n 1982, Steven Jay Gould and I were in England at a conference, held at Darwin College, marking the 100th anniversary of Charles Darwin's death (academics can always find some reason for a conference). Gould looked terrible, and after an ample apology for my doing to him what I hate when it is done to me, I told him so. He agreed that he did not feel very good, and said that when he got back to the States, he was (...) going to see a doctor. He did and w a s diagnosed with an especially virulent form of cancer—abdominal mesothelioma. That Gould immediately went to the library to look up the latest research on his special sort of cancer reminds us that he was first and foremost a biologist, and biologists are peculiar creatures. They care about what goes on inside their bodies more than most people. If something is eating them alive, they want to know what it is and what they can do about it. When Gould went to read up on his illness, he discovered that his prognosis was not good, but it wasn't necessarily a death s entence. Gould survived his first war with cancer and, needless to say, wrote a paper on the topic. (shrink)
ust-jackets are frequently adorned by quotations from famous people praising the book. At first glance, Andrew Brown's The Darwin Wars is no exception. Pithy quotations from Steve Jones, Richard Dawkins, John Maynard Smith, Stephen Jay Gould and Daniel Dennett. Who could ask for more? However, on closer inspection these quotations turn out not to be about Brown's book at all, but quotations that Brown uses in his book. Only Dennett's blurb refers to one of Brown's own publications: "What a (...) sleazy bit of trash journalism.". (shrink)
In the May, 1960, issue of the American Bar Association Journal (vol. 499), Morton Birnbaum, a lawyer and physician, argued for a legal right to psychiatric treatment of the involuntarily committed mentally ill person. In the 18 years since his article appeared,, there have been several key court cases in which this concept of a right to psychiatric treatment has figured prominently and decisively. It is important to note that the language of the decisions have had at least an indirect (...) effect in the recently enacted mental Hygiene Law of the State of New York. While I shall not seek to establish the historical thesis that Birnbaum’s article has been efficacious in bringing about both these court decisions and changes in statutory laws, I do want to examine Birnbaum’s article and some of the opinions for three cases: Wyatt v. Stickney (1972), Wyatt v. Aderholt (1974), and O’Connor v. Donaldson (422 US 563, 1975), in an effort to understand both the significance of these changes in our laws and the underlying philosophical and ethical notions of which they are an expression. Birnbaum observed that the notable feature of the legal situation at the time was that there had not been recognized a constitutional requirement that one who had been institutionalized for mental illness according to due process must receive treatment. Birnbaum argued that the effects of an omission of such a requirement to treat were that mental institutions typically offered only custodial care, that patients who were held only under custodial care typically did not improve, and that the result was that involuntary incarceration in a mental institution was, at least from the point of view of the patient, functionally no different than would be imprisonment for an unspecified period of time. Birnbaum argued for a recognition and enforcement in the courts of the right to treatment “...as a necessary and overdue development of our present concept of due process of law,” i.e., as required by the 14th Amendment to the U.S.. (shrink)
Good Morning! When I was asked to talk on the subject of Dying in America at a breakfast meeting, It occurred to me that I might get to make some wisecracks about how we eat, at a breakfast where we would be served croissants, butter, sausage and eggs, and berries served with Devonshire cream: certainly the most tasteful form of dying in America! Nor have we been disappointed: quiche and ham should do quite nicely. Then, after last Tuesday’s election, someone (...) approached me and asked if my talk was gong to be on Democratic Party politics. I suppose the title “Dying in America: might fit that subject very nicely! Another wag asked whether I was going to discuss the Buffalo Bills’ current football season . . . . All of these possible applications of the phrase “Dying in America” point to the enormous importance we attach to the idea of dying, and the ways we use that idea in our very metaphorical language. That kind of richness of language is a sure sign, as Joseph Campbell would remind us, that culturally pervasive myths are constructed around the idea of dying. Now, I don’t intend to talk about Campbell’s views at all today, and I will avoid a short course on myths. But I will make just one or two observations about myths so that you are not uncomfortable with my later use of the term. For one of our myths about myths is that, in this educated and scientifically literate society, we don’t have any myths; myths are supposed to be the glue of fictional beliefs that holds primitive societies together, and we certainly are not primitive. Well, let me explain how I intend to use the idea of myth to illuminate some of our values and practices associated with the idea of dying in America. First, by a myth I mean a culturally pervasive set of beliefs and values that tends to center on a single, simple archetypal image or scenario. And second, by calling something mythic I mean to invoke perhaps a number of myths operating as a cluster of culturally important determinants of attitudes and behaviors.. (shrink)
on the part of physicians are most welcome and not to be disputed. If widely implemented, they should substantially improve the atmosphere of relations between patients and physicians. So, what, if anything, is to be said about his diagnoses and prescriptions, other than "Right on!?".
