An oft-quoted Hadith purports that it is incumbent upon every Muslim to seek knowledge, even if it is to be found as far away as China.1 However, the plethora of knowledge that was discovered there generally has yet to be unraveled by Western academics. If the intellectual tradition of Chinese Muslims may appear to be of minor consequence to the larger field of Islamic studies, this is in part because of our failure to assess their influence. The abundant resources for (...) understanding the Islamic sciences in China have barely been grazed and are awaiting our thorough analytical peregrination. This essay attempts to evaluate (1) the most recent work that explores this intellectual tradition, The Sage Learning of Liu .. (shrink)
In Search of Immortality: The Political Economy of Anti-aging Medicine Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 267-279 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0020-x Authors Alan Petersen, Monash University Sociology Program, School of Political and Social Inquiry Clayton VIC 3800 Australia Kate Seear, Monash University Sociology Program, School of Political and Social Inquiry Clayton VIC 3800 Australia Journal Medicine Studies Online ISSN 1876-4541 Print ISSN 1876-4533 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.
Standard epistemology takes it for granted that there is a special kind of value: epistemic value. This claim does not seem to sit well with act utilitarianism, however, since it holds that only welfare is of real value. I first develop a particularly utilitarian sense of “epistemic value”, according to which it is closely analogous to the nature of financial value. I then demonstrate the promise this approach has for two current puzzles in the intersection of epistemology and value theory: (...) first, the problem of why knowledge is better than mere true belief, and second, the relation between epistemic justification and responsibility. (shrink)
While an ethical obligation to report findings of clinical research to trial participants is increasingly recognised, the academic debate is often vague about what kinds of data should be fed back and how such a process should be organised. In this article, we present a classification of different actors, processes and data involved in the feedback of research results pertaining to an individual. In a second step, we reflect on circumstances requiring further ethical consideration. In regard to a concrete research (...) setting—the one of clinico-genomic research—we discuss what kinds of difficulties have to be faced when returning individual research results to trial participants. In a last step, we elaborate on a stepwise model to trigger the individual feedback process. Hence, this paper gives guidance on how to feedback individual research results in a specific research setting and responds at the same time to new challenges in the debate on the duty to return individual research findings. (shrink)
On the one hand, the absence of contraction is a safeguard against the logical (property theoretic) paradoxes; but on the other hand, it also disables inductive and recursive definitions, in its most basic form the definition of the series of natural numbers, for instance. The reason for this is simply that the effectiveness of a recursion clause depends on its being available after application, something that is usually assured by contraction. This paper presents a way of overcoming this problem within (...) the framework of a logic based on inclusion and unrestricted abstraction, without any form of extensionality. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the plausibility of a certain position in the philosophical literature within which the Repugnant Conclusion is treated, not as repugnant, but as an acceptable implication of the total welfare principle. I will confine myself to focus primarily on Törbjörn Tännsjö’s presentation. First, I reconstruct Tännsjö’s view concerning the repugnance of the RC in two arguments. The first argument is criticized for (a) addressing the wrong comparison, (b) relying on the controversial claim that (...) the privileged people in our actual world only have lives barely worth living and (c) that Tännsjö’s identification between Z-lives and privileged lives is restricted to certain versions of the notion ‘barely worth living’ – a restriction that weakens the force of the argument. The second argument is criticized because some of it premises entailed (b) and (d) for its implausible claim that non-imaginable outcomes cannot be compared. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to critically discuss the plausibility of legal moralism with an emphasis on some central and recent versions. First, this paper puts forward and defends the thesis that recently developed varieties of legal moralism promoted by Robert P. George, John Kekes and Michael Moore are more plausible than Lord Devlin's traditional account. The main argument for this thesis is that in its more modern versions legal moralism is immune to some of the forceful challenges made (...) to Devlin by Hart, Dworkin and Feinberg among others. Second, however, the paper challenges the new generation of legal moralists and suggests some areas for further development. Although Devlin's position has been scrutinized thoroughly in the literature on the philosophy of law, there has, to my knowledge, been no comparable, systematic critique of these different proponents of legal moralism. (shrink)
This volume contains work by the very best young scholars working in Applied Ethics, gathering a range of new perspectives and thoughts on highly relevant topics, such as the environment, animals, computers, freedom of speech, human enhancement, war and poverty. For researchers and students working in or around this fascinating area of the discipline, the volume will provide a unique snapshot of where the cutting-edge work in the field is currently engaged and where it's headed.
