The ‘Tree of Life’ is intended to represent the pattern of evolutionary processes that result in bifurcating species lineages. Often justified in reference to Darwin’s discussions of trees, the Tree of Life has run up against numerous challenges especially in regard to prokaryote evolution. This special issue examines scientific, historical and philosophical aspects of debates about the Tree of Life, with the aim of turning these criticisms towards a reconstruction of prokaryote phylogeny and even some aspects of the standard evolutionary (...) understanding of eukaryotes. These discussions have arisen out of a multidisciplinary collaboration of people with an interest in the Tree of Life, and we suggest that this sort of focused engagement enables a practical understanding of the relationships between biology, philosophy and history. (shrink)
The realization that prokaryotes naturally and frequently disperse genes across steep taxonomic boundaries via lateral gene transfer gave wings to the idea that eukaryotes might do the same. Eukaryotes do acquire genes from mitochondria and plastids and they do transfer genes during the process of secondary endosymbiosis, the spread of plastids via eukaryotic algal endosymbionts. From those observations it, however, does not follow that eukaryotes transfer genes either in the same ways as prokaryotes do, or to a quantitatively similar degree. (...) An important illustration of the difference is that eukaryotes do not exhibit pangenomes, though prokaryotes do. Eukaryotes reveal no detectable cumulative effects of LGT, though prokaryotes do. A critical analysis suggests that something is deeply amiss with eukaryote LGT theories. In prokaryotes, genes from the environment can enter the genome via lateral gene transfer. In eukaryote genetics, natural variation comes from within the genome, not from the environment. Yet many reports claim that eukaryotes undergo LGT just like prokaryotes. Such claims do not withstand scrutiny and are probably untrue. (shrink)
This article examines the various pedagogic models suggested by widely used texts and finds them to be predominately rule-based or rule directed. These approaches to the subject matter of business ethics are quite valuable ones, but we find them to leave no room for the study of the virtues. We intend to articulate our reasons for supporting a central if not exclusive role for virtue ethics.
Socially responsible investing identifies the fiduciary duty and liability for financial advisors serving individual and institutional clients when consulting in the SRI space. This article first discusses the role of a fiduciary emerging from both a legal and an ethical basis. Further, the special aspects of maintaining fiduciary duty and minimizing fiduciary liability are described as they relate to SRI. A number of recommendations are discussed: legal, ethical, and practice. This study argues that prudence focuses more on the process of (...) decisions rather than their outcomes, as measured exclusively by rate of return. (shrink)
Developing and applying a framework for understanding the complexities of economic and legal considerations in two recent Supreme Court rulings was the focus of this research. Of especial concern was the protection of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry. Two cases from 2013 were selected: FTC v. Activis and Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.. Part of the rationale for the selection was the importance of the Supreme Court rulings and the importance of the pharmaceutical sector. A qualitative (...) content analysis of the Court’s reported decision in each case was analyzed. Since ethical considerations may or may not be consistent with efficiency considerations of plaintiffs, defendants, or the courts, both efficiency and ethical arguments were included. Equally important to the understanding of the economic and ethical issues in the two above- mentioned cases was the development of a rationale for including and excluding a variety of ethical theories, ultimately influenced by Markkula Center For Applied Ethics Of Santa Clara University and Schumann :93–111, 2001). The refinement and use of a levels analysis approach portrays societal, organizational, and individual impacts, and allows for deeper understanding of litigated cases, irrespective of the country in which the litigation takes place :385–393, 2004; Foss et al., J Manag Stud 47:455–482, 2010). A rationale for this framework is the societal and organizational impacts on the myriad of stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector. We suggest that this framework can be applied to other industries and other complex conflicts among stakeholders as well. (shrink)
The question concerning the meaning of life is important, but it immediately confronts the present authors with insurmountable obstacles from a philosophical standpoint, as it would require us to define not only what we hold to be life, but what we hold to be meaning in addition, requiring us to do both in a properly researched context. We unconditionally surrender to that challenge. Instead, we offer a vernacular, armchair approach to life’s origin and meaning, with some layman’s thoughts on the (...) meaning of origins as viewed from the biologist’s standpoint. One can observe that biologists generally approach the concept of biological meaning in the context of evolution. This is the basis for the broad resonance behind Dobzhansky’s appraisal that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Biologists try to understand living things in the historical context of how they arose, without giving much thought to the definition of what life or living things are, which for a biologist is usually not an interesting question in the practical context of daily dealings with organisms. Do humans generally understand life’s meaning in the context of history? If we consider the problem of life’s origin, the question of what constitutes a living thing becomes somewhat more acute for the biologist, though not more answerable, because it is inescapable that there was a time when there were no organisms on Earth, followed by a time when there were, the latter time having persisted in continuity to the present. This raises the question of where, in that transition, chemicals on Earth became alive, requiring, in turn, a set of premises for how life arose in order to conceptualize the problem in relation to organisms we know today, including ourselves, which brings us to the point of this paper: In the same way that cultural narratives for origins always start with a setting, scientific narratives for origins also always start with a setting, a place on Earth or elsewhere where we can imagine what happened for the sake of structuring both the problem and the narrative for its solution. This raises the question of whether scientific origins settings convey meaning to humans in that they suggest to us from what kind of place and what kinds of chemicals we are descended, that is, to which inanimate things we are most closely related. (shrink)
Like COVID-19, new infectious disease outbreaks emerge almost annually, and studies predict that this trend will continue due to a variety of factors, including an aging population, ease of travel, and globalization of the economy. In response to episodic public health crises, governments and organizations develop, implement, and enforce policies, procedures, protocols, and programs. The epidemiological triad is both a model of disease causation and fundamentally used to design and deploy such control measures. Here we adapt this model to the (...) workplace setting and use the epidemiological triad to characterize the related ethical challenges in implementing the control measures employers face as a guide for a workplace intervention framework. Through this approach, our aim is to show how an integrated ethical framework, grounded in epidemiological principles, has important implications for how we categorize, understand, and resolve the difficult decisions that emerge in the workplace under pandemic conditions. (shrink)
This paper examines judge Richard A. Posner’s “The Concept of Corrective Justice in Recent Theories of Tort Law,” as well as arestatement of that position in The Problems of Jurisprudence, and argues that Judge Posner has mistakenly claimed Aristotle’s notion of corrective justice as a significant component of the economic theory of law.
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