In Russell's Problems of Philosophy, acquaintance is the basis of thought and also the basis of empirical knowledge. Thought is based on acquaintance, in that a thinker has to be acquainted with the basic constituents of his thoughts. Empirical knowledge is based on acquaintance, in that acquaintance is involved in perception, and perception is the ultimate source of all empirical knowledge.
The ability to sequence individual genomes is leading to the identification of an increasing number of genetic risk factors for serious diseases. Knowledge of these risk factors can often provide significant medical and psychological benefit, but also raises complex ethical and social issues. This paper focuses on one area of rapid progress: the identification of mutations causing long QT syndrome and other cardiac channel disorders, which can explain some previously unexplained deaths in infants (SIDS) and children and adults (SUDS) and (...) prevent others from occurring. This genetic knowledge, discovered posthumously in many cases, has implications for clinical care for surviving family members who might carry the same mutations. The information obtained from genetic testing, in the context of personal and family history, can guide individually tailored interventions that reduce risk and save lives. At the same time, obtaining and disclosing genetic information raises difficult issues about confidentiality and decision making within families. We draw on the experience of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Cardiogenetics, which has played a leading role in the genetic diagnosis and clinical management of cardiac channel diseases, to explore some of the challenging ethical questions arising in affected families with adolescent children. We focus on the related issues of (1) family confidentiality, privacy and disclosure and (2) adolescent decision making about genetic risk, and argue for the value of interdisciplinary dialogue with affected families in resolving these issues. (shrink)
This is a tough-minded book, written in a clear, even-toned, flat and uncompromising style. There are no concessions to time and place: all is a matter of true premises and valid argument. Sainsbury presents Russell's arguments in a manner always cogent, usually lucid and occasionally with remarkable insight. More perhaps than in other volumes in this series, the arguments are not only of the philosopher at hand, but pre-eminently for professional philosophers. The arguments are for the most part those (...) adduced by Russell in support of his doctrines of logical atomism and hence for various claims about language, knowledge, and the world. Sainsbury has deliberately chosen to limit his discussion to these topics, thus omitting reference to Russell's moral and political philosophy and to some topics in philosophical psychology. The choice was a useful one, enabling Sainsbury to trace themes beginning in chapters on "Meaning," "Names," "Descriptions," and "The Perfect Language," to those on "Knowledge," "Ontology," and "Mathematics.". (shrink)
The account of vagueness Bertrand Russell provided in his 1923 paper, entitled simply “Vagueness” (see Russell 1997), has been thought by some to be inconsistent. One main objection, raised by Timothy Williamson (1994), is that Russell’s attempt early in the paper to distinguish vagueness from generality is at odds with the definition of vagueness he presents later in the same paper. It is as if, as Williamson puts it, Russell “backslides” from his previous distinction (1994, 60), (...) resulting in a conflation of generality and vagueness that is at best problematic for a rigorous account of the phenomenon of vagueness. In this paper, I will defend Russell from this particular objection. While his 1923 paper may not be as clear at various points as one might hope, I do believe it is possible to construct a single theory of vagueness that can be applied equally well to his earlier and later discussions. Thus, Russell’s view is not ultimately inconsistent. In this paper, I will first present the interpretation of Russell’s concept of vagueness that falls prey to the charge of conflating vagueness and generality. Once the problem is clear, I will present an alternative interpretation, one that arises from certain reflections on G. W. Leibniz’s theory of perception. This Leibnizian interpretation of Russell, I will argue, resolves the apparent contradiction in Russell’s account of vagueness. (shrink)
Russell’s way out of his paradox via the impredicative theory of types has roughly the same logical power as Zermelo set theory - which supplanted it as a far more flexible and workable axiomatic foundation for mathematics. We discuss some new formalisms that are conceptually close to Russell, yet simpler, and have the same logical power as higher set theory - as represented by the far more powerful Zermelo-Frankel set theory and beyond. END.
There is considerable evidence that animals can time multiple intervals that occur separately or concurrently. Such simultaneous temporal processing occurs both in temporal discrimination procedures and in classical conditioning procedures. The first part of the chapter will consist of the review of the evidence for simultaneous temporal processing, and the conditions under which the different intervals have influences on each other. The second part of the chapter will be a brief description of two timing theories: Scalar Timing Theory and a (...) Packet Theory of Timing. Scalar Timing Theory consists of a pacemaker-switch-accumulator system that serves as a clock, a memory that consists of examples of previously reinforced intervals, and a decision process that involves a comparison of ratios to a criterion; the Packet Theory of Timing consists of a conditional expected time function that serves as a clock, a memory that consists of weighted sums of these values, and a probabilistic decision process that produces packets of responses. Both of these theories will be applied to an example of simultaneous temporal processing by rats, and will serve as the basis for some general comments about the basis for selecting and evaluating quantitative theories of timing. (shrink)
Russell's book The Problems of Philosophy was first published a hundred years ago.¹ A remarkable feature of this enduring text is the glint of Platonism it presents on a dark empiricist sea: while our knowledge of physical objects is entirely mediated by direct awareness of sense data, we can also have direct awareness of certain universals, Russell claims.² This is questionable, even if one has no empiricist inclination. Universals are abstract, hence causally inert. How, then, can we have (...) any knowledge of them, direct or indirect? This paper is about Russell's answer to that question. I will argue that given some modification and elaboration of Russell's views, his claim that some universals are knowable by acquaintance is plausible. (shrink)
Objective—To explore the opinions of unpaid healthy volunteers on the payment of research subjects.Design—Prospective cohort.Setting—Southern Alberta, Canada.Participants—Medically eligible persons responding to recruiting advertisements for a randomised vaccine trial were invited to take part in a study of informed consent at the point at which they formally consented or refused trial participation. Of 72 invited, 67 returned questionnaires at baseline and 54 at follow-up.Outcome measures—Proportions of persons who agreed or disagreed with three close-ended statements on the payment of research subjects; themes (...) and categories identified by content analysis of responses to an open-ended question.Results—A minority agreed with paying either patient or healthy volunteer participants. Opinions did not change over time. Participants' comments addressed: benefits and drawbacks to research participation; benefits and drawbacks to paying research participants; conditions under which payment of research subjects would be acceptable, and the nature of acceptable recognition. Acceptable conditions were to improve problematic recruitment, to reimburse costs, and to recognise participants, particularly for their time investment. Both non-monetary and monetary recognition of volunteers were thought to be appropriate.Conclusions—Most unpaid volunteers disagreed with paying research participants. The themes arising from their comments are similar to those that have been raised by ethicists and suggest that recognising the time and effort of participants should receive greater emphasis than presently occurs. (shrink)
Venkataramanaiah, V. Introduction.--Narla, V. R. Russell and his rejection of religion.--Mehta, G. L. The sceptical crusader.--Dalvi, G. R. Russell, the man.--Venkatarao, V. The nuclear war and the future of man.--Innaiah, N. Bertrand Russell's philosophy.--Subbarayudu, P. Rationality vis-a-vis faith.--Nageswar Rao, B. Russell and nuclear warfare.--Rajagopala Rao, M. Rebel in Russell.--Shankar, G. N. J. The man who revolutionised modern thought.--Maharajasri. Russell, the social scientist in the four-dimensional universe.--The life of Bertrand Russell.--Acknowledgements.--A list of principal works (...) of Bertrand Russell.--Russell's conception of good society in a democratic socialist order.--Objects. (shrink)