Author SusanneClaxton offers a new ecophenomenological perspective to Heidegger and his engagement with the Greeks, and an alternative to the ruling binary in environmental ethics of anthropocentrism and ecocentrism.
The author makes a review of the different meaning of the word “clone”. He refers on the new perspectives in fertilizing human eggs with somatic nucleus in order to obtain a zygote after having removed the original nucleus. The author moreover discusses the ethical implications.
The current informal practice of pharmacometrics as a combination art and science makes it hard to appreciate the role that informatics can and should play in the future of the discipline and to comprehend the gaps that exist because of its absence. The development of pharmacometric informatics has important implications for expediting decision making and for improving the reliability of decisions made in model-based development. We argue that well-defined informatics for pharmacometrics can lead to much needed improvements in the efficiency, (...) effectiveness, and reliability of the pharmacometrics process. The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of the pervasive yet often poorly appreciated role of informatics in improving the process of data assembly, a critical task in the delivery of pharmacometric analysis results. First, we provide a brief description of the pharmacometric analysis process. Second, we describe the business processes required to create analysis-ready data sets for the pharmacometrician. Third, we describe selected informatic elements required to support the pharmacometrics and data assembly processes. Finally, we offer specific suggestions for performing a systematic analysis of existing challenges as an approach to defi ning the next generation of pharmacometric informatics. (shrink)
: Though it is being widely argued that expanding young people's capacity to learn is a viable and desirable goal of education, it it not always clear what this means, how it is to be achieved, and how the effectiveness of interventions is to be assessed. It is argued that the capacity to learn should be interpreted as a portmanteau term that comprises a varied set of positive learning dispositions. These are illustrated, and the idea of ?expansion? is glossed in (...) terms of broadening, strengthening and deepening these dispositions. (shrink)
The cornerstone of the dominant folk theory of free will is the presumption that conscious intentions are, at least sometimes, causally related to subsequent ‘voluntary’ actions. Like all folk theories that have become ‘second nature', this model skews perception and cognition to highlight phenomena and interpretations that are consistent with itself, and pathologize or render invisible those that are not. A variety of experimental, neurological and everyday phenomena are reviewed that cumulatively cast doubt on this comforting folk model. An alternative (...) view, more consistent with the evidence, sees intentions and actions as co-arising in complex neural systems that are capable of anticipating the outcomes of their own ongoing processing. Such tentative predictions, when they become conscious, are appropriated by a ‘self system’ that believes itself to be instigatory, and reframed as ‘commands'. This confusion between prediction and control is hypothesized to arise particularly in selves that are identified in terms of a complex proliferation of partially conflicting goal-states. Such a system routinely needs to carry out detailed and time-consuming analyses of the motivational character of situations, thus creating the conditions in which anticipatory neural states surface into consciousness. The experience of ‘self control’ occurs when the system successfully predicts the dominance of a ‘higher', more long-term or a priori less likely goal state, over another that is seen as ‘lower', short-term or more likely. (shrink)
Harris’ reply to our defence of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) current cost-effectiveness procedures contains two further errors. First, he wrongly draws a conclusion from the fact that NICE does not and cannot evaluate all possible uses of healthcare resources at any one time and generally cannot know which National Health Service (NHS) activities would be displaced or which groups of patients would have to forgo health benefits: the inference is that no estimate is or can be made (...) by NICE of the benefits to be forgone. This is a non-sequitur. Second, he asserts that it is a flaw at the heart of the use of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) as an outcome measure that comparisons between people need to be made. Such comparisons do indeed have to be made, but this is not a consequence of the choice of any particular outcome measure, be it the QALY or anything else. (shrink)
