Analysis of a European Union funded biotechnology project on plant genomics and marker assisted selection in Solanaceous crops shows that the organization of a dialogue between science and society to accompany technological innovations in plant breeding faces practical challenges. Semi-structured interviews with project participants and a survey among representatives of consumer and other non-governmental organizations show that the professed commitment to dialogue on science and biotechnology is rather shallow and has had limited application for all involved. Ultimately, other priorities tend (...) to prevail because of high workload. The paper recommends including results from previous debates and input from societal groups in the research design phase (prior to communication), to use appropriate media to disseminate information and to make explicit how societal feedback is used in research, in order to facilitate true dialogue between science and society on biotechnology. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that in modern (agro)biotechnology, (un)naturalness as an argument contributed to a stalemate in public debate about innovative technologies. Naturalness in this is often placed opposite to human disruption. It also often serves as a label that shapes moral acceptance or rejection of agricultural innovative technologies. The cause of this lies in the use of nature as a closed, static reference to naturalness, while in fact “nature” is an open and dynamic concept with many different meanings. We (...) propose an approach for a dynamic framework that permits an integrative use of naturalness in debate, by connecting three sorts of meaning that return regularly in the arguments brought forward in debate; cultural, technological, and ecological. We present these as aspects of nature that are always present in the argument of naturalness. The approach proposes a dynamic relation between these aspects, formed by gradients of naturalness, which in turn are related to ethical concerns. In this way we come to an overview that makes it possible to give individual arguments a relative place and that does justice to the temporality of the concept of nature and the underlying ethical concerns stakeholders have in respect to innovation in agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9359-6 Authors P. F. Van Haperen, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands B. Gremmen, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands J. Jacobs, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
The Buddhist construct of mindfulness is a central element of mindfulness-based interventions and derives from a systematic phenomenological programme developed over several millennia to investigate subjective experience. Enthusiasm for ?mindfulness? in Western psychological and other science has resulted in proliferation of definitions, operationalizations and self-report inventories that purport to measure mindful awareness as a trait. This paper addresses a number of seemingly intractable issues regarding current attempts to characterize mindfulness and also highlights a number of vulnerabilities in this domain that (...) may lead to denaturing, distortion, dilution or reification of Buddhist constructs related to mindfulness. Enriching positivist Western psychological paradigms with a detailed and complex Buddhist phenomenology of the mind may require greater study and long-term direct practice of insight meditation than is currently common among psychologists and other scientists. Pursuit of such an approach would seem a necessary precondition for attempts to characterize and quantify mindfulness. (shrink)
This book is the first to discuss, for an English-speaking audience, the ideas of the German-Jewish man of letters, thinker, and activist Günther Anders. Anders is one of few philosophers to deal intensely with the moral consequences of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. He can rightly be called the philosopher of the atomic age, and his thinking a philosophy of modern technology. In biting manifestoes, sharp aphorisms, and penetrating essays, in stirring diary notes and political fables, Anders strikes out the age in (...) which we live. As a twentieth-century visionary, he exposes the absence of the moral and social imaginations that is necessary to prevent our history from ending in a total catastrophe. In the gap between our technical creations and our utter inability to imagine their destructive potential lies the basis for the unstoppable activity of this practical philosopher. From every possible angle, he attempts to comprehend this modern schizophrenia in its roots and consequences. Anders is one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. He tried to describe and analyze the variety of manifestations of the “self-destructive progress of our technical civilization,” which makes humanity into an “anti-quated” sort. He diagnosed countless important problems, ranging from the world of media to the dictates of the world of machinery, and he investigated their social, political, and philosophical meaning. To read his writings is more than becoming acquainted with a rich and colorful philosopher. It is more than an encounter with a moving and passionate individual. It is ultimately a confrontation with oneself, with our own guilt and responsibility, with our personal hopes and fears, with our lack of imagination and with our need to recover it. (shrink)
