Software agents that play a role in E-commerce and E-government applications involving the Internet often contain information about the identity of their human user such as credit cards and bank accounts. This paper discusses whether this is necessary: whether human users and software agents are allowed to be anonymous under the relevant legal regimes and whether an adequate interaction and balance between law and anonymity can be realised from both the perspective of Computer Systems and the perspective of Law.
Software agents extend the current, information-based Internet to include autonomous mobile processing. In most countries such processes, i.e., software agents are, however, without an explicit legal status. Many of the legal implications of their actions (e.g., gathering information, negotiating terms, performing transactions) are not well understood. One important characteristic of mobile software agents is that they roam the Internet: they often run on agent platforms of others. There often is no pre-existing relation between the owner of a running agents process (...) and the owner of the agent platform on which an agent process runs. When conflicts arise, the position of the agent platform administrator is not clear: is he or she allowed to slow down the process or possibly remove it from the system? Can the interests of the user of the agent be protected? This article explores legal and technical perspectives in protecting the integrity and availability of software agents and agent platforms. (shrink)
Witnessing in merging biological, social and algorithmic realities is crucial to trust, as modelled in the YUTPA framework. Being witness and bearing witness is fundamental to human interaction. System participation in human communities of practice challenges the notion of witnessing and therefore the ability to build trust. Nevertheless, through trial and error, people in a variety of practices have found ways to establish the presence and develop trust in merging realities. This paper presents the results of 20 in-depth interviews with (...) professionals from a variety of disciplines and nations. The conclusion of cumulative analysis is that systems do not witness themselves, but their output deeply affects the mental maps that human beings make of each other, the world around them and their own self. Essential qualities human beings seek when being involved with other beings are defined by granularity and reciprocity in the design of time (duration of engagement, synchronizing performance, integrating rhythms and moments to signify), place (body sense, material interaction, emotional space and situated agency), relation (shared meaning, engagement, reputation and use) and action (tuning, reciprocity, negotiation and quality of deeds). By designing granular interaction in 4 dimensions, reciprocity in witnessing obtains significance and the basis for establishing trust in a variety of presences emerges while human agency acquires potential. (shrink)
Developing a simple test to identify swiftly neonates with sepsis who carry the genetic variant which means that one dose of the recommended antibiotic, gentamicin, will cause the child to become profoundly deaf looks like an admirable objective. The baby needs antibiotics and needs them within 1 hour of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. Conventional genetic tests take much longer to yield results. The test being trialled produces results in 25 min; a baby who carries the variant can (...) be treated with a different antibiotic. All the test requires is a gentle swab of the baby’s inner cheek. Babies can be treated for potentially fatal sepsis without the risk that the drugs designed to save their lives will cost them their hearing. Parents and healthcare staff are relieved of worry—a great idea? PALOH is not a trial of the safety or efficacy of the test, only to assess how feasible it will be to carry out this test in a busy NICU, without disrupting the care of the baby. A tiny painless ‘scrape’ will take a sample of DNA—what’s the fuss about? Several other invasive and painful procedures will be carried out without a fuss.1 The problem is DNA. Genetic information must be safeguarded from falling into the wrong hands. In section 45 of Human Tissue Act 2004, Parliament legislated to prohibit non-consensual DNA testing.1 It fits uncomfortably in a statute designed to regulate retention and uses of human material, after revelations that organs and tissue from the …. (shrink)
In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that only a form of philosophizing that sprung from a deep commitment to the subject could ever hope for success. ‘All great problems,’ he wrote, ‘demand great love.’ He continued: It makes the most telling difference whether a thinker has a personal relationship to his problems and finds in them his destiny, his distress, and his greatest happiness, or an ‘impersonal’ one, meaning he is only able to touch them with the antennae of (...) cold, curious thought. In the latter case nothing will come of it, that much can be promised; for even if great problems should let themselves be grasped by them, they would not allow frogs and weaklings to hold on to them. Nietzsche went on to complain that, to his knowledge, no one had yet approached moral philosophy in this way: Why, then, have I never yet encountered anyone, not even in books, who approached morality in this personal way and who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own personal distress, torment, voluptuousness, and passion? Alex Voorhoeve run01.tex V1 - 07/29/2009 7:23am Page 16.. (shrink)
