A much-debated series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2015 labeled the pharmaceutical industry's critics “pharmascolds.” Having followed the debate for two decades, I count myself among the scolds. The weight of the evidence overwhelmingly supports the claim that pharmaceutical policy no longer serves the public interest; the central questions now are how this happened and what to do about it. I approached three of the most recent books on the industry with these questions in (...) mind. Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime, by Peter Gøtzsche, Bad Pharma, by Ben Goldacre, and Good Pharma, by Donald Light and Antonio Maturo, all situate their critical assessments in high-income countries globally, depicting the problem of pharmaceuticals as too many drugs approved with too little evidence, causing too many needless deaths, and prices spiraling to heights unimaginable just a decade ago. Light and Maturo, while no less critical of the status quo than Gøtzsche and Goldacre, take a different tack: they detail the success of an alternative model for pharmaceutical research, the Mario Negri Institute in Italy, citing it as proof positive that we can indeed defy capitalism's profit imperative. (shrink)
The idea that knowledge can be extended by inference from what is known seems highly plausible. Yet, as shown by familiar preface paradox and lottery-type cases, the possibility of aggregating uncertainty casts doubt on its tenability. We show that these considerations go much further than previously recognized and significantly restrict the kinds of closure ordinary theories of knowledge can endorse. Meeting the challenge of uncertainty aggregation requires either the restriction of knowledge-extending inferences to single premises, or eliminating epistemic uncertainty in (...) known premises. The first strategy, while effective, retains little of the original idea—conclusions even of modus ponens inferences from known premises are not always known. We then look at the second strategy, inspecting the most elaborate and promising attempt to secure the epistemic role of basic inferences, namely Timothy Williamson’s safety theory of knowledge. We argue that while it indeed has the merit of allowing basic inferences such as modus ponens to extend knowledge, Williamson’s theory faces formidable difficulties. These difficulties, moreover, arise from the very feature responsible for its virtue- the infallibilism of knowledge. (shrink)
Self-tracking devices point to a future in which individuals will be more involved in the management of their health and will generate data that will benefit clinical decision making and research. They have thus attracted enthusiasm from medical and public health professionals as key players in the move toward participatory and personalized healthcare. Critics, however, have begun to articulate a number of broader societal and ethical concerns regarding self-tracking, foregrounding their disciplining, and disempowering effects. This paper has two aims: first, (...) to analyze some of the key promises and concerns that inform this polarized debate. I argue that far from being solely about health outcomes, this debate is very much about fundamental values that are at stake in the move toward personalized healthcare, namely, the values of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity. The second aim is to provide a framework within which an alternative approach to self-tracking for health can be developed. I suggest that a practice-based approach, which studies how values are enacted in specific practices, can open the way for a new set of theoretical questions. In the last part of the paper, I sketch out how this can work by describing various enactments of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity among self-trackers in the Quantified Self community. These examples show that shifting attention to practices can render visible alternative and sometimes unexpected enactments of values. Insofar as these may challenge both the promises and concerns in the debate on self-tracking for health, they can lay the groundwork for new conceptual interventions in future research. (shrink)
Harman and Lewis credit Kripke with having formulated a puzzle that seems to show that knowledge entails dogmatism. The puzzle is widely regarded as having been solved. In this paper we argue that this standard solution, in its various versions, addresses only a limited aspect of the puzzle and holds no promise of fully resolving it. Analyzing this failure and the proper rendering of the puzzle, it is suggested that it poses a significant challenge for the defense of epistemic closure.
Timothy Williamson has famously argued that the (KK) principle (roughly, that if one knows that p, then one knows that one knows that p) should be rejected. We analyze Williamson’s argument and show that its key premise is ambiguous, and that when it is properly stated this premise no longer supports the argument against (KK). After canvassing possible objections to our argument, we reflect upon some conclusions that suggest significant epistemological ramifications pertaining to the acquisition of knowledge from prior knowledge (...) by deduction. (shrink)
Experimentation in Technological Wisdom: Can the Political be Kept off the Practice Ground?Gert GoeminneCentre Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, BelgiumCentre for Sustainable Development, Ghent University, Belgiume-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgA Welcome VoiceI met Michel Puech for the first time in 2008 at a workshop entitled ‘Artificial Environments.’ In an interdisciplinary Science and Technology Studies spirit, this 2-day event at Roskilde University gathered philosophers and sociologists of science and technology, as well as architecture theorists. Being rather new to the STS-field at that point, I (...) had read the main authors of the Anglo-Saxon tradition, including Andrew Pickering and Peter‐Paul Verbeek, who were present at the workshop. And sure, I had acquainted myself with the work of the French masters such as Bruno Latour, Gilbert Simondon and Bernard Stiegler. I had never heard of the French philosopher of technology Michel Puech, though. But there he was, startin .. (shrink)
Kamphof offers an illuminating depiction of the technological mediation of morality. Her case serves as the basis for a plea for modesty up and against the somewhat heroic conceptualizations of techno-moral change to date—less logos, less autos, more practice, more relationality. Rather than a displacement of these conceptualizations, I question whether Kamphof’s art of living offers only a different perspective: in scale, and in unit of analysis. As a supplement and not an alternative, this modest art has nonetheless audacious implications (...) for the ethics of surveillance. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has famously argued that the principle should be rejected. We analyze Williamson's argument and show that its key premise is ambiguous, and that when it is properly stated this premise no longer supports the argument against. After canvassing possible objections to our argument, we reflect upon some conclusions that suggest significant epistemological ramifications pertaining to the acquisition of knowledge from prior knowledge by deduction.
Oren Ergas and Sharon Todd, the editors of Philosophy East/West: Exploring Intersections between Educational and Contemplative Practices, articulate the two main concerns of their project in the introduction. The first intent is to embrace a cross-philosophical approach that may integrate a wide spectrum of wisdom traditions the world over in order to maximize fruitful dialogue and cross-fertilization. The second is to take stock of the recent “contemplative turn” in education, as illustrated primarily by the growing contemporary trend to emphasize (...) meditational and mindfulness practices. The main objective of the editors of this thoughtful and creative volume is to reflect upon the ways such a “contemplative... (shrink)
The article deals, on the one hand, with a legal conflict between a musical performer/arranger, Mike Batt, and the estate of a composer of avant-garde music, John Cage, over copyright. It is also concerned with the field of intertextuality – how meaning is created in a text or in a work of art, whether it is visual, musical or verbal, through allusions and quotations to previous texts or works of art. The controversy, which did not reach the courts because (...) of a pre-trial settlement, was over an author’s rights to silence, or, as in this case, a silent piece of music. The central issue discussed is the way in which silence may be considered – if at all, to be protectable. (shrink)
Ethics committees and palliative care consultants can function in a complementary fashion, seamlessly and effectively. Ethics committees can “air” and help resolves issues, and palliative care consultants can use a low-key, longitudinal approach.