The question of how to prevent the malevolent use of biomedical research is not new. It has its genesis in how to prevent any new technology, invention, or scientific discovery created for the benefit and advancement of human welfare being used for the expressed purpose of harming the human community. There is the ethical component, the social responsibility component, and the intent to preserve the beneficent characteristic of biomedical research at stake in this issue.
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
The societal and ethical impacts of emerging technological and business systems cannot entirely be foreseen; therefore, management of these innovations will require at least some ethicists to work closely with researchers. This is particularly critical in the development of new systems because the maximum degrees of freedom for changing technological direction occurs at or just after the point of breakthrough; that is also the point where the long-term implications are hardest to visualize. Recent work on shared expertise in Science & (...) Technology Studies (STS) can help create productive collaborations among scientists, engineers, ethicists and other stakeholders as these new systems are designed and implemented. But collaboration across these disciplines will be successful only if scientists, engineers, and ethicists can communicate meaningfully with each other. The establishment of a trading zone coupled with moral imagination present one method for such collaborative communication. (shrink)
In Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together, Michael Bratman refines, systematizes, and defends his “planning theory” of shared agency, various elements of which were sketched in a series of earlier essays on the topic. The book is analytically rigorous and fairly technical at points, but organized and written with extraordinary clarity. It represents a valuable contribution to the literature on shared intention and joint activity, and is essential reading for philosophers working in that area.Bratman takes as his (...) central foils Margaret Gilbert and John Searle, both of whom argue that there is a fundamental discontinuity between individual agency and shared agency in that the resources needed to explain the latter extend beyond those that enable us to explain the former. According to those theorists, an adequate account of shared agency requires appeal to “some new and fundamentally different kind of practical element” : an irreducible “joint commitment” on Gilbert’s .. (shrink)
Reviews : Robyn Eckersley, Environmentalism and Political Theory: Toward an Ecocentric Approach ; Robert E. Goodin, Green Political Theory ; Peter Hay and Robyn Eckersley , Ecopolitical Theory: Essaysfrom Australia, ; Peter Hay, Robyn Eckersley and Geoff Holloway Environmental Politics in Australia and New Zealand ; Drew Hutton , Green Politics in Australia ; Michael Muetzelfeldt , Society, State and Politics in Australia.
RESUMO O objetivo deste artigo é o de ilustrar a oposição dos comunitaristas ao contratualismo, a partir da análise de um caso específico: a crítica de Michael Sandel ao voluntarismo contido na teoria de Rawls. Sandel chama de "voluntarismo" a tese pela qual princípios políticos e morais se legitimam a partir de um exercício da vontade individual, sob a forma da "escolha" ou do "consentimento". Esta tese, como procuraremos argumentar, está na base do contratualismo moderno, embora somente em Rawls (...) ela atinja sua formulação mais perfeita. Sandel propõe como alternativa ao voluntarismo o que ele chama de "cognitivismo", inspirado na visão de mundo dos antigos. Segundo o cognitivismo, os princípios políticos e morais são derivados de fins ou "bens" que são mais descobertos do que propriamente escolhidos. ABSTRACT The aim of this paper is to illustrate the opposition between communitarianism and contratualism, from the analysis of a specific case: Michael Sandel's criticism of voluntarism in the theory of Rawls. For Sandel "voluntarism" is the thesis according to which political and moral principles are legitimate from an exercise of individual will, such as "choice" or "consent". We shall argue that this thesis is the grounding basis of modern contractualism, although only with Rawls it reaches its purest form. Sandel suggests as an alternative to voluntarism what he calls "cognitivism", inspired in the ancient understanding of the world. According to cognitivism, the legitimation of political and moral principles streams from ends or "goods" which are discovered rather than chosen. (shrink)
If you have ever had to move house, you will know this: the worst part is the sofa. You cannot do it alone. Nor will it be enough for me to just lift one end waiting for you to lift the other. We will have to work together to get the job done. If spaces are tight, we will even have to find a practical solution to a tantalizing mathematical puzzle: the moving sofa problem.Joint actions like that are part and (...) parcel of everyday life. But what exactly is special about acting together? After all, the actions of two strangers also depend on one another when one exits and the other enters through a revolving door, when they happen to walk side-by-side along a forest path, or when they exchange blows in a pub brawl.The problem is that two patterns of social behavior might look identical, even though one is a case of joint action and the other is not. There need not be an observable difference between the movements of old friends taking their morning constitutional together, on the one hand, a .. (shrink)