• Scott Russell added an answer:
    Why is it ethical to use animals in research?
    Although it is of great benefit to use animals in research, but how is it ethical? A disease is induced, animals are suffering and terminated at the end of experiment. Are ethics determined based on interest or power?
    Scott Russell · University of Michigan-Flint

    I'm an animal and it is more ethical for them to experiment on me than on you. What a tragedy it would be if they experimented on people like the CIA has done or as the US Public Health Service did at Tuskeegee. Just be thankful that us animals enjoy the free food, shelter and cool names you guys give us.

  • Wayne Macpherson added an answer:
    In the current era, is kaizen still a relevant approach to organizational life?

    While kaizen has been a pervasive phenomenon that guides the organization’s approach to daily tasks and existence over the longer-term, the oft-reported lackluster performance of the Japanese economy has inevitably resulted in questioning the real effectiveness of kaizen as the underpinning, custodial philosophy of Japanese industry.

    Wayne Macpherson · Fukuoka Women's University

    Thank you for all your opinions and insight. It is very motivating to hear such positive feedback especially when others are questioning kaizen.

    Most noteworthy, and something that divides the kaizen camp is that some see kaizen primarily as an underpinning philosophy, and a 'way' to organisational life, with explicit outcomes; and those that view kaizen as tools and methodologies for quick profit.

  • Nelson Orringer added an answer:
    Should cartoons be taken seriously?
    A cartoon is a drawing that portrays situations in an exaggerated style for
    humorous or satirical effect.

    See, for example, the sample cartoon from an 1869 issue of Punch magazine. Many cartoons have the universality of music. We do not have to read music to appreciate a sonata or symphony. Only listening is required. Similarly, one does not need to read the captions for most cartoons to see the humor or satire in a cartoon drawing by itself.

    Every country has its own cartoons and cartoonists. Here are some examples:

    Ziraldo Alves Pinto; Brazilian cartoonist
    Steve Bell (cartoonist) The Guardian (UK)
    Sergio Aragonés, known for his contributions to Mad
    Richard Decker, The New Yorker
    Yuliy Abramovich Ganf, Russia, Krokodil magazine
    Geoff "Jeff" Hook, Australian, Herald Sun
    John Leech, 19th-century Punch cartoonist
    Mario Miranda, The Economic Times, India
    Mana Neyestani, Iranian cartoonist
    Shigeru Mizuki, manga cartoonist
    René Pellos, French cartoonist
    Peter Klusen, German writer and cartoonist

    Cartoons appeal to young and old alike. So the question for this thread is Do cartoons have a message that we should take seriously? Do cartoons convey an underlying philosophy or message along with the humor of a cartoon?
    Nelson Orringer · University of Connecticut

    Actually, Jim, Franco was merely in the process of acquiring absolute power in 1937 when Picasso drew his cartoon. Franco had bombed Guernica and the Republican forces were on the run. This was not good for Picasso personally, since the Republic had named him Director of the Prado Museum, Given Picasso´s reputation, after the Franco victory in 1939, the absolute dictator never removed him from his directorship, although Picasso did nothing, as he was living in exile.

  • Joris Verrips added an answer:
    What is the difference between cognition and perception?
    Cognition and perception: which one precedes the other?
    Joris Verrips ·

    I welcome the efforts by Wilfried Musterle, Mehdi Hedayatpoor and Tarak Paul to sort out the semantics of our discussion. Of course, saying perception is not the same thing as saying cognition, just like thinking and being lucky are not the same thing. But... what those words refer to can be intertwined. As when Pasteur remarked that 'luck only helps the prepared mind'. Likewise, one may wonder 'is it a cat or is it a lion that approaches me in yonder bushes'. Perhaps one can not say that to think means that we perceive thoughts, but to me consciousness and perception are related. And when we discuss these subtle matters, it is always ... our perception of them! 

    By the way, these words, who clearly originated in my thoughts, are now perceived by you, because the owner of their intellectual property,, allows it. So those are no longer my words that you, the reader, may perceive!

  • Francesca Cansani added an answer:
    Is there a community out there that combines philosophy and psychology?
    Can anyone help me find out if there is a community out there that in interested in what may be thought of as a blending of Philosophy and psychology? I need to stress that I am not talking about the philosophy 'of' psychology. I am interested in a blending of the 2 disciplines. I would also be interested to know about possible publications in this area.
  • Aashish Basnet added an answer:
    What is perceptual mereology?
    Is anyone aware of literature that considers what could perhaps be thought of as perceptual mereology? What I mean by this is a parts-whole account of how we perceive and understand our worlds, how we bring the parts we apprehend together to form the whole worlds as meaningful experiences? This question arose out of another question I posted and I wanted to share this with a wider audience.
    Aashish Basnet · Perfection Help Association Nepal

    For me recently studying Sandra Cisnero's "The House On the Mango Street" in vignette form provided the literature that considers what could perhaps be thought of as perceptual mereology...

