Ted Shotter's founding of the London Medical Group 50 years ago in 1963 had several far reaching implications for medical ethics, as other papers in this issue indicate. Most significant for the joint authors of this short paper was his founding of the quarterly Journal of Medical Ethics in 1975, with Alastair Campbell as its first editor-in-chief. In 1980 Raanan Gillon began his 20-year editorship . Gillon was succeeded in 2001 by Julian Savulescu, followed by John Harris and Soren (...) Holm in 2004, with Julian Savulescu starting his second and current term in 2011. In 2000 an additional special edition of the JME, Medical Humanities , was published, under the founding joint editorship of Martyn Evans and David Greaves. In 2003 Jane Macnaughton succeeded David Greaves as joint editor. Deborah Kirklin, under whose auspices MH became an independent journal, took over in 2008, and she was succeeded in 2013 by Sue Eckstein. This short paper offers reminiscences and reflections from the two journals’ various editors.From the start the JME was committed to clearly expressed reasoned discussion of ethical issues arising from or related to medical practice and research. In particular, both Edward Shotter and Alastair Campbell, each a cleric , were at pains to make clear that the JME was not a religious journal and that it had no sort of partisan axe to grind.Campbell's appointment as founding editor was something of a surprise, as the original intention had been to appoint a medical doctor, who could be expected to know medical practice from the inside. However, in 1972 Campbell, a Joint Secretary of the Edinburgh Medical Group, had published Moral dilemmas in medicine. …. (shrink)
The principle that people's lives and fundamental interests are of equal value and that they must therefore be given equal weight has immense intellectual appeal and intuitive force. It is often enough to discredit a theory or proposal simply to show that it violates this principle. When measures are said to be discriminatory or unfair it is this principle which is in play. Recent philosophers of widely differing schools and outlooks give versions of this principle a central role in their (...) theories. (shrink)
In 1975 the Clarendon Press at Oxford published Peter Nidditch's edition of John Locke's An Essay concerning Human Understanding. In his Introduction Nidditch says that his edition “offers a text that is directly derived, without modernization, from the early published versions; it notes the provenance of all its adopted readings ; and it aims at recording all relevant differences between these versions”. As Nidditch goes on to acknowledge, the “relevant differences” were many, “requiring several thousand registrations both in the case (...) of material variants and in the case of formal variants ”. The textual history of Locke's Essay is extremely complicated. While there is no manuscript of the first edition of the book, there were four editions in Locke's lifetime, each new one containing extensive and significant revisions, as well as a posthumous edition published shortly after the author's death. There was a translation into French made with Locke's cooperation and published in 1700, and a Latin translation came out a year later. Nevertheless, Nidditch managed to record all the material variants in footnotes to the text, in a way that makes it fairly easy to track the changes that Locke made to successive editions of the book, and to locate points at which judgements had to be made as a critical text was established on the basis of the chosen copy text. Sometimes a critical edition succeeds in completely changing the way that a text is read. Peter Laslett's 1960 edition of Locke's Two Treatises of Government is a good example. Nidditch's edition of the Essay did not have that kind of very dramatic effect on Locke scholarship. Rather, it made it possible for those without direct access to all the early editions to engage in careful, historically sensitive studies of Locke's account of human understanding. The result was a slow revolution in Locke studies that continues to shed new light on even the most familiar aspects of the Lockean philosophy. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing about (...) moral improvements, that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
John Harris's influential work on human enhancement has advocated the development, use, and exchange of human enhancement technologies. The types of enhancements that are of interest are biomedical interventions that are used to improve human capacities beyond what is necessary to achieve or maintain health or "normal functioning". This new book is unique in Harris's body of work in that it takes a more cautious stance regarding moral enhancements than he has taken toward other forms of human enhancement, (...) such as cognitive enhancements. I examine and evaluate Harris's main arguments for this cautious stance. Two of the main issues that are discussed are: (1) whether it would be unethical for someone to use biomedical technologies to become less racist and (2) whether it would be unethical for someone to use biomedical technologies to reduce impulsive violent aggression. (shrink)
