?Love hurts??as the saying goes?and a certain amount of pain and difficulty in intimate relationships is unavoidable. Sometimes it may even be beneficial, since adversity can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a range of other components of a life well-lived. But other times, love can be downright dangerous. It may bind a spouse to her domestic abuser, draw an unscrupulous adult toward sexual involvement with a child, put someone under the insidious spell of a cult leader, and even inspire (...) jealousy-fueled homicide. How might these perilous devotions be diminished? The ancients thought that treatments such as phlebotomy, exercise, or bloodletting could ?cure? an individual of love. But modern neuroscience and emerging developments in psychopharmacology open up a range of possible interventions that might actually work. These developments raise profound moral questions about the potential uses?and misuses?of such anti-love biotechnology. In this article, we describe a number of prospective love-diminishing interventions, and offer a preliminary ethical framework for dealing with them responsibly should they arise. (shrink)
Pharmaceuticals or other emerging technologies could be used to enhance (or diminish) feelings of lust, attraction, and attachment in adult romantic partnerships. While such interventions could conceivably be used to promote individual (and couple) well-being, their widespread development and/or adoption might lead to “medicalization” of human love and heartache—for some, a source of serious concern. In this essay, we argue that the “medicalization of love” need not necessarily be problematic, on balance, but could plausibly be expected to have either good (...) or bad consequences depending upon how it unfolds. By anticipating some of the specific ways in which these technologies could yield unwanted outcomes, bioethicists and others can help direct the course of love’s “medicalization”—should it happen to occur—more toward the “good” side than the “bad.”. (shrink)
The enhancement debate in neuroscience and biomedical ethics tends to focus on the augmentation of certain capacities or functions: memory, learning, attention, and the like. Typically, the point of contention is whether these augmentative enhancements should be considered permissible for individuals with no particular “medical” disadvantage along any of the dimensions of interest. Less frequently addressed in the literature, however, is the fact that sometimes the _diminishment_ of a capacity or function, under the right set of circumstances, could plausibly contribute (...) to an individual's overall well-being: more is not always better, and sometimes less is more. Such cases may be especially likely, we suggest, when trade-offs in our modern environment have shifted since the environment of evolutionary adaptation. In this article, we introduce the notion of “diminishment as enhancement” and go on to defend a _welfarist_ conception of enhancement. We show how this conception resolves a number of definitional ambiguities in the enhancement literature, and we suggest that it can provide a useful framework for thinking about the use of emerging neurotechnologies to promote human flourishing. (shrink)
We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...) an obligation to do so as well, in certain cases. Specifically, we argue that couples with offspring may have a special responsibility to enhance their relationships for the sake of their children. We outline an evolutionarily informed research program for identifying promising biomedical enhancements of love and commitment. (shrink)
Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is seen as the same person after (...) becoming addicted. Methods: We conducted a series of vignette-based experiments (total N = 3,620) to assess lay attitudes concerning addiction and identity persistence, systematically manipulating key characteristics of agents and their drug of addiction. Conclusions: In Study 1, we found that US participants judged an agent who became addicted to drugs as being closer to ‘a completely different person’ than ‘completely the same person’ as the agent who existed prior to the addiction. In Studies 2-6, we investigated the intuitive basis for this result, finding that lay judgments of altered identity as a consequence of drug use and addiction are driven primarily by perceived negative changes in the moral character of drug users, who are seen as having deviated from their good true selves. (shrink)
In this chapter, we introduce the notion of “moral neuroenhancement,” offering a novel definition as well as spelling out three conditions under which we expect that such neuroenhancement would be most likely to be permissible (or even desirable). Furthermore, we draw a distinction between first-order moral capacities, which we suggest are less promising targets for neurointervention, and second-order moral capacities, which we suggest are more promising. We conclude by discussing concerns that moral neuroenhancement might restrict freedom or otherwise “misfire,” and (...) argue that these concerns are not as damning as they may seem at first. (shrink)
"Neuroreductionism" is the tendency to reduce complex mental phenomena to brain states, confusing correlation for physical causation. In this paper, we illustrate the dangers of this popular neuro-fallacy, by looking at an example drawn from the media: a story about "hypoactive sexual desire disorder" in women. We discuss the role of folk dualism in perpetuating such a confusion, and draw some conclusions about the role of "brain scans" in our understanding of romantic love.
