This essay offers a critical examination of two recent Holocaust films that exemplify contrasting approaches to Holocaust representation: Peter Forgacs?s 1997 The maelstrom: A family chronicle and Quentin tarantino?s 2009 Inglourious basterds. One film is historical; the other translates history to figurative exaggeration. The essay explores how The maelstrom positions viewers within the constructed subjunctive spaces of the film, while Inglourious basterds positions viewers as spectators of history as comic book. Looking at these films together illuminates competing rhetorical claims to (...) expertise in film production and reception, and, in the context of Holocaust memory, the levels of expertise required of viewing audiences. Moreover, the analysis reveals that rhetorical aporia no longer dominates inventional possibilities for cinematic memory construction of the Holocaust. (shrink)
Does Spinoza present philosophy as the preserve of an elite, while condemning the uneducated to a false though palliative form of ‘true religion’? Some commentators have thought so, but this contribution aims to show that they are mistaken. The form of religious life that Spinoza recommends creates the political and epistemological conditions for a gradual transition to philosophical understanding, so that true religion and philosophy are in practice inseparable.
Genomic research results and incidental findings with health implications for a research participant are of potential interest not only to the participant, but also to the participant's family. Yet investigators lack guidance on return of results to relatives, including after the participant's death. In this paper, a national working group offers consensus analysis and recommendations, including an ethical framework to guide investigators in managing this challenging issue, before and after the participant's death.
Generic noun phrases (e.g. 'bats live in caves') provide a window onto human concepts. They refer to categories as 'kinds rather than as sets of individuals. Although kind concepts are often assumed to be universal, generic expression varies considerably across languages. For example, marking of generics is less obligatory and overt in Mandarin than in English. How do universal conceptual biases interact with language-specific differences in how generics are conveyed? In three studies, we examined adults' generics in English and Mandarin (...) Chinese. The data include child-directed speech from caregivers interacting with their 19-23-month-old children. Examples of generics include: 'baby birds eat worms' (English) and da4 lao3shu3 yao3 bu4 yao3 ren2 ('do big rats bite people or not?') (Mandarin). Generic noun phrases were reliably identified in both languages, although they occurred more than twice as frequently in English as in Mandarin. In both languages, generic usage was domain-specific, with generic noun phrases used most frequently to refer to animals. This domain effect was specific to generics, as non-generic noun phrases were used most frequently for artifacts in both languages. In sum, we argue for universal properties of 'kind' concepts that are expressed with linguistically different constructions. However, the frequency of expression may be influenced by the manner in which generics are expressed in the language. (shrink)
At the turn of the 21st century, Susan Leigh Anderson and Michael Anderson conceived and introduced the Machine Ethics research program, that aimed to highlight the requirements under which autonomous artificial intelligence systems could demonstrate ethical behavior guided by moral values, and at the same time to show that these values, as well as ethics in general, can be representable and computable. Today, the interaction between humans and AI entities is already part of our everyday lives; in the near (...) future it is expected to play a key role in scientific research, medical practice, public administration, education and other fields of civic life. In view of this, the debate over the ethical behavior of machines is more crucial than ever and the search for answers, directions and regulations is imperative at an academic, institutional as well as at a technical level. Our discussion with the two inspirers and originators of Machine Ethics highlights the epistemological, metaphysical and ethical questions arising by this project, as well as the realistic and pragmatic demands that dominate artificial intelligence and robotics research programs. Most of all, however, it sheds light upon the contribution of Susan and Michael Anderson regarding the introduction and undertaking of a main objective related to the creation of ethical autonomous agents, that will not be based on the “imperfect” patterns of human behavior, or on preloaded hierarchical laws and human-centric values. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore Augustine’s account of sense cognition in book 11 of De Trinitate. His discussion in this context focuses on two types of sensory state—what he calls “outer vision” and “inner vision,” respectively. His analysis of both types of state is designed to show that cognitive acts involving external and internal sense faculties are susceptible of a kind of trinitarian analysis. A common way to read De Trin. 11, is to interpret Augustine’s account of “outer” vision as (...) an analysis of sense perception and his account “inner” vision as an analysis of occurrent sensory memory and imagination. I argue against such a reading of De Trin. 11, however. Insofar as we take perception to be a phenomenally conscious mode of sensory awareness, outer vision cannot, I claim, be the equivalent of ordinary sense perception. For, on Augustine’s view, the deliverances of outer vision only reach the threshold of consciousness, when outer vision occurs in conjunction with inner vision. Hence, on my analysis, sense perception turns out to be a complex, hybrid state—one that involves both outer and inner vision. If I am right, acts of sense perception turn out not to be directly susceptible to trinitarian analysis. Even so, the account is interesting and nuanced for all that. (shrink)