: In his book Free Will Sam Harris tries to persuade us to abandon the morally pernicious idea of free will. The following contribution articulates and defends a more sophisticated model of free will that is not only consistent with neuroscience and introspection but also grounds a variety of responsibility that justifies both praise and blame, reward and punishment. This begins with the long lasting parting of opinion between compatibilists and incompatibilists. While Harris dismisses compatibilism as a form (...) of theology, this article aims at showing that Harris has underestimated and misinterpreted compatibilism and at defending a more sophisticated version of compatibilism that is imprevious to Harris’ criticism. Keywords : Sam Harris; Free Will; Compatibilism; Incompatibilism; Neuroscience Riflessioni su "Free Will" di Sam Harris Riassunto : Nel suo libro Free Will Sam Harris cerca di persuaderci ad abbandonare l’idea, a suo avviso moralmente perniciosa, del libero arbitrio. Il contributo seguente articola e difende un modello di libero arbitrio che non solo è coerente con le neuroscienze e con l’introspezione, ma che dà anche fondamento a varie responsabilità giustificando encomi e biasimo, premi e punizioni. Questo prende le mosse dalla discussione della disputa di lunga data fra compatibilisti e incompatibilisti. Mentre Harris respinge il compatibilismo alla stregua di una forma di teologia, questo articolo ambisce a mostrare come Harris abbia sottostimato e mal interpretato il compatibilismo e come invece sia possibile enucleare una forma di compatibilismo più sofisticata, insensibile alle sue critiche. Parole chiave : Sam Harris; Libero arbitrio; Compatibilismo; Incompatibilismo; Neuroscienza. (shrink)
This paper deals with what I take to be one woman’s literary response to a philosophical problem. The woman is Jane Austen, the problem is the rationality of Hume’s ‘sensible knave’, and Austen’s response is to deepen the problem. Despite his enthusiasm for virtue, Hume reluctantly concedes in the EPM that injustice can be a rational strategy for ‘sensible knaves’, intelligent but selfish agents who feel no aversion towards thoughts of villainy or baseness. Austen agrees, but adds that ABSENT (...) CONSIDERATIONS OF A FUTURE STATE, other vices besides injustice can be rationally indulged with tolerable prospects of worldly happiness. Austen’s creation Mr Elliot in Persuasion is just such an agent – sensible and knavish but not technically ‘unjust’. Despite and partly because of his vices – ingratitude, avarice and duplicity – he manages to be both successful and reasonably happy. There are plenty of other reasonably happy knaves in Jane Austen, some of whom are not particularly sensible. This is not to say that either Austen or Hume is in favor of knavery It is just that they both think that only those with the right sensibility can be argued out of it. (shrink)
This paper argues that communitarian philosophy can be an important philosophic resource for feminist thinkers, particularly when considered in the light of Jane Addams's (1860-1935) feminist-pragmatism. Addams's communitarianism requires progressive change as well as a moral duty to seek out diverse voices. Contrary to some contemporary communitarians, Addams extends her concept of community to include interdependent global communities, such as the global community of women peace workers.
: This article critically examines central arguments made in Sam Harris’ Free Will as well as key aspects of Daniel Dennett’s compatibilist conception of free will. I argue that while Dennett makes thoughtful replies to Harris’ critique of compatibilism, his compatibilism continues to be plagued by critical points raised by Bruce Waller. Additionally, I argue that Harris’ rejection of the libertarian view of free will is ill-informed and I explain the basics of Robert Kane’s libertarian view, arguing (...) that it can be defended against points raised by both Dennett and Harris. Keywords: Free Will; Libertarianism; Compatibilism; Daniel Dennett; Sam Harris Una replica libertaria Dennett e Harris sul libero arbitrio Riassunto : Questo articolo prende criticamente in esame gli argomenti principali presentati nel volume di Sam Harris “Free Will” e gli aspetti principali della concezione compatibili sta proposta da Daniel Dennett sul libero arbitrio. Intendo sostenere che Dennett, pur rispondendo accuratamente alla critica del compatibilismo proposta da Harris, sostiene un compatibilismo che resta sotto il giogo delle critiche sollevate da Bruce Waller. Inoltre, cercherò di sostenere che il rifiuto della prospettiva libertarian proposto da Harris è una posizione male informata ed esporrò I principi di base della prospettiva libertarian di Robert Kane, affermando che lo si può difendere dale critiche sollevate sia da Dennett che da Harris. Parole chiave: Libero arbitrio; Libertarianismo; Compatibilismo; Daniel Dennett; Sam Harris. (shrink)
