Medical scientists employ ‘quality assessment tools’ (QATs) to measure the quality of evidence from clinical studies, especially randomized controlled trials (RCTs). These tools are designed to take into account various methodological details of clinical studies, including randomization, blinding, and other features of studies deemed relevant to minimizing bias and error. There are now dozens available. The various QATs on offer differ widely from each other, and second-order empirical studies show that QATs have low inter-rater reliability and low inter-tool reliability. (...) This is an instance of a more general problem I call the underdetermination of evidential significance. Disagreements about the strength of a particular piece of evidence can be due to different—but in principle equally good—weightings of the fine-grained methodological features which constitute QATs. (shrink)
A avaliação psicológica constitui-se em uma importante atividade do exercício profissional do psicólogo. Na área de saúde mental, um dos objetivos a ser alcançados refere-se ao correto diagnóstico, e, para tal, utilizam-se instrumentos psicológicos específicos. Considerando a importância de se obter..
Essa pesquisa é um estudo de caso em que foram avaliadas as habilidades cognitivas de um idoso com queixa de memória e de sintomas depressivos. Foram aplicados testes cognitivos, escalas para avaliar as funções cognitivas e realizadas análise qualitativa e quantitativa dos resultados com objetivo de..
In this essay we develop and argue for the adoption of a more comprehensive model of research ethics than is included within current conceptions of responsible conduct of research (RCR). We argue that our model, which we label the ethical dimensions of scientific research (EDSR), is a more comprehensive approach to encouraging ethically responsible scientific research compared to the currently typically adopted approach in RCR training. This essay focuses on developing a pedagogical approach that enables scientists to better understand and (...) appreciate one important component of this model, what we call intrinsic ethics . Intrinsic ethical issues arise when values and ethical assumptions are embedded within scientific findings and analytical methods. Through a close examination of a case study and its application in teaching, namely, evaluation of climate change integrated assessment models, this paper develops a method and case for including intrinsic ethics within research ethics training to provide scientists with a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the critical role of values and ethical choices in the production of research outcomes. (shrink)
This paper proposes a framework for an ethical impact assessment which can be performed in regard to any policy, service, project or programme involving information technology. The framework is structured on the four principles posited by Beauchamp and Childress together with a separate section on privacy and data protection. The framework identifies key social values and ethical issues, provides some brief explanatory contextual information which is then followed by a set of questions aimed at the technology developer or policy-maker (...) to facilitate consideration of ethical issues, in consultation with stakeholders, which may arise in their undertaking. In addition, the framework includes a set of ethical tools and procedural practices which can be employed as part of the ethical impact assessment. Although the framework has been developed within a European context, it could be applied equally well beyond European borders. (shrink)
This paper starts by indicating the analysis of Hempel's conditions of adequacy for any relation of confirmation (Hempel, 1945) as presented in Huber (submitted). There I argue contra Carnap (1962, Section 87) that Hempel felt the need for two concepts of confirmation: one aiming at plausible theories and another aiming at informative theories. However, he also realized that these two concepts are conflicting, and he gave up the concept of confirmation aiming at informative theories. The main part of the paper (...) consists in working out the claim that one can have Hempel's cake and eat it too - in the sense that there is a logic of theory assessment that takes into account both of the two conflicting aspects of plausibility and informativeness. According to the semantics of this logic, a is an acceptable theory for evidence β if and only if a is both sufficiently plausible given β and sufficiently informative about β. This is spelt out in terms of ranking functions (Spohn, 1988) and shown to represent the syntactically specified notion of an assessment relation. The paper then compares these acceptability relations to explanatory and confirmatory consequence relations (Flach, 2000) as well as to nonmonotonic consequence relations (Kraus et al., 1990). It concludes by relating the plausibility-informativeness approach to Carnap's positive relevance account, thereby shedding new light on Carnap's analysis as well as solving another problem of confirmation theory. (shrink)
