Insofar as South Africa underwent a rapid transformation from apartheid to democracy, it may provide a unique laboratory for investigating aspects of revenge and forgiveness. Here we suggest that observations and data from South Africa are partially consistent with the hypotheses generated by MCullough and colleagues. At the same time, the rich range of revenge and forgiveness phenomena in real-life settings is likely to require explanatory concepts other than specialized modules and their computational outputs.
In the months preceding the writing of this review, bioethics has been in the news a great deal. In congressional and public policy debates surrounding stem cell research, human cloning, and the Human Genome Project, bioethics and bioethicists have gained national attention and been subject to public scrutiny. Commentators have asked who these self-appointed moral experts are to tell us what is right and wrong.
The availability of a range of new psychotropic agents raises the possibility that these will be used for enhancement purposes (smart pills, happy pills, and pep pills). The enhancement debate soon raises questions in philosophy of medicine and psychiatry (eg, what is a disorder?), and this debate in turn raises fundament questions in philosophy of language, science, and ethics. In this paper, a naturalistic conceptual framework is proposed for addressing these issues. This framework begins by contrasting classical and critical concepts (...) of categories, and then puts forward an integrative position that is based on cognitive-affective research. This position can in turn be used to consider the debate between pharmacological Calvinism (which may adopt a moral metaphor of disorder) and psychotropic utopianism (which may emphasize a medical metaphor of disorder). I argue that psychiatric treatment of serious psychiatric disorders is justified, and that psychotropics are an acceptable kind of intervention. The use of psychotropics for sub-threshold phenomena requires a judicious weighing of the relevant facts (which are often sparse) and values. (shrink)
The shortage of organs for transplantation by its nature prompts ethical dilemmas. For example, although there is an imperative to save human life and reduce suffering by maximising the supply of vital organs, there is an equally important obligation to ensure that the process by which we increase the supply respects the rights of all stakeholders. In a relatively unexamined practice in the USA, organs are procured from unrepresented decedents without their express consent. Unrepresented decedents have no known healthcare wishes (...) or advance care planning document; they also lack a surrogate. The Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 2006 sends a mixed message about the procurement of organs from this patient population and there are hospitals that authorise donation. In addition, in adopting the RUAGA, some states included provisions that clearly allow organ procurement from unrepresented decedents. An important unanswered question is whether this practice meets the canons of ethical permissibility. The current Brief Report presents two principled approaches to the topic as a way of highlighting some of the complexities involved. Concluding remarks offer suggestions for future research and discussion. (shrink)
A central methodological innovation in cognitive science has been the development of connectionist or neural network models of psychological phenomena. These models may also comprise a theoretically integrative and methodologically rigorous approach to psychiatric phenomena. In this paper we employ connectionist theory to conceptualize obsessive-compulsive disorder . We discuss salient phenomenological and neurobiological findings of the illness, and then reformulate these using neural network models. Several features and mechanisms of OCD may be explicated in terms of disordered networks. Neural network (...) modeling appears to constitute a novel and potentially fertile approach to psychiatric disorders such as OCD. (shrink)
Many of Rose's criticisms of determinism in biology have clear relevance to modern cognitive and psychiatric science; too narrow a focus on the brain as an information processing machine runs the risk of neglecting the context in which information processing takes place, and too narrow a focus on the neuroscience of psychopathology runs the risk of neglecting other levels of explanation for these phenomena. It should be emphasized, however, that animal and genetic studies of phenomena of interest to cognitive and (...) psychiatric science (e.g., Alzheimer's disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and violence), while perhaps only providing a partial perspective, may be useful in understanding these phenomena and in leading to appropriate psychiatric interventions. (shrink)
Glas's article is one of several in an interesting special issue focused on applying concepts from enactivism to psychiatry; his focuses on anxiety in particular. Given ongoing developments in work on enactivism, and ongoing debates about how to progress psychiatry, this application is timely. Here, I make three general points about the application of enactivism to psychiatry; I exemplify these with occasional comments on social anxiety disorder.First, as de Haan notes in her introduction, the term enactivism encompasses a number of (...) authors and ideas. Wilson and Foglia note that enactivism falls within a broader literature on "embodied cognition." This literature is partly conceptual, but also relies on... (shrink)
Psychopharmacology - a remarkable development -- Philosophical questions raised by psychopharmacology -- How to think about science, language, and medicine : classical, critical, and integrated perspectives -- Conceptual questions about psychotropics -- Explanatory questions about psychotropics -- Moral questions about psychotropics.
Understanding the origins of evil behaviour is one of our most important intellectual tasks. A distinction can perhaps be drawn between overt sadistic cruelty and the lack of empathy to suffering that is a hallmark of evil. There is increasing data available on the prevalence, proximal psychobiological underpinnings, and distal evolutionary basis for these contrasting phenomena.
