Autism Spectrum Condition presents a challenge to social and relational accounts of the self, precisely because it is broadly seen as a disorder impacting social relationships. Many influential theories argue that social deficits and impairments of the self are the core problems in ASC. Predictive processing approaches address these based on general purpose neurocognitive mechanisms that are expressed atypically. Here we use the High, Inflexible Precision of Prediction Errors in Autism approach in the context of cultural niche (...) construction to explain atypicalities of the relationalself, specifically its minimal, extended, and intersubjective aspects. We contend that the social self in ASC should not be seen as impaired, but rather as an outcome of atypical niche construction. We unpack the scientific, ethical, and practical consequences of this view, and discuss implications for how the challenges that autistic persons face should be approached. (shrink)
New parents suddenly come face to face with myriad issues that demand careful attention but appear in a context unlikely to provide opportunities for extended or clear-headed critical reflection, whether at home with a new baby or in the neonatal intensive care unit. As such, their capacity for autonomy may be compromised. Attending to new parental autonomy as an extension of reproductive autonomy, and as a complicated phenomenon in its own right rather than simply as a matter to be balanced (...) against other autonomy rights, can help us to see how new parents might be aided in their quest for competency and good decision making. In this paper I show how a relational view of autonomy – attentive to the coercive effects of oppressive social norms and to the importance of developing autonomy competency, especially as related to self-trust – can improve our understanding of the situation of new parents and signal ways to cultivate and to better respect their autonomy. (shrink)
This collection of original essays explores the social and relational dimensions of individual autonomy. Rejecting the feminist charge that autonomy is inherently masculinist, the contributors draw on feminist critiques of autonomy to challenge and enrich contemporary philosophical debates about agency, identity, and moral responsibility. The essays analyze the complex ways in which oppression can impair an agent's capacity for autonomy, and investigate connections, neglected by standard accounts, between autonomy and other aspects of the agent, including self-conception, self-worth, (...) memory, and the imagination. (shrink)
The paper outlines a structuralist unification between two existing relational theories of the self, i.e., Beni's Structural Realist theory of the Self and Gallese's Embodied RelationalSelf. Each one of these theories provides a structuralist account of some aspects of the self but leaves out some other aspects which are indispensable to a comprehensive account of the self. SRS accounts for the reflective aspects of the self, and ERS accounts for the environmental (...) and social aspects of the self. In this paper, I argue that when paired with one another, SRS and ERS could amend one another's shortcomings, without giving way to a non-relational conception of the self. I draw on neurology of the connection between Cortical Midline Structures and the mirror neuron system to inform my unifying proposal. I also show that an informational framework can underlie the union. (shrink)
Georg Simmel’s final work, The View of Life, concludes his lifelong engagement with Immanuel Kant by ‘inverting’ Kant’s Categorical Imperative to produce an ethics of authentic individuality. While Kant’s moral imperative is universal to all individuals but particular to their discrete acts, Simmel’s Law of the Individual is particular to each individual but universal to all the individual’s acts. We assess the significance of Simmel’s formulation of the Law of the Individual in three steps: First, as an articulation of an (...) ethical moment consonant with his relational approach to formal sociology, hinted at earlier in Sociology but not developed as such. Second, as a completion of the framework for Simmel’s formal sociology: the Law of the Individual conceptualizes a decisive but under-theorized relationship in Simmel’s vision of ‘society’ that is a woven fabric of social relationships, namely one’s relationship with oneself. We follow with a third proposal about how Simmel might have continued the line of thought he opens in The View of Life, suggesting that we can take the Law of the Individual as an invitation to fold the self-relation back into analysis of social relations, and to theorize how forms of association are shaped by forms of self-relation. We thus narrow the theoretical gulf between Simmel’s vitalism and his sociology, which commentators usually hold apart. And in so doing, we sketch a distinctively Simmelian approach to an ethics of individuality in sociological inquiry. (shrink)
Prologue: Toward a new Enlightenment -- From bounded to relational being -- Bounded being -- In the beginning is the relationship -- The relationalself -- The body as relationship : emotion, pleasure and pain -- Relational being in everyday life -- Multi-being and the adventure of everyday life -- Bonds, barricades, and beyond -- Relational being in practice -- Knowledge as co-creation -- Education in a relational key -- Therapy as relational recovery (...) -- Organizing : the precarious balance -- From the moral to the sacred -- Beyond moral pluralism -- All our relations, approaching the sacred -- Epilogue: The coming of relational consciousness. (shrink)
