This volume offers an interdisciplinary conversation about several possible futures for the human species. The contributors elaborate on the issues that trouble our very understanding of what it means to be human in the 21st century, expanding on recent scholarly discussions about the posthuman and nonhuman turn.
Reports of children participating in hunger strikes while detained in offshore detention centres raise interrelated ethical issues and recognizable challenges for the medical decision-makers at these sites. A composite case study, informed by reports in the public domain, is employed to explore the unique challenges of consent and decision-making in these circumstances and the perennial issues inherent in adolescents’ developing capacity and autonomy. We present an amalgamated case of a fourteen-year-old adolescent who refused to consent to medical reversal of her (...) hunger strike protest. The medical team became the final arbiter when her parents, who were also in detention, could not agree with each other even after mediation. The case explores the complexity of evaluating the adolescent’s capacity to provide informed consent while influenced by the opinions of co-detainees in this extreme setting. We argue that the parents and the child had compromised decisional capacity due to the effects of detention. The challenges to the medical team are recognized and discussed. The team members faced a difficult dilemma and considered the competing values of the multiple cultural and ethical factors. Each team member integrated his or her own roles, duties, and discipline-specific professional guidelines with the primary goal of mitigating potential harms. (shrink)
The current paper highlights a new, interactive Shiny App that can be used to aid in understanding and teaching the important task of conducting a prior sensitivity analysis when implementing Bayesian estimation methods. In this paper, we discuss the importance of examining prior distributions through a sensitivity analysis. We argue that conducting a prior sensitivity analysis is equally important when so-called diffuse priors are implemented as it is with subjective priors. As a proof of concept, we conducted a small simulation (...) study, which illustrates the impact of priors on final model estimates. The findings from the simulation study highlight the importance of conducting a sensitivity analysis of priors. This concept is further extended through an interactive Shiny App that we developed. The Shiny App allows users to explore the impact of various forms of priors using empirical data. We introduce this Shiny App and thoroughly detail an example using a simple multiple regression model that users at all levels can understand. In this paper, we highlight how to determine the different settings for a prior sensitivity analysis, how to visually and statistically compare results obtained in the sensitivity analysis, and how to display findings and write up disparate results obtained across the sensitivity analysis. The goal is that novice users can follow the process outlined here and work within the interactive Shiny App to gain a deeper understanding of the role of prior distributions and the importance of a sensitivity analysis when implementing Bayesian methods. The intended audience is broad and can include those with limited exposure to Bayesian methods or the specific model presented here. (shrink)
Through the ability to preview the future , people can anticipate how best to think, feel and act in just about any setting. But exactly what factors determine the contents of prospection? Extending research on action identification and temporal construal, here we explored how action goals and temporal distance modulate the characteristics of future previews. Participants were required to imagine travelling to Egypt to climb or photograph a pyramid. Afterwards, to probe the contents of prospection, participants provided a sketch of (...) their imaginary experience. Results elucidated the impact of goal type and temporal distance on mental imagery. While a climbing goal prompted participants to draw a larger pyramid in the near than distant future, a photographic goal influenced only the compositional complexity of the sketches. These findings reveal how action goals and temporal distance shape the contents of future simulations. (shrink)
When a mother deliberately harms her child, it is tempting to assume that she must be either insane or lacking the "natural" love of a mother for her children. We want to believe that such mothers have almost nothing in common with "good" mothers. Drawing extensively on empirical research, Sarah LaChance Adams' Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What A "Good" Mother Would Do shows that maternal ambivalence, simultaneous desires to nurture and violently reject one's children, is both common and (...) reasonable, the result of genuine conflicts between mothers' interests and those of their children. Both appropriate support and deliberative agency are necessary to avoid maternal ambivalence... (shrink)
