This paper develops and extends the concept of ecological identity work through an investigation of issues of identity among students studying the environment at one US university. We conceptualize identity work as both an individual and group process through which students locate themselves in relation to particular, relatively preformed ecological identities, while also attempting to redefine the boundaries of ecological identity itself. Using interview and participant observation data we ask what kinds of ecological identity work takes place among students and (...) who is involved in defining and policing ecological identities. We argue that this approach can contribute to our understanding of the relationship between environmental education, philosophy and action. (shrink)
This volume presents the concept of Ecoscape as spatial interrelations, or spatially patterned processes, that are constitutive of an environment_an ecosystem. Contributors investigate environmental issues concerning the human impact on geohistory, food distribution, genetically modified biota, waste management, scientific mapping, and the rethinking of human identity.
Food security scholarship and policy tends to embrace the nutrition status of individual men, women and children as the end-goal of food security efforts. While there has been much value in investigating and trying to ensure sufficient nutrition for struggling households around the world, this overriding emphasis on nutrition status has reduced our understandings of what constitutes food adequacy. While token attention has been paid to more qualitative ideas like “cultural appropriateness,” food security scholars and policy makers have been unable (...) to understand the broader value of food, which exceeds its caloric and nutrient counts. Drawing on empirical work from Medellín, Colombia, the paper argues that having adequate food means much more than simply sufficient nutrient intake, perhaps especially among marginalized groups. Exploring the case of food insecure women from Colombia who were forcibly displaced from rural to urban, we demonstrate how understandings of food adequacy must consider the social and environmental imaginaries of marginalized groups. (shrink)
Scientific journals can promote ethical publication practices through policies on conflicts of interest. However, the prevalence of conflict of interest policies and the definition of conflict of interest appear to vary across scientific disciplines. This survey of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals in 12 different scientific disciplines was conducted to assess these variations. The survey identified published conflict of interest policies in 28 of 84 journals (33%). However, when representatives of 49 of the 84 journals (58%) completed a Web-based survey about journal (...) conflict of interest policies, 39 (80%) reported having such a policy. Frequency of policies (including those not published) varied by discipline, from 100% among general medical journals to none among physics journals. Financial interests were most frequently addressed with relation to authors; policies for reviewers most often addressed non-financial conflicts. Twenty-two of the 39 journals with policies (56%) had policies about editors’ conflicts. The highest impact journals in each category were most likely to have a published policy, and the frequency of policies fell linearly with rank; for example, policies were published by 58% of journals ranked 1 in their category, 42% of journals ranked third, and 8% of journals ranked seventh (test for trend, p = 0.003). Having a conflict of interest policy was also associated with a self-reported history of problems with conflict of interest. The prevalence of published conflict of interest policies was higher than that reported in a 1997 study, an increase that might be attributable to heightened awareness of conflict of interest issues. However, many of the journals with policies do not make them readily available and many of those policies that were available lacked clear definitions of conflict of interest or details about how disclosures would be managed during peer review and publication. (shrink)
This article examines a productive use of communicating gender stereotypes in interpersonal conversation: to resist activities traditionally prescribed according to gender. The analyses video-taped naturally occurring US household interactions and present three techniques participants may deploy to contest gender expectations: mobilizing categories, motivating alignment and reframing action. We show how gender is an accountable category in relation to household labor, and how gender categories provide a resource by which participants can non-seriously solicit and resist participation in domestic gender-prescribed activities. Our (...) analysis provides some insight into how participants use gender stereotypes in everyday talk and what functions such talk serves. (shrink)
This article analyzes gift-exchange occasions as both a sequentially organized activity and as a ritual practice imbued with social and cultural meaning. Specifically, the article focuses on the role of assessments in gifting sequences, the distribution of assessments across participants, and some of the possible troubles which can arise in doing assessments of gifts based on discourse analysis of 44 gifting situations in one family’s 30 home videos spanning 13 years. I argue that participants encounter difficulties in the process of (...) proffering assessments of gifts, and that such troubles revolve around the dilemma of constructing positive assessments as authentically given. The analysis discusses the organization of action in gifting occasions, outlines the expectations and dilemmas involved in doing assessments of gifts, and presents participants’ discursive practices for managing potential troubles in gift assessment. (shrink)