On October 26, 1984, Dr. Leonard Bailey and the transplant team of Loma Linda University Medical Center in California operated on a five-pound baby girl born a few weeks earlier with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. In babies born with this defect the left side of the heart is much smaller than the right and is unable to pump sufficient blood to sustain life for more than a few weeks. This rare defect occurs about once in every 12,000 live births; it (...) accounts for about a quarter of all cardiac deaths of newborns. In an operation known as a xenograft, involving cross-species transplantation of an organ, Dr. Bailey removed the defective heart from the baby and replaced it with the heart of a baboon. (shrink)
In this age of interdisciplinary interaction, we probably owe one another disclosures of our qualifications for commenting on each other’s profession. And you might well wonder why a philosopher would be asked to address this distinguished society of professiona l geologists. So, let me give what information I can about my qualifications to talk this evening about, of all things, the ethics of water geology.
It is natural to oppose morality and self-interest; it is customary also to oppose morality to interests as such, an inclination encouraged by Kantian tradition. However, if “interest” is understood simply as what moves a person to do this rather than that, then – if persons ever actually are good and do what is right – there must be moral interests. Bradley, in posing the “Why should I be moral?” question, raises Kant-inspired objections to the possibility of moral interests qua (...) particular, conditional causes. The paper argues that these objections can be met if (a) one distinguishes between what makes something right and what makes something right happen, and (b) doing what is right is intrinsic to a person’s interests and not merely a means to ulterior ends. The requisite completeness of rational morality is shown to exclude pluralistic approaches. Given rational monism, people can find intrinsic advantage in morality’s justifiability, cooperativeness and communality. (shrink)
The argument that follows has a certain air of prestidigitation about it. I attempt to show that, given a couple of innocent-seeming suppositions, it is possible to derive a positive and complete theory of normative ethics from the Humean maxim "You can't get ought from is." This seems, of course, absurd. If the reasoning isn't completely unhinged, you may be sure, the trick has to lie in those "innocent-seeming" props. And, in fact, you are right. But every argument has to (...) begin somewhere, and, however questionable, those suppositions just don't seem to harbor serious normative import. (shrink)
It is generally supposed that borderline cases account for the tolerance of vague terms, yet cannot themselves be sharply bounded, leading to infinite levels of higher order vagueness. This higher order vagueness subverts any formal effort to make language precise. However, it is possible to show that tolerance must diminish at higher orders. The attempt to derive it from indiscriminability founders on a simple empirical test, and we learn instead that there is no limit to how small higher order tolerance (...) may become. That means there is no limit to how precisely we may draw the boundaries of borderline cases, thus forestalling any requirement for higher order vagueness. (shrink)
Is 'vague' vague? Is the meaning of 'true' vague? Is higher-order vagueness unavoidable? Is it possible to say precisely what it is to say something precisely? These questions, deeply interrelated and of fundamental importance to logic and semantics, have been addressed recently by Achille Varzi in articles focused on an ingenius attempt by Roy Sorensen ("An Argument for the Vagueness of 'Vague'") to demonstrate that 'vague' is vague.