No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
The fast growing interest in the work of university ethics review boards is evident in the proliferation of research and literature in the area. This article focuses on a Research Ethics Board (REB) in the Canadian context. In-depth, open-ended interviews with REB members and findings from a qualitative study designed to examine the ethics review of school-based research are used to illustrate points raised in the paper. The author’s experiences as academic researcher, advisor to student researchers and a 3-year term (...) as an REB member inform the discussion. Macro issues related to the general workings of the board (e.g., maintaining appropriate membership) and micro issues connected to individual REB members’ experiences of reviewing research applications are examined. The author’s goal is to contribute to a fastgrowing conversation related to the issues that influence university ethics review while drawing attention to the contribution that faculty members’ understandings of their work as REB members can make to that conversation. (shrink)
This paper argues that an adequate conception of a good life should recognize, in addition to happiness and morality, a third dimension of meaningfulness. It further proposes that we understand meaningfulness as involving both a subjective and an objective condition, suitably linked. Meaning arises when subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness. In other words one’s life is meaningful insofar as one is gripped or excited by things worthy of one’s love, and one is able to do something positive about it. The (...) paper concludes with some speculations about how this conception of meaningfulness might help to explain the conditions under which social volunteering can be especially rewarding. (shrink)
[ Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether (...) it understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
_A surprising, sweeping, and deeply researched history of empathy—from late-nineteenth-century German aesthetics to mirror neurons_ _Empathy: A History_ tells the fascinating and largely unknown story of the first appearance of “empathy” in 1908 and tracks its shifting meanings over the following century. Despite empathy’s ubiquity today, few realize that it began as a translation of _Einfühlung _or “in-feeling” in German psychological aesthetics that described how spectators projected their own feelings and movements into objects of art and nature. Remarkably, this early (...) conception of empathy transformed into its opposite over the ensuing decades. Social scientists and clinical psychologists refashioned empathy to require the deliberate putting aside of one’s feelings to more accurately understand another’s. By the end of World War II, interpersonal empathy entered the mainstream, appearing in advice columns, popular radio and TV, and later in public forums on civil rights. Even as neuroscientists continue to map the brain correlates of empathy, its many dimensions still elude strict scientific description. This meticulously researched book uncovers empathy’s historical layers, offering a rich portrait of the tension between the reach of one’s own imagination and the realities of others’ experiences. (shrink)
In Australia, Human Research Ethics Committees have a vital role to play—as the primary institutional mechanism for ethical review of research—in protecting research participants, and promoting ethical research. Their ability to act effectively in this role is currently threatened by the limited support they receive and their burgeoning workloads. In this discussion paper, I trace some of the factors contributing to what I describe as a resource crisis in human research ethics. I suggest a review of the working of HRECs (...) to canvas a range of alternatives which might serve to redress this crisis, so as to ensure the continued effectiveness of HRECs in protecting participants and promoting ethical research. (shrink)
A growing body of literature has identified potential problems that can compromise the quality, fairness, and integrity of journal peer review, including inadequate review, inconsistent reviewer reports, reviewer biases, and ethical transgressions by reviewers. We examine the evidence concerning these problems and discuss proposed reforms, including double-blind and open review. Regardless of the outcome of additional research or attempts at reforming the system, it is clear that editors are the linchpin of peer review, since they make decisions that have a (...) significant impact on the process and its outcome. We consider some of the steps editors should take to promote quality, fairness and integrity in different stages of the peer review process and make some recommendations for editorial conduct and decision-making. (shrink)
Forthright and wryly humorous, philosopher Susan Haack deploys her penetrating analytic skills on some of the most highly charged cultural and social debates of recent years. Relativism, multiculturalism, feminism, affirmative action, pragmatisms old and new, science, literature, the future of the academy and of philosophy itself—all come under her keen scrutiny in Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate.
