In this volume comprised of sixteen essays and rebuttals, author and professor of philosophy Susan Haack responds to her fellow philosophers and her critics on a wide range of topics that involve much more than the esoteric nature of contemporary philosophy. Instead, as is Haack's forte, she asserts her views on important current issues such as how scientists conduct their work, the ethics of affirmative action and the pitfalls of preferential hiring, and how the distorted reality the postmodern thinkers (...) have presented has corrupted legal thinking. Her charge is to bring clarity, precision, integrity, and most of all, practicality to her field of study. (shrink)
According to welfarism about value, something is good simpliciter just in case it is good for some being or beings. In her recent Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, “Good-For-Nothings”, Susan Wolf argues against welfarism by appeal to great works of art, literature, music, and philosophy. Wolf provides three main arguments against this view, which I call The Superfluity Argument, The Explanation of Benefit Argument, and The Welfarist’s Mistake. In this paper, I reconstruct these arguments and explain where, (...) in my view, each goes wrong. (shrink)
BackgroundThe consent process for a genetic study is challenging when the research is conducted in a group stigmatized because of beliefs that the disease is familial. Podoconiosis, also known as 'mossy foot', is an example of such a disease. It is a condition resulting in swelling of the lower legs among people exposed to red clay soil. It is a very stigmatizing problem in endemic areas of Ethiopia because of the widely held opinion that the disease runs in families and (...) is untreatable. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of social stigma on the process of obtaining consent for a study on the genetics of podoconiosis in Southern Ethiopia.MethodsWe adapted a rapid assessment tool validated in The Gambia. The methodology was qualitative involving focus-group discussions (n = 4) and in-depth interviews (n = 25) with community members, fieldworkers, researchers and staff of the Mossy Foot Treatment and Prevention Association (MFTPA) working on prevention and treatment of podoconiosis.ResultsWe found that patients were afraid of participation in a genetic study for fear the study might aggravate stigmatization by publicizing the familial nature of the disease. The MFTPA was also concerned that discussion about the familial nature of podoconiosis would disappoint patients and would threaten the trust they have in the organization. In addition, participants of the rapid assessment stressed that the genetic study should be approved at family level before prospective participants are approached for consent. Based on this feedback, we developed and implemented a consent process involving community consensus and education of fieldworkers, community members and health workers. In addition, we utilized the experience and established trust of the MFTPA to diminish the perceived risk.ConclusionThe study showed that the consent process developed based on issues highlighted in the rapid assessment facilitated recruitment of participants and increased their confidence that the genetic research would not fuel stigma. Therefore, investigators must seek to assess and address risks of research from prospective participants' perspectives. This involves understanding the issues in the society, the culture, community dialogues and developing a consent process that takes all these into consideration. (shrink)
Reviewing "The Ethics of Gender, Feminism and Christian Ethics," and "The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology," the author suggests that Susan Parsons responds to questions postmodernism has posed to both feminism and Christian ethics by using insights gained from various accounts of the moral subject found in feminist philosophy, ethics, and theology. Hesitant to embrace postmodernism's critique of the possibility of ethics, Parsons redefines ethics by establishing a moral point of view within discursive communities. Yet in her brief treatment (...) of Emmanuel Levinas, Parsons does not explore the postmodern option he offers feminists: an understanding of moral responsibility that can be critical of ethics. Parsons also ignores some feminist perspectives in the physical and natural sciences, thereby missing valuable insights of feminists who insist upon the materiality of the body. (shrink)
Background Currently there is increasing recognition of the need for research in developing countries where disease burden is high. Understanding the role of local factors is important for undertaking ethical research in developing countries. We explored factors relating to information and communication during the process of informed consent, and the approach that should be followed for gaining consent. The study was conducted prior to a family-based genetic study among people with podoconiosis (non-filarial elephantiasis) in southern Ethiopia. Methodology/Principal Findings We adapted (...) a method of rapid assessment validated in The Gambia. The methodology was entirely qualitative, involving focus-group discussions and in-depth interviews. Discussions were conducted with podoconiosis patients and non-patients in the community, fieldworkers, researchers, staff of the local non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on prevention and treatment of podoconiosis, and community leaders. We found that the extent of use of everyday language, the degree to which expectations of potential participants were addressed, and the techniques of presentation of information had considerable impact on comprehension of information provided about research. Approaching podoconiosis patients via locally trusted individuals and preceding individual consent with community sensitization were considered the optimal means of communication. Prevailing poverty among podoconiosis patients, the absence of alternative treatment facilities, and participants' trust in the local NGO were identified as potential barriers for obtaining genuine informed consent. Conclusions Researchers should evaluate the effectiveness of consent processes in providing appropriate information in a comprehensible manner and in supporting voluntary decision-making on a study-by-study basis. (shrink)
