Robots are now associated with various aspects of our lives. These sophisticated machines have been increasingly used in different manufacturing industries and services sectors for decades. During this time, they have been a factor in causing significant harm to humans, prompting questions of liability. Industrial robots are presently regarded as products for liability purposes. In contrast, some commentators have proposed that robots be granted legal personality, with an overarching aim of exonerating the respective creators and users of these artefacts from (...) liability. This article is concerned mainly with industrial robots that exercise some degree of self-control as programmed, though the creation of fully autonomous robots is still a long way off. The proponents of the robot’s personality compare these machines generally with corporations, and sporadically with, inter alia, animals, and idols, in substantiating their arguments. This article discusses the attributes of legal personhood and the justifications for the separate personality of corporations and idols. It then demonstrates the reasons for refusal of an animal’s personality. It concludes that robots are ineligible to be persons, based on the requirements of personhood. (shrink)
Is capitalism inherently predatory? Must there be winners and losers? Is public interest outdated and free-riding rational? Is consumer choice the same as self-determination? Must bargainers abandon the no-harm principle? Prisoners of Reason recalls that classical liberal capitalism exalted the no-harm principle. Although imperfect and exclusionary, modern liberalism recognized individual human dignity alongside individuals' responsibility to respect others. Neoliberalism, by contrast, views life as ceaseless struggle. Agents vie for scarce resources in antagonistic competition in which every individual seeks dominance. This (...) political theory is codified in non-cooperative game theory; the neoliberal citizen and consumer is the strategic rational actor. Rational choice justifies ends irrespective of means. Money becomes the medium of all value. Solidarity and good will are invalidated. Relationships are conducted on a quid pro quo basis. However, agents can freely opt out of this cynical race to the bottom by embracing a more expansive range of coherent action. (shrink)
This paper explores how the Leviathan that projects power through nuclear arms exercises a unique nuclearized sovereignty. In the case of nuclear superpowers, this sovereignty extends to wielding the power to destroy human civilization as we know it across the globe. Nuclearized sovereignty depends on a hybrid form of power encompassing human decision-makers in a hierarchical chain of command, and all of the technical and computerized functions necessary to maintain command and control at every moment of the sovereign's existence: this (...) sovereign power cannot sleep. This article analyzes how the form of rationality that informs this hybrid exercise of power historically developed to be computable. By definition, computable rationality must be able to function without any intelligible grasp of the context or the comprehensive significance of decision-making outcomes. Thus, maintaining nuclearized sovereignty necessarily must be able to execute momentous life and death decisions without the type of sentience we usually associate with ethical individual and collective decisions. (shrink)
During the past few years considerable debate has arisen within academic journals with respect to the use of smart drugs or cognitive enhancement pharmaceuticals. The following paper seeks to examine the foundations of this cognitive enhancement debate using the example of methylphenidate use among college students. The argument taken is that much of the enhancement debate rests upon inflated assumptions about the ability of such drugs to enhance and over-estimations of either the size of the current market for such drugs (...) or the rise in popularity as drugs for enhancing cognitive abilities. This article provides an overview of the empirical evidence that methylphenidate has the ability to significantly improve cognitive abilities in healthy individuals, and examines whether the presumed uptake of the drug is either as socially significant as implied or growing to the extent that it requires urgent regulatory attention. In addition, it reviews the evidence of side-effects for the use of methylphenidate which may be an influential factor in whether an individual decides to use such drugs. The primary conclusions are that neither drug efficacy, nor the benefit-to-risk balance, nor indicators of current or growing demand provide sufficient evidence that methylphenidate is a suitable example of a cognitive enhancer with mass appeal. In light of these empirically based conclusions, the article discusses why methylphenidate might have become seen as a smart drug or cognitive enhancer. (shrink)
This book discusses how rational choice theory grew out of RAND's work for the US Air Force. It concentrates on the work of William J. Riker, Kenneth J. Arrow, James M. Buchanan, Russel Hardin, and John Rawls. It argues that within the context of the US Cold War with its intensive anti-communist and anti-collectivist sentiment, the foundations of capitalist democracy were grounded in the hyper individualist theory of non-cooperative games.
