Educational worries about indoctrination are linked to matters of rationality and of the ethics of belief. These are both threatened by too 'open' approaches to moral education and by too 'closed' approaches to science education. The moral importance of what is involved points to the need to inform the teaching of all disciplines by reflection on their rational foundations.
Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal-production sector in the world. This leads to the question how we should guarantee fish welfare. Implementing welfare standards presupposes that we know how to weigh, define, and measure welfare. While at first glance these seem empirical questions, they cannot be answered without ethical reflection. Normative assumptions are made when weighing, defining, and measuring welfare. Moreover, the focus on welfare presupposes that welfare is a morally important concept. This in turn presupposes that we can define (...) the capacities of fish, which is an empirical undertaking that informs and is informed by ethical theories about the moral status of animals. In this article we want to illustrate the need for a constant interaction between empirical scientific research and ethics, in which both fields of research make their own contribution. This is not a novel claim. However, the case of fish sheds new light on this claim, because regarding fish there is still much empirical uncertainty and there is a plurality of moral views on all levels. Therefore, we do not only want to show the necessity of this interaction, but also the added value of a cooperation between ethicists and empirical scientists, such as biologists, physiologists, and ethologists. We demonstrate this by considering the different steps in the process of reflection about and implementation of fish welfare. (shrink)
During the past decade scientists, public policy analysts, politicians, and laypeople, have become increasingly aware of the importance of ethical conduct in scientific research. In this timely book, David B. Resnik introduces the reader to the ethical dilemmas and questions that arise in scientific research. Some of the issues addressed in the book include ethical decision-making, the goals and methods of science, and misconduct in science. The Ethics of Science also discusses significant case studies such as (...) human and animal cloning, the Challenger accident and Tobacco research. This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the importance of ethics in science. (shrink)
Present laws and regulations even in democratic countries are not sufficient to prevent the grave environmental threats we face. Further, even environmental ethics, when they remain anthropocentric cannot propose a better approach. I argue that, taking in considerations the precautionary principle, and adopting the perspective of post-normal science, the ethics of integrity suggest a better way to reduce ecological threats and promote the human good globally.
This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith (...) ventures’ or ‘overbeliefs’. But our study of James in the first half of the chapter reveals a significant degree of unnoticed unity: The two distinct defenses of faith ventures he develops post-1900 are actually both versions of the Dialogue Model of the relationship between individual religiosity and scientific reasoning. One shared theme in the diverging approaches to doxastic responsibility suggested by the two versions is what some interpreters have called ‘the character issue’ in James’ writings. The second half of the chapter develops these connections and argues that a neo-Jamesian approach tying the ethics of belief with Rawlsian reasonable pluralism and with contemporary character epistemology results in a stronger yet more clearly delimited defense of responsible faith ventures. (shrink)
Rolston (1988) argues that in order to act ethically in the environment, moral agents must assume that their actions are potentially harmful, and then strive to prove otherwise before implementing that action. In order to determine whether or not an action in the environment is harmful requires the tools of applied epistemology in order to act in accord with Rolston’s ethical prescription. This link between ethics and epistemology demands a closer look at the relationship between confirmation theory, particularly notions (...) of plausibility, in the philosophy of science and environmental ethics. Upon taking this look, I conclude that, at least logically, we are no better off assuming that actions are maximally risky (Rolston) than when we assume minimal risk. “Our vulnerability to error is greatest not from the things that we include in the model, but from the prophecies we leave out entirely.” Francis Bretherton “What is the main epistemic problem concerning science? I take it that it is the explication of how we compare and evaluate theories, as a basis either for theory acceptance or for practical action.” Bas van Fraassen “We face two kinds of ethical difficulties. One is where we know what ought to be done but not how to get the company to do it. The other is where we do not know what is right. We do not know the facts, or how to weigh the facts, especially statistical ones. We do not know the probabilities for development of future technologies. We do not know how to attach values to facts, or how to trade this good off against that one.” Holmes Rolston. (shrink)
To support the teaching of ethics in science and engineering, educational technologies offer a variety of functions: communication between students and instructors, production of documents, distribution of documents, archiving of class sessions, and access to remote resources. Instructors may choose to use these functions of the technologies at different levels of intensity, to support a variety of pedagogies, consistent with accepted good practices. Good pedagogical practices are illustrated in this paper with four examples of uses of educational technologies (...) in the teaching of ethics in science and engineering. Educational technologies impose costs for the purchase of hardware, licensing of software, hiring of support personnel, and training of instructors. Whether the benefits justify these costs is an unsettled question. While many researchers are studying the possible benefits of educational technologies, all instructors should assess the effectiveness of their practices. (shrink)
(2012). Ethics of Science for Policy in the Environmental Governance of Biotechnology: MON810 Maize in Europe. Ethics, Policy & Environment: Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 321-340. doi: 10.1080/21550085.2012.730245.