BackgroundSevere brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability. Diagnosis and prognostication are difficult, and errors occur often. Novel neuroimaging methods can improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy, especially in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness. Yet it is currently unknown how family caregivers understand this information, raising ethical concerns that disclosure of neuroimaging results could result in therapeutic misconception or false hope.MethodsTo examine these ethical concerns, we conducted semi-structured interviews with caregivers of patients with PDoC who were enrolled (...) in a concurrent neuroimaging research program designed to detect covert consciousness following severe brain injury. Caregivers held surrogate decision-making status for a patient. Interviews were conducted at two time points for each caregiver. The first interview occurred before the disclosure of neuroimaging results. The second occurred after disclosure. Descriptive analysis was applied to the data of four interview topics: expectations for neuroimaging; reactions to evidence of preserved cognition; reactions to null results; and understanding of the results and study.ResultsTwelve caregivers participated in the study; two caregivers shared surrogate decision-making status for one patient with PDoC. Twenty-one interviews were completed; one caregiver declined to participate in the post-disclosure interview. Three patients with PDoC associated with the study displayed evidence of covert consciousness. Overall, caregivers understood the neuroimaging research and results. Caregivers who received results of covert consciousness were generally pleased. However, there was some variation in expectations and reactions to these data and null results.ConclusionThis study, for the first time, reveals caregiver expectations for and reactions to neuroimaging evidence of covert consciousness in patients with PDoC. Caregivers understood the neuroimaging research and results, casting doubt on speculative ethical concerns regarding therapeutic misconception and false hope. However, disclosure of neuroimaging result could be improved. Pre-disclosure consultations might assist professionals in shaping caregiver expectations. Standardization of disclosure might also improve comprehension of the results. (shrink)
One winter morning, the two of us—both postdoctoral fellows in medical humanities and bioethics—gathered with a handful of reproductive science graduate students in the lab to watch a demonstration on making alginate beads. Due to their three-dimensional nature, the beads are capable of holding ovarian follicles—the beads act as though they were a small ovary. The scientists in the lab have managed to mature the follicles maintained in the beads into eggs, fertilize these eggs, and produce the birth of live (...) mice. This research was begun in an effort to develop a means of gathering ovarian follicles from young human cancer patients before they commence cancer treatment that may result in their infertility, thus .. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a volume of original articles on all aspects of ancient philosophy. The articles may be of substantial length, and include critical notices of major books. Contributions in this volume range from Sarah Broadie on Plato's Timaeus, to Voula Tsouna on Philodemus. 'standard reading among specialists in ancient philosophy' Brad Inwood, Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Sarah Moss argues that in addition to full beliefs, credences can constitute knowledge. She introduces the notion of probabilistic content and shows how it plays a central role not only in epistemology, but in the philosophy of mind and language. Just you can believe and assert propositions, you can believe and assert probabilistic contents.
Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case (...) is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism. (shrink)
Fiona Woollard presents an original defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, according to which doing harm seems much harder to justify than merely allowing harm. She argues that the Doctrine is best understood as a principle that protects us from harmful imposition, and offers a moderate account of our obligations to offer aid to others.
Der protestantische Theologe Karl Girgensohn ist 1903 mit seinem frühen Werk über das Wesen der Religion an die Öffentlichkeit getreten, welches einen starken religionsphilosophischen Standpunkt zum Ausdruck bringt. Kernüberlegung ist hierbei eine kognitive Theorie des Religiösen, in der die Gottesidee zentral ist. Unter Berücksichtigung der Biographie Girgensohns geht der vorliegende Beitrag auf diese frühe Studie zum Wesen der Religion ein und skizziert den Übergang des Autors von einem philosophischen zu einem experimentell-introspektiven Ansatz der Religiositätsforschung, welcher dann zum Fundament für die (...) Dorpater religionspsychologische Schule wurde. Basierend auf Girgensohns frühem Werk werden abschließend Implikationen für die heutige empirische Theologie vorgeschlagen.The Protestant theologian Karl Girgensohn came to the public in 1903 with his early work on the nature of religion, which expresses a strong religious-philosophical standpoint. The core consideration here is a cognitive theory of the religious, in which the idea of God is central. Taking into account Girgensohn’s biography, the present contribution addresses this early study on the nature of religion and outlines the author’s transition from a philosophical to an experimental-introspective approach to religious research, which then became the foundation for the Dorpat School of the psychology of religion. Based on Girgensohn’s early work, implications for contemporary empirical theology are finally proposed. (shrink)
Sensory substitution and augmentation devices are used to replace or enhance one sense by using another. Fiona Macpherson brings together neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers to focus on the nature of the perceptual experiences, the sensory interactions, and the changes that occur in the mind and brain while using these technologies.
