During the Second World War, through innovations in officer selection and group therapy, the army psychiatrists John Rickman and Wilfred Bion changed our understanding of leadership. They showed how soldiers under stress could develop real authority through their attentiveness to each other. From contrasting experiences 25 years earlier each had seen how people in groups are moved by elemental forces that undermine judgement and thought. This article arose from my experiences as a trainee at the Tavistock Clinic, where the method (...) of reflective work discussion, giving individuals seated in a circle the choice to speak or to remain silent, seemed similar to a Quaker meeting. Many decades later I found that this association had a basis in fact. Among other influences on Bion — a childhood in India, distinguished service in the First World War, and a surgical apprenticeship with Wilfred Trotter — there is a little-acknowledged Quaker source, in John Rickman, for Bion’s radical work in the army that led to new methods of training and organizational consultancy in the postwar Tavistock. (shrink)
Cruelty is evident in the play and interactions of quite small children. This is almost certainly normal, though it is more evident in children who have themselves been harshly treated (Amato & Fowler 2002; Luk et al. 1999).
In this article, I explore select case studies of Parkinson patients treated with deep brain stimulation in light of the notions of alienation and authenticity. While the literature on DBS has so far neglected the issues of authenticity and alienation, I argue that interpreting these cases in terms of these concepts raises new issues for not only the philosophical discussion of neuro-ethics of DBS, but also for the psychological and medical approach to patients under DBS. In particular, I suggest that (...) the experience of alienation and authenticity varies from patient to patient with DBS. For some, alienation can be brought about by neurointerventions because patients no longer feel like themselves. But, on the other hand, it seems alienation can also be cured by DBS as other patients experience their state of mind as authentic under treatment and retrospectively regard their former lives without stimulation as alienated. I argue that we must do further research on the relevance of authenticity and alienation to patients treated with DBS in order to gain a deeper philosophical understanding, and to develop the best evaluative criterion for the behavior of DBS patients. (shrink)
While deep brain stimulation (DBS) for patients with Parkinson's disease has typically raised ethical questions about autonomy, accountability and personal identity, recent research indicates that we need to begin taking into account issues surrounding the patients’ feelings of authenticity and alienation as well. In order to bring out the relevance of this dimension to ethical considerations of DBS, I analyse a recent case study of a Dutch patient who, as a result of DBS, faced a dilemma between autonomy and authenticity. (...) This case study is meant to point out the normatively meaningful tension patients under DBS experience between authenticity and autonomy. (shrink)
Cognitive theories claim, whereas non-cognitive theories deny, that cognitive access is constitutive of phenomenology. Evidence in favor of non-cognitive theories has recently been collected by Block and is based on the high capacity of participants in partial-report experiments compared to the capacity of the working memory. In reply, defenders of cognitive theories have searched for alternative interpretations of such results that make visual awareness compatible with the capacity of the working memory; and so the conclusions of such experiments remain controversial. (...) Instead of entering the debate between alternative interpretations of partial-report experiments, this paper offers an alternative line of research that could settle the discussion between cognitive and non-cognitive theories of consciousness. Here I relate the neural correlates of cognitive access to empirical research into the neurophysiology of dreams; cognitive access seems to depend on the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. However, that area is strongly deactivated during sleep; a period when we entertain conscious experiences: dreams. This approach also avoids the classic objection that consciousness should be inextricably tied to reportability or it would fall outside the realm of science. (shrink)
This article will examine how the notion of emotional authenticity is intertwined with the notions of naturalness and artificiality in the context of the recent debates about ‘neuro-enhancement’ and ‘neuro-psychopharmacology.’ In the philosophy of mind, the concept of authenticity plays a key role in the discussion of the emotions. There is a widely held intuition that an artificial means will always lead to an inauthentic result. This article, however, proposes that artificial substances do not necessarily result in inauthentic emotions. The (...) literature provided by the philosophy of mind on this subject usually resorts to thought experiments. On the other hand, the recent literature in applied ethics on ‘enhancement’ provides good reasons to include real world examples. Such case studies reveal that some psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants actually cause people to undergo experiences of authenticity, making them feel ‘like themselves’ for the first time in their lives. Beginning with these accounts, this article suggests three non-naturalist standards for emotions: the authenticity standard, the rationality standard, and the coherence standard. It argues that the authenticity standard is not always the only valid one, but that the other two ways of assessing emotions are also valid, and that they can even have repercussions on the felt authenticity of emotions. In conclusion, it sketches some of the normative implications if not ethical intricacies that accompany the enhancement of emotions. (shrink)
