Empathy can be viewed as an intervening variable to explain complex webs of causation between multiple factors and the resulting responses. The mediating role of emotion, implicit in the concept of an intervening variable, can be at the basis of the flexibility of empathic responses. Knowledge of the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms is needed for empathy to be considered as a biologically functional intervening variable.
Kenneth F. Schaffner compares the practice of biological and medical research and shows how traditional topics in philosophy of science--such as the nature of theories and of explanation--can illuminate the life sciences. While Schaffner pays some attention to the conceptual questions of evolutionary biology, his chief focus is on the examples that immunology, human genetics, neuroscience, and internal medicine provide for examinations of the way scientists develop, examine, test, and apply theories. Although traditional philosophy of science has regarded (...) scientific discovery--the questions of creativity in science--as a subject for psychological rather than philosophical study, Schaffner argues that recent work in cognitive science and artificial intelligence enables researchers to rationally analyze the nature of discovery. As a philosopher of science who holds an M.D., he has examined biomedical work from the inside and uses detailed examples from the entire range of the life sciences to support the semantic approach to scientific theories, addressing whether there are "laws" in the life sciences as there are in the physical sciences. Schaffner's novel use of philosophical tools to deal with scientific research in all of its complexity provides a distinctive angle on basic questions of scientific evaluation and explanation. (shrink)
Academia-intelligence agency collaborations are on the rise for a variety of reasons. These can take many forms, one of which is in the classroom, using students to stand in for intelligence analysts. Classrooms, however, are ethically complex spaces, with students considered vulnerable populations, and become even more complex when layering multiple goals, activities, tools, and stakeholders over those traditionally present. This does not necessarily mean one must shy away from academia-intelligence agency partnerships in classrooms, but that these must be conducted (...) carefully and reflexively. This paper hopes to contribute to this conversation by describing one purposeful classroom encounter that occurred between a professor, students, and intelligence practitioners in the fall of 2015 at North Carolina State University: an experiment conducted as part of a graduate-level political science class that involved students working with a prototype analytic technology, a type of participatory sensing/self-tracking device, developed by the National Security Agency. This experiment opened up the following questions that this paper will explore: What social, ethical, and pedagogical considerations arise with the deployment of a prototype intelligence technology in the college classroom, and how can they be addressed? How can academia-intelligence agency collaboration in the classroom be conducted in ways that provide benefits to all parties, while minimizing disruptions and negative consequences? This paper will discuss the experimental findings in the context of ethical perspectives involved in values in design and participatory/self-tracking data practices, and discuss lessons learned for the ethics of future academia-intelligence agency partnerships in the classroom. (shrink)
Early last year, the GenEthics Consortium (GEC) of the Washington Metropolitan Area convened at George Washington University to consider a complex case about genetic testing for Alzheimer disease (AD). The GEC consists of scientists, bioethicists, lawyers, genetic counselors, and consumers from a variety of institutions and affiliations. Four of the 8 co-authors of this paper delivered presentations on the case. Supplemented by additional ethical and legal observations, these presentations form the basis for the following discussion.
Abstract Medical futility is commonly understood as treatment that would not provide for any meaningful benefit for the patient. While the medical facts will help to determine what is medically appropriate, it is often difficult for patients, families, surrogate decision-makers and healthcare providers to navigate these difficult situations. Often communication breaks down between those involved or reaches an impasse. This paper presents a set of practical strategies for dealing with cases of perceived medical futility at a major cancer center. Content (...) Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9168-3 Authors Colleen M. Gallagher, Section for Integrated Ethics in Cancer Care, Unit 1430, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 301402, Houston, TX 77230-1402, USA Ryan F. Holmes, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737. (shrink)
In a world rife with civic failure, we've seen an increasing interest in the question of how to restore civic communities after they have failed. Much of that answer must come from the social sciences, of course, but philosophy has an important contribution to make: it can provide a normative theory of political community, one that outlines the characteristics of a good political community. Without such a theory, we have no basis for the claim that reconciliation is desirable in the (...) first place and no way to evaluate whether proposed efforts toward political reconciliation are moving things in the right direction. Colleen Murphy's A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation provides exactly such a theory. (shrink)
Although Caenorhabditis elegans was chosen and modified to be an organism that would facilitate a reductionist program for neurogenetics, recent research has provided evidence for properties that are emergent from the neurons. While neurogenetic advances have been made using C. elegans which may be useful in explaining human neurobiology, there are severe limitations on C. elegans to explain any significant human behavior.
