(2011). Mindfulness: diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma. Contemporary Buddhism: Vol. 12, Mindfulness: diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma, pp. 1-18. doi: 10.1080/14639947.2011.564811.
The first half of this Editorial examines the implications of the close link between morality and religion in Islamic thinking. There is no separate discipline of ethics in Islam, and the comparative importance of reason and revelation in determining moral values is open to debate. For most Muslims, what is considered halāl and harām in Islam is understood in terms of what God defines as right and good. There are three main kinds of values: akhlāq, which refers to the duties (...) and responsibilities set out in the shari‘ah and in Islamic teaching generally; adab, which refers to the manners associated with good breeding; and the qualities of character possessed by a good Muslim, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad. Among the main differences between Islamic and western morality are the emphasis on timeless religious principles, the role of the law in enforcing morality, the different understanding of rights, the rejection of moral autonomy as a goal of moral education and the stress on reward in the Hereafter as a motivator of moral behaviour. The remainder of the Editorial is concerned with the two main aspects of moral education in Islam: disseminating knowledge of what people should and should not do, and motivating them to act in accordance with that knowledge. Ultimately, moral education is about inner change, which is a spiritual matter and comes about through the internalisation of universal Islamic values. (shrink)
This is the last of the four essays in Part II of the book on liberalism and traditionalist education; all four are by authors who would like to find ways for the liberal state to honour the self-definitions of traditional cultures and to find ways of avoiding a confrontation with differences. One of the tasks of the book is to separate out different kinds of affiliation and the extent to which the arguments made about cultural recognition can be extended to (...) other objects of affiliation. Mark Halstead’s chapter on schooling and cultural maintenance for religious minorities in the liberal state provides a catalogue of the different types of groups that are to be found in liberal societies, and the different kinds of cultural and educational claims that are typically attached to each of them. His definition of minority group is useful in conceptualizing many of the papers in the volume. The chapter falls into three sections: Section 10.1, which looks at four types of disadvantaged minorities, attempts to distinguish non-Western fundamentalist religious minorities living in the West from other minorities that may experience disadvantage of various kinds in liberal societies; Section 10.2, on religious minorities in the liberal state, explores some of the educational and other difficulties encountered by such religious minorities in more detail, and typical liberal responses; Section 10.3, on rethinking the liberal response, contains some proposals that are designed to meet the educational needs of both the liberal state and the religious minorities at the same time. (shrink)
Abstract Objections to contemporary practice in sex education are examined in the light of recent calls by Muslim leaders in Britain for Muslim parents to withdraw their children from sex education classes. The dilemma facing liberal policy makers is discussed, as they seek to reconcile the public interest, the wishes of parents with a wide diversity of beliefs and values and the perceived needs of children, and the paper concludes with a consideration of how far it is possible to develop (...) an approach to sex education in the common school which is broadly acceptable to all groups, including minorities such as Muslims. (shrink)
Focusing on the disagreements between Muslims and homosexuals over sexuality education, this article highlights the need in liberal societies for respectful dialogue between groups that hold diametrically opposed beliefs and values. The article argues that it should be possible for Muslims to set out a religious perspective that is critical of homosexual behaviour without being accused of homophobia, just as it is possible for homosexuals to criticise Islamic teaching about sexual behaviour without being accused of Islamophobia. It further argues that (...) any attempt to force Muslims to accept Western attitudes towards sexuality might run the risk of becoming a new form of cultural domination. Genuine respect requires a willingness to listen to others and to accept people for what they are. (shrink)
Diversity is a feature of family life which those who speak of the importance of family values should not ignore. The diversity is seen not only in the structure of families, but also in the moral values which children actually pick up in the context of the family and the way in which the transmission of values occurs. Diversity becomes a matter of public importance when the values which children develop at home are perceived to be in serious conflict with (...) the values which underpin moral education in the common school. Any response to this diversity requires a delicate balance between the right of families to initiate their children into their own moral values, the right of schools to teach the shared values of the broader society, and the right of children to develop into autonomous moral agents. (shrink)
: Within both popular and academic literature, concerns have been expressed about the implications of antidepressant use on character development. In this paper, I identify specific versions of these worries and argue that they are misguided. I begin by arguing that the obligation to suffer if it will bring about a noble character is imagined. Legitimate concerns about character enhancement remain, but they do not count against most antidepressant use. Thus there is no moral prohibition against antidepressant use. Furthermore, some (...) of the calls for caution about antidepressant use, such as those expressed by the President's Council on Bioethics, are overstated. (shrink)
This article takes the form of a set of edited diary entries containing reflections on incidents drawn mainly from the author?s professional life as a university professor and as a consultant to a disadvantaged multi-ethnic secondary school in the north of England. The form of the article allows a wide range of issues to be touched on, including respect, equality, authority, discipline, postmodernism, multicultural education, complexities in the concept of teaching by example and tensions between the enforcement of morality and (...) the goal of moral autonomy. Entries were selected to illustrate the dilemmas teachers face in their role as moral educators, to suggest a number of priorities for moral education and to encourage further reflection on the experiences, values and emotional responses described in the narratives. The form is intended to mirror the fragmentary way that learning actually takes place in the moral domain. (shrink)
This absorbing and accessible book provides an analysis of the principles, policy and practice of sex education. Utilizing unpublished research, the authors critically examine sex education within the growing discourse on the teaching of values and citizenship education.