Several decades ago, Christopher Boorse formulated an influential statistical theory of normative biological functions but it has often been claimed that his theory suffers from insuperable problems such as an inability to handle cases of epidemic and universal diseases. This paper develops a new statistical theory of normative functions that is capable of dealing with the notorious problem of epidemic and universal diseases. The theory is also more detailed than its predecessors and offers other important advantages over them. It is (...) argued here that statistical theories of biological functions should not be so quickly dismissed. (shrink)
Unsatisfied with stringent statistical theories of information such as Dretske's unity theory, Millikan (2001, 2004, 2007) and Shea (2007) have independently introduced ?soft? statistical notions of information. I argue here that these soft statistical notions do not present viable alternative senses of information to that proposed by Dretske. Furthermore, what appears to be the primary motivation for ?soft? information can be undercut.
Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theories of consciousness maintain that the kind of awareness necessary for phenomenal consciousness depends on the cognitive accessibility that underlies reporting. -/- There is empirical evidence strongly suggesting that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report visual experiences depends on the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). This area, however, is highly deactivated during the conscious experiences we have during sleep: dreams. HOT theories are jeopardized, as I will argue. I will briefly present HOT (...) theories in the first section. Section 2 offers empirical evidence to the effect that the cognitive accessibility that underlies the ability to report depends on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: dlPFC is the neural correlate of HOTs. Section 3 shows the evidence we have of the deactivation of this brain area during dreams and, in section 4, I present my argument. Finally, I consider and rejoin two possible replies that my opponent can offer: the possibility of an alternative neural correlate of HOTs during dreams and the denial that we have phenomenally conscious experiences during sleep. (shrink)
Some philosophers, like David Chalmers, have either shown their sympathy for, or explicitly endorsed, the following two principles: Panpsychism—roughly the thesis that the mind is ubiquitous throughout the universe—and Organizational Invariantism—the principle that holds that two systems with the same fine-grained functional organization will have qualitatively identical experiences. The purpose of this paper is to show the tension between the arguments that back up both principles. This tension should lead, or so I will argue, defenders of one of the principles (...) to give up on the other. (shrink)
Rather than focusing on political and legal debates surrounding attempts to determine if and when genocidal rape has taken place in a particular setting, this essay turns instead to a crucial, yet neglected area of inquiry: the moral significance of genocidal rape, and more specifically, the nature of the harms that constitute the culpable wrongdoing that genocidal rape represents. In contrast to standard philosophical accounts, which tend to employ an individualistic framework, this essay offers a situated understanding of harm that (...) features the importance of interdependence and relationality and that conceptualizes harms as embodied and contextual. The paper ultimately reveals what is distinctive about this particular crime of sexual violence by exploring the logic of genocidal rape: genocidal rape involves the harm of forced self-betrayal unleashed relationally, causing victims as representatives of their group to participate inadvertently in the destruction of that group. (shrink)
In the present enterprise we take a look at the meaning of Autonomy, how the word has been employed and some of the consequences of its use in the sciences of the artificial. Could and should robots really be autonomous entities? Over and beyond this, we use concepts from the philosophy of mind to spur on enquiry into the very essence of human autonomy. We believe our initiative, as does Dennett's life-long research, sheds light upon the problems of robot design (...) with respect to their relation with humans. (shrink)
