Cross-border reproductive care can be defined as the movement from one jurisdiction to another for medically assisted reproduction. CBRC raises many ethical concerns that have been addressed extensively. However, the conclusions are still based on scarce evidence even considering the global scale of CBRC. Empirical ethics appears as a way to foster this ethical reflection on CBRC while attuning it with the experiences of its main actors. To better understand the ‘in and out’ situation of CBRC in Canada, we conducted (...) an ethnographic study taking a ‘critically applied ethics’ approach. This article presents a part of the findings of this research, obtained by data triangulation from qualitative analysis of pertinent literature, participant observation in two Canadian fertility clinics and 40 semidirected interviews. Based on participants’ perceptions, four themes emerged: inconsistencies of the Canadian legal framework; autonomy and the necessity to resort to CBRC; safety and the management of CBRC individual risks; and justice and solidarity. The interaction between these four themes highlights the problematic of ‘reproductive outsourcing’ that characterised the Canadian situation, a system where the controversial aspects of MAR are knowingly pushed outside the borders. (shrink)
How to engage the public in a reflection on the most pressing ethical issues of our time? What if part of the solution lies in adopting an interdisciplinary and collaborative strategy to shed light on critical issues in bioethics? An example is Art + Bioéthique, an innovative project that brought together bioethicists, art historians and artists with the aim of expressing bioethics through arts in order to convey the “sensitive” aspect of many health ethics issues. The aim of this project (...) was threefold: 1) to identify and characterize mechanisms for the meeting of arts and bioethics; 2) to experiment with and co-construct a dialogue between arts and bioethics; and 3) to initiate a public discussion on bioethical issues through the blending of arts and bioethics. In connection with an exhibition held in March 2016 at the Espace Projet, a non-profit art space in Montréal, the project developed a platform that combined artworks, essays and cultural & scientific mediation activities related to the work of six duos of young bioethics researchers and emerging artists. Each duo worked on a variety of issues, such as the social inclusion of disabled people, the challenges of practical applications of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine, and a holistic approach to contemporary diseases. This project, which succeeded in stimulating an interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between bioethics and arts, is an example of an innovative approach to knowledge transfer that can move bioethics reflection into the public space. (shrink)
In his controversial new book, Andrew Vincent offers a comprehensive, synoptic, and comparative analysis of the major conceptions of political theory throughout the twentieth century. The book challenges established views of contemporary political theory and provides critical perspectives on the future of the subject. It will be an indispensable resource for all scholars and students of the discipline.
This essay explains and criticizes Gentile's attempts to connect his metaphysical theories with his ideas about education, and especially the relationship between education and nationalism. It begins with a critical examination of the distinguishing features of the view Gentile specifies in Theory of Mind as Pure Act. Vincent then considers Gentile's account of how this theory, for which mind is an act of perpetual self-creation, leads to a conception of education with an explicitly nationalist bent. His attempts to connect (...) these are ultimately unsuccessful, argues Vincent; actual idealism does not give rise to any specific political order, and certainly not the kind of state-led nationalism that Gentile ultimately supported. (shrink)
André Couture | : Dans le but d’expliciter ce qu’implique le thème biblique du Bon Pasteur, cet article rappelle le sens de l’analogie entre le pasteur et le roi dans le Moyen-Orient ancien pour ensuite aborder sa signification dans le monde indien où le dieu Kṛṣṇa a passé son enfance comme bouvier. L’auteur en conclut 1) que le terme est relationnel, c’est-à-dire que le pasteur n’existe que dans ses rapports avec les animaux qu’il fait paître et qui sont la (...) richesse de la région, 2) que la fonction de pasteur relie un espace intérieur et un espace extérieur, c’est-à-dire que le pasteur protège les animaux qui vivent à l’intérieur de son bercail contre les ennemis qui sont du dehors, et 3) que l’activité du pasteur se transforme avec le temps, c’est-à-dire que le pasteur se déplace au fil des saisons selon la qualité des pâturages et surtout que cette activité se poursuit différemment pendant la nuit où elle peut prendre un sens eschatologique. | : This article recasts the biblical theme of the Good Shepherd by suggesting an analogy between shepherding and kingship in the Ancient Near East, and by comparing the use of the theme in that context to its use in the Indian world where the