Moral principles are indispensable for the assessment of the sciences. Medicine is one of the sciences in need of the guidance of ethics. Ethical principles are put forward and interpreted by society. Vital principles for bioethics include a high standard for professional medical workers, confidentiality between the physician and the patient, and informed consent. Marxist teaching calls for the unity of science and ethics, based on humanist ideas. Keywords: ethics of science, ethical neutrality, professional (...) class='Hi'>ethics, Marxism-Leninism, humanist ideals, USSR, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper deals with an approach to the integration of science (with technology and economics), ethics (with religion and mysticism), the arts (aesthetics) and Nature, in order to establish a world-view based on holistic, evolutionary ethics that could help with problem solving. The author suggests that this integration is possible with the aid of “Nature’s wisdom” which is mirrored in the macroscopic pattern of the ecosphere. The corresponding eco-principles represent the basis for unifying soft and hard sciences (...) resulting in “deep sciences”. Deduction and induction will remain the methodology for deep sciences and will include conventional experiments and aesthetic and sentient experiences. Perception becomes the decisive factor with the senses as operators for the building of consciousness through the subconscious. In this paper, an attempt at integrating the concepts of the “true”, the “right” and the “beautiful” with the aid of Nature’s wisdom is explained in more detail along with consequences. (shrink)
Biomedical research on humans is an important part of medical progress. But, when lives are at risk, safety and ethical practices need to be the top priority. The need for the committees that regulate and oversee such research -- institutional review boards, or IRBs -- is growing. IRB members face difficult decisions every day. Evaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on Humans is a guide for new and veteran members of IRBs that will help them better understand (...) the issues involved and the tasks they will be required to perform. The most important purpose of an IRB is to protect the lives of human participants. For three major research areas -- drugs, medical devices, and genetic information -- Dennis J. Mazur shares the methods he has found useful in protecting human participants through the systematic review of scientific protocols and informed consent forms and through adherence to the federal regulations that apply. New members will gain understanding of how proposed research projects are to be reviewed from both scientific and ethical dimensions, how and when to ask key questions of principal investigators, how to work with principal investigators and research teams to ensure the best protection of human participants, and why to schedule regularly spaced reviews of a project that may have adverse outcomes. Based on Mazur's thirty years of research experience, this accessible and informative guide will give all IRB members the tools they need to protect human lives and facilitate the research process. (shrink)
A relatively new and exciting area of collaboration has begun between philosophy of mind and ethics. This paper attempts to explore aspects of this collaboration and how they bear upon traditional ethics. It is the author's contention that much of Western moral philosophy has been guided by largely unrecognized assumptions regarding reason, knowledge and conceptualization, and that when examined against empirical research in cognitive science, these assumptions turn out to be false -- or at the very least, (...) unrealistic for creatures with our cognitive structures. The fundamental tension between the Western idea of morality (as basically rule-following) and the way in which people actually confront and experience moral dilemmas is a result of our failure to take the insights of cognitive psychology seriously. This failure has had a dramatic impact on not only how we teach ethics, but how we attempt to live out lives. (shrink)
This collection of papers were originally presented during conferences on ethics in science and technology that UNESCO’s Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences (RUSHSAP) has been convening since 2005. Since intercultural communication and information-sharing are essential components of these deliberations, the books also provide theme-related discourse from the conferences.
