Should innovative therapy occur only within a research paradigm and under institutional review board oversight? The health risks from current human embryonic stem cell clinical applications have raised again a fundamental question addressed first in papers submitted to inform the writing of the Belmont Report. Revisiting the thinking underlying the Belmont Report, together with examining changed circumstances since then, leads to a new model for overseeing innovative therapy based on its unique risks and context, important changes since the Belmont Report, (...) and new opportunities for addressing risks through safety and quality systems in health care. (shrink)
Much research on cognitive development focuses either on early-emerging domain-specific knowledge or domain-general learning mechanisms. However, little research examines how these sources of knowledge interact. Previous research suggests that young infants can make inferences from samples to populations (Xu & Garcia, 2008) and 11- to 12.5-month-old infants can integrate psychological and physical knowledge in probabilistic reasoning (Teglas, Girotto, Gonzalez, & Bonatti, 2007; Xu & Denison, 2009). Here, we ask whether infants can integrate a physical constraint of immobility into (...) a statistical inference mechanism. Results from three experiments suggest that, first, infants were able to use domain-specific knowledge to override statistical information, reasoning that sometimes a physical constraint is more informative than probabilistic information. Second, we provide the first evidence that infants are capable of applying domain-specific knowledge in probabilistic reasoning by using a physical constraint to exclude one set of objects while computing probabilities over the remaining sets. (shrink)
The author, who was Schrödinger's assistant during his last years in Vienna, gives an account of Schrödinger's views and activities during that time which lead him to a different approach to research on the relations between gravitation and quantum phenomena. Various features of past research are outlined in nontechnical terms. A heuristic argument is presented for the role of the zero-point energy of massive particles in counteracting gravitational collapse and the formation of horizons. Arguments are presented for the view that (...) progress in describing extreme gravitational phenomena can be achieved by the new outlook obtained from the introduction of the analog of Maxwell's vacuum displacement term with a quasiconstant parameter, rather than from renormalization of special processes, even if this is successful. The results can be expected to be in accord with Schrödinger's conjectures.A physical interpretation for the change of sign of the differential invariant of Karlhede, Lindström, and Åman at the horizon is suggested.Some important historical details about Schrödinger are touched upon. (shrink)
continent. 1.3 (2011): 158-170. The Fragment as a Unit of Prose Composition: An Introduction —Ben Segal The fragment, the note, the idea, the aphorism even: there are many names and as many uses for such small shards of free-floating text. Typically fragments are less works than gestures, arrows pointing in the direction a person might research, meditate on or develop. Unlike paragraphs or sentences, they do not flow directly from and into their bordering text. Instead they are independent, defined by (...) their singularity, by the white space that encases them on a page – even when they are cobbled together and marshaled into service as the contents of a book. Still, though not exceedingly common, books of fragments (or notes or what-have-yous) do exist. However they are labeled, the very aloofness of disconnected micro-texts allows them certain privileges and possibilities that a writer can employ and exploit. In such instances, the book of fragments may, almost paradoxically, gain a coherence as a singular work, all the more satisfying for its fractures. Two such books are Maggie Nelson's Bluets and Evan Lavender-Smith's From Old Notebooks . In this mini-feature, continent. is pleased to present a series of excerpts from each of these books, a selection of 'outtakes' – fragments that did not make it into the final manuscripts – from each, and short interviews with both Nelson and Lavender-Smith about the fragment as a literary device. Notes on the interviews: 1) Since this feature includes excerpts and outtakes from both Bluets and From Old Notebooks , I chose to ask both Nelson and Lavender-Smith similar questions about working with the fragment as the building-block of a larger work. This means that the questions are, for the most part, more concerned with things like form than about specific passages from the books. 2) In both interviews, I ask a question that cites The Literary Absolute . It should be noted that TLA is concerned with the fragment as developed and understood in the context of the Jena Romantics (the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, etc.), not necessarily the fragment in general. Maggie Nelson Interview: 1. "Bluet" conjures a constellation of similar words. These include Blue, Bullet, and the flower to which the word actually refers. I'm wondering if this range is intentional and if there's anything I'm leaving out. Or, more simply, can you talk a little about the title? I first got interested in the word BLUETS via the painter Joan Mitchell, about whom I’d written earlier in my book on women and the New York School. LES BLUETS is the name of one of my very favorites of all her paintings; she painted it the year I was born. Later the poet Jimmy Schuyler wrote a lovely prose poem about this painting, which I also adored, and which I’ve also written about. So the word had been in my mind for some time, as had her amazing painting (which is in several panels, so also in parts—i.e. in dialogue with questions of parts/wholes). While it was in progress, I always called BLUETS “The Blue Book.” But I knew I always wanted an eventual title that referred, however obliquely, to the book’s form. In this case, the form is notably PLURAL, as is BLUETS, which seemed right. Also, I have always pronounced BLUETS “bluettes,” which is kind of a personal joke about feminization. Like, “majorettes,” etc. It’s a joke because I think the book has a lot to do with the robustness of being a female human, so I found irony in the diminutive nature of the suffix. I also liked the fact that the word means a kind of flower, as it allowed each proposition, or whatever you might call each numbered section, to be thought of as a single flower in a bouquet. This sounds cheesy here, but I think I talk about this idea in a less cheesy way in the book itself, near the end, when I’m ruminating on its composition, and its surprising (to me) slimness, or “anemia.” 2. I know you've thought (and taught) about the fragment as a mode of writing. I'm wondering how your study of the form influences the way you use it. While writing a book, I’m influenced by things the same way I would imagine most writers are: I look for what I want to steal, then I steal it, and make my own weird stew of the goods. Often while writing I’d re-read the books by Barthes written in fragments— A Lover’s Discourse , Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes —and see what he gained from an alphabetical, somewhat random organization, and what he couldn’t do that way. I mostly read Wittgenstein, and watched how he used numbered sections to think sequentially, and to jump, in turn. I read Shonagon’s The Pillow Book , and tried to keep a pillow book about blue for some time. (It didn’t last long, as an exercise, but some of the entries made it into BLUETS.) I re-read Haneke’s Sorrow Beyond Dreams , which finally dissolves into fragments, after a fairly strong chronological narrative has taken him so far. In the course I taught on the fragment, which was somewhat after the fact of writing BLUETS, but conceived in relation to it, we studied a kind of taxonomy of fragments: the decayed fragment (Sappho); the contemporary fragment (text messages, twitter, blog posts, etc.); the modernist fragment (T.S. Eliot; fragment as mark of psychological disintegration); Freud’s fragment (dreams, slips, etc. as thruways to the unconscious; the sampled or plagiarized fragment; fragment as waste, excess, or garbage; the footnote; fragment as frame (Degas, Manet); life narrative as fragment: we can’t see the whole until we’re dead, and then we can’t see it (pathos); fragment as psychological terror (castration, King’s head); fragment as fetish, or as “organ-logic,” as pornography; fragment as metonym & synecdoche; fragment as that which is preserved, or that which remains; fragment as the unfinished or the abandoned; and so on and so forth. I think, in the back of my mind, I was aware of all these categories while writing BLUETS, and put them each into play as needed while writing. The book seems to me hyper-aware of the fragment as fetish, as catastrophe, as leftover, as sample or citation, as memory, and so on. Many of the anecdotes in the book (such as about the decay of blue objects I’ve collected, or my memory of a particularly acute shade of blue, or the recountings of dreams) perform these concepts quite directly. 3. In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like the idea of the “super-work,” the fragment that indicates the whole it has been excised from. However, on a concrete level, I don’t think that’s really true of BLUETS. Some of the propositions are very much in dialogue with the ones that have come before it, acting as rebuffs, or conclusions, or swerves. To detect their motion, one has to already be in the car. Often they are as short as: “ Disavowal , says the silence,” or “As if we could scrape the color off the iris and still see,” or “In any case, I am no longer counting the days.” These don’t make much sense outside of their context. Although, now that I’ve isolated just these few, I can see that they might gesture to the whole—but I think you’d have to know what the whole was, for the exercise to feel full. I am interested, however, in the notion of collecting, of a collection—and how to know when to stop, when you’ve amassed enough. While writing BLUETS, I thought of Joseph Cornell as the ultimate teacher in this respect: he collected enormous amounts of junk, he “hunted” for treasures all over the city, but each box or collage or even film has a certain minimalism, each feels as if it’s been distilled to become exactly as specific as it should be. In other words, the composition emanates from the piles of junk left in its wake, but it in itself becomes perfect. It may be unfashionable, but I’m interested in this sense of perfection. 3b. Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? I have to admit, I don’t entirely understand this question. Preservation of potentiality—that’s what I don’t quite understand. I will say this, though: writing a book, especially a book of this kind (i.e. I’d wanted to write a book on the color blue for my whole life), has a certain pain in it—the pain of manifestation. Every word that gets set down, every decision made—form, content, sentence structure, image—begins to define a work that previously was a kind of infinitely indeterminate mental cloud, or beautifully diffuse physical sensation. As the book comes into being, I’m often thinking, “this is it? this is all it’s going to be?” For me, I think it’s this feeling, rather than that of not having anything to say, or a terror of the blank page, that can bring a sort of writer’s block. Think of Lily Briscoe at the end of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse —after her long reverie, she eventually must make the mark on the canvas. She brings the brush down, then sighs: “There, I have had my vision.” To have made the mark, to have manifested the vision, brings with it a certain satisfaction, a certain euphoria and relief—but also a brand of pathos. Of all the possible books, you wrote this book. Of all the possible brush strokes, you made this one. How very strange! The good news is, you’re usually so tired when you finish a book that you don’t care anymore—you’re just happy it’s finished, and that you can move on. And if you’re lucky, you may eventually marvel at the specificity of the result, feel the magic and largesse in its specificity, in its singularity. I feel this way about BLUETS. 4. Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in Bluets as well as other texts that use a similar approach. BLUETS always had a specific set of dramatic personae, and also a sort of narrative arc. It begins by saying, “Suppose I were to begin,” which places the whole book, at least for me, in the realm of the novelistic, or at least the speculative. That freedom was important to me while writing. I have a lot of issues, for lack of a better word, with narrative, but I also have no problem with trying to structure a work so that it acts as a page-turner. I wanted there to be a lot of momentum in this book, as well as plenty of opportunities for eddying out into cul-de-sacs. That was the tension—how to make some chains of propositions that pull you forward, and then allow for some to bring you so far afield that you might find yourself wondering, “why are we talking about this here?” before remembering how you got there, and why it might matter. While some of the fragments may seem disconnected or distinct, the truth is that they each had to fall into one the book’s major categories, which included love, language, sex, divinity, alcohol, pain, death, and problems of veracity/perception. If I truly couldn’t tether an anecdote or factoid to the thread, it eventually had to go. I also spaced out the distinct threads fairly methodically, and had the characters reappear at a fairly regular rate. There’s even a kind of “where are they now?” section at the end, announced by my injured friend’s letter to her friends, in which she tells them how her spinal cord injury has affected her life, and how she feels today. I’m sure one could write a book of very disconnected fragments that didn’t so overtly weave into a whole—I’ve read many of them—but it’s also true that the mind will always work overtime to put disparate things together; the Surrealists mined that tendency for all it was worth. I think that’s a cool approach, to let the reader make the connections, but it’s important to me as a writer to make sure that the connections, when made, actually point toward what I want to be pointing at, rather than just reflecting the human brain’s capacity to make a bridge. 5. To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes, fragments, bluets, and aphorisms? Basically, is taxonomy important? Taxonomy, hmm. At some point I was very compelled by issues of taxonomy, but over the years I’ve grown less interested in the question, as the notion of the “hybrid” or the “cross-genre” seems to have become its own kind of jargon or pitch. I got very excited some time ago when I was trying to subtitle my book JANE, and I came across Brian Evenson’s book DARK PROPERTY: AN AFFLICTION. I thought—of course! A book can be a CONDITION rather than a GENRE. So I subtitled JANE “A Murder,” with this concept in mind. My most recent book, THE ART OF CRUELTY, I subtitled “a reckoning,” using the same logic. This has been one means of skirting the whole genre issue. On the other hand, I don’t really like it when people called BLUETS “notes” or “aphorisms,” or “fragments,” because it’s not really any of those things. Aphoristic philosophy—which was one of this book’s inspirations—is not made up of just aphorisms per se. There may be great aphorisms to be found in Nietzsche or Wittgenstein, for example, but neither is writing a series of one-liners. Their projects are bigger than that. They are in dialogue with argumentation as much as with impression. Likewise, I don’t really see BLUETS as poetry. I mean, I don’t care if someone wants to call it that—if they do, it happily expands the notion of poetry—but I’ve written enough poetry to have a lot of respect for its particular tools, which include the line break, and forms of logic unavailable to prose. BLUETS thinks in prose; it is written in prose. It sometimes thinks in images, and sometimes in sound, but essentially it is about sentences, and about trains of prose logic and their limits. But if someone wants to call it poetry, I wouldn’t go to the mat about it. 6. Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Texts about fragments to recommend: Here are the ones that come immediately to mind: The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert , Anne Carson’s If Not, Winter , Stevie Smith, “The Person from Porlock,” the poetry of Lorine Niedecker, Lucille Clifton, and Paul Celan, Tom Phillips’s A Humument , Ann Lauterbach’s essay on “the whole fragment,” Linda Nochlin, The Body in Pieces , Mary Ann Caws, The Surrealist Look , Heather McHugh, Poetry and Partiality . And the drawings of David Shrigley 7. And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. No, I’m happy with these questions!! The Beginning of Bluets (An Excerpt) 1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkins as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a sea horse) it became somehow personal. 2. And so I fell in love with a color – in this case, the color blue – as if falling under a spell, a spell I fought to stay under and get out from under, in turns. 3. Well, and what of it? A voluntary delusion, you might say. That each blue object could be a kind of burning bush, a secret code meant for a single agent, an X on a map too diffuse ever to be unfolded in entirety but that contains the knowable universe. How could all the shreds of blue garbage bags stuck in brambles, or the bright blue tarps flapping over ever shanty and fish stand in the world, be, in essence, the fingerprints of God? I will try to explain this. 4. I admit that I may have been lonely. I know that loneliness can produce bolts of hot pain, a pain which, if it stays hot enough for long enough, can begin to stimulate, or to provoke – take your pick – an apprehension of the divine. ( This ought to arouse our suspicions. ) 5. But first, let us consider a sort of case in reverse. In 1867, after a long bout of solitude, the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé wrote to his friend Henri Cazalis: “These last months have been terrifying. My Thought has thought itself through and reached a Pure Idea. What the rest of me has suffered during that long agony, is indescribable.” Mallarmé described this agony as a battle that took place on God's “boney wing.” “I struggled with that creature of ancient and evil plumage – God – whom I fortunately defeated and threw to earth,” he told Cazalis with exhausted satisfaction. Eventually Mallarmé began replacing “le ciel” with “l'Azur” in his poems, in an effort to rinse references to the sky of religious connotations. “Fortunately,” he wrote Cazalis, “I am quite dead now.” 6. The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love's primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain. 7. But what kind of love is it, really? Don't fool yourself and call it sublimity. Admit that you have stood in front of a little pile of ultramarine pigment in a glass cup at a museum and felt stinging desire. But to do what? Liberate it? Purchase it? Ingest it? There is so little blue food in nature – in fact blue in the wild tends to mark food to avoid (mold, poisonous berries) – that culinary advisers generally recommend against blue light, blue paint, and blue plates when and where serving food. But while the color may sap appetite in the most literal sense, it feeds it in others. You might want to reach out and disturb the pile of pigment, for example, first staining your fingers with it, then staining the world. You might want to dilute it and swim in it, you might want to rouge your nipples with it, you might want to paint a virgins robe with it. But you still wouldn't be accessing the blue of it. Not exactly. 8. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that all desire is yearning. “We love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it,” wrote Goethe, and perhaps he is right. But I am not interested in longing to live in a world in which I already live. I don't want to yearn for blue things, and God forbid, for any “blueness.” Above all, I want to stop missing you. 9. So please do not write to tell me about any more beautiful blue things. To be fair, this book will not tell you about any, either. It will not say, Isn't X beautiful? Such demands are murderous to beauty. 10. The most I want to do is show you the end of my index finger. Its muteness. Bluets that did not make the final version of Bluets We think of a glowing chunk of sapphire, for instance, or a pane of Chartres stained glass, as luminous, and God knows they are. But such luminosity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with clarity . To call something a false idol is to elevate it to the company of deities, even if one eventually casts it down (cf. Milton giving Lucifer the best speeches). For the truth is that I have never really understood what love and will have to do with each other. Following the blue, as if tracking a trail of decomposing crumbs left in the woods by a benevolent or absentminded stranger, is, at times, the best I can do. Joan Mitchell: so beautiful and athletic when young; so craggy and indomitable as she aged—in both cases, without vanity —like my Swedish grandparents, whom I barely knew, but whom I remember as being tan and fair at the same time, prematurely decimated by morning vodka with OJ and an endless boil of cigarettes. Do not think, however, that this is a scrapbook in which blue is the star and I its delirious fan. For it is a mistake to think of blue as separate from us. It is the bulge of the carotid against the bracket of your skin. It is the matrix of veins that enlaces your heart. At one point during this period, Klein—no stranger to grandiosity—“signed the sky.” He also arranged performances at which he dipped naked women from head to toe in IKB blue, rolled an enormous canvas out on the floor, and instructed the women to drag each other around on top of it while a string quartet played nearby. He called the women “human paintbrushes.” In both cases, I have arguably been nothing more than a child of illusion. Beethoven felt differently. “Can you lend me the Theory of Colours for a few weeks?” he wrote to a friend in 1820. “It is an important work. His last things are insipid.” There would seem to be a lesson here, but I am not prepared to describe it. “They feel as though if you fell into them you would be trapped and unable to breathe, choked and suffocated by the powdery pigment,” wrote Berger of Klein’s IKB monochromes. At times I look forward to this ravaging, if only because it represents all that I am supposed to fear, and because, if one manages to live long enough, it seems something of an inevitability, and looking forward to an inevitability seems at least an approximation of spiritual wisdom. In the far-off blue places, one finds oneself face to face with one’s stupidity. The cradle of it. It is a tremendous relief. Instead of sputtering forth a gargle, a howl, or an assertoric proposition, one can remain silent, stupefied. It is as if one’s tongue had been sewn, at long last, into its den. For one does not just seek oblivion. One can also find it. Sometimes one can even purchase it. Of the oblivion seekers themselves, Eberhardt says simply: “They are people who like their pleasure.” Caravaggio is a serious painter. He does not use blue. Neither does Goya, nor Velasquez. They are tenebrists , not denizens of the carnival. The blues of Picasso and Matisse, even in their most melancholy applications, do not strike me as altogether serious. The blues of Joseph Cornell, Hiroshige, Fra Angelico, and Cézanne, on the other hand, strike me as quite serious. The blue of Vermeer is simply too painful to discuss here. Let us leave the woman in blue alone with her letter. Let us leave her transfixed, standing on the bright edge of the earth, about to fall. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly thought that the most powerful mordant was a drunk man’s piss: yet another instance in which alcohol fastens the blue. But one can, I think, feel similarly bound, without the spirit. And when Cornell made Rose Hobart , he had to snip away 57½ minutes of the original film in order to showcase the object of his desire. Love, too, can sometimes be a condensery . On the other hand, speaking through the voice of the Egyptian god Thamus, Socrates comes down fairly forcefully for poison : “This discovery of yours [i.e. writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth.” But what has a soul to do with memory? I admit that here I run out of ideas; I must again consult the Encyclopedia. “Much of our moral life depends on the peculiar ways in which we are embedded in time.” This has the aura of truth, but really it takes us no further. For what has morality to do with memory, or with a soul? Instead of a roving dialogue unfolding under the shade of a plane tree, this is more like a coarse talk show taking place in a hall of mirrors: no guests, one host. To do: make a list of people who seem to have found some dignity in their loneliness, and consult it when I feel constitutionally incapable of abiding my own. “Frequent tears have run the colours from my life” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Does it follow, in spiritual matters, that one’s doubt is surrounded by a plateau of certainty? “Whosoever unceasingly strives upward, him can we save,” wrote Goethe. But who is to say that faith isn’t the abyss, and doubt the surrounding peaks? For while we may have learned the names for these things, articulation is still a form of accommodation. We stutter to each other in a sort of shorthand, at times carving out shapely analogies. But we cannot be sure that we are talking about the same things, or that we are employing the same code. —But now you are talking as if you were drowning, your lungs swollen with expired air. Why not just give up the dive? In which case you could start swimming along the surface: a cold spot here, a warm patch there. Same pond. Remember: the knights pure enough to enter the presence of the Holy Grail never return. It is only those who have been “incompletely transformed” who come back to tell the tale. And some seekers don’t come back from the wilderness as shamans, but rather as brain-damaged vegetables whose musculature now resembles gelatin. Remember this if someone appears in a field of chollas, hands you a loincloth and a tab of pure blotter acid with one hand, and keeps the other out of sight. We might here note that Andy Warhol was also, for a time, riveted by blue pussy. His blue pussy was a beatific cat, gazing upward from the last page of his 1954 book of watercolors, 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy , looking as if he were happily anticipating “pussy heaven,” as Warhol elsewhere termed the feline afterlife. Perhaps, then, the mistake is to look for a vividness, or a sweetness, apart from illusion. In which case we waste much precious time warding off the specter of the mirage . In such moments, death itself may appear a light-hearted occurrence. Evan Lavender-Smith Interview: 1) Do you consider From Old Notebooks (FON) to be a kind of constraint writing? I guess it would have been more of a constraint if you'd only culled things from your notes instead of writing pieces specifically for/relating to FON. I certainly think that the book shares something important with constraint writing, as I think it does with conceptual writing, although I don't know that it fits neatly into either of these categories. Perhaps it's a kind of faux-constraint or -conceptual writing. The book's primary constraint—only things written in notebooks are allowed —sort of collapses under the weight of its own self-reflexivity; as you say, the entries become about the book itself, which I think ends up undermining or subjugating the austerity we associate with a more typical constraint-based writing. I suppose there's also a secondary constraint associated with the structure of the book and the ordering of the entries, this zany process whereby I classified entries according to a number (1 through 12, I think) referencing subject/theme, then deleted all of the entries leaving only their reference numbers, then arranged the numbers in something resembling sonata form, then plugged all the entries back into their placeholders. But that's a very secret, Roussel-type constraint, one that perhaps does not do much to create a noticeable intensity of constraint. And also I ended up making many revisions to the order of the entries that broke with the output of my secret formula. So yes, I think something like "sham constraint" writing is probably a more appropriate designation. 2) FON is very often self-reflective, often feels as if it is struggling to pin itself down. I'm wondering if the form (disjointed notes) allows for that kind of reflection to creep in repeatedly without weighing down the whole book. Does the ability to ask a question and then immediately head off in a totally different direction free you to be self-doubting without wallowing? Does this question make sense? Maybe I should ask more generally what kinds of content does this form afford that more traditionally structured work might not? I am hopeful that the self-reflexivity is less cloying in this book than I find it to be in other highly self-reflexive texts on account of what you mention, the ability of the book to veer off in another direction nearly every time an instance of explicit self-reflexivity occurs. I would say this is also the case with respect to the book's many instances of pathos and sentiment or even bathos and sentimentality: whenever the book broaches sentimentality in an entry, it is followed by another entry about something totally different, which can serve to undercut the sentiment of the previous entry. And this is probably also the case with the book's movement toward and immediately away from entries/fragments dealing with specific literary or philosophical texts/authors with which some readers may be unfamiliar, insofar as one entry might concern Kant's transcendental idealism and the next entry the color of my infant son's poo. The book is quite contrapuntal, in this respect, which is one of the things that original structuring scheme was meant to effect. As to alternative or unusual kinds of content afforded by the book's form, I'd like to think they are many, but I have always been most excited by what I perceive to be the book's presentation of a kind of form-becoming-content, this process by which the reader is engaged with form as he might otherwise be with character, or with setting, or with plot—part of what's driving the reading experience may be the reader's sense of an evolving form, a form that begins somewhat expositionally, that becomes somewhat conflicted and tense, and that finally achieves a kind of resolution. But, from another perspective, the book's form remains exactly the same from the first to the last page. My reading of the book would posit or project a kind of talk-to/talk-back relationship between form and content; each is strongly influencing our vision of the other, and perhaps, over the course of the book, they become difficult to distinguish. 3) In The Literary Absolute , Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy write that "each fragment stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached."(44) They go on to explain that the fragment is both "sub-work" (in the obvious sense of being only a small piece of the Work), but also "super-work", as it stands, complete in itself, outside the work and calls up the plural potentiality of the work. What do you make of this idea and how do you understand the relation of the fragment to the Work as a whole? I like this idea, but I may have some reservations about generalizing it too far beyond Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe's intended historical context. In my book, there are perhaps some entries/fragments that possess a sort of immanent intensity—entries seemingly able to "speak for themselves," so to speak—but there are also very many that do not. I think that the book itself would argue—in fact, I believe it explicitly does so—against this notion that any one of its constituent parts could be removed from the whole and still remain "meaningful" or "true." I imagine the parts of the whole, in this book, not as cogs in relation to some whole mechanics or machine, say, but instead as mechanical movement itself; perhaps the most important thing about any given entry is not what it says so much as the fact that it begins and ends. The book seems to me to be always moving forward in time and space; once a fragment has happened, the book is done with it; there's no turning back, no looking over the shoulder. There's an entry somewhere that goes something like "This book is nothing more than the trash can of my imagination," a potential interpretative model that has become something of a guiding light in my understanding of the book's form: the entries/fragments do certainly accrue, as trash accrues, but we don't necessarily feel compelled to go picking through this heap of trash. 3b) Fragments collected together become a whole that gestures to dozens of other, potential wholes. How, if at all, do you think about your book in relation to the preservation of potentiality? Of course I think about this mostly in relation to the fragments/entries concerning specific potential works, the entries that begin "Story about" or "Novel about," etc. As I continue to work to see many of the ideas in the book realized, even today—and as I will likely continue to do for a long time—I remain in a sort of dialogue with the book. So I find myself still writing the book, in some sense, even though the book is already written. One of my favorite things about From Old Notebooks is how it opens its own amorphous and evolving prefatory engagement with my future writing. I believe the book references the claim of some critics that Ulysses was written in such a way to make it appear as if it were presaged by passages in the New Testament, just as some have claimed that passages in the New Testament were written to create the appearance of having been forecasted by passages in the Old Testament (I believe there is a specific poetic figure denoting this kind of retroactive foreshadowing that I'm now failing to recall). I've always really loved that idea and perhaps still hold out hope that my future writing will serve to indirectly modify From Old Notebooks in these types of sly and tricky ways. Also, in relation to the above-mentioned trash-can model as one of many such potential models for the book's form, there's a way in which the book regularly returns to a reading of itself, always trying to understand how it is working and always coming up with new strategies for its own analysis. So it seems to me, with respect to the preservation of potentiality, that the book is also intent on preserving its own "infinite hermeneutics" (or at least an illusion thereof). 4) Can you talk a little about the way traditional prose standbys like character and narrative develop out of distinct and disconnected fragments? I feel like this definitely happens in FON as well as other texts that use a similar approach. I think it's important to address the burden placed on the reader vis-à-vis development when considering narratological staples like character and plot in relation to highly fragmented narratives. In my own reading experience of books in which neat narrative progression is supplanted by a fragmentary or elliptical progression, the reader oftentimes must begin committing to processes of projection and transference in order to eke out that amount of development she would require of narrative. I especially like this possibility for two reasons. The first is that in the absence of stable or "full" development, we may feel inclined, as readers, to fill in the blanks with manifestations of our own, consciousness-specific desire for coherence, which can create a sort of personalized Möbius strip out of reading and writing, artistic creation and reception becoming tangled, distinctions and distances between these categories becoming blurred. The second, which may follow from the first for the more theoretically inclined reader, is that this process may serve to expose our own prejudices about what narrative is supposed to do or achieve, thereby leading us to an anxious readerly condition in which we are forced to confront the poverty of our own understanding regarding the first principles of narrative art. These two effects—1) tangling the reading/writing experience, and 2) forcing the reader's reconsideration of artistic rule—are, to my thinking, among the most powerful effects available to writing. 