This article discusses ethical implications for the academy in the use of cyberspace and virtual reality in conducting its teaching and research responsibilities. It identifies important cyberspace ethics concerns as they intersect with the academy and provides an ethical framework for coming to grips with them. Topics discussed here include the sine qua non of academic collegiality and civility, concerns about digital alteration of images and sounds, and issues pertaining to academic administration and infrastructure.
With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)
This article argues that we could improve the design of research protocols by developing an awareness of and a responsiveness to the social contexts of all the actors in the research enterprise, including subjects, investigators, sponsors, and members of the community in which the research will be conducted. ?Social context? refers to the settings in which the actors are situated, including, but not limited to, their social, economic, political, cultural, and technological features. The utility of thinking about social contexts is (...) introduced and exemplified by the presentation of a hypothetical case in which one central issue is limitation of the probability of injury to subjects by selection of individuals who are not expected to live long enough for the known risks of the study to become manifest as harms. Benefits of such considerations may include enhanced subject satisfaction and cooperation, community acceptance, and improved data quality, among other desirable consequences. (shrink)
Stephen Hawking has argued that universes containing evaporating black holes can evolve from pure initial states to mixed final ones. Such evolution is non-unitary and so contravenes fundamental quantum principles on which Hawking's analysis was based. It disables the retrodiction of the universe's initial state from its final one, and portends the time-asymmetry of quantum gravity. Small wonder that Hawking's paradox has met with considerable resistance. Here we use a simple result for C*-algebras to offer an argument for pure-to-mixed state (...) evolution in black hole evaporation, and review responses to the Hawking paradox with respect to how effectively they rebut this argument. (shrink)
This paper considers the hotly debated issue of whether one should grant moral and legal personhood to intelligent robots once they have achieved a certain standard of sophistication based on such criteria as rationality, autonomy, and social relations. The starting point for the analysis is the European Parliament’s resolution on Civil Law Rules on Robotics and its recommendation that robots be granted legal status and electronic personhood. The resolution is discussed against the background of the so-called Robotics Open Letter, which (...) is critical of the Civil Law Rules on Robotics. The paper reviews issues related to the moral and legal status of intelligent robots and the notion of legal personhood, including an analysis of the relation between moral and legal personhood in general and with respect to robots in particular. It examines two analogies, to corporations and animals, that have been proposed to elucidate the moral and legal status of robots. The paper concludes that one should not ascribe moral and legal personhood to currently existing robots, given their technological limitations, but that one should do so once they have achieved a certain level at which they would become comparable to human beings. (shrink)
Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their ﬁeld.1 In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime (...) in general relativity. (shrink)
A vast amount of ink has been spilled in both the physics and the philosophy literature on the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. Important as it is, this problem is but one aspect of the more general issue of how, if at all, classical properties can emerge from the quantum descriptions of physical systems. In this paper we will study another aspect of the more general issue-the emergence of classical chaos-which has been receiving increasing attention from physicists but which has (...) largely been neglected by philosophers of science. (shrink)
The four-principle approach to biomedical ethics is used worldwide by practitioners and researchers alike but it is rather unclear what exactly people do when they apply this approach. Ranking, specification, and balancing vary greatly among different people regarding a particular case. Thus, a sound and coherent applicability of principlism seems somewhat mysterious. What are principlists doing? The article examines the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the applicability of this approach. The most important result is that a sound and comprehensible application (...) of the four principles is additionally ensured by making use of the organizing meta-principle of common morality, which is the starting point and constraining framework of moral reasoning. (shrink)
In his article ‘Why Moral Philosophers Are Not and Should Not Be Moral Experts’ David Archard attempts to show that his argument from common-sense morality is more convincing than other competing arguments in the debate. I examine his main line of argumentation and eventually refute his main argument in my reply.