Someday soon (if it hasn't happened in secret already), a human will be cloned, and mankind will embark on a scientific and moral journey whose destination cannot be foretold. In Copycats: The Science and Ethics of Cloning, Arlene Judith Klotzko describes the new world of possibilities that can be glimpsed over the horizon. In a lucid and engaging narrative, she explains that the technology to create clones of living beings already exists, inaugurated in 1996 by Dolly the sheep, (...) the first mammal cloned from a single adult cell. Dolly is the culmination of a long scientific quest to understand the puzzle of our development from one cell into a complex organism--the outcome of a "fantastic experiment" envisioned six decades before her birth. Scientists have since cloned mice, cows, goats, pigs, rabbits and cats. Using the same laboratory tools and techniques, they are trying to grow an embryo, cloned from a single cell of a human being. Their goal is not to make copies of existing people, but to design therapies for currently untreatable diseases and the afflictions of old age. Our fascination with cloning is about much more than science and its extraordinary medical implications. In riveting prose, full of illusions to art, music and the cinema, Klotzko shows why the prospect of human cloning triggers our dearest hopes and especially our darkest fears, forcing us to ponder anew what it means to be human. And what it would be like to have "a clone of your own.". (shrink)
Proposals for an ethical code for scientists raise questions about the usefulness of the framework of professional ethics for debating relevant issues surrounding ethics and science. Is science a profession and if so should its professional ethic be self-derived or subject to external input? What needs to be addressed is the nature of the 'good' that science promotes. Explanations of science as a public good in terms of knowledge and diversity are possibilities, but (...) class='Hi'>science's answer to the basic philosophical question of hope in the human condition should not be overlooked. (shrink)
During most of his long philosophical career, Bertrand Russell was a strong moral subjectivist or emotivist who argued that ethics, because it cannot hope to arrive at truth, is not properly a part of either science or philosophy. In several works, however, most notably Philosophy and Politics and Human Society in Ethics and Politics, he attempted to bring his empiricism and his philosophy of science to bear on moral and other axiological questions. In these writings, he (...) appears to seek and to hope for the "imperium" of the title of this article, which contrasts these two positions, drawing on the former to critique the latter. (shrink)
In this paper I will propose six principles governing the proper role of moral and social values in the conduct of scientific uivestigation. I offer them for your consideration, and hope that together we can sharpen their formulatton, explore their implications and test their acceptability. In making my proposals I draw considerably from my recent books, Valores e Atividade Científica (VAC, Lacey 1988) and Is Science Value Free? Values and Scientific Understanding (SVF, Lacey 1999a) The detailed argument, and elaboration (...) of the technical notions that I use are to be found in them (and summarized in Lacey 1999c). The sketch of the argument that I offer here is intended to display the motivation behind the proposed principles. (shrink)
The precautionary principle is a widely accepted policy norm for decision making under uncertainty in environmental management, However, some of the traditional ways of ensuring trustworthy results used in environmental science and of communicating them work contrary to the general goal of providing the political system and the public with as good an input as possible in the decision making process. For example, it is widely accepted that scientists should only communicate results fulfilling the traditional scientific standard for hypothesis (...) testing. The need for introducing complementary norms in environmental science is illustrated by a recent discussion among scientists on how the precautionary principle should be used in the context of marine biological studies. This discussion highlights the importance of the use of statistical power in communicating scientific results to decision makers and to the general public as well as to the scientific peers. We argue that it would be unethical to report only certainties—because of the need of early warnings—and it would in the same way be unethical to hide the uncertainties. Environmental science can make a better contribution to environmental decision making, if the available knowledge is communicated in a manner which allows for insight on how strong the evidence is. (shrink)