  • Thomas Zingelmann added an answer:
    Did Adorno accomplish, what he sought to do with his major work on "Negative Dialectics"?

    In his book "Negative Dialectics" Theodor W. Adorno sought to provide a new approach to philosophical dialectics, based on and criticising Kant, Hegel, Marx, and rather destructive Heidegger. In doing this he tried to avoid any essentialistic manner and point of view, but could not help himself, but to choose rather polemic language when it comes to Heidegger or the Shoa and its consequences for philosophy. 

    The question, therefore, would be: did he or did he not accomplish a "negative dialectics", which truely avoids mistakes and essentialism that previous dialectics failed to see?

  • Larry Carlson added an answer:
    Does certainty or absolute truth exist?
    Our means of perceiving reality through our senses make us vulnerable to distortions and biases. But with scientific methodologies, can we claim that perception of objective reality is indeed possible? OR objective reality only in the context of known knowledge of the time/period?
    Larry Carlson · United Tribes Technical College

    Barry...Straw man fallacy-I didn't claim that the forest did not exist when no one was there. If you reread my posts carefully, you will see that I did not deny the existence of the metaphorical forest.  I merely pointed out that such things as sounds (as we hear them), colors (as we perceive them), and sizes, as we measure them, have no objective correlative in nature. 

    For example, there is no objective color pink, which suggests that what we refer to as colors is a totally subjective thing. (No two people see exactly the same color anyway). And Einstein showed us, contrary to common sense, that our conceptions of time, space, and speed are similarly subjective. Likewise, Bohr and Heisenberg suggested, again, counter intuitively, that qualities such as position, spin, etc. are largely products of our own imaging and imagination.

    It is true that commentators (with whom I agree) have noted that Bohr may have gone too far in suggesting that an electron has no position at all or does not even exist until we measure/observe it, but this is all still very much a debated topic, with no clear resolution in sight.

    What is clear is that there is much about the nature of reality that defies common sense.  Many people, for example, might have wondered what forest mushrooms Einstein was eating (and where they could get some) when he came up with many of his counter-intuitive theories about the nature of time and space.

    Some, lets, say, multi-dimensional vibrations composed of "God knows what" make up that thing I label a car, so that I fall asleep each night secure in the "knowledge"  that I can drive to work in the morning when I regain consciousness. However, it is absurd to ask what the car looks or sounds like when I am sleeping. That said, I did not state that nothing existed when I was asleep, or after I die, or after every living thing dies.

    There is No Exit: We cannot escape our own subjectivity and therefore it is pointless to presume that any natural or alleged supernatural being can describe or experience things as they really are outside of consciousness, and therefore pointless to speak of absolute truth with respect to some external, objective reality.

    Kan'ts epistemological revolution, in a nutshell, was that sensations and perceptions are ineluctably subjective...this is a concept that defies common sense.  In keeping with this approach, I would note that our (most people's) first instinct, for example, is to think that we absolutely see the same exact colors as our kids sitting next to us on the hillside on July 4th as we ooh and aah over the colorful fireworks...but this is an illusion.  (Cf. Piaget's stages of learning, wherein, for example, a child thinks that others see a landscape from the same angle that he/she does, as if there was only one absolute perspective). 

    Likewise, of course, many "sensible" people thought (on the basis of their common sense) that Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud (whose theories also contradicted prevalent social beliefs) must be on drugs.

    P.S.   Ummmm, ok, I guess Freud was high on opium and cocaine from time to time, though we can hardly dismiss his revolutionary ideas because of that.

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    Does the proximity (nearness) of symmetric structures in tilings, drawing the eye to points at infinity, have counterparts in nature?
    The art of tiling originated very early in the history of civilization. The basic idea with tiling is to tessellate a surface, covering a surface with small shapes (tiny triangles, squares, hexagons, octagons, and so on) to create patterns with various symmetries, resulting in a pleasing picture. A plane tiling is a countable family of closed sets that cover the plane without gaps or overlaps (B. Grunbaum, G.C. Shephard, Tilings and Patterns, W.H. Freeman and Co., N.Y., 1957, p. 16). Here are some sample tilings made by artisans and made by nature.

    The first set of Tilings is from the Alhambra at Granada in Spain. For more about this, see
    The second example of a tiling is from M.C. Escher, who visited the Alhambra, marveling at the wealth of decoration in majolica tiles,
    sketching a section that especially attracted him “for its great complexity and geometric artistry”. This first encounter with the tilings in the Alhambra likely increased his interest in making his own tilings (D. Schattschneider, The mathematical side of M.C. Escher, Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc. 57(6), 2010, 707-718).
    For more about this, see
    For example, in May, 1964, Escher completed is tiling called Square Limit. It contains three rings surrounding the center square, forming a grid of self-similar triangles.
    There are many examples of natural tilings (but on a 3D surface instead of the plane). The third example of a tiling comes from nature: images of giraffe parent and offspring (contributed by Hanno Krieger in another thread). In this case, the tesselation of the surface of a giraffe is carried out with many similar shapes (unlike Escher's tilings). Natural tesslations typically provide camouflage for an animal or bird or fish.
    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Cj Nev: Changing (curved) space surrounding formations I believe accounts for differences or asymmetries in otherwise symmetrical (mathematically-conforming) patterns throughout all of nature.

