Strong claims have been made for emergence as a new paradigm for understanding science, consciousness, and religion. Tracing the past history and current definitions of the concept, Clayton assesses the case for emergent phenomena in the natural world and their significance for philosophy and theology. Complex emergent phenomena require irreducible levels of explanation in physics, chemistry and biology. This pattern of emergence suggests a new approach to the problem of consciousness, which is neither reducible to brain states nor proof (...) of a mental substance or soul. Although emergence does not entail classical theism, it is compatible with a variety of religious positions. Clayton concludes with a defence of emergentist panentheism and a Christian constructive theology consistent with the new sciences of emergence. (shrink)
At what age should children acquire adult rights? To what extent are parents morally permitted to shape the beliefs of their children? How should childbearing rights and resources be distributed? Matthew Clayton provides a controversial set of answers to these and related issues in this pivotal new work.
Assessing children's episodic future thinking by having them select items for future use may be assessing their functional reasoning about the future rather than their future episodic thinking. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, we capitalised on the fact that episodic cognition necessarily has a spatial format (Clayton & Russell, 2009; Hassabis & Maguire, 2007). Accordingly, we asked children of 3, 4, and 5 to chose items they would need to play a game (blow football) from the opposite (...) side of the table on which they had never before played. The crucial item was the box that was needed by children to reach the table from the other side. Over four experiments, we demonstrated that, while children of 3 perform poorly on future questions and children of 5 generally perform quite well, children of 4 years find a question about what they themselves will need to play in the future harder to answer than a similar question posed about another child. We suggest that this result is due to the 'growth error' of over-applying newly-developed Level 2 perspective-taking skills (Flavell et al., 1981), which encourages the selection of non-functional items. The data are discussed in terms of perspective-taking abilities in children and of the neural correlates of episodic cognition, navigation, and theory of mind. (shrink)
This book analyses the moral theory of the seventh century Indian Mahayana master, Santideva. Santideva is the author of the well-known religious poem the Bodhicaryavatara (Entering the Path of Enlightenment) , as well as the significant, but relatively overlooked, Siksasamuccaya (Compendium of Teachings) . Both of these works describe the nature and path of the bodhisattva, the altruistic spiritual ideal especially exalted in Mahayana literature. With particular focus on the Siksasamuccaya , this work offers a response to three questions: What (...) is Santideva's moral theory? How does it compare to other analyses of Buddhist ethics? Can one moral theory adequately describe Buddhist moral thought? An exegetical account of the bodhisattva path as outlined in the Siksasamuccaya is provided by textual analysis and translations. The central moral concept of this Buddhist thinker and Santideva's ethical presuppositions and moral reasoning are brought to light by analysing the use of key moral terms and comparing them to other Buddhists' principles. It is also considered in relation to dominant Western ethical theories. By focusing on a neglected Buddhist Sanskrit text by a major Mahayana figure, Barbra Clayton helps to redress a significant imbalance in the scholarship on Buddhist ethics, which has up to now focused primarily on the ethics of the Pali literature and as interpreted in the Theravada tradition. (shrink)
Traditional theistic proofs are often understood as evidence intended to compel belief in a divinity. John Clayton explores the surprisingly varied applications of such proofs in the work of philosophers and theologians from several periods and traditions, thinkers as varied as Ramanuja, al-Ghazali, Anselm, and Jefferson. He shows how the gradual disembedding of theistic proofs from their diverse and local religious contexts is concurrent with the development of natural theologies and atheism as social and intellectual options in early modern (...) Europe and America. Clayton offers a fresh reading of the early modern history of philosophy and theology, arguing that awareness of such history, and the local uses of theistic argument, offer important ways of managing religious and cultural difference in the public sphere. He argues for the importance of historically grounded philosophy of religion to the field of religious studies and public debate on religious pluralism and cultural diversity. (shrink)
In this book Philip Clayton defends the rationality of religious explanations by exploring the parallels between explanatory effects in the sciences and the explanations offered by religious believers, students of religion, and theologians. Clayton begins by surveying the types of religious explanation, offering a synopsis of the most significant competing positions. He then critically examines recent important developments in the philosophy of science regarding the nature of scientific explanations—including the work of Popper, Hempel, Kuhn, and Lakatos in the (...) natural sciences and Habermas, Weber, and Schütz in the social sciences. Clayton outlines the process of rational evaluation in these disciplines, defining the explanatory quest as the attempt to make sense of or bring coherence into subjective and intersubjective worlds. He briefly discusses explanations in philosophy and then turns to the explanatory role of