BackgroundObtaining informed consent for participation in genomic research in low-income settings presents specific ethical issues requiring attention. These include the challenges that arise when providing information about unfamiliar and technical research methods, the implications of complicated infrastructure and data sharing requirements, and the potential consequences of future research with samples and data. This study investigated researchers’ and participants’ parents’ experiences of a consent process and understandings of a genome-wide association study of malaria involving children aged five and under in Mali. (...) It aimed to inform best practices in recruiting participants into genomic research.MethodsA qualitative rapid ethical assessment was undertaken. Fifty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted with the parents of research participants. An additional nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior research scientists, research assistants and with a member of an ethics committee. A focus group with five parents of research participants and direct observations of four consent processes were also conducted. French and translated English transcripts were descriptively and thematically coded using OpenCode software.ResultsParticipants’ parents in the MalariaGEN study had differing understandings of the causes of malaria, the rationale for collecting blood samples, the purposes of the study and the kinds of information the study would generate. Genomic aspects of the research, including the gene/environment interaction underlying susceptibility or resistance to severe malaria, proved particularly challenging to explain and understand.ConclusionsThis study identifies a number of areas to be addressed in the design of consent processes for genomic research, some of which require careful ethical analysis. These include determining how much information should be provided about differing aspects of the research and how best to promote understandings of genomic research. We conclude that it is important to build capacity in the design and conduct of effective and appropriate consent processes for genomic research in low and middle-income settings. Additionally, consideration should be given to the role of review committees and community consultation activities in protecting the interests of participants in genomic research. (shrink)
We need a feminist theory of disability, both because 16 percent of women are disabled, and because the oppression of disabled people is closely linked to the cultural oppression of the body. Disability is not a biological given; like gender, it is socially constructed from biologically reality. Our culture idealizes the body and demands that we control it. Thus, although most people will be disabled at some time in their lives, the disabled are made "the other," who symbolize failure of (...) control and the threat of pain, limitation, dependency, and death. If disabled people and their knowledge were fully integrated into society, everyone's relation to her/his real body would be liberated. (shrink)
Feminist researchers have urged more study of how feminist practice is actually accomplished in mixed-gender organizations. Social movement scholars have called for more attention to dynamics of gender and race in social movement organizations, especially to the challenges of maintaining internal solidarity. Based on field observations in a pro-feminist, progressive, mixed-gender, mixed-race social movement organization, this article examines organizational decision-making processes and interpersonal and group dynamics. Gendered and racialized patterns of subordination are both very much in evidence and—at the same (...) time—actively challenged in this organization. The author argues that profeminist and progressive organizational practices and efforts to create solidarity across gender and race can exist through competing and contradictory dynamics and ongoing struggles. Complex and inconsistent dynamics around these social barriers are likely to occur in organizations more generally and need to be a subject for more research. (shrink)
This paper proceeds from a sense of dissatisfaction with much of current moral argument about defence policy, in particular the role of nuclear weapons. Discussions of the moral issues tend to divide into two distinct kinds of writing: on the one hand, impassioned calls to action based on and allied with equally impassioned moral exhortations; and on the other hand, usually in academic contexts, meticulous analyses and comparisons of aspects of nuclear policy with paradigm cases of acknowledged moral categories or (...) requirements, with the object of showing by analogy with these that the particular aspect of policy under discussion is or is not morally wrong. My unease is caused by the fact that, while it is difficult not to respond to the impassioned style of argument, as one recognizes in it a practical and moral urgency which our situation seems to demand, nevertheless it plainly appeals only to those already convinced of its conclusions. The unconverted tend to regard it with suspicion or disdain, for in contrast to the analytical style, which manifestly seeks to compel the intellect, the impassioned style seems to make its effect by stirring the emotions as much as if not instead of by compelling the intellect. On the other hand the analytical style can seem curiously irrelevant, even trivial, in relation to the issue. For instance, it has been argued that since: nuclear war is a moral disaster; deterrence is threatening or intending to wage nuclear war; it is wrong to threaten or intend to do something wrong; therefore: deterrence is wrong, and should be abandoned. It is hard to believe that defenders of deterrence as the cornerstone of defence policy are going to be persuaded by such an argument to abandon their advocation of it, if only because the argument totally ignores the object of deterrence. (shrink)
Violence and the Remaking of a Self Susan J. Brison. Political activism (including lobbying for new legislation, speaking out, educating others, helping survivors) can also help to undo the double bind of self-blame versus helplessness.