David Lewis presented Convention as an alternative to the conventionalism characteristic of early-twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Rudolf Carnap is well known for suggesting the arbitrariness of any particular linguistic convention for engaging in scientific inquiry. Analytic truths are self-consistent, and are not checked against empirical facts to ascertain their veracity. In keeping with the logical positivists before him, Lewis concludes that linguistic communication is conventional. However, despite his firm allegiance to conventions underlying not just languages but also social customs, he pioneered (...) the view that convening need not require any active agreement to participate. Lewis proposed that conventions arise from “an exchange of manifestations of a propensity to conform to a regularity” .In reasserting the conventional quality of languages and other practices resting on mutual expectations, Lewis comfortably works within the analytic tradition. Yet he also deviates from his predecessors because his conventionalist approach is comprehensively grounded in instrumentalism. Lewis adopts an extension of David Hume's desire-belief psychology articulated in rational choice theory. He develops his philosophy of convention relying on the highly formal mid-twentieth-century expected utility and game theories. This attempt to account for language and social customs wholly in terms of instrumental rationality has the implication of reducing normativity to preference satisfaction. Lewis’ approach continues in the trend of undermining normative political philosophy because institutions and practices arise spontaneously, without the deliberate involvement of agents. Perhaps Lewis’ Convention is best seen as a resurgent form of analytic philosophy, characterized by “a style of argument, hostility to [ambitious] metaphysics, focus on language, and the dominance of logic and formalization” that solves the dilemma of “combining the analytic inheritance…with normative concerns” by reducing normativity to individuals’ preference fulfillment consistent with the axioms of rational choice. (shrink)
This paper examines how the concepts of utility, impartiality, and universality worked together to form the foundation of Adam Smith's jurisprudence. It argues that the theory of utility consistent with contemporary rational choice theory is insufficient to account for Smith's use of utility. Smith's jurisprudence relies on the impartial spectator's sympathetic judgment over whether third parties are injured, and not individuals' expected utility associated with individuals' expected gains from rendering judgments over innocence or guilt.
In this article, we analyse content from two recent reports to examine how a public health framework to cognitive enhancement is emerging. We find that, in several areas, these reports provide population-level arguments both for and against the use of cognitive enhancers. In discussing these arguments, we look at how these reports are indicative of potentially innovative frameworks—epidemiological, risk/benefit and socio-historical—by which to explore the public health impact of cognitive enhancement. Finally, we argue that these reports are suggestive of both (...) tensions between the bioethical and public health approaches and are also indicative of how these two frameworks can, in part, be seen as complementary. (shrink)
This article challenges the view of disability presented by Harris in his article, “Is gene therapy a form of eugenics?”1 It is argued that his definition of disability rests on an individual model of disability, where disability is regarded as a product of biological determinism or “personal tragedy” in the individual. Within disability theory this view is often called “the medical model” and it has been criticised for not being able to deal with the term “disability”, but only with impairment. (...) The individual model of disability presupposes a necessary causal link between a certain condition in the individual and disablement. The shortcomings of such a view of disability are stated and it is argued that in order to have an adequate ethical discourse on gene therapy perspectives from disability research need to be taken into consideration. (shrink)
SummaryThis study examines the trends and determinants of child marriage among women aged 20–49 in Bangladesh. Data were extracted from the last six nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys conducted during 1993–2011. Simple cross-tabulation and multivariate binary logistic regression analyses were adopted. According to the survey conducted in 2011, more than 75% of marriages can be categorized as child marriages. This is a decline of 10 percentage points in the prevalence of child marriage compared with the survey conducted in 1993–1994. (...) Despite some improvements in education and other socioeconomic indicators, Bangladeshi society still faces the relentless practice of early marriage. The mean age at first marriage has increased by only 1.4 years over the last one and half decades, from 14.3 years in 1993–1994 to 15.7 years in 2011. Although the situation on risk of child marriage has improved over time, the pace is sluggish. Both the year-of-birth and year-of-marriage cohorts of women suggest that the likelihood of marrying as a child has decreased significantly in recent years. The risk of child marriage was significantly higher when husbands had no formal education or little education, and when the wives were unemployed or unskilled workers. Muslim women living in rural areas have a greater risk of child marriage. Women's education level was the single most significant negative determinant of child marriage. Thus, the variables identified as important determinants of child marriage are: education of women and their husbands, and women's occupation, place of residence and religion. Programmes to help and motivate girls to stay in school will not only reduce early marriage but will also support overall societal development. The rigid enforcement of the legal minimum age at first marriage could be critical in decreasing child marriage. (shrink)
