Population-level biomedical research offers new opportunities to improve population health, but also raises new challenges to traditional systems of research governance and ethical oversight. Partly in response to these challenges, various models of public involvement in research are being introduced. Yet, the ways in which public involvement should meet governance challenges are not well understood. We conducted a qualitative study with 36 experts and stakeholders using the World Café method to identify key governance challenges and explore how public involvement can (...) meet these challenges. This brief report discusses four cross-cutting themes from the study: the need to move beyond individual consent; issues in benefit and data sharing; the challenge of delineating and understanding publics; and the goal of clarifying justifications for public involvement. The report aims to provide a starting point for making sense of the relationship between public involvement and the governance of population-level biomedical research, showing connections, potential solutions and issues arising at their intersection. We suggest that, in population-level biomedical research, there is a pressing need for a shift away from conventional governance frameworks focused on the individual and towards a focus on collectives, as well as to foreground ethical issues around social justice and develop ways to address cultural diversity, value pluralism and competing stakeholder interests. There are many unresolved questions around how this shift could be realised, but these unresolved questions should form the basis for developing justificatory accounts and frameworks for suitable collective models of public involvement in population-level biomedical research governance. (shrink)
With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore a corresponding opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for standard utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological (...) development, but rather that we ought to maximize its safety, i.e. the probability that colonization will eventually occur. This goal has such high utility that standard utilitarians ought to focus all their efforts on it. Utilitarians of a ‘person-affecting’ stripe should accept a modified version of this conclusion. Some mixed ethical views, which combine utilitarian considerations with other criteria, will also be committed to a similar bottom line. (shrink)
To what extent should we use technological advances to try to make better human beings? Leading philosophers debate the possibility of enhancing human cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and controlling aging. Would this take us beyond the bounds of human nature? These are questions that need to be answered now.
Huayan Buddhist philosophers and John Dewey share a perspective on emptiness or dependent origination. This article compares Dewey's local, contextual, and relational metaphysics with Huayan thinkers’ use of the metaphor of Indra's jewel net to extend their relational metaphysics to an infinite extent. Huayan thinkers base their ethics of compassion on the recognition of the infinite relatedness of all things. Dewey prefers constructing social institutions that foster experiences that are reliably aesthetically unified. This dispute is significant because pragmatism and Buddhism (...) both provide promising ethical positions based on the understanding of persons as temporally limited and relational. (shrink)
The aim of the 2008 Roundtable was to focus on the progress to date in the many facets—methodological, epistemological and conceptual—of the field of legal semiotics, specifically the contribution of different schools and forms of semiotics as well as emerging and emergent semiotics approaches which can be used in researching and interpreting law and legal phenomena. The participants sought primarily to engage with the epistemological and methodological challenges which the field currently faces and to discuss the implications of these.
