Rowan Williams's theological-moral reasoning regarding the formation of personal identities in relation to gender, familial and communal ties is analysed in an article review of his book Lost Icons. This is his most sustained essay in theological social criticism, and was intended for the general public beyond academic theology. Williams exposes Christian moral reasoning on these issues to forms of secular critique whilst simultaneously using theological and historical strategies from liberal Anglo-Catholicism. His argumentation is subjected to theological and social-scientific scrutiny. (...) The article calls for closer attention to debates within secular feminism and social research concerning the formation of adult men and women in relation to the wider post-Christian society. Links are made from Williams's thought in Lost Icons to underlying patterns in his academic theological output. (shrink)
We invited five Cavell scholars to write on this topic. What follows is a vibrant exchange among Paola Marrati, Andrew Norris, Jörg Volbers, Cary Wolfe and Thomas Dumm addressing the question whether, in the contemporary political context, Cavell’s skepticism and his Emersonian perfectionism amount to a politics at all.
In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.
In Animal Rites, Cary Wolfe examines contemporary notions of humanism and ethics by reconstructing a little known but crucial underground tradition of theorizing the animal from Wittgenstein, Cavell, and Lyotard to Lévinas, Derrida, ...
Bringing these two emergent areas of thought into direct conversation in Before the Law, Cary Wolfe fosters a new discussion about the status of nonhuman animals and the shared plight of humans and animals under biopolitics.
Animal studies and biopolitics are two of the most dynamic areas of interdisciplinary scholarship, but until now, they have had little to say to each other. Bringing these two emergent areas of thought into direct conversation in _Before the Law_, Cary Wolfe fosters a new discussion about the status of nonhuman animals and the shared plight of humans and animals under biopolitics. Wolfe argues that the human-animal distinction must be supplemented with the central distinction of biopolitics: the difference between those (...) animals that are members of a community and those that are deemed killable but not murderable. From this understanding, we can begin to make sense of the fact that this distinction prevails within both the human and animal domains and address such difficult issues as why we afford some animals unprecedented levels of care and recognition while subjecting others to unparalleled forms of brutality and exploitation. Engaging with many major figures in biopolitical thought—from Heidegger, Arendt, and Foucault to Agamben, Esposito, and Derrida—Wolfe explores how biopolitics can help us understand both the ethical and political dimensions of the current questions surrounding the rights of animals. (shrink)
Text recycling, often called “self-plagiarism”, is the practice of reusing textual material from one’s prior documents in a new work. The practice presents a complex set of ethical and practical challenges to the scientific community, many of which have not been addressed in prior discourse on the subject. This essay identifies and discusses these factors in a systematic fashion, concluding with a new definition of text recycling that takes these factors into account. Topics include terminology, what is not text recycling, (...) factors affecting judgements about the appropriateness of text recycling, and visual materials. (shrink)
We examine a set of debates in Practical Ethics commonly labeled “the ethics of human enhancement.” Our essay focuses on (1) conceptual concerns about the limits of legitimate health care—the treatment vs. enhancement distinction, (2) moral considerations about fairness, authenticity, and human nature that are common in discussing the use of medical technologies in competitive institutions like sports and academia, and (3) broader issues that pertain to science policy and the distribution and regulation of medical technologies.
Abstract This article outlines Locke's theory of war as found in his political writings and seeks to redress a perceived imbalance in John Locke's morality of war. Locke's strident rejection of any sense of proportionality in warfare against unjust aggression, as read in the Second Treatise of Government, has to be tempered with his general philosophical programme against extremism of any sort. Arguably, Locke's war ethic when read alone is strict, objective, and emphatic, but when compared with his epistemological work, (...) its righteousness is reduced to extreme circumstances. (shrink)
Phillip Cary argues that Augustine invented or created the concept of self as an inner space--as space into which one can enter and in which one can find God. This concept of inwardness, says Cary, has worked its way deeply into the intellectual heritage of the West and many Western individuals have experienced themselves as inner selves. After surveying the idea of inwardness in Augustine's predecessors, Cary offers a re-examination of Augustine's own writings, making the controversial point that in his (...) early writings Augustine appears to hold that the human soul is quite literally divine. Cary goes on to contend that the crucial Book 7 of the Confessions is not a historical report of Augustine's "conversion" experience, but rather an explanation of his intellectual development over time. (shrink)
In the first thirty years after World War II, the US economy performed very well. The rate of growth averaged 4—5%, the rate of unemployment was seldom above 5%, inflation was almost non-existent, and the living standards of workers improved steadily. These were the ‘good old days'. However, this long period of expansion and prosperity ended in the 1970s. Since then, both the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation have been much higher than before, and the average real (...) wages of workers have declined some 20%. Productivity growth has also slowed down and the debt burden of both capitalist enterprises and the Federal government has increased dramatically. It is in this sense that we may refer to the ‘economic crisis’ of the US economy over the last two decades. This crisis has certainly not been as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s, but the economic performance has been significantly worse than in the early post-war period. (shrink)
We describe the legal practice of using civil court orders to mandate outpatient mental health treatment for adults with serious mental illness. After briefly placing the practice in historical context, we discuss the traditional clinical rationale and assumptions underlying outpatient commitment and its legal variants, as well as how the predominant and controversial preventive form of outpatient commitment emerged in the U.S. to address limitations of earlier versions of these laws, such as "conditional release." We then consider whether, and under (...) what conditions, outpatient commitment may be ethical, and we provide a conceptual framework for deciding such questions at the policy and individual-case levels. (shrink)
Metaphysics is the thoroughly empirical science. Every item of experience must be evidence for or against any hypothesis of speculative cosmology, and every experienced object must be an exemplar and test case for the categories of analytic ontology. Technically, therefore, one example ought for our present theme to be as good as another. The more dignified examples, however, are darkened with a patina of tradition and partisanship, while some frivolous ones are peculiarly perspicuous. Let us therefore imagine three lollipops, made (...) by a candy man who buys sticks from a big supplier and molds candy knobs on them. Lollipop No. 1 has a red round peppermint head, No. 2 a brown round chocolate head, No. 3 a red square peppermint head. The circumstance here which mainly provokes theories of subsistence and inherence is similarity with difference: each lollipop is partially similar to each other and partially different from it. If we can give a good account of this circumstance in this affair we shall have the instrument to expose the anatomy of everything, from an electron or an apple to archangels and the World All. (shrink)
The persistently high rates of sexual assault on college campuses have led to an increasing demand for a solution to the problem. In response, research in the field is growing rapidly. With any expanding field, proper focus needs to be given to ethical dilemmas that may arise when studying a sensitive topic. College students who have experienced a sexual assault are a highly vulnerable population. As the current literature is limited, this article considers the ethical implications of conducting research with (...) college sexual assault victims. Drawing upon the 2010 American Psychological Association Ethics Code, specific ethical concerns including respect for persons, competence, confidentiality and privacy, and beneficence and nonmaleficence are discussed. Recommendations for researchers studying sexual assault in college students are provided. (shrink)
The concept of minimal risk has been used to regulate and limit participation by adolescents in clinical trials. It can be understood as setting an absolute standard of what risks are considered minimal or it can be interpreted as relative to the actual risks faced by members of the host community for the trial. While commentators have almost universally opposed a relative interpretation of the environmental risks faced by potential adolescent trial participants, we argue that the ethical concerns against the (...) relative standard may not be as convincing as these commentators believe. Our aim is to present the case for a relative standard of environmental risk in order to open a debate on this subject. We conclude by discussing how a relative standard of environmental risk could be defended in the specific case of an HIV vaccine trial among adolescents in South Africa. (shrink)