Allhoff, Fritz, Patrick Lin, and Daniel Moore. 2010. What is nanotechnology and why does it matter? From science to ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 209-211 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9289-z Authors JenniferKuzma, University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave So, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2.
Risk analysis and regulatory systems are usually evaluated according to utilitarian frameworks, as they are viewed to operate “objectively” by considering the health, environmental, and economic impacts of technological applications. Yet, the estimation of impacts during risk analysis and the decisions in regulatory review are affected by value choices of actors and stakeholders; attention to principles such as autonomy, justice, and integrity; and power relationships. In this article, case studies of biotechnology are used to illustrate how non-utilitarian principles are prominent (...) in risk analysis and regulatory review and to argue that these relationships should be carefully considered as we consider nanotechnology oversight systems for its products. We argue that there are not distinct separations between “science-based” review systems, in which evaluations of the consequences of technological products are primarily considered, and principles of integrity, justice, non-maleficence, and autonomy. It should further be expected that, given research into fair treatment during decision-making processes, attention to ethics will affect how citizens assess emerging technologies. Finally, a more holistic approach for evaluating oversight systems for the products of nanotechnology is suggested, one which does not draw a sharp distinction between risk analysis, regulation, and respect for non-utilitarian values. (shrink)
The U.S. oversight system for genetically engineered organisms was evaluated to develop hypotheses and derive lessons for oversight of other emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology. Evaluation was based upon quantitative expert elicitation, semi-standardized interviews, and historical literature analysis. Through an interdisciplinary policy analysis approach, blending legal, ethical, risk analysis, and policy sciences viewpoints, criteria were used to identify strengths and weaknesses of GEOs oversight and explore correlations among its attributes and outcomes. From the three sources of data, hypotheses and broader (...) conclusions for oversight were developed. Our analysis suggests several lessons for oversight of emerging technologies: the importance of reducing complexity and uncertainty in oversight for minimizing financial burdens on small product developers; consolidating multi-agency jurisdictions to avoid gaps and redundancies in safety reviews; consumer benefits for advancing acceptance of GEO products; rigorous and independent pre- and post-market assessment for environmental safety; early public input and transparency for ensuring public confidence; and the positive role of public input in system development, informed consent, capacity, compliance, incentives, and data requirements and stringency in promoting health and environmental safety outcomes, as well as the equitable distribution of health impacts. Our integrated approach is instructive for more comprehensive analyses of oversight systems, developing hypotheses for how features of oversight systems affect outcomes, and formulating policy options for oversight of future technological products, especially nanotechnology products. (shrink)
The emergence of nanotechnology, and specifically nanobiotechnology, raises major oversight challenges. In the United States, government, industry, and researchers are debating what oversight approaches are most appropriate. Among the federal agencies already embroiled in discussion of oversight approaches are the Food and Drug Administration , Environmental Protection Agency , Department of Agriculture , Occupational Safety and Health Administration , and National Institutes of Health . All can learn from assessment of the successes and failures of past oversight efforts aimed at (...) emerging technologies. This article reports on work funded by the National Science Foundation aimed at learning the lessons of past oversight efforts. The article offers insights that emerge from comparing five oversight case studies that examine oversight of genetically engineered organisms in the food supply, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals in the workplace, and gene therapy. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis, the authors present a new way of evaluating oversight. (shrink)
