This is a living dictionary and it welcomes comments from all


Download 3.31 Mb.
Size3.31 Mb.
1   ...   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   ...   59

COEFFICIENT VARIATION: It is the measure of how much bigger is the standard deviation when compared with the mean (JA)

COELENTERATES: Coelenterata is previous taxonomical terminology for the phylum Cnidaria. The coelenterates (cnidarians) include corals, hydrozoans and jellyfish. (See CNIDARIA) (MP)

COERCION: An action taken to force another to adopt a behaviour. Issues include force feeding, and mandatory programs as compared to voluntary programs. (DM)

COGNISANCE: (Latin: cognitio 'apprehend') 1. knowledge, awareness, perception, bioethics self-awareness 2. to investigate for the purpose of knowing, to understand, learn knowledge, recognition by observation or information 3. consciousness, state of awareness [Latin cognitio apprehend] (IP)

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY: was conceived and developed by Aaron Beck, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and emphasizes the power of positive thinking. Basically the therapy assumes that, given accurate information, the brain can "think" its way back to health; that is, by harnessing its powerful intelligence, the brain can learn to be objective about itself and replace old destructive thinking patterns with new, constructive adaptive ones. Cognitive-behavioral therapists believe that conscious thought, rather than unconscious motivation, determines social behavior; therefore, with professional guidance, individuals can learn to change their maladaptive attitudes toward other people. This form of therapy differs from the older psychodynamic therapies by placing greater emphasis upon the active participation of the patient, with the ultimate goal being the regaining of personal control of the social environment through self-education and learned optimism. These therapies have been compared, head-to-head, with antidepressant drugs in the treatment of acute episodes of depression, and found to be effective, especially in milder illness. It seems, therefore, that thinking about how one thinks is an essential tool because it provides a sense of personal control and complements the wise use of medication (see ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY). (IP)


COHERENCE: A set of beliefs or theories are in coherence when they are mutually supportive and none are inconsistent with any other. (See CONSILIENCE, CORRELATION) (MP)

COHORT: A group of individuals of the same age/generation within a population. It is often useful in ecological management and marine conservation to track cohorts through their life cycle within the general population. (See AGE DISTRIBUTION) (MP)

COITUS: (Latin coire ‘to go together’). An act of intercourse that usually, but not always, involves penetration of the penis into the vagina and results in sexual excitation and, as a rule, orgasm. (See COITUS INTERRUPTUS). (IP)

COITUS INTERRUPTUS: Withdrawal of the penis from the vagina just before ejaculation. It is thought to be the oldest method of contraception and is mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The method is not reliable (failure rate is above 15%) because small amounts of sperm containing seminal fluid may be emitted before full sensation leading to ejaculation is felt. Unwanted conceptions may carry the risk of conflict, resentment and prenatal/postnatal neglect. (See CONDOM, CONTRACEPTIVES, NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING METHODS). (IP)

COLEOPTERA: The insect order containing the beetles, Coleoptera is such a diverse and widespread order that beetles comprise over a quarter of all species found on Earth today. (MP)

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: (Collateral: "situated beside" + Damage: "injury or loss") A military term referring to civilian victims and casualties of military operations, including non-combatant deaths or injuries and damages to civil property. The 1949 Geneva Convention and 1977 Geneva Protocol outline internationally recognized protections for innocent civilians. Scrutinized strategic targeting with modern precision weapons has changed the nature of war in comparison to the deliberate targeting of civilian populations in World War II. Collateral damages are today generally unintentional, and can be used for propaganda purposes and war crimes allegations. The term collateral damage is a good example of the use of euphemism to render distasteful concepts obscure to the layperson. (See CASUALTIES, EUPHEMISM, GENEVA CONVENTIONS, JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, REFUGEES) (MP)

COLLECTIVE: A group of people who have assembled together due to similar value systems and a common cause; for example a collective farm or kibbutz. (See UNITED) (MP)

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: The practice of reaching work and pay agreements directly through representatives of employers and employees, often bypassing workers rights protection afforded by industrial dispute institutions such as trade unions. (See INDUSTRIAL ACTION, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS) (MP)

COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS: A hypothetical spiritual communion of all thoughts, emotions, memes and memories into a collective or super-consciousness, perhaps with emergent properties. (See COLLECTIVE MEMORY, COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, INFOSPHERE, MORPHIC RESONANCE) (MP)

COLLECTIVE MEMORY: The "meme pool", or shared and combined experiences and memories of the sentient animals on Earth. Although each of us has a unique set of memories, we also have shared memories of our historical record and our collective achievements and mistakes. The expansion of this shared consciousness through the promotion of learning can help to guide us towards a more ethical future in which previous human and environmental tragedies are not perpetuated. (See CULTURE, DREAMTIME, MEME) (MP)

