Using H. Whitney's algebra of physical quantities and his definition of a similarity transformation, a family of similar systems (R. L. Causey  and ) is any maximal collection of subsets of a Cartesian product of dimensions for which every pair of subsets is related by a similarity transformation. We show that such families are characterized by dimensionally invariant laws (in Whitney's sense, , not Causey's). Dimensional constants play a crucial role in the formulation of such laws. They (...) are represented as a function g, known as a system measure, from the family into a certain Cartesian product of dimensions and having the property gφ =φ g for every similarity φ . The dimensions involved in g are related to the family by means of certain stability groups of similarities. A one-to-one system measure is a proportional representing function, which plays an analogous role in Causey's theory, but not conversely. The present results simplify and clarify those of Causey. (shrink)
As a contribution to a wider discussion on moral discernment in theological anthropology, this paper seeks to answer the question “What is the impact of mental illness on an individual’s ability to make moral decisions?” Written from a clinical psychiatric perspective, it considers recent contributions from psychology, neuropsychology and imaging technology. It notes that the popular conception that mental illness necessarily robs an individual of moral responsibility is largely unfounded. Most people who suffer from mental health problems do not lose (...) the capacity to make moral decisions, and mental illness on its own rarely explains anti-social or criminal behaviour. Moreover, the assumptions of some scientists, that recent developments in neuropsychology and brain imaging suggest biological determinism, must be treated with caution. (shrink)
In a previous paper (Duncan, T.L., Semura, J.S. in Entropy 6:21, 2004) we considered the question, “What underlying property of nature is responsible for the second law?” A simple answer can be stated in terms of information: The fundamental loss of information gives rise to the second law. This line of thinking highlights the existence of two independent but coupled sets of laws: Information dynamics and energy dynamics. The distinction helps shed light on certain foundational questions in statistical mechanics. (...) For example, the confusion surrounding previous “derivations” of the second law from energy dynamics can be resolved by noting that such derivations incorporate one or more assumptions that correspond to the loss of information. In this paper we further develop and explore the perspective in which the second law is fundamentally a law of information dynamics. (shrink)
Purpose: This review identifies the prominent topics in the literature pertaining to the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by research investigating personalized genomic medicine. Methods: The abstracts of 953 articles extracted from scholarly databases and published during a 5-year period were reviewed. A total of 299 articles met our research criteria and were organized thematically to assess the representation of ELSI issues for stakeholders, health specialties, journals, and empirical studies. Results: ELSI analyses were published in both scientific and ethics (...) journals. Investigational research comprised 45% of the literature reviewed and the remaining 55% comprised normative analyses. Traditional ELSI concerns dominated the discourse including discussions about disclosure of research results. In fact, there was a dramatic increase in the number of articles focused on the disclosure of research results and incidental findings to research participants. Few papers focused on particular disorders, the use of racial categories in research, international communities, or special populations. Conclusion: Considering that strategies in personalized medicine increasingly target individuals’ unique health conditions, environments, and ancestries, further analysis is needed on how ELSI scholarship can better serve the increasingly global, interdisciplinary, and diverse PGM research community. (shrink)
Biological ontologies are used to organize, curate, and interpret the vast quantities of data arising from biological experiments. While this works well when using a single ontology, integrating multiple ontologies can be problematic, as they are developed independently, which can lead to incompatibilities. The Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies Foundry was created to address this by facilitating the development, harmonization, application, and sharing of ontologies, guided by a set of overarching principles. One challenge in reaching these goals was that the (...) OBO principles were not originally encoded in a precise fashion, and interpretation was subjective. Here we show how we have addressed this by formally encoding the OBO principles as operational rules and implementing a suite of automated validation checks and a dashboard for objectively evaluating each ontology’s compliance with each principle. This entailed a substantial effort to curate metadata across all ontologies and to coordinate with individual stakeholders. We have applied these checks across the full OBO suite of ontologies, revealing areas where individual ontologies require changes to conform to our principles. Our work demonstrates how a sizable federated community can be organized and evaluated on objective criteria that help improve overall quality and interoperability, which is vital for the sustenance of the OBO project and towards the overall goals of making data FAIR. Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. (shrink)
Since Hartshorne rejects Whitehead's doctrine of eternal objects, this seems to deny Hartshorne's God any causal influence via providing initial subjective aims to the world's creatures. If there are no specific eternal objects as possibilities to be actualized by creatures, there can be no specific initial aims. Hartshorne's metaphysics, however, can be rendered coherent at this point by interpreting the initial aims as hierarchies of indeterminate possibilities which are not specific until rendered so by creatures. Such an interpretation is coherent (...) with his doctrine of possibility understood as a hierarchy of indeterminate potentiality. A further issue remains, nevertheless, in regard to Hartshorne's claim that the possibilities offered by God to creatures are both infinite and yet limited. It is difficult to see how they can be both. (shrink)
While improving the theoretical account of base-rate neglect, Barbey & Sloman's (B&S's) target article suffers from affect neglect by failing to consider the fundamental role of emotional processes in decisions. We illustrate how affective influences are fundamental to decision making, and discuss how the dual process model can be a useful framework for understanding hot and cold cognition in reasoning.
