Contributions in modern theoretical physics and chemistry on the behavior of nonlinear systems, exemplified by Ilya Prigogine's work on the thermodynamics of open systems, attract growing attention in economics. Our purpose here is to relate the new orientation in the natural sciences to a particular nonorthodox strand of thought within economics. All that is needed for this purpose is some appreciation of the general thrust of the enterprise, which involves a shift of perspective from the determinism of conventional physics to (...) the nonteleological open-endedness, creative, and nondetermined nature of evolutionary processes. (shrink)
The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Walter Gilbert described the mapping and sequencing of the human genome as “the grail of molecular biology.” The implication, endorsed by enthusiasts for the new genetics, is that possessing a comprehensive knowledge of human genetics, like possessing the Holy Grail, will give us miraculous powers to heal the sick, and to reduce human suffering and disabilities. Indeed, the rhetoric invoked to garner public support for the Human Genome Project appears to appeal to the best of (...) the Western tradition's enthusiasm for progress: the idea of improving human lives through the practical application of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
I take it as my assignment to criticize the Gauthier enterprise. At the outset, however, I should express my general agreement with David Gauthier's normative vision of a liberal social order, including the place that individual principles of morality hold in such an order. Whether the enterprise is, ultimately, judged to have succeeded or to have failed depends on the standards applied. Considered as a coherent grounding of such a social order in the rational choice behavior of persons, the enterprise (...) fails. Considered as an extended argument implying that persons should adopt the moral stance embodied in the Gauthier structure, the enterprise is, I dunk, largely successful. Considered as a set of empirically falsifiable propositions suggesting that persons do, indeed, choose as the Gauthier precepts dictate, the enterprise offers Humean hope rather than Hobbesian despair. (shrink)
To commence any answer to the question “Can democracy promote the general welfare?” requires attention to the meaning of “general welfare.” If this term is drained of all significance by being defined as “whatever the political decision process determines it to be,” then there is no content to the question. The meaning of the term can be restored only by classifying possible outcomes of democratic political processes into two sets – those that are general in application over all citizens and (...) those that are discriminatory. (shrink)
Accountability is the key to ensuring the fairness of rules governing the preventive use of force. Buchanan and Keohane propose a scheme that would make those promoting and those rejecting the preventive use of force more accountable.
This book articulates a systematic vision of an international legal system grounded in the commitment to justice for all persons. It provides a probing exploration of the moral issues involved in disputes about secession, ethno-national conflict, "the right of self-determination of peoples," human rights, and the legitimacy of the international legal system itself. Buchanan advances vigorous criticisms of the central dogmas of international relations and international law, arguing that the international legal system should make justice, not simply peace among (...) states, a primary goal, and rejecting the view that it is permissible for a state to conduct its foreign policies exclusively according to what is in the "national interest." He also shows that the only alternatives are not rigid adherence to existing international law or lawless chaos in which the world's one superpower pursues its own interests without constraints. This book not only criticizes the existing international legal order, but also offers morally defensible and practicable principles for reforming it. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination will find a broad readership in political science, international law, and political philosophy. (shrink)
In Better than Human, noted bioethicist Allen Buchanan grapples with the ethical dilemmas of the medical revolution and biomedical enhancements. One problem, he argues, is that the debate over these enhancements has divided into polar extremes--into denunciations of meddling in the natural order, or else a heady optimism that we can cure all that ails humanity. In fact, Buchanan notes, the human genome has always been unstable, and intervention is no offense against nature.
This volume collects Allen Buchanan's previously published articles with a focus on ethics and international law, specifically with regard to human rights, the legitimacy of international institutions, and the ethics of force across borders. The work fits together tightly in its systematic interconnections, and collectively it makes the case for a holistic and systematic approach to issues that are at the forefront of current discussions in political and legal philosophy- issues that have traditionally been seen as separate.
