Archive for March, 2013

An Eye for an Eye - Wrong in Both Directions

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Wow! A high school essay by a law professor (with a book published by UChicPress). The reason "rule of law" works is of course because the harm done in a crime is vastly more than the reward to the criminal and so the punishment needed to deter it need not match the harm of the crime itself […]

My Genome and My Children's Privacy

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The immortal cancer cells that were harvested without permission from Henrietta Lacks in 1951 continue to provide valuable lessons - not just for biology and the practice of medicine, but also in medical ethics and even at a more general level. The issue of consent by family proxy is not unique but the question of […]

Crowdsourcing Philosophy

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

In his latest 'The Stone' column at, Mary and the Zombies: Can Science Explain Consciousness?, Gary Gutting admits that non-Philosophers might conceivably have something useful to say (even though he has to add the usual BS  "Of course, professional philosophers have technical resources that non-philosophers lack"). Frankly I doubt that anything useful will be said […]

Was Wittgenstein Right?

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

It's an interesting coincidence that just a few days after my posting on the discussion at 'Butterflies and Wheels', the topic of Philosophy's relevance was taken up by Paul Horwich in 'the Stone'  at (though fortunately with less dismissive rudeness in Michael Lynch's response). According to Horwich Wittgenstein claims that there are no realms of phenomena […]

Telepathic Rats

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

From what I can gather,  the experiment referred to in this discussion may have just involved transmitting the excitation pattern of motor neurons associated with pressing the (say) left button rather than transmitting any "conceptual" association of that button with the subsequent reward. The receiving rat would then reflexively press the left button and after getting […]

The Future Is Hers

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

I wish the name of Gordon Brown didn't always take the lead in these promotions but I don't know of any more effective way of promoting the cause of women's education around the world - and I do think that cause is perhaps the most important one in the air right now.