This paper examines the ethical pitfalls and challenges that non-ethicists, such as researchers and programmers in the fields of computer science, artificial intelligence and robotics, face when building moral machines. Whether ethics is “computable” depends on how programmers understand ethics in the first place and on the adequacy of their understanding of the ethical problems and methodological challenges in these fields. Researchers and programmers face at least two types of problems due to their general lack of ethical knowledge or expertise. (...) The first type is so-called rookie mistakes, which could be addressed by providing these people with the necessary ethical knowledge. The second, more difficult methodological issue concerns areas of peer disagreement in ethics, where no easy solutions are currently available. This paper examines several existing approaches to highlight the ethical pitfalls and challenges involved. Familiarity with these and similar problems can help programmers to avoid pitfalls and build better moral machines. The paper concludes that ethical decisions regarding moral robots should be based on avoiding what is immoral in combination with a pluralistic ethical method of solving moral problems, rather than relying on a particular ethical approach, so as to avoid a normative bias. (shrink)
Lower plasma levels of high-density lipoproteins in adolescents with type 2 diabetes have been associated with a higher pulse wave velocity, a marker of arterial stiffness. Evidence suggests that HDL proteins or particle subspecies are altered in T2D and these may drive these relationships. In this work, we set out to reveal any specific proteins and subspecies that are related to arterial stiffness in youth with T2D from proteomics data. Plasma and PWV measurements were previously acquired from lean and T2D (...) adolescents. Each plasma sample was separated into 18 fractions and evaluated by mass spectrometry. Then, we applied a validated network-based computational approach to reveal HDL subspecies associated with PWV. Among 68 detected phospholipid-associated proteins, we found that seven were negatively correlated with PWV, indicating that they may be atheroprotective. Conversely, nine proteins show positive correlation with PWV, suggesting that they may be related to arterial stiffness. Intriguingly, our results demonstrate that apoA-I and histidine-rich glycoprotein may reverse their protective roles and become antagonistic in the setting of T2D. Furthermore, we revealed two arterial stiffness-associated HDL subspecies, each of which contains multiple PWV-related proteins. Correlation and disease association analyses suggest that these HDL subspecies might link T2D to its cardiovascular-related complications. (shrink)
Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their field.1 In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime (...) in general relativity. Philosophers who think about these things are sometimes skeptical about such claims. We have all learned that Kretschmann was quite correct to urge against Einstein that the “General Theory of Relativity” was no such thing, since any theory could be cast in a generally covariant form, and hence the general covariance of general relativity could not have any physical content, let alone bear the kind of weight that Einstein expected it to.2 Friedman’s assessment is widely accepted: “As Kretschmann first pointed out in 1917, the principle of general covariance has no physical content whatever: it specifies no particular physical theory; rather, it merely expresses our commitment to a certain style of formulating physical theories” (1984, p. 44). Such considerations suggest that general covariance, as a technically crucial but physically contentless feature of general relativity, simply cannot be the source of any significant conceptual or physical problems.3 Physicists are, of course, conscious of the weight of Kretschmann’s points against Einstein. Yet they are considerably more ambivalent than their philosophical colleagues. Consider Kuchaˇr’s conclusion at the end of a discussion of this topic. (shrink)
In his landmark article “How Medicine Saved the Life of Ethics” (1982), Stephen Toulmin persuasively argues that (serious) problems cannot be solved by mere rationalistic approaches in ethics and that ethics was eventually saved by dint of having to deal with vital questions and concrete problems in medicine. Whether one is a proponent of, for example, principlism or casuistry, one certainly has to admit that a convincing ethical theory or method must have practical application. Analogously, it is about time to (...) consider another vital and prominent issue in normative ethics—the universalism-relativism debate—that might profit from the bioethical approach of principlism (otherwise known as the four-principles .. (shrink)
The essays in this book engage the original and controversial claims from Michael Boylan's A Just Society. Each essay discusses Boylan's claims from a particular chapter and offers a critical analysis of these claims. Boylan responds to the essays in his lengthy and philosophically rich reply.
