles of this special issue. (shrink)
In the history of the Indian grammatical tradition, Bhartṛhari (about fifth century C.E.) is the fourth great grammarian - after Pāṇini, Kātyāyana and Patañjali - and the first to make the philosophical aspects of language and grammar the main subject of an independent work. This work, the Vākyapadīya (VP), consists of about 2000 philosophical couplets or kārikās. Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, the VP has been known to Western Sanskritists, but its language-philosophical contents have started to receive (...) serious attention only in the last few decennia. The subject matter of the VP resonates strongly with crucial themes in twentieth-century Western thought, although the background and the way the issues are elaborated are quite different. Scholars have compared and contrasted Bhartṛhari's ideas with those of de Saussure, Wittgenstein and Derrida. A theme which, as a leitmotiv, pervades the entire VP is the relation between language, thought and reality. In several Indian traditions, a proper insight into this relation was (and still is) held to be of importance for attaining 'liberation'. (shrink)
As the Byzantinist Ihor Ševčenko once observed, "Philology is constituting and interpreting the texts that have come down to us. It is a narrow thing, but without it nothing else is possible." This definition accords with Saussure's succinct description of the mission of philology: "especially to correct, interpret, and comment upon the texts." Philology is not just a grand etymological or lexicographical enterprise. It also involves restoring to works as much of their original life and nuances as we can manage. (...) To read the written records of bygone civilizations correctly requires knowledge of cultural history in a broad sense: of folklore, legends, laws, and customs. Philology also encompasses the forms in which texts express their messages, and thus it includes stylistics, metrics, and similar studies. _On Philology _brings together the papers delivered at a 1988 conference at Harvard University's Center for Literary and Cultural Studies. The topic "What is Philology?" drew an interdisciplinary audience whose main fields of research ran the gamut from ancient Indo-European languages to African-American literature, signaling a certain sense of urgency about a seemingly narrow subject. These papers reveal that the role of philology is more important than ever. At a time when literature in printed form has taken a back seat to television, film, and music, it is crucial that scholars be able to articulate why students and colleagues should care about the books with which they work. Just as knowledge will be lost if philological standards decline, so too will fields of study die if their representatives cannot find meaning for today's readers. _On Philology _will be of interest not only to students of philology but also to anyone working in the fields of hermeneutics, literature, and communication. (shrink)
The question of the philosophical basis of medical science and medical practice is considered under three closely related themes: (i) the doctor-patient relationship, (ii) the structure of the medical-ethical discourse, and (iii) the problem of philosophical founding in relation to medical conduct. The doctor-patient relationship is regarded as a transformational relation. Acceptance of the illness of the patient, the construction of a complaint as a necessary condition — and not a description of an existing reality — as well as the (...) establishment of a common interest are determinants of that relation. They are related to the dominant form of science and thought in medicine, namely application. This is typical for the Standard Medical-Ethical Discussion (SMED), its scope and its rationality. The third issue leads to the thesis that this particular rationality is not a sufficient ground for considering the medical discourse to be founded in philosophy. (shrink)
This paper studies intentional action in stit logic. The formal logic study of intentional action appears to be new, since most logical studies of intention concern intention as a static mental state. In the formalization we distinguish three modes of acting: the objective level concerning the choices an agent objectively exercises, the subjective level concerning the choices an agent knows or believes to be exercising, and finally, the intentional level concerning the choices an agent intentionally exercises. Several axioms constraining the (...) relations between these different modes of acting will be considered and discussed. The side effect problem will be analyzed as an interaction between knowingly doing and intentionally doing. Non-successful action will be analyzed as a weakening of the epistemic attitude towards action. Finally, the notion of ‘attempt’ will be briefly considered as a further weakening in this direction. (shrink)
