With AIDS increasingly recognized as a potentially devastating disease, no concensus has emerged in the media about such AIDS?coverage questions as use of names of AIDS victims, whether cause of death of AIDS victims should be reported and what moral limitations should restrict AIDS coverage. A study of AIDS coverage in two major newspapers and two news magazines in 1987 identify weaknesses in current coverage of the AIDS phenomenon and suggests guidelines for ethical reporting ? servicing the greater good without (...) violating the integrity of victims. (shrink)
Probability is increasingly important for our understanding of the world. What is probability? How do we model it, and how do we use it? Timothy Childers presents a lively introduction to the foundations of probability and to philosophical issues it raises. He keeps technicalities to a minimum, and assumes no prior knowledge of the subject.
Healthcare systems around the world are struggling to maintain a sufficient workforce to provide adequate care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staffing problems have been exacerbated by healthcare workers refusing to work out of concern for their families. I sketch a deontological framework for assessing when it is morally permissible for HCWs to abstain from work to protect their families from infection and when it is a dereliction of duty to patients. I argue that it is morally permissible for HCWs to (...) abstain from work when their duty to treat is outweighed by the combined risks and burdens of that work. For HCWs who live with their families, the obligation to protect one’s family from infection contributes significantly to those burdens. There are, however, a range of complicating factors including the strength of duty to treat which varies according to the HCW’s role, the vulnerability of family members to the disease, the willingness of family members to risk infection and the resources available to the HCW to protect their family. In many cases, HCWs in ‘frontline’ roles with a weak duty to treat and families at home will be morally permitted to abstain from work given the risks posed by COVID-19; therefore, society should provide additional incentives to maintain sufficient staff in these roles. (shrink)
I argue that Aristotle believes that virtue comes in degrees. After dispatching with initial concerns for the view, I argue that we should accept it because Aristotle conceives of heroic virtue as the highest degree of virtue. I support this interpretation of heroic virtue by considering and rejecting alternative readings, then showing that heroic virtue characterized as the highest degree of virtue is consistent with the doctrine of the mean.
Journalists covering the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech aggravated the trauma felt by victims' families and survivors, raising ethical questions about the role of media at major news events in an Internet-enabled era of continuous coverage. Some journalists breached professional norms by knocking on doors at 6 a.m., claiming a hidden camera was a breast pump and bullying reluctant interviewees. Even conscientious journalists, however, exacerbated the ordeal through their overabundance. By forcing survivors to endure repetitious interviews and making mourners feel (...) they were being stalked, journalists demonstrated they must embrace press pools to minimize harm in the future. (shrink)
In the United States today, the use or possession of many drugs is a criminal offense. Can these criminal laws be justified? What are the best reasons to punish or not to punish drug users? These are the fundamental issues debated in this book by two prominent philosophers of law. Douglas Husak argues in favor of drug decriminalization, by clarifying the meaning of crucial terms, such as legalize, decriminalize, and drugs; and by identifying the standards by which alternative drug policies (...) should be assessed. He critically examines the reasons typically offered in favor of our current approach and explains why decriminalization is preferable. Peter de Marneffe argues against drug legalization, demonstrating why drug prohibition, especially the prohibition of heroin, is necessary to protect young people from self-destructive drug use. If the empirical assumptions of this argument are sound, he reasons, drug prohibition is perfectly compatible with our rights to liberty. (shrink)
The kin selection hypothesis posits that male androphilia (male sexual attraction to adult males) evolved because androphilic males invest more in kin, thereby enhancing inclusive fitness. Increased kin-directed altruism has been repeatedly documented among a population of transgendered androphilic males, but never among androphilic males in other cultures who adopt gender identities as men. Thus, the kin selection hypothesis may be viable if male androphilia was expressed in the transgendered form in the ancestral past. Using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS), (...) we examined 46 societies in which male androphilia was expressed in the transgendered form (transgendered societies) and 146 comparison societies (non-transgendered societies). We analyzed SCCS variables pertaining to ancestral sociocultural conditions, access to kin, and societal reactions to homosexuality. Our results show that ancestral sociocultural conditions and bilateral and double descent systems were more common in transgendered than in non-transgendered societies. Across the entire sample, descent systems and residence patterns that would presumably facilitate increased access to kin were associated with the presence of ancestral sociocultural conditions. Among transgendered societies, negative societal attitudes toward