Geron recently announced that it had begun enrolling patients in the world's first-in-human clinical trial involving cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). This trial raises important questions regarding the future of hESC-based therapies, especially in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. We address some safety and efficacy concerns with this research, as well as the ethics of fair subject selection. We consider other populations that might be better for this research: chronic complete SCI patients for a safety trial, (...) subacute incomplete SCI patients for an efficacy trial, and perhaps primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients for a combined safety and efficacy trial. (shrink)
The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in 2006 was heralded as a major breakthrough in stem cell research. Since then, progress in iPS cell technology has paved the way towards clinical application, particularly cell replacement therapy, which has refueled debate on the ethics of stem cell research. However, much of the discourse has focused on questions of moral status and potentiality, overlooking the ethical issues which are introduced by the clinical testing of iPS cell replacement therapy. First-in-human (...) trials, in particular, raise a number of ethical concerns including informed consent, subject recruitment and harm minimisation as well as the inherent uncertainty and risks which are involved in testing medical procedures on humans for the first time. These issues, while a feature of any human research, become more complex in the case of iPS cell therapy, given the seriousness of the potential risks, the unreliability of available animal models, the vulnerability of the target patient group, and the high stakes of such an intensely public area of science. Our paper will present a detailed case study of iPS cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease to highlight these broader ethical and epistemological concerns. If we accept that iPS cell technology is fraught with challenges which go far beyond merely refuting the potentiality of the stem cell line, we conclude that iPS cell research should not replace, but proceed alongside embryonic and adult somatic stem cell research to promote cross-fertilisation of knowledge and better clinical outcomes. (shrink)
The transition of novel and potentially promising medical therapies into their initial human clinical trials can engender conflicting pressures. On the one side, because Phase I trials raise greater ethical and human protection challenges than later stage clinical trials, there is a need to proceed cautiously. This is particularly the case for Phase I trials with a novel therapy being tested in humans for the first time, usually termed first-in-human (FIH) trials, especially if the FIH trial involves significant risks. (...) On the other side, scientists interested in having their research validated, corporations with a financial interest in the field, and potential patients and patient support groups desirous of having .. (shrink)
In her article, Pascale Hess raises the issue of whether her proposed model may be extrapolated and applied to clinical research fields other than stem cell-based interventions in the brain (SCBI-B) (Hess 2012). Broadly summarized, Hess’s model suggests prioritizing efficacy over safety in phase 1 trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain, when clinical criteria meet the appropriate population suffering from “degenerative brain diseases” (Hess 2012). Although there is a need to reconsider the traditional phase 1 model, especially with respect (...) to first-in-human clinical trials involving novel technologies, the question arises as to whether it is appropriate to advocate for a new model that prioritizes efficacy over safety across all phase 1 clinical research trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain. -/- . (shrink)
Risks of harm, translational uncertainty, ambiguities in potential direct benefit, and long-term follow-up merit consideration in first-in-human research. Some nanomedical technologies have additional characteristics that should be addressed, including: defining and describing nanomedical interventions; bystander risks; the therapeutic misconception; and a decision-making context that includes both common use of nanomaterials outside medicine and persistent unknowns about the effects of nanosize. This paper considers how to address these issues in informed consent to first-in-human nanomedicine research.
Novel nanomedical interventions require human testing to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. To establish a proper evidentiary basis for human trials, nanomedical innovations must first be subjected to animal and other laboratory testing. But it is uncertain whether the traditional laboratory approaches to safety evaluation will supply adequate information on nanotechnology risks to humans. This uncertainty, together with other features of nanomedical innovation, heightens the ethical challenges in conducting FIH nanotrials.
In 1999, the Journal of Business Ethics published its 1 500th article. This article commemorates the journal's quest "to improve the human condition" (Michalos, 1988, p. 1) with a summary and assessment of the first eighteen volumes. The first part provides an overview of JBE, highlighting the journal's growth, types of methodologies published, and the breadth of the field. The second part provides a detailed account of the quantitative research findings. Major research topics include (1) prevalence of ethical behavior, (2) (...) ethical sensitivities, (3) ethics codes and programs, (4) corporate social performance and policies, (5) human resource practices and policies, and (6) professions – accounting, marketing/sales, and finance/strategy. Much remains to be done. (shrink)
The causes of asymmetries for handedness and cerebral speech are of scientific interest, but is it sensible to try to determine which of these came first? I argue that (1) first causes belong to mythology, not science; (2) much of the cited evidence is weak; and (3) the treatment of individual differences is inadequate in comparison with the right shift theory.
Recent studies with human infants and nonhuman primates reveal that posture interacts with the expression and stability of handedness. Converging results demonstrate that quadrupedal locomotion hinders the expression of handedness, whereas bipedal posture enhances preferred hand use. From an evolutionary perspective, these findings suggest that right-handedness may have emerged first, following the adoption of bipedal locomotion, with speech emerging later.
This paper aims to show how recent cinematic representations reveal a far more pessimistic and essentialised vision of Human/Cyborg hybridity in comparison with the more enunciative and optimistic ones seen at the end of the twentieth century. Donna Haraway’s still influential 1985 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” saw the combination of the organic and the technological as offering new and exciting ways beyond the normalised culturally constructed categories of gender and identity formation. However, more recently critics see her later writings as (...) embodying a Faustian deal between the individual and hegemony, where technology does not enhance but merely returns the subject to a level of normalisation. As such cybernetics is only configured as a form of prosthetic rehabilitation, to ‘re’-able the ‘dis’-abled, that ultimately re-establishes earlier essentialised subject positions through that same evolutionary process. The Six Million Dollar Man, which ran from 1974 to 1978, exampled a symbiosis between the organic and the technological where the broken human body is not just re-made via mechanical prosthesis but through a process of Cyborg hybridity which actually makes it better, faster, stronger than before. In contrast, contemporary films such as Avatar (Cameron 2009 ), Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay 2009 ) and Iron Man II (Faveraeu 2010) portray an inherent anxiety toward the cyborg body disavowing of any human/cyborg interaction beyond re-establishing their own discrete and separate subject positions. Although human/cyborg symbiosis constructs the possibility for potentialised bodies beyond those previously imagined, contemporary, popular, film represents them as separated and essentialised. This article looks at what cultural anxieties might produce such an about turn in such representations how this positions human identity in a time of increasing technology and, as a result, asks “ whatever happened to The Six Million Dollar Man ?”. (shrink)
This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
Plato’s Timaeus gives an account of the creation of the world and of human race. The text suggests that there was a first generation of human beings, and that they were all men. The paper raises difficulties for this traditional view, and considers an alternative, suggested in more recent literature, according to which humans of the first generation were sexually undifferentiated. The paper raises difficulties for the alternative view as well, and examines the third possibility, advocated by some ancient as (...) well as modern interpreters, according to which there were no first humans, strictly speaking. Although the latter view avoids the pitfalls of the former two views, it crucially rests on a metaphorical reading of the creation story in the Timaeus. (shrink)
Human enhancement has emerged in recent years as a blossoming topic in applied ethics. With continuing advances in science and technology, people are beginning to realize that some of the basic parameters of the human condition might be changed in the future. One important way in which the human condition could be changed is through the enhancement of basic human capacities. If this becomes feasible within the lifespan of many people alive today, then it is important now to consider the (...) normative questions raised by such prospects. The answers to these questions might not only help us be better prepared when technology catches up with imagination, but they may be relevant to many decisions we make today, such as decisions about how much funding to give to various kinds of research. Enhancement is typically contraposed to therapy. In broad terms, therapy aims to fix something that has gone wrong, by curing specific diseases or injuries, while enhancement interventions aim to improve the state of an organism beyond its normal healthy state. However, the distinction between therapy and enhancement is problematic, for several reasons. First, we may note that the therapy-enhancement dichotomy does not map onto any corresponding dichotomy between standard-contemporary-medicine and medicineas-it-could-be-practised-in-the-future. Standard contemporary medicine includes many practices that do not aim to cure diseases or injuries. It includes, for example, preventive medicine, palliative care, obstetrics, sports medicine, plastic surgery, contraceptive devices, fertility treatments, cosmetic dental procedures, and much else. At the same time, many enhancement interventions occur outside of the medical framework. Office workers enhance their performance by drinking coffee. Make-up and grooming are used to enhance appearance. Exercise, meditation, fish oil, and St John’s Wort are used to enhance mood. Second, it is unclear how to classify interventions that reduce the probability of disease and death.. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