Contemporary discussions do not always clearly distinguish two different forms of vagueness. Sometimes focus is on the imprecision of predicates, and sometimes the indefiniteness of statements. The two are intimately related, of course. A predicate is imprecise if there are instances to which it neither definitely applies nor definitely does not apply, instances of which it is neither definitely true nor definitely false. However, indefinite statements will occur in everyday discourse only if speakers in fact apply imprecise predicates to such (...) indefinite instances. (What makes an instance indefinite is, it should be clear, predicate-relative.) The basic issue in the present inquiry is whether this indefiniteness ever really occurs; the basic question is, Why should it ever occur? (shrink)
Defenders of strong intellectual property rights or of a non-utilitarian basis for those rights often turn to Locke for support. This paper criticizes that move. My major claim is twofold: on the one hand, intellectual property would be an almost paradigmatic case of Lockean property; on the other hand, Locke's provisos - specifically the widely neglected spoilage proviso - would sharply limit the scope of any entitlements. My secondary claim is accordingly be that the spoilage proviso's neglect is undeserved, and (...) that it deserves a more central place in our understanding of Locke. In the first part of the paper, I attempt to resurrect the spoilage proviso. Part 2 rereads Locke's texts to explain why intellectual property would be a paradigmatic case of Lockean property. Part 3 attempts a conceptual clarification of waste in Lockean terms. The final part applies this analysis to some contemporary IP issues: to certain uses of IP to control access, to deadweight loss due to monopoly pricing, and to the possibility of anticommons scenarios. Each of these can be seen as "waste" in the Lockean sense, and thus each offers a counterweight to strong IP claims made in Locke's name. (shrink)
This paper attempts a theoretical discussion of effects on the legal regime of copyright induced by the change from material to digital media. Specifically, a fundamental question remains unanswered: what is the relationship between an object and a copy? A conceptually clear answer to this question has been unnecessary because it has always been possible to provide an ad hoc answer through visual inspection of an object. Authorized mechanical reproductions – authorized copies – look similar to one another, and unauthorized (...) reproductions bear tangible evidence of degradation. Digital reproduction, however, makes such visual inspection impossible, as both authorized and unauthorized digital reproductions look the same. At that moment, one “would expect” that copyright protects the essence of the object, independently of how it looks. Indeed, this is precisely what copyright jurisprudence, which emphasizes originality, tries to do. However, absent the baseline of visual intelligibility, there is no criterion for knowing which object legitimately embodies its eidos and which does not. The effects of this absence stand behind many of the battles surrounding digital reproduction. In section 2, I discuss more precisely how digital reproduction undermines the original/copy distinction. In section 3, I show how the effects of this are manifest in contemporary debates. Section 4 attempts a more theoretical discussion, organized around Deleuze's discussion of Platonism (and the degree to which, for Deleuze, the Platonic original/copy distinction functions to enable the police work of good copy/bad copy). The essay concludes with some thoughts about future developments in copyright and the suggestion that the move to digital rights management technologies are appropriately seen as a response to these conceptual limitations in copyright. (shrink)
Hobbes is commonly taken as arguing that individuals are primarily motivated by a fear of violent death. In this paper, I argue that, for Hobbes, people come with a wide range of fears and desires; analyzing how to redirect these into the politically stabilizing fear of death is a central preoccupation of Leviathan. One of the main problems is managing what I call the “ontological illusion,” the constitutive human tendency to take presentations of the imagination as entities in the world. (...) I first assess the textual evidence for and against the violent death reading. I then offer a reading of Hobbes’s psychology that underscores the diversity of human affective states. In the third section, I assess Hobbes’s neglected chapter on demonology – theories of witchcraft – as demonstrating both the need to manage the ontological illusion and the Hobbesian strategy for doing so. (shrink)
Geographic Indications (GIs) are a form of trademark protection afforded to products that are historically the product of a particular place and production process by restricting use of the name to products that actually come from the place in question; “Champagne” can only come from that region of France, for example. GIs are often proposed as a way to protect indigenous cultural products from Western appropriation: a global GI regime would ensure that “Mysore” silk sarees were produced in India, and (...) thus ensure that the traditional producers of these goods would be the beneficiaries of purchases of them. Such a strategy would return both economic value and cultural recognition to the producers of these goods. -/- In this paper, I argue that the move to branding culture puts the source indicating function of trademarks radically into question, thereby increasing