CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 29-October, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


29th October, 2017

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Rational temper and moral reasoning {Ethics}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article talks about rationality in human being.

Humans cannot survive without evidence and reason.

E.g.  If you aim to live, then on seeing a cobra you better recognise the evidence that it is venomous and run for your life! Instrumental rationality is a primitive form of reason, as old as human beings themselves.

Rationality

It is the habit of acting by reason, which means in accordance with the facts of reality. The only alternative is acting by whim, which because reality is absolute, will result in undesired consequences. This is because an action based on a belief in a particular cause-effect relationship will not occur if that relationship is invalid.

Instrumental rationality

Image result for rationality

Rationality

Instrumental rationality is concerned with achieving goals. More specifically, instrumental rationality is the art of choosing and implementing actions that steer the future toward outcomes ranked higher in one’s preferences. Said preferences are not limited to ‘selfish’ preferences or unshared values; they include anything one cares about.

Epistemic rationality

Epistemic rationality is that part of rationality which involves achieving accurate beliefs about the world. It involves updating on receiving new evidence, mitigating cognitive biases, and examining why you believe what you believe. It can be seen as a form of instrumental rationality in which knowledge and truth are goals in themselves, whereas in other forms of instrumental rationality, knowledge and truth are only potential aids to achieving goals. Someone practising instrumental rationality might even find falsehood useful.

Forms of reason

So why are we encouraged to develop a rational temper when early socialisation already makes us rational?

Because we learn skills of evidence gathering, inferring and instrumental reasoning in the limited domain of our own experience but modern life in industrialised societies can hardly be lived by these alone.

  • Reasoning about valued ends. It is not enough to explore the best possible means to satisfy whatever we happen to want. We also need to reason about which desire we should pursue.
  • Contextual moral reasoning, found aplenty in ordinary practice, but needing more cultivation. Suppose that your child is ill, your wife is out of town on work, and you have an urgent meeting to attend.

 How to Be Rational?

 Accept the challenge to develop your rational thinking. Becoming more rational begins with changing the way you process through events and the way that you think. Instead of looking at this change as work, try viewing it as a challenge or an opportunity to grow. Begin to be more rational by trying the following.

Confront your cognitive biases. A key to thinking rationally is to be honest about cognitive biases you may have. As a rational thinker, you will be called upon to make your own opinions and have the rationale to back them up. Make an effort now to confront any tendencies you may have to think in ways that detract from your good judgment or rational thinking ability.

Develop a system or approach to improve your rational thinking. After accepting the challenge to develop your thinking and researching and confronting your biases, you have already taken the first few steps in a plan to become a more rational thinker. Continue to develop and begin to enact a plan to achieve what you want. The key to working on this plan is to be consistent in your practice, whatever that may be.

 Practice your rational thinking habits. Developing a more rational way of thinking takes time, energy, and effort. In order to establish good rational thinking habits make sure that you are taking the time to consistently practice.

Benefits of being rational

  • One of the most important benefits of rationality is predictability. When a group of people act rationally on the basis of common principles or assumptions their actions are mutually predictable. This fosters social cohesion and harmony.
  • Another important benefit of rationality is that it allows harmony with the natural world. Because the natural world exhibits regularities, rationality allows us to predict natural phenomena, and is able to foster harmony with nature.

Fighting the silent killer {Health Issue}

(The Hindu)


In news

As per the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 report, hypertension or high blood pressure caused 16.4 lakh deaths in India in one (every) year. It is the single biggest risk factor for heart attacks and stroke, and often detected only after deadly complications have occurred.

Why it should be checked?

  • Having high blood pressure or hypertension means that an individual’s blood pressure is consistently higher than recommended levels.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there are no early warning symptoms and the only way to find out whether you have hypertension is to have it measured. Hypertension can be easily detected and managed in consultation with your doctor.
  • A 2016 study indicates that about 30% of adult Indians have hypertension (34% in urban and 28% in rural areas).

What is hypertension?Image result for hypertension

  • Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
  • How great the pressure is depends on the work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels.
  • Medical guidelines define hypertension as a blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Causes

  • Blood pressure varies throughout the day. It is lower during sleep and higher on awakening.
  • Occasionally having high blood pressure for a short time is a normal physiological response to many situations. Acute stress and intense exercise, for example, can briefly elevate blood pressure in a healthy person.
  • For this reason, a diagnosis of hypertension normally requires several readings that show high blood pressure over time.
  • However, a reading of 180 over 110 mmHg or higher could be a sign of a hypertensive crisis that warrants immediate medical attention

Risk factors

A number of risk factors increase the chances of having hypertension.

Age: Hypertension is more common in people aged over 60 years. With age, blood pressure can increase steadily as the arteries become stiffer and narrower due to plaque build-up.

Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups are more prone to hypertension.

Size and weight: Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor.

Sex: The lifetime risk is the same for males and females, but men are more prone to hypertension at a younger age, while rates tend to be higher rate in women at older ages.

Existing health conditions: Cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and high cholesterollevels are predictors for hypertension, especially as people get older.

Other contributing factors include

  • physical inactivity
  • a salt-rich diet associated with processed and fatty foods
  • low potassiumin the diet
  • alcohol and tobacco use
  • certain diseases and medications

A family history of high blood pressure and poorly managed stress also contribute.

 Symptoms

A person with hypertension may not notice any symptoms, and it is often called the “silent killer.” While undetected, it can cause damage to the cardiovascular system and internal organs, such as the kidneys.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of hypertension is made by measuring blood pressure over at least 3 clinic visits using the upper-arm cuff device called a sphygmomanometer.

The doctor will take a history and perform a physical examination before diagnosing hypertension.

Some additional tests can help identify the cause of high blood pressure and determine any complications.

Tests may include

  • urine tests
  • kidney ultrasoundimaging
  • blood tests
  • electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiograph

 New RNA editing tool can eradicate genetic diseases

{Sci. & Tech}

(Livemint)


Context

The molecular system, called RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement (REPAIR), has profound potential as a tool for both research and disease treatment.

In news

  • Scientists have created a new gene editing tool that tweaks the individual RNA ‘letters’ in human cells without making changes to the entire genome, paving the way for therapies that can reverse disease-causing mutations.
  • The molecular system, called RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement (REPAIR) has profound potential as a tool for both research and disease treatment.

Highlights

  • The new system, developed by scientists can change single RNA nucleosides in mammalian cells in a programmable and precise fashion. REPAIR has the ability to reverse disease-causing mutations at the RNA level.
  • REPAIR has the ability to target individual RNA letters, or nucleosides, switching adenosines to inosines.
  • In human disease, a mutation from G to A is extremely common; these alterations have been implicated in, for example, cases of focal epilepsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • REPAIR has the ability to reverse the impact of any pathogenic G-to-A mutation regardless of its surrounding nucleotide sequence, with the potential to operate in any cell type.

Objective

  • The ability to correct disease-causing mutations is one of the primary goals of genome editing.
  • This new ability to edit RNA opens up more potential opportunities to recover that function and treat many diseases, in almost any kind of cell

 

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