L’édition spéciale que le lecteur tient entre ses mains est la toute première édition de la Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique en langue française. Elle lui propose un éventail d’analyses représentatives des différentes conceptions de la linguistique juridique ou jurilinguistique comme la dénomme nos collègues canadiens. Elle est dédiée au Doyen Cornu, qui fut, comme l’indique le Professeur Beauchard dans son hommage, une des personnalités juridiques les plus reconnues en France pour ses travaux dans le domaine de la langue et (...) du droit. Les articles sélectionnés dégagent l’essentiel de la linguistique juridique: ils soulignent certains aspects de recherches déjà avancées (Gémar, Goltzeberg) et d’autres débats encore peu explorés (Mattila, Lenoble-Pinson), permettant ainsi au lecteur de situer les enjeux actuels de la linguistique juridique tout en lui révélant les perspectives à venir. (shrink)
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of (...) our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. (shrink)
The received view of implicit bias holds that it is associative and unreflective. Recently, the received view has been challenged. Some argue that implicit bias is not predicated on “any” associative process, but it is unreflective. These arguments rely, in part, on debiasing experiments. They proceed as follows. If implicit bias is associative and unreflective, then certain experimental manipulations cannot change implicitly biased behavior. However, these manipulations can change such behavior. So, implicit bias is not associative and unreflective. This paper (...) finds philosophical and empirical problems with that argument. When the problems are solved, the conclusion is not quite right: implicit bias is not necessarily unreflective, but it seems to be associative. Further, the paper shows that even if legitimate non-associative interventions on implicit bias exist, then both the received view and its recent contender would be false. In their stead would be interactionism or minimalism about implicit bias. (shrink)
The terms "imagination'' and "imaginative'' can be readily applied to a profusion of attitudes, experiences, activities, and further phenomena. The heterogeneity of the things to which they're applied prompts the thoughts that the terms are polysemous, and that there is no single, coherent, fruitful conception of imagination to be had. Nonetheless, much recent work on imagination ascribes implicitly to a univocal way of thinking about imaginative phenomena: the imitation theory, according to which imaginative experiences imitate other experiences. This approach is (...) infelicitous. It issues in unhelpful descriptions of imaginative activities, experiences, and attitudes, and frustrates theorizing about imagination's applications and intensional characteristics. A better way of thinking about imagination is the lens theory, according to which the imagination is a set of ways to focus, refine, clarify or concentrate the matter of other experiences. This approach offers better characterizations of imaginative phenomena, and promises brighter theoretical illumination of them. (shrink)
A pervasive and influential argument appeals to trivial truths to demonstrate that the aim of inquiry is not the acquisition of truth. But the argument fails, for it neglects to distinguish between the complexity of the sentence used to express a truth and the complexity of the truth expressed by a sentence.
Weyl symmetry of the classical bosonic string Lagrangian is broken by quantization, with profound consequences described here. Reimposing symmetry requires that the background space-time satisfy the equations of general relativity: general relativity, hence classical space-time as we know it, arises from string theory. We investigate the logical role of Weyl symmetry in this explanation of general relativity: it is not an independent physical postulate but required in quantum string theory, so from a certain point of view it plays only a (...) formal role in the explanation. (shrink)
What is the purpose of art? What drives us to make it? Why do we value it? Nick Zangwill argues that the function of art is to have certain aesthetic properties in virtue of its non-aesthetic properties, and this function arises because of the artist's insight into the nature of these dependence relations and her intention to bring them about.
What is it to know more? By what metric should the quantity of one's knowledge be measured? I start by examining and arguing against a very natural approach to the measure of knowledge, one on which how much is a matter of how many. I then turn to the quasi-spatial notion of counterfactual distance and show how a model that appeals to distance avoids the problems that plague appeals to cardinality. But such a model faces fatal problems of its own. (...) Reflection on what the distance model gets right and where it goes wrong motivates a third approach, which appeals not to cardinality, nor to counterfactual distance, but to similarity. I close the paper by advocating this model and briefly discussing some of its significance for epistemic normativity. In particular, I argue that the 'trivial truths' objection to the view that truth is the goal of inquiry rests on an unstated, but false, assumption about the measure of knowledge, and suggest that a similarity model preserves truth as the aim of belief in an intuitively satisfying way. (shrink)
I describe and defend the view in a philosophy of mind that I call 'Normative Essentialism', according to which propositional attitudes have normative essences. Those normative essences are 'horizontal' rational requirements, by which I mean the requirement to have certain propositional attitudes given other propositional attitudes. Different propositional attitudes impose different horizontal rational requirements. I distinguish a stronger and a weaker version of this doctrine and argue for the weaker version. I explore the consequences for knowledge of mind, and I (...) then consider objections to the view from mental causation, from empirical psychology, and from animals and small children. (shrink)
I consider the metaphysical consequences of the view that propositional attitudes have essential normative properties. I argue that realism should take a weak rather than a strong form. I argue that expressivism cannot get off the ground. And I argue that eliminativism is self-refuting.