god Kṛṣṇa is known to have spent his childhood as a cowherd. The author arrives at three conclusions : 1) the term “shepherd” necessarily implies a relationship with grazing animals which are considered to be a major source of wealth in both the Near East and India ; 2) the practice of herding creates a link between an interior space and an exterior space, that is, the herder protects the animals living inside the fold from enemies that threaten them from without ; and 3) the activity of the shepherd changes over time, that is, the herder moves from one grazing land to another according to the seasons and the quality of the grazing lands ; more importantly, the different shape which the activity of the herder takes at night can be interpreted in an eschatological sense. (shrink)
This is the first English-language introduction to Peter Sloterdijk, the distinguished German philosopher and controversial public intellectual. Sloterdijk, in the tradition of Nietzsche and Heine, is an iconoclast who uses humour and biting critique to challenge many of modernitys sacred thinkers, from Kant to Heidegger, in the process radically reinterpreting the canon of Western philosophy. In this unique textbook, leading Sloterdijk expert Jean-Pierre Couture explains in accessible language Sloterdijks exceptional contribution, breaking his thought down into five key approaches: psychopolitics, (...) anthropotechnics, spherology, controversy, and therapeutics. Sloterdijks frequent public controversies, with supporters of Habermas and the Frankfurt school in particular, are assessed and their significance for current philosophical debates explained. This fascinating book will be an essential companion for those interested in the hybrid aesthetics of thought situated at the crossroads of art and philosophy. Its up-to-date analyses of Sloterdijks recently translated corpus will make it essential reading for all students and scholars of modern European thought. (shrink)
Barbara Couture presents a case for a phenomenological rhetoric, one that values and respects consciousness and selfhood and that restores to rhetoric the possibility of seeking an all-embracing truth through pacific and cooperative ...
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label “neuroscience”; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks—at least one for each responsibility concept—and, I will suggest, (...) a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. (shrink)
Garrath Williams claims that truly responsible people must possess a “capacity … to respond [appropriately] to normative demands” (2008:462). However, there are people whom we would normally praise for their responsibility despite the fact that they do not yet possess such a capacity (e.g. consistently well-behaved young children), and others who have such capacity but who are still patently irresponsible (e.g. some badly-behaved adults). Thus, I argue that to qualify for the accolade “a responsible person” one need not possess such (...) a capacity, but only to be earnestly willing to do the right thing and to have a history that testifies to this willingness. Although we may have good reasons to prefer to have such a capacity ourselves, and to associate ourselves with others who have it, at a conceptual level I do not think that such considerations support the claim that having this capacity is a necessary condition of being a responsible person in the virtue sense. (shrink)
Luck egalitarians think that considerations of responsibility can excuse departures from strict equality. However critics argue that allowing responsibility to play this role has objectionably harsh consequences. Luck egalitarians usually respond either by explaining why that harshness is not excessive, or by identifying allegedly legitimate exclusions from the default responsibility-tracking rule to tone down that harshness. And in response, critics respectively deny that this harshness is not excessive, or they argue that those exclusions would be ineffective or lacking in justification. (...) Rather than taking sides, after criticizing both positions I also argue that this way of carrying on the debate – i.e. as a debate about whether the harsh demands of responsibility outweigh other considerations, and about whether exclusions to responsibility-tracking would be effective and/or justified – is deeply problematic. On my account, the demands of responsibility do not – in fact, they can not – conflict with the demands of other normative considerations, because responsibility only provides a formal structure within which those other considerations determine how people may be treated, but it does not generate its own practical demands. (shrink)
Could neuroimaging evidence help us to assess the degree of a person’s responsibility for a crime which we know that they committed? This essay defends an affirmative answer to this question. A range of standard objections to this high-tech approach to assessing people’s responsibility is considered and then set aside, but I also bring to light and then reject a novel objection—an objection which is only encountered when functional (rather than structural) neuroimaging is used to assess people’s responsibility.
