In a recent JME article, Guidry-Grimes, Dean and Victor offer some signal and challenging insights into the ethical analysis of covert medication and in particular when administered via food. They warn of impacts on identity likely to emerge from using food in this way. In particular, they caution against allowing families to be involved in covert medication, in the light of their central role in sustaining identity. Their analysis has particular purchase in resource rich contexts and those contexts where individual (...) identity is a central concern. But it is less clear that the article’s insights are relevant to other contexts. This article places the analysis of covert medication and identity in a wider context, arguing both that the focus on identity is equally significant when analysing potential alternatives to covert medication, such as coercion; and that the ethical analysis of covert medication offered by Guidry-Grimes, Dean and Victor lacks global applicability. It seems to lack application particularly in resource-poor contexts, and in cultures where identity and community are interconstituted. There are no data in this work. (shrink)
Thomas Szasz, the radical critic of state-supported psychiatry, and root and branch sceptic about mental illness, died in September 2012. Based on the obituary1 and editorial comment in The Lancet2 and the response his work commonly elicits, it is evident that there will be mixed reviews of his impact and of the cogency of his position.Certainly, some have seen him as a notable figure from the past. There is a sense in which, as far as Szasz's critique of psychiatry goes, (...) it did not really change at all in its essence from the time it was first explicitly expressed in his writings of the 1960s right up to his last publications and talks in the 2010s. He started his 1960 paper The Myth of Mental Illness3 with the assertion that there is no such thing as mental illness, and this has been an underlying pedal note to all his many pronouncements in this area ever since. Personally, I have always found his written interventions in debates right up to the present to be highly readable and intellectually sharp; he was adept at creating variations on the Szaszian theme. In one of his earlier book length texts, The Manufacture of Madness,4 he likens the contemporary idea that people have mental illness to the historical idea that some people were witches, and he parallels the institutions of modern state-supported psychiatry to those of the Inquisition. In articles he later published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, he likened mental illness to ‘phlogiston’—the non-existent substance that supposedly explained combustion5 and claimed the term ‘mental …. (shrink)
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
This is a book about how politics, government - and much else - needs to change in response to the transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene, the emerging epoch of human-induced instability in the Earth system and its life-support capacities.
I WOULD LIKE TO respond to the four commentaries in turn. In each case I have started by setting out what I think the commentaries are claiming; in doing so, I may reveal that I have misunderstood or misconstrued, and I apologize where this is the case. My responses in many cases are provisional: the commentaries have given me much to think about. Also, my responses are selective—there are many points not touched upon here that deserve consideration. Finally, the order (...) of my responses is arbitrary. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that mental disorder is a valid concept only in so far as it is an extension of or continuous with the concept of physical disorder. A valid extension has to meet two criteria: determination and coherence. Essentialists meet these criteria through necessary and sufficient conditions for being a disorder. Two Wittgensteinian alternatives to essentialism are considered and assessed against the two criteria. These are the family resemblance approach and the secondary sense approach. Where the focus is (...) solely on the characteristics or attributes of things, both these approaches seem to fail to meet the criteria for valid extension. However, this focus on attributes is mistaken. The criteria for valid extension are met in the case of family resemblance by the pattern of characteristics associated with a concept, and by the limits of intelligibility of applying a concept. Secondary sense, though it may have some claims to be a good account of the relation between physical and mental disorder, cannot claim to meet the two criteria of valid extension. (shrink)
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
Sexbots are coming. Given the pace of technological advances, it is inevitable that realistic robots specifically designed for people's sexual gratification will be developed in the not-too-distant future. Despite popular culture's fascination with the topic, and the emergence of the much-publicized Campaign Against Sex Robots, there has been little academic research on the social, philosophical, moral, and legal implications of robot sex. This book fills the gap, offering perspectives from philosophy, psychology, religious studies, economics, and law on the possible future (...) of robot-human sexual relationships. (shrink)
This paper aims to show how medical scientists may use metaphor in ways closely parallel to poets. Those who believe metaphor has any role at all in science may describe its use in various ways. Associationists think metaphors are based upon likenesses, and collapse the notions of model and metaphor together. But, as an example from the work of Louis Pasteur suggests, metaphor need not be based upon likenesses. Rather it may play a role in making possible a model'sexplanatory significance. (...) Models may presuppose metaphors. The Pasteur example also suggests metaphor may play a part in creating likenesses through its role in classification and reclassification. It is in these ways that the use of metaphor in medical science most closely parallels that in poetry. (shrink)
We present Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge, which works differently from other putative counterexamples and avoids objections to which they are vulnerable. We then argue that four ways of analysing knowledge in terms of safety, including Duncan Pritchard’s, cannot withstand Backward Clock either.