In this article I analyze talk in a political setting to demonstrate how disagreement-relevant practices are fitted to context to accomplish a kind of argumentative strategy. I propose that in the British Parliament’s House of Lords, interlocutors deal with dilemmas of disagreement by doing something I refer to as ‘talking around the issue’, a practice involving 1) institutional positioning, 2) display of emotionality, and 3) orientation to the issue. I suggest that these practices are indicative of institutional norms, but also (...) comprise some of the argumentative resources available to interactants in everyday argumentative practice. These practices also reflect key areas of interest in disagreement and conflict research related to context, style, and issues in conflict. (shrink)
This article analyzes discourse, narrative, and video editing to introduce the concept of ‘historical coherence’. This concept is an expansion of Alessandro Duranti’s notion of ‘existential coherence’ – the construction of an embodied narrative connecting a candidate’s past with his or her decision to run for office – from his 2006 study of a candidate’s campaign speeches. This study examines how language and communication are linked with historical narratives through the use of multimodal stories in which US political commercials link (...) candidates’ present actions with historical events, dynamics, artifacts, and/or figures. This ‘historical coherence’ is constructed through the following strategies: constructing a narrative in which popular historical figures or archetypal figures are in agreement with the candidate; preempting charges of lack of historical coherence; and presenting historical restrictions to freedom and casting the candidate, or the candidate’s party, in general, as a preventative from future calamities and transgressions to freedom. (shrink)
This study represents an existential-phenomenological investigation of the experience of being accepted in individuals who have undergone psychiatric institutionalization. Written protocols of narrative accounts were collected from nine individuals drawn from a partial hospitalization programme, with the analysis of these narratives revealing seven basic constituents of the focal experience. The paper concludes with a discussion of the clinical implications of these findings for understanding this experience as it relates to psychotherapy with individuals who experience severe mental illness symptoms and/or stigma.
The paper discusses Ibn Tufayl’s Hay ibn Yaqzan, a philosophical novel written in Andalusia in the 12th century. The novel’s eponymous character is a solitary individual growing up in a deserted island, who only meets another human being and gets initiated into language at an advanced age. As Ibn Tufayl presents it, in solitude Hay has developed elaborate ways of thinking, discovered God as the ultimate cause of the world and worships him in a direct, personal way. Given the context (...) of Ibn Tufay’s story, the paper focuses on the relation between language and thinking. Drawing on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations it criticizes the idea that language and community are inessential to human identity and ways of thinking. It argues that Ibn Tufayl should not be interpreted as putting forward a dualist picture of the self like Descartes’, but rather, as influenced by the Sufi ideals of genuine faith and personal experience of God. (shrink)
Recent empirical work on the concept of intentionality suggests that people’s assessments of whether an action is intentional are subject to uncertainty. Some researchers have gone so far as to claim that different people employ different concepts of intentional action. These possibilities have motivated a good deal of work in the relatively new ﬁeld of experimental philosophy. The ﬁndings from this empirical research may prove to be relevant to medical ethics. In this article, we address this issue head on. We (...) ﬁrst describe a study we conducted on intention ascription. Drawing on recent work in experimental philosophy, we investigated the possibility that the ascription of intentions to clinical actors in clinical settings is inﬂuenced by prior judgments about the goodness or badness of the consequences of the action in question. Our study was modeled on experimental studies in other contexts that have shown that people, when presented with a range of scenarios, are more likely to classify a side effect of an action as intended if the side effect is negative or reﬂects poorly on the actor than if it is positive or reﬂects well on the actor. We investigated whether this asymmetry in intention ascriptions was also present among physicians who were asked to ascribe intentions to clinical actors in certain well-deﬁned clinical scenarios. After describing the study and its results, we discuss its implications for medical ethics. (shrink)
In the svārthānumāna chapter of his Pramāṇavārttika, the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti presented a defense of his claim that legitimate inference must rest on a metaphysical basis if it is to be immune from the risks ordinarily involved in inducing general principles from a finite number of observations. Even if one repeatedly observes that x occurs with y and never observes y in the absence of x, there is no guarantee, on the basis of observation alone, that one will never observe (...) y in the absence of x at some point in the future. To provide such a guarantee, claims Dharmakīrti, one must know that there is a causal connection between x and y such that there is no possibility of y occurring in the absence of x. In the course of defending this central claim, Dharmakīrti ponders how one can know that there is a causal relationship of the kind necessary to guarantee a proposition of the form “Every y occurs with an x.” He also dismisses an interpretation of his predecessor Dignāga whereby Dignāga would be claiming non-observation of y in the absence of x is sufficient to warrant to the claim that no y occurs without x. The present article consists of a translation of kārikās 11–38 of Pramānavārttikam, svārthānumānaparicchedaḥ along with Dharmakīrti’s own prose commentary. The translators have also provided an English commentary, which includes a detailed introduction to the central issues in the translated text and their history in the literature before Dharmakīrti. (shrink)
