The aim of this paper is to discuss anonymity and the threats against it—in the form of deanonymization technologies. The question in the title is approached by conceptual analysis: I ask what kind of concept we need and how it ought to be conceptualized given what is really at stake. By what is at stake I mean the values that are threatened by various deanonymization technologies. It will be argued that while previous conceptualizations of anonymity may be reasonable—given a standard (...) lexical, or common-sense, understanding of the term—the concept of anonymity is not sufficient given what is really at stake. I will argue that what is at stake is our ability to be anonymous, which I will broadly characterize as a reasonable control over what we communicate. (shrink)
Although popular, control accounts of privacy suffer from various counterexamples. In this article, it is argued that two such counterexamples—while individually resolvable—can be combined to yield a dilemma for control accounts of privacy. Furthermore, it is argued that it is implausible that control accounts of privacy can defend against this dilemma. Thus, it is concluded that we ought not define privacy in terms of control. Lastly, it is argued that since the concept of privacy is the object of the right (...) to privacy if the former cannot be defined in terms of control, neither can the latter. (shrink)
The philosophical–ethical literature and the public debate on autonomous vehicles have been obsessed with ethical issues related to crashing. In this article, these discussions, including more empirical investigations, will be critically assessed. It is argued that a related and more pressing issue is questions concerning safety. For example, what should we require from autonomous vehicles when it comes to safety? What do we mean by ‘safety’? How do we measure it? In response to these questions, the article will present a (...) foundation for a continued discussion on these issues and an argument for why discussions about safety should be prioritized over ethical concerns related to crashing. (shrink)
In this commentary, I discuss the effects of the liar paradox on Floridi’s definition on semantic information. In particular, I show that there is at least one sentence that creates a contradictory result for Floridi’s definition of semantic information that does not affect the standard definition.
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
In “Sector as Personality: The Case of Farm Protest Movements,” Luther Tweeten argues that farm activism is motivated by irrational and dysfunctional traits of the “dark side” of a sector-specific farm personality. In response, this article questions the assumption that movement activism can be explained by reference to a few discrete personality traits, challenges the usefulness of the concept of a sector-specific personality, and disputes the accuracy of Tweeten's attributions of negative traits to all farm movement activists. Evidence is presented (...) to indicate that farm activists are much more diverse in their beliefs and behavior than Tweeten's article portrays them, and it is argued that farm activism is not generally motivated by deluded conceptions of farmers' circumstances and interests. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To study and describe how a group of senior researchers and a group of postgraduate students perceived the so-called "grey zone" between normal scientific practice and obvious misconduct. DESIGN: A questionnaire concerning various practices including dishonesty and obvious misconduct. The answers were obtained by means of a visual analogue scale (VAS). The central (two quarters) of the VAS were designated as a grey zone. SETTING: A Swedish medical faculty. SURVEY SAMPLE: 30 senior researchers and 30 postgraduate students. RESULTS: Twenty (...) of the senior researchers and 25 of the postgraduate students answered the questionnaire. In five cases out of 14 the senior researchers' median was found to be clearly within the interval of the grey zone, compared with three cases for the postgraduate students. Three examples of experienced misconduct were provided. Compared with postgraduate students, established researchers do not call for more research ethical guidelines and restrictions. CONCLUSION: Although the results indicate that consensus exists regarding certain obvious types of misconduct the response pattern also indicates that there is no general consensus on several procedures. (shrink)
Vaccine research, as well as the development, testing, clinical trials, and commercial uses of vaccines involve complex processes with various biological data that include gene and protein expression, analysis of molecular and cellular interactions, study of tissue and whole body responses, and extensive epidemiological modeling. Although many data resources are available to meet different aspects of vaccine needs, it remains a challenge how we are to standardize vaccine annotation, integrate data about varied vaccine types and resources, and support advanced vaccine (...) data analysis and inference. To address these problems, the community-based Vaccine Ontology (VO) has been developed through collaboration with vaccine researchers and many national and international centers and programs, including the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO), the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO) Initiative, and the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI). VO utilizes the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) as the top ontology and the Relation Ontology (RO) for definition of term relationships. VO is represented in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and edited using the Protégé-OWL. Currently VO contains more than 2000 terms and relationships. VO emphasizes on classification of vaccines and vaccine components, vaccine quality and phenotypes, and host immune response to vaccines. These reflect different aspects of vaccine composition and biology and can thus be used to model individual vaccines. More than 200 licensed vaccines and many vaccine candidates in research or clinical trials have been modeled in VO. VO is being used for vaccine literature mining through collaboration with the National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics (NCIBI). Multiple VO applications will be presented. (shrink)