COLLECTIVE SECURITY: This concept grew out of the Geneva conferences on disarmament after the First World War. Literally the term meant that under the covenant of the League of Nations, the member states of the League should together guarantee the security of each individual member. (See INSTITUTION OF WAR). (IP)

COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS: A Jungian psychological theory in which some collective aspects of consciousness such as community history may be imprinted in the individual unconscious mind. (See COLLECTIVE MEMORY, COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS) (MP)

COLLECTIVISM: A socio-political ideology in which means of production and control are placed with the people collectively, usually represented by the state. The emphasis is on responsibilities rather than rights, and the collective is more important than personal individuality. Collectivism may incorporate aspects of family, democracy, socialism and/or Confucianism. (See INDIVIDUALISM) (MP)

COLONIALISM: The domination of a country by the imposition of economic, religious, cultural and language practices of the colonial power upon local populations. Examples include the colonization of the African, Asian, Australian and American continents by the English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese during the 15th to 18th centuries. Most of these colonies have now been granted political autonomy, although usually with the maintenance of cultural and economic ties. Any Western expansionist policies left over from the Ages of Discovery and Imperialism have today been replaced by economic ones. (MP)

COMA: Unconscious state, which may occur after a traumatic accident or stroke. Usually afer two weeks a person is either dead, or enters persistent vegetative state. (See BRAIN DEATH, PVS). (DM)

COMMENSALISM: A symbiotic relationship in which one species gains some benefit from an association with another species, but in which the second partner has neither benefit nor detriment. An example of a commensal organism is the rainforest epiphyte, which grows on the trunk of a host tree and gains the advantage of support, shelter, access to leaf litter, water flow and sunlight. (See PARASITE, SYMBIOSIS). (MP)

COMMON GOOD: The good of every body. (See JUSTICE). (DM)

COMMON LAW: 1. the part of a system of laws of any state or nation that is of a general and universal application 2. the system of laws originated and developed in England, based on court decisions, on the doctrines implicit in those decisions, and on customs and usages, rather than on codified written laws (see STATUTE LAW) (IP)

COMMON SENSE: The basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way. Common sense varies between people and culture, though it is still called "common". (DM)

COMMONS: Land not owned privately but in public ownership. (See TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS) (MR)

COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: Diseases that can be transferred between individuals, infectious diseases. (DM)

COMMUNICATION: The sending and reception of useful information between two or more parties. (See DISCOURSE) (MR)

COMMUNISM: The belief in a society without different classes in which the methods of production are owned and controlled by all its members and everyone works as much as they can and receives what they need. It is a system of political and economic organization in which property is owned by the state or community and all citizens share in the common wealth, more or less according to their need. Many small communist communities have existed at one time or another, most of them on a religious basis, generally under the inspiration of a literal interpretation of Scripture. In 1848 the word communism acquired a new meaning when it was used as identical with socialism by Karl MARX and Friederich ENGELS in their famous Communist Manifesto. They and their followers used the term to mean a late stage of socialism in which goods would become so abundant that they would be distributed on the basis of need rather than of endeavour. The Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, which took power in Russia in 1917, changed its name to the All-Russian Communist Party in 1918. Thus the Soviet Union and other states that were governed by Soviet-type parties were referred to as “Communist” and their official doctrines were called “Communism,” although in none of these countries had a communist society in its original meaning been fully established. (DM)

COMMUNITARIANISM: An ethical and political philosophy which combines meritism in the allocation of rights with collectivism in regard to freedom. Central to the communitarian idea of democracy is that citizens' true opinions can only be detected by observing the community's traditional responses to ethical issues; that is, the citizens have to condone traditional values such as, for example, the prohibition of contraceptives on religious grounds. There are two main dividing lines between the most important late twentieth-century theories of ethical and political philosophy. The first distinction concerns the nature of human individualism; that is, freedom or liberalism. The second distinction concerns the nature of human rights or entitlements of help from others in situations where they cannot cope for themselves. These categories can be divided into the ethics of self-actualization and the ethics of caring and are, clearly, interrelated since the second (freedom from need) is a prerequisite to the first (liberty to freely express ones genetic potential). Within these two main dividing lines there are four distinct principles of social and political philosophy; libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism and liberal utilitarianism. All of these four doctrines can be democratic in their own special ways, but the content and principles of democracy varies considerably from one theory to another. (See DEMOCRACY, LIBERAL UTILITARIANISM, LIBERTARIANISM, SOCIALISM, UTILITARIANISM). (IP)