homosexuality were unlikely. We conclude that the ancestral human sociocultural environment was likely conducive to the expression of the transgendered form of male androphilia. Descent systems, residence patterns, and societal reactions to homosexuality likely facilitated investments in kin by transgendered males. Given that contemporary transgendered male androphiles appear to exhibit elevated kin-directed altruism, these findings further indicate the viability of the kin selection hypothesis. (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate Aristotle’s claim in 'Nicomachean Ethics' III.1 about situations that “overstrain human nature.” By setting out and answering several interpretative questions about such situations, I offer a comprehensive interpretation of this passage. I argue that in (at least some of) these cases, the agent voluntarily does something wrong, even though there is a right action available. Furthermore, I argue that Aristotle would think it is possible for a rare agent to perform the right action in (at (...) least some of) these cases, overcoming the limitations of human nature by identifying with the divine part of the soul. (shrink)
Robert Card’s “Reasonability View” is a significant contribution to the debate over the place of conscientious objection in health care. In his view, conscientious objections can only be accommodated if the grounds for the objection meet a reasonability standard. I identify inconsistencies in Card’s description of the reasonability standard and argue that each version he specifies is unsatisfactory. The criteria for reasonability that Card sets out most frequently have no clear underpinning principle and are too permissive of immoral objections. Card (...) has also claimed that petitioners must justify their positions with Rawlsian public reason. I argue that, although the resulting reasonability standard is principled, it is overly restrictive. I also show that a reasonability standard built on Rawls’ more lenient conception of reasonableness would be overly permissive of objections at odds with professional healthcare standards. Finally, I argue for my favored solution, which bases the reasonability standard on minimal professional standards. (shrink)
We conducted and analyzed qualitative interviews with 12 persons working on the Healthy Public Housing Initiative in Boston, Massachusetts in 2001. Our goal was to generate ideas and themes related to the ethics of the community-based participatory research in which they were engaged. Specifically, we wanted to see if we found themes that differed from conventional research that is based on an individualistic ethics. There were clearly distinct ethical issues raised with respect to projects and individuals who engage in community-based (...) collaborations. The differences that arose from the interviews were seeking equality between the partners, the need for the community partner to defend the community, dealing with unflattering data, meeting community expectations and producing tangible benefits to the community. (shrink)
Harold Shapiro, the former president of Princeton, ventured to say that theology had been divorced from the liberal. Professor Doug Dix's book is about arranging a remarriage. His analysis suggests the divorce goes deeper than Shapiro may have realized. Love has been divorced from learning because money has replaced truth as the object of affection. Now students learn to earn. Natural Literacy strives to motivate students and faculty to instead learn to love.
This essay explores the process and issues related to community collaborative research that involves Native Americans generally, and specifically examines the Navajo Nation’s efforts to regulate research within its jurisdiction. Researchers need to account for both the experience of Native Americans and their own preconceptions about Native Americans when conducting research about Native Americans. The Navajo Nation institutionalized an approach to protecting members of the nation when it took over Institutional Review Board (IRB) responsibilities from the US Indian Health Service (...) (IHS) in 1996. While written regulations for the Navajo Nation IRB are not dissimilar, and in some ways are less detailed than those of the IHS IRB, in practice the Navajo Nation allows less flexibility. Primary examples of this include not allowing expedited review and requiring prepublication review of all manuscripts. Because of its broad mandate, the Navajo Nation IRB may also require review of some projects that would not normally be subject to IRB approval, including investigative journalism and secondary research about Navajo People that does not involve direct data collection from human subjects. (shrink)
In this nationwide study of American and Canadian journalists, I found that their moral and ethical values are solidly connected to the Judeo-Christian tradition, even among those who do not claim to be religiously oriented. This study shows that religious values are imbedded deeply, if not always consciously, in the moral and ethical values of journalists and that journalists of varying religious orientations tend to endorse a core group of moral and ethical principles at the heart of the religious heritage (...) of the United States and Canada. However, journalists have expanded their definition of what religion coverage means in an increasingly diverse and secular society, and few want to connect their professional values only with Christian teaching. (shrink)
In Discovering Alabama Forests, ecologist-educator Doug Phillips and photographer Robert Falls celebrate the current health and diversity of Alabama woodlands while sounding a call for their wise management and protection in the future.