I argue against motivational internalism. First I recharacterise the issue over moral motivation. Second I describe the indifference argument against motivation internalism. Third I consider appeals to irrationality that are often made in the face of this argument, and I show that they are ineffective. Lastly, I draw the motivational externalist conclusion and reflect on the nature of the issue.
“Motivational externalism” is the externalism until they see more of what view that moral judgements have no motisuch a theory would be like. The mere posvational efficacy in themselves, and that sibility of such a theory is not sufficiently when they motivate us, the source of motireassuring, even given strong arguments vation lies outside the moral judgement in against the opposite position. For there may a separate desire. Motivational externalism also be objections to externalism. contrasts with “motivational internalism,” Moral philosophers (...) have not spent much which is either the view that our moral effort spelling out the details of an exterjudgements are partly constituted by motinalist model of moral motivation. Those vation, or else that they would be if we who have endorsed externalism include were rational. The major problem for mo- Philippa Foot, Michael Stocker, David tivational internalism—in either guise—is Brink, Al Mele, Sigrún Svavarsdóttir, and that it flies in the face of common obsermyself (Foot 1972, Stocker 1979, Brink vation and first-personal experience of the 1989, 1997, Mele 1996, Svavarsdóttir fact that we can, without irrationality, be 1999, Zangwill 1999). But even these phiindifferent to morality. Philippa Foot piolosophers concentrated mostly on arguing neered this argument (Foot 1972). The pheagainst internalism or defending moral renomenon of indifference encourages alism rather than articulating the externalist motivational externalism. alternative. As a consequence, it is not clear This paper will not revisit this difficulty how the externalism that can be gleaned for internalism, but will travel in the opfrom these writings can be defended posite dialectical direction. The aim is to against various objections to externalism. expound and defend externalism, not to This paper is concerned to fashion an atargue against internalism. This paper will tractive version of externalism, and show address, and try to soothe away, the reluchow it evades objections. tance of many philosophers to embrace In section 1, a particular version of motimotivational externalism.. (shrink)
According to the additive view of sensory imagination, mental imagery often involves two elements. There is an image-like element, which gives the experiences qualitative phenomenal character akin to that of perception. There is also a non-image element, consisting of something like suppositions about the image's object. This accounts for extra- sensory features of imagined objects and situations: for example, it determines whether an image of a grey horse is an image of Desert Orchid, or of some other grey horse. The (...) view promises to give a simple and intuitive explanation of some puzzling features of imagination, and, further, to illuminate imagination 's relation to modal knowledge. I contend that the additive view does not fulfil these two promises. The explanation of how images come to be determinate is redundant: the content constituting the indeterminate mental images on which the view relies is sufficient to deliver determinate images too, so the extra resources offered by the view are not required.. (shrink)
I argue that an evaluational conception of love collides with the way we value love. That way allows that love has causes, but not reasons, and it recognizes and celebrates a love that refuses to justify itself. Love has unjustified selectivity, due to its arbitrary causes. That imposes a non-tradability norm. A love for reasons, rational love or evaluational love would be propositional, and it therefore allows that the people we love are tradable commodities. A moralized conception of love is (...) no less committed to treating those we love as tradable commodities; it is just that they are tradable moral commodities. An evaluative criterion of adequacy, I suggest, encourages the opposite view ? a non-rational and non-evaluational concept of love. Such a love can set up partial obligations, which may even demand that one sacrifice one's life. Only a love that has causes but not reasons can have the kind of value that we think love has, and thus it would only be rational to pursue and foster such a love. (shrink)
Theodicy, the enterprise of searching for greater goods that might plausibly justify God’s permission of evil, is often criticized on the grounds that the project has systematically failed to unearth any such goods. But theodicists also face a deeper challenge, one that places under question the very attempt to look for any morally sufficient reasons God might have for creating a world littered with evil. This ‘anti-theodical’ view argues that theists (and non-theists) ought to reject, primarily for moral reasons, the (...) project of ‘justifying the ways of God to men’. Unfortunately, this view has not received the serious attention it deserves, particularly in analytic philosophy of religion. Taking my cues from such anti-theodicists as Kenneth Surin, D.Z. Phillips and Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, I defend several reasons for holding that the way of thinking about God and evil enshrined in theodical discourse can only add to the world’s evils, not remove or illuminate them. (shrink)
