This document is designed to give guidance on assessing researchers in bioethics/medical ethics. It is intended to assist members of selection, confirmation and promotion committees, who are required to assess those conducting bioethics research when they are not from a similar disciplinary background. It does not attempt to give guidance on the quality of bioethics research, as this is a matter for peer assessment. Rather it aims to give an indication of the type, scope and amount of research that is (...) the expected in this field. It does not cover the assessment of other activities such as teaching, policy work, clinical ethics consultation and so on, but these will be mentioned for additional context. Although it mentions the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, it is not intended to be a detailed analysis of the place of bioethics in the REF. (shrink)
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as (...) well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest contemporary challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this school of thought, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it answer epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills) and instead adopt a quite minimal picture of semantics. (shrink)
Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
Scientists, philosophers, and policymakers disagree about how to define microaggression. Here, we offer a taxonomy of existing definitions, clustering around (a) the psychological motives of perpetrators, (b) the experience of victims, and (c) the functional role of microaggression in oppressive social structures. We consider conceptual and epistemic challenges to each and suggest that progress may come from developing novel hybrid accounts of microaggression, combining empirically tractable features with sensitivity to the testimony of victims.
Starting with service robotics and industrial robotics, this paper aims to suggest philosophical reflections about the relationship between body and machine, between man and technology in our contemporary world. From the massive use of the cell phone to the robots which apparently “feel” and show emotions like humans do. From the wearable exoskeleton to the prototype reproducing the artificial sense of touch, technological progress explodes to the extent of embodying itself in our nakedness. Robotics, indeed, is inspired by biology in (...) order to develop a new kind of technology affecting human life. This is a bio-robotic approach, which is fulfilled in the figure of the cyborg and consequently in the loss of human nature. Today, humans have reached the possibility to modify and create their own body following their personal desires. But what is the limit of this achievement? For this reason, we all must question ourselves whether we have or whether we are a body. (shrink)
Microaggressions are seemingly negligible slights that can cause significant damage to frequently targeted members of marginalized groups. Recently, Scott O. Lilienfeld challenged a key platform of the microaggression research project: what’s aggressive about microaggressions? To answer this challenge, Derald Wing Sue, the psychologist who has spearheaded the research on microaggressions, needs to theorize a spectrum of aggression that ranges from intentional assault to unintentional microaggressions. I suggest turning to Bonnie Mann’s “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies” for inspiration. Building from Mann’s (...) richer theoretical framework will allow Sue to answer Lilienfeld’s objection and defend the legitimacy of the concept, ‘microaggression’. (shrink)
Understanding in Epistemology Epistemology is often defined as the theory of knowledge, and talk of propositional knowledge has dominated the bulk of modern literature in epistemology. However, epistemologists have recently started to turn more attention to the epistemic state or states of understanding, asking questions about its nature, relationship … Continue reading Understanding in Epistemology →.
