Background: Expanded newborn screening generates incidental results, notably carrier results. Yet newborn screening programmes typically restrict parental choice regarding receipt of this non-health serving genetic information. Healthcare providers play a key role in educating families or caring for screened infants and have strong beliefs about the management of incidental results. Methods: To inform policy on disclosure of infant sickle cell disorder (SCD) carrier results, a mixed-methods study of healthcare providers was conducted in Ontario, Canada, to understand attitudes regarding result management (...) using a cross-sectional survey (N = 1615) and semistructured interviews (N = 42). Results: Agreement to reasons favouring disclosure of SCD carrier results was high (65.1%–92.7%) and to reasons opposing disclosure was low (4.1%–18.1%). Genetics professionals expressed less support for arguments favouring disclosure (35.3%–78.8%), and more agreement with arguments opposing disclosure (15.7%–51.9%). A slim majority of genetics professionals (51.9%) agreed that a reason to avoid disclosure was the importance of allowing the child to decide to receive results. Qualitatively, there was a perceived “duty” to disclose, that if the clinician possessed the information, the clinician could not withhold it. Discussion: While a majority of respondents perceived a duty to disclose the incidental results of newborn screening, the policy implications of these attitudes are not obvious. In particular, policy must balance descriptive ethics (ie, what providers believe) and normative ethics (ie, what duty-based principles oblige), address dissenting opinion and consider the relevance of moral principles grounded in clinical obligations for public health initiatives. (shrink)
Species are thought by many to be important units of evolution. In this paper, I argue against that view. My argument is based on an examination of the role of species in the synthetic theory of evolution. I argue that if one adopts a gradualist view of evolution, one cannot make sense of the claim that species are units in the minimal sense needed to claim that they are units of evolution, namely, that they exist as discrete entities over time. (...) My second argument is directed against an appeal to Eldredge and Gould's theory of punctuated equilibria to support the claim that species are units of evolution. If one adopts their view, it may be possible to identify discrete temporal entities that can plausibly be termed species, but there is no reason to claim that those entities are units of evolution. Thus, on two plausible interpretations of the role of natural selection in the process of evolution, species are of no special importance. I then consider some of the reasons why species have been thought to be important evolutionary units by many contemporary evolutionary biologists. Finally, I discuss briefly the implications of this conclusion for evolutionary biology. (shrink)
What are species? One popular answer is that species are individuals. Here I develop another approach to thinking about species, an approach based on the notion of a lineage. A lineage is a sequence of reproducing entities, individuated in terms of its components. I argue that one can conceive of species as groups of lineages, either organism lineages or population lineages. Conceiving of species as groups of lineages resolves the problems that the individual conception of species is supposed to resolve. (...) It has added the virtue of focusing attention on the characteristic of species that is most relevant to understanding their role in evolutionary processes, namely, the lineage structure of species. (shrink)
I construe the question Are species sets? as a question about whether species can be conceived of as sets, as the term set is understood by contemporary logicians. The question is distinct from the question Are species classes?: The conception of classes invoked by Hull and others differs from the logician's conception of a set. I argue that species can be conceived of as sets, insofar as one could identify a set with any given species and that identification would satisfy (...) three desiderata: the set would be a set of organisms, the identification would be apposite, and the identification would permit the formulation of statements about species in set-theoretic terms. One cannot, however, identify a species with any given set. Understanding the claim that species are sets in this way enables one to understand better the dispute between some who accept the claim (e.g., Kitcher 1984, 1987) and some who apparently reject it (e.g., Mayr 1987). (shrink)
I argue that gensler's claims (in "philosophical studies" 48:57-72 and 49:83-98) about abortion are unsound. In addition, His argument is not a kantian consistency argument as he claims, But consequentialism in disguise.
In a spontaneously wide-ranging conversation one winter evening in Japan, sociologist of religion Bryan Wilson and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda recognized the importance of explaining and learning about their respective worldviews. Human Values in a Changing World is the record of their further exchanges on how they see the religious response to the human condition. Their contrasting approaches - one, as an academic, and the other, as a lay Buddhist - allow for a constructive critique of preconceptions otherwise unexamined in (...) their own cultural contexts. "There is an intimate connection between faith and the fruits of commitment," Wilson says at one point. To which Ikeda responds that while the benefits of faith to momentary happiness are perhaps not the core value of a religion, they can inspire and lead people to become aware of that core value or fundamental truth. The two men's observations on the origins of religious sensibilities move from the spiritual and the moral to the politics of private and public life. Although published some years ago, Human Values in a Changing World addresses topics and issues which are of perennial importance to human flourishing, including: sexual morality, the limits of tolerance and religious freedom, the future of the family, the belief in an afterlife, and the idea of sin. (shrink)