By nature we are all addicted to love... meaning we want it, seek it and have a hard time not thinking about it. We need attachment to survive and we instinctively seek connection, especially romantic connection. [But] there is nothing dysfunctional about wanting love.Throughout the ages, love has been rendered as an excruciating passion. Ovid was the first to proclaim: “I can’t live with or without you”—a locution made famous to modern ears by the Irish band U2. Contemporary film expresses (...) a similar sentiment: as Jake Gyllenhaal’s character famously says in Brokeback Mountain, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” And everyday speech, too, is rife with such expressions as “I need you” and “I’m addicted to you.”... (shrink)
The definition of soul in De Anima ii 1 is usually thought to be inadequate, since Aristotle ends the chapter by saying the account has been sketched in outline and begins ii 2 by explaining the proper way to define. I argue instead that this is Aristotle’s considered definition of soul. I do so by examining the transitional material between ii 1 and ii 2, explaining the meaning of ‘in outline’ and how the examples of proper definitions that show the (...) cause—squaring in De Anima and thunder from Posterior Analytics—correspond to the definition of soul given in ii 1. (shrink)
We thank Carrie Jenkins and Neil Levy for their thoughtful comments on our article about love and addiction. Although we do not have room for a comprehensive reply, we will touch on a few main issues.Jenkins points out, correctly in our view, that the word ‘addiction’ can trigger “connotations of reduced autonomy.” It may therefore be used, she argues, to “excuse” violent or otherwise harmful behaviors—disproportionately carried out by men—within the context of romantic relationships. Debates about love addiction, therefore, “are (...) best addressed with an eye to the more general issue of how we as a society apportion responsibility for things like date rape and intimate partner violence” (Jenkins... (shrink)
Over the past few years, we and our colleagues have been exploring the ethical implications of what we call “love drugs” and “anti-love drugs.” We use these terms informally to refer to “current, near-future, and more speculative distant-future technologies that would enhance or diminish, respectively, the romantic bond between couples engaged in a relationship”. In a recent “qualified defense” of our work, Andrew Andrew McGee suggests that, if we would only stop using the word “love” so expansively, our ethical proposals (...) might gain more traction. Specifically, he argues that “many of the putative instances of love” that we discuss in our papers “are not in fact... (shrink)
In this article, we analyse the novel case of Phoenix, a non-binary adult requesting ongoing puberty suppression to permanently prevent the development of secondary sex characteristics, as a way of affirming their gender identity. We argue that the aim of OPS is consistent with the proper goals of medicine to promote well-being, and therefore could ethically be offered to non-binary adults in principle; there are additional equity-based reasons to offer OPS to non-binary adults as a group; and the ethical defensibility (...) of facilitating individual requests for OPS from non-binary adults also depends on other relevant considerations, including the balance of potential benefits over harms for that specific patient, and whether the patient’s request is substantially autonomous. Although the broadly principlist ethical approach we take can be used to analyse other cases of non-binary adults requesting OPS apart from the case we evaluate, we highlight that the outcome will necessarily depend on the individual’s context and values. However, such clinical provision of OPS should ideally be within the context of a properly designed research study with long-term follow-up and open publication of results. (shrink)
Davis called for “extreme caution” in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation to treat neurological disorders in children, due to gaps in scientific knowledge. We are sympathetic to his position. However, we must also address the ethical implications of applying this technology to minors. Compensatory trade-offs associated with NIBS present a challenge to its use in children, insofar as these trade-offs have the effect of limiting the child’s future options. The distinction between treatment and enhancement has some normative force here. (...) As the intervention moves away from being a treatment toward being an enhancement—and thus toward a more uncertain weighing of the benefits, risks, and costs—considerations of the child’s best interests diminish, and the need to protect the child’s autonomy looms larger. NIBS for enhancement involving trade-offs should therefore be delayed, if possible, until the child reaches a state of maturity and can make an informed, personal decision. NIBS for treatment, by contrast, is permissible insofar as it can be shown to be at least as safe and effective as currently approved treatments, which are themselves justified on a best interests standard. (shrink)
We thank the commentators for their thoughtful responses to our article.1 Due to space constraints, we will confine our discussion to just three key issues. The first issue relates to the central ethical conundrum for clinicians working with young people like Phoenix: namely, how to respect, value and defer to a person’s own account of their identity and what is needed for their well-being, while staying open to the possibility that such an account may reflect a work in progress. This (...) conundrum thus relates both to what will be beneficial for that person and what constitutes respecting their autonomy, and clinicians must dwell on these questions when deciding what forms of medical intervention to offer. D’Angelo,2 Lemma3 and Wren4 highlight the importance of considering Phoenix as a ‘whole person in context’ 2 prior to initiating treatment or care. In this way, they advocate for a process of ‘therapeutic exploration’,4 which includes taking sufficient time to explore Phoenix’s personhood with them so as to support them in achieving an ‘authentic self-discovery’.2 We agree with these authors that identity development is a complex, life-long process that is influenced by biological, psychosocial and relational aspects, all of which may contribute to an individual’s desire to pursue gender-affirming interventions. To explore the various factors—both conscious and unconscious—that might be motivating Phoenix’s decision to pursue ongoing puberty suppression, D’Angelo,2 Lemma3 and Wren4 describe a comprehensive psychological approach to working with transgender and gender diverse individuals and propose questions to guide such discussions. Consistent with this approach, we stipulated that Phoenix had undergone regular psychological counselling and that the psychologist had judged that ‘Phoenix’s distress is significant and enduring…not a symptom …. (shrink)
Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...) new scale—the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale—to dissociate individual differences in the ‘negative’ (permissive attitude toward instrumental harm) and ‘positive’ (impartial concern for the greater good) dimensions of utilitarian thinking as manifested in the general population. We show that these are two independent dimensions of proto-utilitarian tendencies in the lay population, each exhibiting a distinct psychological profile. Empathic concern, identification with the whole of humanity, and concern for future generations were positively associated with impartial beneficence but negatively associated with instrumental harm; and although instrumental harm was associated with subclinical psychopathy, impartial beneficence was associated with higher religiosity. Importantly, although these two dimensions were independent in the lay population, they were closely associated in a sample of moral philosophers. Acknowledging this dissociation between the instrumental harm and impartial beneficence components of utilitarian thinking in ordinary people can clarify existing debates about the nature of moral psychology and its relation to moral philosophy as well as generate fruitful avenues for further research. (shrink)
This commentary argues that, in contrast to the view of Professor Gonzalez, Aristotle’s account of final causation is not very helpful for addressing contemporary concerns. Aristotle presents it as a type of cause, but, when one considers Aristotle’s distinction between facts and explanations, a final cause is better viewed as simply a fact. It is true that organisms show an internal directedness towards an end, but one can still ask why this is the case. Because of its limitations, Aristotle’s account (...) of final causes is not a third ontological region between materialism and intelligent design, but its lack of explanation leaves it open to attack from either side. (shrink)
This paper draws on a study of numeracy coordinators in primary schools in the UK in the second year of the implementation of the National Numeracy Strategy. It identifies them as working between three main tasks: embedding the Strategy, sustaining teacher collegiality and auditing accountability. We identify tensions in 'being a coordinator' in relation to these tasks, especially for discourse and identity. We assess the usefulness of the metaphor of 'brokering' in 'communities of practice' to theorise such tensions. We conclude (...) with some reservations about the metaphor, especially in the way the tensions are discursively performed in relation to the rate of change, complexity of notions of professional identity, and the problematic 'community' status of audit in the educational context. (shrink)
This paper draws on a study of numeracy coordinators in primary schools in the UK in the second year of the implementation of the National Numeracy Strategy (NNS). It identifies them as working between three main tasks: embedding the Strategy, sustaining teacher collegiality and auditing accountability. We identify tensions in 'being a coordinator' in relation to these tasks, especially for discourse and identity. We assess the usefulness of the metaphor of 'brokering' in 'communities of practice' (Wenger, 1998) to theorise such (...) tensions. We conclude with some reservations about the metaphor, especially in the way the tensions are discursively performed in relation to the rate of change, complexity of notions of professional identity, and the problematic 'community' status of audit in the educational context. (shrink)
'Justice' and 'democracy' have alternated as dominant themes in political philosophy over the last fifty years. Since its revival in the middle of the twentieth century, political philosophy has focused on first one and then the other of these two themes. Rarely, however, has it succeeded in holding them in joint focus. This volume brings together leading authors who consider the relationship between democracy and justice in a set of specially written chapters. The intrinsic justness of democracy is challenged, the (...) relationship between justice, democracy and impartiality queried and the relationship between justice, democracy and the common good examined. Further chapters explore the problem of social exclusion and issues surrounding sub-national groups in the context of democracy and justice. Authors include Keith Dowding, Richard Arneson, Norman Schofield, Albert Weale, Robert E. Goodin, Jon Elster, David Miller, Phillip Pettit, Julian LeGrand and Russell Hardin. (shrink)
I am grateful to Brian Earp, Julian Savulescu, and Kristina Gupta for their thoughtful remarks on my paper. I cannot answer all of their points here, but select what I consider to be the most important. Gupta believes that I commit myself to “a common sense” account of love. This is not so. “Common sense” refers to beliefs, not concepts. Concepts can be used to express true, false, and diametrically opposed beliefs, so are not themselves beliefs; rather, they (...) are the logical precondition for holding beliefs. When I say, “red is a color,” I am not advocating on behalf of common sense, still less making a claim held by any “dominant social group.” Suppose Gupta disagrees and says, “The red-green... (shrink)
In this commentary, I offer an account of an error theory of biotechnology and apply it to Brian D. Earp, Olga A. Wudarczyk,Anders Sandberg, and Julian Savulescu’s (2013)ethical framework for chemical reakups.
