User:JREverest/sandbox/Approaches to Knowledge/Seminar group 1/History

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History of Disciplines: Consciousness studies as merging Philosophy and Neurosciences

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The Study of Consciousness demonstrates well how different disciplines, with diverging methodological approaches, can work together to arrive at new insights. Consciousness studies is a domain of study that lies at the intersection between Philosophy and Neuroscience. It entails investigating subjective experience, referred to as qualia, and includes any experience from emotion to thought to attention and more. Until the date the question what Consciousness consists of, and how it can be defined is still unresolved. However, there are many theories about the nature of Consciousness. The two main strands, which both include a significant number of subtheories about the mind, are Materialism and Dualism.

Materialism holds that Cosnciousness is ultimately reducible to matter. That is to say that cognition, or mental states, are identical to the neural activity in the brain. It is, thus, the biological makeup that gives rise to conscious subjective experience. By contrast, Dualsim argues that the mind is irreducible to the brain, or any physical matter[1]. Maybe the most well-known dualistic view is Descartes' Interactionist Dualism. It argues that mind and body are two fundamentally different entities that are independent of each other but interact. The nature of the body is to be extended in space and is material. The mind, however, is not material, not extended in space and its nature is to think[2].

Neuroscience and Philosophy as disciplines

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Neuroscience, on the one hand, is concerned with the Nervous System and covers the biological basis of cognition and behavior[3]. It is a Natural Science that relies on rigurous scientific inquiry. As such it usually applies quantitative methodologies and often uses randomized contol trials. Good research output thereby depends on validity, reliability, and replicability. Philosophy, on the other hand, is - broadly speaking - interested in understanding the nature of the world and existence itself. Its methodological approaches differ greatly from those applied in the Neurosciences, as Philosophy uses mainly logic and reason to arrive at conslusions about an inquiry[4].

Interdisciplinary approach to Consciousness

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With Philosphers and Neuroscientists still debating the nature of Consiocusness and approaching it with very divergent methods, David Chalmer, a philosopher and Neuroscientist, illustrates how approaches from both disciplines can be integrated to provide a (more) unified theory of Consciosness. Such a theory uses both third-person data and first-person data - the former being traditionally used in the Neurosciences and the latter being an essential tool within Philosophy.

Third-person data refers to information that is accessible to someone else than just the person experiencing a specific event. It is independently measurable and as such includes behavior, language, or brain processes. First-person data, in contrast, refers to subjective conscious experience. As such it is only accessible to the person having this experience and it is the central data that the Science of Consciousness is interested in.

Chalmer argues that in order to fully understand Consciousness, it is necessary to connect first-person data and third-person data and to therewith find the Neural Correlates (the brain states correlating to subjective experience) of Consciousness. However, connecting first-person data with third-person data only works through interpretation. Chalmer, thus, proposes bridging principles that are determined pre-experimentally and those include (but are not limited to) verbal report, and goal-directed behaviour: He argues that Consciousness can be inferred by a person verbally reporting a certain subjective experience, or by someone performing a specific action in response to a certain event (goal-directed). Thus, the third-person data (language, brain states, etc.) combined with the bridging principles enables researchers to make inferences about Consciousness and indeed research shows that such a combination of approaches can be fruitful: For instance, researchers were able to determine cosnciousness in vegetative patients by combining goal-directed behavior, verbal report and brain activity measurements[5][6]. This illustrates that explicitely stating the philosophical assumptions underlying conscious experience (e.g. by inferring consciousness through subjective verbal reports) and combining these types of data gathering with neuroscientific methods (e.g. analyzing brain activity) is a promising way of two very different academic disciplines to work hand in hand . Iterdisciplinary approaches seem, thus, to be able to generate new knowledge and to make progress in solving problems that are difficult to tackle when disciplines work in isolation.

History of Diciplines: The Conflicts between Law and Biology

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Law is established based on civilization and social development separated from natural environment. It is considered as a set of abstract formulated rules that may sometimes be subjected to forms of interpretation based on specific situations.

Biology is the study of life in terms of the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms. It integrates other scientific fields, e.g. medicine, chemistry, physics which extends to subfields such as Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics and Ecology etc.

The two disciplines intersect in their object of study – human and the understanding of systems, how they interconnect and relate to one another. Both involves logic, deduction, empirical evidence and large amount of hard content.

