Although research integrity practices in institutional settings is not a new area of study, because of its foundational importance in university settings it remains a topic worthy of study. In addition, rarely are all members of the university community included as participants in studies focused upon research integrity and ethics. Thus, to add to the existent literature, the authors investigated research integrity practices in a medium-sized Midwestern polytechnic university setting, including 467 participants from across all divisions of the university community. (...) This mixed data survey study was comprised of six sections; presented is information for two sections—sample demographics and research integrity. The demographics appear reflective of those of the larger survey, as well as the university setting of study. In the research integrity section there were two parts—one qualitative and one quantitative. Implications with regard to research integrity and ethics in the institutional setting of study are presented. (shrink)
In this issue of the Report, James L. Bernat proposes an innovative and sophisticated distinction to justify the introduction of permanent cessation as a valid substitute standard for irreversible cessation in death determination. He differentiates two approaches to conceptualizing and determining death: the biological concept and the prevailing medical practice standard. While irreversibility is required by the biological concept, the weaker criterion of permanence, he claims, has always sufficed in the accepted standard medical practice to declare death. Bernat argues that (...) the medical practice standard may be acceptable on the ground that proving circulatory or brain permanence is sufficient to assure complete accuracy for death diagnosis. -/- The topic requires public deliberation: processes to survey people's opinions and mechanisms to channel their opinions into policy-making. What is at stake is the nature of our society. Do we want an expertocracy, in which an enlightened few design policies for the greater good of the majority and exploit the lack of public knowledge to achieve compliance? (shrink)
‘Alexander, it is said, starting from Amphipolis and keeping on his left the city Philippi and the mountain Orbelus, invaded Thrace, that part occupied by the so-called self-governing Thracians. He crossed the river Nestus, and in ten days, they say, he reached the mountain Haemus.’.
The first few years of the 21st century were characterised by a progressive loss of privacy. Two phenomena converged to give rise to the data economy: the realisation that data trails from users interacting with technology could be used to develop personalised advertising, and a concern for security that led authorities to use such personal data for the purposes of intelligence and policing. In contrast to the early days of the data economy and internet surveillance, the last few years have (...) witnessed a rising concern for privacy. As bad data practices have come to light, citizens are starting to understand the real cost of using online digital technologies. Two events stamped 2018 as a landmark year for privacy: the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The former showed the extent to which personal data has been shared without data subjects’ knowledge and consent and many times for unacceptable purposes, such as swaying elections. The latter inaugurated the beginning of robust data protection regulation in the digital age. Getting privacy right is one of the biggest challenges of this new decade of the 21st century. The past year has shown that there is still much work to be done on privacy to tame the darkest aspects of the data economy. As data scandals continue to emerge, questions abound as to how to interpret and enforce regulation, how to design new and better laws, how to complement regulation with better ethics, and how to find technical solutions to data problems. The aim of the research project Data, Privacy, and the Individual is to contribute to a better understanding of the ethics of privacy and of differential privacy. The outcomes of the project are seven research papers on privacy, a survey, and this final report, which summarises each research paper, and goes on to offer a set of reflections and recommendations to implement best practices regarding privacy. (shrink)
Anonymity promotes free speech by protecting the identity of people who might otherwise face negative consequences for expressing their ideas. Wrongdoers, however, often abuse this invisibility cloak. Defenders of anonymity online emphasise its value in advancing public debate and safeguarding political dissension. Critics emphasise the need for identifiability in order to achieve accountability for wrongdoers such as trolls. The problematic tension between anonymity and identifiability online lies in the desirability of having low costs (no repercussions) for desirable speech and high (...) costs (appropriate repercussions) for undesirable speech. If we practice either full anonymity or identifiability, we end up having either low or high costs in all online contexts and for all kinds of speech. I argue that free speech is compatible with instituting costs in the form of repercussions and penalties for controversial and unacceptable speech. Costs can minimise the risks of anonymity by providing a reasonable degree of accountability. Pseudonymity is a tool that can help us regulate those costs while furthering free speech. This article argues that, in order to redesign the Internet to better serve free speech, we should shape much of it to resemble an online masquerade. (shrink)