Raw (pragmatic) and potential (theoretical) power is seen as the key to press freedom in various global settings. Because the locus of power determines the locus of freedom, the authors suggest a model to understand where the raw and potential power resides within a matrix consisting of the State, the Media Elite, the Journalists, or the People. Numerous questions concerning accountability and ethics are raised concerning the practical application of a model that purports to overcome cultural biases inherent in traditional (...) theories of press and society. (shrink)
The expression "the marketplace of ideas" is often used in reference to Mill's views on freedom of thought and speech in On Liberty, but the metaphor does not come from Mill's work, nor is it consistent with his position. A real marketplace of ideas would create what Mill warns us against: the prevalence of the views of the most powerful and/or the most numerous. From a U.S. perspective, I explore Mill's suggestion to "countenance and encourage" minority views, and I compare (...) Mill's particular type of liberalism with contemporary U.S. advocacy of market models for our political lives. (shrink)
Although the emotional and motivational characteristics of dreaming have figured prominently in folk and psychoanalytic conceptions of dream production, emotions have rarely been systematically studied, and motivation, never. Because emotions during sleep lack the somatic components of waking emotions, and they change as the sleeper awakens, their properties are difficult to assess. Recent evidence of limbic system activation during REM sleep suggests a basis in brain architecture for the interaction of motivational and cognitive properties in dreaming. Motivational and emotional content (...) in REM and NREM laboratory mentation reports from 25 participants were compared. Motivational and emotional content was significantly greater in REM than NREM sleep, even after controlling for the greater word count of REM reports. (shrink)
The problem of divine impassibility, i.e., of whether the divine nature in Christ could suffer, stands at the center of a debate regarding the nature of God and his relation to us. Whereas philosophical reasoning regarding the divine nature maintains that the divine is immutable and perfect in every respect, theological needs generated an ever-growing demand for a passionate God truly able to participate in the suffering of his creatures. Correlating with the different approaches of Thomas Aquinas and John (...) Duns Scotus, the paper develops an incarnation model that aims, on the one hand, to solve the dualistic problem between the divine and human natures, and on the other hand to make room for both impassible and passible elements in God, and so to make room within the patristic impassible model for genuine suffering in God. The discussion, though centered around Christ's im/passibility and passions, can easily be modified to approach the body-mind problem since the essence of the problems is the same. (shrink)
This study was a preliminary exploration of the value changes taking place in the United States since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which was a significant emotional event or cultural upheaval. Rokeach told us that "a person's total value system may undergo change as a result of socialization, therapy, or cultural upheaval..." (Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values, 1973, p. 37). The researchers explored the value changes of 500 aviation industry employees (...) before the attack and 500 after the attack. The statistically significant research results showed a total of twenty-seven of thirty-six values changed. Before the attack respondents valued much higher self-esteem and self-actualization values like A Sense of Accomplishment and Self-Respect. After the attack respondents placed a much higher value importance on survival, safety and security values like A World at Peace, Freedom, Family Security, National Security, Mature Love, Salvation, and True Friendship. (shrink)
The widespread view — proclaimed by proponents of disability studies, some disability federations, and many disabled people — that there is a human right to inclusive education, was eventually substantiated by international law with the UN Disability Convention in 2006. One of the most discussed issues in disability studies concerns the CRPD; the contributions are legion. Surprisingly, there are hardly any substantial contributions that pay particular attention to the important question of whether inclusive education is a moral human right, and, (...) if so, how this particular human right could be morally justified. A related topic that is frequently discussed concerns the question of whether inclusive education is compatible with the International Bill of Human Rights. Other scholars, such as Theresia Degener, wholeheartedly support the idea that inclusive education is a substantial legal and moral human right. (shrink)
In this article, I question the general idea that inclusive education — i.e., to teach all students in one class — is a moral human right. The following discussion shows that the widespread view in disability studies that there is a moral human right to inclusive education can be reasonably called into question by virtue of the proposed counter arguments, but without denying that inclusive education is of utmost importance. Practically speaking, the legal human right to inclusive education is of (...) great practical value for impaired students, and for their basic right to be free from discrimination in education, since their concern thereby gains great legal and moral force. But, theoretically speaking, this particular human right lacks an attainable consensus concerning proper moral justification. (shrink)
Robert Gordon’s trip to the Mogok ruby mines in northern Burma, as reported in his testament to the Royal Geographical Society in 1888, represents one of the most blatant uses of travel as empire building in the Mekong Region. While European explorers and adventurers had been travelling to and along the region for centuries, most had been intent on mapping, surveying and categorizing its contents for purposes of their own profit, in one way or another. Gordon, while of (...) course not unmindful of his own career, represents the traveller aiming to be of service to the greater power. He was strongly motivated by the desire to bring the ruby mines of Mogok into the reach of the British Empire through the building of a railway and the necessary infrastructure to pacify the countryside and its people, thereby enabling the enclosure of another type of commons. (shrink)