Conflicts in their Basic Principles

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It is criticized by Popper’s idea of rationalism (1), that a typical activity of biologists to come up with new discoveries through experiments, in turn the formulation of imprecise and unfalsifiable norms in order to contribute to knowledge; whilst in contrary, law is intended to formulate norms as precise as possible immune to debate which serve the overall end of justice.

Conflicts in Attitudes towards Ethics

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Historically, the study of law focus on the actual behaviour of legal actors such as judges in appeal courts, rather than on the indeterminate reasons which these judges give for their decisions.

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Biology and law overlap with ethics considerably but do not overlap perfectly.

Conflicts in Approaches to Evidence and Judgements

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In the context of court of law, Biology and Law intertwine in the establishment of forensic evidence and judicial judgements.

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Extending into Behavioral Biology, it is worth enquiring how rational and objective a verdict is made given accurate evidence is supplied. e.g. “Do Supreme Court justices combine into a bloc with deliberate objective of forcing upon the rest of the court the consideration of an issue which the bloc wants decided in a particular way?” (2) Does rational applies to only the action, but not the goal?

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E.g. Genetics on law’s understanding on the cause of criminal behaviours

  1. Genetics, Sex Discrimination, chromosome correlation with aggressiveness (Ref. Cognition of Law: Towards Cognitive Sociology of Law)
  2. Extent of brain tumour affecting individual decision making and cognition: Over active limbic system implies emotions running away and cannot control what they do; frontal lobe, relatively normal emotional response but unable to control emotion

In relation to Bioethics in law, if it is possible to turn off certain centres of the brain surgically using of a chip, proved scientifically it may have change the way past criminal acted, is this a more effective way than redemption through prison sentence? "What harsher sanctions reduce a given behaviour, and to what extent? Why are some acts not discouraged even by the most severe sanctions?" (3)

This give rise to questions, e.g. Could this approach be challenged by the notion that justice needs to be related to human nature taking into account given biological defaults and defects of an individual in order to meet the definition of ethics? Who gets to decide the criminal intent?


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1 Brouwer, R., 2017. The Study of Law as an Academic Discipline. Utrecht Law Review, 13(3), pp.41–48.


2 Walter Berns, Law and Behavioral Science, 28 Law and Contemporary Problems 185-212 (Winter 1963).


3 Luigi Cominelli, Cognition of the Law: Towards a Cognitive Sociology of Law and Behaviour, p. 112 (July 2018)


The History of Fine Art and Mathematics through Abstraction

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Fine art- creative, subjective, a result of the cumulative work of the artistic canon. What constitutes art? How is art 'added' to the canon? Is there a logical pattern to the way in which the canon has developed? Is any art original?

Maths- logical, quantitative, foundation of computer science, physics, chemistry etc. Can it be creative? Using maths/computing, can you create artificial creativity?

The modern discipline of fine art developed from groups of individuals forming ideas relating to how we represent ourselves and the world we live in through visual media. These groups would eventually form schools of art, which in turn joined with universities to form a formal method of art education. The separation of different schools (geographically, politically and throughout time) lead to fundamental stylistic and philosophical differences, which in turn lead to the rise of different artistic movements and manifestos. One way in which you can view the development of these movements is by tracking the rise of abstraction, which began to gain traction in the artistic canon around the turn of the 20th century.

Mathematics- one of the oldest disciplines, steeped in logical thinking. Grew relatively separated from fine art, except in geometry where they were taught jointly in institutions in Italy etc. With the turn of 'modern/contemporary' art, maths has played little to no role in the development of the artistic canon. Maths is not traditionally thought of as a creative subject, as it is used as the 'language' for the physical sciences e.g. chemistry and physics.

However it could be argued that through abstraction, mathematics (and therefore computing, physics, chemistry) is fundamentally creative:

  • abstraction in fine art i.e. the rise of the avant-garde -> the simplification of form, wherein a piece loses direct representation of a specific object/person but retains an allusion to the object more generally. This allows it to represent a group of objects/people in a single subject. Alternatively, this allows an artist to merge an object's form with aspects of another object in order to draw connections between the two.
  • abstraction in mathematics i.e. algebra, mechanics -> removing real-world references in an equation/construct so that what remains may be applied to wider situations, or compared to other equations/constructs so that the relationships between multiple concepts may be proven.