Formulated by Aquinas, commented on by post-Copernican philosophers and theologians, analysed in depth by C.S. Lewis, and deliberated by some contemporary writers, the question of multiple incarnations either within humanity or amongst extra-terrestrial sentient species is all too intermittently examined: ‘Can the Christ be incarnated more than once in our reality, or somewhere else in the universe, or another reality?’ In this paper, we examine the debate and the conclusions: that is, Lewis’s position within his philosophical theology and his analogical (...) narratives; also, some contemporary philosophers of religion and theologians (Karl Rahner, with Christopher L. Fisher and David Fergusson; Sjoerd L. Bonting and William B. Drees; E.L. Mascall and Brian Hebblethwaite; Oliver Crisp and Keith Ward). How do they relate to Aquinas’s handling of the question and how do they compare with Lewis’s approach based on a theology of the imagination (grounded in Augustine and Alice Meynell)? Can Lewis resolve the argument? Could alien species have witnessed wholly different acts, equally unique, costly to God, and necessary to the process of salvation? Any answer or explanation relates to the function and purpose of the incarnation: the Fall, original sin—therefore, how we define the boundaries, limits, of atonement. (shrink)
Modern medicine is built on a long history of medical experimentation. Experiments in the past often exploited more vulnerable patients. Questionable ethics litter the history of medicine. Without such experiments, however, millions of lives would be forfeited. This paper asks whether all the ``unethical'' experiments of the past were unjustifiable, and do we still exploit the poorer members of the community today? It concludes by wondering if Harris is right in his advocacy of a moral duty to participate in medical (...) research. (shrink)
This paper explores difficulties around consent in the context of organ retention and return. It addresses the proposals of the Independent Review Group in Scotland on the Retention of Organs at Post Mortem to speak of authorisation rather than consent. Practical problems about whose consent determines disputes in relation to organ retention are explored. If a young child dies and his mother refuses consent but his father agrees what should ensue? Should the expressed wishes of a deceased adult override the (...) objections of surviving relatives? The paper suggests much broader understanding of the issues embedded in organ retention is needed to provide solutions which truly meet families' and society's needs. (shrink)
Many philosophers are sceptical about the power of philosophy to refute commonsensical claims. They look at the famous attempts and judge them inconclusive. I prove that even if those famous attempts are failures, there are alternative successful philosophical proofs against commonsensical claims. After presenting the proofs I briefly comment on their significance.
Introduction: representationalismMost theorists of cognition endorse some version of representationalism, which I will understand as the view that the human mind is an information-using system, and that human cognitive capacities are representational capacities. Of course, notions such as ‘representation’ and ‘information-using’ are terms of art that require explication. As a first pass, representations are “mediating states of an intelligent system that carry information” (Markman and Dietrich 2001, p. 471). They have two important features: (1) they are physically realized, and so (...) have causal powers; (2) they are intentional, in other words, they have meaning or representational content. This presumes a distinction between a representational vehicle—a physical state or structure that has causal powers and is responsible for producing behavior—and its content. Consider the following characterization of a device that computes the addition functionReaders will recognize the similarity t. (shrink)
Philosophers often find themselves in disagreement with contemporary philosophers they know full well to be their epistemic superiors on the topics relevant to the disagreement. This looks epistemically irresponsible. I offer a detailed investigation of this problem of the reflective epistemic renegade. I argue that although in some cases the renegade is not epistemically blameworthy, and the renegade situation is significantly less common than most would think, in a troublesome number of cases in which the situation arises the renegade is (...) blameworthy in her disagreement with recognized epistemic superiors. I also offer some thoughts on what it would mean for philosophical practice for us to refrain from being renegades. Finally, I show how a new kind of radical skepticism emerges from modest theses regarding the renegade. (shrink)
Prolonging neonatal lifeThe paradox that medicine’s success breeds medicine’s problems is well known to readers of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Advances in neonatal medicine have worked wonders. Not long ago, extremely premature birth babies, or those born with very serious health problems, would inevitably have died. Today, neonatologists can resuscitate babies born at ever-earlier stages of gestation. And very ill babies also benefit from advances in neonatal intensive care. Infant lives can be prolonged. Unfortunately, several such babies will not (...) survive for long whatever is done for them. Others will live to leave hospital, but face severe health problems. Doctors have gained the ability to prolong neonatal life. But should they always do so? This question is central to the recent report of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Critical care decisions in fetal and neonatal medicine.1 In many quarters, the report received a very positive response, commended in The Lancet as “thoughtful, sensitive and sensible” and welcomed by the premature baby charity BLISS. Critics attacked on both flanks. The report goes too far—ushering in a culture of “throw away babies”. Or it does not go far enough—failing to endorse the Dutch precedent to sanction active neonatal euthanasia.TOO FAR?One of the key recommendations of the report is that guidelines be developed in relation to the institution of intensive neonatal care. It is these guidelines, which have been savaged by some parts of the media. The BMA called them “blanket rules” smothering clinical discretion. The guidelines on resuscitation at birth apply to babies born at the borderline of viability, that is, at or before a gestational age of 25 weeks 6 days. The earlier the baby is born, the lower are the chances that he/she will survive to leave hospital. Before 21 weeks 6 days, none of …. (shrink)
