This paper presents an analysis of the applicability of a principalist approach for a global, or cross-cultural, bioethics. We focus especially on the principle of individual autonomy, a core value in ethical discourse. We echo some long-standing criticisms of other anthropologists, sociologists, and many medical ethicists that the individualistic approach to autonomy is a Euro-American value and cannot be ethically applied in all settings. As a remedy, we suggest an adaptation of Kleinman's Explanatory Model approach to questions of decisionmaking. We (...) argue that the analysis and resolution of ethical dilemmas might also benefit from forms of pedagogy that integrate anthropological and other social science perspectives, and the incorporation of ethnographic techniques in ethical practice. (shrink)
In this article, we explore how sub-Saharan African immigrant populations in France have been constructed as risk groups by media sources, in political rhetoric, and among medical professionals, drawing on constructs dating to the colonial period. We also examine how political and economic issues have been mirrored and advanced in media visibility and ask why particular populations and the diseases associated with them in the popular imagination have received more attention at certain historical moments. In the contemporary period we analyze (...) how the bodies of West African women and men have become powerful metaphors in the politics of discrimination prevalent in France, in spite of Republican precepts that theoretically disavow cultural and social difference. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection available in paperback of Bacon’s philosophical and scientific writings, this volume offers Bacon's major works in their entirety, or in substantive selections, revised from the classic 19th century editions of Spedding, Ellis, and Heath. Selections from some of Bacon's natural histories round out this edition by showing the types of compilations that he believed would most contribute to the third part of his Great Instauration. Each work has a separate brief introduction indicating the major themes developed. (...) In her general Introduction, Sargent gives a biographical sketch of Bacon's early life, education, and legal career, discusses the major components of his philosophical project, and traces his influence on subsequent natural philosophy. In addition, she looks at the primarily negative evaluations of Bacon's methodological writings by philosophers of science in the first half of the twentieth century, the reassessments of his works that took place as the influence of logical empiricism declined, and the current revival of interest in Bacon that coincides with the focus on experimental practice today. A bibliography and index complete the text. (shrink)
There are many debates about what constitutes a utopia. Are utopias benign or dangerous? Is the idea of utopianism essential to Christianity or heretical? What is the relationship between utopia and ideology? In this Very Short Introduction, Lyman Sargent, one of the leading scholars in the field of utopian studies, explores these issues and examines utopianism and its history, discussing the role of utopianism in literature and in the development of colonies and in immigration. The idea of utopia has (...) become commonplace in social and political thought, both negatively and positively. Sargent notes that some thinkers see a trajectory from utopia to totalitarianism, with violence an inevitable part of the mix. Others see utopia directly connected to freedom and as a necessary element in the fight against totalitarianism. In Christianity, utopia is labeled as both heretical and as a fundamental part of Christian belief, and such debates are also central to such fields as architecture, town and city planning, and sociology among many others. Sargent addresses all these issues in this clear, compact introduction. (shrink)
This essay answers the “Bayesian Challenge,” which is an argument offered by Bayesians that concludes that belief is not relevant to rational action. Patrick Maher and Mark Kaplan argued that this is so because there is no satisfactory way of making sense of how it would matter. The two ways considered so far, acting as if a belief is true and acting as if a belief has a probability over a threshold, do not work. Contrary to Maher and Kaplan, Keith (...) Frankish argued that there is a way to make sense of how belief matters by introducing a dual process theory of mind in which decisions are made at the conscious level using premising policies . I argue that Bayesian decision theory alone shows that it is sometimes rational to base decisions on beliefs; we do not need a dual process theory of mind to solve the Bayesian Challenge. This point is made clearer when we consider decision levels : acting as if a belief is true is sometimes rational at higher decision levels. (shrink)