The close ties between law and psychiatric illness challenge our effort to understand the complex semantics of Western culture and the foundations of law in the heart of that culture. It is, however, difficult to be immediately confronted with the limitations of these semantics. Can one ever achieve a refined precision of psychiatric issues? Lawyers and psychiatrists tend to disregard the fact that people live within different realms of expressiveness, even where the same phenomena seem apparent. They neutralize all relativity (...) and design a quasi-universal body of legal doctrines or construct an all-embracing medical nosology. The question remains what practices of judgment are justifiable when the history books demonstrate the ever-changing character of the idea of a common good and a well-ordered life. Notions of relativity accompany decisions to punish or to cure, to exclude or to include, to disregard or to consider. In these decisions, there are never supracultural notions at hand and only rarely ideas that reach beyond the boundaries of either profession's own discourse. (shrink)
The paper consists of two parts, outlined in the title.I. In the historical science time appears as an element of the historian’s workshop. The historian collects source information, evaluates them and assigns respective dates. Only on the ground of thus “processed” sources may he reproduce the past: events and longer development processes, setting them in time. This dated time is understood colloquially as something objective, which runs one way and may be measured.II. A historian who studies the past reality depends (...) on the extent to which those sources are preserved. As a result of their interpretation, with the use of increasingly excellent research methods, he reproduces that reality. He must carry out an ongoing selection of historical facts found. This exposes him to temptations of such selection of those facts so as to adjust the historical knowledge to serve well the national interests, his own political opinions, etc. In this way the historian exerts influence on social awareness, which may consists of various myths and stereotypes, which sometimes lead to negative social behaviors: aggression, chauvinism, etc. Therefore, for researcher honesty’s sake and in the sense of moral responsibility, he must be careful to be as impartial as possible in his work. (shrink)
The cosmological theory of the author, discussed in (Greben in Found Sci 15(2):153–176, 2010 ), has a number of implications for the interpretation of initial conditions and the fine-tuning problem as discussed by Vidal (Found Sci 15(4):375–393, 2010a ).
"Nach einer durchschlagenden Kritik von Versuchen, Prinzipien des Verstehens zu formulieren, die keiner empirischen Prüfung bedürfen, skizziert der Autor im Rahmen des kritischen Rationalismus eine naturalistische Hermeneutik, die geeignet ist, die Probleme des Verstehens und der Interpretation zu lösen. Die souveräne Behandlung der Probleme und die Klarheit und Folgerichtigkeit der Gedankenführung machen das Buch zu einem wichtigen Beitrag zur Grundlagenproblematik der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften.“ Die hier vorgelegte Arbeit enthält drei inhaltlich zusammenhängende erkenntnistheoretische Untersuchungen über Probleme des Verstehens und Interpretierens von (...) Rede und Text. Das Ziel der Untersuchungen besteht jeweils darin, die von unterschiedlichen Autoren vorgebrachten Behauptungen einer erfahrungsunabhängigen Geltung der Prinzipien des Verstehens und Interpretierens einer eingehenden Prüfung zu unterziehen – sei es im Zusammenhang mit der im Rahmen der Sozialen Erkenntnistheorie geführten Diskussion über den Status von menschlichen Zeugnissen, sei es in Form einer Kritik des von Karl Popper im Kontext seiner Situationslogik vertretenen Rationalitätsprinzips oder auch in der eingehenden Analyse der Argumente, die von analytischen Philosophen zugunsten einer erfahrungsunabhängigen Geltung des principle of charity vorgebracht wurden. Diese kritische Ausrichtung der Arbeit im Sinne der Zurückweisung der genannten Behauptungen hat jedoch auch eine konstruktive Dimension: Sie zeigt die Möglichkeit einer naturalistischen Hermeneutik, d.h. einer Verstehenslehre, die konsequent auf die Beanspruchung apriorischen Wissens verzichtet. (shrink)