In 2017, Tom Gruber held a TED talk, in which he presented a vision of improving and enhancing humanity with AI technology. Specifically, Gruber suggested that an AI-improved personal memory (APM) would benefit people by improving their “mental gain”, making us more creative, improving our “social grace”, enabling us to do “science on our own data about what makes us feel good and stay healthy”, and, for people suffering from dementia, it “could make a difference between a life of isolation (...) and a life of dignity and connection”. -/- In this paper, Gruber’s idea will be critically assessed. Firstly, it will be argued that most of his pro-arguments for the APM are questionable. Secondly, the APM will also be criticized for other reasons, including the risks and affects to the users’ and other’s privacy and the users’ autonomy. (shrink)
According to the class of de minimis decision principles, risks can be ignored (or at least treated very differently from other risks) if the risk is sufficiently small. In this article, we argue that a de minimis threshold has no place in a normative theory of decision making, because the application of the principle will either recommend ignoring risks that should not be ignored (e.g., the sure death of a person) or it cannot be used by ordinary bounded and information-constrained (...) agents. (shrink)
Recently, Jakob Thraine Mainz and Rasmus Uhrenfeldt defended a control-based conception of a moral right to privacy —focusing on conceptualizing necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for a privacy right violation. This reply comments on a number of mistakes they make, which have long reverberated through the debate on the conceptions of privacy and the right to privacy and therefore deserve to be corrected. Moreover, the reply provides a sketch of a general response for defending the limited access conception of the (...) right to privacy against control-based intuitions. (shrink)
This article proposes a new definition of information security, the ‘Appropriate Access’ definition. Apart from providing the basic criteria for a definition—correct demarcation and meaning concerning the state of security—it also aims at being a definition suitable for any information security perspective. As such, it bridges the conceptual divide between so-called ‘soft issues’ of information security and more technical issues. Because of this it is also suitable for various analytical purposes, such as analysing possible security breaches, or for studying conflicting (...) attitudes on security in an organization. The need for a new definition is demonstrated by pointing to a number of problems for the standard definition type of information security—the so-called CIA definition. Besides being too broad as well as too narrow, it cannot properly handle the soft issues of information security, nor recognize the contextual and normative nature of security. (shrink)
The concept of information has well-known difficulties. Among the many issues that have been discussed is the alethic nature of a semantic conception of information. Floridi :197–222, 2004; Philos Phenomenol Res 70:351–370, 2005; EUJAP 3:31–41, 2007; The philosophy of information, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011) argued that semantic information must be truthful. In this article, arguments will be presented in favor of an alethically neutral conception of semantic information and it will be shown that such a conception can withstand Floridi’s (...) criticism. In particular, it is argued that an alethically neutral conception of semantic information can manage the so-called Bar-Hillel Carnap paradox, according to which contradictions have maximum informational content. This issue, as well as some of Floridi’s other arguments, is resolved by disentangling the property of being information from the property of being informative. The essay’s final conclusion is that although semantic information is alethically neutral, a veridical conception of semantic information can, and should, be retained as a subconcept of semantic information, as it is essential for the analysis of informativity, which, unlike the property of being information, depends on truth. (shrink)
So-called digital tracking and tracing systems have been proposed as a means to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2. There are ethical guidelines and evaluations of such systems available. As part of a research project, I will build on and critically evaluate the foundations of such guidelines. The goal is to provide both incremental improvements of the specific requirements for DTTSs and to present and discuss more fundamental challenge, the risk for indirect effects and slippery slopes. The nature of slippery slopes (...) makes ethical guidelines more difficult since it requires a more complex analysis than, for example, using a checklist allows for. (shrink)
