Mark David Webster ABSTRACT: Using qualitative methods, the author sought to better understand how philosophical assumptions about technology affect the thinking, and influence the decision making, of educational technology leaders in their professional practice. One of the research questions focused on examining whether assumptions of technological determinism were present in thinking and influenced the decisions that leaders make. The core category that emerged from data analysis, Keep up with technology (or be left behind), was interpreted to be a manifestation (...) of the technological imperative, an assumption associated with the philosophical perspective of technological determinism. The article presents a literature review and critique of philosophical issues surrounding technological determinism. Data analysis led to the conclusion that technology leaders working in K-12 education place weighted priority on the technological imperative, and there is philosophical tension between Keep up with technology (or be left behind), and a concurrently held perspective based on the logic of the instrumental view of technology. The findings suggest that different accounts of technological determinism, including Bimber’s three accounts of normative, nomological, and unintended consequences, are significant in the thinking of participants. School technology leaders placed priority on embracing technological change, sometimes adopting technology for its own sake. (shrink)
David Webster explores the notion of desire as found in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Beginning by addressing the idea of a 'paradox of desire', whereby we must desire to end desire, the varieties of desire that are articulated in the Pali texts are examined. A range of views of desire, as found in Western thought are presented as well as Hindu and Jain approaches. An exploration of the concept of ditthi (view or opinion) is also provided, exploring the way (...) in which 'holding views' can be seen as analogous to the process of desiring. Other subjects investigated include the mind-body relationship, the range of Pali terms for desire, and desire's positive spiritual value. A comparative exploration of the various approaches completes the work. (shrink)
John Webster provides a major scholarly analysis, the first in any language, of the final sections of the Church Dogmatics. He focuses on the theme of human agency in Barth's late ethics and doctrine of baptism, placing the discussion in the context of an interpretation of the Dogmatics as an intrinsically ethical dogmatics. The first two chapters survey the themes of agency, covenant and human reality in the Dogmatics as a whole; later chapters give a thorough analysis of Church (...) Dogmatics IV/4 and the posthumously published text The Christian Life. A final chapter examines the significance of Barth's work for contemporary accounts of moral selfhood. The book is important not only for a detailed analysis of a neglected part of Barth's oeuvre, but also because it casts into question much of what has hitherto been written about Barth's ethical dogmatics. (shrink)
May we speak, in the present age, of holy scripture? And what validation of that claim can be offered, robust enough to hold good for both religious practice and intellectual enquiry? John Webster argues that while any understanding of scripture must subject it to proper textual and historical interrogation, it is necessary at the same time to acknowledge the special character of scriptural writing. His 2003 book is an exercise in Christian dogmatics, a loud reaffirmation of the triune God (...) at the heart of a scripture-based Christianity. But it is written with intellectual rigour by a theologian who understands the currents of modern secular thought and is able to work from them towards a constructive position on biblical authority. It will resonate with anyone who has wondered or worried about the grounds on which we may validly regard the Bible as God's direct communication with humanity. (shrink)
Thomas Bertram Lonsdale Webster. the Persians decided on the best form of government in 520 B.C., but it is far more likely that the discussion reflects political theorising at Athens where he was writing during the contest for power between ...
In the previous four papers in this series, individual versus structural or contextual factors have informed various understandings of moral distress. In this final paper, we summarize some of the key tensions raised in previous papers and use these tensions as springboards to identify directions for action among practitioners, educators, researchers, policymakers and others. In particular, we recognize the need to more explicitly politicize the concept of moral distress in order to understand how such distress arises from competing values within (...) power dynamics across multiple interrelated contexts from interpersonal to international. We propose that the same socio-political values that tend to individualize and blame people for poor health without regard for social conditions in which health inequities proliferate, hold responsible, individualize and even blame health care providers for the problem of moral distress. Grounded in a critical theoretical perspective of context, definitions of moral distress are re-examined and refined. Finally, recommendations for action that emerge from a re-conceptualized understanding of moral distress are provided. (shrink)
A qualitative study using grounded theory methods was conducted to (a) examine what philosophy of technology assumptions are present in the thinking of K-12 technology leaders, (b) investigate how the assumptions may influence technology decision making, and (c) explore whether technological determinist assumptions are present. Subjects involved technology directors and instructional technology specialists from school districts, and data collection involved interviews and a written questionnaire. Three broad philosophy of technology views were widely held by participants, including an instrumental view of (...) technology, technological optimism, and a technological determinist perspective that sees technological change as inevitable. Technology leaders were guided by two main approaches to technology decision making in cognitive dissonance with each other, represented by the categories Educational goals and curriculum should drive technology, and Keep up with Technology (or be left behind). The researcher concluded that as leaders deal with their perceived experience of the inevitability of technological change, and their concern for preparing students for a technological future, the core category Keep up with technology (or be left behind) is given the greater weight in technology decision making. A risk is that this can on occasion mean a quickness to adopt technology for the sake of technology, without aligning the technology implementation with educational goals. (shrink)
