Science & Logic

An Incoherent Proposal to Revise the Uniform Determination of Death Act

It has been 50 years since the medical profession adopted the determination of death according to neurological criteria, known as “brain death.”  This doctrine was codified in 1981 in the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), which declares,  “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead.” ¶ In a recent article in Annals of Internal Medicine, Ariane Lewis, Richard Bonnie, and Thaddeus Pope identify four problems with the UDDA and its implementation, and propose a revised formulation. One of their reasons for revising the UDDA is the long-known fact that hormonal functions originating in the hypothalamus in the brain can continue in a patient who satisfies the diagnostic standards for brain death.  Thus, a revision to the UDDA should indicate “whether hormonal functions are included in ‘all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem’.”  Describing recent lawsuits challenging the determination of death by neurological criteria, the authors note, “This raised the question of whether the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus are part of the ‘entire brain’.  If they are, the accepted medical standards for DNC [death by neurological criteria] (which do not test for cessation of hormonal functions) are not consistent with the statutory requirements for declaration of death.” However, even raising the query as to whether the hypothalamus and posterior pituitary are part of the “entire brain” is absurd:  it is an undisputable... -

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Natural deduction for quantifier logic

It’s very late in the day, as I hope to get IFL2 finally off to the Press within the next fortnight or so. But since the natural deduction chapters are new to the second edition it is understandable (I hope!) that I am still worrying away at them, tinkering here... -

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Companion to Wisdom Literature

Due to drop in March — featuring of course, Philo of Alexandria. fourth gospelhellenismJewish Identitylogosphilo of alexandriaPlatoseptuagintwisdom literature -

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Natural deduction for quantifier logic It’s very late in the day, as I hope to get IFL2 finally off to the Press within the next fortnight or so. But since the natural deduction chapters are new to the second edition it is understandable (I hope!) that I am still worrying away at them, tinkering here and there. Here then is the latest version of the three main chapters on QL proofs. Any last minute corrections and/or helpful comments (other than, perhaps,... Logic Matters -


Companion to Wisdom Literature Due to drop in March — featuring of course, Philo of Alexandria. fourth gospelhellenismJewish Identitylogosphilo of alexandriaPlatoseptuagintwisdom literature Man Without Qualities -


McTaggart’s philosophy of time Nice explication by Emily Thomas of McTaggart’s classic argument for the unreality of time. It was Michael Dummett who reinvigorated interest in McTaggart after decades of neglect. British IdealismMcTaggartmetaphysicsMichael Dummetttime Man Without Qualities -


An Incoherent Proposal to Revise the Uniform Determination of Death Act It has been 50 years since the medical profession adopted the determination of death according to neurological criteria, known as “brain death.”  This doctrine was codified in 1981 in the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA), which declares,  “An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead.” In a recent article in Annals... Hastings Bioethics -


Lebesgue sums previsions don't always lead to Dutch Books for inconsistent credences Suppose E is the Lebesgue-sum prevision. Namely, if W is a wager on a finite space Ω with a credence (perhaps inconsistent P) and UW is the utility function corresponding to W, then EW = ∑yP({ω : UW(ω)=y}). Suppose your decision procedure for repeated wagers is to accept a wager if and only if the wager’s value is non-negative (independently of whatever other wagers you might have accepted). Suppose, further, that Ω has exactly two points and the credence... Alexander Pruss -


The End of Mechanism, #5–Scientific Pietism and Scientific Naturalism. Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Natural Piety and the Limits of Science III. From Kant’s Anti-Mechanism to Kantian Anti-Mechanism IV. Organicism Unbound: In Defense of Natural Piety V. Scientific Pietism and Scientific Naturalism VI. How to Ground Natural Science on Sensibility VII. Sensible Science 1: Natural Science Without Natural Mechanism VIII. Sensible Science 2: … [continue reading] Against Professional Philosophy -


Dimensions of counterfactual thought Felipe De Brigard is Associate Professor in the departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience, and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. He’s the principal investigator of the Imagination and Modal Cognition lab (www.imclab.org) associated with the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. His research concerns memory, imagination, and moral cognition, and has been published in philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific venues. A post by Felipe De Brigard.For the past few years, my lab has been... The Junkyard -


Category theory and quantum mechanics My last link to something categorical turned out to be pointing to a less-than-splended online resource. I hope this is rather better! I’d heard tell of people interested in quantum foundations and quantum information getting entangled (see what I did there?) with category theory. And by chance, I  stumbled a few days ago across details of a course currently being run in Oxford. The course materials are a late draft of Categorical Quantum Mechanics by Chris... Logic Matters -