The caliber of recent discourse regarding geneticallymodified organisms (GMOs) has suffered from a lack of consensuson terminology, from the scarcity of evidence upon which toassess risk to health and to the environment, and from valuedifferences between proponents and opponents of GMOs. Towardsaddressing these issues, we present the thesis that GM should bedefined as the forcible insertion of DNA into a host genome,irrespective of the source of the DNA, and exclusive ofconventional or mutation breeding.Some defenders of the commercial use of GMOs (...) have referred to thescientific work of GMO critics as ``junk science.'''' Such a claim isfalse and misleading, given that many papers critical of both theutility and safety of GMOs have been published in peer reviewedjournals by respected scientists. In contrast, there is a dearthof peer reviewed work to substantiate the frequently heardassertions of either safety or utility in GMOs. The polarity,which now characterizes much of the public discourse on GMOs,reflects not simply scientific disagreement, but alsodisagreement in underlying value assumptions. Value differencesstrongly affect the assessment of both benefit and harm fromGMOs. (shrink)
The positioning of theory in relation to educational practice has provoked much recent debate, with some arguing that educational theory constrains thinking in education, while others dismiss ‘theory’ out of hand as belonging to the world of the ‘academic’, abstracted from the ‘realities’ of the classroom. This paper views theory as necessarily implicated in all practices, but argues that depending on the theories embraced, and the understanding of theory itself, education can be understood in very different ways. Resisting the separation (...) of theory from practice, the paper takes up the call to consider the entanglement of theory with practice, or how theory matters. It takes formative assessment as a particularly fertile case for this discussion. Formative assessment has been considerably developed in schooling across different national education systems. Its aspiration is for assessment to support learning, rather than only to credentialise learning. Having first emerged as a concept when behaviourism held sway, it has been considered through different theoretical lenses. Drawing upon empirical studies of classroom assessment practices, the paper draws out the different ‘mattering’ implicated in the different languages of assessment used by practitioners, raising questions about the practices this produced. The paper concludes by asking if formative assessment could become ‘educational’ in a more radical sense, if opportunities to focus on the contingencies and politics of our meaning-making were sometimes taken up more openly and dialogically with students, as opposed to formative assessment sitting in a instrumental relationship to a given curriculum. (shrink)
This papers attempts to bridge business ethics to corporate social responsibility including the social and environmental dimensions. The objective of the paper is to suggest an improvement of the most commonly used corporate environmental management tool, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The method includes two stages. First, more phases are added to the life-cycle of a product. Second, social criteria that measure the social performance of a product are introduced. An application of this “extended” LCA tool is given.
Contemporary education now appears to be dominated by the continual drive for improvement measured against the assessment of what students have learned. It is our contention that a foundational relation with assessment organises contemporary education. Here we draw on a 'way of thinking' that is deconstructive in its intent. Such thinking makes clear the vicious circularity of the argument for improvement, wherein assessment valorised in discourses of improvement provides not only a rationalisation for improvement via assessment, (...) but also the very means of achieving such possibilities via targets grounded in limited specifications of assessment. On reading Heidegger's 'question concerning technology' we sought to reconsider the vicious circle of improvement in relation to Being. We claim that the means-ends driven technology of assessment, rather than being at our disposal and under our control, only serves to reveals the Real to us in accordance with the restricting principle of reason. The principle of reason, we argue, grounds 'Enframing' that ranks and orders the very beings of education as objects to produce an objective 'world as picture', rather than opening the possibility of their identity as belongings with a movement of difference. So, 'improvement' becomes normative and binding for institutions and practices on grounds of the principle of assessment, and renders agents of education as functionaries of 'Enframing'. (shrink)
This paper wishes to clarify the definitions of the central terms relating to assessment. It argues that all assessment begins with summative assessment (which is a judgement) and that formative assessment is in fact summative assessment plus feedback which is used by the learner.