individual religious experience, drawing on a coherence theory of meaning and on the conclusions from his discussion of science. Based on his defense of the doubting or “secular” believer, he concludes by advocating a model of theology in which questions about the truth of a religious tradition are intrinsic to its theology. “A valuable exposition of the thesis that the explanatory work of theology possesses formal similarities with that of the physical sciences, the social sciences, and philosophy. Clayton exhibits an impressive command of a broad area of scholarship, and his reflections are balanced and carefully argued.” –Michael J. Buckley, S.J., professor of religion at the Jesuit Theological Seminary and author of _At the Origins of Modern Atheism_ “I know of no philosopher writing today who has dealt in as informed and thoughtful a way with the broad subject of this book. Clayton guides the reader through important discussions with ease, illuminating the path all along the way.” –Josiah B. Gould, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Albany. (shrink)
The hope of moving beyond formalism is one of two things that unites an otherwise diverse group of literary theorists who have begun to explore the role of desire in narrative. Peter Brooks, for example, in Reading for the Plot, says in more than one place that his interest in desire “derives from my dissatisfaction with the various formalisms that have dominated critical thinking about narrative.”3 Leo Bersani sees desire as establishing a crucial link between social and literary structures. Teresa (...) de Lauretis faults structuralist models for their inability to disclose the ways in which narrative operates, through the desire it excites and fulfills, to construct the social world as a system of sexual differences. Other names could be added, both within and outside the field of narrative theory—Nancy Armstrong, Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille, Jessica Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, René Girard, Luce Irigaray, Fredric Jameson, Peggy Kamuf, Linda Kauffman, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Jean Laplance, Catharine A. McKinnon, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick—for desire has become one of the master tropes of contemporary criticism. 3. Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative , p. 47; hereafter abbreviated RP.4. Leo, Bersani, A Future for Astyanax: Character and Desire in Literature , p. 13; hereafter abbreviated FA.5. Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, The Forms of Violence: Narrative in Assyrian Art and Modern Culture , p. v; hereafter abbreviated FV. Although Bersani coauthored this book with Dutoit, for convenience I refer to it by Bersani’s name alone. This practice is justified by two considerations: first, most of the arguments about narrative, violence, and desire are elaborations of positions that Bersani has taken in earlier works; second, passages and examples in the sections with which I shall be dealing are reprinted with only minor changes from an article that Bersani published under his own name. Jay Clayton, associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University, is the author of Romantic Vision and the Novel and coeditor of Contemporary Literature and Contemporary Theory . He is currently completing a study of contemporary American literature and theory, Narrative Power. (shrink)
Religion and science are arguably the two most powerful social forces in the world today. But where religion and science were once held to be compatible, most people now perceive them to be in conflict. This unique book provides the best available introduction to the burning debates in this controversial field. Examining the defining questions and controversies, renowned expert Philip Clayton presents the arguments from both sides, asking readers to decide for themselves where they stand: science _or_ religion, or (...) science _and_ religion? Intelligent Design vs. New Atheism the role of scientific and religious ethics – designer drugs, AI and stem cell research the future of science vs. the future of religion. Viewpoints from a range of world religions and different scientific perspectives are explored, making this book essential reading for all those wishing to come to their own understanding of some of the most important debates of our day. (shrink)
No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a puzzle about epistemic rationality. It seems plausible that it should be rational to believe a proposition if you have sufficient evidential support for it. It seems plausible that it rationality requires you to conform to the categorical requirements of rationality. It also seems plausible that our first-order attitudes ought to mesh with our higher-order attitudes. It seems unfortunate that we cannot accept all three claims about rationality. I will present three ways of trying to (...) resolve this tension and argue that the best way to do this is to reject the idea that strong evidential support is the stuff rationality is made of. In the course of doing this, I shall argue that there is a special class of propositions about the requirements of rationality that we cannot make rational mistakes about and explain how this can be. (shrink)
Delivering high quality genomics-informed care to patients requires accurate test results whose clinical implications are understood. While other actors, including state agencies, professional organizations, and clinicians, are involved, this article focuses on the extent to which the federal agencies that play the most prominent roles — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enforcing CLIA and the FDA — effectively ensure that these elements are met and concludes by suggesting possible ways to improve their oversight of genomic testing.
