The Ethical Matrix was developed to help decision-makers explore the ethical issues raised by agri-food biotechnologies. Over the decade since its inception the Ethical Matrix has been used by a number of organizations and the philosophical basis of the framework has been discussed and analyzed extensively. The role of tools such as the Ethical Matrix in public policy decision-making has received increasing attention. In order to further develop the methodological aspects of the Ethical Matrix method, work was carried out to (...) study the potential role of the Ethical Matrix as a decision support framework. When considering which frameworks to apply when analyzing the ethical dimensions of the application of agri-food biotechnologies, it is important to clarify the substantive nature of any prospective framework. In order to further investigate this issue, reflections on the neologism “ethical soundness” of an ethical framework are presented here. This concept is introduced in order to provide more structured evaluations of a range of ethical tools, including ethical frameworks such as the Ethical Matrix. As well as examining the philosophical dimensions of the method, theoretical analysis and literature studies were combined with stakeholder engagement exercises and consultations in order to review the Ethical Matrix from a user perspective. This work resulted in the development of an Ethical Matrix Manual, which is intended to act as a guide for potential user groups. (shrink)
A number of EU institutions and government committees across Europe have expressed interest in developing methods and decision-support tools to facilitate consideration of the ethical dimensions of biotechnology assessment. As part of the work conducted in the EC supported project on ethical tools (Ethical Bio-TA Tools), a number of ethical frameworks with the potential to support the work of public policy decision-makers has been characterized and evaluated. One of these potential tools is the Delphi method. The Delphi method was originally (...) developed to assess variables that are intangible and/or shrouded in uncertainty by drawing on the knowledge and abilities of a diverse group of experts through a form of anonymous and iterative consultation. The method has hitherto been used by a diversity of practitioners to explore issues such as technology assessment, environmental planning, and public health measures. From the original (classical) Delphi, a family of Delphi-related processes has emerged. As a result of the evaluation of the various Delphi processes, it is proposed that the classical method can be further developed and applied as a form of ethical framework to assist policy-makers. Through a series of exercises and trials, an Ethical Delphi has been developed as a potential approach for characterizing ethical issues raised by the use of novel biotechnologies. Advantages and disadvantages of the method are discussed. Further work is needed to develop the procedural aspects of the Ethical Delphi method and to test its use in different cultural contexts. However, utilizing an ethical framework of this type combines the advantages of a methodical approach to capture ethical aspects with the democratic virtues of transparency and openness to criticism. Ethical frameworks such as the Ethical Delphi should contribute to better understanding of and decision-making on issues that involve decisive ethical dimensions. (shrink)
Over evolutionary time, humans have developed a selective sensitivity to features in the human face that convey information on sex, age, emotions, and intentions. This ability might not only be applied to our conspecifics nowadays, but also to other living objects (i.e., animals) and even to artificial structures, such as cars. To investigate this possibility, we asked people to report the characteristics, emotions, personality traits, and attitudes they attribute to car fronts, and we used geometric morphometrics (GM) and multivariate statistical (...) methods to determine and visualize the corresponding shape information. Automotive features and proportions are found to covary with trait perception in a manner similar to that found with human faces. Emerging analogies are discussed. This study should have implications for both our understanding of our prehistoric psyche and its interrelation with the modern world. (shrink)
Material kept in the National Library of Finland shows that from 1963 until 1969 Erik Stenius (1911–1990) worked on a book on antinomies , having been invited by the Dutch logician Evert Beth (1908–1964) to contribute a monograph to the North-Holland series Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics . The book was never published, but the manuscript has been found, and it is the purpose of this note to report on this finding.
Erik Erikson's work in psychosocial developmental theory has made valuable contributions to the field of religious ethics on some very basic issues. This paper makes scattered elements of Erikson's explicit ethical perspective available in concise fashion for critical ethical reflection. It does this in such a way as to highlight the centrally important fact for religious ethics that implicitly operative in Erikson's view is a criterion of "self-transcendence" as definitive of mature personal (fully human, ethical) development.
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
An Internet persona known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of my book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. I respond to the review here.
Erik Schokkaert's note presents a very good summary of the theory of macrojustice and a very good list of the directions of research it points to. This is quite fitting since a research programme defines a paradigm, and he sees this proposal as a paradigm shift. This is also very appropriate since his own qualifications are the best for advancing fast in these research topics. I have only a very small number of qualifications to add to his presentation, but (...) I prefer to begin with emphasizing the most important issues. Two aspects can be seen as the most important: the de facto axiomatic derivation of the solution ELIE and its application on the one hand, and the present state of scholarly studies of the optimum or just distribution of income on the other hand. Let us enter by the second door (as opposed to what is done in the book Macrojustice). This will lead us to conclude with a more synthetic and broader view of the basic logic of the paradigms of justice and of the surprising recent history of their interpretations. (shrink)
Jeffrey Alexander and Erik Olin Wright are among the leading sociologists of their generation. Each has published his magnum opus in the past several years: The Civil Sphere (Alexander) and Envisioning Real Utopias (Wright). This paper—a dual review essay—lays out the core arguments of each work; situates each within the personal and intellectual contexts of its production; and critically assesses each in terms of its contributions to sociological theory and research. It also argues that the works converge (unexpectedly, given (...) Alexander’s intellectual origins in neo-functionalism and Wright’s in neo-Marxism) upon a common intellectual position, that of Deweyan pragmatism. It tries to make sense of Alexander’s and Wright’s peculiar dual voyage in a Deweyan direction and offers some reflections as to what that journey might tell us about social theory and political thought today. (shrink)
I defend the theory that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one promotes the good. Call this the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. It holds that the good effects that count towards the meaning of one's life need not be intentional. Nor must one be aware of the effects. Nor does it matter whether the same good would have resulted if one had not existed. What matters is that one is causally responsible for the (...) good. I argue that the best theory of the meaning of life should clearly distinguish between subjective fulfillment and objective meaningfulness. The GCA respects the distinction. And it is superior to its leading rivals in the recent literature, most notably those of Erik Wielenberg and Susan Wolf. (shrink)
Upshot: Hutto & Myin’s latest “radical enactive cognition” manifesto is a truly exciting book and – despite its short length – quite thick with argumentation. The word “manifesto” here does not only describe the rousing writing style (filled with witty and resounding expressions), but also the general awed feeling one gets, while reading, of the importance of “RECtifying” the current state of research in enactive cognition. Interestingly for the constructivist community, the hallmark thesis of their book is that there can (...) be intentionally directed cognition and perceptual experience without content. (shrink)