Efforts to introduce particular-focused and emotionally engaged storytelling into historiography have sparked intense debate. Stone-Mediatore argues that women and other under-represented groups have a particular interest in defending the epistemic value of storytelling, but that we can do so meaningfully -- not by endorsing all storytelling -- but only by articulating a metahistory that challenges the division between history and story as well as makes explicit the interrelated epistemic and ethical goals of historical inquiry. The author draws on Hannah Arendt (...) and Susan Griffin to begin to articulate such a feminist metahistory. She argues that such a metahistory throws light on the potential value of creative and engaged storytelling, not only for understanding historical events but also for building less violent worlds. (shrink)
University of Keele, England This article analyzes the strategies and means by which universalist claims about human nature become successful in science. Of specific interest are the conditions under which claims of this sort are taken to be inherently superior to those which are particularistic or context-specific (a hierarchy of values which we term "universality bias"). We trace the birth of universalists claims in neglected fields, their growth through methodological agreements and the use of invisible referents, and their roots in (...) multiple audiences with different evaluation criteria. Our analysis complements philosophical and political critiques of theories about human nature and demonstrates the historical specificity of universalist claims. (shrink)
As exome and genome sequencing move into clinical application, questions surround how to elicit consent and handle potential return of individual genomic results. This study analyzes nine consent forms used in NIH-funded sequencing studies. Content analysis reveals considerable heterogeneity, including in defining results that may be returned, identifying potential benefits and risks of return, protecting privacy, addressing placement of results in the medical record, and data-sharing. In response to lack of consensus, we offer recommendations.
The informed consent process for genetic testing does not commonly address preferences regarding disclosure of results in the event of the patient's death. Adults being tested for familial colorectal cancer were asked whether they want their exome sequencing results disclosed to another person in the event of their death prior to receiving the results. Of 78 participants, 92% designated an individual and 8% declined to. Further research will help refine practices for informed consent.
Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians is an invaluable resource to educators seeking to bring history alive for students at all levels. Filled with insightful reflections on teaching oral history, it offers practical suggestions for educators seeking to create curricula, engage students, gather community support, and meet educational standards. By the close of the book, readers will be able to successfully incorporate oral history projects in their own classrooms.
These essays apply influential, pathbreaking psychological studies about women's lives to literature. In their analyses of fictional portraits, contributors both challenge and confirm psychological theories about female identity, about 'connection/separation' as developmental catalysts, and about the impact of gender on 'voice,' moral decision-making, and epistemology in relation to classical and contemporary literary texts, written by both women and men.
[ Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether (...) it understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
In this paper I lay out what I take to be the crucial insights in Susan Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy" and point out some additional difficulties with the skeptical position. I call attention to an ambiguity in the nature or content of the "maleness" of philosophy that Bordo identifies. Finally, I point out that, unlike some feminist skeptics, Bordo never loses sight in her work of women's lived experiences.
Susan Stebbing’s work on incomplete symbols and analysis was instrumental in clarifying, sharpening, and improving the project of logical constructions which was pivotal to early analytic philosophy. She dispelled use-mention confusions by restricting the term ‘incomplete symbol’ to expressions eliminable through analysis, rather than those expressions’ purported referents, and distinguished linguistic analysis from analysis of facts. In this paper I explore Stebbing’s role in analytic philosophy’s development from anti-holism, presupposing that analysis terminates in simples, to the more holist or (...) foundherentist analytic philosophy of the later 20th century. I read Stebbing as a transitional figure who made room for more holist analytic movements, e.g., applications of incomplete symbol theory to Quinean ontological commitment. Stebbing, I argue, is part of a historical narrative which starts with the holism of Bradley, an early influence on her, to which Moore and Russell’s logical analysis was a response. They countered Bradley’s holist reservations about facts with the view that the world is built up out of individually knowable simples. Stebbing, a more subtle and sympathetic reader of the British idealists, defends analysis, but with important refinements and caveats which prepared the way for a return to foundherentism and holism within analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Review of: "Computation, Information, Cognition: The Nexus and the Liminal", Ed. Susan Stuart & Gordana Dodig Crnkovic, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, September 2007, xxiv+340pp, ISBN: 9781847180902, Hardback: £39.99, $79.99 ---- Are you a computer? Is your cat a computer? A single biological cell in your stomach, perhaps? And your desk? You do not think so? Well, the authors of this book suggest that you think again. They propose a computational turn, a turn towards computational explanation and towards the explanation (...) of computation itself. The explanation of computation is the core of the present volume, but the computational turn to regard a wide variety of systems as computational is a potentially very wide-ranging project. (shrink)
Event synopsis: Professor Susan James inverses Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza. Whereas Strauss emphasized the hidden subtext of Spinoza’s arguments, James revives the explicit debates of his time within which Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise was situated. But this is not a simple historical reconstruction. James’ close reading of the Treatise offers a radically new perspective on Spinoza’s revolutionary book – a reading that presents startling new perspective on the political, metaphysical and theological implications of the book. Given the importance of (...) Spinoza’s political writings in contemporary radical democratic approaches to the state, James intervention has the potential to reshape the way we think of a Spinozan politics. (shrink)