Both definitions are fundamentally the same, why is this? Both fine art and mathematics have the same root- geometry and proportions. After splitting this subject into two disciplines, both were able to explore abstraction independently of each other. Fine art was concerned with how we should represent people and (our place in) the world around us (MORE PHILOSOPHICAL). Mathematics (and later the physical sciences) was concerned with quantifying and modelling the world (MORE ACTION DRIVEN).

Internet art as an interdisciplinary movement, unrecognised by fine art's canon and not really seen at all in computer science- internet artists lack the formal art training that would see them join the art canon. There is also a lack of academics who have written on the history of internet art/the movement more generally. This is because of a lack of people who have both knowledge of computer science/coding as well as fine art/art history due to the splitting of mathematics and fine art into disciplines. If both were taught together, computers might be considered a fundamental medium alongside painting, sculpture etc.

Internet art somewhat mirrors the disposal of representational form in 20th century abstraction, wherein art began to move towards abstract form; internet art moves away from creating art that has a physical form, instead moving towards a purely virtual form.

History of Disciplines: Understanding Consciousness

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The study of consciousness can occur at the intersection of neuroscience, pharmacology and philosophy however has seen a lack of development where it could be expected due to fundamental differences between the disciplines.

Different basal philosophies and assumptions:

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Neuroscientists and other life scientists often approach the body as a solely mechanical entity, from a materialist standpoint therefore believing that the brain and mind do not exist separately and that consciousness is a purely a function of the brain and mechanical processes.

Philosophers and some psychologists may hold a dualist perspective, that the mind exists independently to the brain.

This means that at where these disciplines and their experts meet, there has often been an inability to aptly merge the fields of expertise and communicate effectively which such different groundings.

Research methods:

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Neuroscience methodology is fundamentally quantitative but the philosophical understanding of and observation of consciousness qualitative with consciousness being subjective experience. This means that the translation of observations between these disciplines has been a great barrier to its development. With cognitive neuroscience as a discipline only really gaining momentum since the advent of stronger brain imaging techniques (cognitive science becoming a discipline in 1956 and merging with neuroscience in the 1980s, the philosophy of its methodology recognizes the power of data and processing - computing being very central. However, the nature of philosophy as argument based and qualitative makes the data driven approach of cognitive neuroscience much less compatible.

Interdisciplinary Solutions:

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However, researchers such as Dr Robin Carhart-Harris (leader of the Imperial College Psychedelic Research Team) who has an undergraduate degree in psychology and engages in philosophy, as well as a PhD in neuroscience - more specifically neuropsychopharmacology - have been able to take the field further in the research of psychedelics in recent years, as they consider how to meet these disciplines and marry quantitative observations of brain activity and qualitative measures of subjective experience. In particular in the research of alterations in consciousness experience under psilocybin this is aptly done. Brain imaging techniques like fMRI scans are employed alongside questionnaires that attempt to make the subject quantify the qualities of their subjective experience of consciousness, which has allowed some correlations to be made between philosophical revelations in psychedelic consciousness and changes in neural connectivity.


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Carhart-Harris, R.L., Bolstridge, M., Day, C.M.J., Rucker, J., Watts, R., Erritzoe, D.E., Kaelen, M., Giribaldi, B., Bloomfield, M., Pilling, S. and Rickard, J.A., 2018. Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up. Psychopharmacology, 235(2), pp.399-408.

History of Science & Technology as a discipline

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As of today, many universities, including UCL, has a Science and Technology Studies Department (STS). Science and Technology Studies (STS) can be defined as "the study of the history of science, philosophy of science, science policy, and sociology of science." according to the UCL STS Department. This appellation, STS, may although be contested in different universities since the emphasis can be both on technology or on science itself.

The study of Science & Technology became more and more relevant with the rise of technological equipment in many developed countries, where a unique knowledge of how technology works and of its goal and ethics seems necessary. However, even if it possible to date the new era of technology in 1833 with the creation of the first computer, looking at technology's evolution throughout the years does not explain how technology became an academic discipline, taught today in higher education courses. Science & Technology studies are also a very interdisciplinary course since it includes subjects as history or sociology combined with technological sciences.