the risks associated with an expansion of GIs. Increasingly, consumers consume brands not for the products they designate, but for the affiliation with the brands themselves. Since the benefits of source protection to indigenous communities depend upon a consumer’s desire to have a product actually from that source community, if consumers care more about the brand designation than the actual source, those benefits will be more difficult to realize. Instead, the logic of trademarks in late capitalism will tend to push geographic source protections toward becoming de facto IP rights in culture. -/- After an introductory section, the second section of the paper theorizes trademarks as part of a process of commodification in order to suggest that the logic of the process leads to an emphasis on brands themselves as sources of value, rather than the products to which they refer. The third section uses this theoretical frame to discuss the risk that geographic source protections will tend to reduce cultural diversity, both by tending to promote exoticized images of cultures, and by increasing the importance of standardization. The fourth section situates these concerns in the larger context of David Harvey’s work on capitalist accumulation, in order to underscore how the reification of culture discussed in the third section can be used as a tool by cultural elites to suppress dissent and treat the source protection as intellectual property rights in culture. The concluding section offers some policy suggestions for ways to ameliorate these risks. (shrink)
This paper discusses some of the current literature around the precautionary principle in environmental philosophy and law with reference to the possibility of transgenic food in Uganda (GMO bananas specifically). My suggestion is that the distinction between formal and substantive versions of a principle, familiar from legal theory, can be useful in imposing some conceptual clarity on aspects of debates concerning the precautionary principle. In particular, most of the negative critical response to the principle has been to formal versions of (...) it, and follows a pattern not unfamiliar from discussions of how to get from rules to outcomes. For its part, the less-discussed substantive account admits of at least two very different emphases. The first, which I call “Heideggerian,” exhibits a deep distrust of technology. The second, “autonomist,” is less concerned with the fact of technology than with the question of who controls it. As with any exercise of analytic taxonomy, this one will fail to adequately treat many of the objects it studies. However, I hope to illuminate what I take to be serious philosophical differences within the precautionary camp, and to highlight some of the questions they suggest in terms of the differences in political philosophy that might underlie and support them. (shrink)
This paper analyzes "ticking time bomb" scenarios in the discursive legitimation of torture and other coercive interrogation techniques. Judith Butler proposes a Foucauldian framework to suggest that Adminstration policies can be read as the irruption of sovereignty within governmentality. Rereading Foucault, I suggest that the policies could equally be understood as an exercise of governmentality, i.e., the subordination of juridical law to economy. I then propose as a reconciliation of these readings that time bomb scenarios serve rhetorically to make the (...) exercise of arbitrary power Butler identifies appear as an exercise of governmentality; sanitized of complications, coercive interrogation appears efficient. (shrink)
Technological advances force redefinition of action-mandating concepts and language through complex social, political and economic tendencies that collectively determine what has been dubbed “the technological imperative.” The reverse is also true: redefinition of concepts shapes and guides the direction of technological development through shaping public beliefs and expectations. A powerful and far-reaching example of such occurred with the redefinition of “death” and the concept’s transformed relationship to transplantation technology.
Robert Almeder has argued1 that three “fourth conditions” for nondefectiveness of knowledge justification claims, proposed in the recent literature,2 are essentially similar, require modification in order to eliminate the possibility of an unknowable defeater, and, so modified, render attainment of non-basic factual knowledge impossible. Although I believe there are objections to be raised against his exposition and reduction of the three proposed fourth conditions, I wish only to raise some doubts about the supposed necessity of the modifications and then to (...) argue against his claim that, so modified, the result is too stringent. (shrink)
The theme advanced and developed by Boris Albini and Gary Ketcham in two issues of the Reporter (May 7, 1987, and February 25, 1988) involve several key concepts: sentience and suffering, life and death, compassion, contradictory rights and conflicting values. I propose to recapitulate those developed themes in order to assess what has been clarified, what still remains obscure, and what has gone unaddressed. For me the issues of which they write are live ones, and my own mind is unsettled (...) on many points. This recapitulation is thus a personal statement to them both. (shrink)