We report the results of three experiments designed to assess the role of suppositions in human reasoning. Theories of reasoning based on formal rules propose that the ability to make suppositions is central to deductive reasoning. Our first experiment compared two types of problem that could be solved by a suppositional strategy. Our results showed no difference in difficulty between problems requiring affirmative or negative suppositions and very low logical solution rates throughout. Further analysis of the error data showed a (...) pattern of responses, which suggested that participants reason from a superficial representation of the premises in these arguments and this drives their choice of conclusion. Our second experiment employed a different set of suppositional problems but with extremely similar proofs in terms of the rules applied and number of inferential steps required. As predicted by our interpretation of reasoning strategies employed in Experiment 1, logical performance was very much higher on these problems. Our third experiment showed that problems that could be solved by constructing an initial representation of the premises were easier than problems in which this representation was not sufficient. This effect was independent of the suppositional structure of the problems. We discuss the implications of this research for theories of reasoning based on mental models and inference rules. (shrink)
As a moral philosopher, the perspective I will take in this chapter is one of argumentation and informed judgment about two main questions: whether individuals should ever choose to conduct human embryonic stem cell research, and whether the law should permit this type of research. I will also touch upon a secondary question, that of whether the government ought to pay for this type of research. I will discuss some of the main arguments at stake, and explain how the ethical (...) conflict over these questions differs from the political conflict over them. I will be guided throughout by the assumption that the unique scientific and clinical promise of human embryonic stem cell research is significant. Those who have doubts about this assumption should consult other chapters in this volume in which the issue is addressed directly. I begin with one of the basic facts relevant to the ethical issue of stem cell research: you and I, along with everybody else we know, developed out of clumps of primordial cells, which happen to be the very same clumps that serve as the source for human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory. Let us call these “source cells” for short, since they can be used in this way. Each individual has developed into whatever she is now out of a one-celled animal, which then became a blastocyst, a multi-celled human embryo. These blastocysts are partly made up of an inner mass of cells, and the body of every adult person has developed out of this inner mass. It is this very same clump from the inner part of the blastocyst that consists of source cells for human embryonic stem 1 cell research. These cells can be extracted and grown into a laboratory specimen of extraordinary interest to scientists. Before discussing the significance of the fact that all humans originate from these source cells, it is useful to begin by asking some perhaps rather simple-minded questions about how any one of us knows this fact to be true in the first place. How do I know that I developed from a single cell, and then a blastocyst? In my own case, the main way I know this is that other people have told me so.. (shrink)
This article explores several entanglements between human judgments of intentionality and morality (blame and praise). After proposing a model of people’s folk concept of intentionality I discuss three topics. First, considerations of a behavior’s intentionality a ﬀ ect people’s praise and blame of that behavior, but one study suggests that there may be an asymmetry such that blame is more aﬀected than praise. Second, the concept of intentionality is constitutive of many legal judgments (e.g., of murder vs. manslaughter), and one (...) study illustrates people’s subtle considerations of intentionality in making those judgments. Third, controversial recent studies suggest that moral considerations can aﬀect judgments of intentionality, and an asymmetry may exist such that blame a ﬀ ects those judgments more than praise. I report two new studies that may shed light on these recent ﬁndings, and I discuss several theoretical models that might account for the impact of moral considerations on intentionality judgments and for the relationship between the two more generally. (shrink)
Bear bile has long been used in the Asian traditional pharmacopoeia. Bear farming first started in China ~30 years ago in terms of reducing the number of poached bears and ensuring the supply of bear bile. Approximately 13,000 bears are today captivated on Asia’s bear farms: their teeth are broken and the claws are also pulled out for the sake of human safety; the bears are imprisoned in squeeze cages for years; and a catheter is daily inserted into a bear’s (...) gall bladder or a tube is implanted inside its body in order to collect the dripped bile—captive bears moan in severe pain whenever the bile is extracted. When the bears cannot produce sufficient bile, they are often left to die of starvation. It must be impossible to justify the bile extraction from living bears because (1) medicinal/herbal alternatives are similar to bear bile; (2) there is no evidence to suggest that bear farming has any beneficial effects on wild bear populations; and (3) ethical problems lie not only in the painful bile extraction but also the whole lifecycle of captive bears. In conclusion, human welfare (health care) based on traditional medicine is upheld by sacrificing bear welfare. Since a trial calculation suggests that it is economically unfeasible to keep a proper balance between bear welfare and the traditional pharmacopeia, the cultivation of herbal alternatives seems to be a possible solution to phase out bear faming and maintain the practice of traditional medicine in Asia. (shrink)
My professional interest originally focused on curriculum planning and development, but for the last 30 years I have been researching, publishing and teaching in the field of human rights education. Suddenly, I became a human rights educator. Suddenly? No, nothing in our personal and professional life is the result of an abrupt occurrence. We are subjects of a particular history, a succession of events and narratives, located in time, space and circumstances. I constructed myself, consciously or unconsciously, as a human (...) rights educator as a consequence of many personal factors. Being the son of the first Rabbi in Chile, I felt, at a very early age, that I was different and suffered from discriminatory behaviour, prejudice and intolerance. In addition, I started to learn about the Holocaust. I lived in a poor neighbourhood and poverty had a profound impact on me. During the 1960s and 1970s many political changes took place in Chile. Severe human rights violations occurred, not only in Chile but also in the different contexts of many other Latin American countries. I became much more aware of, and sensitive to, human rights and their ethical implications. I decided to make use of my educational knowledge towards recovering democracy. I became a strong supporter of human rights education as an ethical and moral imperative throughout Latin America. (shrink)
In the mid-1990s, the Internet rapidly changedfrom a venue used by a small number ofscientists to a popular phenomena affecting allaspects of life in industrialized nations. Scholars from diverse disciplines have taken aninterest in trying to understand the Internetand Internet users. However, as a variety ofresearchers have noted, guidelines for ethicalresearch on human subjects written before theInternet's growth can be difficult to extend toresearch on Internet users.In this paper, I focus on one ethicalissue: whether and to what extent to disguisematerial (...) collected online in publishedaccounts. While some people argue thatvulnerable human subjects must always be madeanonymous in publications for their ownprotection, others argue that Internet usersdeserve credit for their creative andintellectual work. Still others argue thatmuch material available online should betreated as ``published.'' To attempt to resolvethese issues, I first review my own experiencesof disguising material in research accountsfrom 1992 to 2002. Some of the thorniestissues emerge at the boundaries betweenresearch disciplines. Furthermore, manyhumanities disciplines have not historicallyviewed what they do as human subjects research. Next, I explore what it means to do humansubjects research in the humanities. Inspiredby issues raised by colleagues in thehumanities, I argue that the traditional notionof a ``human subject'' does not adequatelycharacterize Internet users. A useful alternatemental model is proposed: Internet users areamateur artists. The Internet can be seen as aplayground for amateur artists creatingsemi-published work. I argue that thisapproach helps make some ethical dilemmaseasier to reason about, because it highlightskey novel aspects of the situation,particularly with regard to disguisingmaterial. Finally, I conclude by proposing aset of practical guidelines regardingdisguising material gathered on the Internet inpublished accounts, on a continuum from nodisguise, light disguise, moderate disguise, toheavy disguise. (shrink)
This article addresses a classical question: Can a machine use language meaningfully and if so, how can this be achieved? The first part of the paper is mainly philosophical. Since meaning implies intentionality on the part of the language user, artificial systems which obviously lack intentionality will be `meaningless' (pace e.g. Dennett). There is, however, no good reason to assume that intentionality is an exclusively biological property (pace e.g. Searle) and thus a robot with bodily structures, interaction patterns and development (...) similar to those of human beings would constitute a system possibly capable of meaning – a conjecture supported through a Wittgenstein-inspired thought experiment. The second part of the paper focuses on the empirical and constructive questions. Departing from the principle of epigenesis stating that during every state of development new structure arises on the basis of existing structure plus various sorts of interaction, a model of human cognitive and linguistic development is proposed according to which physical, social and linguistic interactions between the individual and the environment have their respective peaks in three consecutive stages of development: episodic, mimetic and symbolic. The transitions between these stages are qualitative, and bear a similarity to the stages in phylogenesis proposed by Donald (1991) and Deacon (1997). Following the principle of epigenetic development, robotogenesis could possibly recapitulate ontogenesis, leading to the emergence of intentionality, consciousness and meaning. (shrink)
Forward - Prefacio - Acknowledgments - Preface - About the author - Part One: the rhetoric - An urgent context for twenty-first century librarianship - Human rights, contestations and moral responsibilities of library and information workers - Part Two: the reality - Practical strategies for social action - Prevalent manifestations of social action applied to library and information work - Specific forms of social action used in library and information work for social change - Closing thought.