5) To what extent does how you label your texts matter? What is the difference between notes , fragments , thoughts , and aphorisms ? Basically, is taxonomy important? Supplementary question: In FON , there is a passage: "Why am I so averse to classifying FON as poetry-because poetry doesn't sell." If you want, this might be a good place to talk about genre classifications as well. This answer will surely seem coy or naïve to some people, but the fact is that my own tedious and protracted grappling with the strictures and arbitrariness of generic classification has finally given way to a vision of an imaginative writing largely unfettered by those academic or commercial or cultural pressures which have served to delimit the typological boundaries of art and language. That seems to be a goal for me, anyway, to work to maintain a position of restless and relentless searching in relation to form, and to resist, as best I can, pressures associated with the commodification or canonization of language and form. Of course that position is itself probably overdetermined by pressures both within and beyond my comprehension—e.g. it is very reactionary; very Modernist, in a sense—and it also strikes me to be of a piece with a rather antiquated and distasteful image of artistic creation and the "author-function," but nonetheless it's what I seem to prefer. 6) Are there other texts (of or about fragments) that you'd like to recommend? Here are some things I've recently read and enjoyed in which I felt the fragment was the text's dominant or near-dominant mode of engagement with narrative/poetic/philosophical development and progression. Mean Free Path , Ben Lerner Bluets , Maggie Nelson Varieties of Disturbance , Lydia Davis Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel , Evan S. Connell AVA , Carole Maso Reader's Block , David Markson Deepstep Come Shining , C.D. Wright The Passion According to G.H . by Clarice Lispector The Crab Nebula , Éric Chevillard The Book of Questions , Edmond Jabès Monsieur Teste , Paul Valéry Mourning Diary , Roland Barthes The Arcades Project , Walter Benjamin Philosophical Investigations , Ludwig Wittgenstein "Diapsalmata," from Either/Or , Søren Kierkegaard Unfortunately, I haven't read much theory discussing the fragment as a narratological device, although I did enjoy the Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe book you mention above. 7) And finally, is there anything you wish I would have asked? Please ask/answer if so. I should say that From Old Notebooks is currently out of print, as I, perhaps bullheadedly, insisted that the publisher remove the book from their catalog when I discovered that they'd been implementing a pay-to-publish scheme, which, given the revelation of its specific details, I felt to be manipulative and unethical. There are many used copies floating around, though, and I am hopeful that the book will be reprinted someday. From Old Notebooks Excerpts NB: The first excerpt covers the first few pages of the book. The second covers pages 16 and 17. These excerpts show how FON develops from a series of ideas for texts to a more varied series of notes that further reveal the character, preoccupations, and desires of the writer. Excerpt 1: Short story about a church on the ocean floor. Congregation in scuba gear. Memoir in which narrator struggles to describe her childhood – offering two or more contrary accounts of the same event – having been raised by divorced parents with unresolved anger toward each other such that discrepancies between parents' accounts of each other's involvement in her childhood have damaged narrator's memory beyond repair. Academic essay entitled “ Cute Title: Serious Subtitle : On the Preponderance of Precious Subtitling in Academic Essays.” Novel in chapters, each chapter spanning one year, 1977 – 2006. In lieu of chapter number, photograph of Tom Cruise's face from that year. Story about a garbage man who cannot fathom how anyone might be content living a life not wholly dedicated to being a garbage man. Excerpt 2 Something entitled “From Old Notebooks,” simply a transcription of entries from these notebooks. Story involving a couple whose divorce proceedings center upon the allocation of the books contained in the family library. Living off-campus on the outskirts of a city where I knew no one, in a studio apartment the size of a large walk-in closet, I would occupy myself in the evenings with and obsessive study of the shadows of my hands against the wall as I faux-conducted piano concertos; and later, after having taken three Ambien, intimate conversations with bits of magma crawling across the carpet that had detached from the glowing wires on my electric space heater. That same year, in a fit of manic loneliness, I invited a raccoon into my apartment with a trail of cracker crumbs. Do not let Jackson and Sofia live off-campus as undergraduates. Cached auto-complete entry options that appear when I type the letter e into the search field in the toolbar of my internet browser: evan lavender-smith “evan lavender-smith” “evan lavender smith” evan + “lavender-smith” evan + “lavender smith” evan + lavender + smith The letter f: fear of death Contemporary authors who construct a thick barrier between themselves and their readers such that authorial vulnerability is revealed negatively, i.e., via the construction of the barrier. If Team USA had a mascot, it would be God. Character who refers to Wellbutrin as his muse. “I hope to one day storm out on Terry Gross during an interview because I am that kind of eccentric famous author.” ----------------- Notes that were cut from From Old Notebooks Short story about literary executors sifting through the Gmail account of a recently deceased author. It would better suit me to drive a hybrid hearse. First line of a story: "The M.F.A. in creative writing was the degree Shontiqua had her sights set on . " Story/mock-essay: conflation of the obnoxious languages of U.S.A. patriotism and M.F.A. workshops. The flag at half-mast because the market’s way down today. Awakened from dream . . . saw figure in arrangement of stars . . . closed eyes . . . dream changed. . . . The smile is perhaps the human equivalent to the dog's wagging tail, with an important caveat: the human can fake a smile. Can a man fake an erection? To do philosophy, Back then I was doing some philosophy —what a ridiculoususage. It is thanks to the proud philosopher who, attempting to justify his existence, humbles himself to a position of activity. The greatest act of fraud on the part of philosophy is that it attempts to exist outside of time , the word of the philosopher presented to us as the Word. This is what Derrida means to criticize when he praises Nietzsche's pluralism, or Levi-Strauss's mythopoetics: Philosophy cannot pretend to be above or beyond the form of the book. The question of being flashes through us , mind and body. The corporealization of the question of being. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must—write? The proliferation of M.F.A. programs in creative writing has given rise to the whirlpool of conservatism which is contemporary American literature. Surely it's no coincidence that I began From Old Notebooks shortly after I stopped seeing my therapist. Somewhere I read Edmund Wilson refer to Beckett's late style as terminal . I understand why he would say so, but I would prefer to reserve that term for David Markson's late style. Random House settles out of court to pay $2.35 million in genre-damages made by James Frey against his readers. What if the publisher of F.O.N. markets the book as a novel , and it later comes to light that the book was in fact a memoir . . . ? That the problem of death has been outmoded is the grand illusion of philosophy after Heidegger. The modern philosopher says, "Death is not my problem. Being is my problem." The modern philosopher might call death an adolescent problem , and being an adult problem . But what he fails to recognize is that the concept of being is merely an abstraction of the concept of death. (He forgets that being is incidental to non-being, and that the latter is only conceivable by way of analogy to death .) The modern philosopher wants to pretend that death is irrelevant to his project, but it is the impetus for his project. Surely the reason I lash out against it is that I am jealous of poetry. Surely contemporary poetry does not deserve my wrath . Someone could read the book with an almanac in hand and point to certain entries which suggest the concurrence of public events (e.g., terror, war, football), thereby assigning dates to those entries. As if. Do people auction their personal diaries on eBay? I might consider auctioning these notebooks if the book is ever published, in keeping with the spirit of the book, that is, the spirit of facile self-disclosure. The poem is dead. Long live the poem! The ending of F.O.N. might contain the beginning of the next book—a sequel entitled Work-In-Progress . F.O.N. might blurinto W.I.P. The point of physical distinction between the two books would be arbitrary. Work-In-Progress would be written in the same form as F.O.N., but it would be also written in an entirely different form, as the (conception of the) form of the book "F.O.N. + W.I.P." is an evolving (conception of) form, a (conception of) form that is always becominganother (conception of) form. No matter how much I want to force From Old Notebooks to become something called Work-In-Progress , I won't be able to: any contrived becoming of that sort would represent a violence on the form of the book. I'm going to have to take a leap at some point, though, a leap out of the book, like a leap from a burning building. “The Voidhood of the Void; or, An Archaeology of Nothing.” Rather than enact the high drama of self-reflexivity, the new writing will accept self-reflexivity as status quo —metafiction's birthday is passed, no need to keep celebrating—in the tradition of the documentary film, the reality TV show, and the internet blog. Such a writing must, by definition, be genreless, or make the question of genre irrelevant: hence, the post-generic . Perhaps my next novel will be a one-page poem. (shrink)
Scientific misconduct includes the fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (FFP) of concepts, data or ideas; some institutions in the United States have expanded this concept to include “other serious deviations (OSD) from accepted research practice.” It is the absence of this OSD clause that distinguishes scientific misconduct policies of the past from the “research misconduct” policies that should be the basis of future federal policy in this area. This paper introduces a standard for judging whether an action should be considered research (...) misconduct as distinguished from scientific misconduct: by this standard, research misconduct must involve activities unique to the practice of science and must have the potential to negatively affect the scientific record. Although the number of cases of scientific misconduct is uncertain (only the NIH and the NSF keep formal records), the costs are high in terms of the integrity of the scientific record, diversions from research to investigate allegations, ruined careers of those eventually exonerated, and erosion of public confidence in science. Existing scientific misconduct policies vary from institution to institution and from government agency to government agency; some have highly developed guidelines that include OSD, others have no guidelines at all. One result has been that the federal False Claims Act has been used to pursue allegations of scientific misconduct. As a consequence, such allegations have been adjudicated in federal courts, rather than judged by scientific peers. The federal government is now establishing a first-ever research misconduct policy that would apply to all research funded by the federal government regardless of which agency funded the research or whether the research was carried out in a government, industrial or university laboratory. Physical scientists, who up to now have only infrequently been the subject of scientific misconduct allegations, must nonetheless become active in the debate over research misconduct policies and how they are implemented since they will now be explicitly covered by this new federal wide policy. (shrink)
Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an ‘ethical imperative’ or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age (...) of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account. (shrink)
the importance of this story in relation to the evidence for the ostensibly supernormal physical phenomena of Spiritualism. From 1869 onwards Sidgwick began to be associated with Myers in a common interest in psychical research. In the very ...