At a meeting of the American Society for Value Inquiry in Chicago last spring, and again at a conference on biomedical ethics last fall in London, Ontario, David J. Roy, Head of the Institute for Medical Humanities, University of Montreal, described a developing situation in the biomedical technologies about which he and many of his colleagues in the profession share an enormous apprehension. The biomedical sciences have in their possession, in development, and on the drawing boards a technology that has (...) the potential of enabling us to alter much of what has to date been seen as fundamental givens and fixed points of the human situation, from the forms of human reproduction, through the frequency of distribution of various human characteristics, to those very characteristics themselves. His question , in the form of a plea, was this: it is becoming desperately urgent that scientists and technologists in these fields be given guidance about what they are doing; the sense is that what can be done ranges far beyond what should be done, and that the technological imperative (do what technology makes possible) and the epistemological imperative (find a use for what we know) are so strong that, in the absence of a normative consensus of what it is to be human, these sciences and technologies may well have a transforming impact upon a society that is not prepared to control them. When it becomes possible to eliminate the traditional and biological form of human reproduction, with the development of in vitro fertilization and the artificial placenta, shall we? When it becomes possible to eliminate deleterious genes from the human gene pool (or to limit their occurrence to the level of chance mutation), shall we? When it becomes possible to enable parents to select in advance characteristics of their offspring, from sex to hair and eye color, and perhaps even to influence the polygenic determinate and determinable characteristics of race, stature, aggressiveness, intelligence and talent, to the point that we can influence the distribution of propensities and abilities in the population to fit more closely the manpower needs of our society, shall we? Shall we breed astronauts, musicians.. (shrink)
I bring you greetings from the United States, where its citizens have been closely following the events of the past three weeks. There has been a great change in the feelings of common American people towards the Russian people. Many have expressed their sense of identity and solidarity with the people of Moscow and St. Petersburg as they witnessed the resistance for the attempted coup. Americans have enormous respect for constitutional government as well as for democracy, and they saw the (...) coup as unconstitutional from the start. A major factor was the television news service. The major American broadcast networks NBCD, CBS, ABC and the cable networks, especially CNN provided often live coverage throughout the days and nights of events in the streets and squares of Moscow, and later in the halls of the Soviet and Russian Parliaments. We witnessed press conferences, from one with the committee of 8 to one 3 nights ago in which Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev spoke with the American people. We made our individual judgments about events, often listening to debates between experts and scholars on Soviet affairs some Russian, some Ukrainian, some from the Baltic states and we spoke frequently and freely with one another even some of discussions with our friends were televised. We experienced fear and dread as it seemed great military forces were being brought to bear on your White House. We wept with grief and rage as the deaths of Russians confronting tanks were reported. We cheered to see Russian women scolding soldiers in the streets. In the aftermath, there has been much discussion of Russia’s needs and how Americans might help. In that curious mixture of avarice and beneficence that is the way of American business, discussions were held on starting a restaurant, and import service, on how to use rubles to pay for local expenses and hard currency for profit-taking. (shrink)
Three ethical principles currently determine both law and practice with respect to starting and stopping dialysis in end stage renal disease cases: Medical Futility, Respect for Life, and Patient Sel-determination. Even where dialysis is not medically futile, patients possessing capacity, and patients lacking capacity but with valid, functioning proxy decision-makers, self-determination is the dominant principle, in that efforts to prolong and preserve life may be set aside or not initiated at the request of the adequately informed patient or the patient’s (...) proxy, both presumed conclusively to be acting in the patient’s own “best interests.” Where the patient lacks capacity and there is no proxy, Respect for Life dominates, and we are required to initiate and continue dialysis that is not medically futile, except where there is available clear and compelling evidence that the patient would not want life prolonged with dialysis, as in an advance directed or documented conversation. This category of patients — those lacking capacity who have given neither advance directives nor designated proxies — constitutes a continuum of cases. “At one extreme is the patient who will actually be harmed by dialysis — that is, the effects of dialysis will cause damage to other functions, or will cause significant increase in pain and suffering that would not occur absent the dialysis. In such situations, it can be said that [initiation of] continuation of dialysis is not medically reasonable,”i or is medically futile. The middle portion is the range of “difficult cases . . . where the therapeutic value of dialysis is.. (shrink)
