What did Sokal mean by this? In Sokal's own words, "This . . . statement is utterly meaningless, but it sounds good in certain circles." Sokal's intent was to parody the post modernist, relativist views of science that he felt were prevalent in Social Text and other like minded academic venues, and to see if by speaking the language of proponents of these views, he could get his parody published as a serious academic paper. In short, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward (...) a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" was a hoax. Its acceptance and publication reverberated beyond the academic world to the front page of the New York Times. (shrink)
Backround Education in ethics and professionalism should reflect the realities medical students encounter in the hospital and clinic. Method We performed content analyses on Case Observation and Assessments (COAs) written by third-year medical students about ethical and professional issues encountered during their internal medicine and paediatrics clinical clerkships. Results A cohort of 141 third-year medical students wrote 272 COAs. Content analyses identified 35 subcategories of ethical and professional issues within 7 major domains: decisions regarding treatment (31.4%), communication (21.4%), professional duties (...) (18.4%), justice (9.8%), student-specific issues (5.4%), quality of care (3.8%), and miscellaneous (9.8%). Conclusions Students encountered a wide variety of ethical and professional issues that can be used to guide pre-clinical and clinical education. Comparison of our findings with results from similar studies suggests that the wording of an assignment (specifying “ethical” issues, “professional” issues, or both) may influence the kinds of issues students identify in their experience-based clinical narratives. (shrink)
Michel Foucault's early works criticize the development of modern democratic institutions as creating a surveillance society, which functions to control bodies by making them feel watched and monitored full time. His later works attempt to recover private space by exploring subversive techniques of the body and language. Following Foucault, pragmatists like Richard Shusterman and Richard Rorty have also developed very rich approaches to this project, extending it deeper into the literary and somatic dimensions of self-stylizing. Yet, for a debate centered (...) on the re-creation of the vision of the self, these discussions have yet to fully engage—even while they set the conditions for this engagement with—issues of posthuman technologies, such as AI, robotics, and genetic engineering. These certainly will constitute the primary engine of public institutional surveillance in the years to come. With this surveillance, the two spheres of private self-fashioning and public institutions will continue to evolve in relation to one another. As they do so, democratic society will change considerably. Perhaps Rorty's own normative and linguistic ideal of conversational maintenance may provide something of a democratic limit case on any future posthuman self-fashioning. (shrink)
Some philosophers of fiction – most famously Jerold Levinson1 - have tried to argue that fictional narrators can never be identified with real authors. This argument relies on the claim that narration involves genuine assertion (not just the pretense of assertion that lacks truthfulness) and that real authors are not in a position to assert anything about beings on the fictional plain - given that they don’t rationally believe in their existence. This debate on the status of narrators depends (...) on the idea that fictional beings and beings in the real worlds reside, as it were, at different levels. The assumption that there is a gap separating the levels of fiction and reality serves as a rationale for the claim that real authors could not possibly be en rapport with the fictional characters that they create (e.g. entertain beliefs about them, etc.). (shrink)
David McClean’s book Richard Rorty, Liberalism and Cosmopolitanism is an excellent contribution to Rorty scholarship and pragmatism in general. The book begins with a masterful reconstruction of the tradition of American philosophy from Emerson and Thoreau to Peirce and James and Dewey, culminating in Rorty. This beginning, from the Preface entitled “Rorty’s ‘Violence of Direction’” to Chapter 1 entitled “From Pragmatism to Rortyism” occupies almost the first third, and seems to establish a three-part structure, of the book. The second part (...) of the book, also very well done, critically engages Rorty’s pragmatist cosmopolitanism, finding the outlines... (shrink)
The traditional basis for advocating ethical business conduct has been morality defined in philosophical or religious terms. However, fairness and moral obligation have provided little incentive for anything like universal ethical business behavior.The idea that "good ethics is good business" as an incentive is looked upon with skepticism by those with bottom line responsibility. However, if managers were aware of the extent to which certain business behaviors impose significant costs on individual transactions and relationships, a valid incentive would exist.
Humanist sociologists are activists rooted in the reality of history and change and guided by a concern for the 'real life' problems of equality, peace, and social justice. They view people as active shapers of social life, capable of creating societies in which everyone's potential can unfold. Alfred McClung Lee introduces this volume with 'Sociology: Humanist and Scientific' and develops the theme that a sociology that is humanist is also scientific. The other nine selections are grouped into four parts: 'The (...) Individual and Social Life;' 'Social Institutions: Technology, Science, and Formal Organization;' 'Political Structures: Issues of Justice and Equality;' and 'Methodological Critiques and Counterproposals.'. (shrink)
This book presents the current thinking of some of the most famous people in the intellectual world. Two opening essays by Lewis Mumford and Robert Theobald discuss the role of technology in history, man and technology, and technological possibilities for the future. Other contributors include such well-known figures as Max Lerner, Edgar Z. Friedenberg, Seymour Melman, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Ashley Montagu. Essays center around key issues in the study of technology, its relationship to authority or leadership elites, its potential (...) impact on forms of social organization, its effect in producing counter-culture alternatives and its relationship to humanism. (shrink)