Susan Stebbing’s paper “Logical Positivism and Analysis” (March 1933) was unusually critical of Wittgenstein. It put up a sharp opposition between Cambridge analytic philosophy of Moore and Russell and the positivist philosophy of the Vienna Circle to which she included Wittgenstein from 1929–32. Above all, positivists were interested in analyzing language, analytic philosophers in analyzing facts. Moreover, whereas analytic philosophers were engaged in directional analysis which seeks to illuminate the multiplicity of the analyzed facts, positivists aimed at final analysis (...) which “proves” that there are simples. Stebbing’s paper urged Wittgenstein to recast his philosophy and 1933 abandon those components of it that linked him to the Vienna Circle. (shrink)
The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may (...) be difficult to tell whether a person is motivated by self-interest in a particular instance, and difficult also to determine whether a given act or decision really is in one's self-interest, the meaning of the claims in question seems unproblematic. My main concern in this essay is to make a point about the content of self-interest. Specifically I shall put forward the view that meaningfulness, in a sense I shall elaborate, is an important element of a good life. It follows, then, that it is part of an enlightened self-interest that one wants to secure meaning in one's life, or, at any rate, to allow and promote meaningful activity within it. Accepting this substantial conception of self-interest, however, carries with it a curious consequence: the concept of self-interest which formerly seemed so clear begins to grow fuzzy. Fortunately, it comes to seem less important as well. In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit distinguishes three sorts of theories about self-interest–hedonistic theories, preference theories, and what he calls “objective-list theories." Hedonistic theories hold that one's good is a matter of the felt quality of one's experiences. (shrink)
Consider Susan Hurley's depiction of mainstream views of the mind: "The mind is a kind of sandwich, and cognition is the filling" (p. 401). This particular sandwich (with perception as the bottom loaf and action as the top loaf) tastes foul to Hurley, who devotes most of "Consciousness in Action" to a systematic and sometimes extraordinarily detailed critique of what has otherwise been dubbed "classical" models of the mind. This critique then provides the basis for her alternative proposal, in (...) which perception, action and environment are deeply intertwined. (shrink)
Susan Wolf, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9321-8 Authors Simon Derpmann, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Philosophisches Seminar, Domplatz 23, 48143 Münster, Germany Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
In a way that is rarely even attempted, and even more rarely actually pulled off, Susan Hurley, in her book Consciousness in Action, brings scientific ideas into contact with mainstream philosophy. It is not at all unusual for empirical results from cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience to be raised in discussion of issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind--Dennett and the Churchlands, for example, have been doing so for years. But Hurley attempts to draw empirical results even (...) closer to the center of philosophy, using them to make points about metaphysics and epistemology more broadly, especially PutnamÂ’s Twin Earth cases. We are very fond of Hurley's book, and we agree with nearly all of her conclusions. We do think, though, that there are two important cases where Hurley has misunderstood scientific work. First, we think she misunderstand dynamical systems theory; second, we think her criticism of ecological psychology is misplaced. In neither case do these misunderstandings derail HurleyÂ’s overall project--indeed, the former of them makes her conclusions all the more plausible. We consider them in order. (shrink)
In the first half of this book, Gail Fine provides a renewed defense of her reading of Meno's famous paradox; in the second, she provides novel accounts of how Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans, and Sextus Empiricus responded to the paradox. For reasons of space, I focus on the first half, where Fine defends the same basic account of Meno's paradox she put forward in her influential "Inquiry in the Meno". The book goes further, considering and dismissing several alternatives (...) not considered there and arguing at length against recent accounts in the secondary literature, especially those of Dominic Scott and David Charles.According to Fine, Meno's paradox rests on Meno misunderstanding what Socrates means... (shrink)
Lewis, according to Kuklick, was ‘a private person’, of ‘unsparing honesty and … utter dedication to the rational pursuit of truth’. He was, Kuklick continues, ‘equally uncompromising in what he expected of his readers, and as a result wrote for and lectured to a tiny group of scholars’. I hope that—since I occasionally find myself borrowing from him and frequently find myself arguing with him—I may count myself as one of the ‘tiny group of scholars’ for whom Lewis wrote. And (...) perhaps, by arguing with him again here, I may persuade some of you of the enduring interest of his work. (shrink)
In a provocative article published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Susan Pockett argues for the plausibility of considering consciousness as an epiphenomenon of neural activity. This means that consciousness, though caused by the brain, would not in its turn have any role in the causation of neural activity and, consequently, of behaviour. Critical for her argument is the distinction she makes between 'consciousness per se' and 'the neural processing that accompanies it' . In her discussion, though, the author (...) begs the question concerning whether there really is such 'consciousness itself, as distinct from the neural processing that goes with it' . If consciousness as it exists happens not to be distinct from some sort of neural processing, then Pockett's 'consciousness per se' has no causal effect simply because it does not exist. (shrink)
In this article and the following one, Susan Blackmore and Michael Bradie take contrary positions on the ‘science of memetics’, an approach to explaining human behaviour and culture based on the idea that our minds and cultures are in large part determined by self-replicating gene-like entities called ‘memes’. Memes would seem to allow the application of evolutionary ideas to both biology and culture. Many find that thought exciting and appealing. Others consider it arrogant and scientistic. Who is right?