Positions on the ethics of human enhancement technologies can be (crudely) characterized as ranging from transhumanism to bioconservatism. Transhumanists believe that human enhancement technologies should be made widely available, that individuals should have broad discretion over which of these technologies to apply to themselves, and that parents should normally have the right to choose enhancements for their children-to-be. Bioconservatives (whose ranks include such diverse writers as Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama, George Annas, Wesley Smith, Jeremy Rifkin, and Bill McKibben) are generally (...) opposed to the use of technology to modify human nature. A central idea in bioconservativism is that human enhancement technologies will undermine our human dignity. To forestall a slide down the slippery slope towards an ultimately debased ‘posthuman’ state, bioconservatives often argue for broad bans on otherwise promising human enhancements. This paper distinguishes two common fears about the posthuman and argues for the importance of a concept of dignity that is inclusive enough to also apply to many possible posthuman beings. Recognizing the possibility of posthuman dignity undercuts an important objection against human enhancement and removes a distortive double standard from our field of moral vision. (shrink)
The notion of more truth, or of more truth and less falsehood, is central to epistemology. Yet, I argue, we have no idea what this consists in, as the most natural or obvious thing to say—that more truth is a matter of a greater number of truths, and less falsehood is a matter of a lesser number of falsehoods—is ultimately implausible. The issue is important not merely because the notion of more truth and less falsehood is central to epistemology, but (...) because an implicit, false picture of what this consists in underpins and gives shape to much contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
I foreground the principle of epistemic dependence. I isolate that relation and distinguish it from other relations and note what it does and does not entail. In particular, I distinguish between dependence and necessitation. This has many interesting consequences. On the negative side, many standard arguments in epistemology are subverted. More positively, once we are liberated from the necessary and sufficient conditions project, many fruitful paths for future epistemological investigation open up. I argue that that not being defeated does not (...) make for knowledge. And I argue for the multiple realization of epistemic properties in non-epistemic properties. (shrink)
Cognitive enhancement takes many and diverse forms. Various methods of cognitive enhancement have implications for the near future. At the same time, these technologies raise a range of ethical issues. For example, they interact with notions of authenticity, the good life, and the role of medicine in our lives. Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement also create challenges for public policy and regulation.
Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in (...) any ordinary sense, would a formal derivation actually show the physical reality of localized entities? We address these questions via a survey of a range of theories of quantum gravity, and generally sketch how they may be answered positively. (shrink)
This paper draws on the social psychology of John Dewey to illustrate the importance of aporia, or confusion, to pragmatic pedagogywithin an ethics classroom. The strategic use of aporia solicits an appropriate expression of emotion within students. This emotional response involves dissatisfaction with the present; these dissatisfactions function as pragmatic ideals. Such ideals are not a refuge from the present, but enable students to critically and progressively reconstruct present experiences. Aporia is thus critically important for pedagogical success from a pragmatist (...) perspective. (shrink)
What is the relation between moral and natural properties? And how do we conceive of this relation? By ‘moral’ properties I will mean properties such as being evil, just or virtuous or having duties or rights; and by ‘natural’ properties I will mean properties such as psychological, sociological and physical properties.1 Suppose we judge that Queen Isabella of Spain was evil in 1492, or at least that many of her actions in 1492 were evil. Then we do not think that (...) she had various natural properties in 1492 such as being a torturer, a bigot and desiring other’s pain and by an astounding coincidence she or her actions also had the moral property of evil. Rather, we think that she or her.. (shrink)
