Neuroscience can contribute to economics by inspiring new models, helping to distinguish models that have similar implications for readily available data, and guiding interpretations of decision-making processes by policy-makers. However, there is an additional less straightforward role for it to play: augmenting, along with survey data and other non-revealed-preference sources, assessments of well-being. The need for such augmentation lies in the slightly bizarre stance taken by modern economic theory, namely that economics is concerned only with choices and not with welfare (...) per se. It is shown that this is neither historical nor at all necessary, even within the standard paradigm. Although neuroscience is by no means a panacea for determining true utility, which ultimately remains a subjective concept, it provides a uniquely useful complementary dataset. (shrink)
The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate has two chief aims. These aims are to help readers understand the existing debate and to move the debate forward. The book consists of an introductory chapter by Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal (which lays out some prominent bioconservative objections to enhancement), eight essays grouped under the theme of "Understanding the Debate" (Section I), and eight devoted to "Advancing the Debate" (Section II). In this review, we offer brief summaries of each essay (...) and ask whether the book successfully advances the debate. (shrink)
Dementia will soon be ranked as the world’s largest economy. At present, it ranges from the 16th to 18th place, with countries such as Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Dementia is not only a financial challenge, but also a philosophical one. It provokes a paradigm shift in the traditional view of healthcare and expands the classic concepts of human personhood and autonomy. A promising response to these challenges is the idea of cooperative solidarity. Cooperative solidarity, contrary to its ‘humanitarian’ version, (...) promotes spontaneous teamwork and individual initiative. It obliges us not only to help 'the suffering, the troubled and the disadvantaged’, but above all to support those who already do so for spontaneous moral or affective reasons. In the field of dementia study, solidary initiatives are described within the framework of supportive care. (shrink)
The motive of Clodius in attacking the validity of Caesar's laws in the latter part of 58 B.C. has been the subject of many conjectures on the part of modern historians. In a recent article1 Pocock has propounded a new theory as to the position and policy of the turbulent tribune, which is highly suggestive and deserving of a careful consideration. In the first place Pocock, in opposition to all previous historians, flatly denies that Clodius made any such attack at (...) all, and offers a new explanation of the passage in Cicero's speech for his house where this is asserted. In the oration in question Cicero declares that Clodius called Bibulus before the people and by the testimony of the former consul showed that all Caesar's laws had been passed in disregard of the auspices, drawing from this the conclusion that they should all be annulled by the senate. If the conscript fathers would do this, Clodius offered to bring Cicero back on his own shoulders as the saviour of his country.2 Pocock believes that Cicero has flagrantly misrepresented Clodius and wilfully distorted his meaning. Some of Cicero's friends had denied the legality of Clodius' tribuneship and hence of the great orator's exile, and what Clodius did was to demonstrate that this denial logically involved the repudiation of all the Julian legislation. His offer to bring back Cicero was an ironical difiance, and amounted to telling the nobles that they had better not raise such a question unless they had the courage to cancel all Caesar's laws, something which he knew that they would not dare to do. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to (...) choose the child that is expected to have the best life. In this paper I argue that accepting the PPB and the consequentialist principle (CP) that two acts with the same consequences are morally on par, commits one to accepting the parental obligation of genetically enhancing one's children. (shrink)
Julian Huxley’s contribution to twentieth-century biology and science popularisation is well documented. What has not been appreciated so far is that despite Huxley’s eminence as a public scientific figure and the part that he played in the rise of experimental zoology in Britain in the 1920s, his own research was often heavily criticised in this period by his colleagues. This resulted in numerous difficulties in getting his scientific research published in the early 1920s. At this time, Huxley started his (...) popular science career. Huxley’s friends criticised him for engaging in this actively and attributed the publication difficulties to the time that he allocated to popular science. The cause might also have its roots in his self-professed inability to delve deeply into the particularities of research. This affected Huxley’s standing in the scientific community and seems to have contributed to the fact that Huxley failed twice in the late 1920s to be elected to the Royal Society. This picture undermines to some extent Peter J. Bowler’s recent portrayal of Huxley as a science populariser. (shrink)