We want to consider anew the question, which is recurrent along the history of philosophy, of the relationship between rationality and mathematics, by inquiring to which extent the structuration of rationality, which ensures the unity of its function under a variety of forms (and even according to an evolution of these forms), could be considered as homeomorphic with that of mathematical thought, taken in its movement and made concrete in its theories. This idea, which is as old as philosophy itself, (...) although it has not been dominant, has still been present to some degree in the thought of modern science, in Descartes as well as in Kant, Poincaré or Einstein (and a few other scientists and philosophers). It has been often harshly questioned, notably in the contemporaneous period, due to the failure of the logistic programme, as well as to the variety of “empirical” knowledges, and, in a general way, to the character of knowledges that show them as transitory, evolutive and mind-built. However, the analysis of scientific thought through its inventive and creative processes leads to characterize this thought as a type of rational form whose configurations can be detailed rather precisely. In this work we shall propose, first, a quick sketch of some philosophical requirements for such a research programme, among which the need for an harmonization, and even a conciliation, between the notions of rational (or rationality), of intuitive grasp and of creative thought. Then we shall examine some processes of creative scientific thought bearing on the knowledge and the understanding of the world, distinct from mathematics although keeping tight relations with them. Contemporary physical theories are privileged witnesses in this respect, for in them the rational thought of phenomena makes an intrinsic use of mathematical thought, which contributes to the structuration of the formers and to the expression of their concepts (which entails the physical contents of the latter). The General Theory of Relativity and the Quantum Theory are exemplar to this, as they directly reveal what can be called the “drag of physical thought par the mathematical form”, which makes possible to overcome the limitations of the physical knowledge previously adquired. This process is tightly related to the modalities and to the stucture of the rational thought underlying it. This is what we would like to show. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2011v15n2p303. (shrink)
This engaging and informative text will hold the attention of students and scholars as they take a journey through time to understand the role that history and philosophy have played in shaping the course of sport and physical education in Western and selected non-Western civilizations. Using appropriate theoretical and interpretive frameworks, students will investigate topics such as the historical relationship between mind and body; what philosophers and intellectuals have said about the body as a source of knowledge; educational philosophy (...) and the value of physical education and/or sport; philosophical positions that have impacted the historical development of sport and physical education; the history of women in sport and physical education; the role and scope of sport and physical education in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Ancient Olympic Games; the relationship between sport and religion in ancient and modern times; the theoretical and professional development of physical education; the rise of sport in modern America; the history and politics of the modern Olympic Games; and the contributions of men, women, and social movements to the development of sport and physical education from ancient times to the modern era. (shrink)
We reviewed the output of research and innovation cooperation between Russia and the US, including publications and patents, in the four prospective areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy during 2007-2011. Joint US-Russia research groups appear to focus primarily on hydrogen energy (fuel cells), followed by solar photovoltaics. The upcoming areas of smart grid and biofuels were left out entirely both from research and innovation collaboration. Russian patents in green energy technologies registered in the US are very low in comparison (...) to those from Japan, Korea, and China. (shrink)
OBJECTIVE: Questions have been posed about the competence of persons with serious mental illness to consent to participate in clinical research. This study compared competence-related abilities of hospitalized persons with schizophrenia with those of a comparison sample of persons from the community who had never had a psychiatric hospitalization. METHODS: The study participants were administered the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research (MacCAT-CR), a structured instrument designed to aid in the assessment of competence to consent to clinical research. The (...) scores of 27 persons who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia who were long-stay patients on a state hospital research ward were compared with those of 24 individuals from the community who were of similar age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. RESULTS: Significant differences were found between the patients and the community sample on three measures of competence-related abilities: understanding, reasoning, and appreciation. Degree of psychopathology and cognitive functioning were significantly negatively correlated with understanding and appreciation among the patients with schizophrenia. Length of hospitalization was significantly negatively correlated with all measures of decision-making capacities. CONCLUSIONS: The generally poor performance of the long-stay patients with chronic schizophrenia highlights the difficulties this group is likely to encounter in providing consent to research. However, variation across the sample points to the need for individualized assessment and for validated techniques for facilitating decision making in the face of decisional impairments. (shrink)
It seems that if abortion is permissible, then stem cell research must be as well: it involves the death of a less signiﬁcant thing (an embryo rather than a fetus) for a greater good (lives saved rather than nine months of physical imposition avoided). However, I argue in this essay that this natural thought is mistaken. In particular, on the assumption that embryos and fetuses have the full moral status of persons, abortion is permissible but one form of stem (...) cell research is notFthe practice of creating embryos and then destroying them to extract cell.. (shrink)
Using mainly historical material fromAustralia, the paper seeks to understand earlyforms of school physical training, sport andmedical inspection as specialised means ofschooling bodies. The study adopts a socialepistemological perspective in seeking tounderstand the meaning-in-use of notions suchas physical training. It explores the socialconsequences of the practices carried out inthe name of physical training, particularly inrelation to shifts in the social regulation ofbodies over time from a mass, externalised, andcentralised form to a relatively moreindividualised, internalised and diffuse form.This (...) focus on the body is of key importance fora social epistemological study of physicaleducation because it forces us to look closelyat the practices constituting physicaleducation. (shrink)
In research ethics there is a canon regarding what ethical rules ought to be followed by investigators vis-à-vis their treatment of subjects and a canon regarding what fundamental ethical principles apply to the endeavor. What I aim to demonstrate here is that several of the rules find no support in the principles. This leaves anyone who would insist that we not abandon those rules in the difficult position of needing to establish that we are nevertheless justified in believing in the (...) validity of the rules. I conclude by arguing that this is not likely to be accomplished.The rules I call into question are the rules requiring:– that studies be designed in a scientifically valid way– that risks to subjects be minimized– that subjects be afforded post-trial access to experimental interventions– that inducements paid to subjects not be counted as a benefit to them– that inducements paid to subjects not be ‘undue’– that subjects must remain free to withdraw from the study at any time for any reason without penaltyBoth canons, the canon on principles and the canon on rules, are found in the overlap among ethical pronouncements that are themselves canonical: the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, the Belmont Report, CIOMS's International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects, and NBAC's 2001 report, Ethical Issues in International Research: Clinical Trials in Developing Countries. (shrink)
There has been relatively little empirical research into the causes of research misconduct. To begin to address this void, the authors collected data from closed case files of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). These data were in the form of statements extracted from ORI file documents including transcripts, investigative reports, witness statements, and correspondence. Researchers assigned these statements to 44 different concepts. These concepts were then analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The authors chose a solution consisting of (...) seven clusters: (1) personal and professional stressors, (2) organizational climate, (3) job insecurities, (4) rationalizations A, (5) personal inhibitions, (6) rationalizations B and, (7) personality factors. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policy and for future research. (shrink)
Reports of research fraud have raised concerns about research integrity similar to concerns raised about financial accounting fraud. We propose a departure from self-regulation in that researchers adopt the financial accounting approach in establishing trust through an external validation process, in addition to the reporting entities and the regulatory agencies. The general conceptual framework for reviewing financial reports, utilizes external auditors who are certified and objective in using established standards to provide an opinion on the financial reports. These standards have (...) become both broader in scope and increasingly specific as to what information is reported and the methodologies to be employed. We believe that the financial reporting overhaul encompassed in the US Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, which aims at preventing accounting fraud, can be applied to scientific research in 4 ways. First, Sarbanes–Oxley requires corporations to have a complete set of internal accounting controls. Research organizations should use appropriate sampling techniques and audit research projects for conformity with the initial research protocols. Second, corporations are required to have the chief financial officer certify the accuracy of their financial statements. In a similar way, each research organization should have their vice-president of research (or equivalent) certify the research integrity of their research activities. In contrast, the primary responsibility of the existing Research Integrity Officers is to handle allegations of research misconduct, an after-the-fact activity. Third, generally accepted auditing standards specify the appropriate procedures for external review of a corporation’s financial statements. For similar reasons, the research review process would also require corresponding external auditing standards. Finally, these new requirements would be implemented in stages, with the largest 14 research organizations that receive 25% of the total National Institutes of Health funding, adopting these research oversight enhancements first. (shrink)
This paper shares my reflections on the research ethics review process, from the point of view of both a qualitative researcher and a member of an institutional research ethics review board. By considering research ethics review, first as practice, then as policy, as a relationship and, finally, as a performance, I attempt to outline a new vision of research ethics, one that engages seriously with the relationship between receiving ethics approval, and conducting ethical research.
