A photographer and a geographer explore where the pavement ends. Nevada's enigmatic Black Rock country, despite its apparent silence and isolation, is actually an area where natural forces are ceaselessly restless and life in many forms has endured for millennia. Its haunting landscape has been the focus of study and contemplation by scientists, explorers, outdoors aficionados, and artists. In ""Black Rock,"" photographer Peter Goin and geographer Paul F. Starrs explore this fascinating place from the viewpoints of their (...) respective disciplines. The Black Rock, a desert realm almost the size of Delaware but scarcely a hundred miles north of Reno, embraces mile-high vertical mountains and one of the earth's flattest, most barren salt pans, boiling hot springs and freezing winter cold, plants that have evolved to survive the severest drought and lush pockets of rich grasses. Its bewildering environments startle our senses with a raw physical intensity that comes through in Goin's eloquent photographs and Starrs's richly informed text. We observe the region from numerous perspectives - the Black Rock at ground level, from the skies above, in the geology below; witness the shaping roles of water, wind, and geothermal action in shaping it; and view the effects of human hands, from ancient Native Americans to nineteenth-century explorers, ranchers, and miners, up through the congregants at today's Burning Man festivals. The result is a brilliant duet of visual and literary commentary on a region of stunning paradoxes and constant change and activity, where need and curiosity encounter the daunting, implacable forces of nature. (shrink)
Fincher & Thornhill (F&T) present a compelling argument that parasite stress underlies certain cultural practices promoting assortative sociality. However, we suggest that the theoretical framework proposed is limited in several ways, and that life history theory provides a more explanatory and inclusive framework, making more specific predictions about the trade-offs faced by organisms in the allocation of bioenergetic and material resources.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rationale for supporting the development and approval of BiDil for heart failure specifically in black patients was based on under-powered, post hoc subgroup analyses of two relatively old trials , which were further complicated by substantial covariate imbalances between racial groups. Indeed, the only statistically significant difference observed between black and white patients was found without any adjustment for potential confounders in samples that were unlikely to have been adequately randomized. Meanwhile, because (...) the accepted baseline therapy for heart failure has substantially improved since these trials took place, their results cannot be combined with data from the more recent trial amongst black patients alone. There is therefore little scientific evidence to support the approval of BiDil only for use in black patients, and the FDA's rationale fails to consider the ethical consequences of recognizing racial categories as valid markers of innate biological difference, and permitting the development of group-specific therapies that are subject to commercial incentives rather than scientific evidence or therapeutic imperatives. This paper reviews the limitations in the scientific evidence used to support the approval of BiDil only for use in black patients; calls for further analysis of the V-HeFT I and II data which might clarify whether responses to H-I vary by race; and evaluates the consequences of commercial incentives to develop racialized medicines. We recommend that the FDA revise the procedures they use to examine applications for race-based therapies to ensure that these are based on robust scientific claims and do not undermine the aims of the 1992 Revitalization Act. (shrink)
The twenty-sixth volume in the highly acclaimed Library of Living Philosophers series is devoted to the work of British philosopher of logic and metaphysician, P. F. Strawson. Following the Library of Living Philosophers series format, the volume contains an intellectual autobiography, twenty critical and descriptive essays by leading philosophers from around the world, Strawson's replies to the essays, and a bibliography of Strawson's works. Born in 1919, Strawson was a leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy. He is the author of (...) the early and extremely influential paper "On Referring" in which he criticized Russell's theory of definite descriptions. His most influential book, Individuals, helped to raise the status of metaphysics as a philosophical enterprise. Themes first addressed in this book continued to be of concern to him in his later work, including the possibility of objective knowledge, the subject-predicate distinction, the ontological status of persons, and the problem of individuation. Contributors to the book include: Ruth Garrett Millikan, Susan Haack, E. M. Adams, Panayot Butchvarov, Richard Behling, John McDowell, Simon Blackburn, Tadeusz Szubka, David Frederick Haight, Joseph S. Wu, Andrew G. Black, David Pears, Robert Boyd, Hilary Putnam, Paul F. Snowdon, Arindam Chakrabarti, Wenceslao J. Gonzalez, Ernest Sosa, Chung-M. Tse, John R. Searle, P. F. Strawson. (shrink)
I defend Frank Jackson's knowledge argument against physicalism in the philosophy of mind from a criticism that has been advanced by Laurence Nemirow and David Lewis. According to their criticism, what Mary lacked when she was in her black and white room was a set of abilities; she did not know how to recognize or imagine certain types of experience from a first-person perspective. Her subsequent discovery of what it is like to experience redness amounts to no more than (...) her acquisition of these abilities. The physicalist can admit this, since it does not commit one to the view that there are any facts of which Mary was ignorant . I argue against this view, on the grounds that the knowledge of what an experience is like cannot be equated with the possession of any set of abilities. (shrink)
What kind of thing are we? Paul Snowdon's answer is that we are animals, of a sort. This view--'animalism'--may seem obvious but on the whole philosophers have rejected it. Snowdon argues that animalism is a defensible way of thinking about ourselves. Its rejection rests on the tendency when doing philosophy to mistake fantasy for reality.
