The aim of this contribution is to critically examine the metaphysical presuppositions that prevail in (Stewart in Found Sci 15(4):395–409, 2010a ) answer to the question “are we in the midst of a developmental process?” as expressed in his statement “that humanity has discovered the trajectory of past evolution and can see how it is likely to continue in the future”.
Labor and Global Justice combines conceptual and theoretical perspectives across a multiplicity of relevant differences, both geographical and disciplinary, to develop a transnational perspective on labor and justice and to make clear how justice requires a rethinking of the relation between labor and global capital.
It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...) to be revised. Second, the pragmatic theory can withstand a Davidsonian objection only by rejecting the importance of a distinction between primitive and non-primitive semantic items. Thirdly, however, the theory is now open to a worry about how it should be understood: either the theory consists in a very broad functionalist generalization about communication, which makes it explanatorily inert, or it boils down to a highly particularist view about linguistic meaning. Finally, I argue that Recanati's notion of 'occasion meaning' is problematic and suggest replacing it with the notion of speaker meaning, which is explanatorily more basic. (shrink)
The article explores some of the issues that have arisen in the discourse on pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement (PCE), that is, the use of stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate, amphetamine and modafinil by healthy individuals of various populations with the aim of improving cognitive performance. Specifically, we explore the presumed sizes of existing PCE user populations and the policy actions that have been proposed regarding the trend of PCE. We begin with an introductory examination of the academic stances and philosophical issues (...) involved in defining PCE. We then focus on an examination of the population sizes of presumed current PCE users that have been listed in the academic literature on PCE, on presuppositions, which have been problematized by some authors as based on anecdotal or misinterpreted survey data. We follow this with an empirical examination of a potential PCE user population in a national context (students at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia). We then proceed to examine the regulatory options proposed in the academic literature to address PCE, finally comparing them with an empirical overview of the policy recommendations on PCE produced in the multinational context of several national ethics advisory bodies (EABs) in Europe. Our main conclusion is that there is still little debate among the national EABs on what type of public policy responses, if any, are needed to address PCE in European countries, and that the issues they do address are similar to those discussed and proposed in the academic articles on PCE. (shrink)
Vidal’s (Found Sci, 2010 ) and Rottiers’s (Found Sci, 2010 ) commentaries on my (2010) paper raised a number of important issues about the possible future trajectory of evolution and its implications for humanity. My response emphasizes that despite the inherent uncertainty involved in extrapolating the trajectory of evolution into the far future, the possibilities it reveals nonetheless have significant strategic implications for what we do with our lives here and now, individually and collectively. One important implication is the (...) replacement of postmodern scepticism and relativism with an evolutionary grand narrative that can guide humanity to participate successfully in the future evolution of life in the universe. (shrink)
The article examines the role played by policy advice institutions in the governance of ethically controversial new and emerging science and technology in Europe. The empirical analysis, which aims to help close a gap in the literature, focuses on the evolution, role and functioning of national ethics advisory bodies (EABs) in Europe. EABs are expert bodies whose remit is to issue recommendations regarding ethical aspects of new and emerging science and technology. Negative experiences with the impacts of science and technology (...) in the past have resulted in calls for increased transparency and broader participation and pluralism in expert advice and policy decision-making. Do national EABs function as inclusive, anticipatory “hybrid forums”? Or do they resemble more “classical” expert-oriented bodies, inspired by technocratic or decisionist approaches? As part of the empirical analysis of the role and functioning of institutional ethical advisory structures in 32 European countries, an extensive analysis of EAB websites and the content of publicly available documents on such institutions has been carried out, supplemented by an online survey of representatives of the EABs. One major finding of the empirical analysis is the very uneven distribution of “hybrid forum” features of EABs across Europe. (shrink)