When I first open a new document on my computer, as I have just done, the relationship between my key presses and what happens on the screen is rather loose. I press Enter a few times to move the cursor down the page a bit , and sometimes nothing happens for a while; or the cursor disappears for a few seconds before reappearing in its new position. After a minute or so, the machine seems to settle down, and then the (...) correlation between taps on the keyboard and movements on the screen becomes much tighter and more consistent. Then, because taps and movements are tightly and predictably coupled, it hardly seems an inference at all to see the taps as the causes of the changes on the screen. While the computer is still 'waking up', I imagine that the taps are still the causes of the screen changes, but that the temporal relationship is lengthened and muddied by the fact that there is a lot else going on inside the machine while it is, so to speak, finishing dressing and cleaning its teeth. If, however, the machine was not just sleepy and preoccupied but seriously ill, then the relationship between taps and screen changes might become so bizarre and inconsistent that I would assume that causality had broken down. There may be causal connections inside still — the machine may still be operating in a completely deterministic fashion — but as I can no longer make sense of the relationship between input and output, I withdraw the imputation of causality. (shrink)
Neurophysiological and psychological evidence require us to see perception, the ‘fabrication of experience’, as a process in time. Some of the elapsed time between the onset of stimulation and the appearance of a conscious image is accounted for by onsiderations of neural hardware. Cognitive science conventionally assumes that these structural factors are sufficient to account for the delay. However I argue in this paper that the human information processing system may interpose an additional strategic delay that allows for processes of (...) checking and editing the developing ‘sketch’ or ‘draft’, so that elements that might threaten an underlying self system can be massaged or deleted. This cognitive model parallels that which is found in the Buddhist Abhidhamma, and improves upon the traditional, canonical formulation. Mindfulness meditation can be seen as a process of ‘attentional retraining’, in which the strategic delay is reduced through practice, and self-related assumptions, which had previously been dissolved in or pre-supposed by conscious experience, become crystallized out and capable of being problematized. (shrink)
To refuse new knowledge and new technologies is at long term a lost battle: this general constatation may, without doubt, be extrapolated to genetic engineering.The influence fundamental science-applied science is always mutual. Such as is also the influence science-society. If the genetics influences the society, the society influences the genetics and the sciences of the reproduction. The goal is indeed nowadays to have a limited number of children, and to offer a life of quality with minimal sufferings. Without doubt these (...) social “norms” have indeed also an eugenetic effect. The interaction science-society appears at each important discovery by necessary adaptations.Before to decide what is moral and immoral, correct and false in the consequences of genetical techniques, one has to better understand the proposed applications and the signification of their results. It would be necessary that the society would develop a better information or even a biological culture.To fear that human beings would destroy the natural mechanisms, to phantasm on the fact that humans would go too far, corresponds in fact to make a scandal of his intelligence, to separate human beings from the nature, it is at the limit to want to limit humans to their animal origin. In this field, such as in others, humans do not need repressive morals: the ethically responsible choice is the choice of the publicity of knowledge. This education must help him to remain honest and free, to remove false sciences and prejudices. (shrink)
“I know only one thing, that I know nothing” SocratesMost of the religions put human life above all other kind of animal life, enclose the complexity of human life in a dogma and give a finality to life and death. When biologists are not more following the security of the road of systematic analysis of animal or plant kingdom or of ecological studies of biotopes, but when they are giving a chemical and mechanical explanation of life, they become disturbing for (...) whom prefer not to explore the ordinary of human life but is preferring to believe in the extraordinary.A pluralist ethics does not consist to build up new dogmas, to contra balance in a sense some fundamentalist positions. Interpellated by the medicine and the new technologies, we have to discuss the way it is influencing our new ways of life. We must look for more autonomy of individuals, and for more individual and collective responsibilities.Continuing education is the only guarantee of our freedoms, it is the pedagogy of pluralist discussions which can preserve our societies from dehumanisation. Education must help humans to keep freedom and probity, and to move away from pseudosciences and prejudices. (shrink)
A rebuttal is provided to each of the arguments adduced by John Harris, an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, in two editorials in the journal in support of the view that National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s procedures and methods for making recommendations about healthcare procedures for use in the National Health Service in England and Wales are the product of “wickedness or folly or more likely both”, “ethically illiterate as well as socially divisive”, responsible for the (...) “perversion of science as well as of morality” and are “contrary to basic morality and contrary to human rights”. (shrink)
There are many possibilities to approaching the new concept of human ecology such as a way to: — define a new science and a new form of research— define action oriented methods— approach long term effects— define some rationality— a philosophic approach— approach human rights.