In the twentieth century appears a real need for knowledge on how to use and implement technologies in modern businesses. This need will impulse some universities to create a new relevant course, which will later be named STS. Science & Technology studies have initially been founded according to already-existing principles in various scientific and non-scientific disciplines, focusing first on the history of technologies themselves, then taking a more philosophical approach throughout the years. For instance, as Thorstein Veblen first developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, technological determinism, the theory which claims that technological progress in a society can be used to analyse its development, was taught in the first STS courses. This theory, even if it is today considered as an economical and sociological theory, was founded according to a philosophical principle, determinism and was used in early-STS courses. History and the role of society were also two notions that were important in the development of STS as a discipline. History allowed to understand how different philosophical and ethical theories evolved and were conflicting with each other regarding technology and our society throughout the years, while sociology was used in STS to highlight the relationships that people, industries, communities, and services had with technology. Since 1960, STS was recognised by scholars and teachers as a scientific discipline alongside any others. This is mainly explainable since numerous STS programs were initiated in many universities across the globe, especially in the United Kingdom and in the United States, with a new emphasis on the correlation of STS with engineering and public policies.

The first university to explain or discuss these subjects was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972, with a special effort made to analyse the impact of technology and science on history, philosophy, sociology, economy and even anthropology. These same disciplines were also used to explore the evolution and goals of science and technology on society itself. This course served as a model for other STS courses. The study of science and technology, therefore, emerged as a discipline according to already-existing principles in other disciplines, which makes STS a very interdisciplinary course.

History of Animal Rights and Medical/Technological Advancements

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Animals have been used throughout history for scientific purposes, in experiments such as determining how blood circulates and demonstrating how insects as well as other animals react and behave in an environment of reduced pressure in the 17th century [7] . As we move toward more recent history, the industrial and technological revolutions have led to the rapid growth of medicine as a science and despite the 1876 Cruelty to Animals act being passed, the use of animals in research expanded hugely in the 20th century. In medicine, animal testing is used to ensure drugs are safe and effective, and to determine their dosage as well as any possible side effects. This led to the discovery of vaccinations for polio, smallpox, meningitis, and developments in insulin and penicillin. [8]

However, the objections to animal testing have existed just about as long as the practice itself. This may be due simply to human compassion, but there are other radical ideas suggesting that animals and the feelings of animals should be considered as equal to those of humans. For example the practice of hedonism and hedonic calculus made prominent by Jeremy Bentham states that all beings, regardless of identity, should have their pleasures and pains considered equally when deciphering the welfare of a community as a whole. Whilst other thinkers, and the basis of the reason on testing on animals, conform to the idea that animals cannot feel in the same way humans do; that the feelings of humans are more important and we should save our own pain before the pain of animals, hedonism places all beings on the same level. An idea first introduced in the late 18th century, this way of thinking was very progressive in terms of equality.

Hedonism is also an idea that is still celebrated today, with organisations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stating that "Like humans, animals are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives"[9], directly comparable with Bentham's explanation of animal equality, "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?". It is in this way that this particular school of philosophical thought interferes with the biological development of medicine and in the same way, medical development disregards the idea of hedonism in pursuit of ameliorating the human life.

The History of Mathematical Economics

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The modern economics was first introduced as "history and political economics" in 1805. The early economists studied the market by using the philosophical deduction and logic. Adam Smith was the first economists to deploy numerical methods, although only as a means of qualitatively assessing government policies such as legislated grain prices and their impact, in explaining economics.

The first groundbreaking economics textbook to use graphs and equations was Principle of Economics(1890) by Alfred Marshall, whose student, John Maynard Keynes, had furthered the quantifying economics by mathematically linking income and expenditure and how government policy could impact this. Keynes’ General Theory (1936) would serve as a blueprint for 20th-century economic policy as more scientific methods of economics gained favor in the coming decades.

There also exists a lot in economics which is not measurable. The Solow-Swan growth model is a perfect example of quantifying economics. It claims to explain long-run economic growth based on productivity, capital accumulation, and other variables. It is unquestionable that these factors impact growth, however, it oversimplifies the complex interactions between various qualitative factors, which are not easily quantified and measured by current academic techniques. For example, the fundamental assumption of economics is that humans act rationally. However, humans often make irrational decisions based on fear or love. These two factors cannot be accounted for in an economic model.