ABSTRACTJohn Harris suggests that participation in or support for research, particularly medical research, is a moral duty. One kind of defence of this position rests on an appeal to the past, and produces two arguments. The first of these arguments is that it is unfair to accept the benefits of research without contributing something back in the form of support for, or participation in, research. A second argument is that we have a social duty to maintain those practices and (...) institutions that sustain us, such as those which contribute to medical knowledge. This argument is related to the first, but it does not rely so heavily on fairness. Another kind of defence of the duty to research rests on an appeal to the future benefits of research: research is an effective way to discharge a duty to rescue others from serious illness or death, therefore we have a duty to research. I suggest that all three of Harris' lines fail to provide a compelling duty to research and spell out why. Moreover, not only do the lines of argument fail in their own terms: in combination, they turn out to be antagonistic to the very position that Harris wants to defend. While it is not my intention here to deny that there might be a duty to research, I claim that Harris' argument for the existence of such a duty is not the best way to establish it. (shrink)
In her final fragmentary novel Sanditon, Jane Austen develops a theme that pervades her work from her juvenilia onward: illness, and in particular, illness imagined, invented, or self-inflicted. While the “invention of odd complaints” is characteristically a token of folly or weakness throughout her writing, in this last work imagined illness is also both a symbol and a cause of how selves and societies degenerate. In the shifting world of Sanditon, hypochondria is the lubricant for a society bent on (...) turning health into a commodity. As a result, people’s rationality and their moral character come under attack. Catherine Belling’s recent subtle study, A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria, unveils hypochondria’s discursive and cultural character. Running sharply against the tenor of Austen’s treatment, however, she argues in defense of the rationality of hypochondriacs; the notion that the condition may involve morally significant defects is not entertained; any connection to the commercialization of health care is muted. Here, I contrast Austen’s morally and epistemically negative rendering of her hypochondriacal characters in Sanditon with Belling’s efforts to create a sympathetic understanding of people with hypochondria. I will argue that, despite time gaps and genre differences, joint consideration of these texts can help bioethicists better appreciate how medicine can intensify, pathologize, and exploit anxieties about illness and death, thus adding to the challenges of living well in the face of mortality and morbidity. (shrink)
_:_ This metacomment on Dennett’s comment on Sam Harris’s book on free will examines two issues. First, how one should conceive of the relationship between philosophy and science, in particular considering the dismissive attitude many highly regarded scientists show towards philosophy today. Second, a critical assessment of Harris’s replies to Dennett’s criticisms. _Keywords:_ Daniel Dennett; Sam Harris; Free Will; Science; Philosophy _In difesa dei vincoli avuncolari. Dennett e Harris sul rapporto tra filosofia e scienza_ _Riassunto:_ Questo (...) metacommento sulle osservazioni avanzate da Dennett sul libro di Sam Harris sul libero arbitrio verte su due questioni. In primo luogo, discute come si dovrebbe concepire il rapporto tra filosofia e scienza, in particolar modo considerando l’atteggiamento sprezzante mostrato oggi nei confronti della filosofia da diversi scienziati molto in vista. In secondo luogo saranno oggetto di valutazione critica le risposte di Harris alle critiche di Dennett. _Parole chiave: _Daniel Dennett; Sam Harris; Libero arbitrio; Scienza; Filosofia. (shrink)
This comprehensive encyclopedia entry discusses the life and works of Jane Addams (1860-1935) who influenced contemporaries John Dewey, William James, and George Herbert Mead. Although not traditionally categorized as a philosopher, Addams was a prolific writer who developed a social philosophy of attentiveness and sympathetic knowledge that prefigures contemporary feminist care ethics.
This work is a study of Jane Bowles's madness as revealed through several of her literary works and her life story. On a parallel plane, it is an epistemological exploration of the points of intersection between humanistic psychoanalysis and deconstructive literary criticism. Here we consider the schizoid traits in Two Serious Ladies (1943) and in “Camp Cataract” (1949), using the theories developed in this area by the psychiatrist R. D. Laing (1927–1989).