COMMUNITY CARE: government program to provide long-term care for the elderly, disabled and mentally ill within the resources offered by the community, rather than in hospitals or institutions. The policy was first introduced in the UK and Australia in the early 1990s and represented a far-reaching National Health Service reform aimed at replacing traditional institutional provision of long-term care by community outreach programs. It was claimed that the major aim was to offer the long-term patient a better quality of life; however, the scheme has suffered considerable criticism on the grounds that, as old institutions closed, the level of support for people in need had correspondingly dropped placing a greater burden on non-professional carers, typically the children or partners of the disabled or elderly. (IP)


COMMUNITY SERVICES: Health care and related support services which are based in the local community. (DM)

COMPASSION: The emotion associated with sharing the suffering of another together with the desire to give aid. (See BENEFICENCE, CARING, LOVE, VIRTUES) (DM)

COMPENSATION: Payment for injury. (DM)

COMPETENCE: Mental capacity to make responsible choices. Compare to incompetence, which is used to refer to someone unable to make choices. (See INFORMED CONSENT). (DM)

COMPETITION: (Latin: competere 'to come together or seek in common') 1. Act of competing in the market, sport, examination etc. 2. In biology a process that determines how available resources are distributed among entities that demand them. The supply of any resource at the scale of biological organisms (including humans), is generally finite. Organisms that are best able to gather a resource amongst the efforts of other organisms to do the same, obtain more of this resource, and are said to be most competitive with respect to that resource. Indirect harm may be caused by the most competitive entity to any less competitive entities who receive less of the resource, especially if the resource is essential to their physical operation. One example of competition concerns plants regenerating in a place cleared of vegetation, but left for plants to regrow. Some plant species are very good at growing quickly, and they gain primary access to sunlight above slower-growing species, reducing the likelihood of their survival if they are unable to cope with reduced light. In this example, only a certain amount of light arrives at the surface of the earth, and this is the finite resource. The plants that are superior at acquiring light (by growing taller), do so at the expense of plants who are less competitive (slower growing). A related, and ethically relevant example is competition for space and other resources between humans and species of plants and animals. Humans are able to acquire vast areas of space (by habitat modification) at the expense of the organisms that occupied this space previously (unable to exist in the modified environment). Interestingly, some organisms might be better able to occupy the modified habitat, and they profit (e.g. establish larger populations) compared to their ability in the unmodified habitat. What, if anything, determines how much a particular organism should harm a competitor by reducing the amount they receive of an essential resource? Large bodies of empirical and theoretical research into aspects of competition exist in the ecological and economic literature. (See TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS). (IP+HM)


COMPLEMENTARY DNA (cDNA): DNA that is synthesized from a messenger RNA template; the single-strand form is often used as a probe in physical mapping. (DM)

COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE: is a vast, heterogeneous set of therapies which generally have a common philosophy which is a belief in a holistic approach to health. Therapies focus, to varying degrees, on the integration of mind, body and spirit to restore health. Complementary medicine is also known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), natural therapies, alternative medicine, unconventional medicine and integrative medicine. Terms including "alternative" are now considered to be inappropriate as they imply a polarized position to that of allopathic or conventional medicine and is sometimes used in a pejorative sense to imply some form of quackery. A general definition is that complementary therapies are those therapies that are not taught as a normal part of medical education or provided within conventional health care facilities. However this becoming an increasingly impractical definition due to increased integration of complementary and conventional health care. In addition there is a culture context where therapies considered complementary in one culture may be mainstream in another e.g. acupuncture in China (JW).

COMPLEX: 1. Unpredictable, intricate, complicated or composed of many parts. (See COMPLEXITY) 2. Psychology: A group of related feelings, emotions or ideas which are activated, expressed, repressed and selected for together. (See MEME COMPLEX) (MP)

COMPLEXITY: Lack of predictability in a system due to nonlinear collective behavior. General order of complexity in the sciences, from the simplest or most predictable system mathematics, whose statements are logical consequences or tautologies, then increases through physics, chemistry, microbiology and biology, to greatest complexity in ecology and human sociology. A crude measure of complexity is the amount of information or symbols required for description. The emerging science of complexity theory tries to elucidate the universal features of complexity among systems. It uses synthesis as an opposing complement to reductionism, at the level of the behavior of subsystems and whole systems. (See CHAOS THEORY, COMPLEX, COMPLEXITY THEORY, COMPLICATEDNESS, COMPLICITY, EMERGENT PROPERTIES, SIMPLEXITY, SIMPLICITY, SYSTEMS THEORY) (MP)

