Population-level biomedical research offers new opportunities to improve population health, but also raises new challenges to traditional systems of research governance and ethical oversight. Partly in response to these challenges, various models of public involvement in research are being introduced. Yet, the ways in which public involvement should meet governance challenges are not well understood. We conducted a qualitative study with 36 experts and stakeholders using the World Café method to identify key governance challenges and explore how public involvement can (...) meet these challenges. This brief report discusses four cross-cutting themes from the study: the need to move beyond individual consent; issues in benefit and data sharing; the challenge of delineating and understanding publics; and the goal of clarifying justifications for public involvement. The report aims to provide a starting point for making sense of the relationship between public involvement and the governance of population-level biomedical research, showing connections, potential solutions and issues arising at their intersection. We suggest that, in population-level biomedical research, there is a pressing need for a shift away from conventional governance frameworks focused on the individual and towards a focus on collectives, as well as to foreground ethical issues around social justice and develop ways to address cultural diversity, value pluralism and competing stakeholder interests. There are many unresolved questions around how this shift could be realised, but these unresolved questions should form the basis for developing justificatory accounts and frameworks for suitable collective models of public involvement in population-level biomedical research governance. (shrink)
Michael Otsuka sets out to vindicate left-libertarianism, a political philosophy which combines stringent rights of control over one's own mind, body, and life with egalitarian rights of ownership of the world. Otsuka reclaims the ideas of John Locke from the libertarian Right, and shows how his Second Treatise of Government provides the theoretical foundations for a left-libertarianism which is both more libertarian and more egalitarian than the Kantian liberal theories of John Rawls and Thomas Nagel. Otsuka's libertarianism is founded on (...) a right of self-ownership. Here he is at one with 'right-wing' libertarians, such as Robert Nozick, in endorsing the highly anti-paternalistic and anti-moralistic implications of this right. But he parts company with these libertarians in so far as he argues that such a right is compatible with a fully egalitarian principle of equal opportunity for welfare. In embracing this principle, his own version of left-libertarianism is more strongly egalitarian than others which are currently well known. Otsuka argues that an account of legitimate political authority based upon the free consent of each is strengthened by the adoption of such an egalitarian principle. He defends a pluralistic, decentralized ideal of political society as a confederation of voluntary associations. Part I of Libertarianism without Inequality concerns the natural rights of property in oneself and the world. Part II considers the natural rights of punishment and self-defence that form the basis for the government's authority to legislate and punish. Part III explores the nature and limits of the powers of governments which are created by the consensual transfer of the natural rights of the governed. Libertarianism without Inequality is a book which everyone interested in political theory should read. (shrink)
Many years ago we often witnessed a testy insistence, on the part of some purist, that some very familiar philosophical ‘ism’ be defined before being discussed; when most people either thought that had been done already or were happy to wait for the discussion itself to identify the ‘ism’. The old new style, that featured those unexpected demands for definition, ended by trying people's patience in its turn. Today there is a widespread assumption that we know, well enough, what is (...) meant in philosophy by Scepticism. Perhaps the majority view is something like this: The philosophical term Scepticism admittedly covers a number of different stances. The one that a given philosopher wants to discuss may or may not be the most like that of the original ancient Skeptics. Still the context normally makes it clear enough what is meant, and there is more point in discussing whatever thing is meant than in quarrelling about the name. As for the way, or ways, in which the word scepticism with a small s is used when people are not referring to any traditional philosophical position—we can safely disregard colloquial usage in this context. As a rule the main point is to see how, if at all, the Scepticism in question is best combated or refuted. (shrink)
At the centre of John Rawls's political philosophy is one of the most influential thought experiments of the twentieth century: which principles of justice would a group of individuals choose to regulate their society if they were deprived of any information about themselves that might bias their choice? In this collection of new essays, leading political philosophers examine the ramifications and continued relevance of Rawls's idea. Their chapters explore topics including the place of the original position in rational choice theory, (...) the similarities between Rawls's original position and Kant's categorical imperative, the differences between Rawls's model and Scanlon's contractualism, and the role of the original position in the argument between Rawls and other views in political philosophy, including utilitarianism, feminism, and radicalism. This accessible volume will be a valuable resource for undergraduates, as well as advanced students and scholars of philosophy, game theory, economics, and the social and political sciences. (shrink)