Low-level community based ethics committees staffed by teachers, parents and community representatives can readily review children’s science fair projects subject to the revision of two core assumptions currently governing children’s Science Fairs. The first part of the paper recasts the New Zealand Royal Society guidelines from its primary emphasis on risk to a new assumption, without benefit there can be no risk. Equally, this revision gives more prominence to the participant information sheet, allowing it to act as (...) a quasi application form which provides ethical transparency between student researchers, participants and a community based ethics committee. A second core assumption, more accurately labeled a cult of originality, produces a random, open-ended array of student topics taking ethics review beyond the confidence level of most community based ethics review committees. This paper reins in Science Fair coordinators recommending they make community level ethics review more manageable by providing a list of preapproved topics for those students wanting to conduct research involving human participants. These revised assumptions create a workable division of labour. Teachers’ preapproved topics involving human participants are more likely to be low risk, permitting community level ethics review to focus primarily on two aspects of the minimization of harm: first, for all participants, especially those with diminished autonomy, and second, for the child researchers themselves, as some participants may be unknown to the student. These revised assumptions make science and ethics more accessible to public education thus demonstrating how Science Fairs can lead students and the community into better understanding the role and function that ethics has in all scientific research human participants. (shrink)
There might not be a specific nano-ethics, but there definitely is an ethics of new & emerging science and technology (NEST), with characteristic tropes and patterns of moral argumentation. Ethical discussion in and around nanoscience and technology reflects such NEST-ethics. We offer an inventory of the arguments, and show patterns in their evolution, in arenas full of proponents and opponents. We also show that there are some nano-specific issues: in how size matters, and when agency is (...) delegated to smart devices. Our overall approach is a pragmatist ethics, and we conclude that struggle (and learning) might be more productive than models emphasizing consensus. (shrink)
Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption given that research in (...) social sciences poses various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond. (shrink)
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Second Merit Criterion, or Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC), was introduced in 1997 as the result of an earlier Congressional movement to enhance the accountability and responsibility as well as the effectiveness of federally funded projects. We demonstrate that a robust understanding and appreciation of NSF BIC argues for a broader conception of research ethics in the sciences than is currently offered in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. This essay advocates augmenting RCR education (...) with training regarding broader impacts. We demonstrate that enhancing research ethics training in this way provides a more comprehensive understanding of the ethics relevant to scientific research and prepares scientists to think not only in terms of responsibly conducted science, but also of the role of science in responding to identified social needs and in adhering to principles of social justice. As universities respond to the mandate from America COMPETES to “provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research”, we urge institutions to embrace a more adequate conception of research ethics, what we call the Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Research, that addresses the full range of ethical issues relevant to scientific inquiry, including ethical issues related to the broader impacts of scientific research and practice. (shrink)
The relation between ethics and social science is often conceived as complementary, both disciplines cooperating in the solution of concrete moral problems. Against this, the paper argues that not only applied ethics but even certain parts of general ethics have to incorporate sociological and psychological data and theories from the start. Applied ethics depends on social science in order to asses the impact of its own principles on the concrete realities which these principles are (...) to regulate as well as in order to propose practice rules suited to adapt these principles to their respective contexts of application. Examples from medical ethics (embryo research) and ecological ethics (Leopold's land ethic) illustrate both the contingence of practice rules in relation to their underlying basic principles and the corresponding need for a co-operation between philosophy and empirical disciplines in judging their functional merits and demerits. In conclusion, the relevance of empirical hypotheses even for some of the perennial problems of ethics is shown by clarifying the role played by empirical theories in the controversies about the ethical differentiation between positive and negative responsibility and the relation between utility maximisation and (seemingly) independent criteria of distributive justice in the context of social distributions. (shrink)
Behavioral science, unified in the way Gintis proposes, should affect ethics, which also finds itself in “disarray,” in three ways. First, it raises the standards. Second, it removes the easy targets of economic and sociobiological selfishness. Third, it provides methods, in particular the close coupling of theory and experiments, to construct a better ethics. (Published Online April 27 2007).