In epistemology the nagging voice of the sceptic has always been present, whispering that 'You can't know that you have hands, or just about anything else, because for all you know your whole life is a dream.' Philosophers have recently devised ingenious ways to argue against and silence this voice, but Bryan Frances now presents a highly original argument template for generating new kinds of radical scepticism, ones that hold even if all the clever anti-sceptical fixes defeat the traditional (...) sceptic. Sharp, witty, and fun to read, Scepticism Comes Alive will be highly provocative for anyone interested in knowledge and its limits. (shrink)
I have been asked to contribute a paper to the present series of lectures on culture, specifically on whether it is possible to understand the art of other cultures. What I find intriguing is why this question arises; why is such understanding seen as a problem needing discussion? These are significant questions. How they are answered will be important for any possibility of cross-cultural aesthetic judgments and aesthetic experience. In order to deal with them it is necessary to see how (...) they got purchase, what background they emerged from. (shrink)
This paper is an examination of the Christology and Pneumatology that C. S. Lewis read from the apparent prefiguring of elements of the Incarnation‐Resurrection narrative in religious myths, and also his assertion that the incarnation‐resurrection narrative operates on us both as fact and myth. After an initial examination of the term myth and mythopoeia, Lewis' writings on the myth that became reality are discussed along with examples of prefigurement. Through his understanding of natural theology and his cautious respect for human (...) imagination and in contrast to his earlier deference for the conclusions of the Victorian religionist and social anthropologist James George Frazer, Lewis came to regard these prefigurements as the work of the Holy Spirit – intimations of God's salvific action in Christ – though Lewis' orthodoxy saw human imagination as flawed through original sin. This leads us to ask three questions: first, how do these prefigured ideas come to be in these myths and how do these intimations, splintered fragments of the true light, relate to Lewis' understanding of Christ as the light of the world; second, how does the Incarnation‐Resurrection narrative act/operate on us as a myth, whether spoken or read ; and third, is there internal evidence for a mythopoeic interpretation within the Incarnation‐Resurrection narrative? Our conclusions can be illustrated by a brief examination of Lewis' own Christian myth – Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia– originally written for a Christian audience but now read by mainly non‐Christian/post‐Christian children and adults. (shrink)
The High Court ruling that a premature baby should be not be resuscitatedLate in the afternoon of Thursday, 7 October 2004, Mr Justice Hedley ruled in a highly publicised dispute between parents and doctors about the future care of a severely disabled infant.1 With sadness, and some reluctance, the judge held that Charlotte Wyatt should not be subjected to any further invasive or aggressive treatment to prolong her life, despite her parents’ insistence that she be given every chance to survive (...) a little longer. The judgment was limited in scope. The judge did no more than authorise Charlotte’s doctors “in the event of a disagreement between the parents and themselves, not to send the child for artificial ventilation or similar aggressive treatment”.The fate of baby Charlotte attracted massive media coverage. Just a week later another dispute between a mother and her child’s doctors hit the headlines.2 A third dispute about the care of an older child also looks likely to end up in court.3 However, Charlotte’s case is unusual only in that the case was heard in open court and because it attracted such publicity. For at least 23 years,4 the Family Division of the High Court in England has heard a series of cases when parents and professionals have profoundly disagreed about how best to treat, or not to treat, a very sick baby. As happened in Charlotte’s case, the courts have usually,5 in the end, endorsed the professionals’ judgment about the best interests of the infant. The coincidence of three such high profile cases has prompted speculation that parents will …. (shrink)
Jansen expresses concern as to the legal implications of both selective reduction of pregnancy and unsuccessful attempts at termination of pregnancy using mifepristone. This commentary examines the legality of both procedures and concludes that Jansen is over-optimistic in his belief that neither procedure is likely to fall foul of the criminal laws on induced abortion. By contrast his anxieties about civil liability arising from the subsequent live birth of a damaged infant are, it is suggested, unnecessarily pessimistic. Such an action (...) is most unlikely to succeed if brought by the infant herself and any claim on the part of the mother will normally be dependent on proof of negligence. The commentary focusses on the law in England with relevant references to other common law jurisdictions. (shrink)
This article examines arguments concerning enhancement of human persons recently presented by Michael Sandel (2004). In the first section, I briefly describe some of his arguments. In section two, I consider whether, as Sandel claims, the desire for mastery motivates enhancement and whether such a desire could be grounds for its impermissibility. Section three considers how Sandel draws the distinction between treatment and enhancement, and the relation to nature that he thinks each expresses. The fourth section examines Sandel's views about (...) parent/child relations and also how enhancement would affect distributive justice and the duty to aid. In conclusion, I briefly offer an alternative suggestion as to why enhancement may be troubling and consider what we could safely enhance. (shrink)
An increasing number of scientists and doctors are concerned that new laws are inhibiting ethical research. This paper argues that this is not the case. Laws do not inhibit medical progress. Misunderstanding the law may do so.
