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100 entries most recently downloaded from the archive "Oxford University Research Archive"

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  1. Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg, Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu, When is Diminishment a Form of Enhancement? : Rethinking the Enhancement Debate in Biomedical Ethics.
    The enhancement debate in neuroscience and biomedical ethics tends to focus on the augmentation of certain capacities or functions: memory, learning, attention, and the like. Typically, the point of contention is whether these augmentative enhancements should be considered permissible for individuals with no particular “medical” disadvantage along any of the dimensions of interest. Less frequently addressed in the literature, however, is the fact that sometimes the diminishment of a capacity or function, under the right set of circumstances, could plausibly contribute (...)
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  2. Hannah Maslen, Thomas Douglas, Roi Cohen Kadosh, Neil Levy & Julian Savulescu, The Regulation of Cognitive Enhancement Devices : Extending the Medical Model.
    This article presents a model for regulating cognitive enhancement devices . Recently, it has become very easy for individuals to purchase devices which directly modulate brain function. For example, transcranial direct current stimulators are increasingly being produced and marketed online as devices for cognitive enhancement. Despite posing risks in a similar way to medical devices, devices that do not make any therapeutic claims do not have to meet anything more than basic product safety standards. We present the case for extending (...)
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  3. Hannah Maslen, Nadira Faulmüller & Julian Savulescu, Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement : How Neuroscientific Research Could Advance Ethical Debate.
    There are numerous ways people can improve their cognitive capacities: good nutrition and regular exercise can produce long-term improvements across many cognitive domains, whilst commonplace stimulants such as coffee temporarily boost levels of alertness and concentration. Effects like these have been well-documented in the medical literature and they raise few ethical issues. More recently, however, clinical research has shown that the off-label use of some pharmaceuticals can, under certain conditions, have modest cognition-improving effects. Substances such as methylphenidate and modafinil can (...)
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  4. Thomas Douglas, The Dual-Use Problem, Scientific Isolationism and the Division of Moral Labour.
    The dual-use problem is an ethical quandary sometimes faced by scientists and others in a position to influence the creation or dissemination of scientific knowledge. It arises when an agent is considering whether to pursue some project likely to result in the creation or dissemination of scientific knowledge, that knowledge could be used in both morally desirable and morally undesirable ways, and the risk of undesirable use is sufficiently high that it is not clear that the agent may permissibly pursue (...)
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  5. Rebecca Roache, Can Brain Scans Prove Criminals Unaccountable?
    Leonard Berlin reports that neuroscientific data have been presented in court by lawyers wishing to argue that their clients have reduced or absent moral responsibility for their behaviour because their brain function is impaired. Berlin cites evidence showing that such neuroscientific data can influence judges to pass more lenient sentences, and he anticipates that advances in “the neurology of criminal behavior” may lead courts to view certain criminals as having reduced accountability for their actions. Similarly, an advisor to President Obama (...)
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  6. Dominic Wilkinson & Julian Savulescu, Disability, Discrimination and Death : Is It Justified to Ration Life Saving Treatment for Disabled Newborn Infants?
    Disability might be relevant to decisions about life support in intensive care in several ways. It might affect the chance of treatment being successful, or a patient’s life expectancy with treatment. It may affect whether treatment is in a patient’s best interests. However, even if treatment would be of overall benefit it may be unaffordable and consequently unable to be provided. In this paper we will draw on the example of neonatal intensive care, and ask whether or when it is (...)
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  7. Lucius Caviola, Adriano Mannino, Julian Savulescu & Nadira Faber, Cognitive Biases Can Affect Moral Intuitions About Cognitive Enhancement.
    Research into cognitive biases that impair human judgment has mostly been applied to the area of economic decision-making. Ethical decision-making has been comparatively neglected. Since ethical decisions often involve very high individual as well as collective stakes, analyzing how cognitive biases affect them can be expected to yield important results. In this theoretical article, we consider the ethical debate about cognitive enhancement and suggest a number of cognitive biases that are likely to affect moral intuitions and judgments about CE: status (...)
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  8. Hannah Maslen, Brian Earp, Roi Cohen Kadosh & Julian Savulescu, Brain Stimulation for Treatment and Enhancement in Children : An Ethical Analysis.
    Davis called for “extreme caution” in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation to treat neurological disorders in children, due to gaps in scientific knowledge. We are sympathetic to his position. However, we must also address the ethical implications of applying this technology to minors. Compensatory trade-offs associated with NIBS present a challenge to its use in children, insofar as these trade-offs have the effect of limiting the child’s future options. The distinction between treatment and enhancement has some normative force here. (...)
