Are humans free, or are we determined by our genes and the world around us? The question of freedom is not only one of philosophy’s greatest conundrums, but also one of the most fundamental questions of human existence. It’s particularly pressing in societies like ours, where our core institutions of law, ethics, and religion are built around the belief in individual freedom. Can one still affirm human freedom in an age of science? And if free will doesn’t exist, does it (...) make sense to act as though it does? These are the issues that are presented, probed, and debated in the following chapters. A dozen experts―specialists in medicine, psychology, ethics, theology, and philosophy—grapple with the multiple and often profound challenges presented by today’s brain science. After examining the arguments against traditional notions of free will, several of the authors champion the idea of a chastened but robust free will for today, one that allows us still to affirm the value of first-person experience. (shrink)
Gene therapy approaches have great promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and malignant brain tumors. Neuwelt et al. review available viral-mediated gene therapy methods and their blood-brain-barrier (BBB) disruption delivery technique, briefly mentioning nonviral mediated gene therapy methods. This commentary discussed the BBB disruption delivery technique, viral and nonviral mediated gene therapy approaches to Parkinson's disease, and the potential use of antisense oligo to suppress malignant brain tumors.
Edward Jonathan Lowe (usually cited as E. J. Lowe) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. He made sustained and significant contributions to debates in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion, as well as contributing important scholarly work in early modern philosophy (most notably on Locke). Over the length of his career, Lowe published eleven single-authored books, four co-edited collections, and well over (...) 300 papers and book reviews in journals and edited volumes. The range of topics covered in his published work is highly eclectic. Given this, and his prolific rate of publication, this article cannot aim to cover all of the questions that Lowe contributed work on. Instead, it will focus on some of his most significant contributions in metaphysics and ontology, and related topics in other areas of philosophy. This choice of focus stems, in part, from Lowe’s strong belief in the inescapability of metaphysical questions. Lowe argued for the need to approach metaphysics, and philosophy more broadly, in a serious, systematic fashion, likening metaphysics to putting together the pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, working with, rather than trying to overrule or being secondary to, natural science. Although the sections in this article focus on different topics, the highly systematic nature of Lowe’s work means that there are many potential points of intersection that could be drawn between them. In the interests of providing a navigable summary of Lowe’s work, this article highlights only some of these connections. (shrink)
Australian women who are university graduates have fewer children than non-graduates. In most cases this appears to be the result of circumstantial pressures not preference. Long years of study fill the most fertile years of women students and new graduates need further time to establish their careers. The chance of medical infertility increases with age so, for some, this means that childbearing is not postponed but ruled out. Graduates who do make the transition from university to professional work find that (...) working hours are long and that professional occupations are now both highly demanding and insecure. Women who take time off to care for young children must depend on one insecure income (their partner’s) rather than two, and their return to work is uncertain. These difficulties of time, money and insecurity are compounded by problems in finding a suitable partner. They are magnified by the enduring tendency of women to marry up. Thus it can be more difficult for women graduates to find husbands than it is for women who are non-graduates. (shrink)
Walter Glannon argues that our proposal for routine recovery of transplantable cadaveric organs is unacceptable After carefully reviewing his counterarguments, we conclude that, although some of them have merit, none are sufficiently strong to warrant abandoning this plan. Below we respond to each of Glannon's concerns.
Introduction: divine violence and political fetishism -- The political theology of sovereignty -- In the maw of sovereignty -- Benjamin's dissipated eschatology -- Waiting for justice -- Forgiveness, judgment and sovereign decision -- The Hebrew republic -- Conclusion : the anarchist hypothesis.
This article traces disagreements about the genetic effects of low-dose radiation exposure as waged by James Neel, a central figure in radiation studies of Japanese populations after World War II, and Yuri Dubrova, who analyzed the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. In a 1996 article in Nature, Dubrova reported a statistically significant increase in the minisatellite DNA mutation rate in the children of parents who received a high dose of radiation from the Chernobyl accident, contradicting studies that found (...) no significant inherited genetic effects among offspring of Japanese A-bomb survivors. Neel’s subsequent defense of his large-scale longitudinal studies of the genetic effects of ionizing radiation consolidated current scientific understandings of low-dose ionizing radiation. The article seeks to explain how the Hiroshima/nagasaki data remain hegemonic in radiation studies, contextualizing the debate with attention to the perceived inferiority of Soviet genetic science during the Cold War. (shrink)
Few historical figures have been more important in modeling the ideal of impartial critical scholarship than Erasmus of Rotterdam. Yet his critical scholarship, though beholden to no one, was not dispassionate. James Tracy shows how Erasmus the scholar sought through his writings to promote the moral and religious renewal of Christian society. Tracy finds the genesis of the humanist's notion of a "Christian republic" of pious and learned individuals in his "Burgundian," or Low Countries, roots. Erasmus's vision of reform, (...) Tracy argues, sprung from a humanist tradition focusing on the importance of teaching, a tradition from which Erasmus departed in his optimism about human nature and his deep suspicion of the powers that be. Amid the storms of Reformation controversy, he pruned back the "dissimulation" by which he had thought to convey different meanings to different readers, yet in the end he could not control the way his words were read. If Erasmus's scholarly ideal carries an enduring fascination, so too does his dilemma as a man of circumspection who would also be a reformer. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1966. (shrink)