The widespread application of technology in health care has imposed a broad range of challenges. The field of health technology assessment (HTA) is developed in order to face some of these challenges. However, this strategy has not been as successful as one could hope. One of the reasons for this is that social and ethical considerations have not been integrated in the HTA process. Nowadays however, such considerations have been included in many HTAs. Still, the conclusions and recommendations of (...) the HTAs are not followed. The reason for this may be that the methods for integrating ethics for HTA are not sufficiently developed, or that they are not adequate. This article presents a supplementary approach to the ethical inquiry in HTA. It is argued that a value analysis is crucial in order to address the ethical issues of health care technology in a fruitful way and to make viable decisions about such technology. (shrink)
This paper reviews the validity of National Curriculum assessment in England. It works with the concept of 'consequential validity' (Messick, 1989) which incorporates both conventional 'reliability' issues and the use to which any assessment is put. The review uses the eight stage 'threats to validity' model developed by Crooks, Kane and Cohen (1996). The complexity of National Curriculum assessment makes evaluation difficult. These assessments are used for a variety of purposes so that the 'consequential' aspects are compounded. (...) National Curriculum assessment also involves both Teacher Assessment and tests - each of which has strengths and limitations in relation to validity. The main finding is that the validity of National Curriculum assessment hinges on the balance between Teacher Assessment and testing. Between them they can meet Crooks et al.'s requirements of a valid assessment system. The current emphasis on the use of test results for school accountability and as a measure of national standards has undermined Teacher Assessment to a point at which the validity of the system is in question. (shrink)
While assessment is regarded as integral to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, it is also a practice fraught with moral and ethical issues. An analysis is made of current assessment practices of teachers in South Africa which seem to straddle the domains of accountability and professional codes of conduct. In the process the position of the teacher as mediator between policies and diverse learner needs is explored in the light of moral and ethical considerations. Based on (...) the notions of ethical caring and caring about, the article suggests the infusing of principles of ubuntu in assessment practices may provide a framework to embed and strengthen morality and ethics in South African school assessment practices. (shrink)
The process of risk assessment of biotechnologies, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), has normative dimensions. However, the US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems committed to the idea that such evaluations are objective. This essay makes the case that the agency’s regulatory approach should be changed such that the public is involved in deciding any ethical or social questions that might arise during risk assessment of GMOs. It is argued that, in the US, neither aggregative nor deliberative (...) (representative) democracy ought to be used to make such determinations. Instead, participatory (deliberative) democracy should be the means by which members of the polity decide which normative concerns ought to underlie FDA’s assessment of GMOs. This paper uses a hypothetical case involving a new GM seed to make that argument. (shrink)
To make more responsible decisions regarding risk and to understand disagreements and controversies in risk assessments, it is important to know how and where values are infused into risk assessment and how they are embedded in the conclusions. In this article an attempt is made to disentangle the relationship of science and values in decision-making concerning the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment. This exercise in applied philosophy of science is based on Helen Longino's contextual (...) empiricism which attempts to reconcile the objectivity of science with its social and cultural construction. Longino distinguishes different levels of research on which values apparently contextual with respect to a given research program can shape the knowledge emerging from that program. Her scheme is applied for locating and identifying the values that affect environment risk assessments of the field experiments with GMOs. The article concludes with some provisional suggestions for the decision process and the role of scientists in it. (shrink)
It has been presumed within bioethics that the benefits and risks of treatments can be assessed independently of information disclosure to patients as part of the informed consent process. Research on placebo and nocebo effects indicates that this is not true for symptomatic treatments. The benefits and risks that patients experience from symptomatic treatments can be shaped powerfully by information about these treatments provided by clinicians. In this paper we discuss the implications of placebo and nocebo research for risk–benefit (...) class='Hi'>assessment and informed consent. (shrink)
The Collegiate Learning Assessment Test (CLA) has become popular and highly recommended, praised for its reliability and validity. I argue that while the CLA may be a commendable test for measuring critical-thinking, problem-solving, and logical-reasoning skills, those who are scoring students’ answers to the test’s questions are rendering the CLA invalid.