This paper examines farmer intentions to adapt to global climate change by analyzing responses to a climate change scenario presented in a survey given to large-scale farmers across the US Corn Belt in 2012. Adaptive strategies are evaluated in the context of decision making and farmers’ intention to increase their use of three production practices promoted across the Corn Belt: no-till farming, cover crops, and tile drainage. This paper also provides a novel conceptual framework that bridges a typology of adaptation (...) with concepts that help predict intentionality in behavior change models. This conceptual framework was developed to facilitate examination of adaptive decision making in the context of agriculture. This research effort examines key factors that influence farmers’ intentions to increase their use of the practices evaluated given a climate change scenario. Twenty-two covariates are examined across three models developed for no-till farming, cover crops, and tile drainage. Findings highlight that farmers who believed they should adjust their practices to protect their farm from the negative impacts of increased weather variability were more likely to indicate that they would increase their use of each of the practices in response to climate change. Additionally, visiting with other farmers to observe their practices was positively associated with farmers’ intentions to increase their use of the adaptive strategies examined. Farmers who were currently using no-till farming, cover crops, and tile drainage were also more likely to plan to increase their use of these practices in response to increased weather variability associated with climate change. However, farmers who reported high levels of confidence in their current practices were less likely to plan on changing their use of these practices in response to climatic changes. (shrink)
The importance of John Locke's discussion of persons is undeniable. Locke never explicitly tells us whether he thinks persons are substances or modes, however. We are thus left in the dark about a fundamental aspect of Locke's view. Many commentators have recently claimed that Lockean persons are modes. In this paper I swim against the current tide in the secondary literature and argue that Lockean persons are substances. Specifically I argue that what Locke says about substance, power, and agency (...) commits him to the claim that persons are substances. I consider the passages mode interpreters cite and show why these passages do not imply that Lockean persons are modes. I also respond to two objections anyone who thinks Lockean persons are substances must address. I show that a substance reading of Locke on persons can be sympathetic and viable. I contend that with a clearer understanding of the ontological status of Lockean persons we can gain a firmer grasp of what Locke's picture of persons looks like. Finally, once we are armed with a better understanding of Locke on substance, mode, and personhood, we can pave the way toward a more nuanced description of the early modern debate over personal identity. (shrink)
Moral choice, as a precursor to behaviour, has an important influence on the success or failure of business entities. According to Rest, 1983, Morality, Moral Behavior and Moral Development (John Wiley & Sons, New York), moral choice is prompted, amongst other things, by a motivational component. With this in mind, data obtained from a sample of four hundred financial sector operatives, employed in a rapidly developing region of China, was used to construct a relatively stable set of motivational typologies (...) which could be used to predict choice within an agency-based context. A non-egoist version of the agency theory was developed, which permitted the modelling of alternative heuristic patterns. Altruists and persons identified as bordering on the verge of being classified as psychological egoists, refused to reorganize their motives when responding to a problem that included both moral hazard and adverse selection criteria. It was also possible to identify certain personal and contextual issues which discriminated between the typologies. (shrink)
Gordon Baker and I had been colleagues at St John’s for almost ten years when we resolved, in 1976, to undertake the task of writing a commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. We had been talking about Wittgenstein since 1969, and when we cooperated in writing a long critical notice on the Philosophical Grammar in 1975, we found that working together was mutually instructive, intellectually stimulating and great fun. We thought that we still had much to say about Wittgenstein’s (...) philosophy, and it seemed to us that misinterpretations of passages in the Investigations were so extensive that it would be worth trying to write a detailed analytical commentary. It is difficult to recapture the excitement of those early days in being among the first to work on the microfilms and, subsequently, on the photocopies of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. We spent many hundreds of hours poring over the typescripts and the often only semi-legible manuscripts, fascinated and privileged to be able to try to follow the development of the thoughts of a great philosophical genius. We talked endlessly about what we had found in Wittgenstein’s manuscripts and typescripts, and debated how it should be understood. The first fruit of our labours was Wittgenstein – Understanding and Meaning. Its guiding idea was to draw attention to the manner in which Wittgenstein linked the concepts of meaning, understanding and explanation, and so to bypass the connections between meaning, truth and truth-conditions that so fascinated philosophers of the 1970s, and to abandon the red-herring of assertion-conditions and anti-realism. After a hiatus of four years, during which time we wrote a controversial book entitled Frege – Logical Excavations and a polemical book on contemporary philosophy of language – Language, Sense. (shrink)
Recently Carolyn Brighouse and Jeremy Butterfield have argued that David Lewis's counterpart theory makes it possible both to believe in the reality of spacetime points and to consider general relativity to be a deterministic theory, thus avoiding the ‘hole argument’ of John Earman and John Norton. Butterfield's argument relies on Lewis's own counterpart-theoretic analysis of determinism. In this paper, I argue that this analysis is inadequate. This leaves a gap in the Butterfield–Brighouse defence against the hole argument.
