Ethical approval must be obtained before medical research can start. We describe the differences in EA for an pseudonymous, non-interventional, observational European study. Sixteen European national coordinators of the international study on very old intensive care patients answered an online questionnaire concerning their experience getting EA. N = 8/16 of the NCs could apply at one single national ethical committee, while the others had to apply to various regional ECs and/or individual hospital institutional research boards. The time between applying for (...) EA and the first decision varied between 7 days and 300 days. In 9/16 informed consent from the patient was not deemed necessary; in 7/16 informed consent was required from the patient or relatives. The upload of coded data to a central database required additional information in 14/16. In 4/16 the NCs had to ask separate approval to keep a subject identification code list to de-pseudonymize the patients if questions would occur. Only 2/16 of the NCs agreed that informed consent was necessary for this observational study. Overall, 6/16 of the NCs were satisfied with the entire process and 8/16 were unsatisfied. 11/16 would welcome a European central EC that would judge observational studies for all European countries. Variations in the process and prolonged time needed to get EA for observational studies hampers inclusion of patients in some European countries. This might have a negative influence on the external validity. Further harmonization of ethical approval process across Europe is welcomed for low-risk observational studies. Getting ethical approval for low-risk, non-interventional, observational studies varies enormously across European countries. (shrink)
In a previous article, we projected the future accumulation of profiles belonging to deceased users on Facebook. We concluded that a minimum of 1.4 billion users will pass away before 2100 if Facebook ceases to attract new users as of 2018. If the network continues expanding at current rates, on the other hand, this number will exceed 4.9 billion. Although these findings provided an important first step, one network alone remains insufficient to establish a quantitative foundation for further macro-level analysis (...) of the phenomenon of online death. Facebook is but one social media platform among many, and hardly the most representative in terms of their policy on deceased users. In this study, we use the same methodology to develop a complementary analysis of projected mortality on Instagram. Our models indicate that somewhere between 767 million and 4.2 billion Instagram users will die between 2019 and 2100, depending on the network’s future growth rate. Although the number of deceased Instagram profiles will likely be fewer than those on Facebook, we argue that they are nonetheless part of a shared digital cultural heritage, and should hence be curated with careful consideration. (shrink)
Recent technological innovation has made video doctoring increasingly accessible. This has given rise to Deepfake Pornography, an emerging phenomenon in which Deep Learning algorithms are used to superimpose a person’s face onto a pornographic video. Although to most people, Deepfake Pornography is intuitively unethical, it seems difficult to justify this intuition without simultaneously condemning other actions that we do not ordinarily find morally objectionable, such as sexual fantasies. In the present article, I refer to this contradiction as the pervert’s dilemma. (...) I propose that the method of Levels of Abstraction, a philosophical mode of enquiry inspired by Formal Methods in computer science, can be employed to formulate at least one possible solution to the dilemma. From this perspective, the permissibility of some actions appears to depend on the degree to which they are abstracted from their natural context. I conclude that the dilemma can only be solved when considered at low levels of abstractions, when Deepfakes are situated in the macro-context of gender inequality. (shrink)
The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. We argue that the regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.