If few authors have paid much attention to the feminine concerns in new reproductive technologies, actually it is mainly some feminist authors, who, to a great extent, have allowed these concerns to enter into public debate. On the other hand, the preoccupation about women's interests and points of view is a feature in common of all feminist approaches, independently of their other philosophical concepts. Nevertheless, another feature of feminist discourses is their plurality and heterogeneity. So, we have not find back (...) answers to the questions we have analysed in this paper, because there is not only one answer. This is not an inconvenience but an incentive to continue the democratic debate within the framework of plurality and tolerance. We must incorporate to this debate the, often forgotten, women's own interests, and a critical view of the underlying assumptions and biases. These two points of view are common to the majority of feminist approaches, and should be seriously considered as worthy to be incorporated to our discourses when debating the issues linked to the new reproductive technologies. (shrink)
Human experimentation can have different meanings: indeed, with the development of medical research, therapeutic acts have to be distinguished from acts of cognitive values. For each kind of acts, specific conditions of acceptability and specific protections of human beings have to be defined.Human experimentation must be envisaged at different levels to evaluate ethical aspects: its scientific value, the risks, benefits envisaged, the populations implicated, etc…The individual consent must be present too in the relationship between the subject and the doctors. In (...) fact, is a real consent possible?Instead to insist on problems in terms of medical research, one would have to insist perhaps more on the fact that the medical practice in general would have to answer more to ethical grounds and to scientific rules. It is the non scientific medicine which is immoral and dangerous, as well the medicine with financial interests, or also the medecine without experimentation.The main arguments must remain at the level of the dignity of the persons, autonomy and freedom of choice must remain the fundamental values. (shrink)
Biologists are faced two questions which are new in their fields. How far to go in genetical research? How should new findings be applied?Theoretically, the answers are not so difficult to find. Research should not be halted or even slowed down. On which basis should we limit knowledge, it would even be on topics such as cancer, AIDS, ageing,…, a crime against humanity not to develop research. Also theoretically, findings would be applied for the good of humanity and for a (...) better health. But, negative consequences can, however, be expected if applications of research, and research itself, serves interests of private companies or of individuals. We cannot deny the advantages of the HGP which are considerable indeed in discovering, isolating, describing, sequencing genes, using in genie therapy,…, developing a better predictive medicine.But rules, and probably laws, will have to be developed to protect the confidentiality of genetical information, the risk being present that insurance companies or employers would use it to discriminate the individuals. People can not be defined only by their genomes. Individuals or populations cannot be stigmatised or ostracised by their genes. (shrink)
In a typological and racial classification, the hypothesis is to suppose that races have existed at a “pure” level, before migrations would result in a large mixing. In this way of thinking, one forgets that migrations have always existed and thus gene flow too. When groups meet, they may or may not bleed, but they always breed.
Racism, proposing ethnic inequalities, survives only because multiple acts of exclusion, inferiorisation and marginalisation are present daily, as well as attitudes that legitimate differences. These can be subtle attitudes and even denials. As long as racism is denied, there is no need for official measures against it, to combat discrimination or to develop moral campaigns.It is important to be able to make proposals for long term perspectives, for fair and humane immigration policies, for the recognition of the rights of immigrants (...) and ethnic minorities within multicultural societies.It will be important to examine the impact of the new European dimension and of the European integration on anti-racist policies and on the link between racism and nationalism.Let us worry about the philosophies of exclusion or the religious fanaticisms, which are feeding fear, aggressivity and hatred. (shrink)
