The transhumanist literature encompasses diverse nonnovel positions on questions of disability and obligation reflecting long-running political philosophical debates on freedom and value choice, complicated by the difficulty of projecting values to enhanced beings. These older questions take on a more concrete form given transhumanist uses of biotechnologies. This paper will contrast the views of Hughes and Sandberg on the obligations persons with "disabilities" have to enhance and suggest a new model. The paper will finish by introducing a distinction between the (...) responsibility society has in respect of the presence of impairments and the responsibility society has not to abandon disadvantaged members, concluding that questions of freedom and responsibility have renewed political importance in the context of enhancement technologies. (shrink)
The existence of consciousness in animals may have been overlooked. Continuity in consciousness between humans and animals is predicted by evolutionary theory. However, there are specific methodological difficulties associated with investigating such a phenomenon: it cannot be directly measured; animals, unlike humans, cannot directly tell us about their conscious experience; experiments which have made comparisons to human consciousness cannot detect consciousness of a different form; application of the law of parsimony in science has traditionally led to the conclusion that it (...) does not exist. (shrink)
Adaptation to right-shifting prisms improves left neglect for mental number line bisection. This study examined whether adaptation affects the mental number line in normal participants. Thirty-six participants completed a mental number line task before and after adaptation to either: left-shifting prisms, right-shifting prisms or control spectacles that did not shift the visual scene. Participants viewed number triplets (e.g. 16, 36, 55) and determined whether the numerical distance was greater on the left or right side of the inner number. Participants demonstrated (...) a leftward bias (i.e. overestimated the length occupied by numbers located on the left side of the number line) that was consistent with the effect of pseudoneglect. The leftward bias was corrected by a short period of visuomotor adaptation to left-shifting prisms, but remained unaffected by adaptation to right-shifting prisms and control spectacles. The findings demonstrate that a simple visuomotor task alters the representation of space on the mental number line in normal participants. (shrink)
Research Ethics Committees (RECs) are frequently a focus of complaints from researchers, but evidence about the operation and decisions of RECs tends to be anecdotal. We conducted a systematic study to identify and compare the ethical issues raised in 54 letters to researchers about the same 18 applications submitted to three RECs over one year. The most common type of ethical trouble identified in REC letters related to informed consent, followed by scientific design and conduct, care and protection of research (...) participants, confidentiality, recruitment and documentation. Community considerations were least frequently raised. There was evidence of variability in the ethical troubles identified and the remedies recommended. This analysis suggests that some principles may be more institutionalized than others, and offers some evidence of inconsistency between RECs. Inconsistency is often treated as evidence of incompetence and caprice, but a more sophisticated understanding of the role of RECs and their functioning is required. (shrink)
This paper examines the identity of Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) from different value orientations. Buffalo were introduced into Northern (Top End) Australia in the early nineteenth century. A team of transdisciplinary researchers, including an ethicist, has been engaged in field research on feral buffalo in Arnhem Land over the past three years. Using historical documents, literature review, field observations, interviews with key informants, and interaction with the Indigenous land owners, an understanding of the diverse views on the scientific, cultural, (...) and economic significance of buffalo was obtained. While the diverse stakeholders in buffalo exploitation and management have historically delivered divergent value orientations on the nature of the humanbuffalo relationship, we argue that over time there is the possibility of values and ethical convergence. Such convergence is possible via transdisciplinary and transcultural agreement on the value stances that constitute the construction of the being or identity of buffalo in the face of the overwhelming need to manage population density and gross numbers. (shrink)
Matter and Form explores the relationship between natural science and political philosophy from the classical to contemporary eras, taking an interdisciplinary approach to the philosophic understanding of the structure and process of the natural world and its impact on the history of political philosophy. It illuminates the importance of philosophic reflection on material nature to moral and political theorizing, mediating between the sciences and humanities and making a contribution to ending the isolation between them.
This volume explores the role of some of the most prominent twentieth-century philosophers and political thinkers as teachers. It examines what obstacles they confronted as teachers and how they overcame them in conveying truth to their students in an age dominated by ideological thinking.