[edit | edit source] Overuse of Mathematics in Economics, Foundation for Economic Education

How History Caused Incompatibility Between Fields of Academia

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The courses that Academic subjects have taken has largely resulted in a conflict between some fields of study. For instance, neuroscientists would disagree to a large extent with philosophers of mind, employing different methods of research - the former with a more scientific research method, and the latter using thought experiments to a large extent. These to fields are largely occupied with the subject matter of consciousness, a subject field that lacks a clear theory, perhaps due to the fact that no widely accepted way to ‘measure’ consciousness has been found thus far. On the other hand, in Physics, for instance, there is a generally accepted method of research which can verify research to the vast majority of physicists. In both Neuroscience and Philosophy, great advancements have been made in their respective fields, particularly throughout the 19th and 20th century. Unfortunately they've been on diverging trajectories during this advancement, resulting in Philosophy creating ideas such as 'dualism', and neuroscientists opposing this with the idea of 'materialism' (although this does not strictly mean that all members of these respective fields support such theories). The method of materialism uses physical tests and scans to see brain activity, monitoring it and creating a map on the brain and thus basing their model of consciousness off of this. Dualism, on the other hand, largely relies on Philosophical reasoning and human intuition, claiming that consciousness cannot/is not reduced to material. This is akin to many Physicists disagreement with 'creationists', who believe in a 'divine creator' of the universe, with the two ideals being completely incompatible. The method employed by Physicists is one supposedly showing empirical evidence of how the universe was created, whereas creationists use ancient literary scripts to derive an origin of the universe. Thus, again, the research methods used to come to a conclusion about a largely unsolved problem have differed over the course of history, resulting in incompatibility between research fields.

Clash between Economics and Psychology

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- Economics (as a discipline) : social science focusing on the economic agents, analysis of quantitative data concerning the production, distribution and consumption of goods and servies in a local or international market

- Psychology (as a discipline) : scientific study of the human mind + behavior, understanding the cognitive processes of the human mind + social reactions

When studying a consumption tendency for example, using psychology and economics is essential. But : psychology encompasses the human mind through social experiences and focuses on the analysis of qualitative data, in this case how do people think when they feel the need to buy something. Whereas economics focuses on rational facts, in this case the evolution of prices... And numbers + is based on mathematical thinking when human mind isn't. -> clash because of how we study Economics and Psychology since they became disciplines, interdisciplinary researches are complex

History of Geography: Distinguishing Human and Physical Geography

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Geography as a discpline seeks to understand the way human socities interact with their natural environment. It is therefore fundamentally interdisciplinary. However, its sub-disciplines have been divided in the past to assert the current interests of the past. Physical Geography and Human Geography thus became increasingly irreconcilable and specialised. Due to current global challenges like climate change, there might be a good reason for the two disciplines to be merged again.

History of Geography

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Emergence of Geography Geography emerged as a discipline at the beginning of the 20th century when it was used to understand the physical environment needed for the understanding of empires in politics. During the middle of the century it went on to focus on regional conditions of the environment e.g. on landscapes. Maps increasingly played a crucial role to this geographical vision. Scholars like Gottman believed that changing international relations also give geographical conditions new meanings.

The divide of the disciplines

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The divide of human and physical geography started with new advances acurring in the physical geography e.g. new technologies to assess the environment. Physical geography started to set itself off human geography and moved closer towards the classical natural sciences, especially physics. A better reputation and more fundings for physical geography supported that divide.

Reuniting the two disciplines?

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The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) gathered geographical scolars across the disciplines in 2004 to discuss the issues and future of geography. Their outcome was that in order to understand problems like climate change and the use of natural resources it is not sufficient to focus merely on physical geography. Especially in the age of the Anthropocene when humankind alters the climate and the earth’s environment, taking into consideration socities, politics, and economics as well as the physical conditions can help to find sustainable solutions.[10]


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Most information was taken from my lecture in Human Ecology.

History of Disciplines - Public Health and the Conflict between Medicine and Economics

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Public Health is a discipline concerned with the maintenance and protection of health in the general public. There are 3 main domains of public health, namely health protection, health improvement and healthcare public health, the latter of which involves ensuring that health services are effective, efficient and accessible [11]. Public health is an interdisciplinary field, the core disciplines being health education, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology and health services administration. [12]

History of Public Health

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Modern public health as a discipline began in 19th century England, as a movement towards sanitary reform in the 19th century that eventually resulted in the formation of public health institutions, as a result of the Industrial Revolution and its adverse effects on health in England. Rapid population growth and inadequate housing due to urbanisation in major English cities such as London, Leeds and Bristol led to widespread disease and poor health. In the early 19th century, English humanitarians and philanthropists began educating the population and population on health-related issues. For example, British physician Thomas Southwood Smith published reports on quarantine, cholera, yellow fever and sanitation, and also founded the Health of Towns Association in 1839.

