In this commentary, we critique the appropriate behavioural features for evolutionary genetic analysis, the role of the environment, and the viability of a general evolutionary genetic model for all common mental disorders. In light of these issues, we suggest that the authors may have prematurely discounted the role of some of the mechanisms they review, particularly balancing selection. (Published Online November 9 2006).
The essays in this volume critically analyze and revitalize agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution in the classical American philosophy of key figures such as Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Dewey, and Royce.
After centuries of neglect, the ethics of food are back with a vengeance. Justice for food workers and small farmers has joined the rising tide of concern over the impact of industrial agriculture on food animals and the broader environment, all while a global epidemic of obesity-related diseases threatens to overwhelm modern health systems. An emerging worldwide social movement has turned to local and organic foods, and struggles to exploit widespread concern over the next wave of genetic engineering or nanotechnologies (...) applied to food. Paul B. Thompson's book applies the rigor of philosophy to key topics in the first comprehensive study explore interconnections hidden deep within this welter of issues. Bringing to bear more than thirty years of experience working closely with farmers, agricultural researchers and food system activists, he explores the eclipse of food ethics during the rise of nutritional science, and examines the reasons for its sudden re-emergence in the era of diet-based disease. Thompson discusses social injustice in the food systems of developed economies and shows how we have missed the key insights for understanding food ethics in the developing world. His discussions of animal production and the environmental impact of agriculture break new ground where most philosophers would least expect it. By emphasizing the integration of these issues, Thompson not only brings a comprehensive philosophical approach to moral issues in the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food -- he introduces a fresh way to think about practical ethics that will have implications in other areas of applied philosophy. (shrink)
The Spirit of the Soil challenges environmentalists to think more deeply and creatively about agriculture. Paul B. Thompson identifies four `worldviews' which tackle agricultural ethics according to different philosophical priorities; productionism, stewardship, economics and holism. He examines current issues such as the use of pesticides and biotechnology from these ethical perspectives. This book achieves an open-ended account of sustainability designed to minimise hubris and help us to recapture the spirit of the soil.
Agrarian political philosophies since ancient Greece stress the role of agriculture in forming political solidarity and civic virtue. More recent transformations suggest a way to conjoin these elements of what makes a polity politically sustainable with environmental sensitivity and literacy.
Critically analyzes and revitalizes agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution. Today, most historians, philosophers, political theorists, and scholars of rural America take a dim view of the agrarian ideal that farmers and farming occupy a special moral and political status in society. Agrarian rhetoric is generally seen as special pleading on the part of farmers seeking protection from labor reform and environmental regulation while continuing to receive direct payments and subsidies from the public till. Agrarianism should not be viewed as (...) a set of immutable claims about farming and political order, but as a tradition of moral and political philosophy that has evolved and deepened over the centuries. Agrarian naturalism--the belief that culture and conduct are conditioned by nature because they are of a piece with nature--becomes pragmatic naturalism, giving way to a new set of puzzles about how we are to understand the rural landscape and our responsibilities for its use. The agrarian idea that personality and sociability are integrated with the material transformation of the landscape can serve as the basis for a new, pragmatically grounded ethic of natural resources and rural development. The essays in this volume critically analyze and revitalize agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution in the classical American philosophy of key figures such as Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Dewey, and Royce. Three chapters address the belief that farming peoples develop moral virtue and a taste for democracy as it evolved in the American context, and four examine how a reconstitution of agrarian themes might invigorate our nation's thinking on environment, food, and rural development policy. The Agrarian Roots of Pragmatism will be of broad interest to scholars of American philosophy, rural history, history of ideas, geography, and agricultural or natural resource policy. (shrink)