BackgroundCommunity engagement within biomedical research is broadly defined as a collaborative relationship between a research team and a group of individuals targeted for research. A Community Advisory Board is one mechanism of engaging the community. Within genomics research CABs may be particularly relevant due to the potential implications of research findings drawn from individual participants on the larger communities they represent. Within such research, CABs seek to meet instrumental goals such as protecting research participants and their community from research-related risks, (...) as well as intrinsic goals such as promoting the respect of participants and their community. However, successful community engagement depends on the degree to which CABs legitimately represent and engage with communities targeted for research. Currently, there is little literature describing the use of CABs in genomics research taking place in developing countries, and even less in the field of genomics research relating to mental illness. The aim of this article is to describe and consider the contributions made by a researcher-driven, population-specific CAB in a genomics of schizophrenia research project taking place in South Africa, from the perspective of the research team.DiscussionFour broad discussion topics emerged during the CAB meetings namely: 1) informed consent procedures, 2) recruitment strategies, 3) patient illness beliefs and stigma experiences, and 4) specific ethical concerns relating to the project. The authors consider these discussions in terms of their contributions to instrumental and intrinsic goals of community engagement.SummaryThe CAB gave valuable input on the consent processes and materials, recruitment strategies and suggested ways of minimizing the potential for stigma and discrimination. All of these contributions were of an instrumental nature, and helped improve the way in which the research took place. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the CAB made a unique and important contribution relating to intrinsic functions such as promoting the respect and dignity of research participants and their community. This was particularly evident in ensuring sensitivity and respect of the community’s traditional beliefs about schizophrenia and its treatment, and in this way promoting a respectful relationship between the research team and the participants. (shrink)
The article explores and compares the accounts of empathy found in Lipps, Scheler, Stein and Husserl and argues that the three latter phenomenological thinkers offer a model of empathy, which is not only distinctly different from Lipps’, but which also diverge from the currently dominant models.
Quite a number of the philosophical arguments and objections currently being launched against simulation (ST) based and theory-theory (TT) based approaches to mindreading have a phenomenological heritage in that they draw on ideas found in the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Stein, Gurwitsch, Scheler and Schutz. Within the last couple of years, a number of ST and TT proponents have started to react and respond to what one for the sake of simplicity might call the phenomenological proposal (PP). (...) This paper addresses some of these critical responses, and distinguishes—in the process—substantive disagreements from terminological issues and other issues that are symptomatic of different research agendas. It does so by focusing specifically upon some objections made by Pierre Jacob. These epitomize the kinds of concerns that are being raised about PP at the moment, and thus facilitate a reply on behalf of PP that also applies more generally. (shrink)
Cell line immortalisation is a growing component of African genomics research and biobanking. However, little is known about the factors influencing consent to cell line creation and immortalisation in African research settings. We contribute to addressing this gap by exploring three questions in a sample of Xhosa participants recruited for a South African psychiatric genomics study: First, what proportion of participants consented to cell line storage? Second, what were predictors of this consent? Third, what questions were raised by participants during (...) this consent process? 760 Xhose people with schizophrenia and 760 controls were matched to sex, age, level of education and recruitment region. We used descriptive statistics to determine the proportion of participants who consented to cell line creation and immortalization. Logistic regression methods were used to examine the predictors of consent. Reflections from study recruiters were elicited and discussed to identify key questions raised by participants about consent. Approximately 40% of participants consented to cell line storage. The recruiter who sought consent was a strong predictor of participant’s consent. Participants recruited from the South African Eastern Cape, and older participants, were more likely to consent; both these groups were more likely to hold traditional Xhosa values. Neither illness nor education were significant predictors of consent. Key questions raised by participants included two broad themes: clarification of what cell immortalisation means, and issues around individual and community benefit. These findings provide guidance on the proportion of participants likely to consent to cell line immortalisation in genomics research in Africa, and reinforce the important and influential role that study recruiters play during seeking of this consent. Our results reinforce the cultural and contextual factors underpinning consent choices, particularly around sharing and reciprocity. Finally, these results provide support for the growing literature challenging the stigmatizing perception that people with severe mental illness are overly vulnerable as a target group for heath research and specifically genomics studies. (shrink)
One of the central questions within contemporary debates about collective intentionality concerns the notion and status of the we. The question, however, is by no means new. At the beginning of the last century, it was already intensively discussed in phenomenology. Whereas Heidegger argued that a focus on empathy is detrimental to a proper understanding of the we, and that the latter is more fundamental than any dyadic interaction, other phenomenologists, such as Stein, Walther and Husserl, insisted on the (...) importance of empathy for proper we-experiences. In this paper, I will present some of the key moves in this debate and then discuss and assess Husserl’s specific proposal, according to which reciprocal empathy, second-person engagement and self-alienation are all important presuppositions for group-identification and we-identity. (shrink)
When it comes to understanding the nature of social cognition, we have—according to the standard view—a choice between the simulation theory, the theory-theory or some hybrid between the two. The aim of this paper is to argue that there are, in fact, other options available, and that one such option has been articulated by various thinkers belonging to the phenomenological tradition. More specifically, the paper will contrast Lipps' account of empathy—an account that has recently undergone something of a revival in (...) the hands of contemporary simulationists—with various accounts of empathy found in the phenomenological tradition. I discuss the way Lipps was criticized by Scheler, Stein and Husserl, and outline some of the core features of their, at times divergent, alternatives. I then proceed by considering how their basic take on empathy and social cognition was taken up and modified by Schutz—a thinker whose contribution to the analysis of interpersonal understanding has been unjustly neglected in recent years. (shrink)
Mealey's article on the sociobiology of sociopathy raises questions about the relationship between adaptiveness and abnormality. Although sociopathy may be adaptive, simply defining medical and psychiatric disorders in terms of evolutionary function is problematic. Rather, sociopathy may be characterized as a relatively atypical disorder, an entity to which it may be useful to extend the metaphors of the medical model.
