Addiction appears to be a deeply moralized concept. To understand the entwinement of addiction and morality, we briefly discuss the disease model and its alternatives in order to address the following questions: Is the disease model the only path towards a ‘de-moralized’ discourse of addiction? While it is tempting to think that medical language surrounding addiction provides liberation from the moralized language, evidence suggests that this is not necessarily the case. On the other hand non-disease models of addiction may seem (...) to resuscitate problematic forms of the moralization of addiction, including, invoking blame, shame, and the wholesale rejection of addicts as people who have deep character flaws, while ignoring the complex biological and social context of addiction. This is also not necessarily the case. We argue that a deficit in reasons responsiveness as basis for attribution of moral responsibility can be realized by multiple different causes, disease being one, but it also seems likely that alternative accounts of addiction as developed by Flanagan, Lewis, and Levy, may also involve mechanisms, psychological, social, and neurobiological that can diminish reasons responsiveness. It thus seems to us that nondisease models of addiction do not necessarily involve moralization. Hence, a non-stigmatizing approach to recovery can be realized in ways that are consistent with both the disease model and alternative models of addiction. (shrink)
Dating and hookup apps (DHAs) are now widely used and may be transforming our intimate relationships. The apps are beneficial in fostering intimate connections among those who are lonely, who are members of minority or marginalized groups, or who live nomadic lifestyles because of work or recreational travel. However, the wider social and relational changes that DHAs portend are merely beginning to be seriously discussed by academics (Arias et al., 2017). In this chapter, we employ concepts from the philosophy of (...) technology that inform our analysis of these changes. We also collate some of the morally significant impacts of DHAs and present some of the elements of the architecture of DHAs that facilitate them. Although there are many reasons to be concerned about DHAs, we argue that there is room for cautious optimism that DHAs may be vehicles of positive social and moral change. (shrink)
Engineering an artificial intelligence to play an advisory role in morally charged decision making will inevitably introduce meta-ethical positions into the design. Some of these positions, by informing the design and operation of the AI, will introduce risks. This paper offers an analysis of these potential risks along the realism/anti-realism dimension in metaethics and reveals that realism poses greater risks, but, on the other hand, anti-realism undermines the motivation for engineering a moral AI in the first place.
Upon entering the examination room, Caitlyn encounters a woman sitting alone and in distress. Caitlyn introduces herself as the hospital ethicist and tells the woman, Mrs. Dennis, that her aim is to help her reach a decision about whether to perform an autopsy on her recently deceased husband. Mrs. Dennis begins the encounter by telling the ethicist that she has to decide quickly, but that she is very torn about what to do. Mrs. Dennis adds, “My sons disagree about the (...) autopsy.” As a standardized patient, a specialized actor, the woman playing Mrs. Dennis has already delivered the same opening lines several times to different learners practicing their clinical ethics consultation skills. An SP encounter is a simulated patient encounter used for educational purposes that requires the standardization of verbal and behavioral responses. In the encounter, the simulator, or “patient,” uses a scripted medical history to enable the learner to employ a certain skill, say, the ability to perform a neurological exam. The use of standardized patients in the evaluation of clinical skills has become a staple in medical education. To tackle the challenge of teaching clinical ethics consultation skills, we have incorporated SP encounters into the curriculum of the Bioethics Program of The Union Graduate College and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. SP encounters are incorporated into one of our onsite classes, the Onsite Clinical Ethics Practicum, and they are part of the capstone examination, which all of our graduates must complete successfully. The inclusion of simulated encounters into the curriculum is one way in which we equip our students with the core competencies specified by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Task Force for clinical ethicists. (shrink)