The way in which we characterize the structural and functional differences between psychopath and normal brains – either as biological disorders or as mere biological differences – can influence our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility for criminal misconduct. However, Marga Reimer (Neuroethics 1(2):14, 2008) points out that whether our characterization of these differences should be allowed to affect our judgments in this manner “is a difficult and important question that really needs to be addressed before policies regarding responsibility... can be implemented (...) with any confidence”. This paper is an attempt to address Reimer’s difficult and important question; I argue that irrespective of which of these two characterizations is chosen, our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility should not be affected, because responsibility hinges not on whether a particular difference is (referred to as) a disorder or not, but on how that difference affects the mental capacities required for moral agency. (shrink)
Egalitarians must address two questions: i. What should there be an equality of, which concerns the currency of the ‘equalisandum’; and ii. How should this thing be allocated to achieve the so-called equal distribution? A plausible initial composite answer to these two questions is that resources should be allocated in accordance with choice, because this way the resulting distribution of the said equalisandum will ‘track responsibility’ — responsibility will be tracked in the sense that only we will be responsible for (...) the resources that are available to us, since our allocation of resources will be a consequence of our own choices. But the effects of actual choices should not be preserved until the prior effects of luck in constitution and circumstance are first eliminated. For instance, people can choose badly because their choice-making capacity was compromised due to a lack of intelligence (i.e. due to constitutional bad luck), or because only bad options were open to them (i.e. due to circumstantial bad luck), and under such conditions we are not responsible for our choices. So perhaps a better composite answer to our two questions (from the perspective of tracking responsibility) might be that resources should be allocated so as to reflect people’s choices, but only once those choices have been corrected for the distorting effects of constitutional and circumstantial luck, and on this account choice preservation and luck elimination are two complementary aims of the egalitarian ideal. Nevertheless, it is one thing to say that luck’s effects should be eliminated, but quite another to figure out just how much resource redistribution would be required to achieve this outcome, and so it was precisely for this purpose that in 1981 Ronald Dworkin developed the ingenuous hypothetical insurance market argumentative device (HIMAD), which he then used in conjunction with the talent slavery (TS) argument, to arrive at an estimate of the amount of redistribution that would be required to reduce the extent of luck’s effects. However recently Daniel Markovits has cast doubt over Dworkin’s estimates of the amount of redistribution that would be required, by pointing out flaws with his understanding of how the hypothetical insurance market would function. Nevertheless, Markovits patched it up and he used this patched-up version of Dworkin’s HIMAD together with his own version of the TS argument to reach his own conservative estimate of how much redistribution there ought to be in an egalitarian society. Notably though, on Markovits’ account once the HIMAD is patched-up and properly understood, the TS argument will also allegedly show that the two aims of egalitarianism are not necessarily complementary, but rather that they can actually compete with one another. According to his own ‘equal-agent’ egalitarian theory, the aim of choice preservation is more important than the aim of luck elimination, and so he alleges that when the latter aim comes into conflict with the former aim then the latter will need to be sacrificed to ensure that people are not subordinated to one another as agents. I believe that Markovits’ critique of Dworkin is spot on, but I also think that his own positive thesis — and hence his conclusion about how much redistribution there ought to be in an egalitarian society — is flawed. Hence, this paper will begin in Section I by explaining how Dworkin uses the HIMAD and his TS argument to estimate the amount of redistribution that there ought to be in an egalitarian society — this section will be largely expository in content. Markovits’ critique of Dworkin will then be outlined in Section II, as will be his own positive thesis. My critique of Markovits, and my own positive thesis, will then make a fleeting appearance in Section III. Finally, I will conclude by rejecting both Dworkin’s and Markovits’ estimates of the amount of redistribution that there ought to be in an egalitarian society, and by reaffirming the responsibility-tracking egalitarian claim that choice preservation and luck elimination are complementary and not competing egalitarian aims. (shrink)
In "Torts, Egalitarianism and Distributive Justice" , Tsachi Keren-Paz presents impressingly detailed analysis that bolsters the case in favour of incremental tort law reform. However, although this book's greatest strength is the depth of analysis offered, at the same time supporters of radical law reform proposals may interpret the complexity of the solution that is offered as conclusive proof that tort law can only take adequate account of egalitarian aims at an unacceptably high cost.
This thesis considers two allegations which conservatives often level at no-fault systems — namely, that responsibility is abnegated under no-fault systems, and that no-fault systems under- and over-compensate. I argue that although each of these allegations can be satisfactorily met – the responsibility allegation rests on the mistaken assumption that to properly take responsibility for our actions we must accept liability for those losses for which we are causally responsible; and the compensation allegation rests on the mistaken assumption that tort (...) law’s compensatory decisions provide a legitimate norm against which no-fault’s decisions can be compared and criticized – doing so leads in a direction which is at odds with accident law reform advocates’ typical recommendations. On my account, accident law should not just be reformed in line with no-fault’s principles, but rather it should be completely abandoned since the principles that protect no- fault systems from the conservatives’ two allegations are incompatible with retaining the category of accident law, they entail that no-fault systems are a form of social welfare and not accident law systems, and that under these systems serious deprivation – and to a lesser extent causal responsibility – should be conditions of eligibility to claim benefits. (shrink)
