Since the Nuremberg trials (1947–1949), informed consent has become central for ethical practice in patient care and biomedical research. Codes of ethics emanating from the Nuremberg Code (1947) recognize the importance of protecting patients and research subjects from abuses, manipulation and deception. Informed consent empowers individuals to autonomously and voluntarily accept or reject participation in either clinical treatment or research. In some cases, however, the underlying mental or physical condition of the individual may alter his or her cognitive abilities and (...) compromise the informed consent process. This is particularly true in chronic psychiatric conditions such as Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), where individuals may fail to respond to traditional antidepressant treatments (e.g., psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy). Moreover, it may raise further concerns for an individual’s motivation to consent and the level of understanding of the treatment or research procedure. This paper focuses on the informed consent process for Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with TRD. Specifically, the paper addresses how depression may affect the decision-making capacity of an individual and the potential ethical and legal impact of failure to appreciate the seven elements of the consenting process (competence, voluntariness, disclosure, recommendation, understanding, decision, and authorization). To ensure the protection of vulnerable individuals with psychiatric disorders such as TRD and promote ethical behavior in biomedical research and patient care while avoiding potential legal pitfalls, we propose a paradigm that requires a stringent evaluation process of decision-making capacity for informed consent. (shrink)
In this paper I ask how educational researchers can believe the subjective perceptions of qualitative participant-observers given the concern for objectivity and generalisability of experimental research in the behavioural and social sciences. I critique the most common answer to this question within the educational research community, which posits the existence of two (or more) equally legitimate epistemological paradigms—positivism and constructivism—and offer an alternative that places a priority in educational research on understanding the purposes and meanings humans attribute to educational practices. (...) Only within the context of what I call a transcendent view from somewhere—higher ideals that govern human activities—can we make sense of quantitative as well as qualitative research findings. (shrink)
Iconoclasts? Who, Us? A Reply to Dolinko Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11572-012-9143-3 Authors Larry Alexander, San Diego, CA, USA Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, Camden, NJ, USA Journal Criminal Law and Philosophy Online ISSN 1871-9805 Print ISSN 1871-9791.
University based academic Research Ethics Boards (REB) face the particularly difficult challenge of trying to achieve representation from a variety of disciplines, methodologies and research interests. Additionally, many are currently facing another decision – whether to have students as REB members or not. At Ryerson University, we are uniquely situated. Without a medical school in which an awareness of the research ethics review process might be grounded, our mainly social science and humanities REB must also educate and foster awareness of (...) the ethics review process throughout the academic community. Our Board has had and continues to have students as active members. While there are challenges to having students as Board members, these are clearly outweighed by the advantages, for both the academic community and the future of ethically sound research in the social sciences and humanities. Moreover, the challenges are often based on misconceptions and can be easily overcome through increased education and understanding of the research ethics review process by the academic community at large. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss the experiences, advantages and challenges of having students as REB members. The advantages of having students as REB members include the following: (1) Students are the proposed participants in many of our reviewed protocols and student members may illuminate unique issues of participation. (2) Students are active and highly engaged members of the REB. (3) Having students on the REB enhances awareness of research ethics within the University. (4) Student REB members have an opportunity to mentor other students and provide leadership for both undergraduate and graduate students. (5) Students are more vigorously recruited than faculty members and often apply for student positions with enthusiasm and preparation. (6) In creating an atmosphere of excellence in research, engaging students at the beginning of their research career will help in creating tomorrow’s leaders in research and research ethics. The challenges of having students as REB members include the following: (1) Faculty members may be uneasy regarding the prospect of students reviewing protocols. (2) Faculty members may be concerned about