The purpose of this survey was to gather individual’s attitudes and feelings towards privacy and the selling of data. A total (N) of 1,107 people responded to the survey. -/- Across continents, age, gender, and levels of education, people overwhelmingly think privacy is important. An impressive 82% of respondents deem privacy extremely or very important, and only 1% deem privacy unimportant. Similarly, 88% of participants either agree or strongly agree with the statement that ‘violations to the right to privacy are (...) one of the most important dangers that citizens face in the digital age.’ The great majority of respondents (92%) report having experienced at least one privacy breach. -/- People’s first concern when losing privacy is the possibility that their personal data might be used to steal money from them. Interestingly, in second place in the ranking of concerns, people report being concerned about privacy because ‘Privacy is a good in itself, above and beyond the consequences it may have.’ -/- People tend to feel that they cannot trust companies and institutions to protect their privacy and use their personal data in responsible ways. The majority of people believe that governments should not be allowed to collect everyone’s personal data. Privacy is thought to be a right that should not have to be paid for. (shrink)
The proposal of moral enhancement as a valuable means to face the environmental, technological and social challenges that threaten the future of humanity has been criticized by a number of authors. One of the main criticisms has been that moral enhancement would diminish our freedom. It has been said that moral enhancement would lead enhanced people to lose their ‘freedom to fall’, that is, it would prevent them from being able to decide to carry out some morally bad actions, and (...) the possibility to desire and carry out these bad actions is an essential ingredient of free will, which would thus be limited or destroyed—or so the argument goes. In this paper we offer an answer to this criticism. We contend that a morally enhanced agent could lose the ‘freedom to fall’ without losing her freedom for two reasons. First, because we do not consider that a morally well-educated person, for whom the ‘freedom to fall’ is a remote option, is less free than an evildoer, and there is no reason to suppose that bioenhancement introduces a significant difference here. Second, because richness in the amount of alternative possibilities of action may be restored if the stated loss is compensated with an improvement in sensitivity and lucidity that can lead to seeing new options and nuances in the remaining possible actions. (shrink)
Aristotle claims that in some extenuating circumstances, the correct response to the wrongdoer is sungnōmē rather than blame. Sungnōmē has a wide spectrum of meanings that include aspects of sympathy, pity, fellow-feeling, pardon, and excuse, but the dominant interpretation among scholars takes Aristotle’s meaning to correspond most closely to forgiveness. Thus, it is commonly held that the virtuous Aristotelian agent ought to forgive wrongdoers in specific extenuating circumstances. Against the more popular forgiveness interpretation, I begin by defending a positive account (...) of sungnōmē as the correct judgment that a wrongdoer deserves excuse since she was not blameworthy. I then argue that since sungnōmē is merited on the grounds of fairness, this shows that both the forgiveness interpretation and a third, alternative interpretation of sungnōmē as sympathy mischaracterize both the justification for sungnōmē and its nature. Moreover, I argue that Aristotle not only lacks an account of forgiveness but in fact, that his account of blame is incompatible with forgiveness altogether. (shrink)
It has become almost commonplace to recognise that teaching is an embodied practice. Most analyses of teaching as embodied practice focus on the embodied nature of the teacher as subject. Here, we use Butler's concept of performativity to analyse the reiterated acts that are intelligible as—performatively constitute—teaching, rather of the teacher as subject. We suggest that this simultaneously helps explain the persistence of teaching as a narrow repertoire of actions recognisable as ‘teaching’, and the policing of conformity to teaching thus (...) embodied. However, like performatively accomplished subjectivity, this repertoire is unstable and ambiguous, and thus open to change and disruption. Moreover, teacher subjectivities may lead them to mobilise these possibilities of disruption. (shrink)
Polarization is a topic of intense interest among social scientists, but there is significant disagreement regarding the character of the phenomenon and little understanding of underlying mechanics. A first problem, we argue, is that polarization appears in the literature as not one concept but many. In the first part of the article, we distinguish nine phenomena that may be considered polarization, with suggestions of appropriate measures for each. In the second part of the article, we apply this analysis to evaluate (...) the types of polarization generated by the three major families of computational models proposing specific mechanisms of opinion polarization. (shrink)
If one lives in a city and wants to be by oneself or have a private conversation with someone else, there are two ways to set about it: either one finds a place of solitude, such as one’s bedroom, or one finds a place crowded enough, public enough, that attention to each person dilutes so much so as to resemble a deserted refuge. Often, one can get more privacy in public places than in the most private of spaces. The home (...) is not always the ideal place to find privacy. Neighbours snoop, children ask questions, and family members judge. When the home suffocates privacy, the only escape is to go out, to the coffee shop, the public square. For centuries, city streets have been the true refuges of the solitaries, the overwhelmed, and the underprivileged. -/- Yet time and again we hear people arguing that we do not have any claim to privacy while on the streets because they are part of the so-called public sphere. The main objective of this chapter is to argue that privacy belongs as much in the streets as it does in the home. (shrink)
