The posthumous retrieval and use of gametes is socially, ethically, and legally controversial. In the countries that do not prohibit the practice, posthumous assisted reproduction is usually permitted only at the request of the surviving spouse and only when the deceased left written consent. This paper presents the recommendations of an ethics committee established by the Israeli Fertility Association. In its discussions, the committee addressed the ethical considerations of posthumous use of sperm—even in the absence of written consent from the (...) deceased—at the request of either the spouse or the deceased’s parents who wish to become the offspring’s parents or grandparents. It is concluded that under certain conditions, a request by the deceased’s parents to posthumously use the deceased’s sperm is justified and should be granted. (shrink)
Ronit Stahl and Ezekiel Emanuel have recently issued a stark challenge to conscience protections in medical law and ethics. Their argument is flawed, however. They misrepresent the nature and relevance of conscientious protection in the military, misinterpret the scope of consent tendered by modern medical professionals, and offer no reason to think either that conscientious objection harms patient well-being or that such harm should solely determine the permissibility of conscientious objection. Moreover, and most fundamentally, Stahl and Emanuel do not (...) recognize that conscience protections promote moral integrity, a basic aspect of human well-being that justifies protective action. (shrink)
This paper presents a new perspective of the impact of collaboration technology on the degrees of engagement and specific interaction zones in interactive workspaces. The study is at the intersection of the design of physical work spaces, i.e., bricks, rich electronic content such as video, audio, sketching, CAD, i.e., bits, and new ways people behave in communicative events, i.e., interaction. The study presents: (1) an innovative multi-modal collaboration technology, called RECALL (patented by Stanford University), that supports the seamless, real-time capture (...) of concept generation during project brainstorming and project review sessions, (2) the deployment of RECALL in an interactive workspace that supports real project review sessions, called FISHBOWL, and (3) the observations of the impact of RECALL and the interactive workspace on degrees of engagement and interaction zones as it is deployed in the specific FISHBOWL sessions. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in action. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case study, (...) and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
A decision delay can translate into significant financial and business losses. One way to accelerate the decision process is through improved communication among the stakeholders engaged in the project. Capturing, transferring, managing, and reusing data, information, and knowledge in the context it is generated can lead to higher productivity, effective communication, reduced number of requests for clarification, and a shorter time-to-market cycle. We formalized the concept of reflection in interaction during communicative events among multiple project stakeholders. This concept extends Donald (...) Schon’s theory of reflection in action of a single practitioner. We model the observed reflection in interaction with a prototype system called TalkingPaperTM. It is a ubiquitous client-server collaborative environment that facilitates knowledge capture, sharing, and reuse during synchronous and asynchronous communicative events. TalkingPaperTM bridges the paper and digital worlds. It transforms the analog verbal discours, annotated paper corporate documents, and the paper and pencil sketches into indexed and synchronized digital content that is published on and streamed on-demand from a TalkingPaperTM web server. The TalkingPaperTM sessions can be accessed by all stakeholders for rapid knowledge sharing and decision-making. (shrink)
We explore in this paper the relation between activities, communication channels and media, and common ground building in global teams. We define re-representation as a sequence of representations of the same concept using different communication channels and media. We identified the re - representation technique to build common ground that is used by team members during multimodal and multimedia communicative events in cross-disciplinary, geographically distributed settings. Our hypotheses are as follows: (1) Significant sources of information behind decisions and request for (...) actions are embedded within the fabric of communicative events in which participants use both informal and formal media to express their ideas. Capturing these information sources can facilitate common ground building and accelerate the execution of action requests. (2) Re-representations of concepts, i.e., sequences of representations using diverse media and communication channels, mediate and accelerate common ground building. (3) The use of intra- or interdisciplinary re-representations correlates with high team performance, i.e., effective team process and high product quality. We used AEC Global Teamwork course offered in 2008–2009 as the testbed for our study to validate our hypothesis. (shrink)