Someone who has more sympathy with traditional empiricism than with much of present-day philosophy may ask himself: 'How do my experiences give rise to my beliefs about an external world, and to what extent do they justify them?' He wants to refer, among other things, to unremarkable experiences, of a sort which he cannot help believing to be so extremely common that it would be ridiculous to call them common experiences. He mainly has in mind sense-experiences, and he thinks of (...) them in a particular way. His way of thinking of them, roughly speaking as something 'inner', is one on which recent logico-linguistic philosophy has thrown a good deal of light. The relevant special notion of an experience contrasts, among other things, with a certain more general biographical notion of an experience, which some dictionaries indicate by the definition, 'an event of which one is the subject'. This book explores the concept of experiences, focusing on the disjunctions between perception and illusion. (shrink)
In this interesting and engaging book, Shabel offers an interpretation of Kant's philosophy of mathematics as expressed in his critical writings. Shabel's analysis is based on the insight that Kant's philosophical standpoint on mathematics cannot be understood without an investigation into his perception of mathematical practice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She aims to illuminate Kant's theory of the construction of concepts in pure intuition—the basis for his conclusion that mathematical knowledge is synthetic a priori. She does this through (...) a contextualized interpretation of his notion of mathematical construction, which she argues can be approached by looking at Euclid's Elements and Christian Wolff's mathematical textbooks. The importance of the former for her interpretation is justified by the fact that nearly all of Kant's mathematical examples in the Critique are Euclidean propositions. The importance of the latter is revealed through the fact that Wolff's textbooks were not only widely read and representative of the state of elementary mathematics during Kant's time; Kant was also intimately familiar with them. During the thirty years prior to the publication of the Critique, he used the textbooks in the college-level introductory courses in mathematics and physics that he taught.In the introduction to her book, Shabel helpfully distinguishes her approach to Kant's philosophy of mathematics from that of previous commentators. She points out that most commentators assessed Kant's thoughts on mathematics in terms of the ‘supposedly devastating effects of the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry on his theory of space’.1 Bertrand Russell, for example, criticized Kant for his lack of a proper …. (shrink)
In this paper I describe the apparent differences between the views of Mizrahi and Seidel on the strength of arguments from expert opinion. I show that most of Seidel's objections rely on an understanding of the words 'expert' and 'opinion' different from those which Mizrahi employs. I also discuss certain inconsistencies found in both papers over the use of these key terms. The paper concludes by noting that Mizrahi is right to suggest that evidence shows expert predictions to be unreliable, (...) but Seidel is correct to observe that this finding should not be used to claim that expert opinion in general is not to be trusted. (shrink)
This paper begins with an assessment of the origin of the term ‘deep disagreement’ to reflect fundamental differences in argument procedure and suggests an alternative explanation of such stalemates that may apply in many cases and does lead to a possible resolution strategy, through discussion of the ordering of certain principles, rather than their acceptance or rejection. Similarities are then drawn with disputes which are supported by conflicting expert opinions and I lay out the advantages of seeking to resolve them (...) through the construction of an epistemic hierarchy. It is noted that while such hierarchies may not be easy to build, and are certainly not fool-proof, their importance is in the provision of a mechanism by which an apparently stalled debate can move forward, leading to a better understanding of the conflicting positions, if not full resolution. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is twofold: to give a good account of the argument from ignorance, with a presumptive argumentation scheme, and to raise issues on the work of Walton, the nature of abduction and the concept of epistemic closure. First, I offer a brief disambiguation of how the terms 'argument from ignorance' and 'argumentum ad ignorantiam' are used. Second, I show how attempts to embellish this form of reasoning by Douglas Walton and A.J. Kreider have been unnecessary and (...) unhelpful. Lastly, I offer a full and effective account of the argument from ignorance and discuss the lessons of the analysis.Le but de cet article est double: donner un bon compte rendu de l'argument par l'ignorance, avec un schème d'argumentation présomptif, et soulever des questions sur certains aspects de l’œuvre de Walton, la nature des raisonnements abductifs et le concept de fermeture épistémique. Premièrement, j'offre une brève désambiguïsation de la façon dont les termes «argument par l'ignorance» et «argumentum ad ignorantiam» sont utilisés. Deuxièmement, je montre comment les tentatives de Douglas Walton et de A.J. Kreider d'embellir cette forme de raisonnement ont été ni nécessaires et ni utiles. Enfin, j'offre un compte-rendu complet et utile de l'argument par l'ignorance et je discute des leçons de l'analyse. (shrink)