Most people are completely oblivious to the danger that their medical data undergoes as soon as it goes out into the burgeoning world of big data. Medical data is financially valuable, and your sensitive data may be shared or sold by doctors, hospitals, clinical laboratories, and pharmacies—without your knowledge or consent. Medical data can also be found in your browsing history, the smartphone applications you use, data from wearables, your shopping list, and more. At best, data about your health might (...) end up in the hands of researchers on whose good will we depend to avoid abuses of power.2 Most likely, it will end up with data brokers who might sell it to a future employer, or an insurance company, or the government. At worst, your medical data may end up in the hands of criminals eager to commit extortion or identity theft. In addition to data harms related to exposure and discrimination, the collection of sensitive data by powerful corporations risks the creation of data monopolies that can dominate and condition access to health care. -/- This chapter aims to explore the challenge that big data brings to medical privacy. Section I offers a brief overview of the role of privacy in medical settings. I define privacy as having one’s personal information and one’s personal sensorial space (what I call autotopos) unaccessed. Section II discusses how the challenge of big data differs from other risks to medical privacy. Section III is about what can be done to minimise those risks. I argue that the most effective way of protecting people from suffering unfair medical consequences is by having a public universal healthcare system in which coverage is not influenced by personal data (e.g., genetic predisposition, exercise habits, eating habits, etc.). (shrink)
"Naked" is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in shame and its role in morality. The book is particularly timely given how common public shaming has become in online settings. Krista K. Thomason argues that, even though shame is a negative emotion with potentially damaging consequences, its dark side is outweighed by its moral benefits insofar as shame is constitutive of desirable moral commitments. According to the author, being liable to shame is constitutive of respecting other people’s points of view, (...) acknowledging others’ moral standing, and accepting that our identities are not only set by what we think of ourselves, but also by factors outside of our control that include our personal histories and other people’s opinions of us. (shrink)
This paper argues that assessing personal responsibility in healthcare settings for the allocation of medical resources would be too privacy-invasive to be morally justifiable. In addition to being an inappropriate and moralizing intrusion into the private lives of patients, it would put patients’ sensitive data at risk, making data subjects vulnerable to a variety of privacy-related harms. Even though we allow privacy-invasive investigations to take place in legal trials, the justice and healthcare systems are not analogous. The duty of doctors (...) and healthcare professionals is to help patients as best they can—not to judge them. Patients should not be forced into giving up any more personal information than what is strictly necessary to receive an adequate treatment, and their medical data should only be used for appropriate purposes. Medical ethics codes should reflect these data rights. When a doctor asks personal questions that are irrelevant to diagnose or treat a patient, the appropriate response from the patient is: ‘none of your business’. (shrink)
The increasingly prominent role of digital technologies during the coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by concerning trends in privacy and digital ethics. But more robust protection of our rights in the digital realm is possible in the future. -/- After surveying some of the challenges we face, I argue for the importance of diplomacy. Democratic countries must try to come together and reach agreements on minimum standards and rules regarding cybersecurity, privacy and the governance of AI.
Population obesity and associated morbidities pose significant public health and economic burdens in the United Kingdom, United States, and globally. As a response, public health initiatives often seek to change individuals’ unhealthy behavior, with the dual aims of improving their health and conserving health care resources. One such initiative—taxes on sugar‐sweetened beverages (SSB)—has sparked considerable ethical debate. Prominent in the debate are arguments seeking to demonstrate the supposed impermissibility of SSB taxes and similar policies on the grounds that they interfere (...) with individuals’ freedom and autonomy. Commentators have often assumed that a policy intended to restrict or change private individuals’ consumption behavior will necessarily curtail freedom and, as a corollary, will undermine individuals’ autonomy with respect to their consumption choices. Yet this assumption involves a conceptual mistake. To address the misunderstanding, it’s necessary to attend to the differences between negative liberty, freedom of options, and autonomy. Ultimately, concerns about negative liberty, freedom, and autonomy do not provide strong grounds for opposing SSB taxes. (shrink)
In this chapter I give a brief explanation of what privacy is, argue that protecting privacy is important because violations of the right to privacy can harm us individually and collectively, and offer some advice as to how to protect our privacy online.
