Purpose This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist. -/- Design/methodology/approach This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe (...) trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos. -/- Findings Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible. -/- Originality/value Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue. (shrink)
Dementia is highly prevalent and incurable. The participation of dementia patients in clinical research is indispensable if we want to find an effective treatment for dementia. However, one of the primary challenges in dementia research is the patients’ gradual loss of the capacity to consent. Patients with dementia are characterized by the fact that, at an earlier stage of their life, they were able to give their consent to participation in research. Therefore, the phase when patients are still competent to (...) decide offers a valuable opportunity to authorize research, by using an advance research directive. Yet, the use of ARDs as an authorization for research participation remains controversial. In this paper we discuss the role of autonomous decision-making and the protection of incompetent research subjects. We will show why ARDs are a morally defensible basis for the inclusion of this population in biomedical research and that the use of ARDs is compatible with the protection of incompetent research subjects. (shrink)
Classical conceptual distinctions in philosophy of education assume an individualistic subjectivity and hide the learning that can take place in the space between child (as educator) and adult (as learner). Grounded in two examples from experience I develop the argument that adults often put metaphorical sticks in their ears in their educational encounters with children. Hearers’ prejudices cause them to miss out on knowledge offered by the child, but not heard by the adult. This has to do with how adults (...) view education, knowledge, as much as child, and is even more extreme when child is also black. The idea is what Miranda Fricker calls ‘epistemic injustice’ which occurs when someone is wronged specifically in their capacity as a knower. Although her work concerns gender and race, I extrapolate her radical ideas to (black) child. Awareness of the epistemic injustice that is done to children and my proposal for increased epistemic modesty and epistemic equality could help transform pedagogical spaces to include child subjects as educators. A way forward is suggested that involves ‘cracking’ the concept of child and a different nonindividualised conception of education. (shrink)
In her book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing , Miranda Fricker introduces the helpful notion of “identity prejudice” as “a label for prejudices against people qua social type” . She focuses on race, class and gender, and Michael Hand in his article What Do Kids Know? A response to Karin Murris is indeed correct when he states that I have applied her arguments to age as a category of epistemic exclusion.I argue that among the usual contenders (...) of epistemic prejudices, we also need to be cognisant of adults’ implicit and explicit assumptions and prejudices about child and childhood. However, Hand incorrectly uses Fricker’s ideas to reject my proposal to include child as being on the receiving end of epistemic injustice. A close reading of some passages about stereotyping will show why this is the case and why his own claim that “children typically are immature, ill-informed and endearing” will turn out to .. (shrink)
The philosophy for children curriculum was specially written by Matthew Lipman and colleagues for the teaching of philosophy by non-philosophically educated teachers from foundation phase to further education colleges. In this article I argue that such a curriculum is neither a necessary, not a sufficient condition for the teaching of philosophical thinking. The philosophical knowledge and pedagogical tact of the teacher remains salient, in that the open-ended and unpredictable nature of philosophical enquiry demands of teachers to think in the moment (...) and draw on their own knowledge and experience of academic philosophy. Providing specialist training or induction in the P4C curriculum cannot and should not replace undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in academic philosophy at universities. However, although for academic philosophers the use of the P4C curriculum could be beneficial, I will argue that its use poses the risk of wanting to form children into the ideal ‘abnormal’ child, the thinking child—the adult philosopher’s child positioned as such by the Lipman novels. The notion of narrativity is central in my argument. With the help of two picturebooks—The Three Pigs by David Weisner and Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne—I illustrate my claim that philosophy as ‘side-shadowing’ or meta-thinking can only be generated in the space ‘in between’ text, child and educator, thereby foregrounding a ‘pedagogy of exposure’ rather than ‘teacher proof’ texts. (shrink)
We analyze the developments in mathematical rigor from the viewpoint of a Burgessian critique of nominalistic reconstructions. We apply such a critique to the reconstruction of infinitesimal analysis accomplished through the efforts of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass; to the reconstruction of Cauchy’s foundational work associated with the work of Boyer and Grabiner; and to Bishop’s constructivist reconstruction of classical analysis. We examine the effects of a nominalist disposition on historiography, teaching, and research.