It is generally assumed in research ethics that research participants have an unconditional right to withdraw from research without any detriment or reprisal. This paper analyses this right in the context of biobank research and argues that the traditional shape of the right in clinical research can be modified in biobank research without incurring significant ethical cost. The paper falls in three parts. The first part is a brief explication of the philosophical justification of the right to withdraw. The second (...) part presents a number of extant criticisms of the right. And the third and final part argues that although a right to withdraw is crucial in relation to biobank research, such a right has to be specified in a different way to the similar right in relation to clinical research. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that the consensus around normative standards for the ethics of research in clinical trials, strongly influenced by the Declaration of Helsinki, is perceived from various quarters as too conservative and potentially restrictive of research that is seen as urgent and necessary. We examine this problem from the perspective of various challengers who argue for alternative approaches to what ought or ought not to be permitted. Key themes within this analysis will examine these claims and argue (...) they have implications for the interests of the research subject, research governance and regulation. Using our work with TREAT-NMD, the neuromuscular clinical trials network, we posit that there is a place for advancing the discourse of moral rights and moral duties in the context of research, especially from the perspective of patients and their families, and for including the politics of patient activism and empowerment. At the same time we remain vigilant to the danger that the therapeutic misconception and other serious vulnerabilities for the patient population in clinical trials, are at risk of being overlooked. (shrink)
BackgroundThere is general consensus internationally that unfair distribution of the benefits of research is exploitative and should be avoided or reduced. However, what constitutes fair benefits, and the exact nature of the benefits and their mode of provision can be strongly contested. Empirical studies have the potential to contribute viewpoints and experiences to debates and guidelines, but few have been conducted. We conducted a study to support the development of guidelines on benefits and payments for studies conducted by the KEMRI-Wellcome (...) Trust programme in Kilifi, Kenya.MethodsFollowing an initial broad based survey of cash, health services and other items being offered during research by all programme studies (n = 38 studies), interviews were held with research managers (n = 9), and with research staff involved in 8 purposively selected case studies (n = 30 interviewees). Interviews explored how these ‘benefits’ were selected and communicated, experiences with their administration, and recommendations for future guidelines. Data fed into a consultative workshop attended by 48 research staff and health managers, which was facilitated by an external ethicist.FindingsThe most commonly provided benefits were medical care (for example free care, and strengthened quality of care), and lunch or snacks. Most cash given to participants was reimbursement of transport costs (for example to meet appointments or facilitate use of services when unexpectedly sick), but these payments were often described by research participants as benefits. Challenges included: tensions within households and communities resulting from lack of clarity and agreement on who is eligible for benefits; suspicion regarding motivation for their provision; and confusion caused by differences between studies in types and levels of benefits.ConclusionsResearch staff differed in their views on how benefits should be approached. Echoing elements of international benefit sharing and ancillary care debates, some research staff saw research as based on goodwill and partnership, and aimed to avoid costs to participants and a commercial relationship; while others sought to maximise participant benefits given the relative wealth of the institution and the multiple community needs. An emerging middle position was to strengthen collateral or indirect medical benefits to communities through collaborations with the Ministry of Health to support sustainability. (shrink)
Recently adopted international texts have given a new focus on conflicts of interests and access to information resulting from biomedical research. They confirmed ethical review committees as a central point to guarantee individual rights and the effective application of ethical principles. Therefore specific attention should be paid in giving such committees all the facilities necessary to keep them independent and qualified.
In this paper, we describe the potential role laypersons on ethics committees can play in ensuring community concerns are addressed in the design and implementation of genomic research. We draw inferences from the outcome of an empirical study of the impact of training of laypersons to address community engagement issues in ethics review of research protocol. While this paper does not advocate a particular solution, it describes the importance of community engagement in genomic research, the current limitations there are in (...) engaging communities in the design of these research projects and how communities can be indirectly engaged in the design and implementation of genomic research through the engagement of laypersons on ethics committees. However, to ensure that these laypersons can play this role, their capacity needs to be built to play this role appropriately. There is evidence to show that where resources are invested in building the capacity of laypersons to play their role as community ‘watchdogs’ in research, they play this role aptly. Community engagement is important in genomic research as genomic researchers will increasingly require community perspectives in critical ethics decision making. (shrink)
This paper discusses the hazards of regulating controversial biomedical research in light of the emergence of powerful, multi-national biotechnology corporations. Prohibitions on the use of government funds can simply force controversial research into the private sphere, and unilateral or multilateral research bans can simply encourage multi-national companies to conduct research in countries that lack restrictive laws. Thus, a net effect of government regulation is that research migrates from the public to the private sphere. Because private research receives less oversight and (...) external scrutiny than public research, it can threaten the welfare and rights of human subjects, scientific progress and openness, and the quality of the approval process for new biomedical technologies. In order to avoid the harmful effects of government regulation of biotechnology, society should promote meaningful discussion and dialogue among scientists, industry leaders, and the public before resorting to regulatory solutions. Legislative or executive initiatives should be applied with great discretion and care, and should be crafted in such a way that they protect public health and safety, promote scientific progress, and avoid the hazards of privatized research and polarized debates. (shrink)
The increase in the volume of research conducted in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC), has brought a renewed international focus on processes for ethical conduct of research. Several programs have been initiated to strengthen the capacity for research ethics in LMIC. However, most such programs focus on individual training or development of ethics review committees. The objective of this paper is to present an approach to institutional capacity assessment in research ethics and application of this approach in the form (...) of a case study from an institution in Africa. (shrink)
This article reflects critically on the methodology of one feminist research project which is ongoing as we write. The project is titled “Assessing Development: Designing Better Indices of Poverty and Gender Equity” and its aim is to develop a better standard or metric for measuring poverty across the world. The authors of this article are among several philosophers on the research team, which also includes scholars from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology and economics. This article begin by explaining why a (...) new and better poverty metric is needed and why developing such a metric requires an alternative methodological approach inspired by feminism. It then describes our methodological goals and strategies and summarizes our research findings, showing how they diverge from standard assessments as a result the feminist methods we used. We conclude with some methodological lessons we learned and questions that we think remain to be addressed. (shrink)
This paper presents challenges facing researchers in applying basic ethical principles while conducting research with youth in a developing country context. A discussion of the cultural and social challenges to adherence to the elements of informed consent: disclosure, comprehension, capacity, voluntariness and consent is presented. The authors argue that the current institutional review board requirements that guide research reflect values and stem from western contexts that may not be fully applicable to non-western contexts. More dialogue is needed among researchers in (...) developing world contexts on challenges of and possible revisions to requirements that maintain respect for persons, beneficence, autonomy and justice, particularly when working with youth. (shrink)
Donors, scientists and farmers all benefit when research and development projects have high impact. However, potential benefits are sometimes not realized. Our objective in this study is to determine why resource-poor farmers in Togo (declined to) adopt recommended practices that were promoted through a multi-organizational project on soil fertility management. We examine the processes and outcomes related to the adoption process. The project was undertaken in three villages in the Central Region of Togo in West Africa. The development and research (...) processes that took place during the implementation of the project were critically analyzed using a conceptual framework that may be useful for improving the impact of future participatory projects. At the macro level, opportunities for innovation were not deliberately explored with participating farmers and other village members; consequently “pre-analytical choices” made during the planning phase resulted in practices that resource-poor farmers were, for a variety of reasons, unable or unwilling to adopt. From the outset, donors and scientists focused on soil fertility management, but failed to take into account the wider economic context within which soil fertility management took place. This was a major obstacle to the subsequent adoption of recommended management strategies. Scientists and donor partners measured the success of the Project in terms of crop productivity, but farmers’ choices were influenced by a complex mix of socio-economic, political and technical factors. We also illustrate the importance of selecting appropriate categories of farmers for a particular experiment. We conclude that for participatory research and development projects to be successful, it is not enough to develop technologies that “work” in a technical sense. In order to be scaled up and widely implemented, such technologies must also meet a variety of needs of resource-poor farmers and be acceptable from a socio-cultural point of view. (shrink)
There is increasing interest in farmers’ organizations as an effective approach to farmer participatory research (FPR). Using data from an empirical study of farmers’ research groups (FRGs) in Uganda, this paper examines the patterns of participation in groups and answers questions such as: Who participates? What types of participation? How does participation occur? What are the factors determining participation? Results show that there is no single type of participation, but rather that FPR is a dynamic process with types of participation (...) varying at different stages of the process. Farmers’ participation does not follow the normal adoption curve. Rather, it is characterized by high participation at the initial stages, followed by dramatic decrease and dropping-out, and slow increases toward the end. There is usually significantly higher participation among male farmers at the beginning of the process. However, as FRGs evolve, the proportion of men decreases sharply while the relative proportion of women continues to increase until it dominates the group. The findings do not support the common assumption that groups usually exclude women and the poor. On the contrary, we argue that FRGs are an effective mechanism to provide women and the poor with opportunities to participate in research. However, to be effective, this requires moving beyond head counting to promote more proactive gender and equity perspectives for amplifying the benefits of agricultural research to those who tend to be marginalized or excluded by mainstream development initiatives. This will be critical for making agricultural research more client-oriented and demand-driven. (shrink)
This book presents a detailed analysis of three ancient models of spatial magnitude, time, and local motion. The Aristotelian model is presented as an application of the ancient, geometrically orthodox conception of extension to the physical world. The other two models, which represent departures from mathematical orthodoxy, are a "quantum" model of spatial magnitude, and a Stoic model, according to which limit entities such as points, edges, and surfaces do not exist in (physical) reality. The book is unique (...) in its discussion of these ancient models within the context of later philosophical, scientific, and mathematical developments. (shrink)
The issue of benefits in international clinical research is highly controversial. Against the background of wide recognition of the need to share benefits of research, the nature of benefits remains strongly contested. Little is known about the perspectives of research populations on this issue and the extent to which research ethics discourses and guidelines are salient to the expectations and aspirations existing on the ground. This exploratory study contributes to filling this void by examining perspectives of people in low-income South (...) African communities on benefits in international clinical research. Twenty-four individuals with and without experience of being involved in clinical research participated in in-depth interviews. Respondents felt that ancillary care should be provided to clinical research participants, while a clinical study conducted in particular community should bring better health to its members through post-trial benefits. Respondents' perspectives were grounded in the perception that the ultimate goal of international clinical research is to improve local health. We argue that perspectives and understandings of the respondents are shaped by local moral traditions rather than clinical research specificities and require attention as valid moral claims. It is necessary to acknowledge such claims and cultural worlds from which they emerge, thus building the foundation for equal and embracing dialogue to bridge different perspectives and handle contradicting expectations. (shrink)
For decades, the dominant research paradigm has included trials conducted in clinical settings with little involvement from communities. The move toward community engaged research (CEnR) necessitates the inclusion of diverse perspectives to address complex problems. Using a relationship paradigm, CEnR reframes the context, considerations, practical steps, and outcomes of research.