How do people decide which claims should be considered mere beliefs and which count as knowledge? Although little is known about how people attribute knowledge to others, philosophical debate about the nature of knowledge may provide a starting point. Traditionally, a belief that is both true and justiﬁed was thought to constitute knowledge. However, philosophers now agree that this account is inadequate, due largely to a class of counterexamples (termed ‘‘Gettier cases’’) in which a person’s justiﬁed belief is true, but (...) only due to luck. We report four experiments examining the effect of truth, justiﬁcation, and ‘‘Gettiering’’ on people’s knowledge attributions. These experiments show that: (1) people attribute knowledge to others only when their beliefs are both true and justiﬁed; (2) in contrast to contemporary philosophers, people also attribute knowledge to others in Gettier situations; and (3) knowledge is not attributed in one class of Gettier cases, but only because the agent’s belief is based on ‘‘apparent’’ evidence. These ﬁndings suggest that the lay concept of knowledge is roughly consistent with the traditional account of knowledge as justiﬁed true belief, and also point to a major difference between the epistemic intuitions of laypeople and those of philosophers. (shrink)
The philosophical work of Jean-Luc Marion has opened new ways of speaking about religious convictions and experiences. In this exploration of Marion’s philosophy and theology, Christina M. Gschwandtner presents a comprehensive and critical analysis of the ideas of saturated phenomena and the phenomenology of givenness. She claims that these phenomena do not always appear in the excessive mode that Marion describes and suggests instead that we consider degrees of saturation. Gschwandtner covers major themes in Marion’s work—the historical event, art, (...) nature, love, gift and sacrifice, prayer, and the Eucharist. She works within the phenomenology of givenness, but suggests that Marion himself has not considered important aspects of his philosophy. (shrink)
This volume collects twenty original essays on the philosophy of film. It uniquely brings together scholars working across a range of philosophical traditions and academic disciplines to broaden and advance debates on film and philosophy. The book includes contributions from a number of prominent philosophers of film including Noël Carroll, Chris Falzon, Deborah Knight, Paisley Livingston, Robert Sinnerbrink, Malcolm Turvey, and Thomas Wartenberg. While the topics explored by the contributors are diverse, there are a number of thematic threads that connect (...) them. Overall, the book seeks to bridge analytic and continental approaches to philosophy of film in fruitful ways. Moving to the individual essays, the first two sections offer novel takes on the philosophical value and the nature of film. The next section focuses on the film-as-philosophy debate. Section IV covers cinematic experience, while Section V includes interpretations of individual films that touch on questions of artificial intelligence, race and film, and cinema's biopolitical potential. Finally, the last section proposes new avenues for future research on the moving image beyond film. This book will appeal to a broad range of scholars working in film studies, theory, and philosophy. (shrink)
Online technologies enable vast amounts of data to outlive their producers online, thereby giving rise to a new, digital form of afterlife presence. Although researchers have begun investigating the nature of such presence, academic literature has until now failed to acknowledge the role of commercial interests in shaping it. The goal of this paper is to analyse what those interests are and what ethical consequences they may have. This goal is pursued in three steps. First, we introduce the concept of (...) the Digital Afterlife Industry, and define it as an object of study. Second, we identify the politico-economic interests of the DAI. For this purpose, we develop an analytical approach based on an informational interpretation of Marxian economics. Third, we explain the practical manifestations of the interests using four real life cases. The findings expose the incentives of the DAI to alter what is referred to as the “informational bodies” of the dead, which in turn is to be seen as a violation of the principle of human dignity. To prevent such consequences, we argue that the ethical conventions that guide trade with remains of organic bodies may serve as a good model for future regulation of DAI. (shrink)
This book provides an introduction to the emerging field of continental philosophy of religion by treating the thought of its most important representatives, including its appropriations by several thinkers in the United States. Part I provides context by examining religious aspects of the thought of Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida. Christina Gschwandtner contends that, although the work of these thinkers is not apologetic in nature, it prepares the ground for the more religiously motivated work of more recent (...) thinkers by giving religious language and ideas some legitimacy in philosophical discussions. Part II devotes a chapter to each of the contemporary French thinkers who articulate a phenomenology of religious experience: Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Michel Henry, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Jean-Yves Lacoste, and Emmanuel Falque. In it, the author argues that their respective philosophies can be read as an apologetics of sorts--namely, as arguments for the coherence of thought about God and the viability of religious experience--though each thinker does so in a different fashion and to a different degree. Part III considers the three major thinkers who have popularized and extended this phenomenology in the U.S. context: John D. Caputo, Merold Westphal, and Richard Kearney. The book thus both provides an introduction to important contemporary thinkers, many of whom have not yet received much treatment in English, and also argues that their philosophies can be read as providing an argument for Christian faith. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and explore some ideas about how factive emotional states and factive perceptual states each relate to knowledge and reasons. This discussion will shed light on the so-called ‘perceptual model’ of the emotions.
