Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (...) (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis. (shrink)
Religious violence may trigger feelings of repulsion and indignation, especially in a society that encourages toleration and respect, but rejection contradicts the principles of inclusion that define a democracy and its core moral values. How can we think ethically about religious violence and terrorism, especially in the wake of such atrocities as 9/11? Known for his skillful interrogation of ethical issues as they pertain to religion, politics, and culture, Richard B. Miller returns to the basic tenets of liberalism to (...) divine an ethical response to religious extremism. He questions how we should think about the claims and aspirations of political religions, especially when they conflict so deeply with liberal norms and practices, and he suggests how liberal critics can speak confidently in ways that respect cultural and religious difference. Miller explores other concerns within these investigations as well, such as the protection of human rights and a liberal democratic commitment to multicultural politics. In relating religion and ethics, he develops a new lens for viewing political religions and their moral responsibilities. This probing inquiry also forces us to rethink our response to 9/11. (shrink)
Did the Gulf War defend moral principle or Western oil interests? Is violent pornography an act of free speech or an act of violence against women? In _Casuistry and Modern Ethics_, Richard B. Miller sheds new light on the potential of casuistry—case-based reasoning—for resolving these and other questions of conscience raised by the practical quandaries of modern life. Rejecting the packaging of moral experience within simple descriptions and inflexible principles, Miller argues instead for identifying and making sense of (...) the ethically salient features of individual cases. Because this practical approach must cope with a diverse array of experiences, Miller draws on a wide variety of diagnostic tools from such fields as philosophy of science, legal reasoning, theology, literary theory, hermeneutics, and moral philosophy. Opening new avenues for practical reasoning, Miller's interdisciplinary work will challenge scholars who are interested in the intersections of ethics and political philosophy, cultural criticism, and debates about method in religion and morality. (shrink)
Richard B. Miller aims to stimulate new work in religious ethics through discussions of ethnography, ethnocentrism, relativism, and moral criticism; the ethics of empathy; the meaning of moral responsibility in relation to children and friends; civic virtue, loyalty, war, and alterity; the normative and psychological dimensions of memory; and religion and democratic life.
Recent research (Latham, Miller and Norton, forthcoming) reveals that a majority of people represent actual time as dynamical. But do they, as suggested by McTaggart and Gödel, represent time as essentially dynamical? This paper distinguishes three interrelated questions. We ask (a) whether the folk representation of time is sensitive or insensitive: i.e., does what satisfies the folk representation of time in counterfactual worlds depend on what satisfies it actually—sensitive—or does is not depend on what satisfies it actually—insensitive, and (b) (...) do those who represent actual time as dynamical, represent time in all possible worlds as dynamical—what we call insensitive dynamism—or do they represent time in all possible worlds as dynamical only conditional on the actual world in fact being dynamical—what we call sensitive dynamism and (c) do dynamists and non-dynamists deploy two different representations of time, or deploy the same representation, but disagree about what actually satisfies that representation? We found no evidence that the folk representation of time is sensitive, or that the folk representation of time is essentially dynamical in either sense, though we did find evidence of a shared representation, on which dynamical features are sufficient, but not necessary, for time. (shrink)
Psychologists and neuroscientists often struggle to integrate findings in their respective domains, a problem due partly to implicitly and explicitly held philosophical positions on issues of reduction and autonomy across these domains. The present article reviews how reduction and autonomy have been used in philosophical arguments regarding how macro-scale findings relate to micro-scale findings across various scientific disciplines. The present article demonstrates how macro findings are indispensable to explanations of phenomena of interest by (a) providing information regarding higher levels of (...) organization in mechanisms, (b) including information not contained within certain micro explanations that (c) provides more general and stable causal explanations relative to micro explanations in certain situations. The purpose of presenting these analyses and recommendations is to disabuse psychologists and neuroscientists of pervasive assumptions that psychology is reducible to biology and that lower level phenomena (molecular) should be prioritized as somehow more explanatory than higher level phenomena (behavioral). The article concludes with 3 hypothetical scenarios from clinical psychology and psychiatry illustrating this critique and providing a pragmatic approach to clarify the relative roles, and importance, of biological and psychological data in service of general and stable explanations that are tailored to the kind of intervention desired. (shrink)
This book first reviews Miller's theory of Mixed Traits, as developed in his 2013 book Moral Character: An Empirical Theory. It then engages extensively with situations, the CAPS model in social psychology, and the Big Five Model in personality psychology. It ends by taking up implications for his view in meta-ethics (a modified error theory) and normative ethics (a challenge for virtue ethics).