Dementia accompanies aging in certain susceptible individuals. The chemical function of the brain remains normal, but certain neurotransmitter-selective diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's disease occur more commonly with age.There are at least two issues troubling researchers of senile dementia at the moment. One is the contribution of cell death, as opposed to selective neuronal atrophy, to the pathology of degenerative disorders. The other is how early the onset of dementia might be detected. The resolution of such (...) issues is important for the design of therapies for the common and most serious chronic, rather than acute, neurodegenerative disease.Alzheimer's disease is one of the most devastating neurological disorders. The ethical debate is often related to when human biological life ceases or when a person ceases to exist. If the elder is still a person, he/she is no more the same person. Huntington's disease is inherited as a highly penetrant, autosomal dominant neuronal disorder. A genetic test can accurately predict a person's risk and that of the children. As the knowledge of the genetic basis is increasing and prenatal diagnosis gets easier, the possibilities to avoid child disorders will become greater, but genetic testing raises problematic ethical issues. Ethical action involves the right to know and the right not to know, it involves freedom of choice and freedom implies knowledge. It is ethical that relatives in age of procreation should be informed. In any case, efficacy and safety of the procedure, the risk-benefit ratio for a particular disease must be judged to be acceptable and understood through informed consent by the patient or the family or both. (shrink)
This paper describes the matrimonial and reproductive behaviour of Italians who migrated to Belgium after the Second World War. Migrants were either already married, or later became married, to other Italians. Among the children of migrants, men equally chose Italian or Belgian wives but women tended to prefer Italian partners. Italian-Belgian marriages were more frequent among the better educated groups. Family size is smaller among migrants marrying after migration and in heterogamous marriages. Significant differences in birth intervals are found when (...) marriage occurred before or after migration, between generations, and between homogamous and heterogamous marriages. (shrink)
The societal roots of the environmental discussion are discussed. Attention focusses on the roles played by the nature conservation, environmental, consumer and anti-nuclear movements, popular and popularized science, the media and the development of environmental policy and regulation.The scientific approach and the societal background enable us to understand the concept of the “environmental crisis”, which itself provides the most important contextual background to environmental ethics. To illustrate contemporary thinking, an analysis of Agenda 21 shows how environmental problems are currently seen (...) as the result of poverty, consumption and production patterns and demographic and decision making issues.Using this environmental knowledge background as a reference, the main lines of thinking in environmental ethics are overviewed. The overview begins by looking at approaches which value the environment because it is or might be of value to man. It continues by considering approaches which are intermediate between the anthropocentric and deep ecological viewpoints. In particular, Leopold's”Land Ethic” and Singer's”Animal Liberation” ideas are discussed.Deep ecology is based on the idea that nature as a whole has moral value. Reference is made to the work of the Norwegian philosopher Naess and to the more scientifically-rooted “deep green theory” of Sylvan and Plumwood.In addition to these different lines of theorising within environmental ethics, the ethical aspects of such anchorpoints in the environmental discussion as sustainable development and the Gaia theory, are also discussed. (shrink)
Observing the practical situation of the techniques of assisted procreation in European societies, one is allowed to affirm that these techniques are largely in use in our societies, it did not find resistance among the secular groups of the society. It is not the case of the representatives of the Catholic church, hostile to each intervention on the reproductive mechanisms as being a violation against natural law, the most virulent opposition is linked to intervention on embryos or to each way (...) of reproduction outside of the canonic marriage, considering therefore artificial insemination as immoral and anti-juridical.The opposition between secular and the catholic groups is of unequal intensity in the different European countries, it did not stop the application and the use of these reproductive techniques although it made the adoption difficult of measures in some states, and even in the European Parliament. However, they could not oppose the scientific and medical corporation and their arguments of treatment of diseases and of sterility of men or women. This way to present these reproductive techniques in terms of lowering of suffering of couples not able to reproduce naturally received a full social acceptance and legitimation, acceptation because the origin of these techniques is incontestably scientific and legitimation because the goal is essentially medical. (shrink)