The conviction that Gilles Deleuze is doing something radical in his work has been accompanied by a corresponding anxiety as to how to read it. In this rigorous and lucid work, Ian Buchanan takes up the challenge by answering the following questions: How should we read Deleuze? How should we read _with_ Deleuze? To show us how Deleuze’s philosophy works, Buchanan begins with Melville’s notion that “a great book is always the inverse of another book that could only (...) be written in the soul, with silence and blood.” Buchanan demonstrates that the figure of two books—one written in ink and the other written in blood—lies at the center of Deleuze’s hermeneutics and that a special relation must be established in order to read the second book from the first. This relation is Deleuzism. By explicating elemental concepts in Deleuze—desire, flow, the nomad—Buchanan finds that, despite Deleuze’s self-declared moratorium on dialectics, he was in several important respects a dialectician. In essays that address the “prehistory” of Deleuze’s philosophy, his methodology, and the utopic dimensions of his thought, Buchanan extracts an apparatus of social critique that arises from the philosopher’s utopian impulse. _Deleuzism_ is a work that will engage all those with an interest in the twentieth-century’s most original philosopher. (shrink)
This article presents an overview of significant issues facing contemporary information professionals. As the world of information continues to grow at unprecedented speed and in unprecedented volume, questions must be faced by information professionals. Will we participate in the worldwide mythology of equal access for all, or will we truly work towards this debatable goal? Will we accept the narrowing of choice for our corresponding increasing diverse clientele? Such questions must be considered in a holistic context and an understanding of (...) the many levels of information inequities is requisite.Beginning with an historical perspective, Buchanan presents Mustapha Masmoudi''s seminal review of forms of information inequities. She then describes qualitative forms of inequities, such as information imperialism and cultural bias embedded in such practices as cataloging and classification. Following, a review of quantitative inequities is presented. Such issues as the growing commoditization of information and information services demand attention from the ethical perspective. And, finally, the Internet and implications surrounding the world-wide dissemination of information is discussed. (shrink)
Most of us have had the experience of running into a friend of a friend far away from home - and feeling that the world is somehow smaller than it should be. We usually write off such unlikely encounters as coincidence, even though it seems to happen with uncanny frequency. According to a handful of physicists at Los Alamos and other cutting-edge research labs around the world, it turns out that this 'small-world' phenomenon is no coincidence at all. Rather, it (...) is a manifestation of a hidden and powerful design that binds the world together. In SMALL WORLD, Mark Buchanan tells the story of how a stunning discovery in complexity science is revolutionising the way we understand networks. The Internet, the brain, power-grids and the global economy are all networks that seem to have evolved a 'small-world' geometry - with properties independent of the nature of the things themselves. SMALL WORLD argues that this underlying pattern may be one of nature's greatest design tricks, and the book shows us - concisely and engagingly - how scientists are putting this new insight to work. The discovery promises to change the way we see the web of relationships that weaves our lives together. What's more, it may well provide the foundation for a new kind of physics that searches for the laws not of substance, but of pure form. (shrink)
Scientists have recently discovered a new law of nature. Its footprints are virtually everywhere - in the spread of forest fires, mass extinctions, traffic jams, earthquakes, stock-market fluctuations, the rise and fall of nations, and even trends in fashion, music and art. Wherever we look, the world is modelled on a simple template: like a steep pile of sand, it is poised on the brink of instability, with avalanches - in events, ideas or whatever - following a universal pattern of (...) change. This remarkable discovery heralds what Mark Buchanan calls the new science of 'ubiquity', a science whose secret lies in the stuff of the everyday world. Combining literary flair with scientific rigour, this enthralling book documents the coming revolution by telling the story of the researchers' exploration of the law, their ingenious work and unexpected insights. Mark Buchanan reveals how the principle of ubiquity will help us to manage, control and predict the future. More controversially, he claims that it may well contain the beginnings of a mathematics of cultural and historical change. Every decade sees a major scientific breakthrough that has implications that go way beyond science. 'Ubiquity' is one of them. This book, the world's first on the topic, will change how we think about the world and our place in it. Chaos Disorder from order. Complexity Complexity from simplicity. UBIQUITY World has a natural 'rhythm': there is a mysterious archetypal organisation that works in the world at all levels and which gives rise to a universal pattern of change - in groups of people, things or ideas. (shrink)