Philosophy with children (P4C) 1 presents significant positive challenges for educators. Its 'community of enquiry' pedagogy assumes not only an epistemological shift in the role of the educator, but also a different ontology of 'child' and balance of power between educator and learner. After a brief historical sketch and an outline of the diversity among P4C practitioners, epistemological uncertainty in teaching P4C is crystallised in a succinct overview of theoretical and practical tensions that are a direct result of the implementation (...) of P4C in mainstream education. These recurring pedagogical tensions in my practice as P4C teacher, teacher educator and mentor of teacher educators cause disequilibrium that opens up rich opportunities for philosophy of education in supporting novice P4Cers. Disequilibrium is a positive force that opens up a space in which educators need to reflect upon their values, their beliefs about learning and teaching, and ultimately encourages educators to rethink their own role. Plato's metaphor of the stingray highlights the role of the P4C teacher educator as model of the P4C teacher in any setting: 'to numb and to be numbed'. The P4C community and its institutions need to address the questions arising from these pedagogical tensions; and this needs to be done with integrity, that is, in communities of enquiry that include children. If not, in the long term, a more instrumental version of P4C may prevail. (shrink)
The authors of the paper ‘Advance euthanasia directives: a controversial case and its ethical implications’ articulate concerns and reasons with regard to the conduct of euthanasia in persons with dementia based on advance directives. While we agree on the conclusion that there needs to be more attention for such directives in the preparation phase, we disagree with the reasons provided by the authors to support their conclusions. We will outline two concerns with their reasoning by drawing on empirical research and (...) by providing reasons that contradict their assumptions about competence of people with dementia and the importance of happiness in reasoning about advance directives of people with dementia. We will draw attention to the important normative questions that have been overstepped in their paper, and we will outline why further research is required. (shrink)
One of the most influential scientific treatises in Cauchy's era was J.-L. Lagrange's Mécanique Analytique, the second edition of which came out in 1811, when Cauchy was barely out of his teens. Lagrange opens his treatise with an unequivocal endorsement of infinitesimals. Referring to the system of infinitesimal calculus, Lagrange writes:Lorsqu'on a bien conçu l'esprit de ce système, et qu'on s'est convaincu de l'exactitude de ses résultats par la méthode géométrique des premières et dernières raisons, ou par la méthode analytique (...) des fonctions dérivées, on peut employer les infiniment petits comme un instrument sûr et commode pour abréger et simplifier les demonstrations.Lagrange's renewed enthusiasm for .. (shrink)
Dementia is highly prevalent and up until now, still incurable. If we may believe the narrative that is currently dominant in dementia research, in the future we will not have to suffer from dementia anymore, as there will be a simple techno-fix solution. It is just a matter of time before we can solve the growing public health problem of dementia. In this paper we take a critical stance towards overly positive narratives of techno-fixes by placing our empirical analysis of (...) dementia research protocols and political statements in a framework of technology assessment. From this perspective, it becomes obvious that a techno-fix is just one of many ways to approach societal problems and more importantly that technologies are way less perfect than they are presented. We will argue that this narrow scope, which focusses on the usual suspects for solving illnesses, reduces dementia to organismic aspects, and may be counterproductive in finding a cure for dementia. We conclude with outlining how the narrow scope can be balanced with other narratives and why we should have a reasonable scepticism towards the usual suspects. (shrink)
In this paper we offer an appreciation and critique of patient-led care as expressed in current policy and practice. We argue that current patient-led approaches hinder a focus on a deeper understanding of what patient-led care could be. Our critique focuses on how the consumerist/citizenship emphasis in current patient-led care obscures attention from a more fundamental challenge to conceptualise an alternative philosophically informed framework from where care can be led. We thus present an alternative interpretation of patient-led care that we (...) call ‘lifeworld-led care’, and argue that such lifeworld-led care is more than the general understanding of patient-led care. Although the philosophical roots of our alternative conceptualisation are not new, we believe that it is timely to re-consider some of the implications of these perspectives within current discourses of patient-centred policies and practice. The conceptualisation of lifeworld-led care that we develop includes an articulation of three dimensions: a philosophy of the person, a view of well-being and not just illness, and a philosophy of care that is consistent with this. We conclude that the existential view of well-being that we offer is pivotal to lifeworld-led care in that it provides a direction for care and practice that is intrinsically and positively health focused in its broadest and most substantial sense. (shrink)
In Buddhism, Meditation and Free Will: A Theory of Mental Freedom , Rick Repetti explains how the dynamics of Buddhist meditation can result in a kind of metacognition and metavolitional control that exceeds what is required for free will and defeats the most powerful forms of free will skepticism. This article argues that although the Buddhist path requires and enhances the kind of mental and volitional control Repetti describes, the central dynamic of the path and meditation is better understood as (...) a process of habituation. This not only involves the dis‐identification from mental and emotional content that Repetti discusses—and is commonly emphasized in modern presentations of mindfulness or insight (vipassanā ) meditation—but also a transformation of the heart that is effected through the complementary psychological and somatic qualities associated with calm abiding (samatha ) and concentration (samādhi ) and emphasized in the Pali Nikāyas and commentaries. (shrink)