Through comparisons between traditional Chinese and Western aesthetics, this article tries to explain the worldwide significance of Chinese aesthetic tradition in the twenty-first century. In contrast to cognitive-rational spirit and the tendency to distinguish the subjectives and objectives of traditional Western aesthetics, traditional Chinese aesthetics shows a distinctive practical-emotional spirit and a tendency to harmoniously unite human beings with nature, and believes that beauty is, first and foremost, a free state or way (Dao) of human life; the most important thing (...) for human beings is how to make their own lives and existence beautiful. Therefore, it puts forward some persuasive and valuable insights into beauty and art, thus playing an independent and constructive role in intercultural aesthetic dialogues of the twenty-first century. (shrink)
I present ideas about human suffering that are salient among the black peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, reconstruct them in order to make them relevant to an international audience with philosophical interests, and urge that audience to give them consideration as alternatives or correctives to some dominant Western approaches. I first recount views commonly held by sub-Saharans about the nature, causes and cures of suffering, and then draw on them to articulate an account of it qua enervation, which rivals a neuro-physical (...) perspective that friends of Western science would readily adopt. Then, I address the way one morally should respond to suffering, appealing to judgments about the value of community that are influential among Africans. I show that, upon theoretical refinement, an Afro-communitarianism entails an ethical analysis of suffering that seriously competes with those entailed by standard Western moral philosophies. This view instructs moral agents neither to make others suffer because they deserve it, as per Kantian retributivism, nor to do whatever will minimize suffering, à la utilitarianism. Instead, it roughly prescribes responding to suffering out of love, which can require increasing the amount of suffering in the world by taking it upon oneself, instead of leaving it to others to bear on their own. (shrink)
The present essay discusses the value of citizenship as shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict and analyzes its implications for citizenship education in light of three issues: first, the requirements of affective relationality in the notion of citizenship-as-shared fate; second, the tensions between the values of human rights and shared fate in sites of ethnic conflict; and third, the ways in which citizenship education might overcome these tensions without falling into the trap of psychologization and instrumentalization, but rather focusing (...) on providing opportunities for social and school practices that manifest shared fate and compassion in critical ways. It is argued that what teachers and schools should try to do is to make practices of shared fate and compassion possible through creating conditions for children and young people to experience what it means to enact such practices in sites of ethnic conflict. It is also suggested that teachers and schools in sites of ethnic conflict cannot produce ‘new’ citizens on the basis of any values, no matter how ‘noble’ these values may be. The most that can be done is to help children and young people to critically reflect upon the conditions under which people in sites of ethnic conflict can act on the basis of shared fate and compassion and provide support so that these possibilities can become realistic. (shrink)
To explore the development of contemporary Chinese philosophy, fundamentally, is to explore the development of Marxist philosophy in contemporary China. The disputes over philosophical views in Chinese academic circles during the first half of the twentieth century have been focused on understanding Marxist philosophy from such aspects as “what kind of philosophy Chinese society needs,” “the relation of philosophy to science,” and “philosophy as an idea to reflect on one’s life.” These explorations have provided us a significant ideological insight into (...) the development of Marxist philosophy and contemporary Chinese philosophy; that is, in contemporary China, Marxist philosophy, as a doctrine of the liberation and all-round development of human beings, exists not only as a kind of “doctrine” or “academy” but also as a kind of widely accepted “xueyuan (academic cultivations)” among people. (shrink)
There are two perspectives available from which to understand an agent's intention in acting. The first is the perspective of the acting agent: what did she take to be her end, and the means necessary to achieve that end? The other is a third person perspective that is attentive to causal or conceptual relations: was some causal outcome of the agent's action sufficiently close, or so conceptually related, to what the agent did that it should be considered part of her (...) intention? Recent goods based views in ethics are divided as to whether only the first person perspective, or a mix of both perspectives, are necessary to understand intention and action. But resolution of the issue is necessary if goods based views are to be able to deploy to principle of double effect; for that principle requires an account of how to distinguish what is genuinely a matter of intention in human action from what is not. I argue that the pure first person account is better than the mixed account. (shrink)
The nihilists are right, admits philosopher Loyal Rue. The universe is blind and aimless, indifferent to us and void of meaning. There are no absolute truths and no objective values. There is no right or wrong way to live, only alternative ways. There is no correct reading of a text or a picture or a dance. God is dead, nihilism reigns. But, Rue adds, nihilism is a truth inconsistent with personal happiness and social coherence. What we need instead is a (...) new myth, a noble lie. Only a noble lie can save us from the psychological and social chaos now threatened by the spread of skepticism about the meaning of life and the universe. In By the Grace of Guile, Loyal Rue offers a wide ranging look at the importance of deception in nature and in human society, concluding with an argument for a noble lie to replace the religious beliefs rejected by modern thought. Most of the book is a provocative apology for deception, illuminating its role in the shaping of history, evolution, personality, and society. Ranging from the Bible and Greek philosophy, to Saint Augustine and Montaigne, to Galileo, Kirkegaard, and Freud, Rue shows that it may be more accurate to describe the history of our culture as a flight from deception than as a quest for truth. He turns then to the natural world to reveal how deception works at every level of life, ranging from plants that mimic dung, carrion, or prey to lure insects that then spread pollen, to a remarkable African insect (Acanthaspis petax) that bedecks itself with dead ants and enters the ant colony undetected to binge at will. Moreover, he points out that psychological research has shown that strategies of deception and self-deception are essential to our personal well-being, that we sometimes shore up our self-esteem by deceptive means, by leaving others in a state of ignorance, by manipulating others into a state of false belief, by suppressing information from consciousness, and by fabricating or distorting our own sense of reality. And he argues that social coherence is achievable only within certain optimal limits of deception--the social fabric would be threatened by an overabundance of lies and false promises, of course, but it would also collapse if everyone were perfectly honest all the time. Finally, he argues that society is caught up in a Kulturkampf with nihilists promoting intellectual and moral relativism and realists defending objective and universal truths. The noble lie, says Rue, would introduce a third voice, one which first agrees with the nihilists that universal myths are pretentious lies, but then insists, against the nihilists, that without such lies humanity cannot survive. The challenge, he concludes, is ultimately an aesthetic one: it remains for the artists, poets, novelists, musicians, filmmakers, and other masters of illusion to seduce us into an embrace with a noble lie. We need a new myth that tells us where we have come from, what our nature is, and how we should live together--a story with the courage and presumption to say how things really are and what really matters. (shrink)
This article is the first in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In this article we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament (the Assisted Human Reproduction Act ) and by guidelines issued by the Tri-Agencies (the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research ). In so doing, we provide the first comprehensive account of the (...) rules currently governing human embryo research in Canada. In this article we also provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these policy instruments over the past 20 years, with particular attention to public involvement in policy design. This sets the stage for the second article (scheduled to appear in vol. 6 issue 3) in which we critically analyse the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit. Our goal is to carefully explain the various episodes of policy development and their corresponding outcomes, in order to more effectively address emerging questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss three areas in which advances in human reproductive technology could occur, their uses and abuses, and their effects on society. First is the potential to drastically increase the success rate and availability of in vitro fertilization and embryo freezing. Second is the ability to perform biopsies on embryos prior to the onset of pregnancy. Finally, I will consider the adding or altering of genes in embryos, commonly referred to as genetic engineering.As new reproductive technologies (...) pass from experimental models into the potential for medical utilization, I believe that it will be important for lawmakers everywhere to avoid the impulse to outlaw procedures that a society believes to be unnatural at a first glance. Rather, I would hope that they can respond thoughtfully with legislation that serves two purposes — to protect the rights of couples to overcome infertility or to reduce the risk of genetic disease in their children-to-be, and more importantly, to protect children-to-be from the abuses that could result from some of the practices that I will discuss. (shrink)
As the potential for the first human trials of somatic cell gene therapy nears, two ethical issues are examined: (1) problems of moral choice for members of institutional review boards who consider the first protocols, for parents, and for the clinical researchers, and the special protections that may be required for the infants and children to be involved, and (2) ethical objections to somatic cell therapy made by those concerned about a putative inevitable progression of genetic knowledge from therapy to (...) mass genetic engineering in human reproduction. The author's viewpoint is that a consensus exists on the required moral approach to somatic cell therapy, but that no moral approach yet exists for experiments beyond this level, especially in the germline cells of human beings. Keywords: gene therapy, somatic cells, germ cells, institutional review boards, genetic engineering CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The paper is concerned with whether the reductio of the natural-harm-argument can be avoided by disvaluing non-human suffering and death. According to the natural-harm-argument, alleviating the suffering of non-human animals is not a moral obligation for human beings because such an obligation would also morally prescribe human intervention in nature for the protection of non-human animal interests which, it claims, is absurd. It is possible to avoid the reductio by formulating the moral obligation to alleviate non-human suffering and death with (...) two constraints: The first concerns the practicability of intervention and establishes a moral obligation to intervene only in cases where this is humanly possible. The other constraint acknowledges that lack of competence in humans can risk producing more harm than good by intervening. A third way of avoiding the problematic version of the natural-harm-argument considers whether human and non-human suffering and death are sufficiently different to allow different types of responses. I argue that the attempt to avoid the reductio of the natural-harm-argument by disvaluing non-human death can only work with an anthropocentric bias, which accords to non-human suffering and death a fundamentally different value and that it fails to dismiss the moral obligation created by the harm that non-human animals face in the wild. (shrink)