Michel Foucault’s suggestion that this century would become known as “Deleuzian” was considered by Gilles Deleuze himself to be a joke “meant to make people who like us laugh, and make everyone else livid.” Whether serious or not, Foucault’s prediction has had enough of an impact to raise concern about the potential “deification” of this enormously influential French philosopher. Seeking to counter such tendencies toward hagiography—not unknown, particularly since Deleuze’s death—Ian Buchanan has assembled a collection of essays that constitute (...) a critical and focused engagement with Deleuze and his work. Originally published as a special issue of _South Atlantic Quarterly_, this volume includes essays from some of the most prominent American, Australian, British, and French scholars and translators of Deleuze’s writing. These essays, ranging from film, television, art, and literature to philosophy, psychoanalysis, geology, and cultural studies, reflect the broad interests of Deleuze himself. Providing both an introduction and critique of Deleuze, this volume will engage those readers interested in literary and cultural theory, philosophy, and the future of those areas of study in which Deleuze worked. _Contributors_. Ronald Bogue, Ian Buchanan, André Pierre Colombat, Tom Conley, Manuel DeLanda, Tessa Dwyer, Jerry Aline Flieger, Eugene Holland, Fredric Jameson, Jean-Clet Martin, John Mullarkey, D. N. Rodowick, Horst Ruthrof, Charles J. Stivale. (shrink)
In this concluding chapter, Allan and Keller posit that Just Peace should be defined as a process resting on four necessary and sufficient conditions: thin recognition whereby the other is accepted as autonomous; thick recognition whereby identities need to be accounted for; renouncement, requiring significant sacrifices from all parties; and rule, the objectification of a Just Peace by a ‘text’ requiring a common language respecting the identities of each, and defining their rights and duties. This approach, based on a (...) language-oriented process amongst directly concerned parties, goes beyond liberal and culturalist perspectives. By moving beyond the idea of a peace founded on norms claiming universal scope, each side of a conflict has a place at the negotiating table to present their own perspective on what justice might entail. This inclusion into the decision-making process helps create the feeling of personal investment in the final negotiated product. In addition, negotiators need to work towards building a novel shared reality as well as a new common language to help foster an enduring harmony between previously clashing peoples. (shrink)
Certeau is often considered to be the theorist of everyday life par excellence. This book provides an unrivalled critical introduction to Certeau's work and influence and looks at his key ideas and asks how should we try to understand him in relation to theories of modern culture and society. Ian Buchanan demonstrates how Certeau was influenced by Lacan, Merleau-Ponty and Greimas and the meaning of Certeau's notions of `strategy', `tactics', `place' and `space' are clearly described. The book argues that (...) Certeau died before developing the full import of his work for the study of culture and convincingly, it tries to complete or imagine the directions that Certeau's work would have taken, had he lived. Authoritative, penetrating and filled with insight, the book will be of major interest to students of sociology and cultural studies. (shrink)
This chapter distinguishes Just Peace from its closest ‘moral’ neighbours — a stable peace and positive peace. Drawing on both consequentialist and deontological considerations, Allan develops an international ethical scale to evaluate different acts from a moral standpoint, with different levels of conflict as the baseline of ethical behavior. The more extreme the discord, the worse it is considered on the scale; the more harmonious, the better. Arguing that absolute unhappiness and absolute happiness are not of this world, (...) class='Hi'>Allan presents eight intermediary moral situations, each being superseded by the next one in ethical terms: genocide, war, non-war, Just War, stable peace, Just Peace, positive peace, and Global Care. He develops an ethic of ‘global care’ based on feminist theories of care, religious and secular declarations on a global ethic, evolutionary theory arguments, and a critique of a liberal human rights approach. (shrink)
This essay responds to Lewis Ford’s “Allan’s Atheism,” in which he assesses a recent essay of mine that finds God an unnecessary and indeed coherence-destroying addition to Process and Reality. I clarify my position by showing how Whitehead’s notions of physical purpose and aesthetic determination adequately account for the novelty required for an actual occasion’s concrescence and for increases in achieved value. I then criticize Ford’s claim that genuine novelties must have a divine origin and that in Adventures of (...) Ideas the Eros of the Universe refers to God. (shrink)
The special issue collects a selection of papers presented during the Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiries 2013 conference. This is a series of conferences organized by the International Association for Ethics and Information Technology , a professional organization formed in 2001 and which gathers experts in information and computer ethics prompting interdisciplinary research and discussions on ethical problems related to design and deployment of information and communication technologies . During the past two decades, CEPE conferences have been a focal point for (...) the research concerning crucial topics , such as privacy , online trust , online identity , value-sensitive design , cyber-warfare , along with education and professional ethics (Buchanan .. (shrink)
The Sovereignty of Law presents Trevor Allan's most recent and fully elaborated defence of common law constitutionalism - an account of the unwritten or non-codified constitution as a complex articulation of legal and moral principles, defining what in the British context are the requirements of the rule of law. The British constitution is conceived as a coherent set of fundamental principles of the rule of law, legislative supremacy, and separation of powers. These principles.