There is a “revolving door” between federal agencies and the industries regulated by them. Often, at the end of their industry tenure, key industry personnel seek employment in government regulatory entities and vice versa. The flow of workers between the two sectors could bring about good. Industry veterans might have specialized knowledge that could be useful to regulatory bodies and former government employees could help businesses become and remain compliant with regulations. But the “revolving door” also poses at least three (...) ethical and policy challenges that have to do with public trust and fair representation. First, the presence of former key industry personnel on review boards could adversely impact the public’s confidence in regulatory decisions about new technology products, including agrifood biotechnologies. Second, the ‘‘revolving door’’ may result in policy decisions about technologies that are biased in favor of industry interests. And third, the ‘‘revolving door’’ virtually guarantees industry a voice in the policy-making process, even though other stakeholders have no assurance that their concerns will be addressed by regulatory agencies. We believe these three problems indicate a failure of regulatory review for new technologies. The review process lacks credibility because, at the very least, it is procedurally biased in favor of industry interests. We argue that prohibiting the flow of personnel between regulatory agencies and industry would not be a satisfactory solution to the three problems of public trust and just representation. To address them, regulatory entities must reject the traditional notion of objectivity. Instead they should adopt the conception of objectivity developed by Sandra Harding and re-configure their regulatory review on the basis of it. That will ensure that a heterogeneous group of stakeholders is at the decision-making table. The fair representation of interests of different constituencies in the review process could do much to inspire warranted public confidence in regulatory protocols and decisions. (shrink)
Growing public concern and uncertainties surrounding emerging technologies suggest the need for socially-responsible behavior of companies in the development and implementation of oversight systems for them. In this paper, we argue that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important aspect of nanotechnology oversight given the role of trust in shaping public attitudes about nanotechnology and the lack of data about the health and environmental risks of nanoproducts. We argue that CSR is strengthened by the adoption of stakeholder-driven models and attention (...) to moral principles in policies and programs. In this context, we examine drivers of CSR, contextual and leadership factors that influence CSR, and strategies for CSR. To illustrate these concepts, we discuss existing cases of CSR-like behavior in nanotechnology companies, and then provide examples of how companies producing nanomedicines can exhibit morally-driven CSR behavior. (shrink)
The diversity of nanotechnologies and of the governance challenges that their applications raise calls for exploration and learning across different cases. We present an Upstream Oversight Assessment (UOA) of expected benefits and potential harms of nanoparticles made of a synthetic polymer (PLGA) to improve vaccines for farmed salmon. Suggested by JenniferKuzma and colleagues, an UOA may help identify and prioritise research needs, and it may support evaluations of the adequacy of relevant existing regulatory frameworks. In this work, (...) the UOA approach is modified and supported with elements from the uncertainty analysis framework developed by Warren Walker and colleagues. Empirically, we draw on relevant available published literature and insights generated in an ongoing nanoparticle salmon vaccine project, in which one of the authors participates. Nanotechnologies have not previously been encountered in the regulatory context of fish vaccines, which in part raises unique challenges due to prospective large scale vaccine use in semi-open aquatic systems. Strengthened through cooperation between ELSA and technology researchers we found the UOA useful for an early mapping of benefits and concerns, and for identifying areas in need of further research prior to a nanoparticle based salmon vaccine is developed and taken into use. We consider our approach to represent one among several complementing initiatives that seek to contribute to early stage evaluations of possible negative side effects, broadly conceived, in order to facilitate a more robust nanotechnology development. (shrink)
This commentary provides a brief overview of the methods and results presented by JenniferKuzma, Pouya Najmaie, and Joel Larson in “Evaluating Oversight Systems for Emerging Technologies: A Case Study of Genetically Engineered Organisms.” It offers suggestions regarding how supplemental information might be used to gain additional insights into the authors' results and how future research could further enhance our understanding of the attributes and outcomes of regulatory oversight for genetically engineered organisms.
Philosophers of language have long recognized that in opaque contexts, such as those involving propositional attitude reports, substitution of co-referring names may not preserve truth value. For example, the name ‘Clark Kent’ cannot be substituted for ‘Superman’ in a context like:1. Lois believes that Superman can flywithout a change in truth value. In an earlier paper , Jennifer Saul demonstrated that substitution failure could also occur in ‘simple sentences’ where none of the ordinary opacity-producing conditions existed, such as:2. Superman (...) leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent does.Accounts focusing on opacity were unable to explain our ‘anti-substitution intuitions’ in such cases.In Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Saul extends her earlier work. She provides a comprehensive presentation and criticism of recent accounts of simple sentence substitution failure, and proposes a new approach drawing on psychological evidence about cognitive processing. Saul's purpose is not merely to solve the substitution puzzle cases, but to make …. (shrink)
