Physicians make some medical decisions without disclosure to their patients. Nondisclosure is possible because these are silent decisions to refrain from screening, diagnostic or therapeutic interventions. Nondisclosure is ethically permissible when the usual presumption that the patient should be involved in decisions is defeated by considerations of clinical utility or patient emotional and physical well-being. Some silent decisions - not all - are ethically justified by this standard. Justified silent decisions are typically dependent on the physician's professional judgment, experience and (...) knowledge, and are not likely to be changed by patient preferences. We condemn the inappropriate exclusion of the patient from the decision-making process. However, if a test or treatment is unlikely to yield a net benefit, disclosure and discussion are at times unnecessary. Appropriate silent decisions are ethically justified by such considerations as patient benefit or economy of time. (shrink)
What goods are produced by affective labor? And at what cost—are there uniquely affective costs to this sort of production? If we assume that, like any variety of labor, affective labor has the potential for exploitation, we should ask what risks of exploitation are unique to it. Are these dangers of paid, commodified affective labor only? How should we understand the political economy organized around the production and circulation of affects and the racialization and gendering of affective labor?In this article, (...) I suggest that in order to understand the risks of exploitation indigenous to affective labor, we must consider the way in which the production of affects functions according to a logic of transmission... (shrink)
Using a recent environmental controversy on the U.S. east coast over the conservation of red knots as a lens, I present a history of North American efforts to understand and conserve migratory shorebirds. Focusing on a few signal pieces of American legislation and their associated bureaucracies, I show the ways in which migratory wildlife have been thoroughly enrolled in efforts to quantify and protect their populations. Interactions between wildlife biologists and endangered species have been described by some scholars as “domestication”—a (...) level of surveillance and intervention into nonhuman nature that constitutes a form of dependence. I pause to reflect on this historical trajectory, pointing out the breaks and continuities with older forms of natural history. Using the oft-mobilized Foucauldian metaphor of the panopticon as a foil, I question the utility and ethics of too-easily declaring “domesticated” wildlife an act of “biopower.” Instead, I argue that Jacob von Uexküll’s “umwelt” from early ecology and ethology, and more contemporary Science and Technology Studies analyses emphasizing multiple ontologies, offer more illuminating accounts of endangered species science. Neither science, conservation, nor history are well-served by the conflation of wildlife “surveillance” with the language of Foucauldian discipline. (shrink)
I begin by reviewing recent research by Merleau-Ponty scholars opposing aspects of the critique of Merleau-Ponty made by Meltzoff and colleagues based on their studies of neonate imitation. I conclude the need for reopening the case for infant self-other indistinction, starting with a re-examination of Merleau-Ponty’s notion of indistinction in the Sorbonne lectures, and attending especially to the role of affect and to the non-exclusivity of self-other distinction and indistinction. In undertaking that study, I discover the importance of understanding self-other (...) distinction and indistinction in terms of their affective significance. For Merleau-Ponty, self-other indistinction is a virtual or imaginary participation in others’ orientations that he defines as an affective phenomenon. Further, Merleau-Ponty’s account of the advent of the body proper—the aspect of the body image that circumscribes the body as a distinct and private space—theorizes it as an affective innovation. Rather than being a fact of which we at first are ignorant and gradually grow to recognize, distinction from others in the sense that is important to Merleau-Ponty is a situation that must be cultivated and maintained through the negotiation of affective intimacy. Understanding indistinction and distinction in terms of the affective forces that sustain them explains how it is possible for them to coexist. (shrink)
Theories of the liberal tradition have relied on independence as a norm of personhood. Feminist theorists such as Eva Kittay in Love's Labor have been instrumental in critiquing normative independence. I explore the role of corporeal vulnerability in Kittay's account of personhood, developing a comparison to the role it plays in Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan. Kittay's crucial contribution in Love's Labor is that once we acknowledge the facts of corporeal vulnerability, we must not only acknowledge but also affirm dependency in a (...) genuinely inclusive affirmation of personhood. While endorsing Kittay's “dependency critique,” I discover difficulties that beleaguer Kittay's development of new norms of personhood. I trace these to a dependency of Kittay's account on a crucial premise of the liberal model it resists. I argue that in order to affirm dependency in a manner that departs more thoroughly from the criticized aspects of liberal personhood, we must cease to position it in a dichotomy of power and vulnerability. I suggest that attending to the corporeality of vulnerability can aid us in developing the terms of a discourse affirming relational personhood while undermining that dichotomy. (shrink)