The ArgumentThis paper focuses on the opening of a discursive space: the emergence of informational and scriptural representations of life and their self-negating consequences for the construction of biological meaning. It probes the notion of writing and the book of life and shows how molecular biology's claims to a status of language and texuality undermines its own objective of control. These textual significations were historically contingent. The informational representations of heredity and life were not an outcome of the internal cognitive (...) momentum of molecular biology; they were not a logical necessity of the unravelling of the base-pairing of the DNA double-helix. They were transported into molecular biology still within the protein paradigm of the gene in the 1940s and permeated nearly every discipline in the life and social sciences. These information-based models, metaphors, linguistic, and semiotic tools which were central to the formulation of the genetic code were transported into molecular biology from cybernetics, information theory, electronic computing, and control and communication systems — technosciences that were deeply embedded with the military experiences of world war II and the Cold War. The information discourse thus became fixed in molecular biology not because it worked in the narrow epistemic sense (it did not), but because it positioned molecular biology within postwar discourse and culture, perhaps within the transition to a post-modern information-based society. (shrink)
Can climate be Chinese, and if so, then how? Drawing on personal writings, popular discourse, and scientific reports, this essay considers the work of early Chinese meteorologists in relation to the revolutionary national politics of the early twentieth century. Historians of China have established that nationalism motivated the pursuit of meteorology and other natural sciences, but I advance the more radical position that there was no clear distinction between the practice of climate science and the political ideology that motivated it. (...) With special attention to the career and legacy of Zhu Kezhen from the Xinhai Revolution through World War II, I test this thesis in two arenas: Chinese meteorologists’ production of spatial knowledge, and their production of cultural knowledge. The nation was integral to the questions, methods, and analyses of atmospheric science, which helped to reify the Chinese nation-state. (shrink)
In this chapter we identify three potentially morally problematic behaviours that are common among users of dating and hook-up apps (DHAs) and provide arguments as to why they may or may not be considered (a) in a category of their own, distinct from similar behaviours outside of DHAs; (b) caused or facilitated by affordances and business logic of DHAs; (c) as indeed morally wrong. We also consider ways in which morally problematic behaviours can be anticipated, mitigated, or even prevented by (...) analysis of the ethical and moral dimensions of technologies and their afforded uses. Finally, we offer some possible directions for future work on these topics in particular and on the ethical consequences of DHAs in general. (shrink)
How could ectogestative technology disrupt gender roles, parenting practices, and concepts such as ‘birth’, ‘body’, or ‘parent’? In this chapter, we situate this emerging technology in the context of the history of reproductive technologies and analyse the potential social and conceptual disruptions to which it could contribute. An ectogestative device, better known as ‘artificial womb’, enables the extra-uterine gestation of a human being, or mammal more generally. It is currently developed with the main goal of improving the survival chances of (...) extremely premature neonates. We argue that the intended use of the technology in neonatal intensive care units, as an alternative to current incubators (’partial-ectogestation’), challenges concepts such as ‘birth’, ‘fetus’, and ‘neonate’, and has several ethico-legal implications. We moreover address a more futuristic scenario where the entire embryological and fetal development could happen within an artificial womb (’full-ectogestation’). Such a scenario reveals the disruption of gender roles, parenting practices, and concepts such as ‘mother’, ‘father’, and ‘parent’. Both full- and partial-ectogestation would have implications for engineering and design, law-making, ethics, and philosophical anthropology. (shrink)
Kunstmatige intelligentie (AI) en systemen die met machine learning (ML) werken, kunnen veel onderdelen van het medische besluitvormingsproces ondersteunen of vervangen. Ook zouden ze artsen kunnen helpen bij het omgaan met klinische, morele dilemma’s. AI/ML-beslissingen kunnen zo in de plaats komen van professionele beslissingen. We betogen dat dit belangrijke gevolgen heeft voor de relatie tussen een patiënt en de medische professie als instelling, en dat dit onvermijdelijk zal leiden tot uitholling van het institutionele vertrouwen in de geneeskunde.