Microaggressions are a new moral category that refers to the subtle yet harmful forms of discriminatory behavior experienced by members of oppressed groups. Such behavior often results from implicit bias, leaving individual perpetrators unaware of the harm they have caused. Moreover, microaggressions are often dismissed on the grounds that they do not constitute a real or morally significant harm. My goal is therefore to explain why microaggressions are morally significant and argue that we are responsible for their harms. I offer (...) a conceptual framework for microaggressions, exploring the central mechanisms used for identification and the empirical research concerning their harm. The cumulative harm of microaggressions presents a unique case for understanding disaggregation models for contributed harms, blame allocation, and individual responsibility within structural oppression. Our standard moral model for addressing cumulative harm is to hold all individual contributors blameworthy for their particular contributions. However, if we aim to hold people responsible for their unconscious microaggressions and address cumulative harm holistically, this model is inadequate. Drawing on Iris Marion Young's social connection model, I argue that we, as individual perpetrators of microaggressions, have a responsibility to respond to the cumulative harm to which we have individually contributed. (shrink)
The fast development of synthetic media, commonly known as deepfakes, has cast new light on an old problem, namely—to what extent do people have a moral claim to their likeness, including personally distinguishing features such as their voice or face? That people have at least some such claim seems uncontroversial. In fact, several jurisdictions already combat deepfakes by appealing to a “right to identity.” Yet, an individual’s disapproval of appearing in a piece of synthetic media is sensible only insofar as (...) the replication is successful. There has to be some form of identity between the content and the natural person. The question, therefore, is how this identity can be established. How can we know whether the face or voice featured in a piece of synthetic content belongs to a person who makes claim to it? On a trivial level, this may seem an easy task—the person in the video is A insofar as he or she is recognised as being A. Providing more rigorous criteria, however, poses a serious challenge. In this paper, I draw on Turing’s imitation game, and Floridi’s method of levels of abstraction, to propose a heuristic to this end. I call it the identification game. Using this heuristic, I show that identity cannot be established independently of the purpose of the inquiry. More specifically, I argue that whether a person has a moral claim to content that allegedly uses their identity depends on the type of harm under consideration. (shrink)
In recent years, most political theorists have agreed that shame shouldn't play any role in democratic politics because it threatens the mutual respect necessary for participation and deliberation. But Christina Tarnopolsky argues that not every kind of shame hurts democracy. In fact, she makes a powerful case that there is a form of shame essential to any critical, moderate, and self-reflexive democratic practice. Through a careful study of Plato's Gorgias, Tarnopolsky shows that contemporary conceptions of shame are far too (...) narrow. For Plato, three kinds of shame and shaming practices were possible in democracies, and only one of these is similar to the form condemned by contemporary thinkers. Following Plato, Tarnopolsky develops an account of a different kind of shame, which she calls "respectful shame." This practice involves the painful but beneficial shaming of one's fellow citizens as part of the ongoing process of collective deliberation. And, as Tarnopolsky argues, this type of shame is just as important to contemporary democracy as it was to its ancient form. Tarnopolsky also challenges the view that the Gorgias inaugurates the problematic oppositions between emotion and reason, and rhetoric and philosophy. Instead, she shows that, for Plato, rationality and emotion belong together, and she argues that political science and democratic theory are impoverished when they relegate the study of emotions such as shame to other disciplines. (shrink)
Positive emotions are highly valued and frequently sought. Beyond just being pleasant, however, positive emotions may also lead to long-term benefits in important domains, including work, physical health, and interpersonal relationships. Research thus far has focused on the broader functions of positive emotions. According to the broaden-and-build theory, positive emotions expand people’s thought–action repertoires and allow them to build psychological, intellectual, and social resources. New evidence suggests that positive emotions—particularly gratitude—may also play a role in motivating individuals to engage in (...) positive behaviors leading to self-improvement. We propose and offer supportive evidence that expressing gratitude leads people to muster effort to improve themselves via increases in connectedness, elevation, humility, and specific negative states including indebtedness. (shrink)