My assigned task in today’s colloquium is to review philosophers’ perspectives on the broad question of whether health care rationing ought to target the elderly. This is a revolutionary question, particularly in a society that is so sensitive to apparent discrimination, and the question must be approached carefully if it is to be successfully dealt with. Three subordinate questions attend this one and must be addressed in the course of answering it. The first such question has to do with (...) the issue of justice: how is it fair to target the elderly in achieving reductions in health care costs? Isn’t the proposal, or for that matter, isn’t targeting any age group, morally objectionable as a species of ageism, just as targeting members of a particular race or sex would be racist or sexist? The second subordinate question has to do with the issue of fittingness. Given that we can show in some way that targeting the elderly is not inherently unjust, why would limiting health care to them be a fitting thing for medicine to do? How would it fit, for example, with the traditional commitments of medicine, to sustain life, to relieve suffering, to heal and cure and restore function? And in particular, if medicine has the ability to save and relieve and restore the elderly, why should it replace that set of commitments with a different set for this particular population? The third subordinate question seems political, an arena reserved for one of my speaker colleagues today. There are, I believe, some underlying philosophical dimensions to its answer, and so I will say something about it. The philosophical/political questions is, Given that rationing health care to the elderly is not patently unjust, and given that a case can be made out that the ends of medicine are not violated by such limitation, shy should the elderly, as a group, assent to such a limitation? I want to address these subordinate questions, for I believe them to be the chief stumbling blocks for the possibility of an affirmative answer to our.... (shrink)
I come before you today at the invitation of your Colloquium Chair, Professor Claes Lundgren. It was his thought that a colloquium session devoted to some of the foundational questions, or presuppositions, of animal might prove interesting. Such an examination may have several aims. 1) It provides an opportunity to reflect on and review together a common activity that, in the perceptions of some concerned fellow citizens and in the history of the discipline of physiology, has had some highly questionable (...) periods and prima facie objectionable practices. 2) It allows us to become more articulate about what we do, that we may speak effectively on its behalf to our critics. 3) Similarly, it enables us to speak to the concerns of our students, both of medicine and of physiology, whom we may initiate into the uses of animals without clarifying to them our perceptions of those uses and their rationale and justification. 4) Finally, such a stock-taking may occasion our own self-evaluation of our practices, with a possible result being the improvement of those practices from a moral point of view. And I suppose that Professor Lundgren asked me to speak with some of those aims in mind. (shrink)
Second, let me offer an apology for not having a handout for this talk. I do have a website that contains most of my talks and published papers, as well as various other ravings collected over thirty-plus years of ruminating, and you are each welcome to visit it and acquire for your own reading pleasure or other legitimate purposes (such as composing refutations of my foolish views) such copies as you may require. Just don’t steal my ideas and misrepresent them (...) as your own! The address is http://www.richard-t-hull.com. This paper should be posted there within the month. (shrink)
A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether there are differences in sociomoral reasoning, as indicated by the Sociomoral Reflection Objective Measure-Short Form (SROM-SF), between a group of students who completed a research ethics course and a comparable control group. The SROM-SF was administered as a pre-test and post-test to both groups of students, those enrolled in the class (n=20) as well as the control group (n=18). Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) on the post-test results of the SROM-SF with the pre-test (...) scores as a covariate indicated significant difference between the groups at the .05 alpha level (p < .031). The results of this study concur with other research suggesting that ethics training that includes an interactive component (e.g., discussion g roups that accompany lecture presentations) affects sociomoral reasoning, primarily by preventing the regression in SROM-SF scores evidenced by students in the control group. (shrink)
There are two fundamental types of ethical theory: those based on the notion of choosing one’s actions so as to maximize the value or values to be expected as consequences of those actions (called consequentialist or teleological theories [from the Greek telos, meaning aim or purpose]; and those based on the notion of choosing one’s actions according to standards of duty or obligation that refer not to consequences but to the nature oaf actions and the motives that are held by (...) those performing them (called deontological theories [from the Greek deon, meaning that which is necessary or binding]). We will consider each type more fully and give specific instances of each type as illustrations. (shrink)