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  9. Andreas Lech Mogensen, Krister Bykvist & John Hawthorne, Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.
    I consider whether evolutionary explanations can debunk our moral beliefs. Most contemporary discussion in this area is centred on the question of whether debunking implications follow from our ability to explain elements of human morality in terms of natural selection, given that there has been no selection for true moral beliefs. By considering the most prominent arguments in the literature today, I offer reasons to think that debunking arguments of this kind fail. However, I argue that a successful evolutionary debunking (...)
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  10. Pamela Sue Anderson, Engaging the "Forbidden Texts" of Philosophy: Pamela Sue Anderson Talks to Alison Jasper.
    This article is made available under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited.
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  11. Pamela Sue Anderson, Michèle Le Doeuff's "Primal Scene": Prohibition and Confidence in the Education of a Woman.
    My essay begins with Michèle Le Doeuff's singular account of the "primal scene" in her own education as a woman, illustrating a universally significant point about the way in which education can differ for men and women: gender difference both shapes and is shaped by the imaginary of a culture as manifest in how texts matter for Le Doeuff. Her primal scene is the first moment she remembers when, while aspiring to think for herself, a prohibition is placed in her (...)
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  12. Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Only X%: The Problem of Sex Equality.
    When Mill published The Subjection of Women in 1869 he wanted to replace the domination of one sex by the other laws based on ‘a principle of perfect equality’. It is widely complained, however, that even advanced countries have still failed to achieve equality between the sexes. Power and wealth and influence are still overwhelmingly in the hands of men. But equalities of these kinds are not the ones required by the principle of equality that Mill had in mind; and, (...)
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  13. Giles Bergel, Christopher J. Howe & Heather F. Windram, Lines of Succession in an English Ballad Tradition: The Publishing History and Textual Descent of The Wandering Jew’s Chronicle.
    This paper combines bibliography, book history and traditional textual criticism with phylogenetic analysis in order to infer the publishing history and textual descent of a short printed ballad history of England – The Wandering Jew’s Chronicle . Probably first published in 1634, The Wandering Jew’s Chronicle is usually known as a broadside ballad – a cheap, printed song-sheet – illustrated with woodcut portraits of kings and queens of England. It remained in print until c.1830, its text illustrations updated to the (...)
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  14. Annamaria Carusi, Implicit Trust in the Space of Reasons and Implications for Technology Design: A Response to Justine Pila: Implicit Trust in the Space of Reasons: A Response to Justine Pila.
    In a recent paper, Pila has criticised the recommendations made by requirements engineers involved in the design of a grid technology for the support of distributed readings of mammograms made by Jirotka et al . The disagreement between them turns on the notion of ‘biographical familiarity’ and whether it can be a sound basis for trust for the performances of professionals such as radiologists. In the first two sections, the paper gives an interpretation of the position of each side in (...)
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  15. Cathy Cantwell & Robert Mayer, A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis: A Mahāyoga Tantra and its Commentary.
    A detailed study of a probably 10th century Tibetan tantric text, including critical editions, diplomatic transcriptions, introductory materials, and other historical analysis.
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  16. Ignacio Mastroleo, More Considerations on Post-Trial Obligations in the Declaration of Helsinki 2013.
    The problem of transitioning research participants to the appropriate health care when the study finishes is a global problem. The publication of a new version of the Declaration of Helsinki and its public discussion is a great opportunity to discuss it. My interpretation of the Declaration of Helsinki 2013 identifies two different types of post-trial obligations, namely, access to care and access to information after research. The intended beneficiaries of these obligations are individual participants of research studies. The Declaration identifies (...)
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  17. T. J. Mawson, Theological Determinism.
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  18. Tim Mawson & Luke Muehlhauser, A Fine-Tuned Universe: Conversations From the Pale Blue Dot: Episode 043.
    Interview of Tim Mawson by Luke Muehlhauser.
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  19. Harvey Brown & D. E. Rowe, The Role of Rods and Clocks in General Relativity and the Meaning of the Metric Field.
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  20. Greg P. Kochanski, John Coleman, Christina Orphanidou, Christopher Alvey, A. McIntyre & Stephen Golding, Experimental Tests of Features and Partial Specification.
    Citation: Kochanski, G., Coleman, J., Orphanidou, C., Alvey, C., McIntyre, A. & Golding, S. . Experimental tests of Features and Partial Specification. Talk presented by G. Kochanski, 17 December 2010, at the Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France.
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  21. T. J. Mawson, On Determining How Important It is Whether There is a God.
    Can the issue of how important it is whether or not there is a God be decided prior to deciding whether ot not there is a God? In this paper, I explore some difficulties that stand in the way of answering this question in the affirmative and some of the implications of these difficulties for that part of the Philosophy of Religion which concerns itself with assessing arguments for and against the existence of God, the implications for how its importance (...)