Although the word 'sustainability' is used broadly, scientific approaches to sustainability fall into one of two competing paradigms. Following the influential Brundtland report of 1987. some theorists identify sustainability with some form of resource availability, and develop indicators for sustainability that stress capital depletion. This approach has spawned debates about the intersubstitutivity of capitals, with many environmental theorists arguing that at some point, depletion of natural capital cannot be offset by increases in human or social capital. The alternative approach is (...) grounded in stock and flow systems systems modeling, and defines sustainability through indicators that determine whether the system structure is robust (e.g. resists perturbation), resilient (recovers after disruption) and adaptive (capable of change in response to external conditions). Both paradigms have applications in economics and ecology. (shrink)
The second edition of this extensive work is the definitive source on issues pertaining to the full range of topics in the important area of food and agricultural ethics. Altogether about 100 new entries appear in this new edition. The start of the 21st century has seen intensified debate, discussion, and criticism of food and agriculture. Scholars, activists, and citizens increasingly question the goals and ethical rationale behind production, distribution and consumption of food, and the use of crops for fuel (...) and fiber. These wide-ranging debates encompass questions in human nutrition, animal rights, and the environmental impacts of agricultural production. The encyclopedia provides a detailed analysis of these issues and hundreds of other topics including the use of antibiotics in animal feedlots, the Green Revolution, organic farming, Islam and Food, and cannibalism.The Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, 2nd edition is an indispensable reference point for future research and writing on topics in agriculture, food, animal, and eating ethics. (shrink)
The traditional military-territorial model of the nation state defines international duties in terms of protecting citizens' property from foreign threats. In this 1992 book about the principles of the US agricultural policy and foreign aid, Professor Thompson replaces this model with the notion of the trading state that sees its role in terms of the establishment of international institutions that stabilize and facilitate cultural and intellectual, as well as commercial, exchanges between nations. The argument focuses on protectionist challenges to foreign (...) aid and development assistance programs, and engages with the views of a variety of economists, commodity organizations, and philosophers on world hunger and development. What emerges is a new interpretation of social contract theory that can determine goals for international trade and development policy. (shrink)
: When may a physician legitimately offer enrollment in a randomized clinical trial (RCT) to her patient? Two answers to this question have had a profound impact on the research ethics literature. Equipoise, as originated by Charles Fried, which we term Fried's equipoise (FE), stipulates that a physician may offer trial enrollment to her patient only when the physician is genuinely uncertain as to the preferred treatment. Clinical equipoise (CE), originated by Benjamin Freedman, requires that there exist a state of (...) honest, professional disagreement in the community of expert practitioners as to the preferred treatment. FE and CE are widely understood as competing concepts. We argue that FE and CE offer separable and, in themselves, incomplete justifications for the conduct of clinical trials. FE articulates conditions under which the fiduciary duties of physician to patient may be upheld in the conduct of research. CE sets out a standard for the social approval of research by institutional review boards. Viewed in this way, FE and CE are not necessarily competing notions, but rather address complementary moral concerns. (shrink)
What is the significance of the wicked problems framework for environmental philosophy? In response to wicked problems, environmental scientists are starting to welcome the participation of social scientists, humanists, and the creative arts. We argue that the need for interdisciplinary approaches to wicked problems opens up a number of tasks that environmental philosophers have every right to undertake. The first task is for philosophers to explore new and promising ways of initiating philosophical research through conducting collaborative learning processes on environmental (...) issues. The second task is for philosophers to recognize the value of philosophical skills in their engagements with members of other disciplines and walks of life in addressing wicked problems. The wicked problems framework should be seen as an important guide for facilitating philosophical research that is of relevance to problems like climate change and sustainable agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9344-0 Authors Paul B. Thompson, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Kyle Powys Whyte, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Don Ihde has characterized his philosophy as "phenomenology + pragmatism." This article argues that Ihde's pragmatism can be understood as consistency with two philosophical commitments from the first generation of American pragmatists (e.g. Peirce, James, Dewey and Addams). First, Ihde's notion of embodiment relations for tools and techniques is consistent with the organism-environment relational epistemology of these thinkers. Second, his desire to dissociate himself from romantic and neo-idealist readings of the phenomenological tradition link him with their naturalism.