The traditional philosophical doctrine of double effect claims that agents’ intentions affect whether acts are morally wrong. Our behavioral study reveals that agents’ intentions affect whether acts are judged morally wrong but not whether acts are classified as killings, whereas the temporal order of good and bad effects affects whether acts are classified as killings but not whether acts are judged morally wrong. These findings suggest that the moral judgments are not based on the classifications. Our results also undermine recent (...) claims that prior moral judgments determine whether agents are seen as causing effects intentionally rather than as side effects. (shrink)
This paper uses Heidegger’s discussion of artifacts in Being and Time to motivate a phenomenological critique of Digital Rights Management regimes such as the one that allows DVDs to require one to watch commercials and copyright notices. In the first section, I briefly sketch traditional ethical approaches to intellectual property and indicate the gap that a phenomenological approach can fill. In section 2, following Heidegger’s discussion in Being and Time, I analyze DRM technologies as exemplary of the breakdown of things (...) as ready-to-hand; in particular, DRM is an example of what Heidegger calls "obstinacy." In section 3, I argue that this sort of concern generalizes beyond digital rights management due to its imbrication in ordinary, everyday experience. Finally, in section 4, I propose a framework for analyzing DRM in terms of our individuation from "the They," emphasizing how DRM undermines the functioning of "responsibility.". (shrink)
A.H. Cottrell led a large team of scientists and engineers as Deputy Director of the Metallurgy Division of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, between 1955 and 1958. The team sought to develop a fundamental understanding of the effect of aggressive operating conditions on the properties and behaviour of materials used in the construction of reactors, which provided important and critical insights into their design, operation and safety. The story is told through the experiences and research activities of one (...) of Cottrell?s junior research staff. It offers an insight into the contributions made by Cottrell to the science and technology regarding materials used in the early days of building reactors for the generation of nuclear energy. (shrink)
Feminist philosophers and philosophers drawing on the German tradition of social philosophy have recently converged in stressing the importance of the concept of reification?first explicitly discussed by György Lukács?for the diagnosis of contemporary social and ethical problems. However, importing a theoretical framework alien to Lukács? original discussion has often led to the conflation of reification with other social and ethical problems. Here it is argued that a coherent conception of reification, free of implausible Marxist and idealist trappings, can be recovered (...) from Lukács? original discussion of it: the socially induced distortion of experience such that what is in fact human action appears as mere natural happening. This phenomenon is to be distinguished from, firstly, instrumentalising objectification of persons and, secondly, person-identification failure, with which Martha Nussbaum and Axel Honneth respectively have equated reification in recent work. Reification, on the understanding of it recovered here, is problematic not just because it is an illusion, but also because it can render moral reasons for action or omission, and grounds of ethical evaluation, invisible to agents, and, moreover, because it can lead people to tolerate as inevitable undesirable situations which could in fact be changed. It can thus ground social criticism. (shrink)
The emergence of topics such as reprogenetics and genetic testing for hereditary diseases attests to the continued salience of Foucault's analyses of biopolitics. His various discussions pose at least two problems for contemporary appropriation of the work. First, it is unclear what the "life" on which biopolitics operates actually refers to.1 Second, it is unclear how biopolitics relates to the economy, either in the classical form of the family/household (oikos) or in the current form of neoliberalism.2 In what follows, I (...) argue, first, that modern biopolitics is marked less by the entry of biological life into the polis than by a new consideration of the form of life proper to humans. This is because Foucault's .. (shrink)
Whole-genome analysis and whole-exome analysis generate many more clinically actionable findings than traditional targeted genetic analysis. These findings may be relevant to research participants themselves as well as for members of their families. Though researchers performing genomic analyses are likely to find medically significant genetic variations for nearly every research participant, what they will find for any given participant is unpredictable. The ubiquity and diversity of these findings complicate questions about disclosing individual genetic test results. We outline an approach for (...) disclosing a select range of genetic results to the relatives of research participants who have died, developed in response to relatives? requests during a pilot study of large-scale medical genetic sequencing. We also argue that studies that disclose individual research results to participants should, at a minimum, passively disclose individual results to deceased participants? relatives. (shrink)
