The United States Food and Drug Administration's recent approval of the commercial use of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) as a treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will be discussed within the context of the existing USA regulatory framework. The purpose will be to illustrate the current lack of regulation and oversight of the DBS market, which has resulted in the violation of basic ethical norms. The discussion will focus on: 1) the lack of available evidence on procedural safety and efficacy, (...) 2) the numerous conflicts of interest held by research investigators, and 3) the ambiguity of both aforementioned categories due to an inherent lack of transparency in the research. It is argued that in order to address these issues, ethical analyses of DBS for psychiatric disorders must include the role of the industry forces that have become the primary impetus for this research. As such, DBS for OCD serves as an important case example in studies of neurotechnology and innovative surgery. (shrink)
According to Haidt's (2001) social intuitionist model (SIM), an individual's moral judgment normally arises from automatic 'moral intuitions'. Private moral reasoning - when it occurs - is biased and post hoc, serving to justify the moral judgment determined by the individual's intuitions. It is argued here, however, that moral reasoning is not inevitably subserviant to moral intuitions in the formation of moral judgments. Social cognitive research shows that moral reasoning may sometimes disrupt the automatic process of judgment formation described by (...) the SIM. Furthermore, it seems that automatic judgments may reflect the 'automatization' of judgment goals based on prior moral reasoning. In line with this role for private moral reasoning in judgment formation, it is argued that moral reasoning can, under the right circumstances, be sufficiently unbiased to effectively challenge an individual's moral beliefs. Thus the social cognitive literature indicates a greater and more direct role for private moral reasoning than the SIM allows. (shrink)
We have argued here that to attribute criminal responsibility to psychopathic individuals is to ignore substantial and growing evidence that psychopathic individuals are significantly impaired in moral understanding. They do not appear to know why moral transgressions are wrong in the full sense required by the law. As morally blameless offenders, punishment as a basis for detention cannot be justified. Moreover, as there are currently no successful treatment programs for psychopathy, nor can detention be justified on grounds of treatment. Instead, (...) we argue detention on the grounds of self- defence, due to the severe and continuing threat posed by the psychopathic criminal. (shrink)
The neuroscientific investigation of sex differences has an unsavoury past, in which scientific claims reinforced and legitimated gender roles in ways that were not scientifically justified. Feminist critics have recently argued that the current use of functional neuroimaging technology in sex differences research largely follows that tradition. These charges of ‘neurosexism’ have been countered with arguments that the research being done is informative and valuable and that an over-emphasis on the perils, rather than the promise, of such research threatens to (...) hinder scientific progress. To investigate the validity of these contrasting concerns, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) investigations of sex differences and citation practices were systematically examined. In line with the notion of neurosexism, the research was found to support the influence of false-positive claims of sex differences in the brain, to enable the proliferation of untested, stereotype-consistent functional interpretations, and to pay insufficient attention to the potential plasticity of sex differences in both brain and mind. This, it is argued, creates a literature biased toward the presentation of sex differences in the brain as extensive, functionally significant, and fixed—and therefore implicitly supportive of a gender essentialist perspective. It is suggested that taking feminist criticisms into account would bring about substantial improvement in the quality of the science, as well as a reduction in socially harmful consequences. (shrink)
In this article I flesh out support for observations that scientific accounts of social groups can influence the very groups and mental phenomena under investigation. The controversial hypothesis that there are hardwired differences between the brains of males and females that contribute to sex differences in gender-typed behaviour is common in both the scientific and popular media. Here I present evidence that such claims, quite independently of their scientific validity, have scope to sustain the very sex differences they seek to (...) explain. I argue that, while further research is required, such claims can have self-fulfilling effects via their influence on social perception, behaviour and attitudes. The real effects of the products of scientists’ research on our minds and society, together with the fact that all scientific hypotheses are subject to dispute and disconfirmation, point to a need for scientists to consider the ethical implications of their work. (shrink)
A number of recent popular books about gender differences have drawn on the neuroscientific literature to support the claim that certain psychological differences between the sexes are ‘hard-wired’. This article highlights some of the ethical implications that arise from both factual and conceptual errors propagated by such books.
The gendered marketing of children’s toys is under considerable scrutiny, as reflected by numerous consumer-led campaigns and vigorous media debates. This article seeks to assist stakeholders to better understand the ethical and scientific assumptions that underlie the two opposing positions in this debate, and assess their relative strength. There is apparent consensus in the underlying ethical foundations of the debate, with all commentators seeming to endorse the values of corporate social responsibility and gender equality. However, the debate splits over three (...) critical points of empirical disagreement: whether gendered toy marketing influences children’s toy preferences or simply reflects boys’ and girls’ fundamentally different interests; whether the effects of gendered toy marketing are negative, neutral or beneficial; and whether a shift to gender-neutral marketing would be economically viable. We assess the three points of disagreement against the available evidence and shared ethical principles underlying the debate, and conclude that current defences of gendered toy marketing fail. (shrink)
In the latest edition of their popular overview text, Erickson and Murphy continue to provide a comprehensive, affordable, and accessible introduction to anthropological theory from antiquity to the present.