This volume contains ten original essays by leading philosophers in America, Britain and Europe, all addressed to the dialectical holist philosophical position developed by the contemporary philosopher Errol Harris; it also contains an extensive introduction outlining and defending the general contours of that position. It serves not only as a Festschrift for Professor Harris, but also as a comprehensive, critical exposition of the neo-Hegelian system of philosophical thought for which Harris is widely known, a position which is (...) attracting the particular interest of contemporary physical cosmologists and philosophers of science, as well as that of other metaphysicians and students of the history of philosophy. (shrink)
Introduction -- Value theory : the nature of the good life -- Epicurus letter to Menoeceus -- John Stuart Mill, Hedonism -- Aldous Huxley, Brave new world -- Robert Nozick, The experience machine -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Jean Kazez, Necessities -- Normative ethics : theories of right conduct -- J.J.C. Smart, Eextreme and restricted utilitarianism -- Immanuel Kant the good will & the categorical imperative -- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan -- Philippa Foot, Natural goodness -- Aristotle, Nicomachean (...) ethics -- W.D. Ross, What makes right acts right? -- Hilde Lindemann, What is feminist ethics? -- Metaethics : the status of morality -- David Hume, Moral distinctions not derived from reason -- J.L. Mackie, The subjectivity of values -- Gilbert Harman, Ethics and observation -- Mary Midgley, Trying out one's new sword -- Michael Smith, Rrealism -- Renford Bambrough, Pproof -- Moral problems -- Peter Singe, The Singer solution to world poverty -- Heidi Malm, Paid surrogacy: arguments and responses -- Ronald Dworkin, Playing God : genes, clones, and luck -- James Rachels, The morality of euthanasia -- John Harris, The survival lottery -- Peter Singer, Unsanctifying human life -- William F. Baxter, People or penguins : the case for optimal pollution -- Judith Jarvis, Tthomson a defense of abortion -- Don Marquis, Why abortion is immoral -- Jonathan Bennett, The conscience of Huckleberry Finn -- Michael Walzer, Terrorism : a critique of excuses -- David Luban, Liberalism, torture, and the ticking bomb -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail -- Igor Primoratz, Justifying legal punishment -- Stephen Nathanson, An eye for an eye -- Michael Huemer, America's unjust drug war -- John Corvino, Why shouldn't Tommy and Jimmy have sex? : a defense of homosexuality -- Bonnie Steinbock, Adultery -- Hugh Lafollette, Licensing parents -- Jane English, What do grown children owe their parents? (shrink)
The sublime is an aspect of experience that has attracted a great deal of scholarship, not only for scholarly reasons but because it connotes aspects of experience not exhausted by what Descartes once called clear distinct perception. That is, the sublime is an experience of the world which involves us in orientating ourselves within it, and this orientation, our human orientation, elevates us in comparison to the non-human world according to traditional accounts of the sublime. The sublime tells us something (...) about our relation to the world rather than anything about the world per se. Nonetheless there is an objective sense of the sublime in that the narratives involved are culturally endorsed rather than invented by an individual. This means that objects can be judged worthy or not of evoking experiences of the sublime. In other words, it is not an idiosyncratic matter. Immanuel Kant’s formulation of this involved explaining how such an experience is possible in terms of his system of the mind. Jane Forsey notes that Kant takes the features of the sublime as given and extrapolates from them certain features of the mind as if any concept of the sublime must implicate the mental architecture of his account (2007). Further to this she argues that in fact the concept of the sublime does implicate a particular system of the mind but neither Kant nor anyone else can successfully formulate it because the concept itself frames certain contradictions. According to Forsey, two consequences follow. First she argues that Kant’s system of the mind does not support the features of the sublime; and secondly that no system could as the very concept is incoherent. If Forsey can show that Kant was mistaken in presenting his account as coherent given his commitments, this would be of interest in its own right. However, her stronger claim is that we cannot separate any concept of the sublime out from Kant’s theoretical underpinnings. That the way the features of the mind are meant to operate in experiences of the sublime are contradictory simply points to the fatal flaws in the whole concept. Her conclusion is that there is no coherent account of the sublime available to us. I will argue that Forsey bases her reasoning on the assumption that a foundational empiricist or direct perception holds; and she interprets Kant’s notions of imagination, understanding and reason as though they are grounded in just such an account of perception. This is revealed in her interpretation of Kant’s phrase “beyond cognition”. Once this foundationalism is replaced with an account of perception more aligned with current research on perception, both philosophical and empirical, then an account of the sublime is available. Further to this however, I argue that what constitutes the narrative of the sublime is historically contingent. Before setting out my arguments, I consider Forsey’s argument in more detail. (shrink)
A new reprogenetic technology, mitochondrial replacement, is making its appearance and, unsurprisingly given its promise to wash off our earthly stains --or at least the scourges of sexual reproduction--, John Harris finds only reasons to celebrate this new scientific feat.1 In fact, he finds mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) so “unreservedly welcome” that he believes those who reject them suffer from “a large degree of desperation and not a little callousness.”2 Believing myself to be neither desperate nor callous, but finding (...) myself also no closer at all – not even after reading his article—to following Harris in welcoming these technologies wholeheartedly, it seems appropriate to respond. (shrink)
In this essay, I offer an epistemological accounting of Pauli Murray’s idea of Jane Crow dynamics. Jane Crow, in my estimation, refers to clashing supremacy systems that provide targets for subordination while removing grounds to demand recourse for said subordination. As a description of an oppressive state, it is an idea of subordination with an epistemological engine. Here, I offer an epistemological reading of Jane Crow dynamics by theorizing three imbricated conditions for Jane Crow, i.e. the (...) occupation of negative, socio-epistemic space, reduced epistemic confidence, and heightened epistemic disavowal. To this end, Jane Crow seems to require routine epistemic failings. In the end, I propose that an epistemological narrative of Jane Crow may also shed light on why invisibility frames figure so prominently in US Black feminist thought. (shrink)