Feminists have long argued that women who offend are judged by who they are, not what they do, with idealised images of femininity and motherhood used as measures of culpability. The ability to meet the expectations of motherhood and femininity are particularly difficult for women who experience a crisis pregnancy, as evident in cases where women have been convicted of concealment of birth. The offence prohibits the secret disposal of the dead body of a child, to conceal knowledge of its (...) birth. Traditionally used to prosecute women suspected of killing their newborn children, analysis of court transcripts suggests the offence is also used to punish women who fail to meet expectations of motherhood. This paper analyses three contemporary cases in light of the historical origins of the offence, illustrating the legacy of prejudice against ‘deviant’ mothers. Finally, it questions the continued existence of this archaic offence. (shrink)
It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time—the so‐called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non‐causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for (...) the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. (shrink)
A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication. This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best (...) understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms. (shrink)
"[N]o matter how much of a coalition space this is, it ain't nothing like the coalescing you've got to do tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday."This essay is a critical reflection on the centrality of coalitional politics for decolonial feminist philosophy. Decolonial feminisms emerge from multisited struggles with colonization and, as a result, are rich and heterogeneous.1 Thus, the starting point for decolonial feminists must be one that centers on coalitional politics. Women of color have long emphasized the importance of coalition (...) to collective struggle against a matrix of systems of oppression.2 However, the work of forging coalitions is just that, work. Indeed, the work of coalition building, as Bernice... (shrink)
This article advances the idea that shareholders who seek to influence corporate behaviour can be understood analytically as norm entrepreneurs. These are actors who seek to persuade others to adopt a new standard of appropriateness. The article thus goes beyond studies which focus on the influence of shareholder activism on single instances of corporate conduct, as it recognises shareholders' potential as change agents for more widely shared norms about corporate responsibilities. The article includes the empirical example of US internet technology (...) companies who, in their Chinese operations, face conflicts of norm systems in regard to freedom of expression on the internet. Shareholders have been active in seeking to persuade these companies to adopt a norm of adhering to global standards for human rights over restrictions implied by authoritarian regimes to which they deliver services. (shrink)
Microstructuralism in the philosophy of chemistry is the thesis that chemical kinds can be individuated in terms of their microstructural properties (Hendry in Philos Sci 73:864–875, 2006 ). Elements provide paradigmatic examples, since the atomic number should suffice to individuate the kind. In theory, Microstructuralism should also characterise higher-level chemical kinds such as molecules, compounds, and macromolecules based on their constituent atomic properties. In this paper, several microstructural theses are distinguished. An analysis of macromolecules such as moonlighting proteins suggests that (...) all the forms of microstructuralism cannot accommodate them. (shrink)
Literature in epistemology tends to suppose that there are three main types of understanding – propositional, atomistic, and objectual. By showing that all apparent instances of propositional understanding can be more plausibly explained as featuring one of several other epistemic states, this paper argues that talk of propositional understanding is unhelpful and misleading. The upshot is that epistemologists can do without the notion of propositional understanding.
We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...) reasoning concerning the respective roles of physical and biological properties in sustaining various capacities did vary between sample populations, however. Further, the data challenge prior ad-hoc categorizations in the empirical literature on the developmental origins of and cognitive constraints on psycho-physical reasoning (e.g., in afterlife concepts). We suggest cross-culturally validated categories of “Body Dependent” and “Body Independent” items for future developmental and cross-cultural research in this emerging area. (shrink)
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
In Searle’s social ontology, collective intentionality is an essential component of all institutional facts. This is because the latter involve the assignment of functions, namely "status functions," on entities whose physical features do not guarantee their performance, therefore requiring our acceptance that it be performed. One counter-example to that claim can be found in Carl Menger’s individualistic account of the money system. Menger’s commitment to the self-interest assumption, however, prevents him from accounting for the deontic dimensions of institutional facts.
The biomedical industry relies on the skills of animal technologists to put laboratory animal welfare into practice. This is the first study to explore how this is achieved in relation to their participation in implementing refinement and reduction, two of the three key guiding ethical principles––the “3Rs”––of what is deemed to be humane animal experimentation. The interpretative approach contributes to emerging work within the social sciences and humanities exploring care and ethics in practice. Based on qualitative analysis of participant observation (...) within animal research facilities in UK universities, in-depth interviews with ATs, facility managers, and other stakeholders, and analysis of regulatory guidelines, we draw a contrast between the minimum required of ATs by law and how their care work not only meets but often exceeds these requirements. We outline how ATs constitute a key source of innovation and insight into the refinement of animal care and the reduction of animal use, hitherto not formally acknowledged. Exploring AT care work as an example of ethics in practice makes an original contribution to broader debates within health care and animal welfare about how technology, regulation, and behavior can foster and sustain a “culture of care”. (shrink)
Twelve essays by the influential radical include "Marriage and Love," "The Hypocrisy of Puritanism," "The Traffic in Women," Anarchism," and "The Psychology of Political Violence." Other enduringly relevant essays examine patriotism, the failure of the penal system, and drama as a means of conveying political theory.