The automation of online social life is an urgent issue for researchers and the public alike. However, one of the most significant uses of such technologies seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the research community: religion. Focusing on Islamic Prayer Apps, which automatically post prayers from its users’ accounts, we show that even one such service is already responsible for millions of tweets daily, constituting a significant portion of Arabic-language Twitter traffic. We argue that the fact that a phenomenon (...) of these proportions has gone unnoticed by researchers reveals an opportunity to broaden the scope of the current research agenda on online automation. (shrink)
Aquinas’s account of the human soul is the key to his theory of human nature. The soul’s nature as the substantial form of the human body appears at times to be in tension with its nature as immaterial intellect, however, and nowhere is this tension more evident than in Aquinas’s discussion of the ‘separated’ soul. In this paper I use the Biblical story of the rich man and Lazarus (which Aquinas took to involve actual separated souls) to highlight what I (...) will call the Two-Person Problem facing his account of human identity through death and the bodily resurrection. Aquinas claims that the rational soul is neither the human being nor the human person. When the rich man’s soul says “I am in agony,” then, what is the referent of “I?” It appears that there is a human person, ‘Dives,’ who is replaced at Dives’s death by the person ‘Dives’s soul,’ who is in turn replaced at the bodily resurrection by ‘Dives,’ whom Aquinas claims is numerically identical to the original person. But this seems hopeless as an identity-preserving account of human nature. I believe that Aquinas’s account of human nature does not, as it stands, possess the resources with which to overcome this difficulty; I conclude that reconstructing a(n otherwise) Thomistic account that involves immediate bodily resurrection, although a radical approach, is the one best suited to preserving the most essential features of Aquinas’s theory. (shrink)
Academics across widely ranging disciplines all pursue knowledge, but they do so using vastly different methods. Do these academics therefore also have different ideas about when someone possesses knowledge? Recent experimental findings suggest that intuitions about when individuals have knowledge may vary across groups; in particular, the concept of knowledge espoused by the discipline of philosophy may not align with the concept held by laypeople. Across two studies, we investigate the concept of knowledge held by academics across seven disciplines (N (...) = 1,581) and compare these judgments to those of philosophers (N = 204) and laypeople (N = 336). We find that academics and laypeople share a similar concept of knowledge, while philosophers have a substantially different concept. These experiments show that (a) in contrast to philosophers, other academics and laypeople attribute knowledge to others in some “Gettier” situations; (b) academics and laypeople are much less likely to attribute knowledge when reminded of the possibility of error, but philosophers are not affected by this reminder; and (c) non‐philosophy academics are overall more skeptical about knowledge than laypeople or philosophers. These findings suggest that academics across a wide range of disciplines share a similar concept of knowledge, and that this concept aligns closely with the intuitions held by laypeople, and differs considerably from the concept of knowledge described in the philosophical literature, as well as the epistemic intuitions of philosophers themselves. (shrink)
Mathematicians routinely pass judgements on mathematical proofs. A proof might be elegant, cumbersome, beautiful, or awkward. Perhaps the highest praise is that a proof is right, that is, that the proof fits the theorem in an optimal way. It is also common to judge that one proof fits better than another, or that a proof does not fit a theorem at all. This paper attempts to clarify the notion of mathematical fit. We suggest six criteria that distinguish proofs as being (...) more or less fitting, and provide examples from several different mathematical fields. (shrink)
Christina Rossetti’s short fiction has been long-neglected, we are told. In this paper, I respond to her fiction “Pros and Cons,” which perhaps provides a clue regarding why there has been neglect: it leaves the impression of being an imitation of George Eliot, a mocking imitation even. I identify two differences between Rossetti and Eliot.