In a variety of disciplines, there exists a consensus that human rights are individual claim rights that all human beings possess simply as a consequence of being human. That consensus seems to me to obscure the real character of the concept and hinder the progress of discussion. I contend that rather than thinking of human rights in the first instance as “claim rights” possessed by individuals, we should regard human rights as higher order norms that articulate standards of legitimacy for (...) sociopolitical and legal institutions. (shrink)
We introduce an innovative technique that quantifies human expertise development in such a way that humans and artificial systems can be directly compared. Using this technique we are able to highlight certain fundamental difficulties associated with the learning of a complex task that humans are still exceptionally better at than their computer counterparts. We demonstrate that expertise goes through significant developmental transitions that have previously been predicted but never explicated. The first signals the onset of a steady increase in global (...) awareness that begins surprisingly late in expertise acquisition. The second transition, reached by only a very few experts in the world, shows a major reorganisation of global contextual knowledge resulting in a relatively minor gain in skill. We are able to show that these empirical findings have consequences for our understanding of the way in which expertise acquisition may be modelled by learning in artificial intelligence systems. This point is emphasised with a novel theoretical result showing explicitly how our findings imply a non-trivial hurdle for learning for suitably complex tasks. (shrink)
Since its inception as an international requirement to protect patients and healthy volunteers taking part in medical research, informed consent has become the primary consideration in research ethics. Despite the ubiquity of consent, however, scholars have begun to question its adequacy for contemporary biomedical research. This book explores this issue, reviewing the application of consent to genetic research, clinical trials, and research involving vulnerable populations. For example, in genetic research, information obtained from an autonomous research participant may have significant bearing (...) on the interests of family members who have not consented to the study. This casts doubt on the adequacy of consent for such studies. This book also questions the assumptions that informed consent is essential and that it satisfactorily protects the principle of individual autonomy. It reviews recent empirical studies that challenge the possibility of truly informed consent and highlights the extent to which consent is governed by social norms and expectations. It also investigates how consent might be of secondary importance in some circumstances, for example when a research project appears to protect a public or community interest. (shrink)
This companion to the study of one of the great works of Western philosophy--David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748)--provides a general overview of the Enquiry, especially for those approaching it for the first time, and sets it in the context of Hume's philosophical work as a whole. It elucidates, analyzes, and assesses the philosophy of the Enquiry, clarifying its interpretation and discussing recent developments in Hume scholarship that are relevant to the Enquiry. The eminent contributors to this volume cover (...) a broad range of topics: meaning, induction, skepticism, belief, personal identity, causation, freedom, miracles, probability, and religious belief. (shrink)
The possibility of using private military and security companies to bolster the capacity to undertake intervention for human rights purposes (humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping) has been increasingly debated. The focus of such discussions has, however, largely been on practical issues and the contingent problems posed by private force. By contrast, this article considers the principled case for privatising humanitarian intervention. It focuses on two central issues. First, does outsourcing humanitarian intervention to private military and security companies pose some fundamental, deeper (...) problems in this context, such as an abdication of a state's duties? Second, on the other hand, is there a case for preferring these firms to other, state-based agents of humanitarian intervention? For instance, given a state's duties to their own military personnel, should the use of private military and security contractors be preferred to regular soldiers for humanitarian intervention? (shrink)
Most research in the natural sciences passes through repeated cycles of a analytic reduction to the next lower level of organization, then resynthesis to the original level, then new analyticareduction, and so on. A residue of unexplained phenomena at the original level appears at first to require a holistic description independent of the lower level, but the residue shrinks as knowledge increases.This principle is well illustrated by recent studies from the social organization of insects, several examples of which are cited (...) here. In theory it should also apply to human social organization. Culture is biological: meaning in culture can be approached as the outcome of mechanism-based causation, because culture stems from individual cognition, which has a biological basis. It would seem to follow that the most effective way to study culture is across all levels of organization from gene to society, passing repetitively through a cycle of reduction and synthesis in the manner of the natural sciences. Reductionistic analysis is favored by the tendency of semantic memory and culture to occur in discrete units that are arranged hierarchically. (shrink)
Both international and federal regulations exist to ensure that scientists perform research on human subjects in an environment free of coercion and in which the benefits of the research are commensurate with the risks involved. Ensuring that these conditions hold is difficult, and perhaps even more so when protocols include the issue of monetary compensation of research subjects. The morality of paying human research subjects has been hotly debated for over 40 years, and the grounds for this debate have ranged (...) from discussion of legal rights, economic rights, philosophical principles of vulnerability and altruism to bioethical concepts of consent, best-interest determination, and justice theory. However, the thought surrounding these issues has evolved over time, and the way we think about the role of the human research subject today is markedly different than the way we thought in the past. Society first thought of the research subject as an altruist, necessarily giving of his time to benefit society as a whole. As time progressed, many suggested that the subject should not need to sacrifice himself for research: if something goes wrong, someone should compensate the subject for injuries. The concept of redress evolved into a system in which subjects were offered money as an inducement to participate in research, sometimes merely to offset the monetary costs of participation, but sometimes even to mitigate the risks of the study. This article examines ethical and legal conversations regarding compensation from the 1960s through today, examining theories of the ethics of compensation both comparatively and critically. In conclusion, we put forward an ethical framework for treating paid research subjects, with an attempt to use this framework as a means of resolving some of the more difficult problems with paying human subjects in research. (shrink)
This companion to the study of one of the great works of Western philosophy--David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748)--provides a general overview of the Enquiry, especially for those approaching it for the first time, and sets it in the context of Hume's philosophical work as a whole. It elucidates, analyzes, and assesses the philosophy of the Enquiry, clarifying its interpretation and discussing recent developments in Hume scholarship that are relevant to the Enquiry. The eminent contributors to this volume cover (...) a broad range of topics: meaning, induction, skepticism, belief, personal identity, causation, freedom, miracles, probability, and religious belief. (shrink)
Two decades have passed since the first attempts were made to establish systematic ethical review of human research in the Baltic States. Legally and institutionally much has changed. In this paper we provide an historical and structural overview of ethical review of human research and identify some problems related to the role of ethical review in establishing quality research environment in these countries. Problems connected to (a) public availability of information, (b) management of conflicts of interest, (c) REC composition and (...) motivation of REC members, and (d) differing levels of stringency of ethical review for different types of studies, are identified. Recommendations are made to strengthen cooperation among the Baltic RECs. (shrink)
Since the introduction of drugs to prevent vertical transmission of HIV, the purpose of and approach to HIV testing of pregnant women has increasingly become an area of major controversy. In recent years, many strategies to increase the uptake of HIV testing have focused on offering HIV tests to women in pregnancy-related services. New global guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) specifically notes these services as an entry point for (...) provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC). The guidance constitutes a useful first step towards a framework within which PITC sensitive to health, human rights and ethical concerns can be provided to pregnant women in health facilities. However, a number of issues will require further attention as implementation moves forward. It is incumbent on all those involved in the scale up of PITC to ensure that it promotes long-term connection with relevant health services and does not result simply in increased testing with no concrete benefits being accrued by the women being tested. Within health services, this will require significant attention to informed consent, pre- and post-test counseling, patient confidentiality, referrals and access to appropriate services, as well as reduction of stigma and discrimination. Beyond health services, efforts will be needed to address larger societal, legal, policy and contextual issues. The health and human rights of pregnant women must be a primary consideration in how HIV testing is implemented; they can benefit greatly from PITC but only if it is carried out appropriately. (shrink)
Although access to medicines is a vital feature of the right to the highest attainable standard of health (“right to health”), almost two billion people lack access to essential medicines, leading to immense avoidable suffering. While the human rights responsibility to provide access to medicines lies mainly with States, pharmaceutical companies also have human rights responsibilities in relation to access to medicines. This article provides an introduction to these responsibilities. It briefly outlines the new UN Guiding Principles on Business and (...) Human Rights and places the human rights responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies in this context. The authors draw from the work of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health, in particular the Human Rights Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Companies in Relation to Access to Medicines that he presented to the UN General Assembly in 2008, and his UN report on GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). While the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are general human rights standards applicable to all business entities, the Human Rights Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Companies consider the specific human rights responsibilities of one sector (pharmaceutical companies) in relation to one area of activity (access to medicines). The article signals the human rights responsibilities of all pharmaceutical companies, with particular attention to patent-holding pharmaceutical companies. Adopting a right-to-health “lens,” the article discusses GSK and accountability. The authors argue that human rights should shape pharmaceutical companies' policies, and provide standards in relation to which pharmaceutical companies could, and should, be held accountable. They conclude that it is now crucial to devise independent, accessible, transparent, and effective mechanisms to monitor pharmaceutical companies and hold them publicly accountable for their human rights responsibilities. (shrink)