Background Continued advances in human microbiome research and technologies raise a number of ethical, legal, and social challenges. These challenges are associated not only with the conduct of the research, but also with broader implications, such as the production and distribution of commercial products promising maintenance or restoration of good physical health and disease prevention. In this article, we document several ethical, legal, and social challenges associated with the commercialization of human microbiome research, focusing particularly on how this research is (...) mobilized within economic markets for new public health uses. Methods We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews (2009–2010) with 63 scientists, researchers, and National Institutes of Health project leaders (“investigators”) involved with human microbiome research. Interviews explored a range of ethical, legal, and social dimensions of human microbiome research, including investigators’ perspectives on commercialization. Using thematic content analysis, we identified and analyzed emergent themes and patterns. Results Investigators discussed the commercialization of human microbiome research in terms of (1) commercialization, probiotics, and issues of safety, (2) public awareness of the benefits and risks of dietary supplements, and (3) regulation. Conclusion The prevailing theme of ethical, legal, social concern focused on the need to find a balance between the marketplace, scientific research, and the public’s health. The themes we identified are intended to serve as points for discussions about the relationship between scientific research and the manufacture and distribution of over-the-counter dietary supplements in the United States. (shrink)
Interest in orthographic processing reflects an expansion, not constriction, of the scope of research in visual word recognition. Transposition effects are merely one aspect of investigations into orthographic encoding, while open bigrams can accommodate differences across languages. The target article's inaccurate characterization of the study of orthographic processing is not conducive to the advancement of VWR research.
Controversy about Lynn White’s thesis that medieval Christianity is to blame for our current environmental crisis has done little to challenge the basic structure of White’s argument and has taken little account of recent work done by medieval scholars. White’s ecotheological critics, in particular, have often failed to come to grips with White’s position. In this paper, I question White’s reading of history on both interpretative and factual grounds and argue that religious values cannot be treated independently of the political, (...) economic, and social conditions that sustain them. I conclude that medieval religious values were more complex than White suggests: rather than causing technological innovation, they more likely provided a justification for other activity taking place for other reasons. (shrink)
Since Hartshorne rejects Whitehead's doctrine of eternal objects, this seems to deny Hartshorne's God any causal influence via providing initial subjective aims to the world's creatures. If there are no specific eternal objects as possibilities to be actualized by creatures, there can be no specific initial aims. Hartshorne's metaphysics, however, can be rendered coherent at this point by interpreting the initial aims as hierarchies of indeterminate possibilities which are not specific until rendered so by creatures. Such an interpretation is coherent (...) with his doctrine of possibility understood as a hierarchy of indeterminate potentiality. A further issue remains, nevertheless, in regard to Hartshorne's claim that the possibilities offered by God to creatures are both infinite and yet limited. It is difficult to see how they can be both. (shrink)
Homegardens are traditional food systems that have been adapted over generations to fit local cultural and ecological conditions. They provide a year-round diversity of nutritious foods for smallholder farming communities in many regions of the tropics and subtropics. In southwestern Uganda, homegardens are the primary source of food, providing a diverse diet for rural marginalized poor. However, national agricultural development plans as well as economic and social pressures threaten the functioning of these homegardens. The implications of these threats are difficult (...) to evaluate, because the structure and functions of the homegardens are not well understood. The aim of the study was to identify patterns and influencing factors in the diversity of homegardens by documenting the floristic diversity and its interactions with spatial, environmental and socio-economic factors. A geographically and socially focused assessment of floristic diversity in 102 randomly selected homegardens in three districts of southwest Uganda was conducted along a deforestation gradient following a human ecology conceptual framework and testing multiple quantitative hypotheses regarding the above mentioned factors. A merged mixed-method approach was followed to provide context and feedback regarding quantitative findings. Results show a high total richness of 209 crop species dominated by food species, which constituted 96 percent of individuals and 44 percent of all species. Forest-edge homegardens maintained higher plant diversity compared to homegardens in deforested areas and near degraded