    Your point is well-taken, since the slight distortions (stretching and shrinking actions) appear to be induced in natural patterns on a large scale by the curvature of space.

  • Stefano Veneroni added an answer:
    Universe's systematic description, epistemological dualism between Relativity/Quantum Mechanics and 'a priori' knowledge.

    How can Quantum Mechanics explain the connection between matter, antimatter and gravitation, while being respectful of the (phoronomic) rules of general relativity? How can the connection between 'continuum' and 'discrete' be explained according to the epistemological model of a 'classical' theory?

    Stefano Veneroni · Université Paris-Sorbonne - Paris IV

    « Εἰ δὲ μὴ ἔστι πάντα πρός τι, ἀλλ' ἔνιά ἐστι καὶ αὐτὰ καθ' αὑτά, οὐκ ἂν εἴη πᾶν τὸ φαινόμενον ἀληθές· τὸ γὰρ φαινόμενον τινί ἐστι φαινόμενον· ὥστε ὁ λέγων ἅπαντα τὰ [20] φαινόμενα εἶναι ἀληθῆ ἅπαντα ποιεῖ τὰ ὄντα πρός τι.. Διὸ καὶ φυλακτέον τοῖς τὴν βίαν ἐν τῷ λόγῳ ζητοῦσιν, ἅμα δὲ καὶ ὑπέχειν λόγον ἀξιοῦσιν, ὅτι οὐ τὸ φαινόμενον ἔστιν ἀλλὰ τὸ φαινόμενον ᾧ φαίνεται καὶ ὅτε φαίνεται καὶ ᾗ καὶ ὥς. » (Aristotele, Métaphysique, Γ, 6, 1011 a, 16-24).

  • David T. Risser added an answer:
    What is the philosophical foundation of sustainable development? What is the importance of art in this?
    In need for the understanding of art and philosophy
    David T. Risser · Millersville University

    Regarding the philosophy of art, I highly recommend the work in aesthetics done by the late Monroe Beardsley and the journal, Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

  • Christopher James Davia added an answer:
    Is the concept of ‘life’ only metaphysical?
    There is an amazingly high number of definitions of ‘life’, leading to reflect that “scepticism is multiplied by the above number, leaving almost no chance for new formulations which, however, continue to appear” (1). Actually the concept of life is “too vague and general, and loaded with a number of historical, traditional, religious values” (2). Although life is “a useful word in practice”, it is “not a scientific concept” (3). The concept of life is related to an indefinable state. Any definition of life is subjective and arbitrary as is the boundary between living and non-living systems or pinpointing the moment when non living systems would have become living. For instance, saying that virus or prions or vesicles with the capacity of evolving are living systems (or not) adds nothing more than the definition of life one would propose. Finally the statement that any such boundary or moment exists is not falsifiable: no experiment can be considered to prove that it can be wrong (4). Therefore, as the distinction between living and non living systems is a matter of belief and not science, it is not only hopeless but useless to try to define this indefinable state related to a metaphysical question (5).
    1. E. N. Trifonov. J Biomol Struct Dyn 29, 259-266 (2011).
    2. P. L Luisi. The Emergence of Life: from Chemical Origins to Synthetic Biology. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, USA (2006).
    3. J. Gayon. Orig Life Evol Biosph 40, 231-244 (2010).
    4. M. Tessera. J Biomol Struct Dyn 29, 635-636 (2012).
    5. M. Tessera. Int J Mol Sci 12, 3445-3458 (2011.

    Dear Dr Tessera,

    I am very pleased that you have read my work.

    As is argued in the paper that life maintains its organisation as a consequence of the way in which it mediates transitions to more favourable thermodynamic states.

    The principle agent of catalysis is a special type of wave - a soliton.

    These waves are found at every scale in biology and are implicated in processes as diverse as muscle function and cognitive processes.

    The key to understanding these waves is the fact that they are also information carriers - their robustness results as a direct consequence of the fact that they embody information relating to their boundary conditions as part of their dynamic structure.

    There is evidence to suggest that both biological functioning and biological development are controlled by these waves - thus - bioenergetics = bioinformatics.

    The strength of the theory lies in the fact that it represents a significant simplification of the the biological process and its evolution. It provides a model of cognition and also explains the extraordinary robustness of living processes without recourse to additional principles.

    You might find these papers useful.

  • Rognvaldur Ingthorsson added an answer:
    How is action at temporal distance possible?

    This is partly a philosophical question as well as empirical. Action at a distance in space is one thing. Action at a distance in time is less well discussed in science and philosophy.