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with (...) the naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)
Social scientists often lament the fact that philosophically trained ethicists pay limited attention to the insights they generate. This paper presents an overview of tendencies in sociological and anthropological studies of morality, ethics and bioethics, and suggests that a lack in philosophical interest might be related to a tendency among social scientists to employ either a deficit model (social science perspectives accommodate the sense of context that philosophical ethics lacks), a replacement model (social scientists have finally found (...) the “right way” of doing ethics), or a dismissal model (ethics should be abandoned all together as a misconstrued veil of power). Increased awareness of differences in styles of reasoning and objects of research interest might help to overcome the hostility, and an anthropological project is presented as an invitation to a dialogue informed by awareness of such differences. (shrink)
Third-party decision-makers, or spectators, have emerged as a useful empirical tool in modern social science research on moral motivation. Spectators of a sort also serve a central role in Adam Smith's moral theory. This paper compares these two types of spectatorship with respect to their goals, methodologies, visions of human nature and emphasis on moral rules. I find important similarities and differences and conclude that this comparison suggests significant opportunities for philosophical ethics to inform empirical and theoretical research (...) on moral preferences and vice versa. (shrink)
In this paper, the logical structure of ethics and economics as one unified science is investigated and found to be inhomogeneously represented in Austroliberal literature. This structure is here built from axioms, deductions, and definitions: It is first established in its self-supportive bareness, secondly represented by pivotal passages of libertarian [...].
Pediatric psychopharmacology is a relatively new science. Although the use of psychotropic medications in children has risen in the past decade, there are few standard treatments for serious psychiatric or developmental disorders of childhood. The relative absence of standard treatments is further complicated by the fact that many of the agents used in pediatric psychopharmacology have been adapted from other fields. Therefore, investigators have a responsibility to make incremental progress from concept through pilot studies and large-scale, multisite efficacy and (...) safety trials. Thus, although there is a pressing need to conduct medication trials that can guide clinical practice, there are scientific and ethical considerations to bear in mind when designing clinical trials in pediatric psychopharmacology. This article reviews essential ethical and scientific issues that are relevant to designing clinical trials in children with psychiatric and developmental disorders. Using examples from recently published literature, the article describes the challenges and pitfalls of various clinical trial study designs. The application of sound ethical and scientific principles is necessary to ensure that clinical trials are properly conducted and to guard against ambiguous results that can not guide practice. (shrink)
The development of a professional code of ethics should provide an explanation of the professional values and principals that guide a body of persons engaged in an important role in society. Most professions find ethical standards of conduct are necessary to codify acceptable behavior to develop public trust, reliability, and consistency in their performance. The proposed AMS Code of Ethics for Marketing Educators is the first step in developing communication, debate, and hopefully, agreement about the social responsibility of (...) the marekting discipline. It is important to note that the AMS code was not developed to punish wrongdoers but to provide a positive guide to help marketing educators understand how their actions may be viewed by society. It is an attempt to establish standards that are collectively viewed as important to the marketing education profession. (shrink)
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors (...) We Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection. (shrink)
This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
Arecent trend among environmentalists (e.g., Aldo Leopold) of basing ethical norms for land use, resource management, and conservation on ecological principies such as homeostasis is examined, and a way to justify such an ethical approach through analysis of moral judgment is explored. Issues such as the is/ought impasse, the connection between value judgments and reasons for acting, and the question of whether moral judgments are definitive and categorical are treated as they relate to an ecological ethic, i.e., an environmental ethic (...) grounded in ecological science. I argue that such an ethic is in such regards as sound as more traditional approaches. (shrink)