Should the insane and the mentally ill be held morally responsible for their actions? To answer ‘No’ to this question is to classify the mentally abnormal as not fully human: and indeed legal tradition has generally oscillated between assimilating the insane to brutes and assimilating them to children below the age of discretion, neither of these two categories being accountable in law for what they do. In what respect relevant to moral responsibility were the insane held to resemble brutes and (...) children? In the case of brutes, the answer seems to have been that the doings of the insane appeared to lack whatever it is that marks out human actions as distinctively human. What the insane did could not be thought of as issuing from deliberation, or as capable of having issued from deliberation, but seemed rather to be the result of the unbridled operation of nature — if a diseased nature. The natural comparison with insane killings seemed to be, for example, the killing of birds by cats. This distinction between animal doings and human actions does not depend on Cartesian views about the workings of animals; the operation of nature need not be thought of as mechanical. The thought is simply that where there is no room for deliberation there is no room for moral appraisal. Children, on the other hand, though capable of distinctively human action — i.e. of deliberating about what they do — were held not to be capable of the relevant kind of deliberation: for they were held ‘not to know the difference between right and wrong’. (shrink)
Human genomics is a translational field spanning research, clinical care, public health, and direct-to-consumer testing. However, law differs across these domains on issues including liability, consent, promoting quality of analysis and interpretation, and safeguarding privacy. Genomic activities crossing domains can thus encounter confusion and conflicts among these approaches. This paper suggests how to resolve these conflicts while protecting the rights and interests of individuals sequenced. Translational genomics requires this more translational approach to law.
This article is an extended commentary inspired by Alan Drengson's paper “Shifting Paradigms: From Technocrat to Planetary Person” (Drengson 2011). In this article Susan Greenwood and I echo Drengson's criticism that Euro-American science is incomplete, having committed what Thomas Roberts calls “The Singlestate Fallacy: the erroneous assumption that all worthwhile abilities reside in our normal, awake mindbody state” (Roberts 2006:105). This singlestate fallacy is vividly portrayed in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, whose critique of Euro-American science is revisited in this (...) article. Alternatively, Greenwood and I suggest that what is needed is a multimodel framework “that allows for in-depth analysis of the different modes of consciousness.” Roberts refers to this alternative attitude toward science as the Multistate Paradigm. An awareness of the transformational character of shamanism is also explored in this article as a means to overcome the oppositions between the technocratic and person planetary perspective, and their related gender associations. (shrink)
A defendant’s failure to show remorse is one of the most powerful factors in criminal sentencing, including capital sentencing. Yet there is currently no evidence that remorse can be accurately evaluated in a courtroom. Conversely there is evidence that race and other impermissible factors create hurdles to evaluating remorse. There is thus an urgent need for studies about whether and how remorse can be accurately evaluated. Moreover, there is little evidence that remorse is correlated with future law-abiding behavior or other (...) legitimate penal purposes, and, in fact, there is evidence that remorse is often conflated with shame, which is correlated with increased future criminality. More accurate information on the nature and evaluation of remorse can be used to reform the criminal justice system. (shrink)
While information technologies present organizations with opportunities to become more competitive, unsettled social norms and lagging legislation guiding the use of these technologies present organizations and individuals with ethical dilemmas. This paper presents two studies investigating the relationship between intellectual property and privacy attitudes, Machiavellianism and Ethical Ideology, and working in R&D and computer literacy in the form of programming experience. In Study 1, Machiavellians believed it was more acceptable to ignore the intellectual property and privacy rights of others. Programmers (...) and R&D workers considered violating intellectual property rights more acceptable. Programmers did not consider violating privacy rights more acceptable, but R&D workers did. Finally, there was an interaction between Machiavellianism, programming and R&D. Machiavellians who also had programming experience or worked in R&D found violations of intellectual property much more acceptable. The effect of Machiavellianism on attitudes toward violations of privacy was enhanced by working in R&D, but not by programming experience. In Study 2, idealists believed it was less acceptable to ignore the intellectual property and privacy rights of others. Relativists found it more acceptable to violate intellectual property rights, though they did not consider it more acceptable to violate privacy rights. Those with programming experience were more accepting of intellectual property rights violations, but not of privacy violations. Finally, programming experience moderated the relationship between idealism, relativism and attitudes toward these unethical information practices. Implications for diminishing unethical behavior among Machiavellians, Relativists, programmers and those in R&D are discussed. (shrink)