Health technology assessment (HTA) is often biased in the sense that it neglects relevant perspectives on the technology in question. To incorporate different perspectives in HTA, we should pursue agreement about what are relevant, plausible, and feasible research questions; interactive technology assessment (iTA) might be suitable for this goal. In this way a kind of procedural ethics is established. Currently, ethics too often is focussed on the application of general principles, which leaves a lot of confusion as to (...) what really is the matter in specific cases; in an iTA clashes of values should not be approached by use of such ethics. Instead, casuistry, as a tool used within the framework of iTA, should help to articulate and clarify what is the matter, as to make room for explication and consensus building. (shrink)
More and more organisations formulate a code of conduct in order to stimulate responsible behaviour among their members. Much time and energy is usually spent fixing the content of the code but many organisations get stuck in the challenge of implementing and maintaining the code. The code then turns into nothing else than the notorious "paper in the drawer", without achieving its aims. The challenge of implementation is to utilize the dynamics which have emerged from the formulation of the code. (...) This will support a continuous process of reflection on the central values and standards contained in the code. This paper presents an assessment method, based on the EFQM model, which intends to support this implementation process. (shrink)
This article is concerned with the relationship between assessment information and teacher planning. In the UK, although planning used to be central to characterisations of formative assessment, the most recent government proclamations under the 'Assessment for Learning' banner offer no clear role for teachers making decisions about what to do based on assessment information. In this article, the reasons behind the shift will be examined. 'Contingent planning' will be proposed as a mechanism for using assessment (...) information in a planning context. (shrink)
This article draws attention to struggles inherent in discourse about the meaning of participation in a Flemish participatory technology assessment (pTA) on nanotechnologies. It explores how, at the project’s outset, key actors (e.g., nanotechnologists and pTA researchers) frame elements of the process like ‘the public’ and draw on interpretive repertoires to fit their perspective. The examples call into question normative commitments to cooperation, consensus building, and common action that conventionally guide pTA approaches. It is argued that pTA itself must (...) reflect an awareness of competing interests and perspectives inherent in the discourse associated with the meaning of ‘participation’ if it is to incite action beyond vested interests and ensure genuine mutual learning. (shrink)
A barrier to the development and refinement of ethics education in and across health professional schools is that there is not an agreed upon instrument or method for assessment in ethics education. The most widely used ethics education assessment instrument is the Defining Issues Test (DIT) I & II. This instrument is not specific to the health professions. But it has been modified for use in, and influenced the development of other instruments in, the health professions. The DIT (...) contains certain philosophical assumptions (“Kohlbergian” or “neo-Kohlbergian”) that have been criticized in recent years. It is also expensive for large institutions to use. The purpose of this article is to offer a rubric—which the authors have named the Health Professional Ethics Rubric—for the assessment of several learning outcomes related to ethics education in health science centers. This rubric is not open to the same philosophical critiques as the DIT and other such instruments. This rubric is also practical to use. This article includes the rubric being advocated, which was developed by faculty and administrators at a large academic health science center as a part of a campus-wide ethics education initiative. The process of developing the rubric is described, as well as certain limitations and plans for revision. (shrink)
Public health ethics began to emerge in the 1990s as a development within bioethics. Public health ethics education has been implemented in schools of public health in recent years, and specific professionalism and ethics competencies were included in the Master of Public Health (MPH) competency set developed nationally and adapted by individual schools of public health around the country. The University of Texas School of Public Health approved the present set of MPH competencies in 2005. After 4 years of experience, (...) we now report information measuring the extent to which Professionalism and Ethics competencies and subcompetencies are being met in the MPH degree program. To this end we have audited the MPH Professionalism and Ethics competency forms for FY2009 MPH graduates (n = 61). Eight courses, including required MPH core courses plus the practicum and culminating experience, were found to have substantial professionalism and ethics content. Further, 67.2% of graduates met eight or more of the 13 competencies and subcompetencies, but only 36.1% met all thirteen, indicating a need to identify topic areas to be added to, or enhanced in, the MPH curriculum. In addition, these findings will inform ongoing efforts to enhance ethics education in our health science center. Assessment of these competencies and subcompetencies is an essential step in strengthening ethics education at our institutions and in better preparing our graduates for a challenging future. We report our efforts here to demonstrate one way of carrying out programmatic assessment of ethics education in a school of public health. (shrink)