wetlands. Multiple linear regression models indicated elevation, location, homegarden size, distance to market, additional land ownership and livestock ownership as significant predictors of crop diversity. Cluster analysis of species densities revealed four garden types: ‘diverse tree gardens’, ‘small forest-edge gardens’, ‘large, old, species-rich gardens’, and ‘large, annual-dominated herb gardens’, with 98% correct classification. Location, elevation, and garden size were also important determinants in the cluster assignment. We conclude that the diversity of the studied homegardens may be changing as part of adaptive traditional practices and in response to external drivers. The identified patterns illustrate the importance of homegardens for rural livelihoods and may offer some ways to support farmers to maintain these systems as relevant mechanisms for development in Uganda. (shrink)
Frederik Stjernfelt’s book Natural Propositions is much more than just a study arguing for the actuality of Peirce’s notion of dicisign. Not unlike his 2007 treatise Diagrammatology, FS does many things at the same time, not all of them closely related to the project of a functional, naturalistic interpretation of Peirce’s concept of dicisigns and the relation of human cognition and animal, even microbiological processes to one another. The result is an inter- and transdisciplinary study that discusses and criticizes theories (...) and uses examples coming from psychology, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, biosemiotics etc. But the book starts with a chapter on Peirce’s anti-psychologism comparing it to.. (shrink)
This paper revisits the historical sequence in which some of the major developments of 20th-century physics occurred, and explores how theories could have turned out differently, if the sequence of developments had been different. It shows how a delay in founding special relativity theory until after (1) at least one puzzling problem in electromagnetic theory could be acknowledged, and (2) sat least some of the experimental observations pertinent to the development of quantum mechanics had become well known, could have resulted (...) in a larger theory that covers both domains in a manner quite different from that of any of the theories we use today. The revised theory dispenses with a separate postulate introducing Planck’s constant h, identifying instead a physical mechanism that implies the constant. Some important aspects of quantum chemistry then follow. (shrink)
A fundamental tenet of the process philosophy founded by alfred north whitehead and charles hartshorne is that god's causal agency in the world is solely "persuasive," in contradistinction to much of traditional christian theism which portrays a more "coercive" god. The article, However, Seeks to show that hartshorne's God would appear to be somewhat coercive, E.G., In the imposition of the natural laws which are the limits to creaturely freedom and in the "luring" of creaturely actualizations of novel possibilities within (...) those limits. Divine coercion seems to be both a fact and a necessity in hartshorne's metaphysics, Despite his explicit denials. (shrink)
It has been argued that pragmatism as a philosophical movement lacks unity. However, contrasts and similarities are always relative to a level of generality on which they can be distinguished. And, although Peirce, James, and Dewey disagree on a number of important issues, they have quite a number of assumptions and theses in common. The most general and important of these theses is the belief that how our beliefs relate to reality depends on our actions, and that the semantical independence (...) of our actions plays a crucial role in the development of our theoretical beliefs. Although there are other beliefs and assumptions common to the three classical pragmatists, even this property is enough to distinguish the classical pragmatists from one of their contemporary followers, Richard Rorty. (shrink)
: T.L. Short's book is a major achievement in Peirce's scholarship and probably one of the best books on Peirce ever written. However, it does not take the impact of evolutionary metaphysics on the development of semiotics into account. Furthermore, it blends out the specific conditions that final causation is subject to in the development of culture and morality.
That reality, and in particular the objects of signs, are independent of our thoughts or other representations is a crucial thesis of Peirce’s realism. On the other hand, his semiotics implies the claim that all reality and all real objects are real for us only because of the signs we use. Do these two claims contradict, even exclude, each other? I will argue that both Peirce’s metaphysics and his semiotics provide a natural via media: a structural account of the openness (...) of processes, featuring transitive relations, connects process ontology implicit in his evolutionary metaphysics and the relational, quasi-inferential features embodied in interpretational sequences of signs. It is shown that Peirce’s notion of a sign, its normative role and his account of the directional force of objects implies a sort of logical causality that supports the unity of objects. In this way sign sequences are able to relate flexibly sign use with contextually specified independent objects. That is to say, relational properties of object-oriented chains of interpretations provide sign users with a flexible, fallibilistic instrument able to capture by contingent identity relations of the identity of objects in changing situations. (shrink)