Although the second and third University Discourses in Newman’s Idea of a University are well known for according theology a place in a university education by showing the relationship of theology to the other sciences, this essay points out that Newman was also arguing against the “natural theology” of British thinkers like William Paley, Lord Brougham, Sir Robert Peel, and Bishop Edward Maltby, who maintained that the study of the natural sciences would necessarily lead to religion; Newman objected that this (...) kind of “natural theology” could easily lead to deism or pantheism. (shrink)
Sense of agency refers to the sense of initiating and controlling actions in order to influence events in the outside world. Recently, a distinction between implicit and explicit aspects of sense of agency has been proposed, analogous to distinctions found in other areas of cognition, notably learning. However, there is yet no strong evidence supporting separable implicit and explicit components of sense of agency. The so-called ‘Perruchet paradigm’ offers one of the few convincing demonstrations of separable implicit and explicit learning (...) systems. We adopted this approach to evaluate the implicit–explicit distinction in the context of a simple task in which outcomes were probabilistically caused by actions. In line with our initial predictions, we found evidence of a dissociation. We discuss the implications of this result for theories of sense of agency. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine how philosophers before and after G. E. Moore understood intrinsic value. The main idea I wish to bring out and defend is that Moore was insufficiently attentive to how distinctive his conception of intrinsic value was, as compared with those of the writers he discussed, and that such inattentiveness skewed his understanding of the positions of others that he discussed and dismissed. My way into this issue is by examining the charge of inconsistency that Moore (...) levels at the qualitative hedonism outlined by J. S. Mill in Utilitarianism. Along the way I suggest that there are a number of ways in which Moore was unfair in rejecting qualitative hedonism as inconsistent. I close by relating the issues that arise in discussion of Moore to contemporary debates on value and reasons. (shrink)
Humans have the capacity for awareness of many aspects of their own mental lives—their own experiences, feelings, judgments, desires, and decisions. We can often know what it is that we see, hear, feel, judge, want, or decide. This article examines the evolutionary origins of this form of self-knowledge. Two alternatives are contrasted and compared with the available evidence. One is first-person based: self-knowledge is an adaptation designed initially for metacognitive monitoring and control. The other is third-person based: self-knowledge depends on (...) the prior evolution of a mindreading system which can then be directed toward the self. It is shown that the latter account is currently the best supported of the two. (shrink)
Prior research has demonstrated that antisocial behavior, substance-use disorders, and personality dimensions of aggression and impulsivity are indicators of a highly heritable underlying dimension of risk, labeled externalizing. Other work has shown that individual trait constructs within this psychopathology spectrum are associated with reduced self-monitoring, as reflected by amplitude of the error-related negativity (ERN) brain response. In this study of undergraduate subjects, reduced ERN amplitude was associated with higher scores on a self-report measure of the broad externalizing construct that links (...) these various indicators. In addition, the ERN was associated with a response-locked increase in anterior theta (4–7 Hz) oscillation; like the ERN, this theta response to errors was reduced among high-externalizing individuals. These findings suggest that neurobiologically based deficits in endogenous action monitoring may underlie generalized risk for an array of impulse-control problems. (shrink)
Whether ethics is too important to be left to the experts or so important that it must be is an age-old question. The emergence of clinical ethicists raises it again, as a question about professionalism. What role clinical ethicists should play in healthcare decision making – teacher, mediator, or consultant – is a question that has generated considerable debate but no consensus.
This article reflects on the author's modest experience as an expert witness in two trials: Osheroff vs. Greenspan (1983), and In the Matter of Baby K (1994). Bioethicists' expertise as scholar-teachers and consultants on particular issues merits qualification by judges as expert witnesses. The article argues that a different kind of expertise – strong moral advocacy – is required to be an effective expert witness. The major lessons of expert witnessing for the author concern the demands and strains on the (...) bioethicist's role as scholar, teacher, and consultant. The Baby K case is analyzed in some detail, due to its importance for bioethics, ethics consultation, and the testimony of bioethicists on either side of the case. Rules of thumb are offered to guide decisions as to choices regarding expert witnessing, as well as a discussion of the interaction of law and bioethics. (shrink)
It's surprising that contemporary moral philosophers have not thought more about food. The rapidly expanding industrialized landscape of modern western agribusiness raises moral concerns about large-scale livestock production, the increased usage of genetically modified crops, and the effects these now common practices may have on long-term environmental and human health. Here Pence argues that biotechnology is more helpful than harmful, on the ground that it will abate world hunger. Positioning himself as an "impartialbioethicist" he sets about the task of sorting (...) through the extremism he thinks drives all environ- mental movements' opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops. His argu- ment is simple: the claim that GM foods are unsafe is the product of alarmism, not sound reason. Discarding what environmentalists have called the Precau- tionary Principle, he argues that GM foods are safe because they have not been proven unsafe. And GM foods have been tested more than many food products now on the market. (shrink)
Incidental fndings of potential medical signifcance are seen in approximately 5-8 percent of asymptomatic subjects and 16 percent of symptomatic subjects participating in large computed tomography colonography studies, with the incidence varying further by CT acquisition technique. While most CTC research programs have a well-defned plan to detect and disclose IFs, such plans are largely communicated only verbally. Written consent documents should also inform subjects of how IFs of potential medical signifcance will be detected and reported in CTC research studies.
This commentary is in agreement with the thrust of Koehler's target article. The issue I deal with is whether a Bayesian framework represents an adequate general normative framework for deciding the rationality of lay judgments, even when it can be unambiguously applied.