Most philosophers discuss the Repugnant Conclusion as an objection to total utilitarianism. But this focus on total utilitarianism seems to be one-sided. It conceals the important fact that other competing moral theories are also subject to the Repugnant Conclusion. The primary aim of this paper is to demonstrate that versions of egalitarianism are subject to the Repugnant Conclusion and other repugnant conclusions.
In recent years, in the UK and elsewhere, scientists and science policymakers have grappled with the question of how to reap the benefits of nanotechnologies while minimising the risks. Having recognised the importance of public support for future innovations, they have placed increasing emphasis on ‘engaging’ ‘the public’ during the early phase of technology development. Meaningful engagement suggests some common ground between experts and lay publics in relation to the definition of nanotechnologies and of their benefits and risks. However, views (...) on nanotechnologies are likely to vary according to where actors stand in the technology production/consumption/assessment cycle. Drawing on data from a recent UK-based study, this article examines how scientists (‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’) and policymakers portray the benefits and risks of nanotechnologies, particularly as they relate to two major areas of predicted application, namely medicine/public health and environmental sustainability. The findings reveal that, in the main, scientists and science policymakers held a positive conception of nanotechnologies and see imminent applications, although they acknowledged particular risks, including adverse public reaction. While definitions of ‘benefit’ and ‘risk’ varied, most saw the benefits as outweighing the risks and believed that the risks could be adequately regulated once they were assessed. The difficulties of assessing risk, however, were acknowledged. The study raises a number of questions that will need to be addressed if regulations are to be developed that not only protect people’s heath and wellbeing and the environment but also engender public trust in nanotechnologies. (shrink)
Bioethics as politics -- Bioethics and the politics of expectations -- Engendering consent : bioethics and biobanks -- Missing the big picture : bioethics and stem cell research -- Testing times : bioethics and "do-it-yourself" genetics -- Governing uncertainty : the politics of nanoethics -- Beyond bioethics.
Whether it is morally acceptable to offer rehabilitation by CNS-intervention to criminals as a condition for early release constitutes an important neuroethical question. Bomann-Larsen has recently suggested that such interventions are unacceptable if the offered treatment is not narrowly targeted at the behaviour for which the criminal is convicted. In this article it is argued that Bomann-Larsen’s analysis of the morality of offers does not provide a solid base for this conclusion and that, even if the analysis is assumed to (...) be correct, it still does not follow that voluntary rehabilitation schemes targeting behaviour beyond the act for which a criminal is convicted are inappropriate. (shrink)
Assume we could someday create artificial creatures with intelligence comparable to our own. Could it be ethical use them as unpaid labor? There is very little philosophical literature on this topic, but the consensus so far has been that such robot servitude would merely be a new form of slavery. Against this consensus I defend the permissibility of robot servitude, and in particular the controversial case of designing robots so that they want to serve human ends. A typical objection to (...) this case draws an analogy to the genetic engineering of humans: if designing eager robot servants is permissible, it should also be permissible to design eager human servants. Few ethical views can easily explain even the wrongness of such human engineering, however, and those few explanations that are available break the analogy with engineering robots. The case turns out to be illustrative of profound problems in the field of population ethics. (shrink)
Despite general agreement within philosophy that peer review is indispensable, its fairness and reliability is often questioned. This article suggests that such worries can to a large extent be met by adopting the practice that reviews as well as earlier versions of papers are made publicly available when the final version of a paper is published. This suggestion combines the advantages of transparency with the merits of anonymity of reviewers. While there are obstacles to this suggestion, the article argues that (...) it would be worthwhile to implement it because it can help map patterns of conduct and secure confidence in the fairness and reliability of review procedures and journal editing within philosophy. (shrink)
This article presents the results of a study that analysed whether social responsibility had any bearing on the decision making of institutional investors. Being that institutional investors prefer socially aligned organizations, this study explored to what extent the corporate actions and/or social/environmental investments influenced their decisions. Our results suggest that there are specific variables that affect the perceived value of the organization, leading to decisions to not only invest, but whether to hold or sell the shares, and therefore having a (...) consequential impact on the capital market’s valuation. (shrink)