Priority setting (also known as resource allocation or rationing) occurs at every level of every health system and is one of the most significant health care policy questions of the 21st century. Because it is so prevalent and context specific, improving priority setting in a health system entails improving it in the institutions that constitute the system. But, how should this be done? Normative approaches are necessary because they help identify key values that clarify policy choices, but insufficient because different (...) approaches lead to different conclusions and there is no consensus about which ones are correct, and they are too abstract to be directly used in actual decision making. Empirical approaches are necessary because they help to identify what is being done and what can be done, but are insufficient because they cannot identify what should be done. Moreover, to be really helpful, an improvement strategy must utilize rigorous research methods that are able to analyze and capture experience so that past problems are corrected and lessons can be shared with others. Therefore, a constructive, practical and accessible improvement strategy must be research-based and combine both normative and empirical methods. In this paper we propose a research-based improvement strategy that involves combining three linked methods: case study research to describe priority setting; interdisciplinary research to evaluate the description using an ethical framework; and action research to improve priority setting. This describe-evaluate-improve strategy is a generalizable method that can be used in different health care institutions to improve priority setting in that context. (shrink)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unusually challenging and dangerous workplace conditions for key workers. This has prompted calls for key workers to receive a variety of special benefits over and above their normal pay. Here, we consider whether two such benefits are justified: a no-fault compensation scheme for harm caused by an epidemic and hazard pay for the risks and burdens of working during an epidemic. Both forms of benefit are often made available to members of the armed forces for (...) the harms, risks and burdens that come with military service. We argue from analogy that these benefits also ought to be provided to key workers during an epidemic because, like the military, key workers face unavoidable harms, risks and burdens in providing essential public good. The amount of compensation should be proportional to the harm suffered and the amount of hazard pay should be proportional to the risk and burden endured. Therefore, key workers should receive the same amount of compensation and hazard pay as the military where the harms, risks and burdens are equivalent. In the UK, a form of no-fault compensation has recently been made available to the surviving families of key workers who suffer fatal COVID-19 infections. According to our argument, however, it is insufficient because it offers less to key workers than is made available to the families of armed services personnel killed on duty. The are no data in this work. (shrink)
Why do some addicted people chronically fail in their goal to recover, while others succeed? On one established view, recovery depends, in part, on efforts of intentional planning agency. This seems right, however, firsthand accounts of addiction suggest that the agent’s self-narrative also has an influence. This paper presents arguments for the view that self-narratives have independent, self-fulfilling momentum that can support or undermine self-governance. The self-narrative structures of addicted persons can entrench addiction and alienate the agent from practically feasible (...) recovery plans. Strategic re-narration can redirect narrative momentum and therefore support recovery in ways that intentional planning alone cannot. (shrink)
Empathy is a broad concept that involves the various ways in which we come to know and make connections with one another. As medical practice becomes progressively orientated towards a model of engaged partnership, empathy is increasingly important in healthcare. This is often conceived more specifically through the concept of therapeutic empathy, which has two aspects: interpersonal understanding and caring action. The question of how we make connections with one another was also central to the work of the novelist E.M. (...) Forster. In this article we analyse Forster’s interpretation of connection—particularly in the novel Howards End—in order to explore and advance current debates on therapeutic empathy. We argue that Forster conceived of connection as a socially embedded act, reminding us that we need to consider how social structures, cultural norms and institutional constraints serve to affect interpersonal connections. From this, we develop a dispositional account of therapeutic empathy in which connection is conceived as neither an instinctive occurrence nor a process of representational inference, but a dynamic process of embodied, embedded and actively engaged enquiry. Our account also suggests that therapeutic empathy is not merely an untrainable reflex but something that can be cultivated. We thus promote two key ideas. First, that empathy should be considered as much a social as an individual phenomenon, and second that empathy training can and should be given to clinicians. (shrink)
Research in anthropology has shown that kin terminologies have a complex combinatorial structure and vary systematically across cultures. This article argues that universals and variation in kin terminology result from the interaction of (1) an innate conceptual structure of kinship, homologous with conceptual structure in other domains, and (2) principles of optimal, communication active in language in general. Kin terms from two languages, English and Seneca, show how terminologies that look very different on the surface may result from variation in (...) the rankings of a universal set of constraints. Constraints on kin terms form a system: some are concerned with absolute features of kin (sex), others with the position (distance and direction) of kin in others with groups and group boundaries (matrilines, patrilines, generations, etc.). Also, kin terms sometimes extend indefinitely via recursion, and recursion in kin terminology has parallels with recursion in other areas of language. Thus the study of kinship sheds light on two areas of cognition, and their phylogeny. The conceptual structure of kinship seems to borrow its organization from the conceptual structure of space, while being specialized for representing genealogy. And the grammar of kinship looks like the product of an evolved grammar faculty, opportunistically active across traditional domains of semantics, syntax, and phonology. Grammar is best understood as an offshoot of a uniquely human capacity for playing coordination games. (shrink)
The Stoics claim that the sage is free from emotions, experiencing instead εὐπάθειαι (‘good feelings’). It is, however, unclear whether the sage experiences εὐπάθειαι about virtue/vice only, indifferents only, or both. Here, I argue that εὐπάθειαι are exclusively about virtue/vice by showing that this reading alone accommodates the Stoic claim that there is not a εὐπάθειαι corresponding to emotional pain. I close by considering the consequences of this view for the coherence and viability of Stoic ethics.