Derrida’s autobiographical and philosophical text Monolingualism of the Other; or, the Prosthesis of Origin is a partial recounting of his own childhood and upbringing in Algeria at a time when it was a colony of France. It is on one level a reflection on matters related to colonialism, and especially on the effects of the imposition of colonial language upon schooling and wider practices of education and coming into the world. Yet Derrida’s text also opens onto structural questions about estrangement, (...) unsettledness and Unheimlichkeit such as they pertain to and characterise life in language more generally. This paper puts Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other into relation with contemporary discussions of multilingualism and language learning in the context of the global education agenda. The result, as we shall see, is the destabilising of assumptions that underpin multilingualism and the global education agenda and foreclose their democratic and ethical aims. At the same time, as we shall also see, Derrida’s text opens ways in which the education of language subjects can be reconstructed in relation to a new conception of ethics and the humanities. (shrink)
Mirror neurons are neurons which fire in two distinct conditions: (i) when an agent performs a specific action, like a precision grasp of an object using fingers, and (ii) when an agent observes that action performed by another. Some theorists have suggested that the existence of such neurons may lend support to the simulation approach to mindreading (e.g. Gallese and Goldman, 1998, 'Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind reading'). In this note I critically examine this suggestion, in both (...) its original and a revised form (due to Iacoboni et al., 2005, 'Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system'), and argue that the existence of mirror neurons can in fact tell us very little about how intentional attribution actually proceeds. (shrink)
Background A topic of great concern in bioethics is the medical research conducted in poor countries sponsored by wealthy nations. Western drug companies increasingly view Latin America as a proper place for clinical research trials. The region combines a large population, modern medical facilities, and low per capita incomes. Participants from developing countries may have little or non alternative means of treatment other than that offered through clinical trials. Therefore, the provision of a valid informed consent is important. Methods To (...) gain insight about some aspects of the informed consent procedure in a major cancer centre in Mexico, we conducted a three-step evaluation process: 1) a ten point multiple choice survey questionnaires, was used to explore some aspects of the patients' experiences during the informed consent process, 2) researchers' knowledge about specific aspects of the informed consent was evaluated in this study using survey questionnaires; and 3) the comprehensibility, readability and number of pages of the consent forms were analysed. The socioeconomic and educational level of the patients, were also considered. Results were reported using a numerical scale. Results Thirty five patients, 20 doctors, and 10 individuals working at the hospital agreed to participate in the study. Eighty three percent of the patients in the study were classified as living in poverty; education level was poor or non existent, and 31% of the patients were illiterate. The consent forms were difficult to understand according to 49% of the patients, most doctors agreed that the forms were not comprehensible to the patients. The average length of the IC documents analysed was 14 pages, and the readability average score was equivalent to 8TH Grade. Conclusion The results presented in this work describe some relevant characteristics of the population seen at public health care institutions in Mexico. Poverty, limited or no education, and the complexity of the information provided to the patients may question the validity of the informed consent procedure in this group of patients. (shrink)
In this study, we analyzed the academic integrity policies of colleges in Ontario, Canada, casting a specific lens on contract cheating. We extracted data from 28 individual documents from 22-publicly-funded colleges including policies and procedures and code of conduct. We analyzed the characteristics of the documents from three perspectives: document type and titles; policy language; and policy principles. Then we examined five core elements of the documentation including access; approach; responsibility; detail; and support. Key findings revealed that specific and direct (...) language pertaining to contract cheating was largely absent from the policy documents, that underlying policy principles lacked clear definition, and that exemplary policy has yet to be developed in this context. We conclude with recommendations for increased policy research in the area of academic integrity and a call for policy revision in Canadian higher education institutions to more explicitly address the issue of contract cheating, as well as provide more support to students and other campus stakeholders to better understand how contract cheating impacts and impedes teaching and learning. (shrink)