Drawing substantially on the arguments put forward by the contributors to this Special Issue, this final article examines the two main purposes of the common school in contemporary western societies: to develop a set of shared values and a unified sense of citizenship, on the one hand, and to iron out disadvantage and equalise opportunities, on the other. Four main justifications for the common school are discussed—its symbolic value, its compatibility with liberal values, its inclusiveness and its provision of practical (...) opportunities to learn to live together. Nevertheless, the common school faces a number of challenges, including how much freedom of choice to allow parents, how to interpret the principle of equality in practice, how to devise a common curriculum that meets the needs of all students and how to respond to the apparent inequalities of the neighbourhood school. It is argued that the biggest dilemma facing the common school is a cultural one: that is, finding a balance between the need to respect the diverse cultural identities of its students and the need to develop a common set of loyalties and shared national identity at the same time. An examination of the case of Muslims in England suggests that intentionally or otherwise the common school is still in the business of assimilating minorities into a new identity through processes very similar to those of the melting pot. The article concludes by warning that continuing this policy may result in stronger resistance in the future. (shrink)
Artificial Neural Networks have reached “grandmaster” and even “super-human” performance across a variety of games, from those involving perfect information, such as Go, to those involving imperfect information, such as “Starcraft”. Such technological developments from artificial intelligence labs have ushered concomitant applications across the world of business, where an “AI” brand-tag is quickly becoming ubiquitous. A corollary of such widespread commercial deployment is that when AI gets things wrong—an autonomous vehicle crashes, a chatbot exhibits “racist” behavior, automated credit-scoring processes “discriminate” (...) on gender, etc.—there are often significant financial, legal, and brand consequences, and the incident becomes major news. As Judea Pearl sees it, the underlying reason for such mistakes is that “... all the impressive achievements of deep learning amount to just curve fitting.” The key, as Pearl suggests, is to replace “reasoning by association” with “causal reasoning” —the ability to infer causes from observed phenomena. It is a point that was echoed by Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis in a recent piece for theNew York Times: “we need to stop building computer systems that merely get better and better at detecting statistical patterns in data sets—often using an approach known as ‘Deep Learning’—and start building computer systems that from the moment of their assembly innately grasp three basic concepts: time, space, and causality.” In this paper, foregrounding what in 1949 Gilbert Ryle termed “a category mistake”, I will offer an alternative explanation for AI errors; it is not so much that AI machinery cannot “grasp” causality, but that AI machinery cannot understand anything at all. (shrink)
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and thirty-eightmeter high tsunami destroyed Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima nuclear power complex. The disaster was not a high-damage, low-probability event. It was a high-damage, high-probability event. Massive earthquakes and tsunamis assault the coast every century. Tokyo Electric built its reactors as it did because it would not pay the full cost of a meltdown anyway. Given the limited liability at the heart of corporate law, it could externalize the cost of running reactors. In (...) most industries, firms rarely risk tort damages so enormous they cannot pay them. In nuclear power, “unpayable” potential liability is routine. Privately owned companies bear the costs of an accident only up to the fire-sale value of their net assets. Beyond that, they pay nothing — and the damages from a nuclear disaster easily soar past that point. Government ownership could eliminate this moral hazard — but it would replace it with problems of its own. Unfortunately, the electoral dynamics in wealthy modern democracies combine to replicate nearly perfectly the moral hazard inherent in private ownership. Private firms will build reactors on fault lines — but so will governments. (shrink)
The Therapeutic Process presents an informative, sequential, well-defined, and clinically rich guide to the process of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Specifically designed to have broad appeal and value for the beginning clinician as well as the more experienced clinician, this book includes many illustrative examples and well-defined terms.