We like to think of ourselves, our friends, and our families as decent people. We may not be saints, but we are still honest, relatively kind, and mostly trustworthy. Miller argues here that we are badly mistaken in thinking this. Hundreds of recent studies in psychology tell a different story: that we all have serious character flaws that prevent us from being as good as we think we are - and that we do not even recognize that these flaws (...) exist. But neither are most of us cruel or dishonest. Instead, Miller argues, we are a mixed bag. On the one hand, most of us in a group of bystanders will do nothing as someone cries out for help in an emergency. Yet it is also true that there will be many times when we will selflessly come to the aid of a complete stranger - and resist the urge to lie, cheat, or steal even if we could get away with it. Much depends on cues in our social environment. Miller uses this recent psychological literature to explain what the notion of "character" really means today, and how we can use this new understanding to develop a character better in sync with the kind of people we want to be. (shrink)
Heated debate surrounds the question whether the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject is governed by a duty of care. Miller and Weijer argue that fiduciary law provides a strong legal foundation for this duty, and for articulating the terms of the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject.
Franklin G. Miller and colleagues have stimulated renewed interest in research ethics through their work criticizing clinical equipoise. Over three years and some twenty articles, they have also worked to articulate a positive alternative view on norms governing the conduct of clinical research. Shared presuppositions underlie the positive and critical dimensions of Miller and colleagues' work. However, recognizing that constructive contributions to the field ought to enjoy priority, we presently scrutinize the constructive dimension of their work. We argue (...) that it is wanting in several respects. (shrink)
Following the general formalism presented by Rezzolla, Ahmedov and Miller, (1) we here derive analytic solutions of the electromagnetic fields equations in the internal and external background spacetime of a slowly rotating highly conducting magnetized neutron star. The star is assumed to be isolated and in vacuum, with a dipolar magnetic field not aligned with the axis of rotation. Our results indicate that the electromagnetic fields of a slowly rotating neutron star are modified by general relativistic effects arising from (...) both the monopolar and the dipolar parts of the gravitational field. The results presented here differ from the ones discussed by Rezzolla, Ahmedov and Miller (1) mainly in that we here consider the interior magnetic field to be dipolar with the same radial dependence as the external one. While this assumption might not be a realistic one, it should be seen as the application of our formalism to a case often discussed in the literature. (shrink)
Millions of children who were born during the first decade after the Islamic revolution in Iran are now reaching the age of marriage and childbearing. Short spacing between marriage and the birth of the first child has the potential to cause an excessive and costly increase in the growth of population in Iran. Research into the motivations for the birth of first child among newly married couples can create a knowledge base that will enable health centres to help these couples (...) make better decisions about the timing of their first pregnancy. Using a consecutive sampling technique and administering Miller’s Childbearing Questionnaire, data were gathered regarding the childbearing motivations and desires of 300 couples who had been referred to the Shiraz Health Center for premarital counselling. The Childbearing Questionnaire, with some minor modifications, was found to be a valid and reliable instrument for measuring the childbearing motivations of newly married couples of Shiraz County, Fars Province, Iran. The utility of these findings for counselling in health centres is discussed. Based on the results, a longitudinal study is being designed that will allow the development of models for predicting the time of first pregnancy after marriage. (shrink)
Miller and Rodgers (2001) proposed a central nervous system based Ontogenetic Bonding System that operates across the life course to promote succorant, 1 affiliative, sexual, and nurturant bonds. I discuss features of this theoretical framework that can inform Depue & Morrone-Strupinsky's (D&M-S's) model. Most important, I suggest that the affiliative reward processes D&M-S describe are better conceptualized as subserving the affect/motivation of affection. Footnotes1 “Succorance” is a term coined by Murray (1938) to describe a general tendency to seek the (...) help and protection of others. (shrink)
Literary criticism at the present moment seems ready to open its doors once again to the outside world, even if that world is only a series of other academic disciplines, each cloistered in its own way. For the reader of black African literature in French, the opening comes none too soon. The program for reading Camara Laye, Ahmadou Kourouma, and Yambo Ouologuem should never have been the program prescribed for Rousseau, Wordsworth, or Blanchot. If one is willing to read a (...) literature that might not be a rewriting of Hegel , and if the negative knowledge of recent theoretical criticism is questioned in the universality of its applications, then what is really open to a Western reader of non-Western literature? Claiming a break with his/her own culture and critical upbringing, can he/she the Other, the African, as if from an authentically African point of view, interpreting Africa in African terms, perceiving rather than projecting?The goal of breaking through the nets of Western criticism, of reading African literature in a nonethnocentric, nonprojective