Decision-making is an intricate subject in neuroscience. It is often argued that laboratorial research is not capable of dealing with the necessary complexity to study the issue. Whereas philosophers in general neglect the physiological features that constitute the main aspects of thought and behaviour, I advocate that cutting-edge neuroscientific experiments can offer us a framework to explain human behaviour in its relationship with will, self-control, inhibition, emotion and reasoning. It is my contention that self-control mechanisms can modulate more basic stimuli. (...) Assuming the aforementioned standpoints, I show the physiological mechanisms underlying social assessment and decision-making. I also establish a difference between veridical and adaptive decision-making, useful to create experimental designs that can better mimic the complexity of our day-by-day decisions in more ecologically relevant laboratorial research. Moreover, I analyse some experiments in order to develop an epistemological reflection about the necessary neural mechanisms to social assessment and decision-making. (shrink)
This article describes the development and validation of a diagnostic test of German and its integration in a programme of formative assessment during a one-year initial teacher-training course. The test focuses on linguistic aspects that cause difficulty for trainee teachers of German as a foreign language and assesses implicit and explicit grammatical knowledge as well as students' confidence in this knowledge. Administration of the test to 57 German speakers in four groups (first-year undergraduates, fourth-year undergraduates, postgraduate trainees, and native (...) speakers) provided evidence of its reliability and validity. (shrink)
Criterion-referenced assessment has made promises that it is unable to keep. The idea that a criterion-referenced test may afford a clear and direct interpretation in terms of exactly which tasks an examinee can perform is unattainable for the kinds of learning promoted in complex curricula, such as the National Curriculum in England and Wales. However, examining more carefully the origin of these claims suggests that they reflect a particularly narrow view of criterion referencing, founded on some dubious assumptions. A (...) reanalysis of the notion of criterion referencing shows that there are advantages to adopting an approach that references assessment outcomes to an underlying educational construct, not only in clarifying how those outcomes should be interpreted, but also in terms of manageability. The introduction of level descriptions for National Curriculum assessment is discussed in relation to this approach. (shrink)
Technology assessment (TA) as aninstitution was introduced nearly thirty yearsago as an instrument to render possible themaking of responsible decisions concerning newtechnological options. Another recentdevelopment however has been the introductionof participatory technology assessment (pTA),mainly connected to the growing insight thatthe evaluation of technological options withrespect to their risks and benefits, is not –only – a scientific question. This paper willfocus on the questions, to what degree theideas of technology assessment and thePrecautionary Principle are connected and how.Without naming (...) it explicitly, the PrecautionaryPrinciple is put to debate in the``TA-arrangement on the cultivation oftransgenic herbicide resistant crops,''organized by the Science Centre, Berlin. Fromthe perspective of ethical clarification, someunique features concerning theconceptualization of the discoursive procedureand reconstruction of the argumentation processin order to come to results have to beanalyzed. Finally the performance and resultsof the pTA-arrangement are reflected in thelight of the Precautionary Principle andconclusions are drawn. (shrink)
The number of online courses in business schools is growing dramatically, but little has been published about teaching business ethics courses online. This article addresses key pedagogical design, delivery, student engagement, and assessment issues that should be considered when creating a high-quality, asynchronous online business ethics course for either undergraduate or graduate business student populations. Best practices are discussed within an integrative case study approach based on the experiences of a director of online faculty development and two accomplished online (...) business ethics instructors, one teaching at a small college and the other at a research-oriented university—their successes, learning opportunities, and recommendations. (shrink)
Understanding stakeholders’ perceptions and motivations is of significant importance in relation to conservation and protected area projects. The importance of stakeholder analysis is widely recognized as a necessary means for gaining insight into the complex systemic interactions between natural processes, management policies, and local people depending on the resource. Today, community and group-based participatory inquiry approaches are widely used for this purpose. Recently, participatory approaches have been critiqued for not considering power relations and conflict internal to the community. In this (...) article, we suggest that the five-step Rapid Stakeholder and Conflict Assessment (RSCA) methodology addresses this critique. The objective of the methodology is to provide a facilitator with a comprehensive foundation on which to plan and conduct subsequent participatory project development. The RSCA integrates elements of soft systems and critical systems thinking. Qualitative research interviews and cognitive mapping of stakeholders’ mental models are used for collection of empirical material and analysis. The RSCA methodology is demonstrated in a case study concerning buffer zone management in the coastal wetlands of southern Vietnam. The case study shows that the RSCA methodology can provide an efficient way of obtaining a holistic and critical understanding of a complex resource management situation, thus potentially enhancing project performance in an instrumental as well as an ethical sense. (shrink)