The recent, influential Social Intuitionist Model of moral judgment (Haidt, Psychological Review 108, 814–834, 2001) proposes a primary role for fast, automatic and affectively charged moral intuitions in the formation of moral judgments. Haidt’s research challenges our normative conception of ourselves as agents capable of grasping and responding to reasons. We argue that there can be no ‘real’ moral judgments in the absence of a capacity for reflective shaping and endorsement of moral judgments. However, we suggest that the empirical literature (...) indicates a complex interplay between automatic and deliberative mental processes in moral judgment formation, with the latter constraining the expression and influence of moral intuitions. We therefore conclude that the psychological literature supports a normative conception of agency. (shrink)
In a recent examination of the origins of ordinal utility theory in neoclassical economics, Robert D. Cooter and Peter Rappoport argue that the ordinalist revolution of the 1930s, after which most economists abandoned interpersonal utility comparisons as normative and unscientific, constituted neither unambiguous progress in economic science nor the abandonment of normative theorizing, as many economists and historians of economic thought have generally believed. Rather, the widespread acceptance of ordinalism, with its focus on Pareto optimality, simply represented the emergence of (...) a new neoclassical research agenda that, on the one hand, defined economics differently than had the material welfare theorists of the cardinal utility school and, on the other, adopted a positivist methodology in contrast to the less restrictive empiricism of the cardinalists. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article is a commentary on O’Donohue’s2019 37-point critique of the American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. In this brief paper, we respond to the article by addressing our most important disagreements with O’Donohue’s arguments as well as areas of agreement. While we disagree with many of O’Donohue’s points, we also view his critique as being important and timely given that the 2018 APA Ethics Task Force is currently exploring potential revisions to the Code.
Our understanding of the sense of taste is largely based on research designed and interpreted in terms of the traditional four tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, and now a few more. This concept of basic tastes has no rational definition to test, and thus it has not been tested. As a demonstration, a preliminary attempt to test one common but arbitrary psychophysical definition of basic tastes is included in this article; that the basic tastes are unique in being able (...) to account for other tastes. This definition was falsified in that other stimuli do about as well as the basic words and stimuli. To the extent that this finding might show analogies with other studies of receptor, neural, and psychophysical phenomena, the validity of the century-long literature of the science of taste based on a few is called into question. The possible origins, meaning, and influence of this concept are discussed. Tests of the model with control studies are suggested in all areas of taste related to basic tastes. As a stronger alternative to the basic tradition, the advantages of the across-fiber pattern model are discussed; it is based on a rational data-based hypothesis, and has survived attempts at falsification. Such has found broad acceptance in many neural systems. (shrink)
Let me begin with a true story. Years ago, early in my career as a professor of philosophy, I had a fascinating series of conversations with a student whom I will call Peter. He was a bright and incisive senior, with a double major in philosophy and psychology. Raised in a religious family, the son of a Christian minister, he was himself unable to believe. His doubts were too strong. But the odd fact was that he genuinely wanted to believe. (...) His religious scepticism deeply troubled him; part of him envied the faith of his parents. How do you go about making yourself believe?, he asked me. How do you go about having the kinds of religious experiences that lead people to faith? These were long and intense conversations, and I was unable to move Peter away from his doubts. So far as I know he is still a sceptic. (shrink)
The poetry and journalistic essays of Katherine Tillman often appeared in publications sponsored by the American Methodist church. Collected together for the first time, her works speak to the struggles and triumphs of African-American women.
What is Christian about Christian bioethics? And is an authentically Christian bioethics a practical possibility in the world in which we find ourselves? In my essay I argue that personhood and the personal are so fundamental to the Christian understanding of our humanity that body, soul, and spirit are probably best understood as the components of a triune (as opposed to dual) aspect theory of personhood. To confess to a Christian bioethics is to admit that Christians cannot pretend fully to (...) understand either cures or their meaning. However effective and ?knowledge-based? contemporary medical interventions are, a Christian must humbly and honestly confess a lack of complete knowledge on both levels. At the same time, a Christian bioethicist must express a total personal commitment to Christian Faith. (shrink)
I argue that the notion of human rights is a flawed notion of relatively recent historical origin, growing primarily out of Enlightenment concerns to separate human beings from their metaphysical and communal heritage. I critique liberal, secular individualism as an abstract perspective that fails to comprehend those fundamental family relations out of which genuine human life emerges and within which it must remain if it is to be perceptive, grounded, and concrete. Finally, I argue that the most important relations humans (...) sustain to each other are internal, not external to them and that the bonding found through empathy is more insightful in decision making than the analytic connections engendered through human reason. (shrink)
"A valuable collection both for original source material as well as historical formulations of current problems."-- The Review of Metaphysics "Much more than a mere collection of papers . . . a valuable addition to the literature."-- Mathematics of Computation An anthology of fundamental papers on undecidability and unsolvability by major figures in the field, this classic reference opens with Godel's landmark 1931 paper demonstrating that systems of logic cannot admit proofs of all true assertions of arithmetic. Subsequent papers by (...) Godel, Church, Turing, and Post single out the class of recursive functions as computable by finite algorithms. Additional papers by Church, Turing, and Post cover unsolvable problems from the theory of abstract computing machines, mathematical logic, and algebra, and material by Kleene and Post includes initiation of the classification theory of unsolvable problems. Suitable for graduate and undergraduate courses. 1965 ed. (shrink)