A fundamental tenet of the process philosophy founded by alfred north whitehead and charles hartshorne is that god's causal agency in the world is solely "persuasive," in contradistinction to much of traditional christian theism which portrays a more "coercive" god. The article, However, Seeks to show that hartshorne's God would appear to be somewhat coercive, E.G., In the imposition of the natural laws which are the limits to creaturely freedom and in the "luring" of creaturely actualizations of novel possibilities within (...) those limits. Divine coercion seems to be both a fact and a necessity in hartshorne's metaphysics, Despite his explicit denials. (shrink)
Background Continued advances in human microbiome research and technologies raise a number of ethical, legal, and social challenges. These challenges are associated not only with the conduct of the research, but also with broader implications, such as the production and distribution of commercial products promising maintenance or restoration of good physical health and disease prevention. In this article, we document several ethical, legal, and social challenges associated with the commercialization of human microbiome research, focusing particularly on how this research is (...) mobilized within economic markets for new public health uses. Methods We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews (2009–2010) with 63 scientists, researchers, and National Institutes of Health project leaders (“investigators”) involved with human microbiome research. Interviews explored a range of ethical, legal, and social dimensions of human microbiome research, including investigators’ perspectives on commercialization. Using thematic content analysis, we identified and analyzed emergent themes and patterns. Results Investigators discussed the commercialization of human microbiome research in terms of (1) commercialization, probiotics, and issues of safety, (2) public awareness of the benefits and risks of dietary supplements, and (3) regulation. Conclusion The prevailing theme of ethical, legal, social concern focused on the need to find a balance between the marketplace, scientific research, and the public’s health. The themes we identified are intended to serve as points for discussions about the relationship between scientific research and the manufacture and distribution of over-the-counter dietary supplements in the United States. (shrink)
The practice of personal autonomy is a dynamic event that consists of a vital interplay between the self, socio-cultural reality, meaning, and being epistemically responsible. Autonomy is not static, something that we simply possess by virtue of a status as 'rational beings'. Therefore, in this dissertation, I examine the traditional notion of autonomy as it has been developed by Kant and subsequently influenced the current debate between 'liberals' and 'communitarians'. Primarily from the standpoint of the critiques developed by Charles Taylor, (...) I argue that the fundamental disagreement between these two camps is over the concept of the self. While this landscape stands divided, some middle ground can be found in the work of Joseph Raz, who postulated the need for a combination of individual abilities and an autonomy-supporting environment as necessary conditions for practicing personal autonomy. His characterization of 'personal autonomy', distinct from Kantian autonomy, forms the underlying paradigm for this work. (shrink)
Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease is a fatal, transmissible, neurodegenerative disorder for which there is currently no effective treatment. vCJD arose from the zoonotic spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. There is now compelling evidence for human to human transmission through blood transfusions from presymptomatic carriers and experts are warning that the real epidemic may be yet to come. Imperatives exist for the development of reliable, non-invasive presymptomatic diagnostic tests. Research into such tests is well advanced. In this article the ethical implications of (...) the availability of these tests are elaborated and comparisons drawn with predictive genetic testing for Huntington’s disease and screening for HIV. Paramount to considerations is the issue of whom to test, weighing up respect for personal autonomy against obligations to benefit and protect society. A paradigm is proposed similar to that used for HIV screening but with unique features: compulsory testing of all blood/organ donors and individuals undergoing surgery or invasive procedures who have a significant risk of disease transmission. (shrink)
In his target article, Yarkoni prescribes descriptive research as a potential antidote for the generalizability crisis. In our commentary, we offer four guiding principles for conducting descriptive research that is generalizable and enduring: prioritize context over control; let naturalistic observations contextualize structured tasks; operationalize the target phenomena rigorously and transparently; and attend to individual data.