The current dominant approach on the assessment of critical thinking takes as a starting point a conception of criticality that does not commit to any substantive view or context of meaning concerning what issues are relevant to be critical about in society or in life. Nevertheless, as a detailed examination of the identification of assumptions shows, when going from the theory of critical thinking to the praxis of producing and evaluating arguments, the critical person will inevitably make such commitments (...) from particular perspectives, using particular contexts of meaning. But then she may fail to take notice of relevant ones and may end up using her critical powers in a mercenary way. It is then proposed, in the context of assessment of critical thinking, to choose and use some privileged contexts of meaning, while making them available for critical scrutiny and allowing for the possibility that new ones be brought up by those being assessed. (shrink)
Many students at the University of Namibia have frequently complained about ineffective assessment practices used at the institution. On many occasions, these complaints have not been substantiated with evidence of any kind. The purpose of this study was to obtain some empirical evidence that would ascertain undergraduate students’ perceptions of the University of Namibia’s grading and assessment practices. Using a structured scaled questionnaire, data were obtained from a representative sample of the University’s undergraduate students studying for Medical and (...) Pharmacy degrees. The questionnaire items covered matters related to students’ experiences of assessment practices, feedback on assessment tasks, reliability and validity of assessment tools used by lecturers, efficacy of processes of administering examinations, perceptions of irregular and unfair assessment practices, impact of assessment regimes on students’ cost of studies, motivation, morale, rate of progression in studies and graduation, the degree of compliance with assessment ethics and on academic quality assurance. According to the data reported in this article, the majority of the respondents perceived that the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Namibia applied assessment practices that yielded reliable and valid results. This was the case because most lecturers in the two schools used appropriate assessment tools and provided their students with prompt and informative feedback on the results of assignments, tests and examinations. In addition, most respondents reported that whereas examination procedures used in the two schools were efficient and effective, lecturers graded examination scripts fairly. These and other results are discussed in the article to communicate the message that the assessment procedures used in the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Namibia would promote effective learning and understanding amongst students as they were of high quality. (shrink)
Decision-making problems in credit risk assessment and authorization are often too complex to be processed by conventional methods. They involve judgmental procedures which are by nature non-deterministic. Artificial intelligence methods can be used to approach the problem from a different angle. This paper shows the feasibility of a multi-expert approach driven by a meta-model in assessing business risk. More precisely it describes the meta-expert as part of a knowledge-based system being developed to assist bank loan officers in assessing the (...) activities of firms applying for a loan. The use of a meta-model to represent the expert's strategic reasoning has the advantage of offering adaptable systems capable of building dynamically the resolution strategy most suited to the problem to be solved. (shrink)
“HTA is a multidisciplinary process that summarizes information about the medical, social, economic and ethical issues related to the use of a health technology in a systematic, transparent, unbiased, robust manner. Its aim is to inform the formulation of safe, effective, health policies that are patient focused, and seek to achieve best value” (EUnetHTA 2007). Even though the assessment of ethical aspects of a health technology is listed as one of the objectives of a HTA process, in practice, the (...) integration of these dimensions into reports remains limited. The article is focused on four points: 1. the HTA concept; 2. the difficult HTA-ethics relationship; 3. the ethical issues in HTA; 4. the methods for integrating ethical analysis into HTA. (shrink)
This correlational study investigated a new measure of environmental spatial ability (i.e., large scale spatial ability) called the Virtual Spatial Navigation Assessment (VSNA). In the VSNA, participants must find a set of gems in a virtual 3D environment using a first person avatar on a computer. The VSNA runs in a web browser and automatically collects the time taken to find each gem. The time taken to collect gems in the VSNA was significantly correlated to three oth-er spatial ability (...) measures, math standardized test scores, and choice to be in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) career. These findings support the validity of the VSNA as a measure of environmental spatial ability. Finally, self-report video game experience was also significantly correlated to the VSNA suggesting that video game may improve environmental spatial ability. Recommendations are made for how the VSNA can be used to help guide individuals toward STEM career paths and identify weaknesses that might be addressed with large scale spatial navigation training. (shrink)