About 80 % of all convicted have had a prior record of conviction. But how should the state punish repeat offenders (with a prior conviction) as compared with first-time offenders who are convicted? The law in all jurisdictions, a large swathe of public opinion, and the general trend within criminal justice ethics all seem to accept what we may call: -/- Asymmetry A The punishment of repeat offenders should be harsher than the punishment of first-time offenders. -/- This asymmetry is (...) obviously just a rough structure. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Several retributivists have argued for progressive loss of mitigation (PLM). On this view, a first-time offender receives a discount on punishment that is gradually lost if he re-offends. When the discount is lost the offender receives the full punishment, and re-offending from that point on will be punished equally. However, recently some retributivists have argued in favour of a cumulative principle (CP) according to which an offender will progressively be punished more severely the more convictions he has accumulated. In sum, in the theoretical literature on the subject, Asymmetry A has been the mantra for several prominent retributivists. The aim of this paper is to point to an all but overlooked logical point in the discussion of punishment and recidivism. This is the point that it follows, from retributivism, that there is a reason - at least in some situations, as we shall see - to support what we may call: -/- Asymmetry B The punishment of repeat offenders should be more lenient than the punishment of first-time offenders. (shrink)
This article provides a spatial analysis of the conceptual framework of fluid dynamics during the nineteenth century, focusing on the transition from the Euler equation to the Navier–Stokes equation. A dynamic version of Peter Gärdenfors's theory of conceptual spaces is applied which distinguishes changes of five types: addition and deletion of special laws; change of metric; change in importance; change in separability; addition and deletion of dimensions. The case instantiates all types but the deletion of dimensions. We also provide a (...) new view upon limiting case reduction at the conceptual level that clarifies the relation between the predecessor and successor conceptual framework. The nineteenth-century development of fluid dynamics is argued to be an instance of normal science development. (shrink)
This article picks up from William James's pragmatism and metaphysics of experience, as expressed in his “radical empiricism,” and further develops this Jamesian pragmatist approach to uncertainty and ignorance by connecting it to phenomenological thought. The Jamesian pragmatist approach avoids both a “crude naturalism” and an “absolutist rationalism,” and allows for identification of intimations of the sacred in both scientific and religious practices—which all, in their respective ways, try to make sense of a complex world. Analogous to religious practices, emotion (...) and the metaphysics of experience play a central role in science, especially the emotion of wonder. Engaging in scientific or religious practices may create opportunities for individuals to realize that they are co-creators of the world in partnership with God, in full awareness of uncertainty and ignorance and filled with the emotion of wonder. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an argument against eternalism, which is similar to the widely discussed grounding problem for presentism. It has recently been argued by many that presentism should be rejected on grounds that its sparse ontology is not suited to underwrite the healthy dose of realism we all share about the past. My aim basically is to add a new twist to the debate, by showing that actually eternalists are no better off than their rivals. In particular, I (...) argue that the eternalist’s ontology does not have the appropriate shape to ground true propositions about the past. (shrink)
The medical humanities have been presented as a panacea for medical reductionism; a means for ‘humanizing’ medicine. However, there is a lack of consensus about the appropriate contributing disciplines and how curricula should be taught and assessed. This special issue critically examines the role of the medical humanities in medical education and their potential to serve, inadvertently or otherwise, as a tool of governance. The contributors, who include medical educators and medical practitioners, employ a range of perspectives for analysing the (...) pertinent issues. (shrink)
Through the criminal justice system so-called dangerous offenders are, besides the offence that they are being convicted of and sentenced to, also punished for acts that they have not done but that they are believe to be likely to commit in the future. The aim of this paper is to critically discuss whether some adherents of retributivism give a plausible rationale for punishing offenders more harshly if they, all else being equal, by means of predictions are believed to be more (...) dangerous than other offenders. While consequentialism has no problem, at least in principle, with this use of predictions most retributivists have been opponents of punishing offenders on the basis of predictions. How can an offender deserve to be punished for something that he has not done? But some retributivists like Anthony Duff and Stephen Morse have argued in favor of punishing offenders who are considered to be dangerous in the future more harshly than non-dangerous offenders. After having reconstructed their arguments in detail, it will be argued that both Duff’s and Morse’s attempts to give a retributivistic justification have several shortcomings. (shrink)
The attacks on commercial shipping vessels by Somali pirates have introduced a business dilemma for ship-owners. While maritime piracy has been outlawed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ship-owners must determine whether to pay ransom demands to Somali pirates or not. There is no easy answer to solve this ethical dilemma for ship-owners and other interest groups, however, this article proposes a solution which takes into account all of the parties involved.
