Anne-Marie Weidler Kubanek: Nothing less than an adventure: Ellen Gleditsch and her life in science Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9119-8 Authors Marelene Rayner-Canham, Memorial University, Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook, NL, Canada Geoff Rayner-Canham, Memorial University, Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook, NL, Canada Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
In the 21st century, why is the birth of a child with atypical sex still considered a social emergency? Moreover, why does this social emergency continue to be treated as a medical problem? Given the powerful testimony of intersex scholars and activists over the past several decades about the significant harms perpetrated by the standard medical treatments, including genital surgery on infants, what accounts for the persistence of these practices? Ellen Feder’s important and impressively researched book, Making Sense of (...) Intersex, makes a substantial contribution to these questions. By wading into the discussion on intersex treatment, Feder is well aware that she is entering a strange combination... (shrink)
Nanotechnology will allegedly have a revolutionary impact in a wide range of fields, but has also created novel concerns about health, safety and the environment (HSE). Nanotechnology regulation has nevertheless lagged behind nanotechnology development. In 2004 the International Organization for Standardization established a technical committee for producing nanotechnology standards for terminology, measurements, HSE issues and product specifications. These standards are meant to play a role in nanotechnology development, as well as in national and international nanotechnology regulation, and will therefore have (...) consequences for consumers, workers and the environment. This paper gives an overview of the work in the technical committee on nanotechnology and discusses some challenges with regard to legitimacy in such work. The paper focuses particularly on stakeholder involvement and the potential problems of scientific robustness when standardising in such early stages of the scientific development. The intention of the paper is to raise some important issues rather than to draw strong conclusions. However, the paper will be concluded with some suggestions for improving legitimacy in the TC 229 and a call for increased public awareness about standardisation in the field of nanotechnology. (shrink)
Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will discuss (...) one approach to ethical assessment, the ethical matrix method. This method is a variant of intuitionist balancing. Intuitionism is characterized by stressing the existence of several (at least two) fundamental prima facie moral principles, between which there is no given rank order. For some intuitionist approaches, coherentism has been proposed as a model of justification. This article will discuss justification of ethical advice and evaluate the appropriateness of coherentism as a justificatory approach to intuitionist tools. (shrink)
The Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics inScience and Technology (NENT), collaborating with The NorwegianFisherman''s Association and The Research Council of Norway,started in 1999 a project aiming at an ethical assessment of Norwegian fisheries for the year 2020. The project was to preparethe ground for ethical debate in and of the fishery sector inview of pending important decisions on long term strategies. Thispaper has its focus on the method used for achieving these aims,rather than the substantive results concerning the fisheries. (...) Amethod was developed for this purpose, called the ethicalscenario process. This included the construction of scenarios forthe future of Norwegian fisheries, using an ethical matrix for evaluating strategies, and organizing a ``value workshop'''' whereparticipants from different stakeholder groups came together todo ethical evaluations. The positive achievements and theshortcomings of this method are discussed in this paper. The useof an ethical matrix was meant to combine a participatory approachwith insights from theoretical ethics. The project revealedinherent tensions between these two objectives. Possible ways ofdealing with this tension are indicated, but in general a goodgrasp of the socio-political context might be the best guardianagainst the possible pitfalls involved in such an approach. (shrink)
Over the last years, Norway has revised its animal welfare legislation. As of January 1, 2010, the Animal Protection Act of 1974 was replaced by a new Animal Welfare Act. This paper describes the developments in the normative structures from the old to the new act, as well as the main traits of the corresponding implementation and governance system. In the Animal Protection Act, the basic animal ethics principles were to avoid suffering, treat animals well, and consider their natural needs (...) and instincts. In addition, a principle for balancing our duties towards animals with the needs and interests of humans was expressed by the formulation unnecessary suffering. These principles (only with slightly different formulations) are retained in the new act. The novelty of the new act is shown by its explicit intention to promote respect for animals and its recognition of animals’ intrinsic value. Whereas intrinsic value is only given a symbolic function, the notion of respect is intended to have practical consequences. One interpretation of respect for animals is taking the animal’s integrity—and not only welfare—into account. Another is to see the introduction of respect as a call to animal keepers to provide animals with welfare exceeding the minimum requirements. In several respects, the legal system now seems to leave more responsibility to the individual animal keeper—and to citizens in general. I argue that if the authorities really do want to promote respect for animals, they must at the same time initiate activities to achieve this. In my perspective the challenge is to provide adequate measures to achieve in practice the intended respect for animals expressed in the new act. (shrink)