W.V.Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. I argue that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of (...) the normative dimensions of the discipline. However Kitcher’s alternative suggestion, that the goal of science is to be specified in terms of an ideal democratic procedure, does not escape this problem, given Kitcher's own limited skepticism about rational inquiry into certain questions of value. (shrink)
A focus of criticism on methodological and ethical grounds, the undercover or `covert' approach to fieldwork persists as a useful technique in certain settings. Questions remain about the credibility of the published findings from such work. Covert researchers nearly always protect the anonymity of their subjects and locations. Other researchers cannot validate the covert researcher's claims, yet ethical guidelines often insist that researchers demonstrate the benefits that derive from a covert study. If researchers cannot show that their studies will prove (...) beneficial, ethical standards will weigh against the study, on the presumption that the omission of informed consent should be counterbalanced by the scientific rewards of the research. An attempt to open the results to greater peer investigation might place subjects at risk of unwanted notoriety or even danger. There does not seem to be a way that covert research can meet ethical guidelines unless we adjust our conceptions of research, ethics, or both. Key Words: fieldwork ethnography research ethics informed consent. (shrink)
. Modern science is one form of knowledge, demarcated by its time (modernity) and by other âknowledges.â There is a fair amount of clarity as to what does not count as scientific, but there is a twilight zone of knowledges whose scientific status is ambivalent. In this zone the encounter between science and religion takes place. The particular contribution of religion and theology in this encounter is to call for an ethics of knowledge in the epistemological endeavors (...) of science. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of science tend (...) to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever (...) we lack sufficient evidence. I will argue, however, that there are wide-scope conditional requirements on beliefs but the beliefs in question need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. I then argue that we are epistemically, but not morally, required to form epistemically valuable beliefs. However, these beliefs, too, need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. (shrink)
A nascent science in the sixteenth century rejected explanations in terms of purpose in favour of causality, and this bias has persisted and grown stronger. It has unfortunate consequences in areas where social and ethical considerations should prevail, and the paper describes a search extending over 20 years for a way in which these consequences could be avoided.
It is very well known that from the late-1960s onwards Feyerabend began to radically challenge some deeply-held ideas about the history and methodology of the sciences. It is equally well known that, from around the same period, he also began to radically challenge wider claims about the value and place of the sciences within modern societies, for instance by calling for the separation of science and the state and by questioning the idea that the sciences served to liberate and (...) ameliorate human societies. But what is less known is how, if at all, these two sets of challenges were connected, and why Feyerabend felt it important to raise them at all. In this chapter, my aim is to explore these issues by considering why Feyerabend used radical strategies to challenge the authority of science, and what purpose, if any, they were supposed to serve. Why, for instance, did Feyerabend defend alternative medicine, psychical abilities, astrology, magic and witchcraft and why did he argue that ‘Western science’ is complicit in environmental destruction, intellectual imperialism, social oppression, and spiritual destitution. Located in their historical and political context, such defences and arguments seem peculiar, not least because science was recognised not only as a central site of the intellectual and ideological competition between the West and the Soviet Union, but also because Western victory in that site was considered inevitable. What, then, did Feyerabend think he was trying to achieve by raising radical challenges to a central component of the cultural and intellectual prestige of the Western world grounded in appeals to practices and traditions which most would regard as eccentric at best and absurd at worst? My suggestion is that Feyerabend was making a subtler point than one might suppose. For the purpose of these radical challenges was to determine if the members of Western societies would in fact honour the epistemic standards – of tolerance, critical