This volume deals with the general theory of pleasure of Plato and his successors. The first part describes the two paradigms between which all theories of pleasure oscillate: Plato's definition of pleasure as the repletion of a lack, and Aristotle's view that pleasure is the perfect performance of an activity. After an excursus on Epicureans and Stoics, the book concentrates on Neoplatonism, opposing the 'standard Neoplatonic view' of Plotinus and Proclus to the original viewpoint of Damascius' commentary on Plato's "Philebus," (...) The volume sheds light on the discussion between hedonists and anti-hedonists, by concentrating on the 'crucial point' at which any philosophical analysis of the good life (hedonistic or other) ought to argue that the life of the philosopher is the most desirable, and thus truly pleasurable, life. (shrink)
Engineering ethics and science and technology studies have until now developed as separate enterprises. The authors argue that they can learn a lot from each other. STS insights can help make engineering ethics open the black box of technology and help discern ethical issues in engineering design. Engineering ethics, on the other hand, might help STS to overcome its normative sterility. The contributions in this special issue show in various ways how the gap between STS and engineering ethics might be (...) overcome. In this editorial introduction, the authors discuss the various contributions briefly and delve into the way the various authors conceptualize the engineering design process and the consequences of those conceptualizations for what ethical issues become visible. They also discuss the implications for the responsibility of engineers for technological development. (shrink)
Except in very poor mathematical contexts, mathematical arguments do not stand in isolation of other mathematical arguments. Rather, they form trains of formal and informal arguments, adding up to interconnected theorems, theories and eventually entire fields. This paper critically comments on some common views on the relation between formal and informal mathematical arguments, most particularly applications of Toulmin’s argumentation model, and launches a number of alternative ideas of presentation inviting the contextualization of pieces of mathematical reasoning within encompassing bodies of (...) explicit and implicit, formal and informal background knowledge. (shrink)
Philosophy of mathematics today has transformed into a very complex network of diverse ideas, viewpoints, and theories. Sometimes the emphasis is on the "classical" foundational work (often connected with the use of formal logical methods), sometimes on the sociological dimension of the mathematical research community and the "products" it produces, then again on the education of future mathematicians and the problem of how knowledge is or should be transmitted from one generation to the next. The editors of this book felt (...) the urge, first of all, to bring together the widest variety of authors from these different domains and, secondly, to show that this diversity does not exclude a sufficient number of common elements to be present. In the eyes of the editors, this book will be considered a success if it can convince its readers of the following: that it is warranted to dream of a realistic and full-fledged theory of mathematical practices, in the plural. If such a theory is possible, it would mean that a number of presently existing fierce oppositions between philosophers, sociologists, educators, and other parties involved, are in fact illusory. (shrink)
In this study of the _Wenzi_, Paul van Els analyzes a controversial Chinese philosophical text, shedding light on text production and reception in Chinese history, with its changing views on authorship, originality, authenticity, and forgery, both past and present.
We are happy to present the proceedings of the international symposium on Rationality and Religious Trust which were held at the University of Antwerp in this volume of Bijdragen. Rationality and religious trust is of course a topic that falls within the scope of the epistemology of religion. Contemporary epistemology of religion has been the scene of a vigorous debate about the nature of religious belief, or more precisely about the role of rationality and rational argument with respect to religious (...) belief. What is at stake in the debate, is the very way the concept of belief applies to the religious life. More specifically, the issue is about the place to be reserved for belief within the religious life at large, and again, about the role played especially by rational arguments in holding or not holding those beliefs. (shrink)
This article presents a conceptual investigation into the value impacts and relations of algorithms in the domain of justice and security. As a conceptual investigation, it represents one step in a value sensitive design based methodology. Here, we explicate and analyse the expression of values of accuracy, privacy, fairness and equality, property and ownership, and accountability and transparency in this context. We find that values are sensitive to disvalue if algorithms are designed, implemented or deployed inappropriately or without sufficient consideration (...) for their value impacts, potentially resulting in problems including discrimination and constrained autonomy. Furthermore, we outline a framework of conceptual relations of values indicated by our analysis, and potential value tensions in their implementation and deployment with a view towards supporting future research, and supporting the value sensitive design of algorithms in justice and security. (shrink)