COMPLEXITY THEORY: ‘Complexity theory’ is the investigation of information, predictability, algorithms and natural patterns which display common features across many scales and levels of organization. Systems are composed and organized in ‘nested’ hierarchies of subsystems, leading to coordinated behavior and ‘emergent properties’ in meta-systems. Complexity theory studies the context, patterns and organization of this information across time, for example simplicity, complexity, complicity, simplexity, consilience, cybernetics, chaos and order. Some of these trains of thought have a philosophical lineage in ‘rational morphology’ and the search for ‘laws of form’ (e.g. Kant, Goethe, Waddington). Many reductionist scientists see little need for it, but synthesis requires different tools than does reduction to components. Complexity theorists have included Stuart Kauffman, Christopher Langton, Brian Goodwin, Danny Hillis, Jack Cohen, Ian Stewart, E.O. Wilson and James Lovelock. (See COMPLEXITY, CONSILIENCE, CONTEXT, EMERGENT PROPERTIES, HIERARCHY THEORY, NETWORK, PROCESS, SYSTEMS THEORY) (MP)

COMPLICATEDNESS: Difficulty of analysis and understanding due to the presence of many interconnected elements. (See COMPLEXITY) (MP)

COMPLICITY: 1. Complicity is being in partnership; having an accomplice and sharing responsibility. 2. Complexity theorists Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart use complicity to mean the ‘emergence’ of large-scale simplicity from the convergence of different subsystems of rules, which ‘enlarges the space of the possible’. Examples include evolution, consciousness, economics. Complicity is also referred to as ‘super emergence’ (‘regular emergence’ is expressed in ‘simplexity’). (See COMPLEXITY, EMERGENT PROPERTIES, SIMPLEXITY, SIMPLICITY) (MP)

COMPONENTS: Units, parts, parameter, factors of a system, independent and interdependent units. Biotic components: genes, cells, organs, organisms, populations, communities. Abiotic components: Matter and energy (JA)

COMPROMISE: 1. Compromise is the process or result of concessions from both sides of a dispute with the aim of finding common middle ground. Settlement of differences is achieved from mutual adjustment of conflicting claims/principles by yielding a part of each. Compromise is possible for disputes but may be more difficult for institutionalized conflict. Cultural values or human needs such as identity and security may not be subject to compromise. 2. A concession made at the expense of one’s integrity or original values; exposure to danger or suspicion, especially of reputation. 3. To involve or commit another unfavorably. 4. In military or politics, to compromise classified material is to subject it to risk of passage to an unauthorized person. ‘Compromise’ is from the original Latin: compromissum ‘mutual promise to abide by a decision’, now obsolete but appropriate to bioethics. This more positive connotation reminds us that the aim is not really grudging compromise, but a constructive synthesis closer to the truth than either of the previous positions. (See ARBITRATION, COLLABORATION, CONCILIATION, CONDITIONALITY, CONFLICT CONSENSUS, DISPUTE, FACILITATION, NEGOTIATION) (IP & MP)

COMPREHENSION: Understanding by a patient or research subject of information disclosed orally or in writing. (DM)

COMPUTER: Any automated device or machine that can perform calculations on information or data. The data must be received in an appropriate form that is then processed according to specific instructions. The most widely used is the digital computer - an automatically controlled calculator machine in which data is represented by combinations of discrete electrical pulses. The information is analyzed according to a set of instructions or programs. At the same time as the computer's electronic circuits have decreased in size they have become smaller, faster and much more powerful. Fields such as science, technology, industry, commerce, education and communication could not cope in the modern world without the use of modern computers. (See COMPUTER MODELING). (IP)

COMPUTER MODELING: The development of a description or mathematical representation; i.e. a model, of a process or living system using a computer. This model can then be used to study the mechanism or behavior of the system under varying artificially controlled conditions, and analyzing likely outcomes. For example, the likely effect of a climatic change in areas where certain types of fauna and flora flourish maybe be amenable to modeling. To explore variables to an extent that is not possible by any other experimental means makes computer modeling a powerful tool in predicting possible ecological reactions under modern environmental stresses. (See COMPUTER). (IP)

COMPUTER VIRUS: An unauthorized computer program or software fragment which has the ability to propagate itself within a networked computer system or across the internet. It parasitizes other software, often damaging, deleting or otherwise interfering with data and/or the normal operations of programs. A 'virus' propagates itself by latching onto another program or data file. A 'worm' is able to self-propagate copies or segments of its programming autonomously. A 'Trojan horse' masquerades as a useful program whilst covertly accessing or altering restricted information. Computer viruses may be programmed by hackers, targeted at specific organizations by hacktivists, indiscriminately released by hacks, or strategically employed to jam data and communications during cyber-warfare. Viruses may arrive as executable e-mail attachments, and are often targeted at Microsoft products because of the widespread use of this software. Reproduction can be rapid and global, for example using e-mail address lists for propagation. This necessitates constant engineering of antivirus software, an interesting example of which is the 'viral predator' sent down the same electronic pathways in an attempt to hunt down and neutralize the virus and its progeny. (See ARTIFICIAL LIFE, BUG, HACKER, HACKTIVISM, VIRUS, WORM) (MP)

Share with your friends:
1   ...   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   ...   59

The database is protected by copyright © 2019
send message

    Main page