Is it right to use biomedical technologies to make us better than well or even perhaps better than human? Should we view our biology as fixed or should we try to improve on it? College students are already taking cognitive enhancement drugs. The U.S. army is already working to develop drugs and technologies to produce "super soldiers." Scientists already know how to use genetic engineering techniques to enhance the strength and memories of mice and the application of such technologies to (...) humans is on the horizon. In Better Than Human, philosopher-bioethicist Allen Buchanan grapples with the ethical dilemmas of the biomedical enhancement revolution. Biomedical enhancements can make us smarter, have better memories, be stronger, quicker, have more stamina, live much longer, avoid the frailties of aging, and enjoy richer emotional lives. In spite of the benefits that biomedical enhancements may bring, many people instinctively reject them. Some worry that we will lose something important-our appreciation for what we have or what makes human beings distinctively valuable. Others assume that biomedical enhancements will only be available to the rich, with the result that social inequalities will worsen. Buchanan shows that the debate over enhancement has been distorted by false assumptions and misleading rhetoric. To think clearly about enhancement, we have to acknowledge that human nature is a mixed bag and that our species has many "design flaws." We should be open be open to the possibility of becoming better than human, while never underestimating the risks that our attempts to improve may back-fire. (shrink)
French philosopher Michel de Certeau wrote about seventeenth-century mysticism, religion and pluralism, architecture, everyday life, and the history of anthropology. But because critics of his works have tended to fragment it into hermetic compartments, dealing only with what is relevant to their own fields, the expansiveness of his ouevre has suffered damaging distortions in the secondary literature. This special issue of _South Atlantic Quarterly_ provides the first comprehensive view of his complete work, with contributors evaluating his weaknesses as well as (...) his strengths. With articles that engage directly—as well as theoretically—with de Certeau, this collection corrects a long-standing imbalance in the criticism by covering works from two periods about which little is known in anglophone circles: his early books on religious history and his midlife histories of mysticism and possession. It also includes critiques from queer theory and feminist theory, as well as comparative readings that assess de Certeau alongside his famous contemporary, Michel Foucault. With articles by an international array of scholars who address both the secular and the religious thinker, this special issue is the most definitive study to date of this important twentieth-century thinker. _Contributors. _Jeremy Ahearne, Frederick C. Bauerschmidt, Ian Buchanan, Philippe Carrard, Claire Colebrook, Tom Conley, Verena Andermatt Conley, Catherine Driscoll, Carla Freccero, John Frow, Richard Terdiman, Timothy Tomasik, Marie-Claire Vallois, Graham Ward. (shrink)
Steven Pinker has said that one of the most important questions humans can ask of themselves is whether moral progress has occurred or is likely to occur. Buchanan and Powell here address that question, in order to provide the first naturalistic, empirically-informed and analytically sophisticated theory of moral progress--explaining the capacities in the human brain that allow for it, the role of the environment, and how contingent and fragile moral progress can be.
The general layout and functional economy of the argument and explanations are very satisfying—like walking through a well ordered garden; and the authority of Buchanan’s discussions of the gardening work and thoughts of the Master is ...
Nonhuman primates represent an important reservoir for the transmission of new infectious diseases to humans. While several working groups and international agencies have grappled with the ethics of xenotransplantation, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics have recently published a comprehensive and far-reaching series of recommendations that, while not eliminating the infectious disease risks, have nonetheless detailed the major points for concern and have developed a rational approach to minimizing these risks. This report should serve as the blueprint from which to proceed (...) with xenotransplantation. Dr. Allan’s research focuses on simian retroviruses, including simian immunodeficiency viruses. (shrink)
Appeals to the idea of human nature are frequent in the voluminous literature on the ethics of enhancing human beings through biotechnology. Two chief concerns about the impact of enhancements on human nature have been voiced. The first is that enhancement may alter or destroy human nature. The second is that if enhancement alters or destroys human nature, this will undercut our ability to ascertain the good because, for us, the good is determined by our nature. The first concern assumes (...) that altering or destroying human nature is in itself a bad thing. The second concern assumes that human nature provides a standard without which we cannot make coherent, defensible judgments about what is good. I will argue (1) that there is nothing wrong, per se, with altering or destroying human nature, because, on a plausible understanding of what human nature is, it contains bad as well as good characteristics and there is no reason to believe that eliminating some of the bad would so imperil the good as to make the elimination of the bad impermissible, and (2) that altering or destroying human nature need not result in the loss of our ability to make judgments about the good, because we possess a conception of the good by which we can and do evaluate human nature. I will argue that appeals to human nature tend to obscure rather than illuminate the debate over the ethics of enhancement and can be eliminated in favor of more cogent considerations. (shrink)