So the modern editions print the opening words of the work more popularly known as the Caesares. The Symposium begins with what I consider to be a playful encounter between the narrator and his interlocutor, in which the latter's expectations of seriousness in the myth which is to follow are frustrated. This playfulness has not been appreciated by Julian's commentators. I suggest that we have here a concealed trimeter which figures largely in the dynamics of this dialogue : γελοον (...) οδν σδ τερπνν οδ' γ. (shrink)
In 2011 the English Court of Protection ruled that it would be unlawful to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration from a woman, M, who had been in a minimally conscious state for 8 years. It was reported as the first English legal case concerning withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration from a patient in a minimally conscious state who was otherwise stable. In the absence of a valid and applicable advance decision refusing treatment, of other life-limiting pathology or excessively burdensome (...) suffering, the judgement makes it clear that the obligation on health professionals falls strongly in favour of preserving life. Although the Court sought to limit the judgement as closely as possible to the facts of the case, it is likely to have a significant impact on life-sustaining treatment decisions for people in states of low awareness. This paper outlines the main legal features of the judgement. (shrink)
The recent judgement in the case of Re:M in which the Court held that it would be unlawful to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration from a woman in a minimally conscious state raises a number of ethical issues of wide application. Central to these is the extent to which precedent autonomous decisions should be respected in the absence of a legally binding advance decision. Well-being interests can survive the loss of many of the psychological faculties that support personhood. A decision (...) to respect precedent autonomy can contradict the well-being interests of the individual after capacity is lost. These decisions raise difficult questions about personal identity and about the threshold of evidence that is required of an earlier decision in order for it to be respected. (shrink)
Dementia affects millions of people throughout the world. Thinking through Dementia offers a critique of the main models used to understand dementia-the biomedical, neuropsychological, and social constructionist. It discusses clinical issues and cases, together with philosophical work that might help us to better understand and treat this illness.
I contend that mathematical domains are freestanding institutional entities that, at least typically, are introduced to serve representational functions. In this paper, I outline an account of institutional reality and a supporting metaontological perspective that clarify the content of this thesis. I also argue that a philosophy of mathematics that has this thesis as its central tenet can account for the objectivity, necessity, and atemporality of mathematics.
In this article, I articulate and defend an account of corporations motivated by John Searle’s discussion of them in his Making the Social World. According to this account, corporations are abstract entities that are the products of status function Declarations. They are also connected with, though not reducible to, various people and certain of the power relations among them. Moreover, these connections are responsible for corporations having features that stereotypical abstract entities lack (e.g., the abilities to take actions and make (...) profits). (shrink)
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent medical humanitarian organisation working in over 70 countries. It has provided medical assistance for over 35 years to populations vulnerable through conflict, disease and inadequate health systems. Medical ethics define the starting point of the relationship between medical staff and patients. The ethics of humanitarian interventions and of research in conflict settings are much debated. However, less is known about the ethical dilemmas faced by medical humanitarian staff in their daily work. Ethical dilemmas (...) can be intensified in humanitarian contexts by insecure environments, lack of optimum care, language barriers, potentially heightened power discrepancies between care providers and patients, differing cultural values and perceptions of patients, communities and medical staff. Time constraints, stressful conditions and lack of familiarity with ethical frameworks can prevent reflection on these dilemmas, as can frustration that such reflection does not necessarily provide instant solutions. Lack of reflection, however, can be distressing for medical practitioners and can reduce the quality of care. Ethical reflection has a central role in MSF, and the organisation uses ethical frameworks to help with clinical and programmatic decisions as well as in deliberations over operational research. We illustrate and discuss some real ethical dilemmas facing MSF teams. Only by sharing and seeking guidance can MSF and similar actors make more thoughtful and appropriate decisions. Our aim in sharing these cases is to invite discussion and dialogue in the wider medical community working in crisis, conflict or with severe resource limitations. (shrink)