Machine generated contents note: -- PART I: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND INTRODUCTION * Introduction * PART II: ANALYSIS OF LITERARY TEXTS * Pygmalion as allegory for transformational adult learning: Ovid, Shaw and Hughes * Educating Rita and Oleanna * The Winter's Tale * PART III: BIOGRAPHICAL DATA * Interview with Joe * Interview with Jane * Interview with Sarah * SECTION IV: AUTO/BIOGRAPHICAL DATA * Interview with Lilian * Autobiographical Writing * Final thoughts.
Any study of the 'Scientific Revolution' and particularly Descartes' role in the debates surrounding the conception of nature (atoms and the void v. plenum theory, the role of mathematics and experiment in natural knowledge, the status and derivation of the laws of nature, the eternality and necessity of eternal truths, etc.) should be placed in the philosophical, scientific, theological, and sociological context of its time. Seventeenth-century debates concerning the nature of the eternal truths such as '2 + 2 = 4' (...) or the law of inertia turn on the question of whether these truths were created along with nature, or were uncreated and subsisting in God's mind. One's answer to that question has direct consequences for conceptions of the necessity/contingency of mathematical and natural knowledge, how knowledge of such truths is accomplished by humans, and what grounds these truths. In this paper, I review the positions of four successors to Descartes' philosophy on the question of the eternal truths to illustrate how in specific ways that question with its theological, metaphysical, modal, and epistemological dimensions concerned the objectivity and certainty of the discoveries of the new science. Author Recommends: Clarke, Desmond. Descartes' Philosophy of Science . University Park, Penn State Press, 1982. This work provides an account of Descartes as a practicing scientist whose rationalism is mitigated by reliance on experiment and experience. Author re-examines Descartes' philosophical and scientific works in this new light. Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500–1700 . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001. This work provides a useful overview of the issues and thinkers of the Scientific Revolution. Of particular relevance is chapter 8 on Cartesian and Newtonian science. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1986. This work is an advanced study of the theological and metaphysical foundations of early modern science. Discussions include questions of God's nature, God's knowledge in relation to human knowledge, providence, the laws of nature, and the truths of mathematics. In particular, chapter 3 discusses Descartes' account of the eternal truths and divine omnipotence. Garber, Daniel. Descartes' Metaphysical Physics . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992. This work examines how Descartes' metaphysical doctrines of God, soul, and body set the groundwork for his physics. It includes a study of God and the grounds for the laws of physics (chapter 9). Henry, John. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. New York, Palgrave, Macmillan Press, 2008. This work provides a brief, general, and informative overview of the Scientific Revolution, including the themes of method, magic, religion, and culture. Osler, Margaret J. Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This work is an examination and comparison of the mechanical philosophies of Gassendi and Descartes. It offers in-depth discussion of the issue of voluntarism and intellectualism in the period and how that related to conceptions of laws of nature and the eternal truths. Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. This work provides a critical synthesis of as well as a guide to recent scholarship in the history of science for a general readership. Online Materials Dr. Robert A. Hatch's Scientific Revolution Website: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/ A compendium of resources for the study of Scientific Revolution. Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700. Early Modern Resources: http://www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/emr/ Early Modern Resources is a gateway for all those interested in finding electronic resources relating to the early modern period in history. Gallica, the Digital Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ An ever-growing digital library which includes numerous primary and secondary texts of relevance to Descartes and his role in Scientific Revolution. Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Syllabus Sample Syllabus: Cartesian Science The following is five weeks covering Cartesian Science in a course on Descartes or the Scientific Revolution, or 17th-century theories of matter, or related themes on early modern truth and method, especially on the continent. This material is best suited to a graduate level audience, but it could be modified to suit an upper-division undergraduate course, as the readings are basically primary texts whose context and background can be explained in lectures. Week 1: Cartesian Revolution in France • Scientific method • Role of mathematics and experiment • Certainty of scientific knowledge Readings: Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Descartes, Discourse on Method , Parts 1–3 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy , First Meditation. Week 2: Descartes' Scientific Treatises • Mechanization and mathematization of nature • Primary–secondary quality distinction Readings: Discourse on Method, Parts 4–6 Selections from Descartes' Scientific Essays: The World or Treatise on Light (ATXI 3–48); Treatise on Man (ATXI 119–202); Optics (ATVI 82–147). Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Henry, John, 'The Mechanical Philosophy,' chapter 5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 3: Descartes' Theory of Nature • Descartes' derivation of the law of conservation and the three laws of motion • God's role in the metaphysics and physics of nature Readings: Selections from Principles of Philosophy, Preface (all); Letter to Elizabeth; Part I: 1–8; Part II: 1–45, 55, 64; Part III: 1–4, 15–19, 45–47; Part IV: 187–207. John Henry, 'Religion and Science,' chapter 6. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 4: Post-1650 Cartesian Science: Necessity and Contingency in Nature • Debates on God, Creation, and Causes Readings: Easton, Patricia, 'What is at Stake in the Cartesian Debates on the Eternal Truths?' Philosophy Compass 4.2 (2009): 348–62. Malebranche, Nicolas, 'Elucidation 10', from The Search after Truth (1674). Note: All selections available in Nicolas Malebranche (1992). Philosophical Selections , edited by S. Nadler, Hackett. Gottfried Leibniz (1714) Monadology . Week 5: Causes in Nature and Morals • Theodicy as an explanation of defect and evil in a lawful universe: Malebranche v. Leibniz Readings: Nicolas Malebranche, Elucidation XVI (on occasionalism), and Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse One, Part 1. Gottfried Leibniz (1706), Theodicy. Focus Questions Weekly questions can be used to focus the readings. This can be done in a web or e-mail discussion thread, as a weekly assignment, or for in class discussion. I require students to post a short paragraph in response to the question or some posting by a classmate on the question. Students are required to post by 10 a.m. the day before we meet for class on a course website. Week 1: According to Descartes, what role does skepticism play in scientific reasoning? Week 2: Comment on the following: 'But I am supposing this machine to be made by the hands of God, and so I think you may reasonably think it capable of a greater variety of movements than I could possibly imagine in it, and of exhibiting more artistry than I could possibly ascribe to it' [ Treatise on Man ; ATXI 120]. Week 3: What is Descartes' conception of the relation between the metaphysics and physics of nature? Week 4: Critically discuss the positions of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz on what provides the foundation for the certitude of natural knowledge? Week 5: Explain why both Malebranche and Leibniz consider moral sin to be analogous to natural defect? Seminar/Project Idea Hold a debate on the question of the status of the eternal truths. The proposition will be Descartes' position: 'Eternal truths must be both created and necessary if certainty in science is to be possible'. Format: 1. At the beginning of the 5-week module, students will be assigned to one of three roles: Team A, Team B, and judge's panel. Students will be given the debate proposition, but will not be told which team will take the affirmative and which team the negative until the time of the debate. 2. Recommend a variation on the Classic Debate Format to encourage the development of argument: sequence begins with affirmative construction (8 minutes), negative construction (8 minutes), second affirmative construction (8 minutes), second negative construction (8 minutes), first negative rebuttal (4 minutes), first affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes), final negative rebuttal (4 minutes) and final affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes). 3. Judges Panel: will consist of 3–4 judges who will assess the performance of Teams A and B. Judgment should be based on the persuasiveness of the team position. 4. Debate will be held at the end of the fifth week, or semester, whichever makes most sense given the course length and structure. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the immensely helpful comments and suggestions by the participants in her graduate seminar on the Scientific Revolution: Benjamin Chicka, Sarah Jacques-Ross, Richard Ross, Marcella Stockstill, and Zohra Wolters. (shrink)
This powerfully iconoclastic book reconsiders the influential nativist position toward the mind. Nativists assert that some concepts, beliefs, or capacities are innate or inborn: "native" to the mind rather than acquired. Fiona Cowie argues that this view is mistaken, demonstrating that nativism is an unstable amalgam of two quite different--and probably inconsistent--theses about the mind. Unlike empiricists, who postulate domain-neutral learning strategies, nativists insist that some learning tasks require special kinds of skills, and that these skills are hard-wired into (...) our brains at birth. This "faculties hypothesis" finds its modern expression in the views of Noam Chomsky. Cowie, marshaling recent empirical evidence from developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, computer science, and linguistics, provides a crisp and timely critique of Chomsky's nativism and defends in its place a moderately nativist approach to language acquisition. Also in contrast to empiricists, who view the mind as simply another natural phenomenon susceptible of scientific explanation, nativists suspect that the mental is inelectably mysterious. Cowie addresses this second strand in nativist thought, taking on the view articulated by Jerry Fodor and other nativists that learning, particularly concept acquisition, is a fundamentally inexplicable process. Cowie challenges this explanatory pessimism, and argues convincingly that concept acquisition is psychologically explicable. What's Within? is a clear and provocative achievement in the study of the human mind. (shrink)
