Despite an abundance of theoretical literature on virtue ethics in nursing and health care, very little research has been carried out to support or refute the claims made. One such claim is that ethical nursing is what happens when a good nurse does the right thing. The purpose of this descriptive, qualitative study was therefore to examine nurses’ perceptions of what it means to be a good nurse and to do the right thing. Fifty-three nurses responded to two open-ended questions: (...) (1) a good nurse is one who...; and (2) how does a nurse go about doing the right thing? Three hundred and thirty-one data units were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Seven categories emerged: personal characteristics, professional characteristics, patient centredness, advocacy, competence, critical thinking and patient care. Participants viewed ethical nursing as a complex endeavour in which a variety of decision-making frameworks are used. Consistent with virtue ethics, high value was placed on both intuitive and analytical personal attributes that nurses bring into nursing by virtue of the persons they are. Further investigation is needed to determine just who the ‘good nurse’ is, and the nursing practice and education implications associated with this concept. (shrink)
There is a passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations in which he compares an answer that may be given to a philosophical question about someone else's pain with an answer that may be given to a question about the meaning of ‘It is 5 o'clock on the sun’. Wittgenstein does not compare other answers that may be given to the two questions. And he does not compare the questions themselves in respect of what lies behind them – making them ones which (...) we can, or cannot, easily ‘see through’ – or in respect of how they should be answered. Yet there is material in what he says elsewhere in the Investigations and in other of his later writings for a manysided and, I think, useful development of the comparison. Anyway, that is what I shall attempt in this lecture. (shrink)
COVID-19 is a very complex pandemic. It has affected individuals, different countries and regions of the world equally in some senses and differently in other senses. While sub-Saharan Africa has weathered a range of outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, the manner in which the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved necessitates some observations, remarks and conclusions from our own situated observation point. Compared to previous epidemics/pandemics, many African countries have displayed a sense of solidarity in the face of COVID-19 that (...) convincingly demonstrates that an Ubuntu ethic is viable and globalizable. The African continent seems, at last, to have realized that ethics dumping must be avoided and has made strides in defining its COVID-19 research agenda and strengthening its epidemic response for both public health and health research. More needs to be done in terms of public engagement, funding and technical support for research on potential therapies/candidate vaccines that are a product of scientific studies on the continent. (shrink)
Although Responsible Conduct of Research training is common in the sciences, the effectiveness of RCR training is open to question. Three key factors appear to be particularly important in ensuring the effectiveness of ethics education programs: educational efforts should be tied to day-to-day practices in the field, educational efforts should provide strategies for working through the ethical problems people are likely to encounter in day-to-day practice, and educational efforts should be embedded in a broader program of on-going career development efforts. (...) This article discusses a complex qualitative approach to RCR training development, based on a sensemaking model, which strives to address the afore-mentioned training concerns. Ethnographic observations and prior RCR training served the purpose of collecting information specific to a multi-disciplinary and multi-university research center with the goal of identifying metacognitive reasoning strategies that would facilitate ethical decision-making. The extensive qualitative analyses resulted in the identification of nine metacognitive reasoning strategies on which future RCR training will be developed. The implications of the findings for RCR training in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)
A number of recent discussions have argued that George Price's equationfor representing evolutionary change is a powerful and illuminatingtool, especially in the context of debates about multiple levels ofselection. Our paper dissects Price's equation in detail, and comparesit to another statistical tool: the calculation and comparison ofaverage fitnesses. The relations between Price's equation and equationsfor evolutionary change using average fitness are closer than issometimes supposed. The two approaches achieve a similar kind ofstatistical summary of one generation of change, and they (...) achieve thisvia a similar loss of information about the underlying fitnessstructure. (shrink)
Is Popper's philosophy alive or dead? If we make a judgment based on recent discussion in academic philosophy of science, he definitely seems to be fading. Popper is still seen as an important historical figure, a key part of the grand drama of 20th century thinking about science. He is associated with an outlook, a mindset, and a general picture of scientific work. His name has bequeathed us an adjective, "Popperian," that is well established. But the adjective is used for (...) very general ideas that, according to most current philosophers, Popper did not develop convincingly. His detailed account is often seen as attractive on first impression, but full of holes that become bigger rather than smaller as discussion continues. The picture and the name remain, which is more than 1 most philosophers can hope for. But the name attaches more and more to a set of instincts and intuitions, less and less to views that are seeing ongoing philosophical development. Inside science itself, Popper's standing is quite different. He continues to be just about the only philosopher who can seize the imagination and command the loyalty of successful professional scientists. And he is popular within science not only for purposes of general commentary and public relations. Popper's philosophy is a resource drawn on by scientists in their internal debates about scientific matters. This has been especially marked in some parts of biology (Hull 1999). From the point of view of philosophers, this affection on the part of scientists may have an unflattering explanation. Popper offers a rather heroic view of the scientific character, featuring an appealing combination of creativity and hard-headedness. It is no surprise that scientists like to be described this way. It is no surprise that they prefer this picture to the one often (though inaccurately) associated with Hempel and Carnap – the scientist as a sort of logic-driven pattern-recognition machine. The same applies to the picture associated with Kuhn, who presents the normal scientist as a narrow-minded, indoctrinated member of a peculiar collective enterprise, an enterprise devoted to solving tiny puzzles most of the time but prone to occasional fits of crisis and chaos.. (shrink)
Biologists and philosophers differ on whether selection should be analyzed at the level of the gene or of the individual. In Peter Godfrey-Smith’s book, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, he argues that individuals can be good members of Darwinian populations, whereas genes rarely can. I take issue with parts of this view, and suggest that Godfrey-Smith’s scheme for thinking about Darwinian populations is also applicable to populations of genes.