Should we be Roschians about the concept of disease, rather than taking a classical approach? A classical concept of disease defines disease in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions; any things and only things which meet this definition are members of the class. In Roschian concepts of disease, it is supposed that degree of similarity to a prototype determines membership in the class of diseases. In this paper, the two approaches are pitched against one another in a series of tests (...) which appear on first sight to favor Roschian accounts.These tests are 1) the capacity to accommodate the variety of the class of disease, 2) the capacity to explain controversies about disease attribution, and 3) the capacity to... (shrink)
In their recent article “A Gentle Ethical Defence of Homeopathy,” Levy, Gadd, Kerridge, and Komesaroff use the claim that “lack of evidence is not equivalent to evidence of lack” as a component of their ethical defence of homeopathy. In response, this article argues that they cannot use this claim to shore up their ethical arguments. This is because it is false.
In two of his great poems, “Ambulances” and “The Building,” Philip Larkin considers a deep fear about human individuality. The fear is that the human self is contingent and disjunctive, lacking any integrity or unity. The arrival of an ambulance on an urban curb and a visit to the hospital are the occasion of reflection on this form of human fragility. But more significant, the ambulance and the hospital are imagined as contexts in which the contingency of the human individual (...) is brought out and laid before us. (shrink)
An empirical study using two ethics-related and three sales force outcome variables was conducted in Taiwan and compared to an existing U.S. sample. Across the two national cultures, individual perceptions of corporate ethics appears to be a more direct determinant of organizational commitment than individual moral values. Differences between the two national cultures were found in ethics perception as it relates to moral values, job satisfaction, and turnover intention. Explanations for the differences are discussed.
Presentists standardly conform to the eternalist’s paradigm of treating all cases of property-exemplification as involving a single relation of instantiation. This, we argue, results in a much less parsimonious and philosophically explanatory picture than is possible if other alternatives are considered. We argue that by committing to primitive past and future tensed instantiation ties, presentists can make gains in both economy and explanatory power. We show how this metaphysical picture plays out in cases where an individual exists to partake in (...) facts about its past and future, and also in cases where that individual no longer exists, and proxies (or surrogates) for that thing must be found. (shrink)
Are there any characteristics by which we can reliably identify and distinguish quackery from genuine medicine? A commonly offered criterion for the distinction between medicine and quackery is science: genuine medicine is scientific; quackery is non-scientific. But it proves to be the case that at the boundary of science and non-science, there is an entanglement of considerations. Two cases are considered: that of homoeopathy and that of the Quantum Booster. In the first case, the degree to which reported phenomena that (...) question established theory should be doubted arises; in the second case, the status of pleomorphism as a scientifically plausible doctrine is discussed. The application of the criterion of being scientific to these cases reveals something of the nature and density of the entanglement. (shrink)
The mere exposure effect is the increase in positive affect that results from the repeated exposure to previously novel stimuli. We sought to determine if judgments other than affective preference could reliably produce a mere exposure effect for two-dimensional random shapes. In two experiments, we found that brighter and darker judgments did not differentiate target from distracter shapes, liking judgments led to target selection greater than chance, and disliking judgments led to distracter selection greater than chance. These results for brighter, (...) darker, and liking judgments were obtained regardless of whether shape recognition was greater (Experiment 1) or not greater (Experiment 2) than chance. Effects of prior exposure to novel shapes were reliably observed only for affective judgment tasks. These results are inconsistent with general predictions made by the nonspecific activation hypothesis, but not the affective primacy or perceptual fluency hypotheses which were discussed in terms of cognitive neuroscience research. (shrink)
In a recent essay, George Annas, the legal columnist for The New England Journal of Medicine, observed that the resuscitation of extremely premature infants, even over parental objection, is not problematic because “once the child's medical status has been determined, the parents have the legal authority to make all subsequent decisions.” Annas himself is quick to concede that treatment in a high-technology neonatal intensive care unit frequently takes on a life of its own. He also acknowledges that although bioethicists and (...) courts agree that there is no ethical or legal difference between withholding or withdrawing a respirator from a patient, parents and physicians find the withdrawal much more emotionally troubling. (shrink)