Healthcare collectives, such as patient organizations, advocacy groups, disability organizations, professional associations, industry advocates, social movements, and health consumer organizations have been increasingly involved in healthcare policymaking. Such collectives are based on the idea that individual interests can be aggregated into collective interests by participation, deliberation, and representation. The topic of collectivity in healthcare, more specifically collective representation, has only rarely been addressed in bioethics. This symposium, entitled: “Collective Representation in Healthcare Policy” of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry draws attention (...) to this understudied topic from a variety of disciplines, within a variety of socio-cultural contexts. We draw attention to important ethical, cultural, and social questions, and into the practices, justifications for, and implications of collective representation of patients in healthcare policy. (shrink)
This book provides an exciting and diverse philosophical exploration of the role of practice and practices in human activity. It contains original essays and critiques of this philosophical and sociological attempt to move beyond current problematic ways of thinking in the humanities and social sciences. It will be useful across many disciplines, including philosophy, sociology, science, cultural theory, history and anthropology.
The social licence to operate concept is little developed in the academic literature so far. Deployment of the term was made by the United National Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, which apply SLO as an argument for responsible business conduct, connecting to social expectations and bridging to public regulation. This UN guidance has had a significant bearing on how public regulators seek to influence business conduct beyond Human Rights to broader (...) Corporate Social Responsibility concerns. Drawing on examples of such public regulatory governance, this article explores and explains developments towards a juridification of CSR entailing efforts by public regulators to reach beyond jurisdictional and territorial limitations of conventional public law to address adverse effects of transnational economic activity. Through analysis of an expansion of law into the normative framing of what constitutes responsible business conduct, we demonstrate a process of juridification entailing a legal framing of social expectations of companies, a proliferation of law into the field of business ethics, and an increased regulation by law of social actors or processes. (shrink)
In the first decades of the twentieth century, the process of photosynthesis was still a mystery: Plant scientists were able to measure what entered and left a plant, but little was known about the intermediate biochemical and biophysical processes that took place. This state of affairs started to change between the two world wars, when a number of young scientists in Europe and the United States, all of whom identified with the methods and goals of physicochemical biology, selected photosynthesis as (...) a topic of research. The protagonists had much in common: They had studied physics and chemistry to a high level; they used physicochemical methods to study the basic processes of life; they believed these processes were the same, or very similar, in all life forms; and they were affiliated with institutions that fostered this kind of study. This set of cognitive, methodological, and material resources enabled these protagonists to transfer their knowledge of the concepts and techniques from microbiology and human biochemistry, for example, to the study of plant metabolism. These transfers of knowledge had a great influence on the way in which the biochemistry and biophysics of photosynthesis would be studied over the following decades. Through the use of four historical cases, this paper analyzes these knowledge transfers, as well as the investigative pathways that made them possible. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to analyze, classify and illustrate different scholarly approaches to the Sanskrit philosophical commentaries as reflected in some influential and especially thoughtful studies of Indian philosophy; at the same time it highlights some specific features involving commentary and annotation in general, drawing from results of studies on commentaries conducted in other disciplines and fields, such as Classical and Medieval Studies, Theology, and Early English Literature. In the field of South Asian Studies, philosophical commentaries may be assessed (...) from various overlapping and not always exclusive points of view, such as preservation of otherwise lost historical information, historical authenticity and reliability, interpretational innovation, spiritual or experiential insight, philosophical creativity, intellectual liveliness, doxographic intent, degree of incidentality, expository breadth and explanatory depth. The essay provides numerous examples taken from classical to early modern philosophical literature, especially of the Brahminical and Buddhist traditions, and also discusses their diverging perception by modern scholars and interpretators. (shrink)
We delineate a developmental model of number representations. Notably, developmental dyscalculia (DD) is rarely associated with an all-or-none deficit in numerosity processing as would be expected if assuming abstract number representations. Finally, we suggest that the view might be a plausible explanatory framework for our model of how number representations develop.