    Rognvaldur Ingthorsson · Lund University

    Sean, about co-incidence. That is a good question, about which I am not decided. It might be the case that our idea that things cannot coincide in space and time is just a result of the contingent fact that macroscopic objects typically interact in such a was as to repel one another. That would make the idea that two things cannot occupy the same space an empirical inference and not a logical truth. Indeed, the idea used to be connected to the idea that objects necessarily were solid or "impenetrable". However, it may not be impossible that microscopic entities coincided on the most fundamental level. For instance, one might think of superposition of waves as two entities occupying the same spatiotemporal location. But then again, we would have to assume that we now are regarding waves at the highest resolution so that they do not merely appear to coincide, but actually do. At the moment I don't see whether it is important to take a stand one way or another, at least not for the issue of causality. For instance, if co-incidence is possible, that would not change anything about the principle of locality or action at a distance. But I guess, only entities that merely attract and do not repel each other could coincide in that way.

    You are also right that the account is meant to discriminate between mere regularity and causal regularity. Anyway, the regularity theory always was a plan B; it only has appeal if you ascribe to some kind of scepticism (say, like Hume) that forbids you to speculate about the nature of reality beyond perception (or observation). It is not as if regularity theory explains things better in any way at all, it really says something like: "since we cannot speculate about nature beyond observation, regularity is the best we can get". 

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    From your point of view, what are examples of geometric patterns in digital images?

    Repeated polygonal shapes or repeated colours are sources of visual patterns.   Another important source of patterns are the  presence of convex sets and convex hulls in digital images, especially in naturally camouflaged or in artificially camouflaged objects .   A set A is convex provided the line segment connecting any points A is contained in A.   A convex hull is the smallest convex set containing a set of points (see the attached image).   Also,  see the many convex sets in the natural camouflage of the dragon in the attached image and in,d.aWw

     Convex sets have many applications in the study of digital images.   For example, convex sets are used in solving image recovery problems:

    and in image restoration:

    Convexity recognition is useful in object shape analysis in digital images:

    Another important application of convexity is rooftop and building detection in aerial images:

    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Hasan Hadi Khaleel: it is highly required to downscale images for better processing and detecting.

    Downscaling digital images can be accomplished in a number of ways.    One of those ways is to detect and analyse the presence of convex shapes such as parallelograms in digital images.   This process is described on page 1454 in

    X. Huoo, X. Ni, Detectability of convex-shaped objects in digital images, its fundamental limit and multi scale analysis, Statistica Sinica 19, 2009, 1439-1462:

  • Juan Pascual-Leone added an answer:
    Does anyone know when mereology was taken out of the more mathematical and calculus based philosophical work of authors such as Lesniewski?

    Is anyone aware of the term mereology being used in a more general philosophical or psychological sense to mean parts and wholes?

    Juan Pascual-Leone · York University

    Dear Paul:
    My apologies for the delay in replying.
    Tthe distinction by Piaget between two distinct ways of knowing -- repertoires of schemes/structures, i.e., the Logical (or Logico-Mathematical) domain versus the Infralogical (or spatio-temporal, or object construction, or coordination of actions, or empirical/experiential or sub-logical) domain is central to his work,. However,  the infralogical  is not easy to identify in his writing, particularly in English, due to the variable terminology –  although important to his theorizing. He uses the infralogical domain as a counterpoint to the logical one, recognizing the former as the original experiential source and testing ground for the truth value of the latter. With some reinterpretations and adaptations, he explicates the infralogical using a variant of his logical models for elementary logic (logic of classes – here redefined as infra-classes – and the logic of relations. The  part-whole relations he examines developmentally in his analysis of the child’s construction of objects and space . To my knowledge he did not address the issue of how his infralogical theorizing related to Lesniewski’s Mereologic although  he was aware of Lesniewski’s work.
    I have selected English  books of Piaget that refer to the infralogical domain in various alternative terms.  Perhaps the first source that a philosopher might wish to consult  is (1) E.W.Beth & J. Piaget, “Mathematical Epistemology and Psychology”, now own by Springer Publishers [original, Dordrecht, Holland : D. Reidel Pub. Co., 1966.]. Under various names, infralogical structures are analyzed in this book in Chapters IX, X, section 58 of Chapter XI, and section 62 of Chapter XII. I am using the French original version, but I imagine ordering of chapters and sections has been preserved.
    Two other relevant theoretical sources of Piaget’s work in English are: (2) J. Piaget "The Equilibration of Cognitive Structures", Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Part 2 and Part 3 of this book are particularly relevant. (3) His “famous” article about Piaget’s theory [J. Piaget, Piaget’s Theory. In P.H. Mussen, Ed., “Handbook of Child Psychology”, Volume I, J. Wiley & sons, 1946/1983]
    A more concrete discussion of his unique infralogical logic appears in older books. For instance, (4) his book on Space (Piaget & Inhelder’s “The Child’s Conception of Space”, Norton & Company, 1967), Chapter XV gives you his overview.
    His two very original psychology books on the development of Logic are: (5) Piaget & Inhelder, book on the emergence of elementary logical structures [the English translation  is, I believe, by Inhelder & Piaget, “The Early Growth of Logic in the Child”, Routledge, 1999], and (6) Inhelder & Piaget, 1958, “The Growth of Logical Thinking,” Basic Books, Inc. In the latter book Chapter 17 might be where to start.
    Finally another scholarly and useful theoretical source (7) written by a psychologist, which looks at Piaget’s later work from an epistemological perspective (the, albeit excellent, has been ignored because of a misguided early book review ! ), This is : Rita Vuyk’s “Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology 1965-1980”. Published by Academic Press in two volumes, in 1981.