James Lorimer Halliday (1897–1983) pioneered the development of the concept of psychosocial medicine in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. He worked in Glasgow, first as a public health doctor, and then as part of the corporatist National Health Insurance scheme. Here he learned about links between poverty, the social environment, emotional stress and psychological and physical ill-health, and about statistical tools for making such problems scientifically visible. The intellectual development of his methodologically and epistemologically integrated medicine – a hybrid (...) of biomedical and psychological approaches – was embedded in the context of this practice with its particular medical culture and socio-economic circumstances. Halliday’s ideas are part of the wider, heterogeneous turn towards medical modernism and holism within mainstream medicine in Britain, western Europe and the United States in the inter-war period, and their evolution underlines the varied nature of contemporary anti-reductionist thinking in medicine. It also points to the diversity of the sources of holism and the many routes by which psychological and especially psychosocial discourses about health and illness entered professional and public arenas in Britain in this period. (shrink)
This study extends the examination of moral content in the media by exploring moral messages in television programming and viewer characteristics predictive of the ability to perceive such messages. Generalisability analyses confirmed the reliability of the Media?s Moral Messages (MMM) rating form for analysing programme content and the existence of 10 moral themes prevalent in television media. Standard regression analyses yielded evidence indicating viewers? moral expertise, as measured by the Defining Issues Test (DIT), familiarity with the programme and level of (...) education predicted their ability to perceive moral messages in a television drama popular in the USA at the time of data collection. Identification of patterns in moral content represented in television programming, as well as knowledge of how viewer characteristics relate to their ability to perceive such content, can provide parents and educators with a means for better comprehending messages regarding human interaction to which they or their children are exposed. (shrink)
Social networking sites like Facebook are rapidly gaining in popularity. At the same time, they seem to present significant privacy issues for their users. We analyze two of Facebooks’s more recent features, Applications and News Feed, from the perspective enabled by Helen Nissenbaum’s treatment of privacy as “contextual integrity.” Offline, privacy is mediated by highly granular social contexts. Online contexts, including social networking sites, lack much of this granularity. These contextual gaps are at the root of many of the sites’ (...) privacy issues. Applications, which nearly invisibly shares not just a users’, but a user’s friends’ information with third parties, clearly violates standard norms of information flow. News Feed is a more complex case, because it involves not just questions of privacy, but also of program interface and of the meaning of “friendship” online. In both cases, many of the privacy issues on Facebook are primarily design issues, which could be ameliorated by an interface that made the flows of information more transparent to users. (shrink)
Improving the reasoning skills of adolescents across the United States has become a major concern for educators and scientists who are dedicated to identifying evidence-based protocols to improve student outcome. This small sample randomized, control pilot study sought to determine the efficacy of higher-order cognitive training on gist-reasoning and fact-learning in an inner-city public middle school. The study compared gist-reasoning and fact-learning performances after training in a smaller sample when tested in Spanish, many of the students’ native language, versus English. (...) The 54 eighth grade students who participated in this pilot study were enrolled in an urban middle school, predominantly from lower socio-economic status families, and were primarily of minority descent. The students were randomized into one of three groups, one that learned cognitive strategies promoting abstraction of meaning, a group that learned rote memory strategies, or a control group to ascertain the impact of each program on gist-reasoning and fact-learning from text-based information. We found that the students who had cognitive strategy instruction that entailed abstraction of meaning significantly improved their gist-reasoning and fact-learning ability. The students who learned rote memory strategies significantly improved their fact-learning scores from a text but not gist-reasoning ability. The control group showed no significant change in either gist-reasoning or fact-learning ability. A trend toward significant improvement in overall reading scores for the group that learned to abstract meaning as well as a significant correlation between gist-reasoning ability and the critical thinking on a state-mandated standardized reading test was also found. There were no significant differences between English and Spanish performance of gist reasoning and fact learning. Our findings suggest that teaching higher-order cognitive strategies facilitates gist-reasoning ability and learning. (shrink)
In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To account for these (...) results, one must develop a better conception of the connection between a subject's interests and her body of knowledge than those offered by Stanley and Schaffer. (shrink)
Introduction: The politics of construction -- A genealogical context of modern political thought -- More geometrico -- Nominalism redux -- The state of nature -- Constructing politics -- Conclusion: From erasing nature to producing the multitude.