H. P. Grice virtually discovered the phenomenon of implicature (to denote the implications of an utterance that are not strictly implied by its content). Gricean theory claims that conversational implicatures can be explained and predicted using general psycho-social principles. This theory has established itself as one of the orthodoxes in the philosophy of language. Wayne Davis argues controversially that Gricean theory does not work. He shows that any principle-based theory understates both the intentionality of what a speaker implicates and (...) the conventionality of what a sentence implicates. In developing his argument the author explains that the psycho-social principles actually define the social function of implicature conventions, which contribute to the satisfaction of those principles. This challenging book will be of importance to philosophers of language and linguists, especially those working in pragmatics and sociolinguistics. (shrink)
Large groups of people exhibit social intelligence: coherent behavior directed towards individual or collective goals. This paper examines ways in which such behavior is produced in face to face situations, and discusses how it can be supported in online systems used by geographically distributed groups. It describes the concept of a “social proxy,” a minimalist visualization of the presence and activities of participants in an online interaction that is used to make online social norms visible. It summarizes experience with an (...) implemented system, presents conceptual designs that illustrate the range of situations to which social proxies can be applied, and discusses how to go about designing these types of visualizations. (shrink)
Treating such issues as animal sex, species politics, environmental justice, lesbian space and "gay" ghettos, AIDS literatures, and queer nationalities, this lively collection asks important questions at the intersections of sexuality and environmental studies. Contributors from a wide range of disciplines present a focused engagement with the critical, philosophical, and political dimensions of sex and nature. These discussions are particularly relevant to current debates in many disciplines, including environmental studies, queer theory, critical race theory, philosophy, literary criticism, and politics. As (...) a whole, Queer Ecologies stands as a powerful corrective to views that equate "natural" with "straight" while "queer" is held to be against nature. (shrink)
This philosophical treatise on the foundations of semantics is a systematic effort to clarify, deepen, and defend the classical doctrine that words are conventional signs of mental states, principally thoughts and ideas, and that meaning consists in their expression. This expression theory of meaning is developed by carrying out the Gricean program, explaining what it is for words to have meaning in terms of speaker meaning, and what it is for a speaker to mean something in terms of intention. But (...) Grice's own formulations are rejected and alternatives developed. The foundations of the expression theory are explored at length, and the author develops the theory of thought as a fundamental cognitive phenomenon distinct from belief and desire, argues for the thesis that thoughts have parts, and identifies ideas or concepts with parts of thoughts. This book will appeal to students and professionals interested in the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Michael Davis, a leading figure in the study of professional ethics, offers here both a compelling exploration of engineering ethics and a philosophical analysis of engineering as a profession. After putting engineering in historical perspective, Davis turns to the Challenger space shuttle disaster to consider the complex relationship between engineering ideals and contemporary engineering practice. Here, Davis examines how social organization and technical requirements define how engineers should (and presumably do) think. Later chapters test his analysis of (...) engineering judgement and autonomy empirically, engaging a range of social science research including a study of how engineers and managers work together in ten different companies. (shrink)
Western philosophers have traditionally concentrated on theory as the means for expressing knowledge about a variety of phenomena. This absorbing book challenges this fundamental notion by showing how objects themselves, specifically scientific instruments, can express knowledge. As he considers numerous intriguing examples, Davis Baird gives us the tools to "read" the material products of science and technology and to understand their place in culture. Making a provocative and original challenge to our conception of knowledge itself, _Thing Knowledge _demands that (...) we take a new look at theories of science and technology, knowledge, progress, and change. Baird considers a wide range of instruments, including Faraday's first electric motor, eighteenth-century mechanical models of the solar system, the cyclotron, various instruments developed by analytical chemists between 1930 and 1960, spectrometers, and more. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, widely recognized as one of the most important yet difficult philosophers of the 20th century. In this much-needed introduction, Davis unpacks the concepts at the centre of Levinas's thought - alterity, the Other, the Face, infinity - concepts which have previously presented readers with major problems of interpretation. Davis traces the development of Levinas's thought over six decades, describing the context in which (...) he worked, and the impact of his writings. He argues that Levinas's work remains tied to the ontological tradition with which he wants to break, and demonstrates how his later writing tries to overcome this dependency by its increasingly disruptive, sometimes opaque, textual practice. He discusses Levinas's theological writings and his relationship to Judaism, as well as the reception of his work by contemporary thinkers, arguing that the influence of his work has led to a growing interest in ethical issues among poststructuralist and postmodernist thinkers in recent years. Comprehensive and clearly written, this book will be essential reading for students and researchers in continental philosophy, French studies, literary theory and theology. (shrink)