This article is the second in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In the first article in 6(1) of the JBI , we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament and by guidelines adopted by the Tri-Agencies, and we provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these two policy instruments, with particular attention to the repeated efforts at public consultation. This second (...) article analyses the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit to better understand the various episodes of policy design and their corresponding outcomes. On this basis, we suggest that the degree to which the views of Canadian residents and citizens on human embryo research have been solicited as part of the policy-making process has diminished significantly over time. We also suggest that this diminished participation is likely to continue given the presence of powerful interest groups and policy communities “speaking for” Canadians. This raises interesting questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada. (shrink)
The emergence and development of convergent technologies for the purpose of improving human performance, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, information sciences, and cognitive science (NBICs), open up new horizons in the debates and moral arguments that must be engaged by philosophers who hope to take seriously the question of the ethical and social acceptability of these technologies. This article advances an analysis of the factors that contribute to confusion and discord on the topic, in order to help in understanding why arguments that (...) form a part of the debate between transhumanism and humanism result in a philosophical and ethical impasse: 1. The lack of clarity that emerges from the fact that any given argument deployed (arguments based on nature and human nature, dignity, the good life) can serve as the basis for both the positive and the negative evaluation of NBICs. 2. The impossibility of providing these arguments with foundations that will enable others to deem them acceptable. 3. The difficulty of applying these same arguments to a specific situation. 4. The ineffectiveness of moral argument in a democratic society. The present effort at communication about the difficulties of the argumentation process is intended as a necessary first step towards developing an interdisciplinary response to those difficulties. (shrink)
In this essay I offer an interpretative reading of the first chapter in the two canonical works, the Zhuang-zi and the Lao-zi, and argue that there is an inner connection between the first chapters of the two books. My presupposition is that what Zhuang-zi has argued in "Xiao Yao You" is the theme of the relativity of the position of the human world, which is in accord with the mystery of Dao presented at the beginning of the Lao-zi. Therefore, there (...) are two opposite directions running in the Daoist philosophy in Lao-zi and Zhuang-zi: the first one is from this world (worlds) to Dao; the second one is from Dao to the worlds. While the first emphasizes the relativity of the point of views of the worldly beings, the second shows the mystery of Dao. This can be seen as a hermeneutical circle. (shrink)
The federal regulations of human research were written to permit the use of discretion so that research can fit the circumstances under which it is conducted. For example, the researcher and institutional review board (IRB) could waive or alter some informed consent elements if they deem this the morally and scientifically best way to conduct the research. To do so, however, researchers and IRBs would first have to use mature moral and scientific judgment. They might also have to rely on (...) empirical research to discover the most effective way to act on their moral sense (e.g., to discover how best to approach potential research participants and explain the nature and purpose of the research participation for which they are being recruited, to ensure comprehension and competent decision making). On discovering the most ethical way to proceed, they would then need to look to the federal regulations of human research to discover how to document their decision and justify it within that somewhat flexible regulatory structure. Unfortunately, many IRBs and researchers fail to take these sensible steps to solve ethical problems and proceed immediately to a default requirement of the regulations that places science at odds with the regulations and, ostensibly, with ethics. The following articles in this special issue are about the process of learning to engage in ethical problem solving and using the flexibility permitted by the federal regulations. These articles extricate researchers from the mindset that has gotten them into trouble, and, ideally, provoke them to use mature common sense and moral judgment. (shrink)
As an example of applied social science, the field of human resource management is used to show that ethical problems are not only those of carrying out research, of professional conduct, and of the distribution fairness of social science knowledge. A largely overlooked ethical issue is also the implicit choices that are made as an integral part of research and implementation. First, an analysis is undertaken of the implicit assumptions, values and goals that derive from the conception of human problems (...) in work organizations as managing human resources. Secondly, it is argued that such a conception is in fact a socially constructed reality with real consequences and not a reflection of objective states of human and social nature with which we have to live. Thirdly, to the extent that our implicit assumptions are in part based upon conceptual choices that are made by individuals or as a collective act of a discipline or work organization, the development of an ethical framework that could guide such choices becomes a crucial challenge for business ethics. (shrink)
The United Nations Scientific, Education and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (UDBHR) expresses in its title and substance a controversial linkage of two normative systems: international human rights law and bioethics. The UDBHR has the status of what is known as a ‘non-binding’ declaration under public international law. The UDBHR’s normative foundation within bioethics (and association, for example, with virtue-based or principlist bioethical theories) is more problematic. Nonetheless, the UDBHR contains socially important principles of technology (...) transfer and transnational benefit (articles 14, 15 and 21). This paper is one of the first to explore how the disciplines of bioethics and international human rights law may interact in the UDBHR to advance the policy relevance and health impact of technology transfer and transnational benefit principles. It investigates their normative ancestry in the UDBHR, as well as relevant conceptual differences between bioethics and public international law in this respect and how these may be relevant to their conceptual evolution and application. (shrink)
Drawing principally on the Symposium, this paper argues that humor in Plato’s dialogues serves two serious purposes. First, Plato uses puns and other devices to disarm the reader’s defenses and thereby allow her to consider philosophical ideas that she would otherwise dismiss. Second, insofar as human beings can only be understood through unchanging forms that we fail to attain, our lives are discontinuous and only partly intelligible. Since, though, the discontinuity between expectation and actual occurrence is the basis for humor, (...) Plato can use humor to express who we are as human beings. (shrink)
In this paper we review some problems with traditional approaches for acquiring and representing knowledge in the context of developing user interfaces. Methodological implications for knowledge engineering and for human-computer interaction are studied. It turns out that in order to achieve the goal of developing human-oriented (in contrast to technology-oriented) human-computer interfaces developers have to develop sound knowledge of the structure and the representational dynamics of the cognitive system which is interacting with the computer.We show that in a first step (...) it is necessary to study and investigate the different levels and forms of representation that are involved in the interaction processes between computers and human cognitive systems. Only if designers have achieved some understanding about these representational mechanisms, user interfaces enabling individual experiences and skill development can be designed. In this paper we review mechanisms and processes for knowledge representation on a conceptual, epistemological, and methodologieal level, and sketch some ways out of the identified dilemmas for cognitive modeling in the domain of human-computer interaction. (shrink)
In his many and varied writings, St Thomas presents us with both a sophisticated account of human action and a complicated moral theory. In this article, I shall be considering the question of whether St Thomas’s theory of action and his moral theory are mutually consistent. My claim shall be that St Thomas can preserve the ontological unity of human action—but only at the cost of rendering it extremely difficult to evaluate in a manner consistent with his moral theory, or, (...) alternatively, that he can provide a viable ethical analysis of human action—but only at the cost of compromising its ontological unity. In the first section of this article I shall examine St Thomas’s account of a particular kind of moral action, namely lying. Two basic questions concerning the specificity of unicity of human action will emerge from this examination: 1) what makes an act to be a specific moral act?, and 2) what makes a specific moral act to be one act? In the second section of the article I shall attempt to show, by means of a textual examination, that St Thomas does not appear to be able to provide an account of human action that will satisfactorily answer both these basic questions at the same time. (shrink)
From the perspective of free speech theory, both of the central First Amendment values - human autonomy and deliberative democracy - require robust protection for the places and spaces in which speech and public discourse occur. This Article argues that current Supreme Court doctrine does not effectively protect speech from content neutral regulation of place. The problem is that remaining neutral is consistent with policies that would dislocate the very place for the “marketplace of ideas.” Moreover, free speech theory focused (...) on autonomy and deliberative democracy has not adequately addressed the role that place plays in furthering these values. Speech may be, and increasingly in practice is, suppressed by control of the places and spaces where speech occurs. Limitations on public expressions critical of administration policies at Presidential events is a key example of the regulation of speech through the regulation of place. Dissent is increasingly displaced with the consequence that the figure of dissent risks disappearing from public discourse. Employing aspects of Hanna Arendt's political philosophy, this Article argues that we need to re-think and re-articulate the importance of public places for our free speech tradition. Personhood and human autonomy, as well as robust public debate, can only exist and develop in fullest form within social structures that provide public places and spaces for human interaction and discourse. Fundamentally, as Arendt suggests, we protect public appearances for public discourse not simply for its instrumental value for deliberation, but for the intrinsic value of creating persons and citizens in their fullest form. (shrink)
This essay explores some moral problems raised by experimentation involving the human fetus. In the first part of the essay three examples of fetal experimentation from the medical literature are described in some detail. Next, the ethical and legal arguments employed in the two major existing public policy-documents on fetal experimentation are analyzed. Finally, the author seeks to identify four fundamental presuppositions which underlie divergent normative positions on the problem of fetal experimentation.