How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed (...) primarily with the attitude of belief in mind, is found wanting when applied to intention. An alternative account is proposed for knowledge of one’s own intentions that gives a central role to the mental act of deciding what to do. It is argued that we can come to know what we intend by making a decision about what to do and self-ascribing the content of that decision as our intended action. (shrink)
It is commonly held that Wittgenstein abandoned the Tractatus largely because of a problem concerning color incompatibility. My aim is to solve this problem on Wittgenstein’s behalf. First I introduce the central program of the Tractatus (§1) and the color incompatibility problem (§2). Then I solve the problem without abandoning any Tractarian ideas (§3), and show that given certain weak assumptions, the central program of the Tractatus can in fact be accomplished (§4). I conclude by distinguishing my system of analysis (...) from others and by explaining the historical underpinnings of my understanding of the nature of elementary propositions (§5). (shrink)
This paper responds to the sense of “crisis” or “trouble” that dominates contemporary feminist debate about the categories of sex and gender. It argues that this perception of crisis has emerged from a fundamental confusion of theoretical and political issues concerning the implications of the sex/gender debate for political representation and agency. It explores the sense in which this confusion is manifest in a debate between Seyla Benhabib and Judith Butler.
In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist (...) representationalist views than have been previously thought. More specifically, I argue that representationalists who endorse externalism about experiential content either have to become internalists about the content of propositional attitudes or they have to adopt a novel variety of externalism about the content of propositional attitudes. This novel type of propositional attitude externalism is investigated. It can be seen that adopting it forces one to reject Putnam. (shrink)
The domain of professional ethics -- Virtue, ethics, and professional life -- Virtues, vices, and situations -- Professional wisdom -- Care -- Respectfulness -- Trustworthiness -- Justice -- Courage -- Integrity.
In this incisive study Sarah Broadie gives an argued account of the main topics of Aristotle's ethics: eudaimonia, virtue, voluntary agency, practical reason, akrasia, pleasure, and the ethical status of theoria. She explores the sense of "eudaimonia," probes Aristotle's division of the soul and its virtues, and traces the ambiguities in "voluntary." Fresh light is shed on his comparison of practical wisdom with other kinds of knowledge, and a realistic account is developed of Aristototelian deliberation. The concept of pleasure (...) as value-judgment is expounded, and the problem of akrasia is argued to be less of a problem to Aristotle than to his modern interpreters. Showing that the theoretic ideal of Nicomachean Ethics X is in step with the earlier emphasis on practice, as well as with the doctrine of the Eudemian Ethics, this work makes a major contribution towards the understanding of Aristotle's ethics. (shrink)
The senses, or sensory modalities, constitute the different ways we have of perceiving the world, such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. But how many senses are there? How many could there be? What makes the senses different? What interaction takes place between the senses? This book is a guide to thinking about these questions. Together with an extensive introduction to the topic, the book contains the key classic papers on this subject together with nine newly commissioned essays.One reason (...) that these questions are important is that we are receiving a huge influx of new information from the sciences that challenges some traditional philosophical views about the senses. This information needs to be incorporated into our view of the senses and perception. Can we do this whilst retaining our pre-existing concepts of the senses and of perception or do we need to revise our concepts? If they need to be revised, then in what way should that be done? Research in diverse areas, such as the nature of human perception, varieties of non-human animal perception, the interaction between different sensory modalities, perceptual disorders, and possible treatments for them, calls into question the platitude that there are five senses, as well as the pre-supposition that we know what we are counting when we count them as five.This book will serve as an inspiring introduction to the topic and as a basis from which further new research will grow. (shrink)
I defend the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing: the claim that doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. A thing does not genuinely belong to a person unless he has special authority over it. The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing protects us against harmful imposition – against the actions or needs of another intruding on what is ours. This protection is necessary for something to genuinely belong to a person. The opponent of the Doctrine must claim that (...) nothing genuinely belongs to a person, even his own body. (shrink)