The term mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the West due, in no small part, to contemporary studies of mindfulness-based therapies in psychology. According to the Pali Nik?yas, mindfulness practice is the heart of Buddhism, for it alone can lead one to enlightenment. However, are contemporary and traditional accounts of the practice of mindfulness referring to the same technique? In this paper I will argue that modern accounts of mindfulness in the field of psychology omit important features of the classical (...) Buddhist accounts of the term: specifically, the sense of mindfulness (sati) as recollection, and the context of mindfulness practice, which includes significant ethical and cognitive implications. I will argue that the exclusion of these aspects of sati leads to confusion and to the neglect of constitutive features of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness that could prove beneficial to modern contemplative practitioners as well as to both psychology and cognitive science. While the Western psychological tradition emphasizes the nonjudgmental and present-centered nature of mindfulness -bare attention- (Kabat-Zinn, 2003), the classical accounts given in traditional Buddhist texts, both Theravada and Mahayana, emphasize the relation of sati to memory and the cognitive and evaluative aspects of the practice, as well as its ability to distinguish and select between wholesome and unwholesome tendencies. Classical sources also emphasize the need for mindfulness practice to be embedded in the Noble Eightfold Path. While contemporary mindfulness is practiced as a way to better enjoy the present moment, the traditional notion of sati is actually supposed to induce “disenchantment” with our present circumstances so as to be motivated to free oneself from samsara (Wallace, 2006). Thus, close analysis reveals that, although the notion of bare attention is not completely foreign to traditional views, it by no means exhausts the complete meaning of sati. As long as the recollecting, cognitive, and ethical features of sati are ignored, mindfulness will continue to be regarded merely as a therapeutical tool for reducing mental symptoms, rather than for irreversibly eliminating mental afflictions (klesha) from their root, which is the fundamental goal of Buddhist practice.. (shrink)
Increasing evidence suggests that it is not only the case that brain-based cognitive and emotional processes affect decision-making, but also that decision-making, actions and habits influence in turn the very structure and function of the brain by way of neural plasticity. This indicates that the interplay between brain and agency is made up of a complex feedback loop of reciprocal causality. The assumption that the causal relationship is one way –brain to behavior– results in unsatisfactory neuroscientific analyses of agency. I (...) contend that taking into account reciprocal causality for the purposes of human enhancement is not only a matter of theoretical consistency, but also carries with it important practical implications. Top-down cognitive enhancement –through mind training techniques such as meditation– may have advantages over biomedical enhancement. (shrink)
The ability to collect fine-grained energy data from smart meters has benefits for utilities and consumers. However, a proactive approach to data privacy is necessary to maximize the potential of these data to support low-carbon energy systems, and innovative business models.
In this article I argue that we are in urgent need for institutional guardianship and management of our personal data. I suggest banks may be in a good position to take on that role. Perhaps that's the future of banking.
A scientific community can be modeled as a collection of epistemic agents attempting to answer questions, in part by communicating about their hypotheses and results. We can treat the pathways of scientific communication as a network. When we do, it becomes clear that the interaction between the structure of the network and the nature of the question under investigation affects epistemic desiderata, including accuracy and speed to community consensus. Here we build on previous work, both our own and others’, in (...) order to get a firmer grasp on precisely which features of scientific communities interact with which features of scientific questions in order to influence epistemic outcomes. (shrink)
Forgery in eighteenth-century London was more than a crime of opportunity; it completely undermined the economic, social and political orders of that society. Using the works of authors such as Randall McGowen, John Beattie, Craig Muldrew, and others, this paper examines cases tried in the London Old Bailey from 1700- 1740 in the context of the financial revolution and the rise of the bloody code. The paper looks at the implications this crime had on the greater London society, the changes (...) in legislation that came about as a result of forgery, and the changes in punishment for the crime. Ultimately, it examines at the reasons for the radical change in people‟s perception of this crime in such a short time period. (shrink)
Privacy Is Power argues that people should protect their personal data because privacy is a kind of power. If we give too much of our data to corporations, the wealthy will rule. If we give too much personal data to governments, we risk sliding into authoritarianism. For democracy to be strong, the bulk of power needs to be with the citizenry, and whoever has the data will have the power. Privacy, I argue, is not a personal preference; it is a (...) political concern. I also argue that personal data is a toxic asset, and should be regulated as if it were a toxic substance, similar to asbestos. I call for a complete ban to the trade in personal data. The book is at once philosophical and political, and extremely practical and accessible. It discusses liberal democracy, equality, justice, and autonomy. It includes a chapter for policymakers, and one that addresses what ordinary citizens can do to protect privacy. Finally, the book covers the tension between privacy and public health in the context of covid19. -/- . (shrink)
What is a valid measuring instrument? Recent philosophy has attended to logic of justification of measures, such as construct validation, but not to the question of what it means for an instrument to be a valid measure of a construct. A prominent approach grounds validity in the existence of a causal link between the attribute and its detectable manifestations. Some of its proponents claim that, therefore, validity does not depend on pragmatics and research context. In this paper, I cast doubt (...) on the possibility of a context-independent causal account of validity. I assess several versions, arguing that all of them fail to judge the validity of measuring instruments correctly. Because different research purposes require different properties from measuring instruments, no account of validity succeeds without referring to the specific research purpose that creates the need for measurement in the first place. (shrink)