Talk of different types of cells is commonplace in the biological sciences. We know a great deal, for example, about human muscle cells by studying the same type of cells in mice. Information about cell type is apparently largely projectible across species boundaries. But what defines cell type? Do cells come pre-packaged into different natural kinds? Philosophical attention to these questions has been extremely limited [see e.g., Wilson (Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, pp 187–207, 1999; Genes and the Agents of (...) Life, 2005; Wilson et al. Philos Top 35(1/2):189–215, 2007)]. On the face of it, the problems we face in individuating cellular kinds resemble those biologists and philosophers of biology encountered in thinking about species: there are apparently many different (and interconnected) bases on which we might legitimately classify cells. We could, for example, focus on their developmental history (a sort of analogue to a species’ evolutionary history); or we might divide on the basis of certain structural features, functional role, location within larger systems, and so on. In this paper, I sketch an approach to cellular kinds inspired by Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory, applying some lessons from this application back to general questions about the nature of natural kinds. (shrink)
Human civilisation faces a range of existential risks, including nuclear war, runaway climate change and superintelligent artificial intelligence run amok. As we show here with calculations for the New Zealand setting, large numbers of currently living and, especially, future people are potentially threatened by existential risks. A just process for resource allocation demands that we consider future generations but also account for solidarity with the present. Here we consider the various ethical and policy issues involved and make a case for (...) further engagement with the New Zealand public to determine societal values towards future lives and their protection. (shrink)
Healthcare workers are often assumed to have a duty to work, even if faced with personal risk. This is particularly so for professionals. However, the health service also depends on non-professionals, such as porters, cooks and cleaners. The duty to work is currently under scrutiny because of the ongoing challenge of responding to pandemic influenza, where an effective response depends on most uninfected HCWs continuing to work, despite personal risk. This paper reports findings of a survey of HCWs conducted across (...) three National Health Service trusts in the West Midlands, UK, to establish whether HCWs’ likelihood of working during a pandemic is associated with views about the duty to work. The sense that HCWs felt that they had a duty to work despite personal risk emerged strongly regardless of professional status. Besides a strong sense that everyone should pull together, all kinds of HCWs recognised a duty to work even in difficult circumstances, which correlated strongly with their stated likelihood of working. This suggests that HCWs’ decisions about whether or not they are prepared to work during a pandemic are closely linked to their sense of duty. However, respondents’ sense of the duty to work may conflict with their sense of duty to family, as well as other factors such as a perceived lack of reciprocity from their employers. Interestingly, nearly 25% of doctors did not consider that they had a duty to work where doing so would pose risks to themselves or their families. (shrink)
The use of technology and teaching techniques derived from technology is currently a bourgeoning topic in higher education. Teachers at all levels and types of institutions want to know how these new technologies will affect what happens in and outside of the classroom. Many teachers have already embraced some of these technologies but remain uncertain about their educational efficacy. Other teachers have waited because they are reluctant to try tools or techniques that remain unproven or, as is often the case, (...) lack institutional support. This book is designed to help both groups, so that those with technological expertise can extend their knowledge, while technological novices can "ramp up" at their own pace and for their own purposes. Best Practices for Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning brings together expert teacher-scholars who apply and assess technology's impact on traditional, hybrid or blended, or completely on-line courses, relying on technology as a teaching tool for classroom management and interaction, as well as student-based uses of technology largely independent of instructors. Each chapter will address how technological improvements can be connected to assessment initiatives, as is now routinely advocated in psychology and social science education. The book features current scholarship and pedagogy involving innovative technology that impacts on student learning in psychology and related disciplines, focusing also on student reactions to these novel technologies, and proper assessments of how well they promote learning. This text will serve as the standard reference on emerging technologies for undergraduate instructors. (shrink)
This brief tour of American law has demonstrated a little of the breadth and currency of legal liability actions which affect nursing. As health care changes and nursing roles change with it, so too will the nature of liability in this area. The American penchant for litigation is such that the chances of disentangling nurses from the continued onslaught of negligence litigation seem remote.
Enlightenment has been explored in a variety of ways, for example, in Buddhist cultural traditions and in psychological science. In this essay, we categorise enlightenment as both a religious pursuit and psychological construct in order to reach a deep understanding. We summarise the key elements of enlightenment in Chinese Chan history and the development of an Enlightenment Scale in a Western context then discuss the weaknesses of Chan teaching methods with respect to the assessment of levels of Chan practitioners’ enlightenment. (...) Instrument development methods in Western psychological science provide a useful way to capture the concept of enlightenment, and we argue that the Enlightenment Scale can be used to assess Chan practitioners’ enlightenment. The Enlightenment Scale may not assess all features of enlightenment from a Chan Buddhist perspective, so it is proposed that the scale is examined and if necessary adapted accordingly, a research area in Chinese Buddhist study that to date has been neglected. (shrink)
Most academic papers on ethics in pandemics concentrate on the duties of healthcare professionals. This paper will consider non-professional healthcare workers: do they have a moral obligation to work during an influenza pandemic? If so, is this an obligation that outweighs others they might have, e.g., as parents, and should such an obligation be backed up by the coercive power of law? This paper considers whether non-professional healthcare workers—porters, domestic service workers, catering staff, clerks, IT support workers, etc.—have an obligation (...) to work during an influenza pandemic. It uses data collected as part of a study looking at the attitudes of healthcare workers to working during a pandemic to suggest the philosophical arguments explored. These include: being in a position to do good, the ethics of work, competing obligations to family members and in particular to children and the obligations of citizens in a state of national emergency. We also look at whether compulsory measures are justified to support a national health service during a health emergency. We conclude that even if they are, compulsion should not be restricted to non-professionals who happen to be working in the health service at the time. Rather, compulsion involving a larger pool of people with the relevant skills and abilities is more equitable. (shrink)