In 1834, the Poor Law Commission was created to investigate community health problems and propose solutions for such. The 1938 report argued that the expenditures necessary to adopt and maintain preventive measures would ultimately amount to less than the cost of diseases. Sanitary surveys also demonstrated the existence of a relationship between communicable diseases and filthy environmental conditions, and that engineers also had a role to play in safeguarding public health.

The Public Health Act of 1848 led to the establishment of a General Board of Health to guide and aid local authorities in sanitary matters. The board was also granted the authority to establish local boards of health to investigate sanitary conditions in particular districts. Since then, more public health acts have been passed to regulate sewage and refuse disposal, animal housing, water supply, disease prevention and control, private nursing home and hospital registration and inspection, birth notification and maternity and child welfare service provision. [13]

History and Conflict between Medicine and Economics in Public Health

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As public health concerns health maintenance and protection, it draws several elements from the field of medicine. On the other hand, as public health also concerns maintaining effectiveness and efficiency of health resource usage, it also draws several elements from the field of economics. To understand the conflicts in public health regarding differences in ethical principles between Medicine & Economics, it is important to understand the history and moral principles involved in both fields.

Medicine as a discipline traces its roots back to ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. Hippocrates is widely regarded as the father of medicine to this day, having taught and practised medicine in Cos and other parts of Greece. Works attributed to Hippocrates marked a turning point in medical history where disease began to be regarded as a natural phenomenon rather than supernatural phenomenon, and investigating physical causes of illness were encouraged. Apart from diagnostic reasoning and broadening understanding on the aetiology of disease, Hippocrates is most renowned for the Hippocratic Oath, an ethical code that has dictated professional and moral principles that doctors should abide by, many of such principles are still valid to this day, through modernised adaptations such as the Declaration of Geneva in 1948. [14] Through the long tradition of medical ethics tracing back to the roots of Hippocratic Greek medicine, 4 moral principles suggested by Beauchamp and Childress have emerged dominant, namely non-maleficence (do no harm), beneficence (do good), respect for autonomy and justice. [15]

Economics became a discipline in its own right by separating from the broader field of philosophy in the 18th century during the Industrial Revolution. Among the pioneers of this new economic field was Adam Smith, a Scottish economist. Smith was inspired by and adopted ideas from French physiocrats who were dissatisfied with mercantilism, and expanded them into a thesis about how economies should operate. Smith believed that competition was self-regulating and governments should not interfere in business by means of tariffs or taxes except in the case of protecting free market competition. To this day, many contemporary economic theories still reference and adopt concepts from Smith's pivotal work in economics. [16] One of the leading moral philosophies in the field of economics is utilitarianism, which promotes the maximisation of general utility or social welfare. As of the present day, economic theory has not yet decisively moved beyond utilitarianism. [17]

The main conflict between the disciplines of medicine and economics in public health is the conflict between the principle of justice in medicine and the principle of utilitarianism in public health. The principle of justice advocates for the fair treatment of patients, as well as respect for their human and legal rights. On the other hand, utilitarianism advocates for courses of action that benefit the greatest number of people, and in the process minorities may not benefit from this. For example, given a limited budget, investing the money in the prevention of common diseases such as upper respiratory tract infections is likely to benefit more people than investing the same amount of money in the treatment of rare diseases. According to utilitarianism, this would be justified as the number of people benefiting from this action would be significantly greater, but this would breach the principle of justice as those suffering from rare diseases would be deprioritised. In conclusion, the conflict between economics and medicine lies in their differences in ethical principles.