This doctoral thesis consists of five research papers that address four tangential topics, all of which are relevant for the challenges we are facing in our socio-technical society: information, security, privacy, and anonymity. All topics are approached by similar methods, i.e. with a concern about conceptual and definitional issues. In Paper I—concerning the concept of information and a semantic conception thereof—it is argued that the veridicality thesis is false. In Paper II—concerning information security—it is argued that the current leading definitions (...) suffer from counter-examples, and lack an appropriate conceptual sense. Based on this criticism a new kind of definition is proposed and defended. In Paper III—concerning control definitions of privacy—it is argued that any sensible control-definition of privacy must properly recognize the context as part of the defining criteria. In Paper IV—concerning the concept of privacy—it is argued that privacy is a normative concept and that it is constituted by our social relations. Final, in Paper V—concerning anonymity—it is argued that the threat from deanonymization technology goes beyond harm to anonymity. It is argued that a person who never is deanonymized can still be harmed and what is at stake is an ability to be anonymous. (shrink)
In this reply I defend Kripke’s creationist thesis for mythical objects against Jeffrey Goodman’s counter-argument to the thesis, 35–40, 2014). I argue that Goodman has mistaken the basis for when mythical abstracta are created. Contrary to Goodman I show that, as well as how, Kripke’s theory consistently retains the analogy between creation of mythical objects and creation of fictional objects, while also explaining in what way they differ.
If an outsider should get an interest in the study of "Social Epistemology," that person would immediately ﬁnd that there are in fact two identically labeled programs. One is represented by the journal of the same name and belongs to the ﬁeld of Science and Technology Studies, the other is an offshoot of analytical philosophy, and is represented by such philosophers as Alvin Goldman. Not only will the interested outsider discover this, they will also ﬁnd two different articles titled "Two (...) Kinds of Social Epistemology" that point out this fact, one published in the philosophical journal Episteme and the other in the Social Epistemology Review and Reply... (shrink)
: This essay focuses on some important concepts in Beauvoir's philosophy: ambiguity, desire, and appeal (appel). Ambiguity and appeal, concepts originating in Beauvoir's moral philosophy, are in The Second Sex connected to the female body and feminine desire. This indicates the complexity of Beauvoir's image of femininity. This essay also proposes a comparative reading of Beauvoir's and Sartre's concepts of appeal, a reading that indicates differences in their views of the relationship among ethics, desire, and gender.
The aim of this study is to enhance the understanding of how sport dressage riders describe rider-horse communication when riding, and to relate these descriptions to current research on human-horse communication. Interviews with 15 amateur dressage riders were analyzed using a qualitative approach. The study shows that the interviewed riders describe the communication with the horses partly in a behavioristic way, applying concepts based on learning theory, which deviate from the description of riders as lacking understanding of these concepts put (...) forth by some researchers. The riders connect the timing of their aids to equestrian feel, which they describe as the most difficult yet the most awarding aspect of the interspecies communication that riding is. Simultaneously, they acknowledge that horses are fully capable of choosing to listen to and cooperate with their requests. (shrink)
Two major episodes of farm protest have occurred in the past decade. In each case, protesting farmers have chosen to create new farm organizations rather than express their grievances through one of many existing farm interest groups. The result has been the development of a durable grassroots farm lobby, a hybrid mode of exercising political influence that combines features of interest group lobbying and social movement protest. The first episode saw the mobilization of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), a nation-wide (...) protest organization devoted to achieving a federal guarantee of parity prices. When AAM's attempt to change federal farm policy failed, it was unable to sustain a high level of member mobilization or organizational activity. This failure is attributed to the lack of a stable organizational structure, the lack of durable membership incentives, and the counterproductive effects of disruptive protest tactics. The second episode of protest occurred in reaction to the farm-debt crisis of the 1980s. Protesting farmers organized numerous crisis groups to provide emergency services to financially distressed farmers. The crisis groups coalesced into the National Save the Family Farm Coalition (NSFFC) in order to exert influence over federal farm policy. It is argued that this coalition structure, along with membership incentives provided by crisis groups through their constituent service programs, may allow this latest farm movement to exert more considerable and durable influence over federal farm policy than AAM was able to do in the late 1970s. The problems of maintaining a national coalition of grassroots groups are discussed and evaluated. (shrink)