Children and adults with dementia are vulnerable populations. Both groups are also relatively seldom included in biomedical research. However, including them in clinical trials is necessary, since both groups are in need of scientific innovation and new therapies. Their dependence and limited decision-making capacities increase their vulnerability, necessitating extra precautions when including them in clinical trials. Beside these similarities there are also many differences between the groups. The most obvious one is that children have an entire life ahead of them (...) and will become persons with certain ideals and preferences, while adults with dementia have lived a life in which they have expressed their ideals and preferences. Some of the available research guidelines recognize these differences, setting one list of specific requirements for groups of incapacitated adults and another list for children. Other documents, however, do not differentiate and only set requirements for subjects unable to consent as a single category of subjects. In this article we analyse to what extent the similarities and differences between the two groups are represented in legal documents and ethical guidelines. The article presents an overview and an analysis of the requirements for doing research with children and dementia patients. We conclude with suggestions about how to better incorporate the morally relevant aspects of these two groups in legislation and ethical guidelines. (shrink)
Human science researchers tend to be targeted for critique on the grounds that their approach is too individualistic to take due cognisance of societal and political influences. What is accordingly advocated is that the phenomenological and so-called romantic theories should be abandoned in favour of analytic or continental theories that have as their main focus the system, the group, the society, and the various influences of the social world on the existential reality of the individual.Without trying to invalidate these social (...) science strategies, this paper attempts to show that it is not necessary to surrender phenomenology in order to understand not only the individual, but also the social world in which individuals live. It is argued that the desired goal of a less individualistic human science’s theoretical basis can still be founded in phenomenology, in that Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, which has its origin in Husserlian phenomenology, provides us with an adequate ontology for understanding human existence more comprehensively. Merleau-Ponty’s ontological philosophy elucidates the in-between world, that structure of existence where the individual cannot be separated from her/his world context. In his exploration of the reversibility of existence, Merleau-Ponty demonstrates that there is no ontological gulf between the individual and the social world. Instead, the world is ‘in’ the individual as much as the individual is ‘in’ the world. With this phenomenological epistemology, it is argued, it is possible to generate research that is capable “of more than a frozen existence”, as Merleau-Ponty puts it. (shrink)
It will be shown in this article that an ontological approach for some problems related to the interpretation of Quantum Mechanics could emerge from a re-evaluation of the main paradox of early Greek thought: the paradox of Being and non-Being, and the solutions presented to it by Plato and Aristotle. More well known are the derivative paradoxes of Zeno: the paradox of motion and the paradox of the One and the Many. They stem from what was perceived by classical philosophy (...) to be the fundamental enigma for thinking about the world: the seemingly contradictory results that followed from the co-incidence of being and non-being in the world of change and motion as we experience it, and the experience of absolute existence here and now. The most clear expression of both stances can be found, again following classical thought, in the thinking of Heraclitus of Ephesus and Parmenides of Elea. The problem put forward by these paradoxes reduces for both Plato and Aristotle to the possibility of the existence of stable objects as a necessary condition for knowledge. Hence the primarily ontological nature of the solutions they proposed: Plato's Theory of Forms and Aristotle's metaphysics and logic. Plato's and Aristotle's systems are argued here to do on the ontological level essentially the same: to introduce stability in the world by introducing the notion of a separable, stable object, for which a principle of contradiction is valid: an object cannot be and not-be at the same place at the same time. So it becomes possible to forbid contradiction on an epistemological level, and thus to guarantee the certainty of knowledge that seemed to be threatened before. After leaving Aristotelian metaphysics, early modern science had to cope with these problems: it did so by introducing "space" as the seat of stability, and "time" as the theater of motion. But the ontological structure present in this solution remained the same. Therefore the fundamental notion `separable system', related to the notions observation and measurement, themselves related to the modern concepts of space and time, appears to be intrinsically problematic, because it is inextricably connected to classical logic on the ontological level. We see therefore the problems dealt with by quantum logic not as merely formal, and the problem of `non-locality' as related to it, indicating the need to re-think the notions `system', `entity', as well as the implications of the operation `measurement', which is seen here as an application of classical logic on the material world. (shrink)