The History of architecture

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Defining Architecture as a discipline in terms of its History

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Architecture as a discipline emerged out of the fundamental necessity to find shelter. Architecture has progressed through time in an aesthetic sense (periods of architecture) and techniques (building tools and materials). Prehistoric architecture (11,600 to 3,500 B.C) uses the most primitive tools (mud, unprocessed stone and materials) of all waves of architecture. It focuses on structural integrity (use as shelter against wind and rain) rather than design features or immediate aesthetic value. As material manufacturing progressed in time, buildings became able to bear loads more effectively. Modern skyscrapers exemplify the utility of modern technology to build more impressive, taller and thinner buildings that were previously impossible to build, such as the 828 m tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Taj Mahal[18], commissioned in 1632 and designed by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri demonstrates technological innovation to produce a physically impressive monument, with a higher resource demand than previously utilised in architecture. Scaffolding made of bricks was used, while a 9-mile long earth ramp was used to carry materials.

Architecture is defined as the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings[19]. The history of architecture analyses how building structures and styles have evolved over the years ([20], [21] ). Through the study of the history of architecture, we can see that specific periods typically have specific styles that serve as a reflection of the contemporary society and culture of the building. Not only this, but the style of building is influenced by its setting (i.e. if it is natural or man-made), the cultural traditions and ideas of beauty in the culture that built it (culturally relative and subjective perceptions of beauty), construction methods[19] (limitations and enablers of architectural design which have evolved with technological advances throughout history), and the purpose of the building (for example, a church is purpose built and stylised in a different way to many of the other buildings in a town or society). Of course, as in art, buildings do not necessarily have to be designed in the same way as is typical for the culture on the individual level, but it is likely that many buildings in a country will have a similar set of cultural references and regions of influence, even if from different time periods.

Tim Adams[22] sees architecture at the intersection of art, science and building and states that the history of architecture involves the abstraction of mental tools from architectural practice. These mental tools are concepts that architects flexibly apply to new projects with different requirements to find the best solution. The first to develop such a conceptualisation was the Roman engineer Vitruvius[22] .

Architecture intersecting with Theology/Politics

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In post-World War 2 Germany, the idea of political transparency influenced the architecture of the time. "Democratic" architecture appeared to reflect the ideology of 'transparency' through the increased use of glass such as in the Reichstag (parliament) building in Berlin. Buildings in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) reflected in a similar way the communist ideology in its uniform, grey structure. Resources were managed in the "Plattenbau" style effectively to ensure the right of all DDR citizens to property ([23]).

Architecture in a global world and environment

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The late 20th century and early 21st century have seen two major trends in architecture, globalisation and the search for architectural solutions to sustainable living. Whereas different countries and regions developed distinct architectural styles for many centuries, the modern architecture of cities across the world shows more similarities than differences. Globalisation has happened throughout architectural history as a result of global interaction and accelerated between the late 18th and early 20th century with colonisation, industrialisation and large waves of international migration of workers ([22]). While early humans built the first buildings to protect themselves from the elements, such as through mud houses, and strangers (formulation of towns and cities the city walls) architecture is now becoming increasingly focused instead on minimising the effect of human dwellings on the natural environment by designing eco-friendly buildings and towns such as Freiburg’s Vauban District in Germany ([24]). Global environmental consciousness has therefore begun to impact and evolve the discipline of architecture in a modern context.

Architectural styles as demonstrations of power, authority and wealth

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Architectural styles, far from being restricted to purpose building, can be very potent demonstrations of power, authority and wealth[25]. Architecture develops through and reflects development of political and theological thought and power structures. Religious buildings, particularly Catholic cathedrals such as the St Marco Basilica in Venice and St Peter's Basilica in Rome are demonstrative of the power of religion in a catholic society as well as the ideological force of Catholicism in Europe. This institutionalised power, or the power of the state is also demonstrated generally in the grandeur of palaces, in its extreme form such as the Palace of Versailles built for King Louis XIV in the 17th century. It's exorbitant cost and lavish design led to it being referenced as a symbol of grievance over the power of the monarchy over the people of France and the inequality of peasants to the nobility in the lead up to the French Revolution. However, although architecture is sometimes politicised, it also can straightforwardly denote wealth such as in the Trump tower in New York City (20th Century). The impressive façades for modest houses built by wealthy merchants in Amsterdam in the 17th and 18th century, however demonstrate that the appearance of a building intentionally indicates more than just wealth alone (these houses were not altogether grand) but class to others. Power in architecture also has a political sense, such as in Fascist and Stalinistic architecture of the 20th century. Throughout the centuries architecture has been used to demonstrate religious or secular authority, power and wealth.


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