The attitudes of women patients with cancer were explored when they were invited to participate in one of three randomised trials that included chemotherapy at two university centres and a satellite centre. Fourteen patients participating in and 15 patients declining trials were interviewed. Analysis was based on the constant comparative method. Most patients voiced positive attitudes towards clinical research, believing that trials are necessary for further medical development, and most spontaneously argued that participation is a moral obligation. Most trial decliners, (...) however, described a radical change in focus as they faced the actual personal choice. Almost no one got an impression of clinical equipoise between treatments in the trials, and most patients expressed discomfort with randomisation. A patient’s choice to participate was mainly determined by whether the primary focus was on treatment effect or on adverse effects. Both knowledge about and feelings towards trials originated mostly from the media, although paradoxically the media were largely seen as untrustworthy. Mistrust was shown towards the pharmaceutical industry, and although most patients originally trusted that doctors primarily pursued the interest of patients, they did not trust the adequacy of doctors or industry in maintaining self-regulation. Thus, public control measures were judged to be essential. (shrink)
Both the recent 'Warner' review of the UK research ethics committee (REC) system and the subsequent consultation document produced by the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees (COREC) emphasize the need to distinguish 'research' from what might be termed 'non-research'. This is to be determined through a process of filtering or 'triage', the intention being that RECs will avoid considering proposals with 'no material ethical issues'. In this paper we argue that trying to distinguish 'true' research from other projects is (...) counterproductive, misleading and potentially unethical. Our case is built around three assertions: (1) the distinction between research and non-research is imprecise; (2) both medical research and non-research can generate similar ethical issues; and (3) projects should be judged according to what they involve, not how they are labelled. (shrink)
In addressing thescientific study of consciousness, Crick and Koch state, It is probable that at any moment some active neuronal processes in your head correlate with consciousness, while others do not: what is the difference between them? (1998, p. 97). Evidence from electrophysiological and brain-imaging studies of binocular rivalry supports the premise of this statement and answers to some extent, the question posed. I discuss these recent developments and outline the rationale and experimental evidence for the interhemispheric switch hypothesis of (...) perceptual rivalry. According to this model, the perceptual alternations of rivalry reflect hemispheric alternations, suggesting that visual consciousness of rivalling stimuli may be unihemispheric at any one time (Miller et al., 2000). However, in this paper, I suggest that interhemispheric switching could involve alternating unihemispheric attentional selection of neuronal processes for access to visual consciousness. On this view, visual consciousness during rivalry could be bi hemispheric because the processes constitutive of attentional selection may be distinct from those constitutive of visual consciousness. This is a special case of the important distinction between the neuronal correlates and constitution of visual consciousness. (shrink)
The author congratulates Dr Brian Hurwitz, who recently reported the successful “intimidation” of an elderly competent widow into accepting badly needed therapy for a huge ulcerated carcinoma. He reports approvingly of the Israeli Patients' Rights Law, enacted in 1996, which demands detailed informed consent from competent patients before permitting treatment. But the law also provides an escape clause which permits coercing a competent patient into accepting life-saving therapy if an ethics committee feels that if treatment is imposed the patient will (...) give his/her consent retroactively. He suggests this approach as an appropriate middle road between overbearing paternalism and untrammelled autonomy. (shrink)
The author, a physician, rejects a previous defence of a doctors' strike. There is little justification for strikes in general, still less for doctors' strikes, he claims. Should not doctors rather 'stand above the common herd' and set an example, he asks. Furthermore the whole idea of strikes in which a third and innocent party is deliberately punished in order to apply pressure on someone else is a 'a bizarre ethic indeed' and not to his knowledge justified under any ethical (...) theory. (shrink)
Anscombe guides us through the Tractatus and, thereby, Wittgenstein's early philosophy as a whole. She shows in particular how his arguments developed out of the discussions of Russell and Frege. This reprint is of the fourth, corrected edition.
