Online participation in research is used increasingly to recruit geographically dispersed populations. Obtaining online consent is convenient, yet we know little about the acceptability of this practice. We carried out a serostudy among personnel returning to the UK/Ireland following deployment to West Africa during the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic. We used an online procedure for consenting returnees and designed a small descriptive study to understand: how much of the consent material they read, how informed they felt and if they preferred online (...) to traditional face-to-face consent. Of 261 returnees, 111 completed the consent survey. Participants indicated a high level of engagement with the consent materials, with 67 per cent reporting having read all and 20 per cent having read ‘most’ of the materials. All participants indicated feeling completely or mostly informed about the purpose, methods and intended uses of the research, as well as what participation was required and what risks were involved. Only three participants indicated a preference for face-to-face consent. Free-text comments suggested that online consent may be an acceptable modality for uncomplicated and low-risk studies. The study sample was largely composed of health professionals, suggesting acceptability of online consent within this population. (shrink)
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sociology was becoming established as a discipline in the United States and Great Britain. This article looks closely at the lives and work of two prominent sociologists at this time, Patrick Geddes and Lester F. Ward. As sociology was becoming established in academic departments, neither Ward’s nor Geddes’ thought managed to survive intact. A number of factors played into this process, especially the overall broadness of their perspectives, as well as the (...) incompatibility of several of their key concerns, including gender, religion, race and education, with the eventual trajectory of the sociology and the scholars who were involved in consolidating the discipline as such. (shrink)
This paper examines the contribution of the PhD dissertation of the American cytologist Michael F. Guyer (1874-1959) to the early establishment (in 1902-1903) of the parallel relationship between cytological chromosome behaviour in meiosis and Mendel's laws. Guyer's suggestions were among the first, which attempted to relate the variation observed in the offspring in hybridisation studies by a coherent cytological chromosome mechanism to meiosis before the rediscovery of Mendel's principles. This suggested for the first time that the chromosome mechanism involved a (...) conjugation of maternal and paternal chromosomes during the synapsis followed by a segregation of parental chromosomes in the final germ cells and a random union of the final germ cells in the fertilization. It shows that this early suggestion was similar to William Austin Cannon's later chromosome proposal attempting to explain Mendel's principles and had some influence on Walter Sutton's cytological suggestion explaining correctly the behaviour of Mendel's particle by 1903. (shrink)
I discuss John Henry Newman's correspondence with William Froude, F.R.S., (1810–79) and his family. Froude remained an unbeliever, and I argue that Newman's disputes with him about the ethics of belief and the relationship between religion and science not only reveal important aspects of his thought, but also anticipate modern discussions on foundationalism, the ethics of beliefs and scientism.
Here, I put forth a construal of P. F. Strawson’s so-called reversal, his view that what it means to be morally responsible is determined by our practices of holding responsible. The “concern-based” construal that I defend holds that what it means to be morally responsible is determined by the basic social concerns of which our practices are an expression. This construal, I argue, avoids a dilemma that Patrick Todd has recently raised for the reversal.
Towards the end of his response to me, Lee presents an argument for the necessity of interpreting all evil as privation. I counter this argument by showingthat it works only for what I call “formal” good and evil, but not for what I call “contentful” good and evil. In fact, evil that is “contentful” presents a challenge tothe privation theory that I had not discussed in my article. I then proceed, in the second part of my response, to revisit the (...) three cases of evil that in my original paper I had presented as challenges to the privation theory. I engage Lee’s objections to these three counterexamples and I try to explain in a new way why the principle of badness in each of them, especially in pain/suffering and in moral evil, is not just a lack or a deficiency. (shrink)