The development of highly humanoid sex robots is on the technological horizon. If sex robots are integrated into the legal community as “electronic persons”, the issue of sexual consent arises, which is essential for legally and morally permissible sexual relations between human persons. This paper explores whether it is conceivable, possible, and desirable that humanoid robots should be designed such that they are capable of consenting to sex. We consider reasons for giving both “no” and “yes” answers to these three (...) questions by examining the concept of consent in general, as well as critiques of its adequacy in the domain of sexual ethics; the relationship between consent and free will; and the relationship between consent and consciousness. Additionally we canvass the most influential existing literature on the ethics of sex with robots. (shrink)
Some critics of sex-robots worry that their use might spread objectifying attitudes about sex, and common sense places a higher value on sex within love-relationships than on casual sex. If there could be mutual love between humans and sex-robots, this could help to ease the worries about objectifying attitudes. And mutual love between humans and sex-robots, if possible, could also help to make this sex more valuable. But is mutual love between humans and robots possible, or even conceivable? We discuss (...) three clusters of ideas and associations commonly discussed within the philosophy of love, and relate these to the topic of whether mutual love could be achieved between humans and sex-robots: (i) the idea of love as a “good match”; (ii) the idea of valuing each other in our distinctive particularity; and (iii) the idea of a steadfast commitment. We consider relations among these ideas and the sort of agency and free will that we attribute to human romantic partners. Our conclusion is that mutual love between humans and advanced sex-robots is not an altogether impossible proposition. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to create robots sophisticated enough to be able to participate in love-relationships anytime soon. -/- . (shrink)
Frank E. Zachos offers a comprehensive review of one of today's most important and contentious issues in biology: the species problem. After setting the stage with key background information on the topic, the book provides a brief history of species concepts from antiquity to the Modern Synthesis, followed by a discussion of the ontological status of species with a focus on the individuality thesis and potential means of reconciling it with other philosophical approaches. More than 30 different species concepts (...) found in the literature are presented in an annotated list, and the most important ones, including the Biological, Genetic, Evolutionary and different versions of the Phylogenetic Species Concept, are discussed in more detail. Specific questions addressed include the problem of asexual and prokaryotic species, intraspecific categories like subspecies and Evolutionarily Significant Units, and a potential solution to the species problem based on a hierarchical approach that distinguishes between ontological and operational species concepts. A full chapter is dedicated to the challenge of delimiting species by means of a discrete taxonomy in a continuous world of inherently fuzzy boundaries. Further, the book outlines the practical ramifications for ecology and evolutionary biology of how we define the species category, highlighting the danger of an apples and oranges problem if what we subsume under the same name ("species") is in actuality a variety of different entities. A succinct summary chapter, glossary and annotated list of references round out the coverage, making the book essential reading for all biologists looking for an accessible introduction to the historical, philosophical and practical dimensions of the species problem. (shrink)
Moral bioenhancement, nudge-designed environments, and ambient persuasive technologies may help people behave more consistently with their deeply held moral convictions. Alternatively, they may aid people in overcoming cognitive and affective limitations that prevent them from appreciating a situation’s moral dimensions. Or they may simply make it easier for them to make the morally right choice by helping them to overcome sources of weakness of will. This paper makes two assumptions. First, technologies to improve people’s moral capacities are realizable. Second, such (...) technologies will actually help people get morality right and behave more consistently with whatever the ‘real’ right thing to do turns out to be. The paper then considers whether or not humanity loses anything valuable, particularly opportunities for moral progress, when being moral is made much easier by eliminating difficult moral deliberation and internal moral struggle. Ultimately, the worry that moral struggle has value as a catalyst for moral progress is rejected. Moral progress is understood here as the discovery and application of new values or sensitization to new sources of harm. (shrink)
In this chapter, we consider ethical and philosophical aspects of trust in the practice of medicine. We focus on trust within the patient-physician relationship, trust and professionalism, and trust in Western (allopathic) institutions of medicine and medical research. Philosophical approaches to trust contain important insights into medicine as an ethical and social practice. In what follows we explain several philosophical approaches and discuss their strengths and weaknesses in this context. We also highlight some relevant empirical work in the section on (...) trust in the institutions of medicine. It is hoped that the approaches discussed here can be extended to nursing and other topics in the philosophy of medicine. (shrink)
It is not clear to what the projects of creating an artificial intelligence (AI) that does ethics, is moral, or makes moral judgments amounts. In this paper we discuss some of the extant metaethical theories and debates in moral philosophy by which such projects should be informed, specifically focusing on the project of creating an AI that makes moral judgments. We argue that the scope and aims of that project depend a great deal on antecedent metaethical commitments. Metaethics, therefore, plays (...) the role of an Archimedean fulcrum in this context, very much like the Archimedean role that it is often taken to take in context of normative ethics (Dworkin 1996; Dreier 2002; Fantl 2006; Ehrenberg 2008). (shrink)