This article emerges from a wider study on bicultural film archiving practice. It focuses on Jonathan Dennis as a subject of archiving, and as a distinctive archivist himself in relation to a specific archive at a particular moment. Dennis practice differed significantly from North American and European conventions contemporaneous with his life work. The charismatic founding director of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Jonathan Dennis became a conduit for tensions and debates during the 1981–2002 period in relation to indigenous and (...) non indigenous presentation of archival materials. This resulted in a film archive and curatorship practice which differed significantly from that of the North American and European archives he originally sought to emulate. As a Pākehā with a strong sense of social justice he argued for an awareness of geographical location and cultural context in his work. He supported a philosophical shift in archival practice, by engaging indigenous peoples in developing creative and innovative exhibitions and programmes from the 1980s period until his death.Note: From 1988 the official name for the New Zealand Film Archive was Ngā Kaitiaki o ngā Taonga Whitiāhua. Since August 2014 the institution is called Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero to acknowledge the acquisition of the state-owned Television NZ Archive and Sound Archives from Radio NZ. For brevity’s sake the Archive is referred to throughout as NTSV.Key: NTSV PP JD refers to the NTSV Personal Papers of Jonathan Dennis. (shrink)
‘Pragmaticist’ positions posit a three-way division within utterance content between: the standing meaning of the sentence, a somewhat pragmatically enhanced meaning which captures what the speaker explicitly conveys, and further indirectly conveyed propositions which the speaker merely implies. Here I re-examine the notion of an explicature, asking how it is defined and what work explicatures are supposed to do. I argue that explicatures get defined in three different ways and that these distinct definitions can and do pull apart. Thus the (...) notion of an explicature turns out to be ill-defined. (shrink)
Harvey Siegel's epistemologically-informed conception of critical thinking is one of the most influential accounts of critical thinking around today. In this article, I seek to open up an account of critical thinking that goes beyond the one defended by Siegel. I do this by re-reading an opposing view, which Siegel himself rejects as leaving epistemology ‘pretty much as it is’. This is the view proposed by Charles Taylor in his paper ‘Overcoming Epistemology’. Crucially, my aim here is not to defend (...) Taylor's challenge to epistemology per se, but rather to demonstrate how, through its appeal to certain key tropes within Heideggerian philosophy, Taylor's paper opens us towards a radically different conception of thinking and the human being who thinks. Indeed, as will be argued, it is through this that Taylor and Heidegger come to offer us the resources for re-thinking the nature of critical thinking—in a way that exceeds the epistemological, and does more justice to receptive and responsible conditions of human thought. (shrink)
This study supports the idea that fields form around issues, and describes the roles of various stakeholders in the structuring, shaping, and legitimating of the emerging field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A model of the institutional history of the CSR field is outlined, of which a key stage is the appearance of CSR rating agencies as the significant players and Institutional Entrepreneurs of the field. We show to which extent the creation and further development of CSR rating agencies, and (...) the activism of other significant stakeholders of the field (typically portrayed as “standard setters” and “regulatory agents”), contribute to the institutionalization of CSR. With this in mind, among various stakeholders that legitimate the field of CSR, we present the efforts of global and local stakeholders such as the European Union, the United Nations, the International Organization for Standardization, and governments and their interactions. We suggest that the different paths of CSR development and institutionalization in France and in the United States depend on the nature of local and global stakeholders’ involvement in this process and their interactions. (shrink)
Uncertainty around the role ‘super-spreaders’ play in the transmission and escalation of infectious disease is compounded by its broad and vague definition. It is a term that has been much used in relation to COVID-19, particularly in social media. On its widest definition, it refers to a propensity to infect a larger than average number of people. Given the biological, behavioural and environmental variables relevant to infectivity, this might be pertinent to almost any infected individual who is not physically isolated (...) from others. Nor is the term confined to individuals with a propensity to spread infectious disease: it can potentially be used to describe events, policies or settings. This article explores the use of the term and considers circumstances in which the wide definition can be problematic. One problem is that it can lead to undeserved apportionment of moral blame to alleged super-spreaders. Another is that it can detract from scientific investigation of the heterogeneity of COVID-19 transmission. The author calls for a clearer epidemiological definition. (shrink)