A key challenge faced by organizations is to provide project teams with workspaces, information, and collaboration technologies that fosters creativity and high-performance team productivity. This requires understanding the relation between and impacts of (1) workspace, (2) activity and content that is created, and (3) social, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of work. This paper describes an exploratory study of everyday activities in the context of knowledge work in a shared workspace used by a high-tech global design team that explores future products. (...) The study formalizes key elements for productive knowledge work as a function of tasks, context, and team. It identifies enablers, hindrances, and requirements for physical, virtual, and social work environments. The study identified, through semi-structured interviews, surveys, and on-site shadowing, a key workspace component that facilitates dynamic participation of all team members. This workspace component is a wall used as a large, public, physical display surface for project content (the WALL). The WALL acts as a mediator for individual reflection-in-action and team reflection-in-interaction. It serves as “social glue” both between individuals and between geographically distributed subgroups. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
This paper describes an exploratory comparative study of knowledge workers and their challenges in high tech global project teams. More specifically we focus on the tension between perceived collocation and actual geographical distributed project work as a function of: (1) the demand to distribute and shift attention in multi-teaming, (2) virtuality i.e. number of virtual teams participants engage in, (3) the continuous adjustment and re-adjustment to new places they perform their activity, and (4) the collaboration technologies they use. We present (...) the methodology for data collection that included semi-structured interviews, surveys, and on site shadowing of the project participants, and discuss the findings from the data analysis. The study is based on the bricks-bits-interaction framework. It is at the intersection of the design of physical spaces, i.e., bricks; rich digital information and collaboration technology (ICT) content, mobile devices and network infrastructures, i.e., bits, and emergent work practices, process, and new ways people behave in communicative events using the affordances of ICT augmented physical, virtual spaces and digital content, i.e., interaction. (shrink)
Neuroethological investigations of mammalian and avian auditory systems have documented species-specific specializations for processing complex acoustic signals that could, if viewed in abstract terms, have an intriguing and striking relevance for human speech sound categorization and representation. Each species forms biologically relevant categories based on combinatorial analysis of information-bearing parameters within the complex input signal. This target article uses known neural models from the mustached bat and barn owl to develop, by analogy, a conceptualization of human processing of consonant plus (...) vowel sequences that offers a partial solution to the noninvariance dilemma the locus equations orderly output constraint”) is hypothesized based on the notion of an evolutionarily conserved auditory-processing strategy. High correlation and linearity between critical parameters in the speech signal that help to cue place of articulation categories might have evolved to satisfy a preadaptation by mammalian auditory systems for representing tightly correlated, linearly related components of acoustic signals. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre, in describing the realization of his freedom, was often inclined to say mysterious things like ‘I am what I am not’, ‘I am not what I am’ He was therefore plainly contradicting himself, but was this merely a playful literary figure , or was he really being incoherent? By the latter judgment I do not mean to reject his statements entirely ; for I believe there is an intimate link between contradiction and freedom, as I shall explain in (...) this paper. But a minor thing we must first have out of the way is the suggestion that Sartre's language was just a rhetorical trope, designed merely to express some banal platitude in a bemusing way: ‘I am not yet what I will be’, ‘I am no longer what I was’ are sane and sensible, for instance, but cannot be the meant content of Sartre's sayings, since, while they would indeed describe the reform of some character, they would be appropriate only before or after some metamorphosis, not, as Sartre clearly intended, in the midst of some process of riddance and conversion, whether radical or otherwise. Yet, in the turmoil of such a change, ‘I am not what I am’ still, surely, cannot be true, and if that is the case, Sartre must be being inocherent, and therefore, obfuscating and deliberately obscure, and hence, it seems, must properly be rejected by all right and clear thinking men. (shrink)
The Alligator's Child was full of 'satiable curtiosity. One day while rummaging in a trunk in the lumber room he came across a photograph of his father wearing an aardvark uniform and standing by a large ant hill. All excitement, he rushed to his father and breathlessly said, ‘Father, I didn't know that you had been an aardvark! What is it like to be an aardvark?’.