There is currently an evidentiary gap in the scholarship concerning medical tourism's impact on low- and middle-income destination countries (LMICs). This article reviews relevant evidence that exists and concludes that there are signs of correlation between medical tourism and the expansion of private, technology- intensive health care in LMICs, which has largely remained out of reach for the majority of the local patients. In light of this health care inequity between local residents and medical tourists in LMICs, we argue that (...) the presumption should not be in favor of medical tourism and that governments have a legitimate interest in seeking to regulate this industry to ensure that the net effects for their citizens is positive. Moreover, sending countries, particularly those in the developed world, have the responsibility to adopt public policies to diminish demand on the part of their citizens for medical tourism and to work with LMICs to ensure that the growth of medical tourism does not occur at the expense of the poorest of the poor. (shrink)
This work discusses an empirical study of reasoning as it occurs in conversations. Reasoning in this context has features not usually accounted for in standard methods for describing argumentation (e.g., Toulmin, (1964), Toulmin, Rieke, and Janik (1984)). For example, insufficient attention has been paid to challenges which can be used to shift the ground of an argument and to the development of multiple conversational grounds. Moreover, even though the value of cooperative efforts in building arguments is widely recognized, more needs (...) to be said about analyzing co-constructed arguments. This empirical work was primarily descriptive and concerned with how people construct arguments in conversations, but one goal of the study was to lay groundwork for comparing the quality of reasoning in conversations which differ with respect to whether the arguments they contain are primarily the contributions of individuals or are genuinely co-constructed arguments. (shrink)
As the patient drew her last breaths, with her daughter at her bedside, and the curtain closed across the room, my resident, whom I will call Emma, talked me through what was happening. She explained that the patient's only hope for survival had been surgery, yet surgery would surely have killed her. Emma talked about the different ways different families approach withdrawing the level of care provided in the intensive care unit, allowing a loved one's death. She talked about how (...) hard it is to leave behind everything that happens in this job when she goes home. An intern arrived to make the declaration of death, and Emma encouraged me to go back into the patient's room for this. I placed my stethoscope on the patient's still chest, confirming what we already knew to be true. Death was palpable in that room, and my response was visceral. I did my best to leave the ICU calmly and then ran down five flights of stairs to the hospital chapel and sobbed. When I returned, Emma could see that I was shaken. “It's human,” she told me. In the afternoon, I felt the deep tiredness that I always feel after really crying. In that haze of emotion, I wasn't sure quite how to respond when Emma's next activity for us was to find a patient who needed an arterial blood gas. (shrink)
The biopsychosocial model is characterized by the systematic consideration of biological, psychological, and social factors and their complex interactions in understanding health, illness, and health care delivery. This model opposes the biomedical model, which is the foundation of most current clinical practice. In the biomedical model, quest for evidence based medicine, the patient is reduced to molecules, genes, organelles, systems, diseases, etc. This reduction has brought great advances in medicine, but it lacks a holistic view of the person. To solve (...) the problem, we propose an early team based approach where the primary care physician leads a group of people that can help her/him address the psychosocial issues while she/he attends to the biomedical issues. This article addresses one case where the clinical ethicist facilitating a team based biopsychosocial model for the care of a patient worked as a bridge between the primary team, the critical care team, and the psychosocial team to advance the argument that good communication among the groups can lead to a true biopsychosocial model where the collaboration of the social worker, psychologist, chaplain, ethicist and the different medical teams can improve the overall patient experience. (shrink)