BackgroundAn important principle underlying the Dutch Euthanasia Act is physicians' responsibility to alleviate patients' suffering. The Dutch Act states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient's request, the patient's suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the presence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life. To demonstrate their compliance, the Act requires physicians (...) to report euthanasia to a review committee. We studied which arguments Dutch physicians use to substantiate their adherence to the criteria and which aspects attract review committees' attention.MethodsWe examined 158 files of reported euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide cases that were approved by the review committees. We studied the physicians' reports and the verdicts of the review committees by using a checklist.ResultsPhysicians reported that the patient's request had been well-considered because the patient was clear-headed (65%) and/or had repeated the request several times (23%). Unbearable suffering was often substantiated with physical symptoms (62%), function loss (33%), dependency (28%) or deterioration (15%). In 35%, physicians reported that there had been alternatives to relieve patients' suffering which were refused by the majority. The nature of the relationship with the consultant was sometimes unclear: the consultant was reported to have been an unknown colleague (39%), a known colleague (21%), otherwise (25%), or not clearly specified in the report (24%). Review committees relatively often scrutinized the consultation (41%) and the patient's (unbearable) suffering (32%); they had few questions about possible alternatives (1%).ConclusionDutch physicians substantiate their adherence to the criteria in a variable way with an emphasis on physical symptoms. The information they provide is in most cases sufficient to enable adequate review. Review committees' control seems to focus on (unbearable) suffering and on procedural issues. (shrink)
The mechanical view on the human body may be considered as the context in which the highly technological medicine of these days originated. Organ transplantation is certainly one of the most impressive possibilities of this new evolution in medical technology. It exists by the grace of the paradigm of the body as a “Körper” : this paradigm leads to a self-evident acceptance of transplantation medicine in its most brilliant applications. Refinement of surgical techniques, better preservation of organs, the development of (...) more effective immunosuppressives, better procedures for the establishment of brain death criteria and better criteria for the selection and matching of donors and receptors are immanent goals of this type of medicine. Meanwhile the lives of many thousands of patients are saved and these patients even receive the chance for a new life, with much more quality. The ethical reflection on organ transplantation has followed rather rapidly this technical discourse and sounds as a kind of “moral engineering”. This is certainly connected with the upcoming success of “Principlism” , whereby medical decision making is oriented by applying four major principles to medical cases . It is also connected with the ethical approach of utilitarianism, which fits almost perfectly in this technological atmosphere. The authors question this approach and suggest that a more relational understanding of the human body as “Leib” would be a better paradigm for the promotion of solidarity in the context of organ donation and transplantation. Human beings do not only ‘have’ a body, but ‘are’ also their body. The body of the deceased refers to the life of a loved one. Technical procedures surrounding organ removals sometimes hinder the possibility for the family to bereave adequately around their loved one. The authors are convinced that the urging problem of organ shortage is not only caused by lack of solidarity or laziness, but also by the reductionist discourse of transplantation medicine itself. They suggest that we have to find – eventually with the help of poets and writers – an adequate new language to replace the alienating discourse of current transplantation medicine. They see also in communitarianism and personalist care ethics a better ethical approach for touching the peculiar sensitivities of eventual donors and receptors. (shrink)
BackgroundMoral case deliberation as a form of clinical ethics support is usually implemented in health care institutions and educational programs. While there is no previous research on the use of clinical ethics support on the level of health care regulation, employees of regulatory bodies are regularly confronted with moral challenges. This pilot study describes and evaluates the use of MCD at the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate.The objective of this pilot study is to investigate: 1) the current way of dealing with (...) moral issues at the IGZ; 2) experience with and evaluation of MCD as clinical ethics support, and 3) future preferences and needs regarding clinical ethics support for dealing with moral questions at the IGZ.MethodsWe performed an explorative pilot study. The research questions were assessed by means of: 1) interviews with MCD participants during four focus groups; and 2) interviews with six key stakeholders at the IGZ. De qualitative data is illustrated by data from questionnaires on MCD outcomes, perspective taking and MCD evaluation.ResultsProfessionals do not always recognize moral issues. Employees report a need for regular and structured moral support in health care regulation. The MCD meetings are evaluated positively. The most important outcomes of MCD are feeling secure and learning from others. Additional support is needed to successfully implement MCD at the Inspectorate.ConclusionWe conclude that the respondents perceive moral case deliberation as a useful form of clinical ethics support for dealing with moral questions and issues in health care regulation. (shrink)
In the history of Jewish, Christian and Muslim culture, religious identity was not only formed by historical claims, but also by the usage of certain images: “images of God”, “images of the others”, “images of the self.”This book includes a discussion of the role of these images in society and politics, in theology and liturgy, yesterday and today.