Shepard's internalization concept is defended against Hecht's criticisms. By ignoring both Shepard's evolutionary perspective and the fact that internalization does not preclude modularization, Hecht advances inconclusive evidence. Developmental research supports Shepard's conclusion that kinematic geometry may be more deeply internalized than physical dynamics. This research also suggests that the internalization concept should be broadened to include representations acquired during ontogeny. [Hecht; Shepard].
This article examines the ethical dilemmas faced by professional and academic researchers in the health field who undertake nonclinical or social research among patients or staff. The experiences of health researchers and health professionals in the UK are directly relevant to those undertaking similar health-related research in other parts of the world at a time when nonclinical research in health care is becoming widespread in all countries and cultures. This article addresses ethical dilemmas as they relate to researchers’ ability to (...) maintain confidentiality, their commitment to the welfare of respondents, and the tensions that arise from undertaking research for an employer. In addition, the danger of conducting covert research inadvertently may present unexpected ethical problems, which are discussed. Although it is impossible to provide a policy document to address all ethical dilemmas, this article does attempt to address the question of how best to approach health-related research in order to minimize the possibility of running into ethical problems at a later stage. (shrink)
Conducting research with vulnerable populations involves careful attention to the interests of individuals. Although it is generally understood that informed consent is a necessary prerequisite to research participation, it is less clear how to proceed when potential research participants lack the capacity to provide this informed consent. The rationale for assessing the assent or dissent of vulnerable individuals and obtaining informed consent by authorized representatives is discussed. Practical guidelines for recruitment of and data collection from people in the middle or (...) late stage of dementia are proposed. These guidelines were used by research assistants in a minimal risk study. (shrink)
A critical pathway for conceptual innovation in the social is the construction of theoretical ideas based on empirical data. Grounded theory has become a leading approach promising the construction of novel theories. Yet grounded theory-based theoretical innovation has been scarce in part because of its commitment to let theories emerge inductively rather than imposing analytic frameworks a priori. We note, along with a long philosophical tradition, that induction does not logically lead to novel theoretical insights. Drawing from the theory of (...) inference, meaning, and action of pragmatist philosopher Charles S. Peirce, we argue that abduction, rather than induction, should be the guiding principle of empirically based theory construction. Abduction refers to a creative inferential process aimed at producing new hypotheses and theories based on surprising research evidence. We propose that abductive analysis arises from actors' social and intellectual positions but can be further aided by careful methodological data analysis. We outline how formal methodological steps enrich abductive analysis through the processes of revisiting, defamiliarization, and alternative casing. (shrink)
Between the appearance of Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus in 1543 and the works of Kepler and Galileo that appeared in 1609–10, there were probably no more than a dozen converts to physical heliocentrism. Following Westman we take this list to include Rheticus, Maestlin, Rothmann, Kepler, Bruno, Galileo, Digges, Harriot, de Zúńiga, and Stevin, but we include Gemma Frisius and William Gilbert, and omit Thomas Harriot. In this paper we discuss the reasons this tiny group of true Copernicans give for believing (...) that Copernicus, not Ptolemy or Tycho Brahe, was correct. We conclude that the early followers of Copernicus can be divided into two main groups, designated mathematicians and physicists. Two main arguments appear in the works of the former: first, the relationship between the velocity of a planet and its distance from the center of the world; second, the explanation of retrogradations. Early Copernicans differed on the reality of celestial spheres, and several attempted to reconcile heliocentrism with scripture. The mathematicians continued to accept a traditional definition of the scope of astronomy and the methods of science, both issues challenged by Kepler and Galileo. Hence the work of Copernicus set in motion a train of events that led to a decisive epistemological shift, but did not itself represent such a shift. The real revolution is the replacement of the methods and goals of Ptolemaic astronomy and Aristotelian physics with Copernicanism in its modern form, which incorporates the conceptual structure of Kepler and the astronomical evidence of Galileo. (shrink)
The protection of human research subjects in clinical studies is regulated by international guidelines and national laws. Research Ethics Committees play an important role here, as they review the documentation for clinical studies under consideration of ethical aspects. This documentation includes an exclusion or wash-out period which designates when study subjects may not have participated in another study or be allowed to take part in a future one within a specified time period. However not all research subjects comply with their (...) applicable exclusion period. This prohibited multi-participation in clinical studies is known as ‘research subject tourism,’ ‘clinical study overlapping’, or ‘guinea-pigging’. This practice brings with it additional risks for the research subject and the integrity of the research being conducted. No comprehensive data are available to demonstrate exactly how many research subjects participate in overlapping multiple studies. However, the number of them who ‘travel’ from one study to another seems to be significant. Preventing this practice is a matter of concern for ethics committees, but the responsibility for protecting research subjects in this respect apart from approving the ethics of a wash-out period and recruiting from a specific pool or database of patients is solely that of the investigating physician. But how can the investigating physician be certain that a research subject complies with their exclusion period? An international data bank for research subjects who have participated, or are participating, in clinical studies, is a measure that would serve to prevent prohibited multi-participation in clinical studies and thereby protect the research subject, the investigating physician and their institution. VIP Check, International, which was founded by the author in 1990, is an example of such a data bank. This article examines the existence of prohibited multi-participation in clinical studies, the additional risk this practice of itself poses to the research subjects and the integrity of clinical studies, and how this practice might best be reduce or even eliminated through use of an international data bank of research subjects such as that of VIP Check. (shrink)
Research paradigms are only starting to emerge in relation to art and design practice. Consequently, research design in this domain often employs perspectives and methods developed in other disciplines. This paper traces the development of a proposal that combines theories from cognitive linguistics with graphic design practice. It describes the resulting challenges to and transformations of my long-held assumptions and understanding about graphic design and the communication process. It also outlines the way in which semantic analysis (a method from cognitive (...) linguistics) will be used in conjunction with different forms of visualisation--with visualisation used as a method to generate data for analysis as well as to present findings. Finally, it argues for an engagement by designers with conceptual metaphor theory and conceptual blending theory, as a way to facilitate reflection on design practice. (shrink)
Research assistantships have long been viewed as an extension of the formal education process, a form of apprenticeship, and a pathway into the professional practice of research in institutional settings. However, there are other contexts in which researchers practice research. Our self-reflective analysis identified that RAship experiences during the masters and the PhD may serve developmentally foundational roles in the advancement of an RA’s knowledge, skills, and passion for research. Further, analysis of participants’ experiences revealed that RA supervisors play critical (...) roles in the development of RAs as researchers. We conclude with the understanding that RAships may be formative in contributing to the development of individuals who go on to specialise as professional research consultants as research consulting is a natural extension of the RA role. Students entering into RAships, current RAs, new faculty members, current RA supervisors, faculty members looking to improve their research productivity, and Chairs of departments will all benefit from reading this paper and its contribution to the current understanding of how RAships impact the development of researchers, and specifically how RAships contribute to the development of research consultants. (shrink)
The authors co-organized (Snyder and Crooks) and gave a keynote presentation at (Turner) a conference on ethical issues in medical tourism. Medical tourism involves travel across international borders with the intention of receiving medical care. This care is typically paid for out-of-pocket and is motivated by an interest in cost savings and/or avoiding wait times for care in the patient’s home country. This practice raises numerous ethical concerns, including potentially exacerbating health inequities in destination and source countries and disrupting continuity (...) of care for patients. In this report, we synthesize conference presentations and present three lessons from the conference: 1) Medical tourism research has the potential for cross- or inter-disciplinarity but must bridge the gap between researchers trained in ethical theory and scholars unfamiliar with normative frameworks; 2) Medical tourism research must engage with empirical research from a variety of disciplines; and 3) Ethical analyses of medical tourism must incorporate both individual and population-level perspectives. While these lessons are presented in the context of research on medical tourism, we argue that they are applicable in other areas of research where global practices, such as human subject research and health worker migration, are occurring in the face of limited regulatory oversight. (shrink)
In 1979, neuroscientists Libet, Wright, Feinstein and Pearl introduced the “delay-and-antedating” hypothesis/paradox based on the results of an on-going series of experiments dating back to 1964 that measured the neural adequacy [brain wave activity] of “conscious sensory experience”. What is fascinating about the results of this experiment is the implication, especially when considered in the light of Merleau-Ponty’s notions of “intentionality” and the “pre-reflective life of human motility”, that the body, and hence not solely the mind, is a thinking thing. (...) The experiments and conclusions of Libet et al. have attracted considerable academic attention and have been used in the development of psychological theories on automotivism and the adaptive unconscious. Moreover, they have engendered a series of important considerations in respect of the question of free will. This paper outlines the connections between the findings of Libet et al. and Merleau-Ponty’s ontology as presented in the Phenomenology of Perception (1945/1962). It is not our intention to argue that the former amounts to new wine in old bottles, but rather to show counterfactually (since we offer no new scientific data and assume the conclusions of the experiments) that Merleau-Ponty’s ontology provides a theoretical framework which explains the experimental data obtained by Libet et al., and provides further speculative confirmation of the work stemming from neuro-physical research and emerging theories on the adaptive unconscious. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 7, Edition 1 May 2007. (shrink)
Summary This article examines the life and thought of Thomas Balogh and Nicholas Kaldor, two Hungarian-born British economists, to suggest how the personal background and émigré status of these economists changed their view of the British economy and the economic policy recommendations they put forward as high-profile government advisers in the post-1945 period. This article combines research on inter-war intellectual migration and the history of British economics and economic policy making after the Second World War. It shows how the large (...) scale migration of Central European intellectuals to the English-speaking countries affected the academic, intellectual and cultural lives of the host countries; it also suggests how economics, a relatively young social science discipline, has been crucially enriched by the contributions of exiles from old Europe, and how the mainstream paradigm of modern economics, the so-called neoclassical synthesis, was the result of the cross-fertilisation of ideas facilitated by the physical movement of academics and thinkers. (shrink)
Guidelines for health research focus on protecting individual research subjects. It is also vital to protect the communities involved in health research. In particular, a number of studies have been criticized on the grounds that they exploited host communities. The present paper attempts to address these concerns by providing an analysis of community exploitation and, based on this analysis, determining what safeguards are needed to protect communities in health research against exploitation. (edited).