The computational theory of mind construes the mind as an information-processor and cognitive capacities as essentially representational capacities. Proponents of the view claim a central role for representational content in computational models of these capacities. In this paper I argue that the standard view of the role of representational content in computational models is mistaken; I argue that representational content is to be understood as a gloss on the computational characterization of a cognitive process.Keywords: Computation; Representational content; Cognitive capacities; Explanation.
A common kind of explanation in cognitive neuroscience might be called functiontheoretic: with some target cognitive capacity in view, the theorist hypothesizes that the system computes a well-defined function (in the mathematical sense) and explains how computing this function constitutes (in the system’s normal environment) the exercise of the cognitive capacity. Recently, proponents of the so-called ‘new mechanist’ approach in philosophy of science have argued that a model of a cognitive capacity is explanatory only to the extent that it reveals (...) the causal structure of the mechanism underlying the capacity. If they are right, then a cognitive model that resists a transparent mapping to known neural mechanisms fails to be explanatory. I argue that a functiontheoretic characterization of a cognitive capacity can be genuinely explanatory even absent an account of how the capacity is realized in neural hardware. (shrink)
This paper presents results found through searching publicly available U.S. data sources for information about how to handle incidental fndings (IF) in human subjects research, especially in genetics and genomics research, neuroimaging research, and CT colonography research. We searched the Web sites of 14 federal agencies, 22 professional societies, and 100 universities, as well as used the search engine Google for actual consent forms that had been posted on the Internet. Our analysis of these documents showed that there is very (...) little public guidance available for researchers as to how to deal with incidental fndings. Moreover, the guidance available is not consistent. (shrink)
Much of computational cognitive science construes human cognitive capacities as representational capacities, or as involving representation in some way. Computational theories of vision, for example, typically posit structures that represent edges in the distal scene. Neurons are often said to represent elements of their receptive fields. Despite the ubiquity of representational talk in computational theorizing there is surprisingly little consensus about how such claims are to be understood. The point of this chapter is to sketch an account of the nature (...) and function of representation in computational cognitive models. (shrink)
Nicholas Shea offers Varitel Semantics as a naturalistic account of mental content. I argue that the account secures determinate content only by appeal to pragmatic considerations, and so it fails to respect naturalism. But that is fine, because representational content is not, strictly speaking, necessary for explanation in cognitive science. Even in Shea’s own account, content serves only a variety of heuristic functions.
“Naturalistic” semantic theories attempt to specify, in nonintentional and nonsemantic terms, a sufficient condition for a mental representation’s having a particular meaning. Such theories have trouble accounting for the possibility of representational error. In his latest book, Robert Cummins traces the problem to the fact that the theories currently on offer identify the meaning of a representation with certain features of its use. Only a theory that takes meaning to be an intrinsic feature of a representation, Cummins argues, can both (...) accommodate representational error and play a genuinely explanatory role in an account of rational capacities. In the second half of the book he develops and defends a proposal that he calls the “picture theory of representation.”. (shrink)
Understanding firms' interfaces with the community has become a familiar strategic concern for both firms and non-profit organizations. However, it is still not clear when different community engagement strategies are appropriate or how such strategies might benefit the firm and community. In this review, we examine when, how and why firms benefit from community engagement strategies through a systematic review of over 200 academic and practitioner knowledge sources on the antecedents and consequences of community engagement strategy. We analytically describe evidence (...) on the rise of the community engagement strategy literature over time, its geographical spread and methodological evolution. A foundational concept underlying many studies is the ' continuum of community engagement'. We build on this continuum to develop a typology of three engagement strategies: transactional, transitional and transformational engagement. By identifying the antecedents and outcomes of the three strategies, we find that the payoffs from engagement are largely longer-term enhanced firm legitimacy, rather than immediate cost-benefit improvements. We use our systematic review to draw implications for future research and managerial practice. (shrink)