If “perfectionism” in ethics refers to those normative theories that treat the fulfillment or realization of human nature as central to an account of both goodness and moral obligation, in what sense is “human flourishing” a perfectionist notion? How much of what we take “human flourishing” to signify is the result of our understanding of human nature? Is the content of this concept simply read off an examination of our nature? Is there no place for diversity and individuality? Is the (...) belief that the content of such a normative concept can be determined by an appeal to human nature merely the result of epistemological naiveté? What is the exact character of the connection between human flourishing and human nature? These questions are the ultimate concern of this essay, but to appreciate the answers that will be offered it is necessary to understand what is meant by “human flourishing.” “Human flourishing” is a relatively recent term in ethics. It seems to have developed in the last two decades because the traditional translation of the Greek term eudaimonia as “happiness” failed to communicate clearly that eudaimonia was an objective good, not merely a subjective good. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to set out some of the ontologies amongst which some forms of anti-realism must select. This provides the appropriate setting for presenting an alternative realist ontology. The argument is that the choice between the varieties of anti-realism and realism is inevitably a choice between ontologies.
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
We examine how opinion on a controversial real-world issue shifts as a function of reading relevant arguments and engaging in a specific mental simulation about a future, fictional state of affairs involving the target issue. Individuals thought either counterfactually about a future event (“if only X had not happened …”) or semifactually about it (“even if X had not happened …”). In Experiment 1, as expected, individuals became more in favour of a course of action (the electronic tagging of children) (...) after reading relevant supporting arguments. They also became more in favour after they thought counterfactually how a negative future event could have been avoided if only electronic tagging had not been banned some years earlier. The effects of argument relevance and type of mental simulation were additive. Using a similar procedure but a different target issue (whether the UK should join the Economic Monetary Union), Experiment 2 confirmed that the type of mental simulation exerts a substantial effect on the impact of relevant arguments. Much weaker effects arose when the mental simulation was not relevant to the target issue. We set and discuss our results in terms of dual-processing theory. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of original essays by eminent philosophers written for R. B. Braithwaite's eightieth birthday to celebrate his work and teaching. In one way or another, all the essays reflect his central concern with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the responses appropriate to that. Together they testify to the signal importance of his contributions in areas of philosophy bearing on this concern: the philosophy of science, especially of the statistical sciences, theories (...) of belief and of probability, decision theory and games theory. This book, which includes a full bibliography of Professor Braithwaite's work, will interest advanced students and professionals in the fields of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
This paper presents three basic ideas which are interrelated with one another: 1) The assertion that a single subject unites all the discussions in Sefer Yezirah, from beginning to end: namely, the nature of Wisdom, upon which the world stands (or is suspended); 2) A stylistic-linguistic analysis leading to the division of Sefer Yezirah into three “accounts,” around which are crystallized the style and contents of the book as a whole. The Account of the “Sealing of the Ends” is the (...) latest of these accounts, and was written by the editor of the book, who joined his account with the other two to form a single book; 3) The assertion that the worldview reflected in Sefer Yezirah acknowledges the existence of a secondary power alongside God, that assists Him in the Creation and ongoing existence of the universe (as against doctrines claiming the existence of an additional force in conflict with God). The term I use in this context is binitarianism. In the earliest of the three accounts, that of the Covenant, this power assumes the form of an angel, while in the other two it is more abstract. This paper lays the foundations for this claim but, due to the limitations of this paper, I do not enter into discussion of its far-reaching implications. I hope to continue this discussion elsewhere, on another occasion. (shrink)
In August 2001, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued its Limitation of Smoking in Public Places Order, categorically forbidding smoking in hospitals. This forced the mental health system to cope with the issue of smoking inside psychiatric hospitals. The main problem was smoking by compulsorily hospitalized psychiatric patients in closed wards. An attempt by a psychiatric hospital to implement the tobacco smoking restraint instruction by banning the sale of cigarettes inside the hospital led to the development of a black market (...) and cases of patient exploitation in return for cigarettes. This article surveys the literature dealing with smoking among psychiatric patients, the role of smoking in patients and the moral dilemmas of taking steps to prevent smoking in psychiatric hospitals. It addresses the need for public discussion on professional caregivers’ dilemmas between their commitment to uphold the law and their duty to act as advocates for their patients’ rights and welfare. (shrink)
1. Many philosophers, including the later Wittgenstein, have concerned themselves with the question ‘What is philosophy?’ In this paper I shall say some things about the activity of philosophizing. What I shall say is not new or revealing; none the less, it might be worth saying what I do say. For philosophers, especially if they are professionally occupied with their subject, sometimes overlook some interesting, and some human, aspects of their profession.