How is the burden of proof to be distributed among individuals who are involved in resolving a particular issue? Under what conditions should the burden of proof be distributed unevenly? We distinguish attitudinal from dialectical burdens and argue that these questions should be answered differently, depending on which is in play. One has an attitudinal burden with respect to some proposition when one is required to possess sufficient evidence for it. One has a dialectical burden with respect to some proposition (...) when one is required to provide supporting arguments for it as part of a deliberative process. We show that the attitudinal burden with respect to certain propositions is unevenly distributed in some deliberative contexts, but in all of these contexts, establishing the degree of support for the proposition is merely a means to some other deliberative end, such as action guidance, or persuasion. By contrast, uneven distributions of the dialectical burden regularly further the aims of deliberation, even in contexts where the quest for truth is the sole deliberative aim, rather than merely a means to some different deliberative end. We argue that our distinction between these two burdens resolves puzzles about unevenness that have been raised in the literature. (shrink)
Many claims about conceptual matters are often represented as, or inferred from, claims about the meaning, reference, or mastery, of words. But sometimes this has led to treating conceptual analysis as though it were nothing but linguistic analysis. We canvass the most promising justifications for moving from linguistic premises to substantive conclusions. We show that these justifications fail and argue against current practice (in metaethics and elsewhere), which confuses an investigation of a word’s meaning, reference, or competence conditions with an (...) analysis of some concept or property associated with that word. (shrink)
A qualitative study was conducted to examine the philosophy of technology of K-12 technology leaders, and explore the influence of their thinking on technology decision making. The research design aligned with CORBIN and STRAUSS grounded theory methods, and I proceeded from a research paradigm of critical realism. The subjects were school technology directors and instructional technology specialists, and data collection consisted of interviews and a written questionnaire. Data analysis involved the use of grounded theory methods including memo writing, open and (...) axial coding, constant comparison, the use of purposive and theoretical sampling, and theoretical saturation of categories. Three broad philosophy of technology views were widely held by participants: an instrumental view of technology, technological optimism, and a technological determinist perspective that saw technological change as inevitable. Technology leaders were guided by two main approaches to technology decision making, represented by the categories Educational goals and curriculum should drive technology, and Keep up with Technology (or be left behind). The core category and central phenomenon that emerged was that technology leaders approached technology leadership by placing greater emphasis on keeping up with technology, being influenced by an ideological orientation to technological change, and being concerned about preparing students for a technological future. (shrink)
Examines modern controversies over Freud and Freudian thought while questioning the theory of infantile sexuality and showing where Freud consistently misdiagnosed his patients and failed to make his claimed cures.
: This paper responds to the sense of "crisis" or "trouble" that dominates contemporary feminist debate about the categories of sex and gender. It argues that this perception of crisis has emerged from a fundamental confusion of theoretical and political issues concerning the implications of the sex/gender debate for political representation and agency. It explores the sense in which this confusion is manifest in a debate between Seyla Benhabib and Judith Butler.
Language comprehension requires a simulation that uses neural systems involved in perception, action, and emotion. A review of recent literature as well as new experiments support five predictions derived from this framework. 1. Being in an emotional state congruent with sentence content facilitates sentence comprehension. 2. Because women are more reactive to sad events and men are more reactive to angry events, women understand sentences about sad events with greater facility than men, and men understand sentences about angry events with (...) greater facility than women. 3. Because it takes time to shift from one emotion to another, reading a sad sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for women than men, whereas reading an angry sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for men than for women. 4. Because sad states motivate affiliative actions and angry states motivate aggressive action, gender and emotional content of sentences interact with the response mode. 5. Because emotion simulation requires particular action systems, adapting those action systems will affect comprehension of sentences with emotional content congruent with the adapted action system. These results have implications for the study of language, emotion, and gender differences. (shrink)
Theory-building is a continual, collective enterprise in which success is judged by logical consistency and successful explanation and prediction of specified empirical facts from a minimal set of assumptions. We describe some new attempts to develop Interactionist ideas on how communicated opinions from others can affect face-to-face interaction patterns and definitions of a social situation, including identities of the interactants. Our attempts take the form of developing theoretical models of how others' evaluative opinions are incorporated into existing performance expectations. We (...) show how model-building depends on existing theoretical ideas and empirical evidence. The description illustrates some ways in which contemporary sociological theory develops. (shrink)
If educators are to educate they must be accorded some level of trust. Anthony Giddens claims that because trust is not easily created, it is now being replaced with ‘confidence’ because this latter disposition is much easier to give and is more convenient. It is argued in this paper that this shift from trust to confidence stifles education because emphasis is placed solely upon qualifications and competence, and is neglectful of disclosing one’s motives and desires—which are considered to be essential (...) elements for relationships and communities which depend upon trust. Therefore, educators ought to seek to become more trustworthy by going beyond evidence-based practices and codes of ethics, towards articulating a developed personal philosophy of education outlining the ultimate end-purposes to which they aspire. Through such a philosophy, educators identify their ultimate desires and commitments and this self-disclosure can make trust-giving more likely. Demonstrated evidence of achievements and qualifications encourage confidence and this has some value. In addition to these artefacts of evidence, it is argued here that educators must also articulate what they actually desire. This can be understood as John Dewey’s virtue of ‘genuine interest’ which he characterises as being wholehearted, persistent and impartial. For educators, this is often represented in our personal philosophy of education and because it is personal, it is also existential in the sense that it pertains to giving sense, meaning and purpose to all of our activities and way of life for which we are individually responsible and passionately committed to as professionals. As a consequence of being existential, our philosophy and our commitment to it has an intellectual and moral aspect and because it reaches to the very depths of our raison d’être, it pertains to our passion as described by Søren Kierkegaard. This paper shall draw upon Dewey’s notion of wholeheartedness and Kierkegaard’s notion of purity of heart, to make the case that if educators embrace these in their practices, we may become more trustworthy. (shrink)