It is widely believed that empathy is a good thing, from a moral point of view. It is something we should cultivate because it makes us better people. Perhaps that’s true. But it is also sometimes suggested that empathy is somehow necessary for morality. That is the hypothesis I want to interrogate and challenge. Not only is there little evidence for the claim that empathy is necessary, there is also reason to think empathy can interfere with the ends of morality. (...) A capacity for empathy might make us better people, but placing empathy at the center of our moral lives may be ill‐advised. That is not to say that morality shouldn’t centrally involve emotions. I think emotions are essential for moral judgment and moral motivation (Prinz, 2007). It’s just that empathetic emotions are not ideally suited for these jobs. Before embarking on this campaign against empathy, I want to say a little more about the target of the attack. What is empathy? And what would it mean to say empathy is necessary for morality? With respect to the first question, much has been written. Theories of empathy abound. Batson et al. (1995: 1042) define empathy as, “as an other‐oriented emotional response congruent with the perceived welfare of another person.” This is not the definition I will be using. Batson’s construct might be better characterized as “concern,” because of its focus on another person’s welfare. Indeed, in much of his research he talks about “empathetic concern.” Notice that this construct seems to be a combination of two separable things. Being concerned for someone is worrying about their welfare, which is something one can do even if one doesn’t feel what it would be like to be in their place. One can have concern for a plant, for example, and an insect, or even an artifact, like a beautiful building that has into disrepair. Empathy, seems to connote a kind of feeling that has to be at last possible for the object of empathy. If so, “empathetic concern” combines two different things—a find of feeling‐for an object and a feeling‐on‐behalf‐of an object. Much of the empirical literature, including the superb research that Batson has done, fails to isolate these components, and, as a result, some of the existing studies are confounded. They purport to show the value of empathy, but may really show the value of concern. My focus below will be on empathy, and I leave it as an open possibility that concern is highly important, if not necessary, for morality. Indeed, concern often seems to involve an element kind of moral anger, which I will argue is very important to morality. It is also important to distinguish empathy from sympathy. Suppose I feel outraged for someone who has been brainwashed into thinking she should follow a cult leader who is urging mass suicide. That would not necessarily qualify as empathy. As Darwall (1998: 261) points out, sympathy is a third‐person emotional response, whereas empathy involves putting oneself in another person’s shoes. But 1 Darwall’s definition is also somewhat problematic. He says, “Empathy consists in feeling what one imagines he feels, or perhaps should feel (fear, say), or in some imagined copy of these feelings, whether one comes thereby to be concerned … or not.” This definition has two features, which I would like to avoid. First, the appeal to imagination seems overly intellectual. Imagination sounds like a kind of mental act that requires effort on the part of the imaginer. As Darwell recognizes, empathy in its simplest form empathy is just emotional contagion: catching the emotion that another person feels (Hatfield et al., 1994; Hoffman, 2000). It seems inflated to call contagion an imaginative act. Also, I want to resist Darwall’s application of “empathy” to cases where one has a feeling that someone should feel, but does not feel. The problem is that this tends to blur the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Suppose I encounter a member of a cult who is delighted by the cult leader’s nefarious plans. The cult member should by afraid, but is not. If I feel fear on the cult member’s behalf, that is not putting myself in the cult member’s shoes. As I will use the term, empathy requires a kind of emotional mimicry. I do not wish to imply that empathy is always an automatic process, in the way that emotional contagion is. Sometimes imagination is requires, and sometimes we experience emotions that we think someone would be experiencing, even if we have not seen direct evidence that the emotion is, in fact, being experienced. For example, one might feel empathetic hope for a marathon runner who is a few steps behind the runner is first place, or anxiety for the first place runner, and the second place runner catches up. We can experience these feelings even if the runners’ facial expressions reveal little more than muscular contortions associated with concentration and physical exertion. A situation can reveal a feeling. The core idea, as I will use the term, is that empathy is a kind of vicarious emotion: it’s feeling what one takes another person to be feeling. And the “taking” here can be a matter of automatic contagion or the result of a complicated exercise of the imagination. I don’t think there is anything anachronistic about this notion of empathy. I think it has a long tradition in moral philosophy, even though the term “empathy” is only 100 years old. The British moralists, including David Hume and Adam Smith, used “sympathy” in way that is similar to the way I want to use “empathy.” Here is Smith (1759: II.i): “Whatever is the passion which arises from any object in the person principally concerned, an analogous emotion springs up, at the thought of his situation, in the breast of every attentive spectator.” My question, in the pages that follow, is whether empathy so‐defined is necessary for morality. I should note again, in advance, that the empirical literature does not always distinguish between the constructs I have been discussing, but I do think that all the studies I discuss below can, by inference at least, shed some light on empathy as defined here. The suggestion that empathy is necessary for morality can be interpreted in at least three different ways. One might hold the view that empathy is necessary for making moral judgment. One might think empathy is necessary for moral development. And one might think empathy is necessary for motivating moral conduct. I think each of these conjectures is false. Empathy is not necessary for any of these things. We can have moral systems without empathy. Of course, it doesn’t follow directly that empathy should be eliminated from morality. One might think the modal question—Can there be morality without empathy?—and the related.... (shrink)
: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, as change requires difference and nothing differs from itself. Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language, and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. Author Recommends Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Problem of Change.' Philosophy Compass 1 (2006): 1–10. This article presents the problem of change and provides a brief survey of potential solutions. Haslanger, Sally. 'Persistence Through Time.' The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics . Eds. M. Loux and D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. This article presents the problem of change and provides a detailed survey of potential solutions. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. This article presents, explains, and defends the temporal parts solution to the problem of change. Hinchliff, Mark. 'The Puzzle of Change.' Philosophical Perspectives 10 (1996): 119–36. This article presents, explains, and defends the presentist solution to the problem of change. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. This article presents, explains, and defends the relationist solution to the problem of change. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. This book provides an introduction to various issues related to the problem of change, including the nature of time, tense, and persistence. Chapter 5 presents, explains, and defends the stage-view solution to the problem of change. Online Materials Change. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/change/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on change, by Chris Mortensen. Time. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time, by Ned Markosian. Temporal Parts. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on temporal parts, by Katherine Hawley. Material Constitution. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/material-constitution/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on material constitution, by Ryan Wasserman. Persistence Bibliography. URL: http://tedsider.org/teaching/pp_bibliography.pdf A bibliography on change and related issues, by Theodore Sider. Sample Syllabus Books on Syllabus Rea, Michael. Material Constitution: A Reader . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. 2008. Metaphysics: The Big Questions . 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Week 1: Time and Tense Four-Dimensionalism , chapters 1 and 2. Markosian, Ned. 'A Defence of Presentism.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 47–82. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 116-123. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 124-129. Week 2: Time and Persistence Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 3. McGrath, Matthew. 'Temporal Parts.' Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 730–48. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 265-267. Hawthorne, J, Scala, M., and Wasserman, R. 'Recombination, Humean Supervenience, and Causal Constraints: An Argument for Temporal Parts?' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 301-318. Week 3: Change and Presentism In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 141-149. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 267-269. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 269-281. Week 4: Change and Temporal Parts Four-Dimensionalism , pp. 92–8. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. Lombard, Lawrence. 'The Doctrine of Temporal Parts and the "No Change" Objection.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 365–72. Week 5: Change, Relationism, and Adverbialism Hawley, Katherine. 'Why Temporary Properties are not Relations between Physical Objects and Times.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 211–16. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. Lewis, David. 'Tensing the Copula.' Mind 111 (2002): 1–13. Caplan, Ben. 'Why so Tense about the Copula?' Mind 114 (2007): 703–8. Week 6: Change and Tropes Ehring, Douglas. 'Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes.' Analysis 57 (1997): 254–8. MacBride, Fraser. 'Four New Ways to Change Your Shape.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2001): 81–9. Simons, Peter. 'On Being Spread Out in Time: Temporal Parts and the Problem of Change.' Existence and Explanation . Eds. W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, and B. Skyrms. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991: 131-147. Weeks 7 and 8: Special Topic – Material Change Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 5. Selections from Material Constitution: A Reader. Week 9: Special Topic – Change of Position In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 186-195. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 195-215. Week 10: Special topic – Changing the Past In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 224-235. van Iwagen, Peter. 'Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5 . Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 1-22. Hudson, H. and Wasserman, R. 'Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 41-49. (shrink)