In the United Kingdom, the debate about how best to meet the shortfall of organs for transplantation has persisted on and off for many years. It is often presumed that the answer is simply to alter the law to a system of presumed consent. Acting perhaps on that presumption in his annual report launched in July, the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, advocated a system of organ donation based on presumed consent, the so-called “opt-out” system.1 He is calling for (...) a change in the law in England and Wales whereby consent to organ donation is presumed, making a person’s organs automatically available for transplantation after death, unless they registered objections to this while alive. Subsequently, the British Medical Association lent its support to the introduction of such a system.2 The BMA contends that “the practice of presumed consent legislation has had a significant effect on the number of cadaveric donors per million population.”2It is often taken for granted that there must be a correlation between the enactment of legislation on presumed consent and an increase in organ donation and procurement. However, the correlation is not as straightforward as it might seem. It may be that other practical measures to encourage organ donation could be implemented without changing the Human Tissue Act 2004, an Act which has been in force for barely a year.An analysis by Abadie and Gay demonstrated that “presumed consent legislation has a positive and sizeable effect on organ donation rates”,3 but they themselves admitted that the correlation between rates of donation and presumed consent legislation is “not completely unequivocal”.3 It is true that among the most successful cases in procurement rates are countries with presumed consent legislation . However, since some of the …. (shrink)
Regardless of who you are or how you live your life, you disagree with millions of people on an enormous number of topics from politics, religion and morality to sport, culture and art. Unless you are delusional, you are aware that a great many of the people who disagree with you are just as smart and thoughtful as you are - in fact, you know that often they are smarter and more informed. But believing someone to be cleverer or more (...) knowledgeable about a particular topic usually won’t change your mind. Should it? This book is devoted to exploring this quandary - what should we do when we encounter disagreement, particularly when we believe someone is more of an authority on a subject than we are? The question is of enormous importance, both in the public arena and in our personal lives. Disagreement over marriages, beliefs, friendships and more causes immense personal strife. People with political power disagree about how to spend enormous amounts of money, about what laws to pass, or about wars to fight. If only we were better able to resolve our disagreements, we would probably save millions of lives and prevent millions of others from living in poverty. The first full-length text-book on this philosophical topic, Disagreement provides students with the tools they need to understand the burgeoning academic literature and its perspectives. Including case studies, sample questions and chapter summaries, this engaging and accessible book is the perfect starting point for students and anyone interested in thinking about the possibilities and problems of this fundamental philosophical debate. (shrink)
If you retain your belief upon learning that a large number and percentage of your recognized epistemic superiors disagree with you, then what happens to the epistemic status of your belief? I investigate that theoretical question as well has the applied case of philosophical disagreement—especially disagreement regarding purely philosophical error theories, theories that do not have much empirical support and that reject large swaths of our most commonsensical beliefs. I argue that even if all those error theories are false, either (...) (a) the average philosopher’s true commonsensical beliefs are epistemically impoverished, or (b) a good portion of philosophy is bunk and philosophers should give up most of their error theories despite the fact that their supporting arguments are generally as good as or even better than other philosophical arguments. (shrink)
Why should we respect the wishes which individuals may have about how their body is treated after death? Reflecting on how and why the law respects the bodies of the living, we argue that we must also respect the ‘dead’. We contest the relevance of the argument ‘the dead have no interests’, rather we think that the pertinent argument is ‘the living have interests in what happens to their dead bodies’. And, we advance arguments why we should also respect the (...) wishes of the relatives of the deceased regarding what happens to the bodies of their loved ones. In our analysis, we use objections to organ and tissue donation for conscientious reasons (often presented as religious reasons) to show why the living can have interests in their dead bodies, and those of their dead relatives, and why these interests should be respected. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to investigate how cultural meanings associated with the left ventricular assist device inform acceptance and experience of this innovative technology when it is used as a destination therapy. We conducted open-ended, semistructured interviews with family caregivers and patients who had undergone LVAD-DT procedures at six U.S. hospitals. A grounded theory approach was used for the analysis. Thirty-nine patients and 42 caregivers participated. Participants described a sense of obligation to undergo the procedure because of its (...) promise for salvation. However, once the device was implanted, patients described being placed into a liminal state of being neither sick nor healthy, with no culturally scripted role. Consideration of end-of-life decisions was complicated by the uncertainties about how patients with LVADs die. Pre-implantation communications among patient, family, and clinicians should take into account the impact of the technology on meaning, identity, and patient experience. (shrink)
A new kind of skepticism about philosophy is articulated and argued for. The key premise is the claim that many of us are well aware that in the past we failed to have good responses to substantive objections to our philosophical beliefs. The conclusion is disjunctive: either we are irrational in sticking with our philosophical beliefs, or we commit some other epistemic sin in having those beliefs.