Modern society is characterised by rapid technological development that is often socially controversial and plagued by extensive scientific uncertainty concerning its socio-ecological impacts. Within this context, the concept of ‘responsible research and innovation’ is currently rising to prominence in international discourse concerning science and technology governance. As this emerging concept of RRI begins to be enacted through instruments, approaches, and initiatives, it is valuable to explore what it is coming to mean for and in practice. In this paper we draw (...) attention to a realm that is often backgrounded in the current discussions of RRI but which has a highly significant impact on scientific research, innovation and policy—namely, the interstitial space of international standardization. Drawing on the case of nanoscale sciences and technologies to make our argument, we present examples of how international standards are already entangled in the development of RRI and yet, how the process of international standardization itself largely fails to embody the norms proposed as characterizing RRI. We suggest that although current models for RRI provide a promising attempt to make research and innovation more responsive to societal needs, ethical values and environmental challenges, such approaches will need to encompass and address a greater diversity of innovation system agents and spaces if they are to prove successful in their aims. (shrink)
This article discusses outcomes of a dialogue conference on ‘The road ahead for ELSA in Norway: Issues of quality, influence and network cooperation’ held in Oslo in December 2012. Norwegian researchers in the field of ethical, legal and social aspects of technologies were invited to discuss conceptual and strategic issues, as well as the setup of a researcher network. In the article I take an institutionalist approach and discuss challenges in institutionalising an ELSA network at a time when a designated (...) ELSA funding programme is coming to an end. The research question is how the Norwegian ELSA network can succeed as a persistent network in times of greater uncertainties. The article claims that the network needs to gain legitimacy, outlines different dimensions of legitimacy and interprets the conference discussions in light of these dimensions. Central challenges and success factors facing the ELSA network are discussed and the article concludes with reflections on the potential future of ELSA in Norway. Although the article has a Norwegian context, the discussions in the article are likely to be relevant for researchers all across Europe, as similar developments are taking place also elsewhere in the European research funding context. (shrink)
The ethical matrix approach was developed by Prof Ben Mepham and his colleagues at the University of Nottingham in the early 1990s. Since then the approach has received increasing attention and has been used by several researchers in different projects related to assessing ethical impacts of different food production technologies and other policy options of societal concern. The ethical matrix is sometimes understood simply as a checklist of ethical concerns, but might also be seen as a guide to coming to (...) conclusions on moral questions. The problem I discuss in this paper relates to how using the ethical matrix method as a decision guide can be combined with respecting pluralism. The aim of the paper is to suggest a framework making it possible to – at the same time – enhance public justification of judgments and respect pluralism. I argue that pluralism is fundamental to the ethical matrix approach; I distinguish between intuitionist principled pluralism and societal value pluralism; and I show how both kinds of pluralism imply restrictions on how conclusions can be made. No substantive moral decision principles can be allowed. Still, I argue, decision principles of a more epistemological or procedural character can be acceptable even within pluralism. The pragmatist principle of inquiry is defended as an account of moral problem solving compatible with both principled pluralism and value pluralism. When an ethical matrix is used within such a participatory inquiry process substantive conclusions can be drawn. (shrink)
During the fall of 2001 (October 22–25), The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) and the Agricultural University of Norway arranged a consensus conference on the protection of the environment against ionising radiation. The motive for the conference was the need to study the ethical and philosophical basis for protection of nature in its own right. The conference was funded by Nordic Nuclear Safety Research (NKS), in cooperation with the International Union of Radioecology (IUR). The National Committee for Research Ethics in (...) Science and Technology (NENT) was hired as facilitators for the consensus process. This paper will give a brief outline of the aims and method of the conference, distinguishing these from other kinds of consensus conferences. The paper ends with some general reflections on the appropriateness of seeking consensus on ethics-related issues among experts. (shrink)
This editorial presents the background for the article collection ‘ELSA and RRI’. It sets the stage for the topics discussed in the collection and briefly presents the different contributions. It concludes by opening up for continued discussion of the relations between ELSA and RRI.