It could be argued that tort law is failing, and arguably an example of this failure is the recent public liability and insurance (‘PL&I’) crisis. A number of solutions have been proposed, but ultimately the chosen solution should address whatever we take to be the cause of this failure. On one account, the PL&I crisis is a result of an unwarranted expansion of the scope of tort law. Proponents of this position sometimes argue that the duty of care owed by (...) defendants to plaintiffs has expanded beyond reasonable levels, such that parties who were not really responsible for another’s misfortune are successfully sued, while those who really were to blame get away without taking any responsibility. However people should take responsibility for their actions, and the only likely consequence of allowing them to shirk it is that they and others will be less likely to exercise due care in the future, since the deterrents of liability and of no compensation for accidentally self-imposed losses will not be there. Others also argue that this expansion is not warranted because it is inappropriately fueled by ‘deep pocket’ considerations rather than by considerations of fault. They argue that the presence of liability insurance sways the judiciary to award damages against defendants since they know that insurers, and not the defendant personally, will pay for it in the end anyway. But although it may seem that no real person has to bear these burdens when they are imposed onto insurers, in reality all of society bears them collectively when insurers are forced to hike their premiums to cover these increasing damages payments. In any case, it seems unfair to force insurers to cover these costs simply because they can afford to do so. If such an expansion is indeed the cause of the PL&I crisis, then a contraction of the scope of tort liability, and a pious return to the fault principle, might remedy the situation. However it could also be argued that inadequate deterrence is the cause of this crisis. On this account the problem would lie not with the tort system’s continued unwarranted expansion, but in the fact that defendants really have been too careless. If prospective injurers were appropriately deterred from engaging in unnecessarily risky activities, then fewer accidents would ever occur in the first place, and this would reduce the need for litigation at its very source. If we take this to be the cause of tort law’s failure then our solution should aim to improve deterrence. Glen Robinson has argued that improved deterrence could be achieved if plaintiffs were allowed to sue defendants for wrongful exposure to ongoing risks of future harm, even in the absence of currently materialized losses. He argues that at least in toxic injury type cases the tortious creation of risk [should be seen as] an appropriate basis of liability, with damages being assessed according to the value of the risk, as an alternative to forcing risk victims to abide the outcome of the event and seek damages only if and when harm materializes. In a sense, Robinson wishes to treat newly-acquired wrongful risks as de-facto wrongful losses, and these are what would be compensated in liability for risk creation (‘LFRC’) cases. Robinson argues that if the extent of damages were fixed to the extent of risk exposure, all detected unreasonable risk creators would be forced to bear the costs of their activities, rather than only those who could be found responsible for another’s injuries ‘on the balance of probabilities’. The incidence of accidents should decrease as a result of improved deterrence, reduce the ‘suing fest’, and so resolve the PL&I crisis. So whilst the first solution involves contracting the scope of tort liability, Robinson’s solution involves an expansion of its scope. However Robinson acknowledges that LFRC seems prima facie incompatible with current tort principles which in the least require the presence of plaintiff losses, defendant fault, and causation to be established before making defendants liable for plaintiffs’ compensation. Since losses would be absent in LFRC cases by definition, the first evidentiary requirement would always be frustrated, and in its absence proof of defendant fault and causation would also seem scant. If such an expansion of tort liability were not supported by current tort principles then it would be no better than proposals to switch accident law across to no-fault, since both solutions would require comprehensive legal reform. However Robinson argues that the above three evidentiary requirements could be met in LFRC cases to the same extent that they are met in other currently accepted cases, and hence that his solution would therefore be preferable to no-fault solutions as it would only require incremental but not comprehensive legal reform. Although I believe that actual losses should be present before allowing plaintiffs to seek compensation, I will not present a positive argument for this conclusion. My aim in this paper is not to debate the relative merits of Robinson’s solution as compared to no-fault solutions, nor to determine which account of the cause of the PL&I crisis is closer to the truth, but rather to find out whether Robinson’s solution would indeed require less radical legal reform than, for example, proposed no-fault solutions. I will argue that Robinson fails to show that current tort principles would support his proposed solution, and hence that his solution is at best on an even footing with no-fault solutions since both would require comprehensive legal reform. (shrink)
Third-party property insurance (TPPI) protects insured drivers who accidentally damage an expensive car from the threat of financial ruin. Perhaps more importantly though, TPPI also protects the victims whose losses might otherwise go uncompensated. Ought responsible drivers therefore take out TPPI? This paper begins by enumerating some reasons for why a rational person might believe that they have a moral obligation to take out TPPI. It will be argued that if what is at stake in taking responsibility is the ability (...) to compensate our possible future victims for their losses, then it might initially seem that most people should be thankful for the availability of relatively inexpensive TPPI because without it they may not have sufficient funds to do the right thing and compensate their victims in the event of an accident. But is the ability to compensate one's victims really what is at stake in taking responsibility? The second part of this paper will critically examine the arguments for the above position, and it will argue that these arguments do not support the conclusion that injurers should compensate their victims for their losses, and hence that drivers need not take out TPPI in order to be responsible. Further still, even if these arguments did support the conclusion that injurers should compensate their victims for their losses, then (perhaps surprisingly) nobody should to be allowed to take out TPPI because doing so would frustrate justice. (shrink)