enquiry – which were identified as being characteristic of science and definitive of the social and political values of Western liberal democracy. I suggest that Feyerabend was trying to demonstrate that scientists were, too often, guilty of the same intolerant and dogmatic attitudes which were, according to prevailing propaganda, the property of illiberal totalitarian societies. Science does not reflect the superior epistemic and political values of Western societies but are, in fact, reflective of the same vices ascribed to the Soviet Union. If that is the case, then the sciences are not symbols of our epistemic and political values, but quite the reverse, hence Feyerabend’s talk of the ‘dogmatic’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘ratiofascist’ nature of modern science. But there is a positive upshot to Feyerabend’s challenge. For even if the sciences do not yet reflect the epistemic and political values of liberal democratic Western societies, they might yet be reformed so that they are. And there is a parallel between Feyerabend’s strategy and that of many of the other radicals of the time – student activists, environmentalists, and pacifists – namely to test the commitment to tolerance and deliberative debate of the establishment by asking it to seriously engage with ideas and convictions opposed to its own. For both science and society can become ‘tyrannical’ through the same means: by exempting themselves from critical scrutiny, by promoting self-serving ‘myths’ about themselves, and by derogating and excluding alternatives, including the ‘outsider’ perspectives they offer. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Feyerabend is distinctive in virtue of his willingness to offer radical criticisms of the authority of science such that it can fulfil its legitimate ideological role – namely, of symbolising and instantiating our core epistemic and political values – such that we can offer a sincere and meaningful answer to Feyerabend’s question ‘what’s so great about science?’. (shrink)
In the last decade, fierce controversy has arisen over the nature of sexual orientation. Scientific research, religious views, increasingly ambiguous gender roles, and the growing visibility of sexual minorities have sparked impassioned arguments about whether our sexual desires are hard-wired in our genes or shaped by the changing forces of society. In recent years scientific research and popular opinion have favored the idea that sexual orientations are determined at birth, but philosopher and educator Edward Stein argues that much of what (...) we think we know about the origins of sexual desire is probably wrong. Stein provides a comprehensive overview of such research on sexual orientation and shows that it is deeply flawed. Stein argues that this research assumes a picture of sexual desire that reflects unquestioned cultural stereotypes rather than cross-cultural scientific facts, and that it suffers from serious methodological problems. He considers whether sexual orientation is even amenable to empirical study and asks if it is useful for our understanding of human nature to categorize people based on their sexual desires. Perhaps most importantly, Stein examines some of the ethical issues surrounding such research, including gay and lesbian civil rights and the implications of parents trying to select or change the sexual orientation of their children. The Mismeasure of Desire offers a reasoned, accessible, and incisive examination of contemporary thinking about one of the most hotly debated issues of our time and adds a compelling voice of dissent to prevailing--and largely unexamined--assumptions about human sexuality. (shrink)
Nature, God and Humanity clarifies the task of forming an ethics of nature, thereby empowering readers to develop their own critical, faith-based ethics. Calling on original, thought-provoking analyses and arguments, Richard L. Fern frames a philosophical ethics of nature, assesses it scientifically, finds support for it in traditional biblical theism, and situates it culturally. Though defending the moral value of beliefs affirming the radical Otherness of God and human uniqueness, this book aims not to compel the adoption (...) of any particular ethic but rather illumine the contribution diverse forms of inquiry make to an ethics of nature. How does philosophy clarify moral conviction? What does science tell us about nature? Why does religious faith matter? Rejecting the illusion of a single, rationally-compelling ethics, Fern answers these questions in a way that fosters both agreement and disagreement, allowing those holding conflicting ethics of nature to work together for the common good. (shrink)
This book is one outcome of a project undertaken by the Hastings Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science with an interdisciplinary group including social scientists, geneticists, lawyers and journalists. A project report is available at www.thehastingscenter.org.