Concerns have been voiced about the ethical implications of patenting practices in the field of biotechnology. Some of these have also been incorporated into regulation, such as the European Commission Directive 98/44 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. However, the incorporation of ethically based restrictions into patent legislation has not had the effect of satisfying all concerns. In this article, we will systematically compare the richness of ethical concerns surrounding biotech patenting, with the limited scope of ethical concerns actually (...) addressed in the patent system. As sources of our analyses we will use literature and document studies and a survey with important stakeholders and experts related to Norwegian patenting in the aquacultural biotechnology sector. We will structure the analyses with an ethical matrix, developed for this purpose. Showing the misalignment of the discussions within and outside the patent system, we suggest that an important reason for the ethical controversy still surrounding patenting is that ethical questions keep being framed in a narrow way within the system. Until a richer set of ethical considerations is addressed head-on within the patent system, the patent system will continue to evoke academic and interest group criticism, potentially contributing to a legitimacy crisis of the whole system. (shrink)
Catholic modernist John Augustine Zahm is best known for his attempt to reconcile the theory of evolution with the Christian scriptures. However, Zahm's theological method—the underlying principles and procedures in his effort to reconcile faith and science—remains largely unexamined. In this article, I analyze Zahm's theological method and submit that it is an attempt to harmonize scientific knowledge and Christian scripture through a “scientific allegory” of the bible, which takes into account the human and divine meanings of scripture, the exegesis (...) of the church fathers, and the dogmatic constitutions of the Catholic church. I compare Zahm's method with that of pioneering Catholic bible critic Marie-Joseph Lagrange, and his conception of biblical inspiration and the supra-literal sense of scripture. Through this historical investigation, I hope to contribute to the question of the relationship between modern science and Christian hermeneutics. (shrink)
Cet article étudie l’influence du scepticisme de Montaigne dans l’« Égalité des hommes et des femmes » de Marie de Gournay. Plusieurs points communs entre ces deux auteurs sont analysés : le dépassement du dualisme des sexes dans le cadre d’une critique de l’idée de nature comme hiérarchie ; la condamnation de la présomption de la raison ; un relativisme des sexes, qui contribue à souligner l’iniquité de la domination masculine en Occident.
Les Lais de Marie de France présentent un jeu subtil entre l’impossibilité de décrire l’acte charnel et l’utilisation d’un langage travaillé qui y fait allusion suivant les codes de la courtoisie. S’allonger l’un près de l’autre dans un lit, rire, jouer et parler, le pinceau de Marie de France n’ira pas plus loin. Mais l’intensité du désir sexuel sera dénotée par d’autres éléments symboliques appartenant au monde naturel. Les amants, captifs d’amours interdites et abandonnés à leurs plaisirs sensuels, (...) risquent parfois la mort mais, dans une dialectique entre l’amour et la mort, leurs lits funéraires, posés l’un à côté de l’autre, rétablissent mythiquement l’amour par la promesse d’une fusion éternelle. (shrink)
Marie Curie, une intellectuelle engagée ? Comment Marie Curie qui est connue pour avoir été une personnalité publique marquante de son temps avant de passer au rang de mythe, considéra-t-elle les questions de la responsabilité sociale des intellectuels ? D’un côté, elle renonce - après examen - à toutes les formes d’engagement collectif et partisan y compris pour des causes qui lui sont chères - le progrès social, la paix, les droits des femmes, l’abolition de la peine de (...) mort -, de l’autre elle se révèle une militante déterminée en faveur des recherches scientifiques et de la coopération intellectuelle internationale. Alors qu’elle refuse de descendre dans l’arène, de s’exprimer dans la presse, ses « positions » politiques ou éthiques sont suffisamment connues pour qu’on finisse par l’identifier, au moins en partie, avec ces combats pour lesquels elle ne se mobilise pas, au point que sa vie elle-même devient l’enjeu de batailles qui la dépassent. Il s’agit bien, en fait, d’une vie politique, largement construite et maîtrisée par son actrice, recomposant et modelant pour longtemps la figure du savant contemporain aussi bien que celle de la femme moderne. Faut-il alors encore parler de mythe ? (shrink)
Marie Durand n’est pas très connue en dehors du monde protestant. Elle a passé 38 ans emprisonnée dans la Tour de Constance à Aigues-Mortes parce que son frère était un pasteur clandestin du xviiie siècle. Elle est surtout connue depuis le livre de Benoît en 1884. Mais c’est au début du xxe siècle qu’elle devient une personnification de la résistance pacifique au nom des droits de la conscience et de la tolérance et qu'elle accède à un statut d'héroïne. Cela (...) permet aussi à la Réforme un renouveau moral et spirituel. La référence à Marie Durand s'accentue en 1945 et culmine lors des cérémonies de 1968. Elle symbolise ainsi le protestantisme toujours persécuté, mais luttant de manière non-violente pour maintenir la foi. (shrink)
Much has been written on the relative merits of different readings of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The recent renewal of the debate has almost exclusively been concerned with variants of the ineffabilist (metaphysical) reading of TL-P - notable such readings have been advanced by Elizabeth Anscombe, P. M. S. Hacker and H. O. Mounce - and the recently advanced variants of therapeutic (resolute) readings - notable advocates of which are James Conant, Cora Diamond, Juliet Floyd and Michael Kremer. During this debate, (...) there have been a number of writers who have tried to develop a third way, incorporating what they see as insights and avoiding what they see as flaws in both the ineffabilist and resolute readings. The most prominent advocates of these elucidatory readings of TL-P are Dan Hutto (2003) and Marie McGinn (1999). In this paper we subject Hutto's and McGinn's readings of TL-P to critical scrutiny. We find that in seeking to occupy the middle ground they ultimately find themselves committed to (and in the process commit Wittgenstein to) the very ineffabilism they (and Wittgenstein) are seeking to overcome. (shrink)