The sudden resurgence of interest in the emotions that has recently overtaken analytical philosophy has raised a range of questions about the place of the passions in established explanatory schemes. How, for example, do the emotions fit into theories of action organized around beliefs and desires? How can they be included in analyses of the mind developed to account for other mental states and capacities? Questions of this general form also arise within political philosophy, and the wish to acknowledge their (...) importance and find a space for them has led to some fruitful developments. Among these are a new sensitivity to ways in which attributions of emotion can create and sustain unequal power relations, an interest in the underlying emotional capacities that make politics possible, a concern with the kinds of emotional suffering that politics should aim to abolish, and analyses of the emotional traits it should foster. While these and comparable explorations have enormously enriched contemporary political philosophy, a great deal of mainstream work continues to ignore or marginalize the emotions, so that their place remains uncertain and obscure. There is no consensus as to what kind of attention should be paid to them, or indeed whether they deserve any systematic attention at all. This is a curious state of affairs, because it was until quite recently taken for granted that political philosophy and psychology are intimately connected, and that political philosophy needs to be grounded on an understanding of human passion. In this essay I shall first consider why political philosophers ever rejected this set of assumptions. I shall then return to the pressing issue of how we might take account of the emotions in our own political theorizing. (shrink)
Psychological essentialism is an intuitive folk belief positing that certain categories have a non-obvious inner “essence” that gives rise to observable features. Although this belief most commonly characterizes natural kind categories, I argue that psychological essentialism can also be extended in important ways to artifact concepts. Specifically, concepts of individual artifacts include the non-obvious feature of object history, which is evident when making judgments regarding authenticity and ownership. Classic examples include famous works of art (e.g., the Mona Lisa is authentic (...) because of its provenance), but ordinary artifacts likewise receive value from their history (e.g., a worn and tattered blanket may have special value if it was one’s childhood possession). Moreover, in some cases, object history may be thought to have causal effects on individual artifacts, much as an animal essence has causal effects. I review empirical support for these claims and consider the implications for both artifact concepts and essentialism. This perspective suggests that artifact concepts cannot be contained in a theoretical framework that focuses exclusively on similarity or even function. Furthermore, although there are significant differences between essentialism of natural kinds and essentialism of artifact individuals, the commonalities suggest that psychological essentialism may not derive from folk biology but instead may reflect more domain-general perspectives on the world. (shrink)
On July 4, 1990, while on a morning walk in southern France, Susan Brison was attacked from behind, severely beaten, sexually assaulted, strangled to unconsciousness, and left for dead. She survived, but her world was destroyed. Her training as a philosopher could not help her make sense of things, and many of her fundamental assumptions about the nature of the self and the world it inhabits were shattered.At once a personal narrative of recovery and a philosophical exploration of trauma, (...) this book examines the undoing and remaking of a self in the aftermath of violence. It explores, from an interdisciplinary perspective, memory and truth, identity and self, autonomy and community. It offers imaginative access to the experience of a rape survivor as well as a reflective critique of a society in which women routinely fear and suffer sexual violence.As Brison observes, trauma disrupts memory, severs past from present, and incapacitates the ability to envision a future. Yet the act of bearing witness, she argues, facilitates recovery by integrating the experience into the survivor's life's story. She also argues for the importance, as well as the hazards, of using first-person narratives in understanding not only trauma, but also larger philosophical questions about what we can know and how we should live.Bravely and beautifully written, Aftermath is that rare book that is an illustration of its own arguments. (shrink)
A beneficial effect of gesture on learning has been demonstrated in multiple domains, including mathematics, science, and foreign language vocabulary. However, because gesture is known to co-vary with other non-verbal behaviors, including eye gaze and prosody along with face, lip, and body movements, it is possible the beneficial effect of gesture is instead attributable to these other behaviors. We used a computer-generated animated pedagogical agent to control both verbal and non-verbal behavior. Children viewed lessons on mathematical equivalence in which an (...) avatar either gestured or did not gesture, while eye gaze, head position, and lip movements remained identical across gesture conditions. Children who observed the gesturing avatar learned more, and they solved problems more quickly. Moreover, those children who learned were more likely to transfer and generalize their knowledge. These findings provide converging evidence that gesture facilitates math learning, and they reveal the potential for using technology to study non-verbal behavior in controlled experiments. (shrink)