Much of the debate about the ethics of enhancement has proceeded according to two framing assumptions. The first is that although enhancement carries large social risks, the chief benefits of enhancement are to those who are enhanced (or their parents, in the case of enhancing the traits of children). The second is that, because we now understand the wrongs of state-driven eugenics, enhancements, at least in liberal societies, will be personal goods, chosen or not chosen in a market for enhancement (...) services. This article argues that both framing assumptions must be rejected, once it is understood that some enhancements— especially those that are most likely to garner resources and become widespread— will increase human productivity. Once one appreciates the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements, one can begin to see that enhancement need not be primarily a zero sum affair, that the social costs of forgoing enhancements may be great, and that the state may well take an interest in facilitating biomedical enhancements, just as it does in facilitating education and other productivity-increasing traditional enhancements. Appreciating the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements also makes it possible to view the enhancement debate in a new light, through the lens of the ethics of development. (shrink)
Many philosophers invoke the "wisdom of nature" in arguing for varying degrees of caution in the development and use of genetic enhancement technologies. Because they view natural selection as akin to a master engineer that creates functionally and morally optimal design, these authors tend to regard genetic intervention with suspicion. In Part II, we examine and ultimately reject the evolutionary assumptions that underlie the master engineer analogy (MEA). By highlighting the constraints on ordinary unassisted evolution, we show how intentional genetic (...) modification can overcome many of the natural impediments to the human good. Our contention is that genetic engineering offers a solution that is more eff icient, reliable, versatile, and morally palatable than the lumbering juggernaut of Darwinian evolution. In Part III, we evaluate a recent attempt to ground precautionary enhancement heuristics in adaptive etiology. Our problem with this approach is two-fold: first, it is based on the same "strong adaptationist" interpretation of evolution that motivates the flawed MEA, and second, the etiological concept of function on which it relies provides indirect and potentially misleading information about the likely consequences of genetic intervention. We offer instead enhancement criteria based on causal relationships in ontogeny. We conclude that rather than grounding a presumption against deliberate genetic modification, the causal structure of the living world gives us good moral reason to pursue it. (shrink)
Jakob von Uexküll's theories of life -- Biography and historical background -- Nature's conformity with plan -- Umweltforschung -- Biosemiotics -- Concluding remarks -- Marking a path into the environments of animals -- The essential approach to the organism -- Heidegger and the biologists -- Paths to the world -- Disruptive behavior : Heidegger and the captivated animal -- The worldless stone -- The poor animal -- For example, three bees and a lark -- Animal morphology -- A shocking wealth (...) -- A fine line in the rupture of time -- An affected body -- The theme of the animal melody : Merleau-Ponty and the umwelt -- The structure of behavior -- A pure wake, a quiet force -- A leaf of being -- Interanimality -- The-animal-stalks-at-five-oclock : Deleuze's affection for Uexküll -- Problematic organisms -- Uexküll's ethology of affects -- The body without organs, the embryonic egg, and prebiotic soup -- Nature's refrain sung across milieus and territories -- The animal stalks. (shrink)
A common objection to Russell's theory of descriptions concerns incomplete definite descriptions: uses of (for example) ‘the book is overdue’ in contexts where there is clearly more than one book. Many contemporary Russellians hold that such utterances will invariably convey a contextually determined complete proposition, for example, that the book in your briefcase is overdue. But according to the objection this gets things wrong: typically, when a speaker utters such a sentence, no facts about the context or the speaker's communicative (...) intentions single out a particular description-theoretic proposition as the proposition expressed. However, this is an objection only if it is assumed that successful linguistic communication requires the hearer to identify a proposition uniquely intended by the speaker. We argue that this assumption is mistaken. On our view, no proposition, descriptive or referential, is uniquely intended in such a context; thus, no proposition can nor need be identified as the proposition expressed. One significant upshot is that, once the aforementioned assumption is rejected, incompleteness no longer poses a threat to Russell's theory of descriptions. (shrink)
The distinctive aim of applied ethics is to provide guidance as to how we ought to act, as individuals and as shapers of social policies. In this essay, I argue that applied ethics as currently practiced is inadequate and ought to be transformed to incorporate what I shall call social moral epistemology. This is a branch of social epistemology, the study of the social practices and institutions that promote the formation, preservation, and transmission of true beliefs. For example, social epistemologists (...) critically evaluate the comparative advantages of adversarial versus inquisitorial criminal proceedings as mechanisms for the discovery of truth. (shrink)