It is possible to learn multiple layers of non-linear features by backpropagating error derivatives through a feedforward neural network. This is a very effective learning procedure when there is a huge amount of labeled training data, but for many learning tasks very few labeled examples are available. In an effort to overcome the need for labeled data, several different generative models were developed that learned interesting features by modeling the higher order statistical structure of a set of input vectors. One (...) of these generative models, the restricted Boltzmann machine (RBM), has no connections between its hidden units and this makes perceptual inference and learning much simpler. More significantly, after a layer of hidden features has been learned, the activities of these features can be used as training data for another RBM. By applying this idea recursively, it is possible to learn a deep hierarchy of progressively more complicated features without requiring any labeled data. This deep hierarchy can then be treated as a feedforward neural network which can be discriminatively fine-tuned using backpropagation. Using a stack of RBMs to initialize the weights of a feedforward neural network allows backpropagation to work effectively in much deeper networks and it leads to much better generalization. A stack of RBMs can also be used to initialize a deep Boltzmann machine that has many hidden layers. Combining this initialization method with a new method for fine-tuning the weights finally leads to the first efficient way of training Boltzmann machines with many hidden layers and millions of weights. (shrink)
Lisa Tessman's Burdened Virtues is a deeply original and provocative work that engages questions central to feminist theory and practice, from the perspective of Aristotelian ethics. Focused primarily on selves who endure and resist oppression, she addresses the ways in which devastating conditions confronted by these selves both limit and burden their moral goodness, and affect their possibilities of flourishing. She describes two different forms of "moral trouble" prevalent under oppression. The first is that the oppressed self may be (...) morally damaged, prevented from developing or exercising some of the virtues; the second is that the very conditions of oppression require the oppressed to develop a set of virtues that carry a moral cost to those who practice them--traits that Tessman refers to as "burdened virtues." These virtues have the unusual feature of being disjoined from their bearer's own well being. Tessman's work focuses on issues that have been missed by many feminist moral theories, and her use of the virtue ethics framework brings feminist concerns more closely into contact with mainstream ethical theory. This book will appeal to feminist theorists in philosophy and women's studies, but also more broadly, ethicists and social theorists. (shrink)
Abstract Contemporary egalitarians often appeal to a distinction between inequalities issuing from choice as opposed to those stemming from brute luck. Inequalities of the second kind, they say, ought to be redressed, while those of the former may be allowed to stand. In this paper, I scrutinize the role played by the notion of brute luck in Ronald Dworkin's theory of equality. My intention is to show that Dworkin seeks to occupy what turns out to be an untenable middle position. (...) He is sandwiched unhappily between G. A. Cohen's radical brute luck egalitarianism, on the one side, and a non-egalitarian conception of justice that rejects entirely the appeal to brute luck, on the other. It follows from the untenable nature of Dworkin's position that egalitarians face a much starker choice than he realizes. They should either wholeheartedly embrace the brute luck story or else find another way of grounding their position. (shrink)
Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality asks what happens when the sense that "I must" collides with the realization that "I can't." Bringing together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology, Lisa Tessman here examines moral requirements that are non-negotiable and that contravene the principle that "ought implies can.".
Delusions are a common symptom of schizophrenia and dementia. Though most English dictionaries define a delusion as a false opinion or belief, there is currently a lively debate about whether delusions are really beliefs and indeed, whether they are even irrational. The book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the nature of delusions. It brings together the psychological literature on the aetiology and the behavioural manifestations of delusions, and the philosophical literature on belief ascription and rationality. The thesis of the book (...) is that delusions are continuous with ordinary beliefs, a thesis that could have important theoretical and practical implications for psychiatric classification and the clinical treatment of subjects with delusions. By bringing together recent work in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology and psychiatry, the book offers a comprehensive review of the philosophical issues raised by the psychology of normal and abnormal cognition, defends the doxastic conception of delusions, and develops a theory about the role of judgements of rationality and of attributions of self-knowledge in belief ascription. Presenting a highly original analysis of the debate on the nature of delusions, this book will interest philosophers of mind, epistemologists, philosophers of science, cognitive scientists, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals. (shrink)
How can pain complaints be elicited and analyzed so as to increase the empathic bond between patient and clinician? I will argue that though Wierzbicka’s approach to this question is useful—an exploration of certain abstract dimensions of pain’s meaning—it fails to examine key aspects that are the most useful and crucial for cultural analysis and for building empathic bonds between the clinician and patient. Not just a grammar of pain is needed; rather a biological philology of pain.