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  22. Jonathan B. Edelmann, John H. Brooke & Francis X. Clooney, When Two Worldviews Meet: A Dialogue Between the Bhagavata Purana and Contemporary Biological Theory.
    Over the past thirty years, academic dialogues on the relationships between the sciences and religions have flourished, albeit primarily within Judeo-Christian historical, theological and philosophical contexts. Can a Hindu tradition be brought into this dialogue? The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most well-known sacred texts of India, and biology, Darwinism in particular, has become one of the most spirited areas of the science and religion dialogue in academia, as well as in the popular media. This thesis examines the possibility, (...)
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  23. Mark Charlesworth & Chukwumerije Okereke, Policy Responses to Rapid Climate Change: An Epistemological Critique of Dominant Approaches.
    This paper reviews existing policy responses to rapid climate change and examines possible assumptions that underpin those responses. The analysis demonstrates that current policy responses to rapid climate change make unwarranted epistemological and ethical assumptions. Specifically, we argue that the assumptions about the possibility of predicting the climate system including tipping points linked to utilitarian ethical assumptions in the form of cost–benefit analysis are open to contestation and should be subject to global public debate. The paper considers alternative normative approaches (...)
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  24. James Le Messurier Goudkamp, Andrew Ashworth & Roderick Bagshaw, A Taxonomy of Tort Law Defences.
    Tort law provides for a large number of defences to liability. While the circumstances in which some of these defences apply have been explored in detail, scant attention has been given to the theoretical foundations of defences. In particular, no serious attempt has been made to explain how defences relate to each other. This thesis seeks to reduce this gap in our understanding of tort law by proposing a system by which defences may be organised. It is argued that tort (...)
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  25. John Broome, The Welfare Economics of Population.
    Intuition suggests there is no value in adding people to the population if it brings no benefits to people already living: creating people is morally neutral in itself. This paper examines the difficulties of incorporating this intuition into a coherent theory of the value of population. It takes three existing theories within welfare economics - average utilitarianism, relativist utilitarianism, and critical-level utilitarianism - and considers whether they can satisfactorily accommodate the intuition that creating people is neutral.
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  26. Christopher G. Timpson & Harvey R. Brown, Building with Quantum Correlations.
    'Correlations without correlata' is an influential way of thinking of quantum entanglement as a form primitive correlation which nonetheless maintains locality of quantum theory. A number of arguments have sought to suggest that such a view leads either to internal inconsistency or to conflict with the empirical predictions of quantum mechanics. Here wew explicate and provide a partial defence of the notion, arguing that these objections import unwarranted conceptions of correlation properties as hidden variables. A more plausible account sees the (...)
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  27. Geoffrey Harrison Ferrari & Krister Bykvist, Explaining Right and Wrong.
    When an act is right or wrong, there may be an explanation why. Different moral theories recognize different moral facts and offer different explanations of them, but they offer no account of moral explanation itself. What, then, is its nature? This thesis seeks a systematic account of moral explanation within a framework of moral realism. In Chapter 1, I develop a pluralist theory of explanation. I argue that there is a prima facie distinctive normative mode of explanation that is essential (...)
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  28. Peter McDonald, The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences.
    'Censorship may have to do with literature', Nadine Gordimer once said, 'but literature has nothing whatever to do with censorship.' As the history of many repressive regimes shows, this vital borderline has seldom been so clearly demarcated. Just how murky it can sometimes be is compellingly exemplified in the case of apartheid South Africa. For reasons that were neither obvious nor historically inevitable, the apartheid censors were not only the agents of the white minority government's repressive anxieties about the medium (...)
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  29. Christopher B. R. Pelling, Plutarch's Socrates.
    Citation: Pelling, C. B. R. . 'Plutarch's Socrates', Hermanthena, 179 , 105-139.
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  30. Timothy Endicott, Interpretation, Jurisdiction, and the Authority of Law.
    People can be autonomous, if they are subject to authority. In particular, they can be autonomous if they are subject to the authority of law. I defend the first claim through a study of Joseph Raz's compelling account of authority; I claim that his work leads to the conclusion that autonomous judgment is needed to determine the jurisdiction of an authority, and to interpret its directives. I defend the second claim by arguing that law does not claim unlimited jurisdiction, and (...)
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  31. Dennis Lehmkuhl, P. Ghose & Harvey Brown, Einstein, the Reality of Space, and the Action-Reaction Principle.
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  32. Keith Hyams & Tina Fawcett, The Ethics of Carbon Offsetting.