Editors Wanda Teays, John-Stewart Gordon, and Alison Dundes Renteln have assembled the works of an interdisciplinary, international team of experts in bioethics into a comprehensive, innovative and accessible book. Topics covered range from torture and lethal injection to euthanasia, sex selection, vulnerable human subjects, to health equity, safety and public health, and environmental disasters like Bhopal, Fukushima, and more.
The aim of this paper is to apply the metaphysics of John Duns Scotus in constructing a new conception of matter which does not stand in opposition to the mental realm, but is rather composed of both physical and mental elements. The paper is divided into four parts. Section one addresses Scotus’ claim that matter is intelligible and actual in itself. Section two aims to show that matter can be seen as a deprived thinking being. Section three analyzes Scotus’ (...) conception of place. The final section brings together the conclusions of the three preceding parts to confront the Cartesian psycho-physical problem anew and to suggest a viable solution. (shrink)
The volume addresses the historical context of Henry, e.g. his writings and his participation in the events of 1277; examines Henry’s theology, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics; and studies Henry’s influence on John Duns Scotus and Pico della Mirandola.
Universal human rights and particular cultural identities, which are relativistic by nature, seem to stand in conflict with each other. It is commonly suggested that the relativistic natures of cultural identities undermine universal human rights and that human rights might compromise particular cultural identities in a globalised world. This article examines this supposed clash and suggests that it is possible to frame a human rights approach in such a way that it becomes the starting point and constraining framework for all (...) non-deficient cultural identities. In other words, it is possible to depict human rights in a culturally sensitive way so that universal human rights can meet the demands of a moderate version of meta-ethical relativism which acknowledges a small universal core of objectively true or false moral statements and avers that, beyond that small core, all other moral statements are neither objectively true nor false. (shrink)
One of the most challenging issues in cross-cultural bioethics concerns the long-standing socio-cultural practice of female genital circumcision, which is prevalent in many African countries and the Middle East as well as in some Asian and Western countries. It is commonly assumed that FGC, in all its versions, constitutes a gross violation of the universal human rights of health, physical integrity, and individual autonomy and hence should be abolished. This article, however, suggests a mediating approach according to which one form (...) of FGC, the removal of the clitoris foreskin, can be made compatible with the high demands of universal human rights. The argument presupposes the idea that human rights are not absolutist by nature but can be framed in a meaningful, culturally sensitive way. It proposes important limiting conditions that must be met for the practice of FGC to be considered in accordance with the human rights agenda. (shrink)
Some authors fear that humanity is on the verge of its own extinction and must either change its behaviour or inevitably cause its own demise. This situation has spawned a vigorous (bio)ethical debate in recent years concerning whether one should enhance human beings cognitively or morally in order to promote moral action and reduce harm. This article defends making moral bioenhancement compulsory to avoid grossly immoral actions and the global extinction of humanity, if it is available, safe and easy to (...) administer. Two crucial issues will be examined in more detail. First, moral enhancement and free will, and second, the applicability problem, which concerns one particular political approach to accomplishing that goal. (shrink)