John Dewey’s Experience and Nature has the potential to transform several areas of philosophy. The book is lengthy and difficult, but it has great importance for a knot of issues in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. It bears also on metaphilosophy, devoting many pages to the discipline’s characteristic pathologies, and advancing a view of what sort of guidance “naturalism” provides. Later chapters move on to discuss art, morality, and value. So this is a major statement by Dewey. It may (...) one day transform moral philosophy as he hopes, but this review will focus on the central ideas of the first two-thirds of the book. Here Dewey does succeed, I think, in motivating us to look at his core topics—experience and nature—in a new way. And though Dewey’s language is often obscure and unhelpful, some of the main ideas are simpler than they look.Earlier “pragmatist” philosophical work was novel in its focus on the relation between thought and action. This work had a broadly emp. (shrink)
The paper presents evidence in bacteria for the utility of Godfrey-Smith’s environmental complexity thesis, using certain kinds of signal transduction systems as proxies for cognitive/behavioral complexity. Microbiologists already accept that the number of signal transduction proteins in a bacterial genome indicates the level of ecological complexity to which the organism is subject: the more signalling proteins, the greater the complexity. Sheer numbers are not always a reliable indicator of behavioral complexity, however. The paper proposes a new, ECT-based procedure for (...) identifying, from genomic sequence and signalling repertoire, novel bacterial candidates likely to exhibit behavioral complexity in response to a complex ecological niche. (shrink)
Natural selection is an extremely powerful process – so powerful, in fact, that it is often tempting to deploy it in explaining phenomena as wide-ranging as the persistence of blue eyes, the origins or persistence of religious belief, or, the history of science. One long-standing debate among both critics and advocates of Darwin’s concerns the scope of Darwinian explanations, and how we are to draw the line. Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection is a detailed examination of this (...) question. The book explores the criteria for what may count as a “Darwinian population,” by which Godfrey-Smith means, which collections of entities have the capacity to undergo evolution via natural selection (p. 6). Drawing upon his answer to this question, Godfrey-Smith examines and provides his own solution to the following long-standing debates in philosophy of biology: (a) the twin problems of reproduction and individuation of biological entities, (b) the persistent “gene’s eye view,” (c) the levels and units of selection problem, and (d) the evolution of cultural artifacts and behaviors. (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory (...) and Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
: My commentary on Hurley is concerned with foundational issues. Hurley's investigation of animal cognition is cast within a particular framework—basically, a philosophically refined version of folk psychology. Her discussion has a complicated relationship to unresolved debates about the nature and status of folk psychology, especially debates about the extent to which folk psychological categories are aimed at picking out features of the causal organization of the mind.
Universities in Cameroon are playing an active part in HIV/AIDS research and much of this research is carried out by students, usually for the purpose of a dissertation/thesis. Student theses/dissertations present research findings in a much more comprehensive manner and have been described as the stepping-stone of a budding scientist’s potential in becoming an independent researcher. It is therefore important to verify how students handle issues of research ethics.