Online education lacks the moral and ethical engagement as well as the empathic interactions that are essential and integral to true liberal education, including business. While the online venue can provide useful information and put libraries at the hands of the student or employee, there is an implicit lack of focus on the sacredness and centrality of the person, his or her values, attitudes, needs, and expectations. The focus of online education is on the delivery of data, not the student’s (...) engagement with the material or the process. Critically absent from online education is the ability to explore the transformation of data as it changes, first to information, then to knowledge, and finally to wisdom, within each person. Finally, absent is the ability to raise the level of abstraction. Since all needs to be measurable in concrete terms in online education, we are left with the language of metrics, such as deliverables, outcomes, inputs, and outputs. Where is the person in all of this? Where is the focus on the moral compass that is so necessary in any type of education? (shrink)
In this paper two models for movement of respiratory gases in the insect trachea are presented. One model considers the tracheal system as a single flexible compartment while the other model considers the trachea as a single flexible compartment with gas exchange. This work represents an extension of Ben-Tal’s work on compartmental gas exchange in human lungs and is applied to the insect tracheal system. The purpose of the work is to study nonlinear phenomena seen in the insect respiratory system. (...) It is assumed that the flow inside the trachea is laminar, and that the air inside the chamber behaves as an ideal gas. Further, with the isothermal assumption, the expressions for the tracheal partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide, rate of volume change, and the rates of change of oxygen concentration and carbon dioxide concentration are derived. The effects of some flow parameters such as diffusion capacities, reaction rates and air concentrations on net flow are studied. Numerical simulations of the tracheal flow characteristics are performed. The models developed provide a mathematical framework to further investigate gas exchange in insects. (shrink)
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
This essay represents a novel contribution to Nietzschean studies by combining an assessment of Friedrich Nietzsche’s challenging uses of “truth” and the “eternal return” with his insights drawn from Indian philosophies. Specifically, drawing on Martin Heidegger’s Nietzsche, I argue that Nietzsche’s critique of a static philosophy of being underpinning conceptual truth is best understood in line with the Theravada Buddhist critique of “self ” and “ego” as transitory. In conclusion, I find that Nietzsche’s “eternal return” can be understood as a (...) direct inversion of “nirvana”: Nietzsche celebrates profound attachment to each and every moment, independent from its pleasurable or distasteful registry. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To measure the preference regarding disclosure of a serious diagnosis, and its determinants, of the Lebanese public. DESIGN AND SETTING: Non-random sample survey of 400 persons interviewed in health care facilities in Beirut in 1995. RESULTS: Forty-two per cent of respondents generally preferred truth not to be disclosed directly to patients. Preference for disclosure was associated with younger age, better education and tendency to rapport-building with physicians. There were no meaningful associations between place of residence (urban/rural), level of religious (...) practice, or religious affiliation, and preference for disclosure. CONCLUSIONS: Under one plausible interpretation, this survey suggests that the expectation for concealment will decrease as the advantage of knowledge in better coping with disease is understood by an increasingly better educated public, and that the Lebanese public will increasingly come to expect direct and full disclosure of serious diagnoses. (shrink)
In this article, we provide a description of the good in health promotion based on an empirical study of health promotion practices in New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia. We found that practitioners were unified by a vision of the good in health promotion that had substantive and procedural dimensions. Substantively, the good in health promotion was teleological: it inhered in meliorism, an intention to promote health, which was understood holistically and situated in places and environments, a (...) commitment to primary rather than secondary prevention and engagement with communities more than individuals. Procedurally, the good in health promotion arose from qualities of practices that they developed over time in respectful relationships, were flexible and responsive to communities, built capabilities in communities and were sustainable. We discuss our findings with reference to Martha Nussbaum’s normative list of functional capabilities for a good human life, David Buchanan’s vision for health promotion ethics and common concerns in health promotion ethics regarding the relationship between paternalism and freedom. Our thick, vague conception of the good in health promotion, founded in the values and practical reason of people engaged daily in health promotion work, contributes to the development of a more complete theory of health promotion ethics. (shrink)
This paper critically engages Philip Mirowki's essay, "The scientific dimensions of social knowledge and their distant echoes in 20th-century American philosophy of science." It argues that although the cold war context of anti-democratic elitism best suited for making decisions about engaging in nuclear war may seem to be politically and ideologically motivated, in fact we need to carefully consider the arguments underlying the new rational choice based political philosophies of the post-WWII era typified by Arrow's impossibility theorem. A distrust of (...) democratic decision-making principles may be developed by social scientists whose leanings may be toward the left or right side of the spectrum of political practices. (shrink)