We sometimes strive to achieve difficult goals when our evidence suggests that success is unlikely – not just because it will require strength of will, but because we are targets of prejudice and discrimination or because success will require unusual ability. Optimism about one’s prospects can be useful for persevering in these cases. That said, excessive optimism can be dangerous; when our evidence is unfavourable, we should be at most agnostic about whether we will succeed. This paper explores the nature (...) and rational significance of agnostic practical commitments. Most importantly, the rationality of striving against the odds can depend on investing in a plan for failure: a plan B. I aim to make headway on an account of what backup plans are, how they are related to primary plans, and whether the standard norms of plan rationality apply to our agnostic commitments. (shrink)
Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational (...) in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law. (shrink)
An AI winter may be defined as the stage when technology, business, and the media come to terms with what AI can or cannot really do as a technology without exaggeration. Through discussion of previous AI winters, this paper examines the hype cycle (which by turn characterises AI as a social panacea or a nightmare of apocalyptic proportions) and argues that AI should be treated as a normal technology, neither as a miracle nor as a plague, but rather as (...) of the many solutions that human ingenuity has managed to devise. (shrink)
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the first of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the analysis of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I explore some of the most prominent attempts to analyse this distinction:. Philippa Foot’s sequence account, Warren (...) Quinn’s action/ inaction account, and counterfactual test accounts put forward by Shelly Kagan and Jonathan Bennett. I also discuss Jeff McMahan’s account of the removal of barriers to harm. I argue that analysis of the distinction has often been made more difficult by two mistaken assumption: (1) the assumption that when an agent does or allows harm his behaviour makes the difference to whether or not the harm occurs (2) the assumption that the distinction between doing and allowing and the distinction between action and inaction are interchangeable. I suggest that Foot’s account is the most promising account of the doing/allowing distinction, but that it requires further development. (shrink)
Introduction -- The ethics of care and global politics -- Rethinking human security -- 'Women's work' : the global care and sex economies -- Humanitarian intervention and global security governance -- Peacebuilding and paternalism : reading care through postcolonialism -- Health and human security : gender, care and HIV/AIDS -- Gender, care, and the ethics of environmental security -- Conclusion. Security through care.
Our pollution of the environment seems set to lead to widespread problems in the future, including disease, scarcity of resources, and bloody conflicts. It is natural to think that we are required to stop polluting because polluting harms the future individuals who will be faced with these problems. This natural thought faces Derek Parfit’s famous Non-Identity Problem ( 1984 , pp. 361–364). The people who live on the polluted earth would not have existed if we had not polluted. Our polluting (...) behaviour does not make these individuals worse off. It may therefore seem that we do not harm them by polluting. Parfit argues that we should replace person-affecting principles with an impersonal principle of beneficence, Principle Q ( 1984 , p. 360.). I argue that Principle Q cannot give an adequate account of our duties to refrain from polluting. I consider attempts to solve the Non-Identity Problem by denying that to harm someone an agent must make them worse off. I argue that such responses provide a partial solution to the Non-Identity Problem. They do show that we harm future individuals in a morally relevant sense by polluting. Nonetheless, this is only a partial solution. The Non-Identity Problem still suggests that our harm-based reasons not to pollute are less strong than we intuitively believe. Thus on its own an appeal to the claim that we harm future individuals is not able to give a fully satisfactory account of why we are required not to pollute. (shrink)
This book explores the far-reaching ethical implications of recent changes in the organization and practice of the social professions, including social work, community and youth work. Drawing on moral philosophy, professional ethics and new empirical research, the author explores such questions as: * Can any occupation justifiably claim a special set of ethics? * What is the impact of the new 'ethics of distrust' on the autonomy discretion and creativity of practitioners? * How does inter-professional working challenge conceptions of professional (...) identities and roles? * Do 'professional ethics' act as an obstruction to constructive developments? Combing interviews with practitioners with developments in ethical theory, Ethics, Accountability and the Social Professions shows the complexity and range of issues at stake. (shrink)