This study investigates the relative attractiveness of production level jobs provided by multinational firms in Mexico's maquiladora industry. We take the position that workers themselves are an important and often overlooked source of information relevant to the controversy focusing on the responsibilities of multinational companies to their employees in the developing world. We conducted interviews with 59 maquila production level workers in the Mexican cities of Cd. Juárez and Chihuahua. Using a relative attractiveness framework that compared maquila jobs to other (...) employment available in the local economy, maquila line and technical workers responded to questions addressing why they were working at a maquila, their work history, the attractiveness of maquila jobs compared to both their prior jobs and the jobs held by friends and family, and whether they planned to continue working in the maquilas. While the responses from maquila workers are diverse, they suggest that maquila jobs provide attractive employment for the economically disadvantaged in Northern Mexico. (shrink)
Even though utopias are potentially dangerous, we nonetheless need utopian visions. Loss of hope and utopia means loss of humanity. But how can we stop utopia turning into dystopia? Utopia thought of in terms of perfection, purity and exclusivity imposes its version of a better life as the only possible one. On the other hand the utopianism of opposition does not seek perfection, or removal of opportunities for evolution. Its goal is progress and not repression of human beings. It is (...) not utopianism that is at fault, the problem arises rather from the conviction that a particular utopia can bring about the only correct way to live. (shrink)
In popular usage both ideology and utopia have negative, and somewhat similar, connotations. Utopia is thought to imply something naively idealistic and, as a result, impossible to achieve due to the constraints of the ‘real world’ or because ‘human nature’ will get in the way. Ideology is also thought to imply being out of touch with the ‘real world’ by being blinkered by a set of beliefs that distorts one’s understanding of that ‘real world’. This chapter examines the recent history (...) of the relationship between the two concepts by examining the way they are treated by their best known theorists, Ernst Bloch, Michael Freeden, Fredric Jameson, Ruth Levitas, Karl Mannheim, and Paul Ricoeur. The chapter argues that while they are closely related and one can become the other, they can also be separated because they reflect different ways of understanding the world. (shrink)
Keller & Miller's (K&M's) conclusion appears to be correct; namely, that common, harmful, heritable mental disorders are largely maintained at present frequencies by mutation-selection balance at many different loci. However, their “paradox” is questionable. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Various explanations for the success of science have become central to both sides of the philosophical debate over scientific realism. In this paper I argue that the recent attempt by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, in Leviathan and the Air-Pump, to provide a sociological explanation for the success of experimental science fails to make any significant contribution to this debate because of (1) the historical prejudgments that they employ and (2) their oversimplification of present-day philosophy of science.
The standard of disinterested objectivity embedded within the US Data Quality Act (2001) has been used by corporate and political interests as a way to limit the dissemination of scientific research results that conflict with their goals. This is an issue that philosophers of science can, and should, publicly address because it involves an evaluation of the strength and adequacy of evidence. Analysis of arguments from a philosophical tradition that defended a concept of useful knowledge (later displaced by Logical Empiricism) (...) is used here to suggest how the legitimacy of scientific findings can be supported in the absence of disinterested objectivity. (shrink)
Experimental philosophers of 17th-century England recognized a complex relationship between scientific values and civic virtues. Francis Bacon, motivated by his desire to promote the common good by producing useful knowledge, noted that the advancement of learning required a cooperative research effort guided by civility, charity, toleration, and intellectual modesty. This essay examines how the founders of the Royal Society of London, including Robert Boyle, put his advice into action by their efforts to establish an expanded and inclusive society of investigators (...) that would strengthen the habits of discourse in a civil society, while furthering the economic, political, and social benefits of scientific inquiry. (shrink)
Visualizations used in the practice of neuroscience, as one example of a scientific practice, can be sorted according to whether they represent (A) actual things, (B) theoretical models, or (C) some integration of these two. In this paper I hypothesize that an assessment of a chain of visual representations from (A) through (C) to (B) (and back again) is used, as part of the practice of scientific judgment, to assess the adequacy of the "working fit" between the theoretical model and (...) the actual thing or process that the model is intended to explain. (shrink)
This is a survey of bounded rationality, an area of theoretical macroeconomics which is receiving increased attention. The book is written by a leading macroeconomist who outlines the issues involved, describes some of the analytic tools that are being used, and shows how they can be applied in a range of models. It points to further potential positive developments of the theory as well as some of its limitations.