Susan Haack presents a striking and appealing figure in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. In spite of British birth and education, she appears to bridge the gap between analytic philosophy and American pragmatism, with its more diverse influences and sources. Well known for her writings in the philosophy of logic and epistemology, she fuses something of the hard-headed debunking style of a Bertrand Russell with a lively interest in Peirce, James and Dewey.
The caesura of tragedy, more precisely tragedy as the scene of a caesura upon which an interruption occurs in the relation between divine grounds and human will, stands at the center of Susan Taubes's confrontation with tragedy. Moving beyond an explication of generic history, she analyzed the “Nature of Tragedy” (1953) as a phenomenon emerging from a cultural-historical threshold situation, illuminating tragedy's origins in the framework of her approach to ritual, religion, and philosophy. In respect to the history of (...) theory, these reflections are located at a transition point between religious and cultural history. Her argument that tragedy maintains a…. (shrink)
In her film, Desperately Seeking Susan, Susan Seidelman continues her inquiry into the relations between the “center” and the “margin” in contemporary culture. The ideology of the film represents the center — the status quo — as the site for mature negotiations of communal values, whereas it constructs the margin — the locus of opposition — as an instance of self-indulgence, transgression, and extremity. This is the same theme in her first film, Smithereens. This fascination with the tension (...) between the center and the margin is interesting in that it enacts the “politics of reluctance” of fairly successful upper bourgeois who in their youth learned a political language and a set of attitudes now being tested in their middle years by new political “realities.”. (shrink)
Foreword This letter is part of a correspondence belonging to the estate of Susan Taubes. It documents the private and intellectual relations between her and Jacob Taubes, whom she married in 1949. The two spent most of the period until 1952 geographically separated from each other, a situation due to their changing work and study circumstances. Susan spent the first half of 1952 in Paris, preparing her dissertation at the Sorbonne; Jacob took up Gershom Scholem's invitation to teach (...) the sociology of religion at the Hebrew University. In this year, intellectual debates stemming from the ferment of postwar American and…. (shrink)
In Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, Susan Griffin's embedding of language and culture within the natural world implicitly offers a critique of widespread assumptions, shared by many feminists, that language belongs only to the powerful and that it is inherently violent. Griffin's depiction of the process through which women come to speech is illuminated by V. N. Vološinov's work on the multiaccentuality of language and by Trinh Minh-ha's characterizations of oral traditions. Both authors stress the constant re-creation (...) of language by speakers and listeners. (shrink)
“I love you dear child and it is very hard to be reduced to a reines Bewusstsein [pure consciousness].”1 Susan Taubes wrote this sentence in Paris on February 18, 1952, to her husband Jacob Taubes in Jerusalem. Following ten months together with him in the holy city, she had been living for six weeks in one of the most prominent centers of secular modernism. From now on she would live alone. Her arrival in Paris formed the sequel to an (...) extensive correspondence allowing the pair to keep in touch in the first three years of marriage (1949–52), despite geographical distance…. (shrink)
For many of us, our relationship with the College Art Association (CAA) centers around the organization's annual meeting, that cacophonous yearly ritual that sees job applicants, panelists, and old friends and colleagues descend upon a convention hotel for one long weekend in February. The recent publication The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association, edited by former CAA executive director Susan Ball, attempts to historicize not only this event but the entire range of the (...) association's activities over its long life. Additionally, it serves as a reminder to all of us that the organization has long engaged in a wide range of pursuits that extend well beyond planning its annual conference. .. (shrink)