Taking seriously Linda Martín Alcoff's suggestion that we reevaluate the extent to which poststructuralist articulations of the subject are truly socially constituted, as well as the centrality of Latina identity to her own account of such constitution, I argue that the discussion Alcoff and other Latina feminists offer of the experience of being Latina in North America is illustrative of the extent to which the relational and globally situated constitution of subjects needs further development in many social-constructionist accounts of (...) selfhood. I argue, however—contra Alcoff—that Michel Foucault's mode of investigating subjectivation, particularly as it is articulated in his later work, has room for just such an account, especially when it is supplemented by postcolonial theory. With this end in mind, I take as a case study the public discourse surrounding Sonia Sotomayor prior to her confirmation as the first Latina woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, suggesting that an analysis of this discourse (including its position within and contribution to wider discourses of ethnicity, race, gender, and class) shows why the accounts of relational subject-constitution offered by both Foucault and Alcoff are indispensable. (shrink)
One’s translating, reading, and understanding of texts from other eras and traditions are conditioned by tacit assumptions built into one’s own vocabulary and psycho-cultural understanding of self—of which one tends to be only intuitively aware. Thus, for example, when encountering the vocabulary in Classical Chinese for “I,” “me,” “mine,” “self,” et cetera, modern readers are inclined to import their own linguistic, cognitive, and cultural intuitions about these terms, unconsciously and without second thought. This has been particularly problematic for (...) modern Western readers of the Confucian classics, who tend to take self as ontologically and ethically individual. However, recent psychological accounts of self... (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this article, I shall briefly examine the basic characteristics of Confucian familial morality, especially of the concept of filial piety, and argue that ancient Confucians tend to be conservative on allowing breach of filial obligations although they may not entirely exclude particular considerations to exceptional situations to a certain degree. I shall then argue that this conservative aspect of the Confucian idea of filial piety accurately captures some distinctive features of familial relationships and may thus shed light on our (...) understanding of the ethical nature of human family life and our philosophical investigation of familial ethics. (shrink)
Confucian traditions have ingrained gender stratifications in Chinese culture today. Yuan proposes re-reading early Confucian texts as a vision of Ren with Dao with the unity of heaven, earth, and humanity, in order to reclaim the egalitarian aspects and develop openness for gender equity with integration of feminist critical care ethics.
Diagnostic self-testing devices are being developed for many illnesses, chronic diseases and infections. These will be used in hospitals, at point-of-care facilities and at home. Designed to allow earlier detection of diseases, self-testing diagnostic devices may improve disease prevention, slow the progression of disease and facilitate better treatment outcomes. These devices have the potential to benefit both the individual and society by enabling individuals to take a more proactive role in the maintenance of their health and by helping (...) society improve health and reduce health costs. However, the full implications of future home-based diagnostic technology for individuals and society remain unclear due to their novelty. We argue that the development of diagnostic tools, especially for home use, will heighten a number of ethical challenges. This paper will explore some of the ethical implications of home-based self-testing diagnostic devices for the autonomous and relational dimensions of the person. This will be facilitated by examining the impact of diagnostic devices for individual autonomy, for the delivery of accurate diagnosis and for the personal significance of the information for the user. The latter will be examined using Charles Taylor's view of personhood and his emphasis on human agency and interpretation. While the ethical issues are not necessarily new, the development of home-based self-testing diagnostic devices will make issues regarding autonomy, accuracy of information and personal significance more and more demanding. This will be the case particularly when an individual's autonomous choices come into conflict with the person's relational responsibilities. (shrink)
Questions about the nature of self and self-consciousness are closely aligned with questions about the nature of autonomy. These concepts have deep roots in traditional philosophical discussions that concern metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. They also have direct relevance to practical considerations about informed consent in medical contexts. In this paper, with reference to understanding specific side effects of deep brain stimulation treatment in cases of, for example, Parkinson’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder, I’ll argue that (...) it is best to frame discussions of informed consent in terms of relational autonomy and a pattern theory of self. (shrink)