This article examines the political perspective of corporate social responsibility from the standpoint of normative Islam. We argue that large firms within Muslim majority countries have the moral obligation to assist governments in addressing challenges related to sustainable socioeconomic development and in advancing human rights. In substantiating our argument, we draw upon the Islamic business ethics, stakeholder theory, and corporate governance literatures, as well as the concepts of Maqasid al Shariah and fard al ‘ayn versus fard al kifayah to introduce (...) a normative model elucidating critical Islamic precepts. Finally, we propose an Islamic “political” corporate governance framework, which democratizes firm decision making by embedding “core” stakeholders, nongovernmental organizations, and Shariah scholars in the corporate board, thereby enhancing the ability of businesses to respond to stakeholder concerns and priorities, while mitigating interstakeholder and intraboard power asymmetries. (shrink)
We discuss a new theory of the universe in which the vacuum energy is of classical origin and dominates the energy content of the universe. As usual, the Einstein equations determine the metric of the universe. However, the scale factor is controlled by total energy conservation in contrast to the practice in the Robertson–Walker formulation. This theory naturally leads to an explanation for the Big Bang and is not plagued by the horizon and cosmological constant problem. It naturally accommodates the (...) notion of dark energy and proposes a possible explanation for dark matter. It leads to a dual description of the universe, which is reminiscent of the dual theory proposed by Milne in 1937. On the one hand one can describe the universe in terms of the original Einstein coordinates in which the universe is expanding, on the other hand one can describe it in terms of co-moving coordinates which feature in measurements. In the latter representation the universe looks stationary and the age of the universe appears constant. The paper describes the evolution of this universe. It starts out in a classical state with perfect symmetry and zero entropy. Due to the vacuum metric the effective energy density is infinite at the beginning, but diminishes rapidly. Once it reaches the Planck energy density of elementary particles, the formation of particles can commence. Because of the quantum nature of creation and annihilation processes spatial and temporal inhomogeneities appear in the matter distributions, resulting in residual proton (neutron) and electron densities. Hence, quantum uncertainty plays an essential role in the creation of a diversified complex universe with increasing entropy. It thus seems that quantum fluctuations play a role in cosmology similar to that of random mutations in biology. Other analogies to biological principles, such as recapitulation, are also discussed. (shrink)
Is the European Union a new Walden? Although a contrast in form and format, the Union is surprisingly close to the latter's underlying philosophy. One can read this proximity in the Treaties or the many facets of the European idea which mirrors in the Union's emerging legal system. Today there is no longer a Union of a limited number of Nation States desiring to end divisions among themselves, to acquire mutual respect and prosperity or a higher standard of living and (...) working conditions for its members. European citizenship shows a global orientation and is in continuous competition with the discourse of a globalizing economy and its Internet democracy. Analyses of concepts such as political geography, global, (supra)national and regional citizenship, democracy, learning society, native tongue and market lead to the insight that the Union's legal system wishes to ensure its citizens a legally engendered, formatted and protected global position for action. Walden's philosophy has a new face. (shrink)
Clark Glymour defined bootstrap-confirmation as a three-place relation: “Evidence E bootstrap confirms hypothesis H with respect to theory T.“ By an ingenious choice of examples, David Christensen has shown that Glymour's definition is satisfied in a class of cases in which confirmation seems to be highly counterintuitive. Responding to Christensen's criticism, Glymour revised his 1980 definition of bootstrap confirmation, by introducing an additional condition that rules out Christensen's counterexamples.
New computer systems of discovery create a research program for logic and philosophy of science. These systems consist of inference rules and control knowledge that guide the discovery process. Their paths of discovery are influenced by the available data and the discovery steps coincide with the justification of results. The discovery process can be described in terms of fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence such as heuristic search, and can also be interpreted in terms of logic. The traditional distinction that places (...) studies of scientific discovery outside the philosophy of science, in psychology, sociology, or history, is no longer valid in view of the existence of computer systems of discovery. It becomes both reasonable and attractive to study the schemes of discovery in the same way as the criteria of justification were studied: empirically as facts, and logically as norms. (shrink)