We argue that the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report, Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity, are methodologically and ethically confused. We argue that a proper understanding of evolution and complexity theory in terms of the science and ethics of using chimpanzees in biomedical research would have had led the committee to recommend not merely limiting but eliminating the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research. Specifically, we argue that a proper understanding of the difference (...) between the gross level of examination of species and examinations on finer levels can shed light on important methodological and ethical inconsistencies leading to ignorance of potentially unethical practices and policies regarding the use of animals in scientific research. (shrink)
Patient consent has been formulated in terms of radical individualism rather than shared benefits. Medical education relies on the provision of patient consent to provide medical students with the training and experience to become competent doctors. Pelvic examination represents an extreme case in which patients may legitimately seek to avoid contact with inexperienced medical students particularly where these are male. However, using this extreme case, this paper will examine practices of framing and obtaining consent as perceived by medical students. This (...) paper reports findings of an exploratory qualitative study of medical students and junior doctors. Participants described a number of barriers to obtaining informed consent. These related to misunderstandings concerning student roles and experiences and insufficient information on the nature of the examination. Participants reported perceptions of the negative framing of decisions on consent by nursing staff where the student was male. Potentially coercive practices of framing of the decision by senior doctors were also reported. Participants outlined strategies they adopted to circumvent patients’ reasons for refusal. Practices of framing the information used by students, nurses and senior doctors to enable patients to decide about consent are discussed in the context of good ethical practice. In the absence of a clear ethical model, coercion appears likely. We argue for an expanded model of autonomy in which the potential tension between respecting patients’ autonomy and ensuring the societal benefit of well-trained doctors is recognised. Practical recommendations are made concerning information provision and clear delineations of student and patient roles and expectations. (shrink)
In 1755, Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake whose aftershocks were felt across Europe. One of the less well-known responses to this abyssal event is that offered by Kant in his three essays on earthquakes and their causes. According to Irigaray, Kant's concern with an earth that moves is not incidental, but central to the emergence of his critical project. The goal of this paper is to trace a line from Kant's earthquake essays, through his later writings on the sublime, (...) to Irigaray's critique of the Kantian project and her positive re-appropriation of a matter that moves, a well as the sublime figure of the abyss. I will suggest that, in her work, the abyss is transformed from a rupturing cleft into a shelter for sexuate difference, and from a site of terror into a space for wonder. (shrink)
Social robotics is a rapidly developing industry-oriented area of research, intent on making robots in social roles commonplace in the near future. This has led to rising interest in the dynamics as well as ethics of human-robot relationships, described here as a nascent relational turn. A contrast is drawn with the 1990s’ paradigm shift associated with relational-self themes in social psychology. Constructions of the human-robot relationship reproduce the “I-You-Me” dominant model of theorising about the self with biases that (as in (...) social constructionism) consistently accentuate externalist or “interactionist” standpoints as opposed to internalist or “individualistic”. Perspectives classifiable as “ecological relationalism” may compensate for limitations of interactionist-individualistic dimension. Implications for theorising subjectivity are considered. (shrink)
Plato’s Socrates is often thought to hold that wisdom or virtue is sufficient for happiness, and Euthydemus 278-282 is often taken to be the locus classicus for this sufficiency thesis in Plato’s dialogues. But this view is misguided: Not only does Socrates here fail to argue for, assert, or even implicitly assume the sufficiency thesis, but the thesis turns out to be hard to square with the argument he does give. I argue for an interpretation of the passage that explains (...) the central importance of wisdom for Socrates without committing him to the sufficiency thesis. The result is that the Euthydemus displays a plausible but distinctively Socratic argument for making the pursuit of wisdom the central concern of one’s life. (shrink)
This paper examines the ways in which Luce Irigaray and Jean-François Lyotard critique western metaphysics by drawing on notions of birth and infancy. It shows how both thinkers position birth as an event of beginning that can be reaffirmed in every act of initiation and recommencement. Irigaray's reading of Diotima's speech from Plato's Symposium is positioned as a key text for this project alongside a number of essays by Lyotard in which he explores the potency of infancy as the condition (...) of philosophy itself. Despite this potency, however, Lyotard suggests that metaphysics is haunted by a melancholia that is inseparable from the limits of thought. I argue that Irigaray is able both to explain why western metaphysics is constitutively melancholic and to offer a shift in perspective that means we are not inevitably condemned to melancholia. The paper concludes that while Lyotard's account of infancy challenges the terms of western metaphysics from within, Irigaray's reassessment of our beginnings in birth offers the possibility of an alternative metaphysical horizon. (shrink)
This paper takes a critical look at the applicability of the Jungian view on individuation and imagination. While Jungian ideas can bring something fresh and necessary into educational practice, personal enthusiasm might blind us to a dissonance between educational goals and the therapeutic goal of analytical psychology. The case is made with particular attention to some work in the field of transformative learning in adult education.