The contemporary discussion of terrorism has been dominated by deontological and consequentialist arguments. Building upon my previous work on a paradox concerning moral complaint, I try to broaden the perspectives through which we view the issues. The direction that seems to me as most promising is a self-reflexive, conditional, and, to some extent, relational emphasis. What one is permitted to do to others would depend not so much on some absolute code constraning actions or on the estimate of (...) what would optimize overall the resulting well-being but on the precedents that the past actions of those others provided, on the relationships among the participants, on tacit or explicit offers and possible agreements among them, and on the reciprocity (or lack thereof) that ensues. (shrink)
ABSTRACTDiagnostic self‐testing devices are being developed for many illnesses, chronic diseases and infections. These will be used in hospitals, at point‐of‐care facilities and at home. Designed to allow earlier detection of diseases, self‐testing diagnostic devices may improve disease prevention, slow the progression of disease and facilitate better treatment outcomes. These devices have the potential to benefit both the individual and society by enabling individuals to take a more proactive role in the maintenance of their health and by helping (...) society improve health and reduce health costs. However, the full implications of future home‐based diagnostic technology for individuals and society remain unclear due to their novelty.We argue that the development of diagnostic tools, especially for home use, will heighten a number of ethical challenges. This paper will explore some of the ethical implications of home‐based self‐testing diagnostic devices for the autonomous and relational dimensions of the person. This will be facilitated by examining the impact of diagnostic devices for individual autonomy, for the delivery of accurate diagnosis and for the personal significance of the information for the user. The latter will be examined using Charles Taylor's view of personhood and his emphasis on human agency and interpretation.While the ethical issues are not necessarily new, the development of home‐based self‐testing diagnostic devices will make issues regarding autonomy, accuracy of information and personal significance more and more demanding. This will be the case particularly when an individual's autonomous choices come into conflict with the person's relational responsibilities. (shrink)
In _Selving: A Relational Theory of Self Organization_, Irene Fast invokes the basic distinction between the self as "me" and the self as "I" in order to develop a contemporary theory of the self as subject. In a return to Freud's clinical finding that all psychological processes are personally motivated, she elaborates a notion of the "I-self" that is intrinsically dynamic and relational. Within this conception, our perceiving, thinking, feeling, and acting are not (...) what our self does; rather, they are what our self is. According to Fast, the basic unit of the dynamic I-self --of selving --is a scheme of personally motivated interaction between self and nonself. This notion, which comprehends development as a product of integration and differentiation among discrete I-schemes, provides a radically new framework for understanding those dynamic phenomena that Freud included within his structural model of the mind and that contemporary theorists have addressed within object relational perspectives. Via the notion of selving, Fast likewise brings fresh insight to a host of issues that have engaged psychoanalysts and developmental psychologists in recent years. These topics include the place of bodily experience in a relational model of mind, the organization of self as simultaneously individual and relational, the formulation of a constructivist model of psychic structure, among others. _Selving_ is not only a lucid demonstration of how a relational theory of self can reorder clinical observations in conceptually and therapeutically illuminating ways. It is also a convincing demonstration of how a constructivist model emphasizing the interactive nature of meaning-making provides bridges to Piagetian theory, developmental research, and observational infancy studies. (shrink)
Peer commentary on: Goering, S., Klein, E., Dougherty, D. D., and Widge, A. S. (2017). Staying in the loop: Relational agency and identity in next-generation DBS for psychiatry. AJOB Neuroscience, 8(2), 59-70.
This conceptual article introduces behavioral perspectives into the governance arena and undertakes a psychological assessment of managerial decision making in organizations by elaborating on the treatment of trust and pride in the extant literature. While trust is conceived by governance scholars as a device for monitoring relationships with others, we argue that authentic pride, contrary to hubris, could operate as an attribute of emotional self-regulation allowing corporate leaders to govern the social behavior of their own self. Contrasting the (...) features of trust and authentic pride, we advance several propositions to capture their relevance and simultaneous importance as viable governance mechanisms in light of a manager's level of cognitive moral reasoning. Our study builds a unified theoretical framework of governance which integrates human agency, psychological states, and moral judgment to foster a deeper understanding of complex self-regulatory processes that are activated by decision makers in the execution of their roles. (shrink)
Despite its strengths, Leech et al.'s model fails to address the important benefits that derive from self-explanation and task feedback in analogical reasoning development. These components encourage explicit, self-reflective processes that do not necessarily link to knowledge accretion. We wonder, therefore, what mechanisms can be included within a connectionist framework to model self-reflective involvement and its beneficial consequences.