I tackle the difficult problem of specifying how voluntary intoxication affects criminal culpability generally and recklessness in particular. I contend that the problem need not be conceptualized as an instance of actio libera in causa, namely the situation in which persons do something at t1 to culpably create the conditions of their own defense at t2. Instead, I argue that we need only consider intoxicated defendants at t2 in order to justify their punishment. In the course of defending my view, (...) I challenge conventional wisdom about both the nature of recklessness and the effects of intoxicants. I conclude by discussing a possible ground on which involuntary intoxication might be treated differently. (shrink)
The theory of sexual selection suggests several possible explanations for the development of standards of physical attractiveness in humans. Asymmetry and departures from average proportions may be markers of the breakdown of developmental stability. Supernormal traits may present age- and sex-typical features in exaggerated form. Evidence from social psychology suggests that both average proportions and (in females) “neotenous” facial traits are indeed more attractive. Using facial photographs from three populations (United States, Brazil, Paraguayan Indians), rated by members of the same (...) three populations, plus Russians and Venezuelan Indians, we show that age, average features, and (in females) feminine/neotenous features all play a role in facial attractiveness. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga has argued that evolutionary naturalism (the idea that God does not tinker with evolution) undermines its own rationality. Natural selection is concerned with survival and reproduction, and false beliefs conjoined with complementary motivational drives could serve the same aims as true beliefs. Thus, argues Plantinga, if we believe we evolved naturally, we should not think our beliefs are, on average, likely to be true, including our beliefs in evolution and naturalism. I argue herein that our cognitive faculties are (...) less reliable than we often take them to be, that it is theism which has difficulty explaining the nature of our cognition, that much of our knowledge is not passed through biological evolution but learned and transferred through culture, and that the unreliability of our cognition helps explain the usefulness of science. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the kinds of dependence relation that philosophers have argued may obtain between neural events and conscious events; between Ns and Cs. Three major candidate relations are constitution, realization, and identity. There are other candidates for the mind/body relation, but these will serve as the major options. Indeed, these are already more than three options, because philosophers do not agree on the best way to understand constitution; still less to understand realization. I argue that dispute is (...) not merely "metaphysical": each candidate has distinct empirical consequences. (shrink)
SummaryPrevious research has indicated that biological older brothers increase the odds of androphilia in males. This finding has been termed thefraternal birth order effect. Thematernal immune hypothesissuggests that this effect reflects the progressive immunization of some mothers to male-specific antigens involved in fetal male brain masculinization. Exposure to these antigens, as a result of carrying earlier-born sons, is hypothesized to produce maternal immune responses towards later-born sons, thus leading to female-typical neural development of brain regions underlying sexual orientation. Because this (...) hypothesis posits mechanisms that have the potential to be active in any situation where a mother gestates repeated male fetuses, a key prediction is that the fraternal birth order effect should be observable in diverse populations. The present study assessed the association between sexual orientation and birth order in androphilic male-to-female transsexuals in Brazil, a previously unexamined population. Male-to-female transsexuals who reported attraction to males were recruited from a specialty gender identity service in southern Brazil and a comparison group of gynephilic non-transsexual men was recruited at the same hospital. Logistic regression showed that the transsexual group had significantly more older brothers and other siblings. These effects were independent of one another and consistent with previous studies of birth order and male sexual orientation. The presence of the fraternal birth order effect in the present sample provides further evidence of the ubiquity of this effect and, therefore, lends support to the maternal immune hypothesis as an explanation of androphilic sexual orientation in some male-to-female transsexuals. (shrink)