In their recent contribution to this journal, Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg, and Julian Savulescu argue that "the 'medicalization of love' need not necessarily be problematic, on balance, but could plausibly be expected to have either good or bad consequences depending upon how it unfolds." Although I find myself in agreement with the majority of the points the authors make to this end, as well as with the general thrust of their position, I am nevertheless left feeling rather (...) unsatisfied by their overall exposition. This is largely because they fail to provide any substantial love-specific argument, as I demonstrate in this paper. (shrink)
Seventeen obituaries of recently deceased Fellows of the British Academy: Shackleton Bailey; James Barr; William Beasley; Lord Blake; Julian Budden; Lord Bullock; Robert Carson, Laurence Cohen; Charles Feinstein; Henry Gifford; Peter Holt; Emrys Jones; Robert Megarry; Edward Oates; Maurice Wiles; Brian Woledge; Austin Woolrych.
Listen to the interview with Brian Kemple... and learn to appreciate the diachronic trajectory of semiotics. *** Live interview with Brian Kemple, Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute, to discuss the legacy and influence of John Deely, the thinker most responsible for developing semiotics into the 21st century. This interview, conducted by William Passarini and Tim Troutman, is part of the preliminary activities of the 2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth (...) Anniversary of His Passing, cooperatively organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies, the International Center for Semiotics and Intercultural Dialogue, Moscow State Academic University for the Humanities and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project. Brian Kemple holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas, in Houston TX, where he wrote his dissertation under the inimitable John Deely. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. Philosophical interests and areas of study include: Thomas Aquinas, John Poinsot, Charles Peirce, Martin Heidegger, the history and importance of semiotics, scholasticism, phenomenology; as well as ancillary interests in the liberal arts, technology, and education as a moral habit. He has published two scholarly books— 'Ens Primum Cognitum in Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition' and 'The Intersections of Semiotics and Phenomenology: Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue', as well as a number of scholarly articles, popular articles, and his own 'Introduction to Philosophical Principles: Logic, Physics, and the Human Person' and the forthcoming 'Linguistic Signification: A Classical Course in Grammar and Composition'. In addition to being the Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute, he is the Executive Editor of 'Reality: a Journal for Philosophical Discourse'. *** Technical support was assured by Robert Junqueira and the cover image for the video was designed by Zahra Soltani. (shrink)
Call for Papers_ PPI, vol. 10, 2020, 3 “Enhancing Love: Killing Romance or Defending Autonomy?” The journal Philosophy & Public Issues is inviting submissions to a forthcoming issue on “Enhancing Love: Killing Romance or Defending Autonomy?” The issue contains a symposium on Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu’s recent book Love Drugs-The Chemical […].
Espen Hammer’s exceptionally fine book explores modern temporality, its problems and prospects. Hammer claims that how people experience time is a cultural/historical phenomenon, and that there is a peculiarly modern way of experiencing time as a series of present moments each indefinitely leading to the next in an ordered way. Time as measured by the clock is the paradigmatic instance of this sense of time. In this perspective time is quantifiable and forward-looking, and the present is dominated by the future. (...) Hammer argues that this manner of experiencing time provides a way of living that brings with it not only the basis for great successes in technology, but also great costs—specifically, what he calls the problems of transience and of meaning. Hammer goes about his task by considering the ways some of the great modern philosophers have characterized present-day temporality and have responded to the problems he has identified. Specifically, he considers what Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, Bloch, and Adorno provide in response to our peculiarly modern predicaments. The book is remarkable for its clarity and perceptiveness, but in the process in crucial places it simplifies the matters at hand or fails to push its insights as far as it ought, and in the end promises more than it can deliver. In this it betrays a rationalist confidence in the power of reason that founders on what in many ways remains a mystery. (shrink)