Formal, informal and material institutions constitute the framework for human interaction and communicative practice. Three ideas from institutional theory are particularly relevant to technical change. Exclusion cost refers to the effort that must be expended to prevent others from usurping or interfering in one’s use or disposal of a given good or resource. Alienability refers to the ability to tangibly extricate a good or resource from one setting, making it available for exchange relations. Rivalry refers to the degree and character (...) of compatibility in various uses for goods. The paper closes with a note on how attention to these factors might be useful ways to conceptualize what Langdon Winner has called “the technological constitution of society,” and what Andrew Feenberg has theorized as “secondary rationalization,” as well as within more practical contexts of technical research, development and design. (shrink)
The chapter discusses two points of intersection between the communication of science-based information about risk and philosophical ethics. The first is a logically unnecessary bias toward consequentialist ethics, and a corresponding tendency to overlook the significance of deontological and virtue based ways to interpret the findings of a scientific risk analysis. The second is a grammatical bias that puts scientific communicators at odds with the expectations of a non-scientific audience.
Heated debate surrounds the question whether the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject is governed by a duty of care. Miller and Weijer argue that fiduciary law provides a strong legal foundation for this duty, and for articulating the terms of the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject.
Nanotechnologies that have been linked to the possibility of enhancing cognitive capabilities of human beings might also be deployed to reduce or eliminate such capabilities in non-human vertebrate animals. A surprisingly large literature on the ethics of such disenhancement has been developed in response to the suggestion that it would be an ethically defensible response to animal suffering both in medical experimentation and in industrial livestock production. However, review of this literature illustrates the difficulty of formulating a coherent ethical debate. (...) Well structured arguments for disenhancement can be made on the basis of mainstream views on the basis of ethical obligations to animals, but these arguments have not been persuasive against the moral intuition that disenhancements are unethical. At the same time, attempts to ground these intuitions in a coherent philosophical doctrine have been plagued by logical fallacies and question begging assertions. As such, the debate over animal disenhancement forecasts an enduring conundrum with respect to the core question of transforming the nature of sentient beings, and this conundrum is logically independent of claims that relate either to the distinctive of human beings or to issues deriving from the emphasis on enhancement. (shrink)
Bioethics is currently witnessing unprecedented debate over the moral and legal norms governing the conduct of clinical research. At the center of this debate is the duty of care in clinical research, and its most widely accepted specification, clinical equipoise. In recent work, we have argued that equipoise and cognate concepts central to the ethics of clinical research have been left unnecessarily vulnerable to criticism. We have suggested that the vulnerability lies in the conspicuous absence of an articulated foundation in (...) moral and legal theory of the physician-researcher's duty of care to the patient-subject. We have repeatedly suggested that the requisite foundation is in the ethics of trust and the law of fiduciaries.Curiously, despite the absence of a published thorough exposition of our position, some have preemptively criticized our suggestion that the relationship between physician-researcher and patient-subject is fiduciary. Others have offered their own accounts of the implications of fiduciary law for the relationship. (shrink)
Edited by Thomas A. Shannon, this series provides anthologies of critical essays and reflections by leading ethicists in four pivotal areas: reproductive technologies, genetic technologies, death and dying, and health care policy. The goal of this series is twofold: first, to provide a set of readers on thematic topics for introductory or survey courses in bioethics or for courses with a particular theme or time limitation. Second, each of the readers in this series is designed to help students focus more (...) thoroughly and effectively on specific topics that flesh out the ethical issues at the core of bioethics. The series is also highly accessible to general readers interested in bioethics. (shrink)
Bringing together leading theorists to analyse critically important philosophical questions at the intersection of contract and fiduciary law, Contract, Status, and Fiduciary Law demonstrates that these two areas of law, while distinctive, are deeply intertwined.