This chapter explores the arguments surrounding the use of human enhancement technologies in sport, arguing for a reconceptualization of the doping debate. First, it develops an overview and critique of the legislative structures on enhancement. Subsequently, a conceptual framework for understanding the role of technological effects in sport is advanced. Finally, two case studies (hypoxic chambers and gene transfer) receive specific attention, through which it is argued that human enhancement technologies can enrich the practice of elite sports rather than diminish (...) them. In conclusion, it is argued that elite sports are at a pivotal moment in their history as an increasing range of enhancements makes less relevant the protection of the natural human through anti-doping. (shrink)
At the beginning of the twenty-first century the ethics of performance are being pulled in two directions. The first of these embodies the spirit of the amateur athlete – itself an account of the broader social values ascribed to physical culture – which arose in the late nineteenth century and flourished in the early twentieth century (Hoberman 1992). The other beckons humanity towards a less familiar era, which is rooted in the democratisation of technology and where the human condition is (...) treated as an unfinished biological entity. (shrink)
This article counters the popular misunderstanding that China lacks a conception of human rights in its philosophical heritage. The authors demonstrate that even divergent traditions such as Classical Confucianism and Mohism provide strong and pervasive antecedents for human rights ideology, and both have much to contribute to the contemporary Chinese articulation of human rights theory and practice. The first part of the article shows that traditional Confucian values have the capacity to produce a social environment in which rights outcomes are (...) realized, yet without recourse to the full legal mechanisms of Western claim-rights. The second part of the article reveals that Mohism offers several insights and motivations for contemporary human rights ideology. Thus, the authors substantiate that historic Chinese philosophy supports a meaningful framework for human rights, refuting the claim that human rights is alien to the Chinese way. (shrink)
: This article focuses on two possible missions for a national bioethics commission. The first is handling differences of worldview, political orientation, and discipline. Recent work in political philosophy emphasizes regard for the dignity of difference manifested in "conversation" that seeks understanding rather than agreement. The President's Council on Bioethics gets a mixed review in this area. The second is experimenting with prophetic bioethics. "Prophetic bioethics" is a term coined by Daniel Callahan to describe an alternative to compromise-seeking "regulatory bioethics." (...) It involves a critique of modern medicine. In the contemporary context, the areas of biotechnology and access to health care cry out for prophetic attention. The Council has addressed biotechnology; unfortunately, that experience suggests that the kind of prophecy that it practices poses risks to conversation. With regard to access issues, the article proposes an effort that unites themes of human dignity, solidarity, and limits in support of reform, while highlighting, rather than papering over, differences. (shrink)
Ford, Norman Victoria's Minister for Health, the Hon. Bronwyn Pike MLA introduced a Bill to allow therapeutic cloning in Victoria on March 13, 2007. If this Bill is passed, Victoria would be the first State to permit somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning) and thereby open the way for the destruction of cloned human embryos for therapeutic purposes and medical research.
Playing with Truth is the first comprehensive work on Pascal to be devoted to his use in the Pens'ees of key terms depicting its central subject--the human condition. Generally acknowledged as one of the greatest masterpieces of seventeenth-century France, the Pens'ees is an unfinished work which has both inspired and perplexed readers in succeeding centuries. In this study Nicholas Hammond explores such fundamental notions as language and order, proceeding with a detailed analysis of the words inconstance, ennui, inqui'etude, bonheur, f'elicit'e, (...) and justice. In the process, he gives an in-depth account of many important critical controversies of the day, as well as offering a novel and provocative insight into the persuasive purpose of the Pens'ees. (shrink)
Introduction -- Moral reasoning from a cosmopolitan perspective : the problem of culture -- Culturalism and moral reasoning -- Towards a moral conceptual base of culture -- Cosmopolitanism : a definition and the question of tolerance -- Who owns culture : a moral cosmopolitan inquiry -- Culture-faith : the mystification of culture -- Culture-faith applied : cultural privacy and the ownership of native culture -- Counter arguments against applied culture faith : the right to cultural privacy -- Representation without authorization (...) -- Who has the right to speak for whom? -- Ethnocide or culture killings : is it so bad? -- Dismantling the tribes from within : modernization and the capabilities approach -- Moral culture is public culture : cosmopolitanism and culture warfare -- Sylvia Plath : daddy and the creation of moral culture -- Moral incommensurability and the clash of cultures -- The anatomy of anti-assimilationism and the logic of contagion -- The cult of death and the worship of ancestry : the genesis of group arcissism -- The psychopathology of tribalism : an exposé -- The tribalist as moral appropriator -- Symbolic ethnicity -- Ethnic vs. ethnic : the problem of definition -- Tribalism, untouchability, and human slime -- The art of symbolic necrophilia -- Imagistic and emblematic representations : tribal epistemology and the impossibility of knowing the other -- Moral masochism and Black identity : a tragic tale -- Jim in Africa -- Theorizing post humanity : radical inclusion, Jews as the chosen people, and the identity politics of St. Paul -- Laissez-faire existential engagement -- Post human in the flesh : Jews and the fragility of chosennes -- How God became a cosmopolitan -- The identity politics of St. Paul. (shrink)
This is the first of three volumes which will contain all of Locke's extant philosophical writings relating to An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, not included in other Clarendon editions like the Correspondence. It contains the earliest known drafts of the Essay, Drafts A and B, both written in 1671, and provides for the first time an accurate version of Locke's text. Virtually all his changes are recorded in footnotes on each page. -/- Peter Nidditch, whose highly acclaimed edition of An (...) Essay Concerning Human Understanding was published in this series in 1975, used pioneering editorial techniques in his compilation of Volume 1. Most of the work was completed before his tragically early death in 1983. -/- Volumes 2 and 3, almost wholly the work of G. A. J. Rogers will contain the third extant draft of the Essay (Draft C), the Epitome and the Conduct of the Understanding. They will also include a History of the Writing of the Essay, together with other shorter writings by Locke. (shrink)
I offer consequentialist and deontological arguments for a competitive market in human organs, from live as well as dead donors. I consider the objections that a market in organs will frustrate altruism, coerce the desperate, expose under-informed agents to unacceptable risks, exacerbate inequality, degrade those who participate in it, involve a kind of slavery, impose invidious costs, and impair third-party choice sets. I show that each of these objections is without merit and that, in consequence, the opposition to markets in (...) organs is an untenable endorsement of death, suffering and the suppression of freedom. (shrink)
This volume provides concise and accessible guidance on how to conduct qualitative research in human geography. It gives particular emphasis to examples drawn from social/cultural geography, perhaps the most vibrant area of inquiry in human geography over the past decade.
In this paper, I will argue that it is a moral obligation for companies, firstly, to accept their moral responsibility with respect to non-discrimination, and secondly, to address the issue with a full-fledged programme, including but not limited to the countering of microsocial discrimination processes through specific policies. On the basis of a broad sketch of how some discrimination mechanisms are actually influencing decisions, that is, causing intended as well as unintended bias in Human Resources Management (HRM), I will argue (...) that the well known tools of legislation and ethical codes are necessary although insufficient to cope with the problem. However, based on empirical evidence, we know which set of measures is likely to diminish discrimination. Taking non-discrimination seriously implies complex and longitudinal policies which include assigning responsibility for a non-discrimination policy within the firm, making managers conscious of implicit stereotypes and helping them to cope with prejudices that no one can totally overcome. Insofar as corporate responsibility with respect to non-discrimination is accepted and strategies that are not prohibitively expensive are known, companies are bound to implement them. Not implementing the best set of measures may be considered at least as a moral shortcoming or, depending on the size of the company, mere lip service to the non-discrimination principle. Although the paper refers to empirical material of diverse backgrounds, its intent is clearly normative. It wishes to spell out what companies ought to do if they are committed to responsible behaviour. The discussion of effective remedies against discrimination is based on a case study of a French company. The retailer Auchan was recently surprised to learn that it was discriminating against ethnic minorities despite strong ethical standards, an ethics committee and ethical leadership. The company dropped its naïve beliefs and set up an ambitious policy cope with the issue. The case illustrates what recent empirical research has revealed about the effectiveness of diversity policies: establishing responsibility for diversity results, firm ethical commitment and support from top management make diversity programs effective. (shrink)
From the time of Descartes a strong tendency emerged to exclude the consideration of metaphysical questions as a necessary step towards developing truly scientific disciplines. Within human geography, positivism had a significant influence in moulding the discipline as "spatial science", resulting in a reductionist vision of humanity. Since the 1970s, in reaction to the limitations of this narrow vision and also to the deterministic perspective of marxism, humanistic approaches became important, but have failed to adequately deal with the exclusion of (...) metaphysical issues. The more recent emergence of postmodern influences within human geography, while being critical of the rigidities associated with Enlightenment thinking, and suggesting a greater tolerance of "difference", appears reluctant to reconsider the exclusion of metaphysics. This paper suggest that such a reconsideration could contribute significantly towards increasing human geography's capacity to help policy makers deal more adequately with some of the major issues facing humanity. (shrink)