In the last decade, biodiversity became a central concept of ecology, as important as the concepts of sustainable development, right for future generations, global changes for instance. Biodiversity received a recognition through, the Brundtland report and the Earth Summit of Rio de Janeiro. Protection of biodiversity represents nowadays a ethical and political obligation.If the concept is rather clear and is applied at three levels, genes, species and ecosystems, if we know that the diversity is unequally distributed, concentrated in tropical areas, (...) if it is clear that ecologists have still the immense task to describe this diversity, the ethical foundations of protection of biodiversity are unclear by the high variability of concepts in use.Environmental ethics and protection of biodiversity are often placed in aKind of antagonism, between technocratism or neo-liberralism and fundamentalism of Nature or even eco-fascism. But, in fact, there is no need for an “either-or” attitude, for an “all-or- nothing” thought for an opposition between “natural” and “artificial” or between anthropocentrism and biocentrism: we have here perhaps not incompatible opposites but poles on an spectrum allowing for many degrees.We must manage that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is:* socially desirable, fulfilling people's cultural, material and spiritual needs in equitable ways, *economically viable, paying for itself with costs not exceeding income, ecologically viable, maintaining the long-term viability of supporting ecosystems.The “business-as-usual” activity resulted in low rigorous protection of biodiversity, we need an increasing part of ethical considerations in the environmental discussion. (shrink)
The new methods of modern sciences can contribute to understand the genesis of mental illness, the disturbances in brain chemistry, physiology, anatomy or genetical information underlying different diseases of the nervous system. Understanding mental illness is not only challenging to science, but is also of great social importance. Moreover, the new developments of neurosciences put new lights on discussions such as brain-mind concepts, unity of mind, definition of consciousness and even definition of the person.For the majority of the scientists, it (...) is clear today that the mind can not be conceived any more as unique and indivisible. For philosophers, it is clear also that neuroscience influenced their vision of life and death: neurosciences are not strange to the debate whole-body death versus whole-brain death for instance. Modern scientific achievements have expanded our vision, allowing us to percieve previously unanticipated interrelationships between biological and psychological phenomena. The boundary between some behavioural and higher neural function studies and biology is arbitrary and changing. It has been imposed not by the natural contours of the disciplines, but by lack of knowledge. (shrink)
Eugenics is bringing misunderstandings linked to eugenism as socio-political movement.Eugenism is the political movement, which estimated that eugenics could ameliorate the qualities of “race”. This idea, that the gene pool of the human species could be ameliorated, is not new and is even a part of the history of our nations. It is on the United States that, between 1900 and 1930, eugenism found its first socio-political successes.Eugenism has roots in the conservative movements of the 19th century and will condemn (...) itself by the Nazi exactions. Indeed, it is abnormal that a political movement, or even nations, would impose laws with genetical implications: this eugenism must be totally rejected. However, we must continue to favour individual and free kinds of eugenics, based on precise studies and objective information.It seems normal to human beings, in his struggle against natural forces, to use his reproductive capacities on a non-animal way: a plannified and intentional reproduction must be natural to rational human beings. Not to allow this rule consists to start from theological opinions, such as the idea that the sexual act not desiring to be procreative consists in a refusal of a divine principle. (shrink)
A repudiation of Muireann Quigley’s argument that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence values and assesses the worth of people’s lives; together with an alternative account of what it appears that NICE actually does, why these procedures are not unreasonable and some of the unresolved problems, especially when making interpersonal comparisons of health, which remain for NICE or, indeed, anyone seeking to determine the contents of the benefits bundles of a public health insurance programme such as the NHS. (...) Some other ethically dubious propositions by Dr Quigley are also rejected. (shrink)
[opening paragraph]: In this commentary I want to offer a general response to the papers: one which links together the introspectionist, phenomenological and Buddhist traditions, and suggests a practical relationship between first-person and third-person perspectives.
Since the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day, it has rarely been doubted that whenever formal aesthetic methods meet their iconological counterparts, the two approaches appear to be mutually exclusive. In reality, though, an ahistorical concept is challenging a historical analysis of art. It is especially Susanne K. Langer´s long-overlooked system of analogies between perceptions of the world and of artistic creations that are dependent on feelings which today allows a rapprochement of these positions. Krois’s insistence (...) on a similar point supports this analysis. - I - Unbestritten bis heute gilt, formwissenschaftliche und ikonologische Methoden scheinen sich grundsätzlich auszuschließen, da die ersteren auf ahistorischen und die letzteren auf historischen Grundlagen aufbauen. Dem entgegen soll mit diesem Beitrag gezeigt werden, wie insbesondere die Forschungen Susanne K. Langers und ergänzend diejenigen von John M. Krois eine Annäherung beider Positionen ermöglichen. (shrink)