The recruitment of respondents belonging to ethnic minorities poses important challenges in social and health research. This paper reflects on the enablers and barriers to recruitment that we encountered in our research work with persons belonging to ethnic minorities. Additionally, we applied the Matching Model of Recruitment, a theoretical framework concerning minority recruitment, to guide our reflection. We also explored its applicability as a research design tool. In assessing our research experience, we learned that minority recruitment in social and health (...) research is influenced by the social context of all key players involved in the research. Also, there are enablers and barriers within that social context facilitating or delaying the recruitment process. The main enablers to recruit respondents belonging to ethnic minorities include working with community agencies and gatekeepers who share a common vision with researchers and the latter’s ability to gain the trust of potential respondents. The main barriers include demanding too much from these same community agencies and gatekeepers and ignoring factors that could delay the completion of the research. Although we found the Matching Model of Recruitment to be an effective tool in assessing the processes of recruiting respondents belonging to ethnic minorities, further empirical research is needed to explore its usefulness during the research planning phase. (shrink)
An interpretation of John Dewey’s views about realism, science, and naturalistic philosophy is presented. Dewey should be seen as an unorthodox realist, with respect to both general metaphysical debates about realism and with respect to debates about the aims and achievements of science.
Integrity is a critical determinant of the effectiveness of research organizations in terms of producing high quality research and educating the new generation of scientists. A number of responsible conduct of research (RCR) training programs have been developed to address this growing organizational concern. However, in spite of a significant body of research in ethics training, it is still unknown which approach has the highest potential to enhance researchers’ integrity. One of the approaches showing some promise in improving researchers’ integrity (...) has focused on the development of ethical decision-making skills. The current effort proposes a novel curriculum that focuses on broad metacognitive reasoning strategies researchers use when making sense of day-to-day social and professional practices that have ethical implications for the physical sciences and engineering. This sensemaking training has been implemented in a professional sample of scientists conducting research in electrical engineering, atmospheric and computer sciences at a large multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary, and multi-university research center. A pre-post design was used to assess training effectiveness using scenario-based ethical decision-making measures. The training resulted in enhanced ethical decision-making of researchers in relation to four ethical conduct areas, namely data management, study conduct, professional practices, and business practices. In addition, sensemaking training led to researchers’ preference for decisions involving the application of the broad metacognitive reasoning strategies. Individual trainee and training characteristics were used to explain the study findings. Broad implications of the findings for ethics training development, implementation, and evaluation in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)
There has been a growing concern over establishing norms that ensure the ethically acceptable and scientifically sound conduct of clinical trials. Among the leading norms internationally are the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki, guidelines by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences, the International Conference on Harmonization's standards for industry, and the CONSORT group's reporting norms, in addition to the influential U.S. Federal Common Rule, Food and Drug Administration's body of regulations, and information sheets by the Department of (...) Health and Human Services. There are also many norms published at more local levels by official agencies and professional groups.Any account of international standards should cover both scientific and ethical norms at once – the two are conceptually intertwined. Recent sources recognize that “[s]cientifically unsound research on human subjects is unethical in that it exposes research subjects to risks without possible benefit.”. (shrink)
This is the first book to offer the best essays, articles, and speeches on ethics and intelligence that demonstrate the complex moral dilemmas in intelligence collection, analysis, and operations. Some are recently declassified and never before published, and all are written by authors whose backgrounds are as varied as their insights, including Robert M. Gates, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; John P. Langan, the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown (...) University; and Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia and recipient of the Owens Award for contributions to the understanding of U.S. intelligence activities. Creating the foundation for the study of ethics and intelligence by filling in the gap between warfare and philosophy, this is a valuable collection of literature for building an ethical code that is not dependent on any specific agency, department, or country. (shrink)
Although Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is common in the sciences, the effectiveness of RCR training is open to question. Three key factors appear to be particularly important in ensuring the effectiveness of ethics education programs: (1) educational efforts should be tied to day-to-day practices in the field, (2) educational efforts should provide strategies for working through the ethical problems people are likely to encounter in day-to-day practice, and (3) educational efforts should be embedded in a broader program of (...) on-going career development efforts. This article discusses a complex qualitative approach to RCR training development, based on a sensemaking model, which strives to address the afore-mentioned training concerns. Ethnographic observations and prior RCR training served the purpose of collecting information specific to a multi-disciplinary and multi-university research center with the goal of identifying metacognitive reasoning strategies that would facilitate ethical decision-making. The extensive qualitative analyses resulted in the identification of nine metacognitive reasoning strategies on which future RCR training will be developed. The implications of the findings for RCR training in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)