The law applicable to genomics in the United States is currently in transition and under debate. The rapid evolution of the science, burgeoning clinical research, and growing clinical application pose serious challenges for federal and state law. Although there has been some empirical work in this area, this is the first paper to survey and interview key scientific and legal stakeholders in the field of genomics to help ground identification of the most important legal problems that must be solved to (...) successfully integrate genomics into clinical care. The respondents in this study identified a wide range of interconnected issues, focusing specifically on the need for clear guidelines about how to use these data, fear of liability for those who use these data, and the need to protect patients from use of this information particularly by insurers, while endorsing data sharing. Developing legal strategies to support appropriate use of genomics now and in the future clearly will require making trade-offs, taking into account the full complexity of this legal ecosystem. (shrink)
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
This article provides practical guidance for researchers who wish to enroll and collect data from pediatric research participants through online and mobile platforms, with a focus on the involvement of both children and their parents in the decision to participate.
American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Medical Genetics recently provided two recommendations about predictive genetic testing of children. The Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Consortium's Pediatrics Working Group compared these recommendations, focusing on operational and ethical issues specific to decision making for children. Content analysis of the statements addresses two issues: how these recommendations characterize and analyze locus of decision making, as well as the risks and benefits of testing, and whether the guidelines conflict or come to different but (...) compatible conclusions because they consider different testing scenarios. These statements differ in ethically significant ways. AAP/ACMG analyzes risks and benefits using best interests of the child and recommends that, absent ameliorative interventions available during childhood, clinicians should generally decline to order testing. Parents authorize focused tests. ACMG analyzes risks and benefits using the interests of the child and other family members and recommends that sequencing results be examined for additional variants that can lead to ameliorative interventions, regardless of age, which laboratories should report to clinicians who should contextualize the results. Parents must accept additional analysis. The ethical arguments in these statements appear to be in tension with each other. (shrink)
Ultimately we will only understand biological agency when we have developed a theory of the organization of biological processes, and science is still a long way from attaining that goal. It may be possible nonetheless to develop a list of necessary conditions for the emergence of minimal biological agency. The authors offer a model of molecular autonomous agents which meets the five minimal physical conditions that are necessary (and, we believe, conjointly sufficient) for applying agential language in biology: autocatalytic reproduction; (...) work cycles; boundaries for reproducing individuals; self-propagating work and constraint construction; and choice and action that have evolved to respond to food or poison. When combined with the arguments from preadaptation and multiple realizability, the existence of these agents is sufficient to establish ontological emergence as against what one might call Weinbergian reductionism. Minimal biological agents are emphatically not conscious agents, and accepting their existence does not commit one to any robust theory of human agency. Nor is there anything mystical, dualistic, or non-empirical about the emergence of agency in the biosphere. Hence the emergence of molecular autonomous agents, and indeed ontological emergence in general, is not a negation of or limitation on careful biological study but simply one of its implications. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn A Theory of Moral Education, Michael Hand claims that a directive moral education that seeks to persuade children that a particular conception of contractarian morality is justified can be undertaken without falling foul of the requirement not to indoctrinate. In this article, we set out a series of challenges to Hand’s argument. First, we argue that Hand’s focus on ‘reasonable disagreement’ regarding the status of a moral conception is a red-herring. Second, we argue that the endorsement of moral contractarianism (...) and the prohibition on indoctrination pull in different directions: if contractarianism is sound, then teachers or governments should be less worried about indoctrination than Hand suggests. Third, we argue that moral contractarianism is mistaken; teachers should look elsewhere for guidance on the moral norms and principles towards which they should direct their pupils. (shrink)
Panentheism is best understood as a philosophical research program. Identifying the core of the research program offers a strong response to the demarcation objection. It also helps focus both objections to and defenses of panentheism — and to show why common objections are not actually criticisms of the position we are defending. The paper also addresses two common criticisms: the alleged inadequacy of panentheism’s double “in” specification of the relationship between God and world, and the “double God” objection. Once the (...) research program framework is in place, topics like these become opportunities for panentheists to engage in the kind of careful constructive work in theology and philosophy — historical, analytic, and systematic — that is required for making long-term, positive contributions to our field. (shrink)