This article identifies several critical problems with the last 30 years of research into hostile communication on the internet and offers suggestions about how scholars might address these problems and better respond to an emergent and increasingly dominant form of online discourse which I call ‘e-bile’. Although e-bile is new in terms of its prevalence, rhetorical noxiousness, and stark misogyny, prototypes of this discourse—most commonly referred to as ‘flaming’—have always circulated on the internet, and, as such, have been discussed by (...) scholars from a range of disciplines. Nevertheless, my review of this vast body of literature reveals that online hostility has historically posed a number of conceptual, methodological, and epistemological challenges due to which scholars have typically underplayed, overlooked, ignored, or otherwise marginalised its prevalence and serious ethical and material ramifications. Fortunately, lessons learned from my analysis suggests promising approaches for future research into this challenging form of new media discourse. (shrink)
Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that a paternalistic interference with an individual's inquiry is justified when it is likely to bring about an epistemic improvement in her. In this article I claim that in order to motivate epistemic paternalism we must first account for the value of epistemic improvements. I propose that the epistemic paternalist has two options: either epistemic improvements are valuable because they contribute to wellbeing, or they are epistemically valuable. I will argue that these options constitute the (...) foundations of a dilemma: either epistemic paternalism collapses into general paternalism, or a distinctive project of justified epistemic paternalism is implausible. (shrink)
This paper is based on ethnographic research of data practices in a public health project called Weather Health and Air Pollution. I examine two different kinds of practices that make air pollution data, focusing on how they relate to particular modes of sensing and articulating air pollution. I begin by describing the interstitial spaces involved in making measurements of air pollution at monitoring sites and in the running of a computer simulation. Specifically, I attend to a shared dimension of these (...) practices, the checking of a numerical reading for error. Checking a measurement for error is routine practice and a fundamental component of making data, yet these are also moments of interpretation, where the form and meaning of numbers are ambiguous. Through two case studies of modelling and monitoring data practices, I show that making a ‘good’ measurement requires developing a feeling for the instrument–air pollution interaction in terms of the intended functionality of the measurements made. These affective dimensions of practice are useful analytically, making explicit the interaction of standardised ways of knowing and embodied skill in stabilising data. I suggest that environmental data practices can be studied through researchers’ materialisation of error, which complicate normative accounts of Big Data and highlight the non-linear and entangled relations that are at work in the making of stable, accurate data. (shrink)
Some demonstrative expressions, those we might term ‘bare demonstratives’, appear without any appended descriptive content (e.g. occurrences of ‘this’ or ‘that’ simpliciter). However, it seems that the majority of demonstrative occurrences do not follow this model. ‘Complex demonstratives’ is the collective term I shall use for phrases formed by adjoining one or more common nouns to a demonstrative expression (e.g. ‘that cat’, ‘this happy man’) and I will call the combination of predicates immediately concatenated with the demonstrative in such phrases (...) the ‘matrix’ of the expression. The question, then, is how we should construe the logical form of such expressions within a semantic theory for our language; and I wish to suggest that some recent answers to this question are, in fact, mistaken. The structure of the paper is as follows: first, I wish to highlight two (often underlying) assumptions about the nature of noun phrases in general, and suggest that, if they are both adopted, they apparently constrain the possible accounts of the logical form of complex demonstratives to just three options. The second and third parts of the paper will be concerned with expanding these options and arguing that none of them are adequate; thus the major part of the paper is concerned with the negative claim that the most obvious moves to make in this area must actually fail on closer inspection. The fourth and final section will then (very briefly) sketch the positive thesis of the paper: that we can deliver a clear and cohesive account of complex demonstratives, armed simply with elements which we will draw from David Kaplan’s theory of demonstratives, but only at the cost of rejecting (or at least refining) one assumption we recognised initially. (shrink)