Rationing healthcare is a difficult task, which includes preventing patients from accessing potentially beneficial treatments. Proponents of implicit rationing argue that politicians cannot resist pressure from strong patient groups for treatments and conclude that physicians should ration without informing patients or the public. The authors subdivide this specific programme of implicit rationing, or “hidden rationing”, into local hidden rationing, unsophisticated global hidden rationing and sophisticated global hidden rationing. They evaluate the appropriateness of these methods of rationing from the perspectives of (...) individual and political autonomy and conclude that local hidden rationing and unsophisticated global hidden rationing clearly violate patients’ individual autonomy, that is, their right to participate in medical decision-making. While sophisticated global hidden rationing avoids this charge, the authors point out that it nonetheless violates the political autonomy of patients, that is, their right to engage in public affairs as citizens. A defence of any of the forms of hidden rationing is therefore considered to be incompatible with a defence of autonomy. (shrink)
The relationship between intimacy and honesty seems a paradoxical one. While intimate relationships would seem to demand a high level of honesty, this same intimacy might make us more likely to shield the other or protect ourselves through benevolent lying or the withholding of information. It would seem that honesty may not always be the best policy in intimate relationships. The purpose of this article is to examine the tension between honesty and intimacy in Kant’s duty of friendship, and it (...) will highlight the limitations of Kant’s expectations of friendship. At the same time I will use Kant’s own appeal to the autonomy of moral agents to delineate an appropriate role for the obligations of honesty and self disclosure in friendship. (shrink)
Since male CEOs dominate corporate leadership, the literature on top management decision making suffers from an implicit masculine bias. Although research indicates that males and females are biologically and psychologically different, the leadership characteristics of female CEOs are largely unexplored. Two of these characteristics, risk aversion and ethical sensitivity, are tied to key accounting issues, such as conservatism in financial reporting and steadfast opposition to fraud. In this study, we examine the relationship between CEO gender and accounting conservatism, and find (...) a positive association between the two. Consistent with conventional wisdom, this association appears to be stronger in firms with high rather than low litigation and takeover risks. This study contributes to the ethics literature by highlighting the benefits of gender diversity in upholding the integrity of financial reporting. (shrink)
Moral foundations research suggests that liberals care about moral values related to individual rights such as harm and fairness, while conservatives care about those foundations in addition to caring more about group rights such as loyalty, authority, and purity. However, the question remains about how conservatives and liberals differ in relation to group-level moral principles. We used two versions of the moral foundations questionnaire with the target group being either abstract or specific ingroups or outgroups. Across three studies, we observed (...) that liberals showed more endorsement of Individualizing foundations with an outgroup target, while conservatives showed more endorsement of Binding foundations with an ingroup target. This general pattern was found when the framed, target-group was abstract and when target groups were specified about a general British-ingroup and an immigrant-outgroup. In Studies 2 and 3, both Individualizing-Ingroup Preference and Binding-Ingroup Preference scores predicted more Attitude Bias and more Negative Attitude Bias toward immigrants, more Implicit Bias, and more Perceived Threat from immigrants. We also demonstrated that increasing liberalism was associated with less Attitude Bias and less Negative Bias toward immigrants, less Implicit Bias, and less Perceived Threat from immigrants. Outgroup-individualizing foundations and Ingroup-Binding foundations showed different patterns of mediation of these effects. (shrink)
In his second book on art, Weiss groups the nine basic arts into three triads in accordance with whether their characteristic products are created spaces--architecture, sculpture, painting; created time--musicry, story, poetry; or created movement --music, the theatre, the dance. The approach of any art to its undertaking and the nature of its achievement is distinctive; none duplicates the task, nor borrows the logic, of the others. Weiss also discusses some "compound arts," including photography and the movies. Through the vigor of (...) his language, and the sensitivity of his appraisals, he provokes fresh insight into both the specific arts and the entire artistic enterprise.--S. M. W. (shrink)
This paper studies the relationship between organizational ethical climate and the forms of organizational citizenship behavior , including in-role and extra-role behaviors, and examines the mediating effect of employee loyalty. A sample of employees from a traditional Hong Kong-based company was used as a study group. The purpose of this study was to examine the causes and implications of how various ethical work climates affect employee performance. Based on a model proposed by Victor and Cullen, ethical climate is arranged from (...) lower levels to higher levels. The results suggest that lower levels of ethical climate , characterizing a weak relational contract between employee and employer, are associated with negative extra-role behavior. In contrast, higher levels of ethical climate , symbolic of a strong relational contract at work, are associated with positive extra-role behavior. Moreover, normative commitment mediated a positive relationship between caring and identification with the company, whereas attitudinal loyalty mediated the negative relationship between independence and altruism. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (shrink)