Advances in genetic technology in general and medical genetics in particular will enable us to intervene in the process of human biological development which extends from zygotes and embryos to people. This will allow us to control to a great extent the identities and the length and quality of the lives of people who already exist, as well as those we bring into existence in the near and distant future. Genes and Future People explores two general philosophical questions, one metaphysical, (...) the other moral: (1) How do genes, and different forms of genetic intervention (gene therapy, genetic enhancement, presymptomatic genetic testing of adults, genetic testing of preimplantation embryos), affect the identities of the people who already exist and those we bring into existence? and (2) How do these interventions benefit or harm the people we cause to exist in the near future and those who will exist in the distant future by satisfying or defeating their interest in having reasonably long and disease-free lives? Genes and Future People begins by explaining the connection between genes and disease, placing genetic within a framework of evolutionary biology. It then discusses such topics as how genes and genetic intervention influence personal identity, what genetic testing of individuals and the knowledge resulting from it entails about responsibility to others who may be at risk, as well as how gene therapy and genetic enhancement can affect the identities of people and benefit or harm them. Furthermore, it discusses various moral aspects of cloning human beings and body parts. Finally, it explores the metaphysical and moral implications of genetic manipulation of the mechanisms of aging to extend the human life span.The aim Genes and Future People is to move philosophers, bioethicists, and readers in general to reflect on the extent to which genes determine whether we are healthy or diseased, our identities as persons, the quality of our lives, and our moral obligations to future generations of people. (shrink)
The most accessible edition ever published of Darwin’s incendiary classic, edited by “as fine a science essayist as we have” ( New York Times ) The Descent of Man , Darwin’s second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species ), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result (...) of the same natural processes that produced iris petals and scorpion tails. To convey the revolutionary importance of this groundbreaking book, renowned evolutionary science writer Carl Zimmer edited this special abridged edition—made up of nine excerpts, each one representing one of Darwin’s major themes—and wrote illuminating introductions to each section, as well as an overall introduction. Zimmer brilliantly places Darwin’s basic ideas in the context of the current understanding of human nature and twenty-first-century DNA research. By accessibly presenting Darwin’s thinking to a modern readership, Zimmer eloquently demonstrates Darwin’s ever-increasing relevance and amazing scientific insight. (shrink)
Terrence Deacon has described three orders of emergence; Arthur Peacocke and others have suggested four levels of human systems and sciences; and Philip Clayton has postulated an additional, transcendent, level. Orders and levels describe distinct aspects of emergence, with orders characterizing topological complexity and levels characterizing theoretical knowledge and causal power. By using Deacon's orders to analyze and relate each of the four "lower" levels one can project that analysis on the transcendent level to gain insight into the teleodynamic emergence (...) of transcendent-level systems. I argue that cross-cultural interactions among human cultural-level systems results in the emergence of the "universal" transcendental norms historically characterized as the Greek Good, Beauty, and Truth. These norms require a dynamic existence that I characterize as the emergence of Spirit, using Josiah Royce's community of interpretation, and that I suggest provides a pragmatic clarification of Clayton's transcendent level. An understanding of those emergent norms clarifies ethical systems, highlights the importance of aesthetics in understanding scientific systems, and suggests the necessity of community in fruitful science-and-religion dialogue on human systems. (shrink)
The first IVF baby was born in the 1970s. Less than 20 years later, we had cloning and GM food, and information and communication technologies had transformed everyday life. In 2000, the human genome was sequenced. More recently, there has been much discussion of the economic and social benefits of nanotechnology, and synthetic biology has also been generating controversy. This important volume is a timely contribution to increasing calls for regulation - or better regulation - of these and other new (...) technologies. Drawing on an international team of legal scholars, it reviews and develops the role of human rights in the regulation of new technologies. Three controversies at the intersection between human rights and new technology are given particular attention. First, how the expansive application of human rights could contribute to the creation of a brave new world of choice, where human dignity is fundamentally compromised; second, how new technologies, and our regulatory responses to them, could be a threat to human rights; and, third, how human rights could be used to create better regulation of these technologies. (shrink)
In Mencius' theory of the original goodness in human nature, fate is the original source of xing (nature). Heart is the appearance of nature. There are two aspects to nature and heart: ti (form) and yong (function). From the perspective of form, nature is liangzhi (the goodness in conscience) and liangneng (the inborn ability to be good) in human beings and heart is human's conscience and original heart. From the perspective of function, nature is the four things of benevolence, righteousness, (...) propriety and wisdom, and heart consists in compassion, shame, respect, right and wrong. As the foundation for the theory of the original goodness in human nature, conscience and heart are a combination of human moral instinct, moral rationality and moral volition, whereas moral instinct gradually rises to moral volition and passes through moral rationality. Mencius' theory of the original goodness in human nature is not a theory of future goodness, but a theory of original goodness. /// 在孟子的性骨告中，命是性的本原 心是性的显现。性和心的含义都包括 "体" 和 "用" 两层:从体而言，性是人之所以为人的良知良能，心是人的良心和L'; 从用而 言，性是仁义礼智四端，心是恻隐、羞恶、恭敬、剧阳心。良心司马L作为性都色的立 论基础，是人的道德本能、道德理性和道德意志的集舍，其显现过程勘人道德本能出发 经过道德理性逐渐上升到道德意志的过程。孟子的性骨色不是向善论，而是性本善论。. (shrink)
Consciousness is typically construed as being explainable purely in terms of either private, raw feels or higher-order, reflective representations. In contrast to this false dichotomy, we propose a new view of consciousness as an interactive, plastic phenomenon open to sociocultural influence. We take up our account of consciousness from the observation of radical cortical neuroplasticity in human development. Accordingly, we draw upon recent research on macroscopic neural networks, including the “default mode”, to illustrate cases in which an individual’s particular “connectome” (...) is shaped by encultured social practices that depend upon and influence phenomenal and reflective consciousness. On our account, the dynamically interacting connectivity of these networks bring about important individual differences in conscious experience and determine what is “present” in consciousness. Further, we argue that the organization of the brain into discrete anti-correlated networks supports the phenomenological distinction of prereflective and reflective consciousness, but we emphasize that this finding must be interpreted in light of the dynamic, category-resistant nature of consciousness. Our account motivates philosophical and empirical hypotheses regarding the appropriate time-scale and function of neuroplastic adaptation, the relation of high and low frequency neural activity to consciousness and cognitive plasticity, and the role of ritual social practices in neural development and cognitive function. (shrink)
The Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) is widely used to model social interaction between unrelated individuals in the study of the evolution of cooperative behaviour in humans and other species. Many effective mechanisms and promotive scenarios have been studied which allow for small founding groups of cooperative individuals to prevail even when all social interaction is characterised as a PD. Here, a brief critical discussion of the role of the PD as the most prominent tool in cooperation research is presented, followed by (...) two new objections to such an exclusive focus on PD-based models of social interaction. It is highlighted that only 2 of the 726 combinatorially possible strategically unique ordinal 2x2 games have the detrimental characteristics of a PD and that the frequency of PD-type games in a space of games with random payoffs does not exceed about 3.5%. Although these purely mathematical considerations do not compellingly imply that the relevance of PDs is overestimated, it is proposed that, in the absence of convergent empirical information about the ancestral human social niche, this finding can be interpreted in favour of a so far rather neglected answer to the question of how the founding groups of human cooperation themselves came to cooperate: Behavioural and/or psychological mechanisms which evolved for other, possibly more frequent, social interaction situations might have been applied to PD-type dilemmas only later. Human cooperative behaviour might thus partly have begun as a cooptation. (shrink)
Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational models of this kind has created the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Moral decision making is arguably one of the most challenging tasks for computational (...) approaches to higher-order cognition. The need for increasingly autonomous artificial agents to factor moral considerations into their choices and actions has given rise to another new field of inquiry variously known as Machine Morality, Machine Ethics, Roboethics, or Friendly AI. In this study, we discuss how LIDA, an AGI model of human cognition, can be adapted to model both affective and rational features of moral decision making. Using the LIDA model, we will demonstrate how moral decisions can be made in many domains using the same mechanisms that enable general decision making. Comprehensive models of human cognition typically aim for compatibility with recent research in the cognitive and neural sciences. Global workspace theory, proposed by the neuropsychologist Bernard Baars (1988), is a highly regarded model of human cognition that is currently being computationally instantiated in several software implementations. LIDA (Franklin, Baars, Ramamurthy, & Ventura, 2005) is one such computational implementation. LIDA is both a set of computational tools and an underlying model of human cognition, which provides mechanisms that are capable of explaining how an agent’s selection of its next action arises from bottom-up collection of sensory data and top-down processes for making sense of its current situation. We will describe how the LIDA model helps integrate emotions into the human decision-making process, and we will elucidate a process whereby an agent can work through an ethical problem to reach a solution that takes account of ethically relevant factors. (shrink)
The Confucian idea of “ ming 命 (destiny)” holds that in the course and culmination of human life, there exists some objective certainty that is both transcendent and beyond human control. This is a concept of ultimate concern at the transcendental theoretical level in Confucianism. During its historical development, Confucianism has constantly offered humanist interpretations of the idea of “destiny”, thinking that the transcendence of “destiny” lies inherently within the qi endowment and virtues of human beings, that the certainty of (...) “destiny” is in essence contingency at the beginning of life and linear irreversibility towards its end, and that to live in light of ethics and physical rules — having a “commitment to human affairs” — means putting “destiny” into practice. As all these facts show, the Confucian ultimate concern regarding human life is full of rational awareness. (shrink)