  • Matthieu Vergne added an answer:
    Are differentials (or comparisons) a suitable basis for value systems?

    Establishing a sounding valuation system is a hard problem. Many researchers who had to use a Likert scale or establish a fitness function had probably thought that the concrete numbers they were using were just arbitrary choices, yet they could have a significant influence when we use them in number calculation. Why should it be 1 here and 5 there? Why this scale? In the technique X, there is a normalization process, so the scale does not matter... so why should I be forced to chose one?

    I personally work with rankings of people and, while it is obvious that, given a characteristics, one person is above/under/equivalent to another, without giving a concrete value (e.g. we can obviously see that someone is taller than another even without measuring it precisely), yet rankings are prone to be replaced by valued vectors (e.g. indexe, values between 0 and 1, or 1 and X, or others) just to be able to "compute" them as numeric vectors. But such choices are arbitrary, still we just use them (we have learned it that way)... and if it works then fine, no need to think further.

    In the case of an artificial intelligence needing to learn "everything from scratch" (understand: minimizing the bias introduced by its designer by learning it from the environment), could it be relevant to consider that, internally, the value system is built on a set of comparisons? For instance, I like sugar (value: sugar is good) because I prefer cakes to pizza, strawberries to yoghurt, ... (comparisons) and not the opposite (I prefer X to Y because I like sugar). We identify by abstraction that, because we prefer things which are classified as sweet, then we like sugar.

    My initial intuition is that, at the living being level (human or any other animal, maybe vegetal I don't know), when an individual borns, it also has to learn its own physiological condition: I am receiving many signals from the external world (e.g. touch, smell, vision) as well as producing many signals by myself (e.g. muscle contraction), but I don't have a clue of the meaning behind each of them. No one is a 100% clone of one another, so it is hard to assume that we internally have the exactly same system working on, so having "objective values" seems to me hard to believe. However, I can feel the difference on the signal (stronger/lower or increasing/decreasing), and by a feedback loop (I increase this produced signal and this received signal decreases) I can learn the effect.

    Even the signals is completely different between two individuals (supposing the body is adapted for that), for instance reversing the sign of the current or shifting the signal or changing its scale (e.g. instead of a signal between 0.5 and 3mV -imaginary values- we have 10-23mV), because the learning is based on the evolution of the signal rather than its absolute value, one can still learn exactly the same thing, yet he feels it completely differently. For instance, one could see the world in negative colors, but because he has learned that this "white" color (that another see black) is called "black", when he sees something "white" he still calls it "black", which is correct.

    The implication would be to not need to choose any arbitrary values, just having "values" there, whatever they are, and making sense of them relatively to others. As well as the meaning of a word (which is basically an arbitrary symbol) is given by its relations with other words (or internal feelings), rather than any intrinsic meaning.

    I did not find any work discussing such approach, so I don't know if there is already papers in artificial intelligence evaluating such kind of systems. I don't even know if there is phylosophical works on it.

    Matthieu Vergne · Fondazione Bruno Kessler

    If I have to mention a problem to solve, I would say the arbitrariness of such scale, which gives me a bad taste when I read such a thing in a scientific paper. Being more formal, the fact that replacing a qualitative scale (e.g. A/B/C) by a quantitative one (e.g. 1/2/3) AND using these numbers in calculation (otherwise it is just a symbol replacement, no problem with that) implies the assumption that a qualitative scale becomes naturally quantitative in some way. This is hurting my "scientific" perspective, thus I would like to know which way could be used to solve that.

  • Asmat Ali added an answer:
    Non-payment culture – will it shrink the economy?
    Jaron Lanier, in his new book “Who owns the future?” (2013) proposes the thesis, that the non-payment culture of free information and reduced transaction costs provided by the internet will shrink our economy. What is your opinion?
    Asmat Ali · PMAS - Arid Agriculture University

    I concur with all the above contributors. It does depend on the semantic of "economy". If it is only think in the terms of money then definitely YES, Non-payment culture – will  shrink the money oriented economy.

    On the other hand, if economy is seen in the context of knowledge only, then Non-payment culture – will never shrink the economy, I think so.