We suggest that understanding unethical behavior in organizations involves understanding how people view themselves and their relationships with others, a concept known as self-construal. Across multiple studies, employing both field and laboratory settings, we examine the impact of three dimensions of self-construal (independent, relational, and collective) on unethical behavior. Our results show that higher levels of relationalself-construal relate negatively to unethical behavior. We also find that differences in levels of relationalself for (...) men and women mediate gender differences in unethical behavior. We discuss both the theoretical and practical implications of these findings. (shrink)
While self-interest is depreciated in Confucian ethics the processes of family relations in traditional China are animated by the self-interested actions of family members. The paper outlines the Confucian ideology of filial piety which is commensurate with the governance of family life organized hierarchically and through the senior male's management of the joint-family's collective property. The structure, operations and principles of membership in traditional Chinese families are indicated, highlighting the tensions within them between consanguinity and conjugality and their (...) material bases. The differential operation of self-interested actions by husbands and wives is also presented. A non-Confucian model of the relational-self is outlined in which both the collective context of Chinese families and the self-interested actions of individual family members within them is explicated. (shrink)
The Hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC)—that many cognitive processes are carried out by a hybrid coalition of neural, bodily and environmental factors—entails that the intentional states that are reasons for action might best be ascribed to wider entities of which individual persons are only parts. I look at different kinds of extended cognition and agency, exploring their consequences for concerns about the moral agency and personal responsibility of such extended entities. Can extended entities be moral agents and bear responsibility for (...) actions, in addition to or in place of the individuals typically held responsible? What does it mean to be autonomous when one’s cognition is influenced and supported by a milieu of environmental factors? To answer these questions, I explore strong parallels between HEC’s critique of individualism in cognition, and feminist critiques of individualist accounts of self, agency, and autonomy. This relational and social conception of autonomous agency, as scaffolded and supported (or undermined and impaired) by a milieu of social, relational, and normative factors, has important lessons for HEC. Drawing together these two visions of distributed and decentralized aspects of personhood highlights how cognition, action, and responsibility are inextricably linked. It also encourages a reconceptualization of all cognition and all concerns about responsibility for actions, not simply as sometimes extended around individuals, but as fundamentally communal, social, and normative, with individual cognition and individual moral responsibility being derivative special cases, not the paradigm examples. Individuals are merely one of many possible loci of cognition, action, and responsibility. (shrink)
Ageism within the context of care has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Similarly, autonomy has developed into a prominent concept within health care law and ethics. This paper explores the way that ageism, understood as a set of negative attitudes about old age or older people, may impact on an older person’s ability to make maximally autonomous decisions within health care. In particular, by appealing to feminist constructions of autonomy as relational, I will argue that the key to (...) establishing this link is the concept of self-relations such as self-trust, self-worth and self-esteem. This paper aims to demonstrate how these may be impacted by the internalisation of negative attitudes associated with old age and care. In light of this, any legal or policy response must be sensitive to and flexible enough to deal with the way in which ageism impacts autonomy. (shrink)
One understanding of conscience dominates bioethical discussion about conscience. On this view, to have a conscience is to be compelled to act in accordance with one’s own moral values for the sake of one’s “integrity,” where integrity is understood as inner or psychological unity. Conscience is deemed valuable because it promotes this quality. In this paper, I describe the dominant view, attempt to show that it is flawed, and sketch a positive alternative to it. In my opinion, conscience often fails (...) to promote inner unity (regardless of the degree of inner unity we have in mind); acting with a conscience leaves many people broken rather than unified. A better view about the value of conscience is that having a conscience encourages morally responsible agency. My goal is to prove that this alternative explains better what it means to value conscience in health care and the extent to which we ought to value it. (shrink)
This contribution investigates the idea that an act of signification can be understood in terms of the self-referentiality that is typical of the biological organization. The capacity of a living being to interpret and appreciate its own environment can be understood as being grounded in its ability to perform self-referential experiences. We may call this the living being’s capacity of sense. In any act that generates sense, it is possible to distinguish a process of signification from its outcome, (...) but such a distinction between logical levels inevitably demands an external observer’s point of view. Hence, the concept of ‘subjectivity’ can be defined in terms of an absence of such distinction between logical levels. This absence is considered pivotal both for the self-referential organization of the living and for the generation of sense. A case example from the field of psychotherapy is added to illustrate the distinction as well as the non-distinction between logical levels of description. (shrink)