Transhumanism and Extropianism are two recent ‘movements’ which aspire to transcend the perceived limitations of human biological evolution. This paper takes a critical look at two of the most controversial aspects of Extropianism—Uploading and Immortality. Uploading is the process by which a human will be able to transfer the entire contents of their brain to a more suitable supercomputational medium. When the newentity exist as software, immortality is virtually assured. This should be possible, it is claimed, within the next fifty (...) years! From both a pragmatic and philosophical perspective, I argue that these claims are at best misguided and at worst absurd. (shrink)
Many research ethics guidelines now oblige researchers to offer research participants the results of research in which they participated. This practice is intended to uphold respect for persons and ensure that participants are not treated as mere means to an end. Yet some scholars have begun to question a generalised duty to disclose research results, highlighting the potential harms arising from disclosure and questioning the ethical justification for a duty to disclose, especially with respect to individual results. In support of (...) this view, we argue that current rationales for a duty of disclosure do not form an adequate basis for an ethical imperative. We review policy guidance and scholarly commentary regarding the duty to communicate the results of biomedical, epidemiological and genetic research to research participants and show that there is wide variation in opinion regarding what should be disclosed and under what circumstance. Moreover, we argue that there is fundamental confusion about the notion of “research results,” specifically regarding three core concepts: the distinction between aggregate and individual results, amongst different types of research, and across different degrees of result veracity. Even where policy guidance and scholarly commentary have been most forceful in support of an ethical imperative to disclose research results, ambiguity regarding what is to be disclosed confounds ethical action. (shrink)
The situationist challenge to global character traits claims that on the basis of findings in social psychology, we should only accept at most the existence of local or context-sensitive traits. In this article I explore a neglected area of J. S. Mill's work to outline an account of context-sensitive traits. This account of traits, coupled with a sophisticated consequentialist ethical framework, suggests an interesting view on which persons govern the circumstances of their actions in order to best promote overall well-being.
If classical Western theism is correct that God's timeless omniscience is compatible with human free will, then it is incoherent to hold that this God can in any strict sense be immutable and a se as well as omniscient. That is my thesis. ‘Classical theism’ shall refer here to the tradition of philosophical theology centring on such mainstream authors as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. ‘Divine omniscience’ shall mean that the eternal God knows all events as a timeless observer of them. (...) ‘Human free will’ shall mean that human beings are, at least sometimes, self-determining agents who make choices not decisively caused to be what they are by external or internal factors other than the free willing itself – choices that these agents have the capacity and the freedom to make differently than they do. Except where stipulated otherwise, ‘divine immutability’ shall ‘mean that God is neither subject to, nor capable of, change in being, knowing, or willing, since God is immune to external influences, and without internal needs, of the sorts that might give rise to such change. Finally, ‘aseity’ shall be used to underline the divine immunity to external influences, since a being that is wholly a se or self-caused , cannot be open to such influences, cannot be made to be what or how it is by anything other than itself. (shrink)
Robert F. Williams, despite being a central historical figure and noted theorist of the Black radical tradition, is ignored as a subject of philosophical relevance and political theory. His challenges to the racist segregationist regime of the South influenced generations of thinkers and revolutionaries. However he is erased from the annals of thought for his use of armed resistance. This paper aims to introduce his life and work to philosophy as material for study and situate his program of pre-emptive (...) self-defense within the Black radical tradition. (shrink)
The Kennedys embraced a political philosophy rooted in antiquity, one based on a domestic policy of justice and equality and a foreign policy of reason and gentle persuasion rather than force and fear. Imperialism abroad is inconsistent with democracy at home. This appears to be the foundation for John F. Kennedy’s foreign policy which also has a remarkable affinity to the lessons offered by Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War and Plato in the Republic. Athens became the tragic (...) hero after the aristocratic champion of democracy, Pericles, died and Athens lost its moral compass. (shrink)