    Carbon offsetting can be loosely characterized as a mechanism by which an organization or individual contributes to a scheme that is projected either to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or to deliver carbon dioxide emission reductions on the part of other organizations or individuals. An activity that has been offset therefore purports to make no long-term net contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The ethical basis for using carbon offsetting as an approach to tackling climate change is very much (...)
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  33. Brian A. Ball, Dorothy Edgington & John Hawthorne, Semantics, Meta-Semantics, and Ontology: A Critique of the Method of Truth in Metaphysics.
    In this thesis, Semantics, Meta-Semantics, and Ontology, I provide a critique of the method of truth in metaphysics. Davidson has suggested that we can determine the metaphysical nature and structure of reality through semantic investigations. By contrast, I argue that it is not semantics, but meta-semantics, which reveals the metaphysically necessary and sufficient truth conditions of our claims. As a consequence I reject the Quinean criterion of ontological commitment. In Part I, chapter 1, I argue that the metaphysically primary truth (...)
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  34. Pamela Anderson, Myth, Mimesis and Mutiple Identities: Feminist Tools for Transforming Theology.
    Mythical configurations of a personal deity and a dominant sexual identity are part of our western history. In particular, the religious myths of patriarchy have privileged a male God and devalued female desire - and, with her desire, sexual difference. There can be no facile way beyond these myths. Instead the proposal here is for feminist theologians to attempt new configurations of old myths and disruptive refigurations, i.e. transformative mimesis, of biased beliefs. Myth and mimesis can enable expression of multiple (...)
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  35. Katja Wiech, Miguel Farias, Guy Kahane, Nicholas Shackel, Wiebke Tiede & Irene Tracey, An fMRI Study Measuring Analgesia Enhanced by Religion as a Belief System.
    Although religious belief is often claimed to help with physical ailments including pain, it is unclear what psychological and neural mechanisms underlie the influence of religious belief on pain. By analogy to other top-down processes of pain modulation we hypothesized that religious belief helps believers reinterpret the emotional significance of pain, leading to emotional detachment from it. Recent findings on emotion regulation support a role for the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex , a region also important for driving top-down pain inhibitory (...)
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  36. Geoffrey M. Lairumbi, Michael Parker, Raymond Fitzpatrick & Michael C. English, Ethics in Practice: The State of the Debate on Promoting the Social Value of Global Health Research in Resource Poor Settings Particularly Africa.
    Background: Promoting the social value of global health research undertaken in resource poor settings has become a key concern in global research ethics. The consideration for benefit sharing, which concerns the elucidation of what if anything, is owed to participants, their communities and host nations that take part in such research, and the obligations of researchers involved, is one of the main strategies used for promoting social value of research. In the last decade however, there has been intense debate within (...)
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  37. Virginia Morrow, The Ethics of Social Research with Children and Families in Young Lives: Practical Experiences: Young Lives Working Paper 53.
    A great deal of attention is now paid to the ethics of social research. Research governance has expanded, and a burgeoning literature is emerging that describes the processes, practices and questions that arise in social research with children, families and communities. This paper outlines the approach taken to research ethics within Young Lives, a long-term study of childhood poverty in four developing countries. It describes some of the practical difficulties that Young Lives faces, and emphasises the importance of understanding local (...)
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  38. Geoffrey M. Lairumbi, Michael Parker, Raymond Fitzpatrick & Mike C. English, Stakeholders Understanding of the Concept of Benefit Sharing in Health Research in Kenya: A Qualitative Study.
    Background: The concept of benefit sharing to enhance the social value of global health research in resource poor settings is now a key strategy for addressing moral issues of relevance to individuals, communities and host countries in resource poor settings when they participate in international collaborative health research. The influence of benefit sharing framework on the conduct of collaborative health research is for instance evidenced by the number of publications and research ethics guidelines that require prior engagement between stakeholders to (...)
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  39. Jane Kaye, Paula Boddington, Jantina de Vries, Naomi Hawkins & Karen Melham, Ethical Implications of the Use of Whole Genome Methods in Medical Research.
    The use of genome-wide association studies in medical research and the increased ability to share data give a new twist to some of the perennial ethical issues associated with genomic research. GWAS create particular challenges because they produce fine, detailed, genotype information at high resolution, and the results of more focused studies can potentially be used to determine genetic variation for a wide range of conditions and traits. The information from a GWA scan is derived from DNA that is a (...)
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  40. Christopher Gordon Timpson & Harvey R. Brown, Quantum Information Theory and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.