confidentiality and respect with students reviewing faculty research protocols. (3) There may be an increased burden for students who serve as members on an REB. (4) There is concern that students will offer less continuous service to the REB. (5) There is a common misconception that students do not have the experience to carry out ethical reviews. While there are challenges from faculty members and others regarding having students as REB members, these challenges are often based on misconceptions about the nature of the REB work and the ethics review process in general. These challenges are also often based on the misconception of the ethics review process as one of peer review and evaluation, instead of a community-based and inclusive process. Having student members is a long-term strategy for both overcoming the misconceptions of the REB as a “necessary evil” and for fostering an awareness of the imperative for ethically sound research in the social sciences and humanities. (shrink)
In this short essay I respond to Kevin Gary’s generous review of my book Reclaiming Goodness by considering his two main concerns, that I tend to conflate spirituality and morality and that I am not sufficiently sensitive to tensions between spirituality and critical thinking. I respond by noting that Gary has not taken adequate account of the distinction between deontological morality and aretaic ethics in the first instance and between the Aristotelian notions of Sophia and Phronesis, or pure reason and (...) practical wisdom, in the second. (shrink)
The structural and magnetic properties of Y(Fe1-xMnx)12 compounds and their nitrides (x = 0.2 and 0.4) have been studied by using X-ray diffraction and magnetic measurements. It is found that the lattice parameters increase, while the saturation magnetization and Curie temperature decrease with Mn content increment in Y(Fe1-xMnx12 compounds. Y(Fe0.8Mn0.2)12 compound shows a weak easy-c axis magnetization direction, but Y(Fe0.6Mn0.4)12 compound is in a paramagnetic state at room temperature. Upon nitrogenation, the lattice parameters, Curie temperature are notably increased and the (...) saturation magnetization is greatly increased by about 50%. The easy magnetization direction for both compound nitrides all lies in the basal plane at room temperature. (shrink)
We know from the research literature that psychotherapy is effective, but we also know that hundreds of diverse therapies are being practiced that have not been subjected to scientific scrutiny; thus, in some circumstances iatrogenic effects do occur. Therefore, it is crucial that we recognize and implement therapeutic interventions that are evidence based rather than succumb to ethical dilemma, frustration, and complacency. Recommendations for family therapists are discussed, including the need to (a) keep abreast of research findings, (b) translate research (...) findings and developments as they apply to clinical practice, (c) prioritize techniques and intervention models, and (d) reexamine funding priorities and research foci. (shrink)
Objective Adolescents have had very limited access to research on biomedical prevention interventions despite high rates of HIV acquisition. One concern is that adolescents are a vulnerable population, and trials carry a possibility of harm, requiring investigators to take additional precautions. Of particular concern is preventive misconception, or the overestimation of personal protection that is afforded by enrolment in a prevention intervention trial. Methods As part of a larger study of preventive misconception in adolescent HIV vaccine trials, we interviewed 33 (...) male and female 16–19-year-olds who have sex with men. Participants underwent a simulated HIV vaccine trial consent process, and then completed a semistructured interview about their understanding and opinions related to enrolment in a HIV vaccine trial. A grounded theory analysis looked for shared concepts, and focused on the content and process of adolescent participants’ understanding of HIV vaccination and the components of preventive misconception, including experiment, placebo and randomisation. Results Across interviews, adolescents demonstrated active processing of information, in which they questioned the interviewer, verbally worked out their answers based upon information provided, and corrected themselves. We observed a wide variety of understanding of research concepts. While most understood experiment and placebo, fewer understood randomisation. All understood the need for safer sex even if they did not understand the more basic concepts. Conclusions Education about basic concepts related to clinical trials, time to absorb materials and assessment of understanding may be necessary in future biomedical prevention trials. (shrink)
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account of (...) Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws new light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
We construct a machine that knows its own code, at the price of not knowing its own factivity. knowing machines; Reinhardt's strong mechanistic thesis; Lucas-Penrose argument; Kleene's recursion theorem; quantified modal logic.