fashion, will remain both indisputably desirable and ultimately unattainable. No matter how many languages I learn or ethnologies I study, I cannot make myself into an African. The Western scholar’s claim to mastery of things African, albeit motivated by xenophilia rather than xenophobia, risks subjugation of the object to a new set of Western models. J. P. Makouta-M’Boukou rightly scolds Western critics who refuse to take into account the distance between themselves and African culture, and who read African literature only in function of their own cultural context.1 Wole Soyinka, more forbiddingly, complains: “We black Africans have been blandly invited to submit ourselves to a second epoch of colonisation—this time by a universal-humanoid abstraction defined and conducted by individuals whose theories and prescriptions are derived from the apprehension of their world and their history, their social neuroses and their value systems.”2 1. See J. P. Makouta-M’Boukou, Introduction à l’étude du roman négro-africain de langue française , p. 9.2. Wole Soyinka, Myth, Literature, and the African World , p. x. Christopher L. Miller, Charles B. G. Murphy Assistant Professor of French and of African and Afro-American Studies at Yale University, is author of Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in French . He is working at present on a study of francophone black African literature, for which he will have a Fulbright Africa Research grant. (shrink)
Miller places in context three important new books that purport to show the shape of world politics in the coming decade. She highlights what they do or do not tell us about the realm of moral choice at the end of the century.
This is an extension of Dr. Miller's Sicilian Colony Dates, in which she examined the ability of the ancient Greek historians to cite dates for historical events occurring before the advent of Greek historiography in the fifth century B.C. ...
In 1988, the control of the American Psychological Association shifted to those advocating the interests of professional practice and a substantial segment of the scientific community in psychology seceded to form the American Psychological Society, devoted to scientific psychology and scientific-based practice. In this climate, it has become increasingly difficult for scientists and practitioners to maintain analytical discussions of the philosophical and methodological issues that divide these two groups. For over 25 years, the authors have been fortunate to have the (...) professional and intellectual luxury of just such a discussion, and present here a dialogue that attempts to capture their initial stark differences in perspective and the process by which differences have been clarified, and areas of agreement established. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In this paper we describe the objectives of teaching medical ethics to undergraduates and the teaching methods used. We describe a workshop used in the University of Liverpool Department of Psychiatry, designed to enhance ethical sensitivity in psychiatry. The workshop reviews significant historical and current errors in the ethical practice of psychiatry and doctors' defence mechanisms against accepting responsibility for deficiencies in ethical practice. The workshop explores the student doctors' own group ethos in response to ethical dilemmas, and demonstrates how (...) the individual contributes to and is responsible for the group ethos through participation and also through nonparticipation. The student feedback about the workshop is reviewed. The Toronto Ethical Sensitivity Instrument was used to assess whether or not the workshop altered sensitivity. Compared to a control group the attenders' sensitivity was significantly increased (on Student's t-test p equals or is less than 0.002). (shrink)
While every health care system stakeholder would seem to be concerned with obtaining the greatest value from a given technology, there is often a disconnect in the perception of value between a technology’s promoters and those responsible for the ultimate decision as to whether or not to pay for it. Adopting an empirical ethics approach, this paper examines how five Canadian medical device manufacturers, via their websites, frame the corporate “value proposition” of their innovation and seek to respond to what (...) they consider the key expectations of their customers. Our analysis shows that the manufacturers’ framing strategies combine claims that relate to valuable socio-technical goals and features such as prevention, efficiency, sense of security, real-time feedback, ease of use and flexibility, all elements that likely resonate with a large spectrum of health care system stakeholders. The websites do not describe, however, how the innovations may impact health care delivery and tend to obfuscate the decisional trade-offs these innovations represent from a health care system perspective. Such framing strategies, we argue, tend to bolster physicians’ and patients’ expectations and provide a large set of stakeholders with powerful rhetorical tools that may influence the health policy arena. Because these strategies are difficult to counter given the paucity of evidence and its limited use in policymaking, establishing sound collective health care priorities will require solid critiques of how certain kinds of medical devices may provide a better (i.e., more valuable) response to health care needs when compared to others. (shrink)
The goal of this book is to develop a new framework for thinking about what moral character looks like today. My central claim will be that most people have moral character traits, but at the same time they do not have either the traditional ...
This paper critically assesses three claims on behalf of the Iraq war made by the Bush administration and by various defenders of the war. Then it steps back from the specifics of these three rationales to ask whether they are in fact of the same sort.