  • Jens D. Doll added an answer:
    Is law a science?
    The question has the merit of simplicity even if the response to it proves somewhat complex.
  • Paul M.W. Hackett added an answer:
    Does anyone know the origin of the term mereology?
    Stanisław Leśniewski originated the term mereology as the study of part - whole relationships. Does anyone know where this term was first used by him?
    Paul M.W. Hackett · Emerson College

    @ Rafal, thanks for this. Do you know when mereology was taken out of the more mathematical and calculus based philosophical work of authors such as Lesniewski? Are you aware of the term mereology being used in a more general philosophical or psychological sense to mean parts and wholes?

  • Christopher James Davia added an answer:
    Can collectives cognize? In what sense?
    While many studies of collective cognition have appeared (e.g. group and organizational learning, group problem solving, etc.), the conceptual nature of group cognition is often left in the air. Is it possible for collectives to exhibit cognitive processes? How would this be demonstrated empirically?

    The fractal catalytic model of living processes implicates travelling waves - solitons - as the principle agent of both metabolism AND cognition. These non-linear waves are both robust and adaptive. Consciousness correlates with quantum coherent solitons.  

    The consequence of collapsing function into metabolism is that ALL biological processes are considered to be essentially cognitive! 

    This raises interesting philosophical questions as to the nature of cognition itself - What is cognition? 

    The soliton is robust because it embodies information relating to its boundary conditions (i.e. the environment) that it embodies as a central aspect of its dynamic structure (Davia, 2006). From this we may venture that a truly cognitive system is a system that owes its existence/persistence as a direct consequence of the fact that it embodies information relating to the environment that it exists in relation to. 

    Similar robust travelling waves that are found in biological systems also characterize the behavior of large populations of animals - e.g. moth migrations and grazing patterns. The fractal catalytic model would necessarily define these dynamics as cognitive!


  • Clifford Miller added an answer:
    How exact is 'exact' in science practice?
    Many research disciplines like Ecology, Ethology or Psychology are considered soft sciences scientifically not truly 'exact' because of perceived complexity of phenomena investigated. But how exact is science in general from an empirical or scientific or philosophical point of view? That empirical observation always differs from theoretical prediction can be illustrated with simple examples. For instance, how many figures after the comma are required to match theoretical prediction concerning dimensions of simple geometric figures? Who decides on the precision of measures required? In other words, how exact is "exact"? Moreover, simple geometric equations describe triangles but how well do the theoretical predictions provided by the ancient Greeks match practice? If children or adults are asked to measure the same triangle drawn on paper, and they apply mathematical equations describing surfaces or perimeters of that triangle, there is definitely an observer effect. Deviations from the human-created theory might be caused by different factors. Measurement precision might change with the thickness of the lines constituting the triangle. Thicker lines might increase imprecision in measurement. The environment at the time of measurement influences perception therefore also determining how triangles are measured. More ambient noise might lower mental focus perhaps having impact on how triangles are measured in a class room. Evidently, precision in measurement will depend on material used.
    Thus, empirical measurement of the same triangle provides different results amongst observers even after controlling for support and environment.

    If the true nature of nature is indeed variation, human-invented 'perfect' triangles as defined in Mathematics can never be identified with empirical research practice. Why should human-invented theory be right and human practice be wrong? Who decides that human-invented theory not taking natural principles of variation into account is right? If one takes the reality of natural diversity into account, measurements, not the theory, are true. Alternatively, both practice and human invented theory might be considered true accepting all human products and activities result from natural processes.
    Clifford Miller · Clifford Miller


    People cannot measure exactly or imprecisely what cannot be defined to enable them to identify and then attempt to measure it.

    What is "the coast"?  Is "the coast" yesterday the same as "the coast" today?

    Can a coast be "long", after all, whatever "it" is, it is not like a piece of string.

    Or as the old joke goes:

    Concert Guest. "Do you know the piano is on my foot?"

    Pianist: "No, but if you hum it I can play it".


  • Rohit M Parikh added an answer:
    Indian philosophy more philosophically!
    At present I'm trying to write a paper aiming at a philosophical apporach to Indian philosophy. The focus is on Nyāya school (not Nāvya-Nyāya!!) and the fundamental question that constitutes the core subject is: "what's Indian philosophy?". In order to trace a consistent answer, I'm taking inspiration in Dilthey's "Das Wesen der Philosophie", where he writes the essence of philosophy lies in ἐπιστήμη and ἔθος (the knowledge being both valid for/in itself and functional for ethics). The risk to avoid is mere/bare comparison: the discussion should keep itself very far from barren parallels between East and West like "here we say this, there they say that", or "this is similar to that, this is not". The task is essentially philosophical (τὸ τί ἐστι!!), namely, to apply philosophical categories/strategies in order to put in evidence the philosophical side of Nyāya.
    Any idea, suggestion, further readings?
    Rohit M Parikh · The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

    What a wonderful question you have asked by keeping your good name ''KRISHNA''.Original of indian philosophy has seen the day light of thousand of years directly or indirectly every philosophy ends in the religion which corelated with world war who is Omnipotent ,Omnipresent,& Omniscient.God is everywhere which has no cast,creed,& religion .Man are born equal & the trend of philosophy rest in his action with the divinity within in every individual as such i do not agree that indian philosophy is more philosophically although i am born indian.