Recently, a number of philosophers have begun to question the commonly held view that choice or voluntary control is a precondition of moral responsibility. According to these philosophers, what really matters in determining a person’s responsibility for some thing is whether that thing can be seen as indicative or expressive of her judgments, values, or normative commitments. Such accounts might therefore be understood as updated versions of what Susan Wolf has called “real self views,” insofar as they attempt to ground (...) an agent’s responsibility for her actions and attitudes in the fact (when it is a fact) that they express who she is as a moral agent. As such, they seem to be open to some of the same objections Wolf originally raised to such accounts, and in particular to the objection that they cannot license the sorts of robust moral assessments involved in our current practices of moral responsibility. My aim in this paper is to try to respond to this challenge, by clarifying the kind of robust moral assessments I take to be licensed by (at least some) non-volitional accounts of responsibility and by explaining why these assessments do not in general require the agent to have voluntary control over everything for which she is held responsible. I also argue that the limited applicability of the distinction between “bad agents” and “blameworthy agents” on these accounts is in fact a mark in their favor. (shrink)
In this paper, I address some of the shortcomings of established clinical ethics centring on personal autonomy and consent and what I label the Doctrine of Respecting Personal Autonomy in Healthcare. I discuss two implications of this doctrine: 1) the practice for treating patients who are considered to have borderline decision-making competence and 2) the practice of surrogate decision-making in general. I argue that none of these practices are currently aligned with respectful treatment of vulnerable individuals. Because of 'structural arbitrariness' (...) in the whole process of how we assess decision-making competence, this area is open to disrespectful treatment of people. The practice of surrogate decision- making on the basis of a single person's judgment is arguably not consistent with ethical and political requirements derived from the doctrine itself. In response to the inadequacies of the doctrine, I suggest a framework for reasonableness in surrogate decision-making which might allow practice to avoid the problems above. I conclude by suggesting an extended concept of Patient Autonomy which integrates both personal autonomy and the regulative idea of morality that is required by reasonableness in deciding for non-competent others. (shrink)
Recent research suggests that spiritual experiences are related to increased physiological activity of the frontal and temporal lobes and decreased activity of the right parietal lobe. The current study determined if similar relationships exist between self-reported spirituality and neuropsychological abilities associated with those cerebral structures for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants included 26 adults with TBI referred for neuropsychological assessment. Measures included the Core Index of Spirituality (INSPIRIT); neuropsychological indices of cerebral structures: temporal lobes (Wechsler Memory Scale-III), (...) right parietal lobe (Judgment of Line Orientation), and frontal lobes (Trail Making Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test). As hypothesized, spirituality was significantly negatively correlated with a measure of right parietal lobe functioning and positively correlated (nonsignificantly) with measures of left temporal lobe functioning. Contrary to hypotheses, correlations between spirituality and measures of frontal lobe functioning were zero or negative (and nonsignificant). The data support a neuropsychological model that proposes that spiritual experiences are related to decreased activity of the right parietal lobe, which may be associated with decreased awareness of the self (transcendence) and increased activity of the left temporal lobe, which may be associated with the experience of specific religious archetypes (religious figures and symbols). (shrink)
While the important challenges of public deliberations on emerging technologies are crucial to keep in mind, this paper argues that scholars and practitioners have reason to be more confident in their performance of participatory technology assessments (pTA). Drawing on evidence from the 2008 National Citizens’ Technology Forum (NCTF) conducted by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, this paper describes how pTA offers a combination of intensive and extensive qualities that are unique among modes of engagement. In (...) the NCTF, this combination led to significant learning and opinion changes, based on what can be characterized as a high-quality deliberation. The quality of the anticipatory knowledge required to address emerging technologies is always contested, but pTAs can be designed with outcomes in mind—especially when learning is understood as an outcome. (shrink)
Recent research in ethics education shows a potentially problematic variation in content, curricular materials, and instruction. While ethics instruction is now widespread, studies have identified significant variation in both the goals and methods of ethics education, leaving researchers to conclude that many approaches may be inappropriately paired with goals that are unachievable. This paper speaks to these concerns by demonstrating the importance of aligning classroom-based assessments to clear ethical learning objectives in order to help students and instructors track their progress (...) toward meeting those objectives. Two studies at two different universities demonstrate the usefulness of classroom-based, formative assessments for improving the quality of students’ case responses in computational modeling and research ethics. (shrink)
A recent paper by Hoyningen-Huene argues that the Chemical Revolution is an excellent example of the success of Kuhn’s theory. This paper gives a succinct account of some counter-arguments and briefly refers to some further existing counter-arguments. While Kuhn’s theory does have a small number of more or less successful elements, it has been widely recognised that in general Kuhn’s theory is a “preformed and relatively inflexible framework” (1962, p. 24) which does not fit particular historical examples well; this paper (...) clarifies that those examples include the Chemical Revolution. (shrink)