    This thesis is a contribution to the debate on the implications of quantum information theory for the foundational problems of quantum mechanics. In Part I an attempt is made to shed some light on the nature of information and quantum information theory. It is emphasized that the everyday notion of information is to be firmly distinguished from the technical notions arising in information theory; however it is maintained that in both settings ‘information’ functions as an abstract noun, hence does not (...)
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  41. Timothy Williamson, Summary of "The Philosophy of Philosophy.
    The book is primarily an essay on the epistemology of the sort of armchair knowledge that we can hope to achieve in philosophy. The possibility of such knowledge is not to be explained by reinterpreting philosophical questions as questions about words or concepts. Although there are philosophical questions about words and concepts, most philosophical questions are not about words or concepts: they are, just as they seem to be, about the things, many of them independent of us, to which the (...)
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  42. Ségolène M. Tarte, Papyrological Investigations: Transferring Perception and Interpretation Into the Digital World.
    Deciphering ancient and damaged documents is a complex investigative task that papyrologists routinely undertake to extract meaning from the script. Perception and interpretation play an essential role. In this paper, we present methods for transferring to the digital world some of the processes that experts draw upon when interpreting a text, with the ultimate aim of constructing an Interpretation Support System for papyrologists. Image-capture and image-processing approaches that reflect real-world perceptual processes have been implemented. In addition, we propose an expansion (...)
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  43. Rhonda L. Powell, Denis Galligan & Liora Lazarus, Security and the Right to Security of Person.
    This thesis inquires into the meaning of the right to security of person. This right is found in many international, regional and domestic human rights instruments. However, academic discourse reveals disagreement about the meaning of the right. The thesis first considers case law from the European Convention on Human Rights, the South African Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter. The analysis shows that courts too disagree about the meaning of the right to security of person. The thesis then takes (...)
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  44. John Broome, Representing an Ordering When the Population Varies.
    This note describes a domain of distributions of wellbeing, in which different distributions may have different populations. It proves a representation theorem for an ordering defined on this domain.
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  45. Pamela Sue Anderson, Can We Love as God Loves?
    I locate the starting point for this essay on the common ground between the traditionally conceived attribute of divine love and the moral theory known as divine command ethics. The latter assumes that something is good because God commands it; with the former, the gift of divine love requires love in return. In this light, God’s command to love is recognized as goodness itself by those ‘he’ loves. In other words, those persons loved by God are morally motivated to love. (...)
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  46. John Broome, Jonathan Boston, Andrew Bradstock & David Eng, The Most Important Thing About Climate Change.
    This book chapter is not available in ORA, but you may download, display, print and reproduce this chapter in unaltered form only for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organization from the ANU E Press website.
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  47. Tarunabh Khaitan & Nicholas Bamforth, An Autonomy-Based Foundation for Legal Protection Against Discrimination.
    The impressive growth of antidiscrimination law in liberal democracies in the past few decades belies the inadequacy of the normative bases on which it has been sought to be justified. Popular ideals such as rationality, equality and dignity have been unsuccessful in providing a coherent liberal framework for the fundamental aspects of the practice of antidiscrimination law. In this thesis, I have argued that a unified normative framework comprising autonomy and dignity-as-autonomy does a markedly better job of justifying the most (...)
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  48. Tim Mawson & C. Stephen Layman, Review of 'Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God. [REVIEW]
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  49. Timothy Williamson, Review of 'Modern Anti-Realism and Manufactured Truth' by Gerald Vision. [REVIEW]
    The full-text of this article is not currently available in ORA, but you may be able to access the article via the publisher copy link on this record page.
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  50. Luciano Floridi, From Data to Semantic Information.
    There is no consensus yet on the definition of semantic information. This paper contributes to the current debate by criticising and revising the Standard Definition of semantic Information as meaningful data, in favour of the Dretske-Grice approach: meaningful and well-formed data constitute semantic information only if they also qualify as contingently truthful. After a brief introduction, SDI is criticised for providing necessary but insufficient conditions for the definition of semantic information. SDI is incorrect because truth-values do not supervene on semantic (...)
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  51. Paul Kelly, Simon J. Marshall, Hannah Badland, Jacqueline Kerr, Melody Oliver, Aiden R. Doherty & Charlie Foster, An Ethical Framework for Automated, Wearable Cameras in Health Behavior Research.
    Technologic advances mean automated, wearable cameras are now feasible for investigating health behaviors in a public health context. This paper attempts to identify and discuss the ethical implications of such research, in relation to existing guidelines for ethical research in traditional visual methodologies. Research using automated, wearable cameras can be very intrusive, generating unprecedented levels of image data, some of it potentially unflattering or unwanted. Participants and third parties they encounter may feel uncomfortable or that their privacy has been affected (...)
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