Although discussions of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice generally refer to Rawls’ two principles of justice, and although Rawls himself labels his principles “the two principles of justice”, Rawls actually sets forth three distinct principles in the following lexical order: the liberty principle, the fair equality of opportunity principle, and the difference principle. Rawls argues at some length for the priority of the liberty principle over the other two. On the other hand, Rawls offers hardly any argument at all (...) for the priority of the fair equality of opportunity principle over the difference principle. In this article I will argue that making the fair equality of opportunity principle separate from and lexically prior to the difference principle is both intuitively unattractive and inconsistent with Rawls’ method of deriving principles of justice from the choices of rational contractors in the original position. (shrink)
In Law's Empire Dworkin remains committed to carving out a middleground between natural law and legal positivism. But natural law andlegal positivism are best viewed as complementary answers to differ-ent questions, There is no middle ground between them. Nor is thequestion that Dworkin's Integrity asks one that could be coherentlyanswered i f it were an important question. Fortunately, it is not.
"Philosophy and Civilization" is one of Dewey's most important—and most neglected—essays. It is unsettling to anyone who wants to think of Dewey primarily as a "pragmatist." Dewey says the aim of philosophy should be to deal with the meaning of culture and not "inquiry" or "truth": "Meaning is wider in scope as well as more precious in value than is truth and philosophy is occupied with meaning rather than with truth" (LW 3:4).1 Truths are one kind of meaning, but they (...) are only an "island" lying in "the ocean of meanings to which truth and falsity are irrelevant. We do not inquire whether Greek civilization was true or false, but we are immensely concerned to penetrate its meaning," he adds, and continues, "In .. (shrink)
In “Weak Inferential Internalism” I defended the frequently voiced criticism that any internalist account of inferential justification generates a vicious regress. My defense involved criticizing a recent form of internalism, “Weak Inferential Internalism” (WII) defended by Hookway and Rhoda. I argued that while WII does not generate a vicious regress, the position is only distinguishable from externalism insofar as it makes an arbitrary distinction between individuals who believe for the very same reason. Either way, WII is not a defensible internalist (...) account of inferential justification. In his “In Defense of Weak Inferential Internalism,” Rhoda has responded to my dilemma argument. He argues that it is mistaken to assume that WII must be incompatible with externalism, and that contrary to my claims, WII is distinguishable from externalism in several ways. In this reply, I explain why none of Rhoda’s replies suggest that there is a defensible internalist account of inferential justification. (shrink)
Simply put, this book is the best short introduction to John Dewey’s philosophy.1 It is lucidly written and is sensitively accurate in things both great and small. It is concise yet broadly informed. It is balanced without straining to say everything, focused without being compressed. It directs the reader to Dewey’s key writings and indicates reliable commentary. It concludes by indicating Dewey’s relevance for contemporary issues: medical ethics, environmentalism, feminism. Nevertheless, that the book appears in a series called “Beginner’s Guides” (...) should be taken therefore with a grain of salt, for it will be helpful to many advanced scholars starting to explore “pragmatism.” There are now so many strange .. (shrink)
There is a thought that stops all thought. That is the thought that ought to be stopped. (Chesterton, 1952, p.?58) In this paper I distinguish between two sorts of ideologies, moral (or ethical) ideologies that embrace the conceptual condition of human agency: free will, moral intelligence, and fallibility; and amoral (or non?ethical) ideologies that do not. Initiation into the former, which are suited to open societies, is best accomplished through education, whereas transmission of the latter, which are preferred in closed (...) societies, is most often achieved through indoctrination. It follows that the difference between education and indoctrination is first ethical and only secondarily epistemological, or, in other words, that ethics should be understood as first philosophy in education. Human agency, I argue further, is lived in particular ?norming? communities with visions of a higher good. It follows that education in open societies requires a ?pedagogy of difference? according to which learning to respect the distinctiveness of others requires acquiring an appreciation for one's own uniqueness as a member of such a community. (shrink)
