: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that HIV testing be routinely offered to certain patients in hospitals with a high prevalence of HIV infection and on all pregnant women. The CDC does not, however, offer implementation level guidelines for obtaining informed consent. We provide a moral justification for requiring informed consent for HIV testing and propose guidelines for securing such consent. In particular we argue that genuine informed consent can be secured without elaborate counseling, such (...) as that currently used at Counseling and Testing Sites, provided that sufficient written notice is given to the patients before testing and that they are specifically asked for permission. (shrink)
Aspects of an example of simulated shared subjectivity can be used both to support Steven Lehar's remarks on embodied percipients and to triangulate in a novel way the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness which Lehar wishes to “sidestep,” but which, given his other contentions regarding emergent holism, raises questions about whether he has been able or willing to do so.
It is tempting to argue that Kantian moral philosophy justifies prohibiting both human germ-line genetic engineering and non-therapeutic genetic engineering because they fail to respect human dignity. There are, however, good reasons for resisting this temptation. In fact, Kant’s moral philosophy provides reasons that support genetic engineering—even germ-line and non-therapeutic. This is true of Kant’s imperfect duties to seek one’s own perfection and the happiness of others. It is also true of the categorical imperative. Kant’s moral philosophy does, however, provide (...) limits to justifiable genetic engineering. (shrink)
In the past decade several international declarations have called for banning reproductive non-therapeutic and germ-line engineering. Article 11 of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights states that practices that are contrary to human dignity such as cloning of human beings should not be permitted. Article 12 of the same declaration restricts genetic applications to the relief from suffering and the improvement of health. The European Council has also taken a strong stand on germ-line genetic engineering in (...) general and cloning in particular. Article 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine simply forbidsgerm-line engineering except for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. The convention along with its explanatory report make it clear that the rationale for the decision is based, in large part, on the need to protect the dignity of persons.Several notions of dignity have been advanced to support bans on non-therapeutic germ-line engineering. I argue that they fail to provide a rationale for such a ban. I consider both secular and religious views of human dignity. In addition, I argue that there are forms of germ-line and non-therapeutic engineering that are compatible with human rights. (shrink)
My focus is on the inability of neuron doctrines to provide an explanatory context for aspects of consciousness that give rise to the mind–body and other minds problem(s). Neuroscience and related psychological sciences may be viewed as richly contributing to our taxonomic understanding of the mind and conditions underlying consciousness, without illuminating mind–body and other minds perplexities.
We argue that after the passage of a physician assisted death law some inequities in the health care system which prevent people from getting the medical care they need will become reasons for choosing assisted death. This raises the issue of whether there is compelling moral reason to change those inequities after the passage of an assisted death law. We argue that the passage of an assisted death law will not create additional moral reasons for eliminating inequities simply because they (...) become motives for someone to opt for assisted death. We also argue that it is not feasible to eliminate these reasons for opting for assisted death by granting a right to health care because of an intractable scarcity of medical resources. Keywords: assisted death, euthanasia, justice, manipulation CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The situated cognition movement has emerged in recent decades (although it has roots in psychologists working earlier in the 20th century including Vygotsky, Bartlett, and Dewey) largely in reaction to an approach to explaining cognition that tended to ignore the context in which cognitive activities typically occur. Fodor’s (1980) account of the research strategy of methodological solipsism, according to which only representational states within the mind are viewed as playing causal roles in producing cognitive activity, is an extreme characterization of (...) this approach. (As Keith Gunderson memorably commented when Fodor first presented this characterization, it amounts to reversing behaviorism by construing the mind as a white box in a black world). Critics as far back as the 1970s and 1980s objected to many experimental paradigms in cognitive psychology as not being ecologically valid; that is, they maintained that the findings only applied to the artificial circumstances created in the laboratory and did not generalize to real world settings (Neisser, 1976; 1987). The situated cognition movement, however, goes much further than demanding ecologically valid experiments—it insists that an agent’s cognitive activities are inherently embedded and supported by dynamic interactions with the agent’s body and features of its environment. (shrink)
In Part V of his Discourse on the Method, Descartes introduces a test for distinguishing people from machines that is similar to the one proposed much later by Alan Turing. The Cartesian test combines two distinct elements that Keith Gunderson has labeled the language test and the action test. Though traditional interpretation holds that the action test attempts to determine whether an agent is acting upon principles, I argue that the action test is (...) best understood as a test of common sense. I also maintain that this interpretation yields a stronger test than Turing's, and that contemporary artificial intelligence should consider using it as a guide for future research. (shrink)
Hauser considers John Searle's attempt to distinguish acts from movements. On Searle's account, the difference between me raising my arm and my arm's just going up (e.g., if you forcibly raise it), is the causal involvement of my intention to raise my arm in the former, but not the latter, case. Yet, we distinguish a similar difference between a robot's raising its arm and its robot arm just going up (e.g., if you manually raise it). Either robots are rightly credited (...) with intentions or it's not intention that distinguishes action from mere movement. In either case acts are attributable to robots. Since the truth of such attributions depends not on the speaker's "intentional stance" but on "intrinsic" features of the things they are not merely figurative "as if" attributions. Gunderson allows that internally propelled programmed devices (Hauser Robots) do act but denies that they have the mental properties such acts seem to indicate. Rather, given our intuitive conviction that these machines lack consciousness, such performances evidence the dementalizability of acts.Hauser replies that the performances in question provide prima facie warrant for attributions of mental properties that considerations of consciousness are insufficient to override. (shrink)
Gasking, D. A. T. The philosophy of John Wisdom.--Thomson, J. J. Moore's technique revisited.--Yalden-Thomson, D. C. The Virginia lectures.--Dilman, I. Paradoxes and discoveries.--Ayers, M. R. Reason and psycholinguistics.--Roberts, G. W. Incorrigibility, behaviourism and predictionism.--Hinton, J. M. "This is visual sensation."--Gunderson, K. The texture of mentality.--Newell, R. W. John Wisdom and the problem of other minds.--Lyon, A. The relevance of Wisdom's work for the philosophy of science.--Morris, H. Shared guilt.--Bambrough, R. Literature and philosophy.--Chronological list of published writings of John Wisdom, (...) 1928-1972 (p. -300). (shrink)
The subjectivity of consciousness is widely regarded as a major stumbling block for materialist theories of mind. In this paper I show how Kripkean arguments against identity theories (Kripke, 1972), and in particular a Kripkean argument against qualia-material property identity developed by Frank Jackson (1980) are a way of highlighting this problem. (And such arguments are not the quasi-historical curiosities they are sometimes pictured as being, because problems confronting functionalism have led to a modest revival of identity theory.) As such, (...) Kripkean arguments are akin to recent discussions of subjectivity by Thomas Nagel (1965, 1974, 1979) and Frank Jackson (1982). I then consider some recent attempts to refute Kripkean arguments or otherwise show that subjectivity is not an insurmountable problem for identity theory. The most promising attempt is one that I myself develop, based on some ideas by Keith Gunderson (1970). But I contend that even it, let alone any of the others, is not without problems. Thus, tentatively, Kripkean arguments against property identity succeed. (shrink)