Prolonged solitary confinement has become a widespread and standard practice in U.S. prisons—even though it consistently drives healthy prisoners insane, makes the mentally ill sicker, and, according to the testimony of prisoners, threatens to reduce life to a living death. In this profoundly important and original book, Lisa Guenther examines the death-in-life experience of solitary confinement in America from the early nineteenth century to today’s supermax prisons. Documenting how solitary confinement undermines prisoners’ sense of identity and their ability to (...) understand the world, Guenther demonstrates the real effects of forcibly isolating a person for weeks, months, or years. -/- Drawing on the testimony of prisoners and the work of philosophers and social activists from Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to Frantz Fanon and Angela Davis, the author defines solitary confinement as a kind of social death. It argues that isolation exposes the relational structure of being by showing what happens when that structure is abused—when prisoners are deprived of the concrete relations with others on which our existence as sense-making creatures depends. Solitary confinement is beyond a form of racial or political violence; it is an assault on being. (shrink)
We describe a deep generative model in which the lowest layer represents the word-count vector of a document and the top layer represents a learned binary code for that document. The top two layers of the generative model form an undirected associative memory and the remaining layers form a belief net with directed, top-down connections. We present efficient learning and inference procedures for this type of generative model and show that it allows more accurate and much faster retrieval than latent (...) semantic analysis. By using our method as a filter for a much slower method called TF-IDF we achieve higher accuracy than TF-IDF alone and save several orders of magnitude in retrieval time. By using short binary codes as addresses, we can perform retrieval on very large document sets in a time that is independent of the size of the document set using only one word of memory to describe each document. (shrink)
In this article I ask whether elaborated and systematized delusions emerging in the context of schizophrenia have the potential for epistemic innocence. Cognitions are epistemically innocent if they have significant epistemic benefits that could not be attained otherwise. In particular, I propose that a cognition is epistemically innocent if it delivers some significant epistemic benefit to a given agent at a given time, and if alternative cognitions delivering the same epistemic benefit are unavailable to that agent at that time. Elaborated (...) and systematized delusions in schizophrenia are typically false and exemplify failures of rationality and self-knowledge. Empirical studies suggest that they may have psychological benefits by relieving anxiety and enhancing meaningfulness. Moreover, these delusions have been considered as adaptive in virtue of the fact that they enable automated learning to resume after a significant disruption caused by incorrect prediction-error signalling. I argue that such psychological benefits and adaptive features also have positive epistemic consequences. More precisely, delusions can be a means to restoring epistemic functionality in agents who are overwhelmed by hypersalient experiences in the prodromal stage of psychosis. The analysis leads to a more complex view of the epistemic status of delusions than is found in the contemporary philosophical literature and has some implications for clinical practice. 1 Introduction2 Types of Delusions3 What Is Wrong with Elaborated and Systematized Delusions?4 Finding Life Meaningful5 Learning Resumed6 Epistemic Innocence7 Epistemic Benefit8 No Alternatives9 Conclusions and Implications. (shrink)
In this accessible yet throught-provoking work, Lisa Tessman takes us through gripping examples of the impossible demands of morality -- some epic, and others quotidian -- whose central predicament is: How do we make decisions when morality demands we do something that we cannot?
Stem cell research. Drug company influence. Abortion. Contraception. Long-term and end-of-life care. Human participants research. Informed consent. The list of ethical issues in science, medicine, and public health is long and continually growing. These complex issues pose a daunting task for professionals in the expanding field of bioethics. But what of the practice of bioethics itself? What issues do ethicists and bioethicists confront in their efforts to facilitate sound moral reasoning and judgment in a variety of venues? Are those immersed (...) in the field capable of making the right decisions? How and why do they face moral challenge -- and even compromise -- as ethicists? What values should guide them? In The Ethics of Bioethics, Lisa A. Eckenwiler and Felicia G. Cohn tackle these questions head on, bringing together notable medical ethicists and people outside the discipline to discuss common criticisms, the field's inherent tensions, and efforts to assign values and assess success. Through twenty-five lively essays examining the field's history and trends, shortcomings and strengths, and the political and policy interplay within the bioethical realm, this comprehensive book begins a much-needed critical and constructive discussion of the moral landscape of bioethics. (shrink)