Every day situations arising in health care contain ethical issues influencing care providers' conscience. How and to what extent conscience is influenced may differ according to how conscience is perceived. This study aimed to explore the relationship between perceptions of conscience and stress of conscience among care providers working in municipal housing for elderly people. A total of 166 care providers were approached, of which 146 (50 registered nurses and 96 nurses' aides/enrolled nurses) completed a questionnaire containing the Perceptions of (...) Conscience Questionnaire and the Stress of Conscience Questionnaire. A multivariate canonical correlation analysis was conducted. The first two functions emerging from the analysis themselves explained a noteworthy amount of the shared variance (25.6% and 17.8%). These two dimensions of the relationship were interpreted either as having to deaden one's conscience relating to external demands in order to be able to collaborate with coworkers, or as having to deaden one's conscience relating to internal demands in order to uphold one's identity as a `good' health care professional. (shrink)
The Cognitive Reflection Test is purported to test our inclination to overcome impulsive, intuitive thought with effortful, rational reflection. Research suggests that philosophers tend to perform better on this test than non-philosophers, and that men tend to perform better than women. Taken together, these findings could be interpreted as partially explaining the gender gap that exists in Philosophy: there are fewer women in Philosophy because women are less likely to possess the ideal ‘philosophical personality’. If this explanation for the gender (...) gap in Philosophy is accepted, it might be seen to exonerate Philosophy departments of the need to put in place much-needed strategies for promoting gender diversity. This paper discusses a number of reasons for thinking that this would be the wrong conclusion to draw from the research. Firstly, the CRT may not track what it is claimed it tracks. Secondly, the trait tracked by the CRT may not be something that we should value in philosophers. Thirdly, even if we accept that the CRT tracks a trait that has value, this trait might be of limited importance to good philosophising. Lastly, the causal story linking the gender gap in CRT score and the gender gap in Philosophy is likely to be far more complex than this explanation implies. (shrink)
Nagel, San Juan, and Mar report an experiment investigating lay attributions of knowledge, belief, and justification. They suggest that, in keeping with the expectations of philosophers, but contra recent empirical findings [Starmans, C. & Friedman, O. (2012). The folk conception of knowledge. Cognition, 124, 272–283], laypeople consistently deny knowledge in Gettier cases, regardless of whether the beliefs are based on ‘apparent’ or ‘authentic’ evidence. In this reply, we point out that Nagel et al. employed a questioning method that biased participants (...) to deny knowledge. Moreover, careful examination of participants’ responses reveals that they attributed knowledge in Gettier cases. We also note that Nagel et al. misconstrue the distinction between ‘apparent’ and ‘authentic’ evidence, and use scenarios that do not feature the structure that characterizes most Gettier cases. We conclude that NS&M’s findings are fully compatible with the claim that laypeople attribute knowledge in Gettier cases in general, but are significantly less likely to attribute knowledge when a belief is generated based on apparent evidence. (shrink)
It's a bad time to be a boy in America. As the century drew to a close, the defining event for American girls was the triumph of the U.S. women's soccer team. For boys, the symbolic event was the mass killing at Columbine High School. It would seem that boys in our society are greatly at risk. Yet the best-known studies and the academic experts say that it's girls who are suffering from a decline in self-esteem. It's girls, they say, (...) who need extra help in school and elsewhere in a society that favors boys. The problem with boys is that they are boys, say the experts. We need to change their nature. We have to make them more like...girls. These arguments don't hold up to scrutiny, says Christina Hoff Sommers in this provocative, fascinating book. She analyzes the work of the leading academic experts, Carol Gilligan and William Pollack, and finds it lacking in scientific rigor. There is no girl crisis, says Sommers. Girls are outperforming boys academically, and girls' self-esteem is no different from boys'. Boys lag behind girls in reading and writing ability, and they are less likely to go to college. The "girl crisis" has been seized upon by some feminists and has been suffused with sexual politics. Under the guise of helping girls, many schools have adopted policies that penalize boys, often for simply being masculine. Sommers says that boys do need help, but not the sort they've been getting. They need help catching up with girls academically. They need love, discipline, respect, and moral guidance. They desperately need understanding. They do not need to be rescued from masculinity. (shrink)