Some religiously devout individuals believe divine command can override an obligation to obey the law where the two are in conflict. At the extreme, some individuals believe that acts of violence that seek to change or punish a political community, or to prevent others from violating what they take to be God’s law, are morally justified. In the face of this apparent clash between religious and political commitments it might seem that modern versions of political morality—such as John Rawls’s political (...) liberalism—that refuse to take a stance on controversial religious matters, or eschew appeal to perfectionist doctrines, are beset by a particularly acute version of this problem of religious disobedience. Whilst political liberalism follows this path so as to generate wide and stable support, it raises the question of how political liberals should respond to religiously motivated non-compliance with the norms of that liberal conception of justice. This article evaluates what resources are available to political liberalism to respond to this challenge. It examines whether anti-perfectionism can be sustained in the face of those whose religious beliefs are in conflict with the law. We argue that, under certain circumstances, political liberalism requires direct engagement with the religious views of the unreasonable, including offering religious arguments to show that their particular interpretation of their faith is mistaken. This view takes political liberalism away from its usual ambitions, but it is a position that is both anticipated by Rawls and consistent with his view. It does, however, require that political liberals give up the claim that the view is a wholly non-sectarian, purely political view, and accept that, under certain circumstances it is a partially comprehensive version of liberal theory. (shrink)
Ultimately we will only understand biological agency when we have developed a theory of the organization of biological processes, and science is still a long way from attaining that goal. It may be possible nonetheless to develop a list of necessary conditions for the emergence of minimal biological agency. The authors offer a model of molecular autonomous agents which meets the five minimal physical conditions that are necessary for applying agential language in biology: autocatalytic reproduction; work cycles; boundaries for reproducing (...) individuals; self-propagating work and constraint construction; and choice and action that have evolved to respond to food or poison. When combined with the arguments from preadaptation and multiple realizability, the existence of these agents is sufficient to establish ontological emergence as against what one might call Weinbergian reductionism. Minimal biological agents are emphatically not conscious agents, and accepting their existence does not commit one to any robust theory of human agency. Nor is there anything mystical, dualistic, or non-empirical about the emergence of agency in the biosphere. Hence the emergence of molecular autonomous agents, and indeed ontological emergence in general, is not a negation of or limitation on careful biological study but simply one of its implications. (shrink)
This article offers a vision for work at the intersection of science and religion over the coming seven years. Because predictions are inherently risky and are more often than not false, the text first offers an assessment of the current state of the science-religion discussion and a quick survey of the last 50 years of work in this field. The implications of the six features of this vision for the future of the field are then presented in some detail. Rather (...) than bemoaning the current diversity of approaches and conclusions as a negative result, I endorse it as a healthy sign—if acknowledged honestly and managed well. (shrink)
Despite calls by some commentators for disclosing incidental fndings in genetics research, several factors weigh in favor of caution. The technology of genetics has the power to uncover a vast array of information. The most potent argument for restraint in disclosure is that much research is pursued without consent so that the individual participant may not know that research is being conducted at all. Often the work is done by investigators and at institutions with which the person has no prior (...) contact. Past practice is also relevant; genetics researchers historically have chosen not to disclose incidental fndings, of which misattributed paternity and pleiotropic alleles such as ApoE have been the most common. Many people choose not to have genetic tests when given a choice. It may be desirable to discuss the topic of incidental fndings when consent for research is obtained, but given the risk of unwanted surprise when there has been no prior discussion, the potential utility of incidental fndings should be very high before they are even ofered to individuals. (shrink)
The author discusses Rawls’s conception of socioeconomic justice, Democratic Equality. He contrasts Rawls’s account, which includes the difference principle constrained by the principle of fair equality of opportunity, with Natural Aristocracy, which constrains the difference principle only by the principle of careers open to talents. According to the author, many of Rawls’s own arguments support NaturalAristocracy over Democratic Equality. In particular, Natural Aristocracy appears well placed to avoid a challenge that naturally arises in consideration of Democratic Equality, with respect to (...) which formal distributive principle should deal with social and natural causes of inequality. The challenge is to cite a morally relevant distinction which supports the appropriateness of dealing with natural causes of inequality differently to those generated by social causes. In support of his proposal, the author also appeals to certain arguments in Rawls’s Political Liberalism. (shrink)
In the West panentheism is known as the view that the world is contained within the divine, though God is also more than the world. I trace the history of this school of philosophy in both Eastern and Western traditions. Although the term is not widely known, the position in fact draws together a broad range of important positions in 20th and 21st century metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion. I conclude with some reflections on the practical importance of this (...) position. (shrink)
. The startling success of the religion‐science discussion in recent years calls for reflection. Have old walls been broken down, old antagonisms overcome? Have science and religion finally been reconciled? Or is all the activity just so much sound and fury signifying nothing? Postmodern equations of scientific and religious beliefs disregard a number of enduring differences that help make sense of the continuing tensions. Yet the skepticism of authors such as John Caiazza is also ungrounded. I describe five major types (...) of approaches that are being employed in the recent literature. These methods have led to a deeper understanding of the commonalities between science and religion and have produced new productive partnerships between them. (shrink)