This article deals with the euthanasia debate in light of new life-sustaining technologies such as the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The question arises: does the switching off of a LVAD by a doctor upon the request of a patient amount to active or passive euthanasia, i.e. to ‘killing’ or to ‘letting die’? The answer hinges on whether the device is to be regarded as a proper part of the patient's body or as something external. We usually regard the switching (...) off of an internal device as killing, whereas the deactivation of an external device is seen as ‘letting die’. The case is notoriously difficult to decide for hybrid devices such as LVADs, which are partly inside and partly outside the patient's body. Additionally, on a methodological level, I will argue that the ‘ontological’ arguments from analogy given for both sides are problematic. Given the impasse facing the ontological arguments, complementary phenomenological arguments deserve closer inspection. In particular, we should consider whether phenomenologically the LVAD is perceived as a body part or as an external device. I will support the thesis that the deactivation of a LVAD is to be regarded as passive euthanasia if the device is not perceived by the patient as a part of the body proper. (shrink)
Kevin Smith's utilitarian argument against homeopathy1 is flawed because he did not review and refute the relevant basic science literature on ultra-high dilutions. He also failed to appreciate that allopathic medicine is based on a deductive-nomothetic method and that homeopathic medicine is based on an inductive-idiographic method, and thus that the implications for clinical research are very different. His misunderstanding of provings and of the holism of homeopathic medicine also demonstrated his failure to understand the history, philosophy and method of (...) homeopathy. Finally, I questioned the value of introducing ethical judgment into an ongoing scientific debate. (shrink)
Arguably, the most widely endorsed account of normative functions in philosophy of biology is an etiological theory that holds that the function of current traits is fixed by the past selection history of other traits of that type. The earlier formulations of this “selected-effects” theory had trouble accommodating vestigial traits. In order to remedy these difficulties, the influential recent selection or modern history selected-effects theory was introduced. This paper expands upon and strengthens the argument that this theory has trouble stemming (...) from recent “no variation” cases. In addition, several influential arguments for the necessity of including a selection requirement in a theory of normative biological functions are contested. It is suggested that accounting for biological functions in certain areas of biology does not require adverting to selection. (shrink)
In this paper I begin by examining a particularly disturbing eliminativist argument from Evelyn Fox Keller against the continued use of the very concept of the gene. If Fox Keller’s argument were to work, then any attempt to continue with or attempt to revise behavioral genetics would be doomed. In the course of replying to Fox Keller’s argument a revised, functional concept of the gene is presented and defending. Using this revised conception of the gene I then consider how appeal (...) to a functional approach to the gene can itself lead to a more general functionalist revision of the basic behavioral genetics project. In the third part of the paper I then turn to examining the advantages with respect to scientific explanation that such a functionalist account can provide. And, I end by considering how such an account might provide some help in dealing with additional ethical worries, including additional ethical arguments from Fox Keller against the continued use of the concept of the gene as well as ethical concerns that have been raised regarding behaviorally designed babies. (shrink)
This paper analyses the relationship between religion and the field of medicine and health care in light of other recent studies. Generally, religion and spirituality have a positive impact on disease. For patients diagnosed with malignancies and chronic diseases, religion is an important dimension of healing. From ancient times, God has been considered an inspiration for the physician's knowledge and healing resources. Some authors have proposed a brief history of spiritual and religious states that the doctor can apply to his (...) patient. Religiosity and spirituality allow patients to receive better social support and to benefit greatly from resources provided by religious organizations (cultural activities, jobs, and health care counseling). The two terms "religion" and "spirituality" have different meanings but are always in connection. Many studies emphasize that people with greater religiosity and spirituality have a lower prevalence of depression and suicide, better quality of life, and greater survival. Additionally the article discusses the complementary health care benefits of religious fasting. Caloric and protein restrictions promoted by religious fasting were associated with improvement in control or prophylaxis of many diseases and with longevity. (shrink)
Objections to child labour range from its creating unfair trade advantage to its infringing children’s human rights. Analysis of the responsibilities of various parties implicated in the use of child labour can lead to identifying stages in a cumulative ethical approach which is not self‐defeating. The author is an economist who has recently completed his MBA at London Business School.