In the paper I offer a brief sketch of one of the sources of utilitarianism. Our biological ancestry is a matter of fact that is not altered by the way we describe ourselves. With philosophical theories it is otherwise. Utilitarianism can be described in ways that make it look as if it is as old as moral philosophy – as J. S. Mill thought it was. For my historical purposes, it is more useful to have an account that brings out (...) what is specific about Benthamism and its descendants. Let us try to make do with the following. First, utilitarianism asserts that the fundamental requirement of morality is that we are to maximize good, for everyone and not just for the agent. This basic principle presupposes that it makes sense to think of aggregating goods to make a total, and of comparing amounts of good thus aggregated. Second, the good to be brought about is located in feelings of pleasure, and the evil to be avoided in feelings of pain. These feelings have inherent value or disvalue regardless of how they are caused to exist and regardless of their own consequences. Third, all moral principles can be derived from the requirement that good be maximized. The principles involved in evaluating agents as well as in giving moral direction to action are nothing but applications of the basic principle. (shrink)
This skit of Bertrand Russell’s philosophy was originally published in 1918 by Russell’s correspondent friend Jourdain. The introduction explains that the contents purport to be lost papers written by Mr. B*rtr*nd R*ss*ll, a contemporary of Bertrand Russell. This politically humorous volume from the early 20 th Century parodies the writing style of Russell as well as his theories.
According to both deontologists and consequentialists, if there is a reason to promote the general happiness – or to promote any other state of affairs unrelated to one's own projects or self-interest – then the reason must apply to everyone. This view seems almost self-evident; to challenge it is to challenge the way we think of moral reasons. I contend, however, that the view depends on the unwarranted assumption that the only way to restrict the application scope of a reason (...) for action is by restricting it to those agents whose interests or projects are involved in the reason. In fact normative theories may coherently restrict application scopes in other ways. Thus we must take seriously the possibility that the reason to promote the general happiness, although genuine, does not apply to everyone. (shrink)
In a recent examination of the origins of ordinal utility theory in neoclassical economics, Robert D. Cooter and Peter Rappoport argue that the ordinalist revolution of the 1930s, after which most economists abandoned interpersonal utility comparisons as normative and unscientific, constituted neither unambiguous progress in economic science nor the abandonment of normative theorizing, as many economists and historians of economic thought have generally believed. Rather, the widespread acceptance of ordinalism, with its focus on Pareto optimality, simply represented the emergence of (...) a new neoclassical research agenda that, on the one hand, defined economics differently than had the material welfare theorists of the cardinal utility school and, on the other, adopted a positivist methodology in contrast to the less restrictive empiricism of the cardinalists. (shrink)
The success of popular women's fiction requires a mode of analysis that is able to reveal the patterns across this category in order to better understand the appeal of these books. Popular fiction, like chick-lit, can be contradictorily framed as simultaneously constituting one, as well as many genres, if a genre is the codification of discursive properties. It may consist of romances, thrillers, romantic suspense and so forth in terms of its discursive properties, but popular women's fiction will also have (...) a pattern of similarity that cuts across these forms – that similarity, I will suggest, lies in the idea of pleasure as a genre of affect that ties various popular fictions together, thereby acting as a type of imperial genre. Pleasure is so ubiquitous and so diverse across the multiple forms that constitute popular women's fiction that I argue it has become a genre in itself. This is, however, not a genre that limits itself to one particular stylistic form, but rather, as a dynamic social construct, it has become a genre of affect that invokes feelings of pleasure. Nthikeng Mohlele's most recent novel, Pleasure, exemplifies the applicability and plasticity of the concept of pleasure, allowing me to examine this work as a type of fictionalised theory which I then apply to South African chick-lit texts: the Trinity series by Fiona Snyckers and Happiness Is a Four-Letter Word by Cynthia Jele. Mohiele's expansive theorisation of pleasure is inherently local in that it is depicted at the level of experience and imagination; yet it is simultaneously macro and global in the connections made to deeply political circuits of identity-based oppressions and structural inequalities. Mohlele reveals the mobility of pleasure as a genre that offers an opportunity to think through the circuits that connect popular fiction through the lens of African literature. (shrink)