Science can (also) be studied as responsible and rational human activity, guided and legitimated by its own normative system: a finite and ordered set of norms and values for agents in a given field of activity. Such norms of inquiry are needed for a rationality requirement of science, which also presupposes a partial agreement on (acceptance of, respect for) these norms between scientists and their social environment. The notions of scientific accountability, autonomy, and freedom of inquiry are elucidated (...) by means of an action-theoretic definition of science and by a certain use of the distinction between internal methodological) and external norms of science. (shrink)
Ethicists have commonly appealed to science to bolster their arguments for elevating the moral status of nonhuman animals. I describe a framework within which I take many ethicists to be making such appeals. I focus on an apparent gap in this framework between those properties of animals that are part of the scientific consensus, and those to which ethicists typically appeal in their arguments. I will describe two different ways of diminishing the appearance of the gap, and argue that (...) both of them present challenges to ethicists seeking a firm scientific basis for their claims about the moral status of animals. I argue that more clarity about the role of appeals to science by applied ethicists leads to questions about the effectiveness of such appeals, and that these questions might best be pursued empirically. (shrink)
The principle of clinical equipoise requires that, aside from certain exceptional cases, second generation treatments ought to be tested against standard therapy. In violation of this principle, placebo-controlled trials (PCTs) continue to be used extensively in the development and licensure of second-generation treatments. This practice is typically justified by appeal to methodological arguments that purport to demonstrate that active-controlled trials (ACTs) are methodologically flawed. Foremost among these arguments is the so called assay sensitivity argument. In this paper, I take a (...) closer look at this argument. Following Duhem, I argue that all trials, placebo-controlled or not, rely on external information for their meaningful interpretation. Pending non-circular empirical evidence that we can trust the findings of PCTs to a greater degree than the findings of ACTs, I conclude that the assay sensitivity argument fails to demonstrate that placebo-controlled trials are preferable, methodologically or otherwise, to active-controlled trials. Contrary to the intentions of its authors, the fundamental lesson taught by the assay sensitivity argument is Duhemian: the validity of all clinical trials depends on external information. (shrink)
Publication ethics, an important subtopic of scienceethics, deals with determination of the misconducts of science in performing research or in the dissemination of ideas, data and products. Science, the main features of which are secure, reliable and ethically obtained data, plays a major role in shaping the society. As long as science maintains its quality by being based on reliable and ethically obtained data, it will be possible to maintain its role in shaping (...) the society. This article is devoted to the presentation of opinions of PhD candidate students in health sciences in Ankara concerning publication ethics. The data obtained from 143 PhD students from the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary reveal limited but unique experiences. It also shows that plagiarism is one of the worst issues in the publication ethics from the perspective of these young academics. (shrink)
The activities of the life sciences are essential to provide solutions for the future, for both individuals and society. Society has demanded growing accountability from the scientific community as implications of life science research rise in influence and there are concerns about the credibility, integrity and motives of science. While the scientific community has responded to concerns about its integrity in part by initiating training in research integrity and the responsible conduct of research, this approach is minimal. The (...) scientific community justifies itself by appealing to the ethos of science, claiming academic freedom, self-direction, and self-regulation, but no comprehensive codification of this foundational ethos has been forthcoming. A review of the professional norms of science and a prototype code of ethics for the life sciences provide a framework to spur discussions within the scientific community to define scientific professionalism. A formalization of implicit principles can provide guidance for recognizing divergence from the norms, place these norms within a context that would enhance education of trainees, and provide a framework for discussing externally and internally applied pressures that are influencing the practice of science. The prototype code articulates the goal for life sciences research and the responsibilities associated with the freedom of exploration, the principles for the practice of science, and the virtues of the scientists themselves. The time is ripe for scientific communities to reinvigorate professionalism and define the basis of their social contract. Codifying the basis of the social contract between science and society will sustain public trust in the scientific enterprise. (shrink)
Judaism in the twentieth century began to return to its scriptural, communal roots after a centuries-long detour through Greek-influenced natural philosophy, a detour during which science and ethics were assumed to be partners and Jewish ethics drew heavily on natural philosophy and science. Twentieth-century philosophical ethics and science, particularly biological science, have developed in such a way as to make any continuation of that historical partnership problematic. This is not altogether regrettable because the (...) problematizing of this long-standing partnership has driven Jewish ethics back to its real roots: covenantal relationship, and moral wisdom and discernment. (shrink)
In early 1984, the AIDS epidemic was less than four years old. Chemists at the pharmaceutical company Syntex, situated in the rolling green hills near Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, had recently synthesized a new antiviral drug (Martin et al. 1983). The drug, at first given the awkward chemical abbreviation DHPG, later came to be known by the generic name ganciclovir. Ganciclovir was a potent drug for the treatment of herpes virus infection (such as genital herpes or chickenpox), but (...) the unique characteristic of ganciclovir was that it worked against cytomegalovirus (CMV), a heretofore untreatable virus infection. Although relatively harmless in healthy individuals, CMV caused .. (shrink)