A history of the Atomic Bomb from Marie Curie to Hiroshima. “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” — Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita after witnessing the successful demonstration of the atom bomb. The bomb, which killed an estimated 140,000 civilians in Hiroshima and destroyed the countryside for miles around, was one of the defining moments in world history. That mushroom cloud cast a terrifying shadow over the contemporary world and continues to do so today. But how could (...) this have happened? What led to the creation of such a weapon of mass destruction? From the moment scientists contemplated the destructive potential of splitting the atom, the role of science changed. Ethical and moral dilemmas faced all those who realized the implications of their research. Before the Fall-Out charts the chain of events from Marie Curie’s scientific breakthrough through the many colourful characters such as Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Lord Rutherford, whose discoveries contributed to the bomb. The story of the atomic bomb spans 50 years of prolific scientific innovation, turbulent politics, foreign affairs and world-changing history. Through personal stories of exile, indecision and soul-searching, to charges of collaboration, spying and deceit, Diana Preston presents the human side of an unstoppable programme with a lethal outcome. (shrink)
Much work has recently been done on Jane Addams, her writings, and the general atmosphere and thought associated with Hull House and other settlement places in American cities.1 But although we might think of Addams and her work as the center of the Hull House effort, many other women (and a few men) were involved in the efforts, and the strengths that they brought to bear on the activities in Chicago in the early part of the twentieth century need to (...) be delineated and, to some extent, given pride of place. Two women whose work was applauded by Addams at the time, but whose thought remains somewhat under investigated are Ellen Gates Starr and Julia Lathrop. Indeed, Addams wrote a book about her partnership with .. (shrink)
In this paper I look at the philosophical struggles of one eighteenth-century woman writer to reconcile a desire and obvious capacity to participate in the creation of republican ideals and their applications on the one hand, and on the other a deeply held belief that women's role in a republic is confined to the domestic realm. I argue that Marie-Jeanne Phlipon Roland's philosophical writings—three unpublished essays, published and unpublished letters, as well as parts of her memoirs—suggest that even though (...) she adopted a Rousseau-style rural republicanism that relies on complementarity of men and women's virtues, she somehow succeeds in proposing a less sexist picture of the republican family, one that makes it possible for men and women to take an equal part in family business and politics. (shrink)
Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub are filmmakers of principle. Since the beginning of the 1960s, they have been constructing a highly coherent body of work, based on a certain number of very precise, concrete laws. Some of those rules have changed with time and history; others have remained untouched, rigorously observed from the first film until today. They are not an artificial set of constraints, designed to complicate a game that would otherwise be too simple; rather, they define the (...) artist’s position in the world, in the historical moment and political situation in which they live and work, the place where they stand. Some of those rules are explicit: for instance, the sound on the film has to be the.. (shrink)
Imagine a citizen (call her Ellen) engages in conduct the state says is a crime, for example, money laundering. Imagine too that the state of which Ellen is a citizen has decided to make money laundering a crime. Does the state wrong Ellen when it punishes her for money laundering? It depends on what you think about the authority of the criminal law. Most criminal law scholars would probably say that the criminal law as such has no (...) authority. Whatever authority is has depends on how well it adheres to the demands of morality inasmuch as morality is the only authority we have. Thus if morality says that money laundering should not be a crime then the state wrongs Ellen when it punishes her. But if the criminal law as such does have authority, and if in the exercise of its authority the state has decided to make money laundering a crime, then the state does Ellen no wrong when it punishes her. (shrink)
This paper exposits and defends the ideas of Marie de Gournay , a Parisian essayist and literary critic. Reading her as an early feminist, the author argues that Gournay’s work merits far more attention than it has received, especially her arguments which track the social formation of sex, her conscious opposition to male defamation of and mistreatment of women, and her appreciation of how male misogyny reflects the social privilege of the men who advance it. Gournay’s true genius, however, (...) lies in her argumentative method. Her goal is to get women to break the habit of deferring to men’s opinions about women and women’s experience. To do this, however, Gournay must first authorize her own arguments within a misogynist context and thus deploys the argumentative strategy of first appealing to socially sanctioned authorities to argue her points. Having framed Gournay’s work in these terms, the author considers several of Gournay’s interpretations of canonical figures, replies to contemporary critics of Gournay, and concludes by discussing the inclusion of Gournay’s work in an early modern Western philosophy course. (shrink)