Though acknowledged by scholars, Plato’s identification of the Beautiful and the Good has generated little interest, even in aesthetics where the moral concepts are a current topic. The view is suspect because, e.g., it is easy to find examples of ugly saints and beautiful sinners. In this paper the thesis is defended using ideas from Plato’s ancient commentators, the Neoplatonists. Most interesting is Proclus, who applied to value theory a battery of linguistic tools with fixed semantic properties—comparative adjectives, associated gradable (...) adjectives, mass nouns, and predicate negations—all with a semantics that demand a privative scale of value. It is shown how it is perfectly possible to interpret value terms Platonically over privative Boolean algebras so that beautifuland good diverge while at higher levels other value terms are coextensional. Considerations are offered that this structure conforms to actual usage. (shrink)
In response to recent corporate ethical and financial disasters there has been increased pressure on business schools to improve their teaching of corporate ethics. Accreditation bodies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, now require member institutions to develop the ethical awareness of business students, either through a dedicated subject or an integrated coverage of ethics across the curriculum. This paper describes an institutional approach to the incorporation of a comprehensive multi-disciplinary ethics framework into the business curriculum. (...) We discuss important implications for the assessment of ethics within institutional assurance practices, and address critical issues related to the support of academics whenrequired to incorporate new ethics material within their subject which may be outside their field of expertise. As an example, the successful application of the framework within the marketing discipline is presented and discussed. (shrink)
Galen Strawson accepts that the common experience of being a social self is of something that continues through time. However, he excludes this from what ‘the self’ means in a stricter ontological sense. Here I will argue that this experience of self as enduring can be taken to be ontologically real as well. I will suggest that selfhood arises from the assimilation of cultural signs by a semiotic process that is a fundamental aspect of nature. I will also consider how (...) the phenomenological encounter with ‘the self’ is conditioned by prior beliefs and their ethical entailments. (shrink)
Computers, the internet, and the larger communications network of which it is a part, provide an informational structure within which many of us spend a large part of our working day and a signiﬁcant part of our leisure. We are, during those periods, “infonauts in cyberspace,” using the internet to get information from places near and remote, and acting in various ways through the internet to have an effect on computers and people in those places. This cyberspace revolution is changing (...) the human condition in fundamental ways. These changes have the potential to reduce differences between disabled and nondisabled individuals. As infonauts, none of us receives the information we need directly from our senses, nor do we produce the effects we intend directly by use of our limbs. We all depend on technology to aid our senses and magnify and transform the effects of our movements. Neither the blind person nor the quadriplegic nor the sighted mobile employee can access the latest government regulations or send instructions to colleagues in distant places without the help of the internet. The difference between.. (shrink)
The study of biodiversity spans many disciplines and includes data pertaining to species distributions and abundances, genetic sequences, trait measurements, and ecological niches, complemented by information on collection and measurement protocols. A review of the current landscape of metadata standards and ontologies in biodiversity science suggests that existing standards such as the Darwin Core terminology are inadequate for describing biodiversity data in a semantically meaningful and computationally useful way. Existing ontologies, such as the Gene Ontology and others in the Open (...) Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry library, provide a semantic structure but lack many of the necessary terms to describe biodiversity data in all its dimensions. In this paper, we describe the motivation for and ongoing development of a new Biological Collections Ontology, the Environment Ontology, and the Population and Community Ontology. These ontologies share the aim of improving data aggregation and integration across the biodiversity domain and can be used to describe physical samples and sampling processes (for example, collection, extraction, and preservation techniques), as well as biodiversity observations that involve no physical sampling. Together they encompass studies of: 1) individual organisms, including voucher specimens from ecological studies and museum specimens, 2) bulk or environmental samples (e.g., gut contents, soil, water) that include DNA, other molecules, and potentially many organisms, especially microbes, and 3) survey-based ecological observations. We discuss how these ontologies can be applied to biodiversity use cases that span genetic, organismal, and ecosystem levels of organization. We argue that if adopted as a standard and rigorously applied and enriched by the biodiversity community, these ontologies would significantly reduce barriers to data discovery, integration, and exchange among biodiversity resources and researchers. (shrink)