In the discussion of moral diversity the most influential approaches have been relativism, monism and minimum universalism. In this paper I argue, however, that this kind of general distinction is not as such very helpful. It does not show what is really decisive in those approaches and what is the crucial distinguishing feature among them. The most important issue, I think, is the relationship between rules that guide human beings in their pursuit of the good life and rules that specify (...) what people can do in relation to one another. Generally speaking, moral doctrines, or theories, can be divided into two categories on the basis of their answer to this question. Some doctrines—which may be called comprehensive—begin with a definite account of the highest good and determine the rights and duties of human beings on the basis of this account. Other theories, non-comprehensive, treat these two as separate issues that should not be mixed. Although such a distinction is seldom explicitly made, its significance is evident, for instance in the current discussion of human rights. Various religiously and culturally motivated reinterpretations of human rights quite distinctively stand for the former view. Moreover, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly represents the latter approach, it has been claimed that it nevertheless puts forward a specifically Western life ideal. In order to make sense of the human rights discourse at all, it is of fundamental importance to distinguish between comprehensive and non-comprehensive approaches. Without such a distinction it is difficult to determine how to deal with competing claims about the origin, range and content of human rights (or common moral standards), not to speak of deciding between these claims. (shrink)
This essay critiques dual-inheritance theory as presented in Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd's book Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution (2005). The theory states that culture became prominent in human evolution because it allowed relatively rapid adaptation to changing environments by means of imitation. Imitating the behavior of other members of one's community produces adaptive behaviors more readily than either genetic evolution or individual learning. Imitation follows a number of patterns: imitating high-status individuals, imitating the most common (...) forms of behavior, imitating behaviors perceived to be the most effective solutions to various problems relevant to survival. This process combined with occasional innovations in behavior lead to a process of cultural evolution involving populations of cultural variants. Different local human populations were associated with different local populations of cultural variants, and both the human and the cultural populations evolved over time. Human evolution cannot be understood without taking into account these parallel processes of genetic and cultural evolution. Not by Genes Alone traces the implication of dual-inheritance theory for understanding human evolution and refers to various bodies of evidence relevant to the theory. (shrink)
After completing his monumental work, The Principles of Psychology, William James turned his attention to serious consideration of such important religious and philosophical questions as the nature and existence of God, immortality of the soul, and free will and determinism. His interest in these questions found expression in various works, including The Varieties of Religious Experience, his classic study of spirituality. Based on the prestigious Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion he gave at the University of Edinburgh in 1901 and 1902, (...) the book--studded with richly concrete examples--documents and discusses various religious states of consciousness and covers such topics as the meaning of the term "divine," the reality of the unseen, the religion of healthy-mindedness, the sick soul, the divided self and the process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. One of the author's most popular works, The Varieties of Religious Experience remains one of the great books on the subject, especially noteworthy for the evidence it gives for religious experience as a unique phenomenon. This Dover edition will be the least expensive one in print. Unabridged republication of the second edition of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, originally published by Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1902. Index. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that humanlanguage is context-dependent in a veryspecific way. In order to support this thesis,a detailed comparison is made between the waysin which verbal expressions depend on thecontext of occurrence and evaluation and animalcommunication systems. The comparisonhighlights a series of analogies anddifferences between human language and thecommunication systems of other animals. Myproposal is to use the term `indexicality' toindicate the characteristic way of using thecontext in human language and to use the moregeneral phrase (...) `context-dependence' for thecorresponding phenomenon in animalcommunication systems. (shrink)
This paper was delivered at the 2009 annual conference of the National Council on Ethics in Human Research. It is a reflective piece based on many years of experience with human research ethics and the role of Research Ethics Boards in human participant research.
This paper addresses three questions central to the ethical analysis of risks and potential benefits in human subjects research: 1. How was the ethical analysis of risk understood by the members of the U.S. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (National Commission)? 2. What conceptual framework should guide the ethical analysis of risk? 3. What changes to U.S. regulations would the implementation of such a framework require?
How do we explain organized complexity in human affairs? The most common model explain s human organization as the outcome of rational design; order in human affairs arises from the intentions, plans, and orders of those in charge. For organizational complexity on vast scales, this model is insufficient, misleading, and potentially disastrous. An alternative model, based upon self-organization within complex systems, is developed and applied to the tobacco industry.Leaked documents and public testimony point to widespread distortion of information within the (...) tobacco industry. The model developed herein describes such behaviors as emergent outcomes, not reducible to or sufficiently explained by individual fraud and deliberate deceit. Critics of the tobacco industry often fail to appreciate the role of self-organization in complex systems. They presume rational design. Consequently, they imply more intentional deceit, deliberate planning, and conspiracy than needed to explain the distortions that actually occurred. (shrink)
This study investigates the effects of cultural orientation and the degree of disdain for robots on the preferred conversational styles in human-to-robot interactions. 203 participants self-reported on questionnaires through a computer-based online survey. The two requesting situations were intended to simulate the participants' interactions with humanoid social robots through an Internet video-phone medium of communication. Structural equation modeling was performed to examine the mediating role of mechanistic disdain between multicultural orientation and conversational constraints. The findings reveal that between the two (...) dimensions of multicultural orientation, only open-mindedness inversely influences mechanistic disdain. Mechanistic disdain, in turn, negatively affects three face-related conversational constraints, thereby leading to a lesser concern for robots' feelings, for minimizing impositions on robots, and for avoiding robots' negative evaluations. The implications of our findings on humans' relations with virtual robot entities and on the future development of humanoid robots are discussed. (shrink)
There is some very limited evidence for a role of estrogens in human psychosexual masculinization; its interpretation is uncertain. Fitch & Denenberg's demonstration of a role for estrogens in the behavioral feminization of nonhuman mammals implicitly suggests an answer to a riddle posed by the syndrome of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in women.
Questions such as ‘What if such small companies as Hewletts and the Varians had not been established in Santa Clara County in California?’ or ‘What if Q-type keyboards had not been invented?’ are well known among economists. The questions point at a phenomenon called path dependence: ‘small events’, the argument goes, may cause the evolution of institutions to lock in to specific paths that may produce undesirable consequences. How about applying such skeptical views in economics to human ideas and thought (...) in general? That is to say, what if we ask such questions as: what if Greek philosophy had not been interested in ‘essences’ and ‘foundations’? What if Kant had not invented the ‘thing-in-itself?’ Nature and society, according to such Platonic philosophers, can be known only if it can be shown that events are governed, regulated and characterised by ‘forms’, which are immutable, complete, and perfect in their nature. But is there an ‘essence’ that makes a man 100 per cent male? Was there really a ‘foundation’ in history that caused a proletarian revolution in Russia? What if we had pushed aside the rhetoric of utopian ideality? What if we had a worldview different than the one depicted by Thomas More in his Utopia? The essay points at the possibility of such skepticism in human ideas and thought. (shrink)
In this paper, we provide as accurate a picture as possible of transnational trade in human eggs involving Canadians. We explain the legal status in Canada, and call for reform in the regulation, of such trade.
Little is known about how researchers view ethically salient aspects of human studies. As part of a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded study, the authors performed a confidential written survey to assess the attitudes, views, and experiences of researchers with institutional review board approved protocols at the University of New Mexico. A total of 363 researchers (57% response rate) participated. Investigators overall held favorable views of general ethical aspects of research and ethics-based safeguards, and they identified a positive role of (...) ethics training. Investigators with more experience encountering ethical problems (p < .001), more ethics training (p = .001), and a PhD or MD/PhD (p = .003) held more favorable general ethical perspectives. Women investigators (p < .03), nonphysician investigators (p < .001), those whose training had been helpful in resolving ethical dilemmas (p = .006), and those for whom spirituality is important (p = .008) more strongly endorsed ethical safeguards. Investigators perceive the scientific and ethical aspects of their work as valuable and linked, and they affirm the role of safeguards in human studies. Formal ethics preparation and training initiatives were also viewed positively by investigators. (shrink)
This article examines the potential for moral agency in human resource management practice. It draws on an ethnographic study of human resource managers in a global organization to provide a theorized account of situated moral agency. This account suggests that within contemporary organizations, institutional structures—particularly the structures of Anglo-American market capitalism— threaten and constrain the capacity of HR managers to exercise moral agency and hence engage in ethical behaviour. The contextualized explanation of HR management action directly addresses the question of (...) whether HRM is inherently unethical. The discussion draws on MacIntyre’s conceptualization of moral agency within contemporary social structures. In practice, HR managers embody roles that may not be wholly compartmentalized. Alternative institutional structures can provide HR managers with a vocabulary of motives for people-centred HRM and widen the scope for the exercising of moral agency, when enacted within reflective relational spaces that provide milieus for critical questioning of logics and values. This article aims to contribute to and extend debate on whether HRM can ever be ethical, and provide a means of reconnecting business ethics with longstanding concerns in critical management studies. (shrink)