The internet is widely used for health information and support, often by vulnerable people. Internet-based research raises both familiar and new ethical problems for researchers and ethics committees. While guidelines for internet-based research are available, it is unclear to what extent ethics committees use these. Experience of gaining research ethics approval for a UK study (SharpTalk), involving internet-based discussion groups with young people who self-harm and health professionals is described. During ethical review, unsurprisingly, concerns were raised about the vulnerability of (...) potential participants. These were dominated by the issue of anonymity, which also affected participant safety and consent. These ethical problems are discussed, and our solutions, which included: participant usernames specific to the study, a closed website, private messaging facilities, a direct contact email to researchers, information about forum rules displayed on the website, a ‘report’ button for participants, links to online support, and a discussion room for forum moderators. This experience with SharpTalk suggests that an approach to ethics, which recognises the relational aspects of research with vulnerable people, is particularly useful for internet-based health research. The solutions presented here can act as guidance for researchers developing proposals and for ethics committees reviewing them. (shrink)
In De Interpretatione 6-9, Aristotle considers three logical principles: the principle of bivalence, the law of excluded middle, and the rule of contradictory pairs (according to which of any contradictory pair of statements, exactly one is true and the other false). Surprisingly, Aristotle accepts none of these without qualification. I offer a coherent interpretation of these chapters as a whole, while focusing special attention on two sorts of statements that are of particular interest to Aristotle: universal statements not made universally (...) and future particular statements. With respect to the former, I argue that Aristotle takes them to be indeterminate and so to violate the rule of contradictory pairs. With respect to the latter, the subject of the much discussed ninth chapter, I argue that the rule of contradictory pairs, and not the principle of bivalence, is the focus of Aristotle's refutation. Nevertheless, Aristotle rejects bivalence for future particular statements. (shrink)
Objectives To investigate risk perception relating to living kidney donation, to compare the risk donors would accept with current practice and identify influential factors. Design An observational study consisting of questionnaires completed by previous living donors and the general public. Participants selected the risk they would accept from a list of options, in various scenarios. Risk communication was investigated by randomly dividing the sample and presenting risk differently. Setting Primary care (two centres) and secondary care (one centre), London. Participants 175 (...) questionnaires were sent to patients who had previously undergone living-donor nephrectomy and to members of the public consulting a general practitioner. The living-donor sample comprised 77 consecutive donors at Guy's Hospital from May 2003 to January 2005. The general-public sample was recruited from two London healthcare centres. Of the eventual 151 participants, 61 were living donors and 90 were from the general public. Main outcome measure The amount of risk a participant would accept to donate a kidney. Results 74% of participants were willing to accept a risk of death higher than 1/3000. The most commonly accepted risk was 1/2 (29%). Those presented with a ‘chance of survival’ accepted higher risks than those presented with a ‘risk of death’ (p<0.01). Greater risks were accepted when the recipient was closely related and, for some, when the recipient's prognosis was worse. No difference was observed between the living-donor and general-public groups. Conclusions Kidney donors will accept a higher risk of death than is currently quoted, especially if risks are presented in terms of chance of survival. (shrink)
This paper discusses the uses of technology in teaching philosophy courses. Where technology is currently utilized, it can be intrinsicallyappropriate or instrumentally inappropriate as a methodology for producing greater student interest, engagement, and positive outcomes. The paper introduces an easily implemented assignment where students produce videos on DVDs in partial fulfillment of requirements for philosophy courses. I argue that, used in philosophy courses, this assignment allows students to be creative, fosters peer dialogue about philosophy, creates excitement in these courses, and (...) decreases the intergenerational distance between paper-bound and lecture courses with the burgeoning world of media-driven technologies. After experimenting with this assignment strategy for several years, I have concluded that the DVD project assignment is an innovative, effective, and simple technological tool for teaching philosophy. (shrink)