This study tests the hypothesis that the perception of philosophy as a male-oriented discipline contributes to the pronounced gender disparity within the field. To assess the hypothesis, we determined the extent to which individuals view philosophy as masculine, and whether individual differences in this correspond with greater identification with philosophy. We also tested whether identification with philosophy correlated to interest in it. We discovered, first, that the more women view philosophy as masculine, the less they identify with it, and second, (...) that the less women identify with philosophy, the less they want to major in it. Interestingly, this result does not hold for men—their viewing philosophy as masculine does not correspond to their identification with it, nor does it correlate with their likelihood of majoring in it. We also discovered that the typical student does not have a preconceived notion of philosophy as masculine; this suggests that they come to view philosophy as masculine the more they do it, which in turn supports the possibility that teaching the discipline differently may prevent students from conceiving of philosophy as masculine, thus allowing a path to reducing the gender disparity. (shrink)
The United States and Canada regulate frearms, particularly handguns, quite differently. With only a few state and local exceptions, the U.S. approach emphasizes the ability of most individuals to purchase, possess, and carry handguns. By comparison, Canada has a form of restrictive licensing for handguns that places a premium on community safety. The authors first review the potential individual and community level harms and benefits associated with these differing fre-arm policies. Using this information, they explore the ethical dimensions of the (...) U.S. and Canadian approaches through three major themes of autonomy, prevention of harms, and social justice. The authors conclude that the Canadian approach is consistent with respect for the autonomy of persons, fosters the prevention of harms, and more appropriately furthers social justice. (shrink)
Patient outcome after serious brain injury is highly variable. Following a period of coma, some patients recover while others progress into a vegetative state (unresponsive wakefulness syndrome) or minimally conscious state. In both cases, assessment is difficult and misdiagnosis may be as high as 43%. Recent advances in neuroimaging suggest a solution. Both functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography have been used to detect residual cognitive function in vegetative and minimally conscious patients. Neuroimaging may improve diagnosis and prognostication. These techniques (...) are beginning to be applied to comatose patients soon after injury. Evidence of preserved cognitive function may predict recovery, and this information would help families and health providers. Complex ethical issues arise due to the vulnerability of patients and families, difficulties interpreting negative results, restriction of communication to “yes” or “no” answers, and cost. We seek to investigate ethical issues in the use of neuroimaging in behaviorally nonresponsive patients who have suffered serious brain injury. The objectives of this research are to: (1) create an approach to capacity assessment using neuroimaging; (2) develop an ethics of welfare framework to guide considerations of quality of life; (3) explore the impact of neuroimaging on families; and, (4) analyze the ethics of the use of neuroimaging in comatose patients. (shrink)
Chalmers has argued for a form of property dualism on the basis of the concept of a zombie , and the concept of the inverted spectrum. He asserts that these concepts show that the facts about consciousness, such as experience or qualia, are really further facts about our world, over and above the physical facts. He claims that they are the hard part of the mind-body issue. He also claims that consciousness is a fundamental feature of the world like mass, (...) charge, etc. He says that consciousness does not logically supervene on the physical and all current attempts to assert an identity between consciousness and the physical are just as non-reductive as his dualism. They are simply correlations and are part of the problem of the explanatory gap. In this paper, three examples of strong identities between a sensation or a quale and a physiological process are presented, which overcome these problems. They explain the identity in an a priori manner and they show that consciousness or sensations logically supervene on the physical , in that it is logically impossible to have P and not to have Q. In each case, the sensation was predicted and entailed by the physical. The inverted spectrum problem for consciousness is overcome and explained by a striking asymmetry in colour space. It is concluded that as some physical properties realize some sensations or qualia that human zombies are not metaphysically possible and the explanatory gap is bridged in these cases. Thus, the hard problem is overcome in these instances. (shrink)
There have been a number of criticisms, based on visual processes, of the Australian view that colour is an objective property of the world. These criticisms have led to subjective theories about colour. These visual processes have been examined and it is suggested that they do not carry their supposed critical weight against an objective theory. In particular, it is argued that metamers don't occur in nature and primate colour vision evolved without metamers. Thus normal colour vision occurs without the (...) problem of metamers. This argument, in conjunction with evidence against the critical roles of opponent processes and retinex theory in colour vision, is taken to suggest that colour can be given a photon energy/wavelength realism explanation. This proposal allows an account of the many microstructural bases of colour generation put forward by Nassau. It is argued that neither disjunctive realism of reflectance realism are adequate objective explanations of colour. (shrink)