_Anthropic Bias_ explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by "observation selection effects"--that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition that there be some suitably positioned observer to "have" the evidence. This conundrum--sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"--turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy. There are the philosophical thought experiments and paradoxes: (...) the Doomsday Argument; Sleeping Beauty; the Presumptuous Philosopher; Adam & Eve; the Absent-Minded Driver; the Shooting Room. And there are the applications in contemporary science: cosmology ; evolutionary theory ; the problem of time's arrow ; quantum physics ; game-theory problems with imperfect recall ; even traffic analysis. _Anthropic Bias_ argues that the same principles are at work across all these domains. And it offers a synthesis: a mathematically explicit theory of observation selection effects that attempts to meet scientific needs while steering clear of philosophical paradox. (shrink)
This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective. Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the work of (...) these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment. The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approaches to the sociology of the body. It offers new insights, and a coherent new perspective on the body. It will be valuable reading for students and academics in sociology, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, and cultural studies. (shrink)
I argue that at least one of the following propositions is true: the human species is very likely to become extinct before reaching a ’posthuman’ stage; any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history ; we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we shall one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living (...) in a simulation. I discuss some consequences of this result. (shrink)
This article argues that there can be epistemic dilemmas: situations in which one faces conflicting epistemic requirements with the result that whatever one does, one is doomed to do wrong from the epistemic point of view. Accepting this view, I argue, may enable us to solve several epistemological puzzles.
Abstract: This article addresses a number of difficulties and complications in the standard formulations of motivational internalism, and considers what besires might be in the light of those difficulties and complications. Two notions of besire are then distinguished, before considering how different kinds of motivational internalism and different conceptions of besire fare against the significant argument that we may be indifferent to the demands of morality without irrationality.
I explore the Because Constraint—the idea that moral facts depend on natural facts and that moral judgements ought to respect the dependence of moral facts on natural facts. I consider several issues concerning its clarification and importance.
I argue that Hanslick was right to think that music should not be understood in terms of emotion. In particular, it is not essential to music to possess emotions, arouse emotions, express emotions, or represent emotions. All such theories are misguided.
I defend moderate formalism about the aesthetics of nature. I argue that anti-formalists cannot account for the incongruousness of much natural beauty. This shows that some natural beauty is not kind-dependent. I then tackle several anti-formalist arguments that can be found in the writings of Ronald Hepburn, Allen Carlson, and Malcolm Budd.
In this paper I argue that empty space can be heard. This position contrasts with the generally held view that the only things that can be heard are sounds, their properties, echoes, and perhaps sound sources. Specifically, I suggest that when sounds reverberate in enclosed environments we auditorily represent the volume of space surrounding us. Clearly, we can learn the approximate size of an enclosed space through hearing a sound reverberate within it, and so any account that denies that we (...) hear empty space must instead show how beliefs about volumes of space can be derived indirectly from what is heard. That is, if space is not auditorily represented when we hear sounds reverberate, what is? I consider whether hearing reverberation can be thought of as hearing a distinct sound, hearing echoes, or hearing a property of a sound. I argue that experiences of reverberation cannot be reduced to the perception of any of these types and that therefore empty space is represented in auditory perceptual content. In the final section I outline two ways in which space might be represented. (shrink)
Through hearing we learn about source events: events in which objects move or interact so that they vibrate and produce sound waves, such as when they roll, collide, or scrape together. It is often claimed that we do not simply hear sounds and infer what event caused them, but hear source events themselves, through hearing sounds. Here I investigate how the idea that we hear source events should be understood, with a focus on how hearing an event relates to hearing (...) the objects involved in that event. I argue that whereas we see events such as rollings and collisions by seeing objects move through space, this cannot be how we hear them, and go on to examine two other possible models. On the first, we hear events but not their participant objects. On the second, to hear an event is to hear the appearance of an object to change. I argue that neither is satisfactory and endorse a third option: to hear a source event is to hear an object as extending through time. (shrink)