The sustained interdisciplinary debate about neovitalism between two Johns Hopkins University colleagues, philosopher Arthur O. Lovejoy and experimental geneticist H. S. Jennings, in the period 1911–1914, was the basis for their theoretical reconceptualization of scientific knowledge as contingent and necessarily incomplete in its account of nature. Their response to Hans Driesch’s neovitalist concept of entelechy, and his challenge to the continuity between biology and the inorganic sciences, resulted in a historically significant articulation of genetics and philosophy. This study traces the (...) debate’s shift of problem-focus away from neovitalism’s threat to the unity of science – “organic autonomy,” as Lovejoy put it – and toward the potential for development of a nonmechanististic, nonrationalist theory of scientific knowledge. The result was a new pragmatist epistemology, based on Lovejoy’s and Jennings’s critiques of the inadequacy of pragmatism’s account of scientific knowledge. The first intellectual move, drawing on naturalism and pragmatism, was based on a reinterpretation of science as organized experience. The second, sparked by Henri Bergson’s theory of creative evolution, and drawing together elements of Dewey’s and James’s pragmatisms, produced a new account of the contingency and necessary incompleteness of scientific knowledge. Prompted by the neovitalists’ mix of a priori concepts and, in Driesch’s case, and adherence to empiricism, Lovejoy’s and Jennings’s developing pragmatist epistemologies of science explored the interrelation between rationalism and empiricism. (shrink)
All people are vulnerable to having their self-concepts shaped by others. This article investigates that vulnerability using a theory of narrative self-constitution. According to narrative self-constitution, people depend on others to develop and maintain skills of self-narration and they are vulnerable to having the content of their self-narratives co-authored by others. This theoretical framework highlights how vulnerability to co-authoring is essential to developing a self-narrative and, thus, the possibility of autonomy. However, this vulnerability equally entails that co-authors can undermine autonomy (...) by contributing disvalued content to the agent’s self-narrative and undermining her authorial skills. I illustrate these processes with the first-hand reports of several women who survived sexual abuse as children. Their narratives of survival and healing reveal the challenges involved in developing the skills required to manage vulnerability to co-authoring and how others can help in this process. Finally, I discuss some of the implications of co-authoring for the healthcare professional and the therapeutic relationship. (shrink)
Most research on student plagiarism defines the concept very narrowly or with much ambiguity. Many studies focus on plagiarism involving large swaths of text copied and pasted from unattributed sources, a type of plagiarism that the overwhelming majority of students seem to have little trouble identifying. Other studies rely on ambiguous definitions, assuming students understand what the term means and requesting that they self-report how well they understand the concept. This study attempts to avoid these problems by examining student perceptions (...) of more complex citation issues. We presented 240 students with a series of examples, asked them to indicate whether or not each should be considered plagiarism, and followed up with a series of demographic and attitudinal questions. The examples fell within the spectrum of inadequate citation, patchwriting, and the reuse of other people’s ideas. Half were excerpted from publicized cases of academic plagiarism, and half were modified from other sources. Our findings indicated that students shared a very strong agreement that near verbatim copy and paste and patchwriting should be considered plagiarism, but that they were much more conflicted regarding the reuse of ideas. Additionally, this study found significant correlation between self-reported confidence in their understanding and the identification of more complex cases as plagiarism, but this study found little correlation between academic class status or exposure to plagiarism detection software and perceptions of plagiarism. The latter finding goes against a prevailing sentiment in the academic literature that the ability to recognize plagiarism is inherently linked to academic literacy. Overall, our findings indicate that more pedagogical emphasis may need to be placed on complex forms of plagiarism. (shrink)
Daniel Sulmasy has recently argued that good medicine depends on physicians having a wide discretionary space in which they can act on their consciences. The only constraints Sulmasy believes we should place on physicians’ discretionary space are those defined by a form of tolerance he derives from Locke whereby people can publicly act in accordance with their personal religious and moral beliefs as long as their actions are not destructive to society. Sulmasy also claims that those who would reject physicians’ (...) right to conscientious objection eliminate discretionary space thus undermining good medicine and unnecessarily limiting religious freedom. I argue that, although Sulmasy is correct that some discretionary space is necessary for good medicine, he is wrong in thinking that proscribing conscientious objection entails eliminating discretionary space. I illustrate this using Julian Savulescu and Udo Schuklenk’s system for restricting conscientious objections as a counter-example. I then argue that a narrow discretionary space constrained by professional ideals will promote good medicine better than Sulmasy’s wider discretionary space constrained by his conception of tolerance. Sulmasy’s version of discretionary space would have us tolerate actions that are at odds with aspects of good medicine, including aspects that Sulmasy himself explicitly values, such as fiduciary duty. Therefore, if we want the degree of religious freedom in the public sphere that Sulmasy favours then we must decide whether it is worth the cost to the healthcare system. (shrink)
A rich exhibition of Minnesota’s beloved libraries, with stunning photographs by the popular Doug Ohman and library stories by seven of Minnesota’s best-known writers of books for children and young adults.