  • Daniel S. Mcconnell added an answer:
    How to empirically determine physical properties in the presence of biology-based perception constraints?
    Empirical research is mainly based on observation and perception using brain structures and receptors that are individual-specific or species-specific. Different organisms do not perceive and measure physical phenomena in the same way. For instance, an ant and a human will perceive physical properties differently.

    What are the implication for empirical scientific research? Is it biased because of perception constraints?
    Daniel S. Mcconnell · University of Central Florida

    I'm going to provide a short answer here to the original question that doesn't really follow the discussion so far: but what the questioner is asking highlights the need to take a perception/action approach. (that's the short version)

  • Gordon Gates added an answer:
    Is Heidegger's departure from Husserl due to Heidegger's turn to metaphysics? If so, doesn't that make Heidegger's critique of Husserl irrelevant?
    Husserl makes it quite clear that phenomenology is not metaphysics, and as such Husserl only tends to the structures that idealism provides, and the incorporation of real experience into said structures that could lead us towards a transcendental intersubjectivity. Husserl's phenomenological reduction allows existence to be whatever it may be, and it would not change the structures of such consciousness. So Heidegger's metaphysical tendencies makes his criticism completely irrelevant since it comments on Husserl's science as though it were a philosophy, when pure phenomenology is designed and intended not to be a philosophy, but rather the science of philosophy which is a world of difference. Or did I get this all wrong?

    Thank you for your wonderful post, Carlos; it brings philosophy to life.

    No one's critique of anything is irrelevant; we all have something to say that adds to the discussion. Ronnen says in his initial post above that "unless inhumanly complex structures are used, words are limited in their ability to express concepts of being." I would agree that words are inadequate to express concepts of being; more than that, being may be impossible to capture in concepts. I would also add that the more structured, conceptual, and linear the articulation the further from being the words take us. That is why I prefer the work of Merleau-Ponty to Husserl or Heidegger, although Merleau-Ponty would not be the same if it were not for the thinkers who came before him. I prefer work that not only argues and articulates, but also evokes.


  • Guido J. M. Verstraeten added an answer:
    Logic, Law, and Philosophy: To what extent do they overlap?
    Some actions are supported by law, but are not considered logic. Others are logic but not supported by law. What are the determining factors: social philosophy, or individual philosophy?
    Guido J. M. Verstraeten · Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

    Formaly it is possible to formulate a procedure, according to some law. But Philosophy doesn't resitrict itselfs to the question "how is it ?"or "what is the essence?'but it analyses also the queston "How could it be?" or "How do i have to handle in this situiation as moral subject?

  • Prof. Dr. Reza Ghaderi added an answer:
    Does graying hair carry a metabolic message of ageing?
    Graying hair may reflect various things among which are ageing, disease, etc.
    What do you think about graying hair?
    Do you think that early detection for certain diseases is possible through graying hair?
    Or, is the genetic material within graying hair defective?
    Prof. Dr. Reza Ghaderi · Birjand University of Medical Sciences


    Dear Dr. Ahed Jumah Alkhatib,

    may be?

    Thank  you for your kind attention.

  • Oliver Hoffmann added an answer:
    What is information?
    Is everything information? If yes, then we need new kind of physics, informational physics.
    Everything we know about the Universe is information, but why are most physicists blind to that?
    Oliver Hoffmann · Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

    First of all, "information" is what a human subject interprets into a "form". Subjectively speaking, information is meaning. Objectively speaking, information is a pattern. For the purpose of constructing information technology, Shannon merged objective forms with subjective meaning via standardized interpretation in the shape of dictionaries and "objective" predictability of symbols and created the abstract information unit of information content "bit". After the success of IT this abstract objectivist notion of information has been adopted by the mainstream and apparently now enters physics as well. I would think that sooner or later the notion "information" will bring back subjective reality into physics.

  • Jonathan Edwards added an answer:
    What is Information? Where does information go?
    Please be advised that rather than being strictly technical, the question is ontological and philosophical. Information SHOULD be relative because subject to individuals' semeiosis thus ultimately dependent on one's inner world and 'computed' at a dimensionless level.
    But when information sorts of the dimensionless realm (i.e. individuals' inner worlds) out onto the dimensional world (i.e. environment/Cartesian plane of reality), information loses the 'relative' value, becoming more or less shared, thus more or less 'universal'.

    Now take the internet. Imagine I post something on say 'Facebook' and shortly after delete it; where does that information go?
    [it certainly seeds in the inner world of who 'produced' it (me in this case) .. but where else?]
    We could design case scenarios to try answering the question, but I am afraid I haven't been able to do so (i.e. find an answer).
    Case 1- Someone [let us say.. at least one person] has read the post before I deleted it.
    Case 2 - No one has read the post before I deleted it.
    In any case scenario, information has, nonetheless, sorted out of dimensionless onto dimensional! Where is it now?

    in Case 1, information 'travels' via the environment and seeds in a receiver's inner world [i.e. that one person who read the post].
    in Case 2, information travels from the inner world to the environment and it is then manifested.