It is widely held that the Experience Machine is the basis of a serious objection to Hedonistic theories of welfare. It is also widely held that Desire Satisfactionist theories of welfare can readily avoid problems stemming from the Experience Machine. But in this paper, we argue that if the Experience Machine poses a serious problem for Hedonism, it also poses a serious problem for Desire Satisfactionism. We raise two objections to Desire Satisfactionism, each of which relies on the Experience Machine. (...) The first is very much like the well-known Experience Machine objection to Hedonism. The second asks whether someone who accepts Desire Satisfactionism should want to form a desire to plug into the Experience Machine. (shrink)
With monitoring of the acoustic emission phenomenon caused by rock deformation and failure, microseismic monitoring has been widely used in the development of unconventional oil and gas fields. Due to the complex environment and diversity types of the noise, the signal energy of surface microseismic monitoring is weak and the signal-to-noise ratio of raw data is very low. In the process of data processing, many human resources are needed to discriminate the first-break picking because of the low S/N, and this (...) directly affects the error of microseismic event location. We have adopted the regularization to Stein unbiased risk estimation algorithm based on the continuous wavelet transform to separate the signal from the noise in different decomposition levels. The regularization factor is the adaptive change of the different geology and fracturing engineering, which is related to shale brittleness, fracturing pressure, and displacement. As a result, the threshold from the R-SURE algorithm is multiresolution in different levels, and the S/N could be improved effectively. In addition, we established the threshold discriminant for picking up the first-break wave of low-S/N data combined with the Akaike information criterion and characteristic function, which compared the maximum absolute value in the time window. The method has good robustness and low computational complexity. The first arrival is automatically and accurately judged, which improves the accuracy of the event location. We successfully applied these methods to the surface microseismic monitoring of shale gas fracturing in several wells in southwest China. The S/N of the raw data has been improved, the effective stimulated reservoir volume and the performance of the gas production are predicted with the results, which provides important technical support for shale gas development in the area. (shrink)
Does all conscious experience essentially involve self-consciousness? In his Subjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the First-Person, Dan Zahavi answers “yes”. I criticize three core arguments offered in support of this answer—a well-known regress argument, what I call the “interview argument,” and a phenomenological argument. Drawing on Sartre, I introduce a phenomenological contrast between plain experience and self-conscious experience. The contrast challenges the thesis that conscious experience entails self-consciousness.
Empathy is a topic of continuous debate in the nursing literature. Many argue that empathy is indispensable to effective nursing practice. Yet others argue that nurses should rather rely on sympathy, compassion, or consolation. However, a more troubling disagreement underlies these debates: There’s no consensus on how to define empathy. This lack of consensus is the primary obstacle to a constructive debate over the role and import of empathy in nursing practice. The solution to this problem seems obvious: Nurses need (...) to reach a consensus on the meaning and definition of empathy. But this is easier said than done. Concept analyses, for instance, reveal a profound ambiguity and heterogeneity of the concept of empathy across the nursing literature. Since the term “empathy” is used to refer to a range of perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral phenomena, the presence of a conceptual ambiguity and heterogeneity is hardly surprising. Our proposal is simple. To move forward, we need to return to the basics. We should develop the concept from the ground up. That is, we should begin by identifying and describing the most fundamental form of empathic experience. Once we identify the most fundamental form of empathy, we will be able to distinguish among the more derivative experiences and behaviors that are addressed by the same name and, ideally, determine the place of these phenomena in the field of nursing. The aim of this article is, consequently, to lay the groundwork for a more coherent concept of empathy and thereby for a more fruitful debate over the role of empathy in nursing. In Part 1, we outline the history of the concept of empathy within nursing, explain why nurses are sometimes warry of adapting concepts from other disciplines, and argue that nurses should distinguish between adapting concepts from applied disciplines and from more theoretical disciplines. In Part 2, we show that the distinction between emotional and cognitive empathy—borrowed from theoretical psychology—has been a major factor in nurses’ negative attitudes toward emotional empathy. We argue, however, that both concepts fail to capture the most fundamental form of empathy. In Part 3, we draw on and present some of the seminal studies of empathy that can be found in the work of phenomenological philosophers including Max Scheler, Edmund Husserl, and Edith Stein. In Part 4, we outline how their understanding of empathy may facilitate current debates about empathy’s role in nursing. (shrink)