We present a reformulation of loop quantum gravity with a cosmological constant and no matter as a Fermi-liquid theory. When the topological sector is deformed and large gauge symmetry is broken, we show that the Chern–Simons state reduces to Jacobson’s degenerate sector describing 1+1 dimensional propagating fermions with nonlocal interactions. The Hamiltonian admits a dual description which we realize in the simple BCS model of superconductivity. On one hand, Cooper pairs are interpreted as wormhole correlations at the de Sitter horizon; (...) their number yields the de Sitter entropy. On the other hand, BCS is mapped into a deformed conformal field theory reproducing the structure of quantum spin networks. When area measurements are performed, Cooper-pair insertions are activated on those edges of the spin network intersecting the given area, thus providing a description of quantum measurements in terms of excitations of a Fermi sea to superconducting levels. The cosmological constant problem is naturally addressed as a nonperturbative mass-gap effect of the true Fermi-liquid vacuum. (shrink)
The following statement is a report of the Committee on Philosophy in Education of the American Philosophical Association and was approved by the Association's Board of Officers in September, 1959. The Committee was composed of the following: C. W. Hendel, Chairman, H. G. Alexander, R. M. Chisholm, Max Fisch, Lucius Garvin, Douglas Morgan, A. E. Murphy, Charner Perry, and R. G. Turnbull. Primary responsibility for the preparation of this report belonged to a subcommittee composed of Roderick M. Chisholm, Chairman, (...) H. G. Alexander, Lewis Hahn, Paul C. Hayner, and Charles W. Hendel. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive overview of what the criminal law would look like if organized around the principle that those who deserve punishment should receive punishment commensurate with, but no greater than, that which they ...
My contribution to this symposium is short and negative: There are no theoretical problems that attach to one’s causing the conditions that permit him to claim a defense to some otherwise criminal act. If one assesses the culpability of an actor at each of the various times he acts in a course of conduct, then it is obvious that he can be nonculpable at T2 but culpable at T1, and that a nonculpable act at T2 has no bearing on whether (...) an actor was culpable at T1 when he caused the circumstances that are exculpatory with respect to his act (or conduct) at T2. Moreover, as I interpret the Model Penal Code, it gets matters close to right on this point. (shrink)
This paper makes three points. First, empathy cannot be considered an epistemic basis for qualitative research and evaluation. Second, it is, however, a valuable method for understanding the private meanings of words and deeds. Third, this method is not completely reliable for purposes of what Popper called refutation, but is useful in what he dubbed scientific conjecture or the generation of theory. Basic researchers will need to take the necessary steps to subject empathetic hunches to critical examination. However, owing to (...) the exigencies of action settings and decision-making, disciplined conjectures are sometimes the most that evaluators can hope to record. (shrink)
This essay argues that schooling in Israel is tied too closely to ideology. This results in an indoctrinary orientation that contributes to divisiveness and imperils Israeli democracy. After reviewing and critiquing the roots of this orientation, I advance an alternative that understands education as an agent of the good rather than ideology. Israeli schooling requires a vision of goodness broad enough to encompass competing conceptions of Jewish life espoused by the majority as well as non-Jewish orientations affirmed by various minorities. (...) Such a vision can be grounded, I contend, in a democratic Jewish theology that emphasizes God as teacher rather than tyrant. (shrink)
Discussions of decision making by individuals and organizations invariably touch on the issue of uncertainty. Decision theory axiomatizations are based on the assumption that uncertainty cannot be unlimited, but that there must exist a minimal interval of value stability. This note makes explicit that assumption for individual choice. For group and organizational decision making, a proof is presented which deduces a limit to uncertainty from the existence of deliberate social action.
While Good’s book forces us to recognize the caricatures of Hegel and idealism that have dominated Anglo-American thought, Dewey’s relationship with idealism in general and Hegel in particular remains complex. Good proposes that the main reason for Dewey’s rejection of idealism was World War I. I find this implausible. Good downplays the central influence of James on Dewey, first with the Principles and then with his radical empiricism. By his move to Columbia in 1905 and in his article of that (...) year, “The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism,” Dewey had rejected all types of philosophy that equated reality with the object of knowledge, including idealism and Hegel. For Dewey, reality includes types of experiences that are not instances of knowing and that ideals, functionally understood, are possibilities, not actualities. (shrink)