Intuitions play an important role in contemporary epistemology. Over the last decade, however, experimental philosophers have published a number of studies suggesting that epistemic intuitions may vary in ways that challenge the widespread reliance on intuitions in epistemology. In a recent paper, Jennifer Nagel offers a pair of arguments aimed at showing that epistemic intuitions do not, in fact, vary in problematic ways. One of these arguments relies on a number of claims defended by appeal to the psychological literature (...) on intuitive judgment and on mental state attribution (also known as “theory of mind”, “mindreading” and “folk psychology”). I call this the "theoretical argument". The other argument relies on recent experimental work carried out by Nagel and her collaborators. It is my contention that in setting out her theoretical argument, Nagel offers an account of the relevant scientific literature that is, in crucial respects, flawed and misleading. My main goal in this paper is to rectify these errors and to make it clear that, once this is done, Nagel’s theoretical argument collapses. Since Nagel’s experimental work has not yet been published, and available details are very sketchy, I do not discuss this work in detail. However, in the final section of the paper I offer some critical observations about Nagel’s strategy for dealing with empirical data that does not support her view – both other people’s and her own. (shrink)
Jennifer Windt’s Dreaming is an enormously rich and thorough book, developing illuminating connections between dreaming, the methodology of psychology, and various philosophical subfields. I’ll focus on two epistemological threads that run through the book. The first has to do with the status of certain assumptions about dreams. Windt argues that the assumptions that dreams involve experiences, and that dream reports are reliable — are methodologically necessary default assumptions, akin to Wittgensteinian hinge propositions. I’ll suggest that Windt is quietly pre-supposing (...) some sceptical assumptions, and that recent literature in epistemic externalism may bear in important ways on her arguments. The second thread involves the perennial sceptical worry that dreaming threatens ordinary knowledge. I’ll suggest again that Windt makes tacit sceptical assumptions one may wish to resist. (shrink)
In this important book, Jennifer Scuro's lived experience presents a challenge to common ideas and assumptions about motherhood, femininity, and anti-abortion politics, as well as to the familiar content and form of philosophy. It is centered on an intensely personal, 176-page graphic novel that details the vivid aspects of Scuro's own miscarriage. Her experience serves as a philosophical allegory, challenging neoliberal and ableist assumptions that presume normalcy, expect results, and promise the false freedom of choice. Initially fitting the script (...) of "normal" motherhood and femininity, Scuro's experience brought her to the "razor's edge" of her cisgender, white privilege. The cutting truth of her story is that... (shrink)
Jennifer Hornsby’s 1997 paper, ‘Truth: The Identity Theory’, has been highly influential in making the identity theory of truth a viable option in contemporary philosophy. In this introduction and commentary I focus on what distinguishes her theory and its methodology from the correspondence theory and the ‘substantivist’ methodology, and on other issues that have not been widely discussed in earlier commentaries yet are central to the current debate on truth.
Becoming Human by Jennifer Greenwood is one of the most thought-provoking books on emotion and its expression I have read. At its core, it attempts to provide an account of the development of full human emotionality and in so doing argues the emotions are “transcranial.” Emotions are radically realized outside our nervous systems and beyond our skin. As children, we are functionally integrated affectively with our mothers; so much so that in a sense our emotions are not ours alone. (...) Regardless of whether one agrees with her radical claims, it is a must-read for those interested in emotion and expression. In order to appreciate the significance of this book, let me sketch its contents and raise a few criticisms.Many... (shrink)
En dépit de sa date de parution un peu ancienne, il semble important de signaler cet ouvrage aux lecteurs de ce numéro de Clio. Les évaluations péjoratives de la conversation féminine sont, comme on sait, un des lieux communs les plus anciens et les plus ancrés ; « bavardage », « caquetage », « ragots »... sont quelques-uns des termes métaphoriques qui stigmatisent une façon d'échanger et un style de contenu situés au plus loin de la parole sûre et pondérée (...) des hommes. Jennifer Coates .. (shrink)
Jennifer Greenwood's Becoming Human: The Ontogenesis, Metaphysics, and Expression of Human Emotionality is an innovative exploration of the empirical literature on human development and its implications for the extended mind debate. Greenwood argues that an examination of the emotional and linguistic development of children, especially the unique relationship between mothers and infants, supports transcranialism. I summarize her argument and then point to some of the strengths and weaknesses of her position.
Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor’s Postmodern Utopias and Feminist Fictions represents not only a significant contribution in utopian studies; it is also a major intervention in contemporary literary studies and global cultural studies more generally. Each of the book’s chapters is structured around a specific set of formal and generic questions, exploring in great detail and with a tremendous amount of insight recent feminist revisionings of older genres, including the bildungsroman, the novel of art, nonlinear histories, American historical novels, and finally, in (...) an extraordinary turn, the works of contemporary Arab feminist writers, which, Wagner-Lawlor shows, “directly address the nature of the work left to do, as.. (shrink)
In their excellent new volume, Asian and Feminist Philosophies in Dialogue: Liberating Traditions, editors Jennifer McWeeny and Ashby Butnor offer a vision for philosophy that begins with the insight that philosophy is an activity: it is something that we do rather than simply learn about. As an activity—or even, at times, a performance—philosophy both shapes and is shaped by the social world, a world of power hierarchies, economic realities, and political strategies. Conceiving of philosophy as a socially situated activity (...) highlights its liberatory potential. The activity of philosophy can liberate or constrain; it can empower a person or diminish her. This volume seizes on this insight by employing what Butnor... (shrink)
In her recent study, Kant's Organicism.Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy, Jennifer Mensch employs the technical term "organicism" to designate both Kant’s thinking about organisms and his thinking about other matters–chiefly among those transcendental cognition –in terms of his thinking about organisms. The article places Mensch's organicist reading of Kant into the wider context of recent and current work on Kant as a natural historian and its repercussion for understanding the critical core of Kant’s philosophy. To that end, (...) the article addresses the methodological function of conceptual metaphors in general and of biological metaphors in particular in Kant. The article proceeds in three steps, first focusing on an alleged anthropological turn in recent work on Kant, then addressing the distinction between schematism and symbolism in Kant’s critical epistemology and concluding with a consideration of the possibilities and limitations inherent in an organicist reading of Kant. (shrink)
During this period, when disciples were growing in number, a grievance arose on the part of those who spoke Greek, against those who spoke the language of the Jews; they complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. When Americans think of ethnic conflict, conflict between blacks and whites comes to mind most immediately. Yet ethnic conflict is pervasive around the world. Azerbijanis and Turks in the Soviet Union; Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland; Arabs and Jews (...) in the Middle East; Maoris and English settlers in New Zealand; Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan; French and English speakers in Quebec; Africans, Afrikaaners, and mixed-race people in South Africa, in addition to the tribal warfare among the Africans themselves: these are just a few of the more obvious conflicts currently in the news. We observe an even more dizzying array of ethnic conflicts if we look back just a few years. Japanese and Koreans; Mongols and Chinese; Serbs and Croats; Christians and Buddhists in Viet Nam: these ancient antagonisms are not immediately in the news, but they could erupt at any time. And the history of the early Christian Church recounted in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that suspicion among ethnic groups is not a modern phenomenon; rather, it is ancient. The present paper seeks to address the problem of ethnic conflict in modern western democracies. How can our tools and traditions of participatory governments, relatively free markets, and the common law contribute to some resolution of the ancient problems that we find within our midst? In particular, I want to focus here on the question of ethnic integration. (shrink)
In this response paper I defend an alternative position to both Jennifer McMahon’s neo-Kantian view on the aesthetics of perceptual experience, and the sense-data theory that she rightly repudiates. McMahon argues that sense perception is informed by concepts “all the way out,” and that the empiricist notion of unmediated sensuous access to entities in the world is untenable. She further claims that art is demanding inasmuch as it compels one to engage in an open-ended, cognitive interpretive process with sensuous (...) phenomena, and that it is this very process that opens up a space for critique of the entrenched representational concepts by which we navigate the world. In contrast, I argue that the sensuous itself is a source of demand. Perceptual objects, in virtue of their material constitution, are inexhaustible plexuses of meaning that demand a kind of sensuous, interpretive response on the part of our bodily posture and orientation. Works of art offer opportunities for critique insofar as they reveal dimensions of sensuous reality hitherto covered over by status quo conceptual distributions. McMahon is right that sensuous objects are never simply given. But, I claim, she is wrong to suggest that it is only by way of conceptual mediation that we make contact with the world. On the contrary, the sensuous self-presentation of things is always at the same time a demand on our sensory apparatus that resists encapsulation by concepts. (shrink)
In 'What Luck Is Not', Lackey presents counterexamples to the two most prominent accounts of luck: the absence of control account and the modal account. I offer an account of luck that conjoins absence of control to a modal condition. I then show that Lackey's counterexamples mislocate the luck: the agents in her cases are lucky, but the luck precedes the event upon which Lackey focuses, and that event is itself only fortunate, not lucky. Finally I offer an account of (...) fortune. Fortune is luck-involving, and therefore easily confused with luck, but it is not itself lucky. (shrink)
It seems philosophers often feel compelled to assess the continuing relevance of their chosen fields of specialization and/or their favorite philosophers. While this volume does not set out to prove that the philosophy of John Dewey is of continuing relevance (and it is difficult to imagine how one would prove such a thing), several of the included essays explicitly argue that Dewey's work provides resources to advance contemporary philosophical debates. The collection was assembled from essays presented at a June 2009 (...) conference at the University of Opole in southern Poland, held in honor of the 150th anniversary of Dewey's birth. The very fact that sesquicentennial conferences like this one were held all over .. (shrink)