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the second of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the moral status of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I look at objections to the doctrine such as James’ Rachels’ Wicked Uncle Case and Jonathan (...) Bennett’s argument that any acceptable analysis of the distinction leaves it implausible that the distinction is morally relevant. I consider putative defences of the Doctrine from Philippa Foot and Warren Quinn. I argue that neither Foot not Quinn provides a satisfactory justification of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, but that the idea of self-ownership discussed by Quinn can be developed to provide a justification of the doctrine. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the impact of digitally altered images on individuals’ body satisfaction and beauty aspirations. Drawing on current psychological literature we consider interventions designed to increase knowledge about the ubiquity and unreality of digital images and, in the form of labelling, provide information to the consumer. Such interventions are intended to address the negative consequences of unrealistic beauty ideals. However, contrary to expectations, such initiatives may not be effective, especially in the long-term, and may even be counter-productive. (...) We seek to understand this phenomenon of our continued aspiration for beauty ideals we know to be unreal and even impossible. We draw on our respective disciplines to offer psychological and philosophical accounts for why this might be. We conclude that beauty ideals are deeply embedded in our aspirations, practices, and in our constructions of ourselves. Given this, it is not surprising that simply increasing knowledge, or providing information, will be insufficient to challenge them. (shrink)
In Responding to Global Poverty: Harm, Responsibility, and Agency, Christian Barry and Gerhard Øverland address the two types of argument that have dominated discussion of the responsibilities of the affluent to respond to global poverty. The second type of argument appeals to ‘contribution-based responsibilities’: the affluent have a duty to do something about the plight of the global poor because they have contributed to that plight. Barry and Øverland rightly recognize that to assess contribution-based responsibility for global poverty, we need (...) to understand what it is for an agent to contribute to harm rather than merely failing to prevent it. Barry and Øverland argue that we should replace the traditional bipartite distinction doing and allowing with a bipartite distinction between doing, allowing and enabling. I argue that their discussion represents a significant contribution to this debate. However, more detail on their key ideas of ‘relevant action’ and ‘complete causal process’ is needed. Moreover, in cases involving the removal of barriers, the non-need based claims of those involved matter. (shrink)
Palliative care is a recent branch of health care. The doctors, nurses, and other professionals involved in it took their inspiration from the medieval idea of the hospice, but have now extended their expertise to every area of health care: surgeries, nursing homes, acute wards, and the community. This has happened during a period when patients wish to take more control over their own lives and deaths, resources have become scarce, and technology has created controversial life-prolonging treatments. Palliative care is (...) therefore faced with more ethical problems that other areas of health care. This book, by a clinician, teacher, and writer on health care ethics, has been written to provide all those who care for the terminally ill--doctors, nurses, social workers, clergymen, physiotherapists--with the concepts and principles which will assist them with difficult decisions. It challenges many received doctrines of palliative care, but its well-illustrated central theme is that technical expertise must be controlled by humane, non-technical judgments. (shrink)
Generic generalizations such as ‘mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus’ or ‘sharks attack bathers’ are often accepted by speakers despite the fact that very few members of the kinds in question have the predicated property. Previous work suggests that such low-prevalence generalizations may be accepted when the properties in question are dangerous, harmful, or appalling. This paper argues that the study of such generic generalizations sheds light on a particular class of prejudiced social beliefs, and points to new ways in (...) which those beliefs might be undermined and combatted. (shrink)
Medicine often views hospice care as “giving up,” which results in a reduced quality of end-of-life care for many patients. By integrating a theology of the Sabbath with modern medicine, hospice becomes a sacred and valuable way to honor the dying patient in a comprehensive and holistic way. A theology of Sabbath as “Sacredness in Time” can provide the foundation for a shift in understanding hospice as a legitimate care plan, which shifts the focus from controlling and manipulating space for (...) the body, to rest and enjoyment of time for the whole person. First, I explore vitalism and its negative effects on the institution of hospice. Second, I address the main misconceptions and biases surrounding hospice in order to establish hospice as an appropriate option for the terminally ill. Finally, I argue for a shift away from sacredness in space to sacredness in time. (shrink)
Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
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