As a result of the increase in genetic testing and the fear of discrimination by insurance companies, employers, and society as a result of genetic testing, the disciplines of ethics, public health, and genetics have converged. Whether relatives of someone with a positive predictive genetic test should be notified of the results and risks is a matter urgently in need of debate. Such a debate must encompass the moral and ethical obligations of the diagnosing physician and the patient. The decision (...) to inform or not will vary depending on what moral theory is used. Utilising the utilitarian and libertarian theories produces different outcomes. The principles of justice and non-maleficence will also play an important role in the decision. (shrink)
It is only when mixing two or more pure substances along a reversible path that the entropy of the mixing can be made physically manifest. It is not, in this case, a mere mathematical artifact. This mixing requires a process of successive stages. In any finite number of stages, the external manifestation of the entropy change, as a definite and measurable quantity of heat, isa fully continuous function of the relevant variables. It is only at an infinite and unattainable limit (...) thata non-uniform convergence occurs. And this occurs when considered in terms of the number of stages together with a distinguishability parameter appropriate to the particular device which is used to achieve reversibility. These considerations, which are of technological interest to chemical engineers, resolve a paradox derived in chemical theory called Gibbs'' Paradox. (shrink)
Irreversibility, it is claimed, is a much broader concept than is entropy increase, as is shown by the occurrence of certain processes which are irreversible without seeming to involve any intrinsic entropy change. These processes include the spreading outwards into space of particles, or of radiation, and they also include certain biological and mental phenomena. For instance, the irreversible and treelike branching which is characteristic of natural evolution is not entropic when it is considered in itself—i.e. in abstraction from accompanying (...) biochemical and physiological activity. What appears to be the common feature of all forms of irreversibility is the fanning out of trajectories, new entities or new states, in the temporal direction towards the future. (shrink)
This paper was delivered at the 2009 annual conference of the National Council on Ethics in Human Research. It is a reflective piece based on many years of experience with human research ethics and the role of Research Ethics Boards in human participant research.
The birth rates per 1000 married females of specified ages and durations of marriage generally attained their post-war maxima in 19463000 and (b) the cumulative fertility up to 5 or 10 years of marriage duration of later cohorts was considerably higher (13–40% higher) than that of earlier cohorts. These facts, and similar ones for Australia covering a wider period (Basavarajappa, 1964), are thought to suggest that the total fertility of cohorts who have not yet completed their childbearing might not be (...) far outside the limits of 2500 and 3000. (shrink)
In ''''A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics'''' (1986), Robert J. Richardsendeavors to explain how moral ''oughts'' can be derived from thescience of evolutionary biology without committing the dreadednaturalistic fallacy. First, Richards assumes that ''ought'' as usedin ethical discourse bears the same meaning as ''ought'' used anywherein science, indicating merely that certain results or behaviors arepredicted based on prior structured contexts. To this extent, themoral behavior of animals, what they ''ought'' to do, could arguablybe predicted by evolutionary biology as effectively as, say,molecular (...) behavior may be predicted by chemistry. But afteracknowledging that biological inferences to this limited senseof ''ought'' were never contested by Moore''s naturalistic fallacy,Richard proposes to add to evolutionary ethics a decision procedureto determine which members of a set of predicted behaviors arethose which truly ought to occur – in the genuinelyprescriptive sense intended by ethical discourse. But theprocedure which Richards fabricates for this purpose appealsto such alleged ''facts'' as cultural conventions and moral opinionpolling, hardly a secure foundation for the sort of scientific ethics promised by Richards at the outset. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To compare the practices of local research ethics committees and the time they take to obtain ethical approval for a multi-centre study. DESIGN: A retrospective analysis of outcome of applications for a multi-centre study to local research ethics committees. SETTING: Thirty-six local research ethics committees covering 38 district health authorities in England. MAIN MEASURES: Response of chairmen and women, the time required to obtain approval, and questions asked in application forms. RESULTS: We received replies from all 36 chairmen contacted: (...) four (11%) granted their approval, and 32 (89%) required our proposal to be considered by their local research ethics committee. Three committees asked us to attend their meetings. The application was approved by all 36 local research ethics committees but the time to obtain ethical approval varied between six to 208 days. One third of the committees did not approve the project within three months, and three took longer than six months. There was considerable variation in the issues raised by local research ethics committees and none conformed exactly to the Royal College of Physicians' guidelines. CONCLUSION: Obtaining ethical approval for a multi-centre study is time-consuming. There is much diversity in the practice of local research ethics committees. Our data support the recommendation for a central or regional review body of multi-centre studies which will be acceptable to all local research ethics committees. (shrink)
Dialectical logic is the science of the most general laws of development of nature, society, and human thought. These laws are reflected in the form of special concepts called the categories of logic. Therefore d. 1. may also be defined as the science of dialectical categories. Comprising a system of dialectical categories, it investigates their mutual relationship, sequence, and the transitions from one category to another.