Mental Representation [Revised entry by David Pitt on January 21, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The notion of a "mental representation" is, arguably, in the first instance a theoretical construct of cognitive science. As such, it is a basic concept of the Computational Theory of Mind, according to which cognitive states and processes are constituted by the occurrence, transformation and storage (in the mind/brain) of information-bearing structures (representations) of one kind or another.... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Evolutionary Epistemology [Revised entry by Michael Bradie and William Harms on January 21, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Evolutionary Epistemology is a naturalistic approach to epistemology which emphasizes the importance of natural selection in two primary roles. In the first role, selection is the generator and maintainer of the reliability of our senses and cognitive mechanisms, as well as the "fit" between those mechanisms and the world. In the second role, trial and error learning and... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Will gene editing unlock new potentials for progress? The modification of genomes is synonymous with human progress. As such, technological advances improving the precision with which we are able to modify genomes can only be a good thing. So why does it make us so uneasy?Much of human progress can be attributed to the domestication of plants and animals into crops and livestock. Domestication is the slow and arduous process of concentrating desirable traits within a particular species by deliberately breeding individuals carrying... IAI.tv -


the first review of Art and Objects Or at least the first review I’ve seen. By Scott Beauchamp, HERE. Object Oriented Philosophy -


An argument against time travel or for temporal parts or for internal time Start with this plausible claim: If two objects are composed of the very same particles at the same time, then they have the same shape. But now consider a statue of a horse that is reshaped into a statue of a tree and then time-travels back to sit besides the statue of the horse. Then the statue of the horse and the statue of the tree are composed of the very same particles at the... Alexander Pruss -


$2.6 Million Funding for Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider An interdisciplinary research group has received funding totalling approximately US$2.6 million to pursue its study of  “the world’s largest research instrument”: the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Inside the Large Hadron Collider The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider “builds on the expectations today’s high energy physicists of a fundamental change in their theories and epistemic practices and links them to the complex conditions of large-scale research,”... Daily Nous -


Frances Egan’s “The role of Representation in Computational Cognitive Models” We are excited about the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday (10th). As always, it is free. You can find information about how and when to join the webinar below or at the Neural Mechanisms website—where you can also join sign up for the mailing list that notifies people about upcoming webinars, webconferences, and more! The Role of Representation in Computational Cognitive Models Frances EganRutgers University24 January 2020at h 15-17 Greenwhich Mean Time(Convert to your... Brains Blog -


S. Senn: “Error point: The importance of knowing how much you don’t know” (guest post) . Stephen Senn Consultant Statistician Edinburgh ‘The term “point estimation” made Fisher nervous, because he associated it with estimation without regard to accuracy, which he regarded as ridiculous.’ Jimmy Savage [1, p. 453]  First things second The classic text by David Cox and David Hinkley, Theoretical Statistics (1974), has two extremely interesting features as regards estimation. The first is in the form of an indirect, implicit, message and the second explicit and both teach that... Error Statistics -


Herbert Simon and Agent-Based Computational Economics The seventh in a series of excerpts from Minds, Models and Milieux: Commemorating the Centennial of the Birth of Herbert Simon. Shu-Heng Chen and Ying Fang Kao Herbert Simon is a quintessential interdisciplinary scholar who has made pioneering contributions concerning the notion of bounded rationality, has built models based on it, and has also made important advances in… Man Without Qualities -


The Great Escape Motorcycle Jump Yet another Christmas viewing of “The Great Escape”, this time with the twofold expertise of Bud Ekins and Guy Martin firmly in mind. The former was the stunt double for McQueen orchestrating the original jump; the latter, all round good egg Guy Martin. And if two wheels is your thing, you probably already know that… Man Without Qualities -


A Philosopher Takes on Evolutionary Psychology “Evolutionary psychological inferences commonly fail to satisfy reasonable epistemic criteria.” The failures are so significant that good evolutionary psychology may not be possible.  So argues Subrena Smith, a philosopher at the University of New Hampshire. Her paper, “Is Evolutionary Psychology Possible?“, was recently published in Biological Theory. In it, she argues that the popular research program of evolutionary psychology is methodologically unsound. Dr. Smith also wrote a shorter version of the argument that was published at The Evolution Institute. In... Daily Nous -


Theology and Geometry: Essays on John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces Webpage now up. a confederacy of duncesBoethiusJohn Kennedy Toolenew orleansphilosophical literature Man Without Qualities -