It is well-established that toddlers can correctly select a novel referent from an ambiguous array in response to a novel label. There is also a growing consensus that robust word learning requires repeated label-object encounters. However, the effect of the context in which a novel object is encountered is less well-understood. We present two embodied neural network replications of recent empirical tasks, which demonstrated that the context in which a target object is encountered is fundamental to referent selection and word (...) learning. Our model offers an explicit account of the bottom-up associative and embodied mechanisms which could support children’s early word learning and emphasises the importance of viewing behaviour as the interaction of learning at multiple timescales. (shrink)
Sunstein advocates a more systematic approach to the study of moral decision-making, namely the heuristics-and-biases paradigm. We offer two concerns and suggest that a focus on decision processes can add value. Recent research on decision modes suggest that it is useful to distinguish between the qualitative differences in the ways in which moral decisions can be made when they are not made by reflective, consequentialist reasoning.
Unrealistic optimism is a bias that leads people to believe, with respect to a specific event or hazard, that they are more likely to experience positive outcomes and/or less likely to experience negative outcomes than similar others. The phenomenon has been seen in a range of health-related contexts—including when prospective participants are presented with the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial. In order to test for the prevalence of unrealistic optimism among participants of early-phase oncology trials, we (...) conducted a survey with patients over 18 years of age who were enrolled in a phase I, phase I/II, or phase II clinical cancer trial in the New York City area between August 2008 and October 2009. Participants in our study were asked to compare their own chances of experiencing a range of risks and benefits related to the trial they were enrolled in with the chances of the other trial participants. We found a significant optimistic bias in their responses. Respondents tended to overestimate the benefits of the trial they were enrolled in and underestimate its risks. In addition, we found no significant relationship between respondents’ understanding of the trial’s purpose and how susceptible they were to unrealistic optimism. Our findings suggest that improving the consent process for oncology studies requires more than addressing deficits in understanding. (shrink)
Context The attitudes of medical professionals towards physician assisted dying have been widely discussed. Less explored is the level of agreement among physicians on the possibility of ‘rational suicide’—a considered suicide act made by a sound mind and a precondition of assisted dying legislation. Objective To assess attitudes towards rational suicide in a representative sample of senior doctors in England and Wales. Methods A postal survey was conducted of 1000 consultants and general practitioners randomly selected from a commercially available database. (...) The main outcome of interest was level of agreement with a statement about rational suicide. Results The corrected participation rate was 50%; 363 questionnaires were analysed. Overall 72% of doctors agreed with the possibility of rational suicide, 17% disagreed, and 11% were neutral. Doctors who identified themselves as being more religious were more likely to disagree. Some doctors who disagreed with legalisation of physician assisted suicide nevertheless agreed with the concept of rational suicide. Conclusions Most senior doctors in England and Wales feel that rational suicide is possible. There was no association with specialty. Strong religious belief was associated with disagreement, although levels of agreement were still high in people reporting the strongest religious belief. Most doctors who were opposed to physician assisted suicide believed that rational suicide was possible, suggesting that some medical opposition is best explained by other factors such as concerns of assessment and protection of vulnerable patients. (shrink)
The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophical (...) discussion is that contemporary fake news is not a new kind of phenomenon, but just the latest iteration of a broader kind of phenomenon that has played out in different ways across the history of human information-dissemination technologies. While we agree with this, we argue that newer sorts of fake news reveal substantial flaws in earlier understandings of this notion. In particular, we argue that no deceptive intentions are necessary for fake news to arise; rather, fake news arises when stories which were not produced via standard journalistic practice are treated as though they had been. Importantly, this revisionary understanding of fake news allows us to accommodate and understand the way that fake news is plausibly generated and spread in a contemporary setting, as much by non-human actors as by ordinary human beings. (shrink)