The State of the Political challenges traditional interpretations of the political thought of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Franz Neumann. Focusing on their adaptation of a German tradition of state-legal theory, the book offers a scholarly, contextualized account of the interrelationship between their political thought and practical political criticism. Dr Kelly criticizes the typical separation of these writers, and offers a substantial reinterpretation of modern German political thought in a period of profound transition, in particular the relationship between political theory (...) and conceptual change. Alongside its focus on German political and juridical thought, the book contributes significantly to the history of European ideas, discussing parliamentarism and democracy, academic freedom and cultural criticism, political economy, patriotism, sovereignty and rationality, and the inter-relationships between law, the constitution and political representation. (shrink)
Les séjours d’étude à l’étranger se sont développés après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Plus que d’autres formes de voyage, ils permettent aux jeunes adultes de s’immerger dans la culture et le quotidien d’un autre pays. Les jeunes femmes américaines qui ont étudié en France entre la fin des années 1940 et les années 1960 ont été marquées par les stéréotypes de genre et les pratiques sociales et sexuelles auxquels elles ont été confrontées. S’appuyant sur des entretiens oraux avec d’anciennes étudiantes (...) et sur des lettres envoyées alors aux familles, cet article examine la manière dont ces Américaines ont négocié les différences culturelles, pour évaluer certains aspects de la culture française et se forger une identité individuelle plus indépendante et plus assurée. (shrink)
Autonomous and automatic weapons would be fire and forget: you activate them, and they decide who, when and how to kill; or they kill at a later time a target you’ve selected earlier. Some argue that this sort of killing is always wrong. If killing is to be done, it should be done only under direct human control. (E.g., Mary Ellen O’Connell, Peter Asaro, Christof Heyns.) I argue that there are surprisingly many kinds of situation where this is false and (...) where the use of Automated Weapons Systems would in fact be morally required. These include cases where a) once one has activated a weapon expected then to behave lethally, it would be appropriate to let it continue because this is part of a plan whose goodness one was best positioned to evaluate before activating the weapon; b) one expects better long-term consequences from allowing it to continue; c) allowing it to continue would express a decision you made to be resolute, a decision that could not have advantaged you had it not been true that you would carry through with it; d) the weapon is mechanically not recallable, so that, to not allow it to carry through, you would have had to refrain from activating it in the first place, something you expected would have disastrous consequences; e) you must deputize necessary killings to autonomous machines in order to protect yourself from guilt you shouldn’t have to bear; f) it would be morally better for the burden of responsibility for the killing to be shared among several agents, and the agents deputizing killing to machines can do this, especially where it’s not predictable which machine will be successful; g) a killing would be morally better done with elements of randomness and lack of deliberation, and a (relatively stupid) machine could do this where a person could not; h) the machine would be acting as a Doomsday Device, so that it could not have had its hoped for deterrent effect had you not ensured that you would be unable to recall it if enemy action activated it; i) letting it carry through is a necessary part of its own learning process, and you expect that this learning will have salutary effects later on; j) human intervention in the machine’s operation would disastrously impair its precision, or its speed and efficiency; k) using non-automated methods would require human resources you just don’t have in a task that nevertheless must be done (e.g., using land-mines to protect remote installations); l) the weapon has such horrible and indiscriminate power that it is doubtful whether it could be actually used in ways compatible with International Humanitarian Law and the Laws of War, which require that weapons be used only in ways respecting distinctness, necessity and proportionality, but its threat of use could respect these principles in affording deterrence provided human error cannot lead to their accidental deployment, this requiring that they be controlled by carefully designed autonomous and automatic systems. I then consider objections based on conceptions of human dignity and find that very often dignity too is best served by autonomous machine killing. Examples include saving your village by activating a robot to kill invading enemies who would inflict great indignity on your village, using a suicide robot to save yourself from a less dignified death at enemy hands, using a robotic drone to kill someone otherwise not accessible in order to restore dignity to someone this person killed and to his family, and using a robot to kill someone who needs killing, but the killing of whom by a human executioner would soil the executioner’s dignity. I conclude that what matters in rightful killing isn’t necessarily that it be under the direct control of a human, but that it be under the control of morality; and that could sometimes require use of an autonomous or automated device. (This paper was formerly called "Fire and Forget: A Defense of the Use of Autonomous Weapons in War" on Philpapers; the current title is the title of the published version.). (shrink)
This paper identifies a puzzle that emerges when recent work on the suspension of judgement is integrated with evidentialist solutions to the wrong kind of reasons problem: it looks like there is no such thing as a reason to suspend judgement. Two possible responses to this puzzle are considered: one recharacterizes the suspension of judgement as a mental action, and the other recharacterizes it as a second-order attitude. It is argued that these responses sidestep the puzzle only with unacceptable compromise (...) to the view of suspension of judgement.Cet article relève une impasse qui apparaît quand les travaux récents sur la suspension du jugement sont intégrés aux solutions évidentialistes au problème de la «mauvaise sorte de raison» : il semble qu’il n’existe aucune raison pour suspendre le jugement. Deux réponses possibles à cette impasse sont considérées ici : l’une redéfinit la suspension du jugement comme une action mentale, l’autre la redéfinit comme une attitude de second ordre. L’article fait valoir que ces réponses n’évitent l’impasse qu’en compromettant de manière inacceptable la notion de suspension du jugement. (shrink)