Background Ethics committees typically apply the common principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice to research proposals but with variable weighting and interpretation. This paper reports a comparison of ethical requirements in an international cross-cultural study and discusses their implications. Discussion The study was run concurrently in New Zealand, UK, Israel, Canada and USA and involved testing hypotheses about believability of testimonies regarding alleged child sexual abuse. Ethics committee requirements to conduct this study ranged from nil in Israel to considerable (...) amendments designed to minimise participant harm in New Zealand. Assessment of minimal risk is a complex and unreliable estimation further compounded by insufficient information on probabilities of particular individuals suffering harm. Estimating potential benefits/ risks ratio and protecting participants' autonomy similarly are not straightforward exercises. Summary Safeguarding moral/humane principles should be balanced with promotion of ethical research which does not impede research posing minimal risk to participants. In ensuring that ethical standards are met and research has scientific merit, ethics committees have obligations to participants (to meet their rights and protect them from harm); to society (to ensure good quality research is conducted); and to researchers (to treat their proposals with just consideration and respect). To facilitate meeting all these obligations, the preferable focus should be promotion of ethical research, rather than the prevention of unethical research, which inevitably results in the impediment of researchers from doing their work. How the ethical principles should be applied and balanced requires further consideration. (shrink)
: In this paper, I argue that one of the most intense ways women are encouraged to enjoy sublime experiences is via attempts to control their bodies through excessive dieting. If this is so, then the societal-cultural contributions to the problem of eating disorders exceed the perpetuation of a certain beauty ideal to include the almost universal encouragement women receive to diet, coupled with the relative shortage of opportunities women are afforded to experience the sublime.
In her analysis of the politics of biotechnology, Sheila Jasanoff argued that modern democracy cannot be understood without an analysis of the ways knowledge is created and used in society. She suggested calling these ways to “know things in common” civic epistemologies. Jasanoff thus approached knowledge as fundamentally social. The focus on the social nature of knowledge allows drawing parallels with some developments in philosophy of science. In the first part of the paper, I juxtapose Jasanoff’s account with the (...) philosopher Helen Longino’s approach. Longino argued that objectivity of scientific knowledge is made possible by the social nature of knowledge production. In the process of community-wide discussion, claims that are not intersubjectively acceptable are rejected and communally acceptable knowledge emerges. Longino called this knowledge-creating critical dialogue transformative. I suggest that Longino’s account can be seen as providing epistemological support for the civic epistemologies Jasanoff described. They are capable of producing knowledge in the normative philosophical sense of the word to the degree that they are able to support this transformative critical dialogue. In the second part of the paper, I explore in the light of Longino’s criteria for effective knowledge-productive dialogue one of the controversies in biotechnology policy that Jasanoff analysed. I suggest that Longino’s criteria allow identifying some fundamental obstacles for initiating and maintaining this kind of responsive critical dialogue and that the controversy can be seen as caused by inability to overcome these obstacles. In such a case, the controversy signals an epistemic failure as well as a failure of democratic policy. (shrink)
Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (eds): Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9258-2 Authors Nathaniel Barrett, Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion 1711 Massachusetts Ave NW #308 Washington DC 20036 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Title: Medicine, Morals, and the LawPublisher: Gower Pub CoISBN: 0566005336Author: Sheila McLean and Gerry MaherTitle: Reproductive EthicsPublisher: Prentice HallISBN: 0137739044Author: Michael BaylesTitle: Ethics of Withdrawal of Life-Support SystemsPublisher: Praeger PaperbackISBN: 0275927105Author: Douglas N. Walton.
Sheila Davaney’s Pragmatic Historicism provides yet another opportunity for us to discuss disagreements between two kinds of pragmatism. One, which I espouse, is a non-metaphysical pragmatism. It is rooted in James’s and Dewey’s appropriation of Darwinian biology for philosophical purposes and, more recently, Donald Davidson’s philosophy of language. Richard Rorty is its most influential contemporary spokesman. The other is a metaphysical pragmatism. It is rooted in James’s radical empiricism and Whitehead’s process philosophy. In the Highlands Institute, William Dean and (...) now Davaney, among others, advocate versions of metaphysical pragmatism. (shrink)