Historically, for Black writers, literary fiction has been a site for transforming the discursive disciplinary spaces of political oppression. From 19th century “slave narratives” to the 20th century, Black novelists have created an impressive literary counter-canon in advancing liberatory struggles. W.E.B. Du Bois argued that “all art is political.” Many Black writers have used fiction to create spaces for political and social freedom—from the early work of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859)—to (...) the enduring works of the Harlem Renaissance (Toomer, Hurston, and Schuyler)—to the great revolutionary Black literature after WWII (Wright, Baldwin, Williams)—to contemporary Black writers (Toni Morrison, Edward Jones, Samuel Delany)—Black fictive space continues to be a necessary site for resistance. Black literary fiction is a vast counter-canon to mainstream literature which unquestioningly reinforces global white supremacy, capitalistic political oppressions, and the dominance/subordinance relations upon which they depend. (shrink)
I argue that the problem of religious luck posed by Zagzebski poses a problem for the theory of hell proposed by Buckareff and Plug, according to which God adopts an open-door policy toward those in hell. Though escapism is not open to many of the criticisms Zagzebski raises against potential solutions to the problem of luck, escapism fails to solve the problem: it merely pushes luck forward into the afterlife. I suggest a hybrid solution to the problem which combines escapism (...) and the claim that God gives enough grace to those in hell to cancel out any bad moral luck. (shrink)
It is well known anecdotally that, for many people in dementia, the appreciation of music outlasts other faculties. Could the residual musicality constitute a 'musical self', an enduring fragment of the person that the sufferer used to be? The question, as far we know, has not been raised before. Towards formulating the hypothesis, this article examines some of the available research and theorizing concerning the self and the neurology of music and dementia. A unified neurocognitive 'musical self' system seems plausible, (...) though at present the evidence is sketchy. Social-relational aspects of both selfhood and musical experience are also considered, and a case history is presented so as to highlight their importance for understanding the complex relationship between music, dementia, and selfhood. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore political identity for African Americans in an era where the stated aim of the U.S. is global dominance. In ordinary language, I am interested in how blacks can effectively engage in dissent, civil disobedience, protest, insurrection, and revolutionary actions while surviving in an atmosphere where the majority believe either Bush I’s “A friend of my enemy is my enemy,” or Bush II’s “If you harbor terrorists, you’re a terrorist; if you aid and abet terrorists, you’re (...) a terrorist—and you’ll be treated like one.” This paper attempts to interrogate how African Americans—who identify with globally oppressed and distressed peoples—can survive while actively protesting within an armed camp. Or does being black in America mean that one is either a terrorist sympathizer or anUncle Tom? The answers to these questions require a coalition of the unwilling. (shrink)
The validity of assessment programs is increasingly important in higher education. Existing approaches to assessment are problematic because they eitherfail to provide timely feedback or have suspect measurement issues. We propose a feed-forward assessment model to help overcome these two limitations oftraditional assessment approaches.
The role of corporate counsel in the corporate governance process has been long overlooked. This paper uses recent comments by Breeden as the springboard for a discussion of the issues surrounding significant roles for lawyers in corporations. It considers these both from a practical and a theoretical perspective and identifies why it is problematic merely to assume hiring lawyers will ensure good compliance both in terms of legal and ethical obligations.
Admissions to upper-tier universities have become increasingly competitive. The erosion of gains made during the Civil Rights Era is evidenced by recent legal actions at the University of Michigan. In this paper I argue that affirmative action programs remain a necessary means for achieving social justice. Further, I argue that more than mere affirmative action, what is also required is Nancy Fraser’s “Transformative Action.” To reach these conclusions, the paper is divided into three parts: (1) The continued assault on Affirmative (...) Action; (2) the SAT and race; and (3) transformative action. (shrink)