This is a report on the 3-day workshop “The Neuroscience of Responsibility” that was held in the Philosophy Department at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands during February 11th–13th, 2010. The workshop had 25 participants from The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, UK, USA, Canada and Australia, with expertise in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry and law. Its aim was to identify current trends in neurolaw research related specifically to the topic of responsibility, and to foster international collaborative research on this topic. (...) The workshop agenda was constructed by the participants at the start of each day by surveying the topics of greatest interest and relevance to participants. In what follows, we summarize (1) the questions which participants identified as most important for future research in this field, (2) the most prominent themes that emerged from the discussions, and (3) the two main international collaborative research project plans that came out of this meeting. (shrink)
This article was written jointly by a philosopher and a mathematician. It has two aims: to acquaint mathematicians with some of the philosophical questions at the foundations of their subject and to familiarize philosophers with some of the answers to these questions which have recently been obtained by mathematicians. In particular, we argue that, if these recent findings are borne in mind, four different basic philosophical positions, logicism, formalism, platonism and intuitionism, if stated with some moderation, are in fact reconcilable, (...) although with some reservations in the case of logicism, provided one adopts a nominalistic interpretation of Plato's ideal objects. This eclectic view has been asserted by Lambek and Scott (LS 1986) on fairly technical grounds, but the present argument is meant to be accessible to a wider audience and to provide some new insights. (shrink)
I ARGUE IN THIS PAPER that there are profound and legitimate worries concerning the application of organic and personal criteria to groups. I try to specify the reasons why we object to such ideas, while contending that some of these objections are misguided. Primarily, to refer to a group as a person is not necessarily the same as referring to it as either organic or as an individual. Further, each term--organic, individual, and person--must be carefully unpacked and analyzed. One conclusion (...) of this analysis is that there are important senses in which these concepts both overlap and also diverge. One should not therefore automatically conflate them. Another conclusion is that there are senses of these terms which are perfectly innocuous. Finally, there are clearly ways in which we can sensibly use the notion of personality to apply to groups. The groups in question are usually diverse, and do not have to include the state. In fact, despite the absence of such "group person" usage from mainstream political theory, such language is more of a commonplace in international politics and legal discourse and practice. I attempt, in the final part of the paper, to schematize the various uses of personality. I conclude by suggesting the fruitfulness of one particular sense of juristic personality. (shrink)
Nationalism has had a complex relation with the discipline of political theory during the 20th century. Political theory has often been deeply uneasy with nationalism in relation to its role in the events leading up to and during the Second World War. Many theorists saw nationalism as an overly narrow and potentially irrationalist doctrine. In essence it embodied a closed vision of the world. This article focuses on one key contributor to the immediate post-war debate—Karl Popper—who retained deep misgivings about (...) nationalism until the end of his life, and indeed saw the events of the early 1990s (shortly before his death) as a confirmation of this distrust. Popper was one of a number of immediate post war writers, such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, who shared this unease with nationalism. They all had a powerful effect on social and political thought in the English-speaking world. Popper particularly articulated a deeply influential perspective that fortuitously encapsulated a cold war mentality in the 1950s. In 2005 Popper's critical views are doubly interesting, since the last decade has seen a renaissance of nationalist interests. The collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989, and the changing political landscape of international and domestic politics, has seen once again a massive growth of interest in nationalism, particularly from liberal political theorists and a growing, and, at times, immensely enthusiastic academic literature, trying to provide a distinctively benign benediction to nationalism. (shrink)
New concepts may prove necessary to profit from the avalanche of sequence data on the genome, transcriptome, proteome and interactome and to relate this information to cell physiology. Here, we focus on the concept of large activity-based structures, or hyperstructures, in which a variety of types of molecules are brought together to perform a function. We review the evidence for the existence of hyperstructures responsible for the initiation of DNA replication, the sequestration of newly replicated origins of replication, cell division (...) and for metabolism. The processes responsible for hyperstructure formation include changes in enzyme affinities due to metabolite-induction, lipid-protein affinities, elevated local concentrations of proteins and their binding sites on DNA and RNA, and transertion. Experimental techniques exist that can be used to study hyperstructures and we review some of the ones less familiar to biologists. Finally, we speculate on how a variety of in silico approaches involving cellular automata and multi-agent systems could be combined to develop new concepts in the form of an Integrated cell (I-cell) which would undergo selection for growth and survival in a world of artificial microbiology. (shrink)