There are a number of concepts of common-sense morality, what one must do, what one ought to do, the supererogatory, the minimum that duty allows, the morally optional and the morally indifferent, that philosophers have been hard-pressed to represent in an integrated conceptual framework. Indeed, many philosophers have despaired at the attempt and concluded that only a fragment of these concepts belong to that fundamental sphere of morality that is the central focus of the ethicist. For example, the traditional scheme, (...) with its triad of the obligatory, the forbidden and the permissible, pigeonholes all actions into three mutually exclusive and exhaustive classes: those which are obligatory, those which are forbidden and those which are optional. Hence, at best, it can represent exactly two of the six aforementioned concepts. For from the standpoint of this scheme, what one must do and what one ought to do can't be distinguished and hence they can't both be represented. Although the morally optional can be represented, the supererogatory, one of its subclasses, cannot be represented. Furthermore, the morally indifferent, another subclass of the optional--one which is obviously disjoint from the supererogatory--cannot be represented. Finally, the minimum that duty allows finds no distinctive place in the traditional scheme. Thus, on the face of it, the traditional scheme is radically incomplete. ;I present, motivate and defend a new conceptual scheme for common-sense morality in which these concepts are represented and systematically integrated. An intuitively motivated semantic framework underpinning this conceptual scheme is also presented. Such a scheme, along with the associated semantic framework, is motivated by reflecting on the supererogationist's objections to utilitarianism and to the traditional scheme. But in addition, a new integrated network of linguistic motivations for this conceptual scheme is uncovered, one which is completely independent of supererogationistic considerations. Hence, these two separate sources of evidence for the centrality of this new scheme to our pre-theoretic thinking corroborate one another--thus jointly boosting the evidence beyond the mere sum of their separate evidential values. (shrink)
The Pasadena game invented by Nover and Hájek raises a number of challenges for decision theory. The basic problem is how the game should be evaluated: it has no expectation and hence no well-defined value. Easwaran has shown that the Pasadena game does have a weak expectation, raising the possibility that we can eliminate the value gap by requiring agents to value gambles at their weak expectations. In this paper, I first prove a negative result: there are gambles like the (...) Pasadena game that do not even have a weak expectation. Hence, problematic value gaps remain even if decision theory is extended to take in weak expectations. There is a further challenge: the existence of a ‘value gap’ in the Pasadena game seems to make decision theory inapplicable in a number of cases where the right choice is obvious. The positive contribution of the paper is a theory of ‘relative utilities’, an extension of decision theory that lets us make comparative judgements even among gambles that have no well-defined value. (shrink)
Fish proposes that we need to elucidate what 'disjunctivism' stands for, and he also proposes that it stands for the rejection of a principle about the nature of experience that he calls the decisiveness principle. The present paper argues that his first proposal is reasonable, but then argues, in Section II, that his positive suggestion does not draw the line between disjunctivism and non-disjunctivism in the right place. In Section III, it is argued that disjunctivism is a thesis about the (...) special nature of perceptual experience, and the thesis as elucidated here is then distinguished from and related to certain other ideas about perception, namely, direct realism and also McDowell's epistemological disjunctivism. (shrink)
One of the fundamental theses of this book is that logical consequence and logical truth are not simply given, but arise as conventions among the users of logic. Thus Syverson explains convention within a game-theoretic framework, as a kind of equilibrium between the strategies of players in a game where they share common knowledge of events—a revisiting of Lewis's Convention that argues that convention can be reasonably treated as coordination equilibria. Most strikingly, a realistic solution is provided for Gray's classic (...) coordination problem, wherein two generals can only communicate with each other through unreliable means. (shrink)
In chapter 3 of Individuals, entitled ‘Persons’, Strawson argues against dualism and the no-ownership theory, and proposes instead that our concept of a person is a primitive concept. In this paper, it is argued that the basic questions that frame Strawson’s discussion, and some of his main arguments and claims, are dubious. A general diagnosis of the source of these problems is proposed. It is argued that despite these problems Strawson gives an accurate and very insightful description of the way (...) we think about ourselves, which should form the starting point for more speculative accounts of ourselves. (shrink)
The authors argue that the time is ripe for national and corporate leaders to move consciously towards the development of global ethics. This papers presents a model of global ethics, a rationale for the development of global ethics, and the implications of the model for research and practice.
The ability to imagine hypothetical events in one’s personal future is thought to involve a number of constituent cognitive processes. We investigated the extent to which individual differences in working memory capacity contribute to facets of episodic future thought. College students completed simple and complex measures of working memory and were cued to recall autobiographical memories and imagine future autobiographical events consisting of varying levels of specificity . Consistent with previous findings, future thought was related to analogous measures of autobiographical (...) memory, likely reflecting overlapping cognitive factors supporting both past and future thought. Additionally, after controlling for autobiographical memory, residual working memory variance independently predicted future episodic specificity. We suggest that when imagining future events, working memory contributes to the construction of a single, coherent, future event depiction, but not to the retrieval or elaboration of event details. (shrink)
This text gives business students a sense that problems of business policy can be resolved, in part, by ideas from philosophy, social theory, and law. It enables students to view ethical principles as a response to an evolving set of problems related to harmonizing values in a pluralistic society.