    Might this be related to the concepts of 'Known Unknowns' and 'Unknown Unknowns' in Physics?
    Jonathan Edwards · University College London

    Dear Claudia, 

    I fear I have to support Jochen's scepticism. And, without wanting to be rude I would say that the definition of information you are now giving is not only beyond the possibility of understanding; it is wrong, or at least incompatible with any meaning for the word ever used.

    Information is like demonstration or procrastination. A bit of information is not a thing, any more than a bit of demonstration or a bit of procrastination. It is an instance of a causal relation, but one that is defined in a way that factors out all reference to space, time, energy or mass, within a predefined context. That does not mean that anything exists outside space or time or mass, but merely that the causal relation is being decribed at a more abstract level. You can convert the decription back to one of physics because you know your predefined context. What you cannot do is start asking how the level of description abstracted from space and time might be changed by changing time values - to ask that question you go back to the description in space and time. 

    There are not two sorts of reality here in ontological terms, merely two sorts of description of a relation. It is a bit like changing lire for dollars and back - just a different context. I am afraid that there is no interesting new research on the influence of language on cancer that is of any importance here. Language involves physical processes that alter brain function and altered brain function can influence disease through hormones etc. so there is nothing here to do with different levels of reality. And sadly, nothing much will happen to cancer, other than that thoughtful words may bring relief of suffering.

    Information and knowledge are deeply perplexing processes but to have any hope of understanding them one needs to keep ones feet firmly in a framework of causal dynamic relations. Forget 'static entities'. There are none in science. Abstracted descriptions are useful because they reflect the causal dynamics of our brains, but it must be remembered that these are simply convenient ways of making predictions about causal dynamic relations as decribed by physics.  

  • Judith Navratil added an answer:
    How do you define research ethics?
    Ethical issues are a complimentary part of any research. What are their reality and origin?
    Judith Navratil · University of Pittsburgh
    Human subjects research uses individuals as a means to an end, and this conflicts with a core value we hold reflected by Kant’s moral imperative to “act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” If we were to take Kant’s categorical imperative literally, all nontherapeutic research conducted with human beings would be morally unacceptable. Jay Katz (1972) identified this implicit conflict “between two values basic to Western society: freedom of scientific inquiry and protection of individual inviolability…. At the heart of this conflict lies an age-old question: When may a society, actively or by acquiescence, expose some of its members to harm in order to seek benefits for them, for others, or for society as a whole?” Writing on the same topic twenty one years later, Katz reflected that his earlier question assumed “both the necessity of conducting human research and the inevitability of harm…. I did not ask then as I shall do now: When, if ever, can it be justified to use human beings as means for the ends of others?” Any such justification for using some individuals for the benefit of others in this way requires making a great effort to ensure that they have freely agreed to be used in this manner. For Katz, this agreement must be based on the individual understanding that he or she has “agreed to join the experimenters on a voyage into the unknown that could shatter their limbs or lives." A patient who is asked to consent to a treatment proposed by her physician may also be agreeing to embark on a voyage into the unknown, but there are important differences between consent for medical treatment and consent for research participation. Since the purpose of medical treatment is to promote the health and well-being of an individual, a patient can (in most cases) assume that her doctor is asking for her consent to that particular treatment because he believes it to be in her best interest. The patient can also assume that her doctor has recommended a particular course of treatment based on what he knows about her health history, and if she fails to respond as expected to a particular dose, or suffers an adverse reaction, she may be fairly confident that her doctor will change the dose, or try a different medication, or suggest a different treatment altogether. But because the purpose of research is to contribute to generalizable knowledge through a systematic collection of data, the prospective research subject cannot assume that the doctor who is also the research investigator has her best interest in mind. Future patients may benefit from the knowledge gained, but no such benefit for the patient/participant can be guaranteed. And the patient/research subject cannot assume that the treatment she receives will be altered based on her responses to that treatment, because the pursuit of generalizable knowledge is achieved only through rigid compliance with a specified scientific protocol. Her reactions to the experimental treatment will be recorded as data points and her treatment will be changed only if her reaction is severe enough to warrant the change based on the approved protocol. Alan Wertheimer (2010) points out that “the core problem of medical (therapeutic) ethics is to determine what we can ethically do to people for their benefit. By contrast, the core problem of research ethics with human subjects is to determine what we can ethically do to people for the benefit of others. So compared, medical ethics is relatively easy… the fundamental principles of medical care are relatively unproblematic because appropriate medical care is an unalloyed good. By contrast, the ethics of research exhibits a deep tension at its core between the interests of participants who are used as means by researchers and the interests of those who seek or are served by the pursuit of generalizable knowledge. And clinical research really uses people as means (I don’t say ‘merely’ as means). No Kantian abstractions necessary here."

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