John McMillan's detailed ethical analysis concerning the use of surgical castration of sex offenders in the Czech Republic and Germany is mainly devoted to considerations of coercion.1 This is not surprising. When castration is offered as an option to offenders and, at the same time, constitutes the only means by which these offenders are likely to be released from prison, it is reasonable—and close to the heart of modern medical ethics—to consider whether the offer involves some kind of coercion. However, (...) despite McMillan's seemingly careful consideration of this question, it appears to us that the matter is more complicated than his approach to it suggests.The first thing that adds to the complexity of the discussion concerns the alternative for sex offenders who do not accept the offer of castration. As mentioned, it is likely that these offenders will be kept in prison. McMillan even underlines that they may be detained ‘indefinitely’. And the response report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to the Czech Government also emphasises—as part of the Czech Criminal Code—the possibility of ‘security detention’ that will last for as long as required for ‘the protection of society’.2 Suppose, …. (shrink)
This study examined the influence of two organizational context variables, codes of conduct and supervisor advice, on personnel decisions in an experimental simulation. Specifically, we studied personnel evaluations and decisions in a situation where codes of conduct conflict with supervisor advice. Past studies showed that supervisors’ advice to prefer ingroup over outgroup candidates leads to discriminatory personnel selection decisions. We extended this line of research by studying how codes of conduct and code enforcement may reduce this form of discrimination. Eighty (...) German managers evaluated and selected candidates from an applicant pool including Germans (ingroup members) and foreigners (outgroup members). Supervisor advice to prefer ingroup members lowered suitability ratings of outgroup members as well as their chances to be selected for an interview. Ethical codes of conduct referring to equal opportunities limited this form of discrimination, but only when codes were enforced by sanctions and integrated into organizational every-day practice. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
Next SectionFive arguments are presented in favour of the proposal that people who opt in as organ donors should receive a tax break. These arguments appeal to welfare, autonomy, fairness, distributive justice and self-ownership, respectively. Eight worries about the proposal are considered in this paper. These objections focus upon no-effect and counter-productiveness, the Titmuss concern about social meaning, exploitation of the poor, commodification, inequality and unequal status, the notion that there are better alternatives, unacceptable expense, and concerns about the veto (...) of relatives. The paper argues that none of the objections to the proposal is very telling. (shrink)
The gradual crowding out of singleton and small team science by large team endeavors is challenging key features of research culture. It is therefore important for the future of scientific practice to reflect upon the individual scientist’s ethical responsibilities within teams. To facilitate this reflection we show labor force trends in the US revealing a skewed growth in academic ranks and increased levels of competition for promotion within the system; we analyze teaming trends across disciplines and national borders demonstrating why (...) it is becoming difficult to distribute credit and to avoid conflicts of interest; and we use more than a century of Nobel prize data to show how science is outgrowing its old institutions of singleton awards. Of particular concern within the large team environment is the weakening of the mentor–mentee relation, which undermines the cultivation of virtue ethics across scientific generations. These trends and emerging organizational complexities call for a universal set of behavioral norms that transcend team heterogeneity and hierarchy. To this end, our expository analysis provides a survey of ethical issues in team settings to inform science ethics education and science policy. (shrink)
Foucault's work has had a profound impact on the medical humanities over the last decade or so. However, most work to date has focused on Foucault's earlier writings rather than his later contributions on the self and governmentality. This article assesses the significance of the concept of governmentality for critical scholarship in the medical humanities, particularly in creating ethical awareness in the field of health care. It examines the context for Foucault's later work, and contributions arising from scholarship building on (...) this work. The governmentality literature, it is argued, raises novel questions about the ways we have come to think about health care in late modern societies. However, there are some limitations with this body of work which have not been fully acknowledged by scholars. The article discusses some of these limitations and offers some suggestions for a fruitful way forward. (shrink)
The paper critically discusses a role-model argument (RMA) in favour of banning performance-enhancing drugs in sport. The argument concludes that athletes should be banned from using performance-enhancing drugs because if they are allowed to use such drugs they will encourage, or cause, youngsters who look up to them to use drugs in a way that would be harmful. In Section 2 the structure of the argument and some versions of it are presented. In Section 3 a critical discussion of RMA (...) is presented. It is argued that we should be reluctant to accept the argument as it stands for at least three reasons: (i) it rests on an unsupported empirical claim; (ii) it also makes a false empirical claim; and (iii) the normative premise of the argument is too demanding morally. Further objections to the RMA are also discussed, but argued to be beside the point. (shrink)