Models of recognition memory have traditionally struggled with the puzzle of criterion setting, a problem that is particularly acute in cases in which items for study and test are of widely varying types, with differing degrees of baseline familiarity and experience (e.g., words vs. random dot patterns). We present a dynamic model of the recognition process that addresses the criterion setting problem and produces joint predictions for choice and reaction time. In this model, recognition decisions are based not on the (...) absolute value of familiarity, but on how familiarity changes over time as features are sampled from the test item. Decisions are the outcome of a race between two parallel accumulators: one that accumulates positive changes in familiarity (leading to an ‘‘old’’ decision) and another that accumulates negative changes (leading to a ‘‘new’’ decision). Simulations with this model make realistic predictions for recognition performance and latency regardless of the baseline familiarity of study and test items. (shrink)
One of the themes running through this issue of the Hastings Center Report is the complexity of how private moral commitments cash out in the public sphere. It's a theme I find both fascinating and important.The lead article is about how hospices in Oregon have dealt with the state's law permitting physician-assisted death. Most patients who have sought physician-assisted death in Oregon did so while in hospice, suggesting to some people that hospices are centrally involved in physician-assisted death—both in patients' (...) decision-making and in administering the medications. In fact, their involvement is much more limited and circumspect, as authors Courtney Campbell and Jessica Cox document.The focus of the article .. (shrink)
Should there be limits to the human alteration of the natural world? Through a study of debates about the environment, agricultural biotechnology, synthetic biology, and human enhancement, Gregory E. Kaebnick argues that such moral concerns about nature can be legitimate but are also complex, contestable, and politically limited.
In How to Build a Better Human, prominent bioethicist Gregory E. Pence argues if, we are careful and ethical, we can use genetics, biotechnology, and medicine in safe ethical ways for human enhancement. He looks at the innovations and challenges that have occurred since the birth of bioethics almost 50 years ago and considers the ethical implications of the technological advances that are just around the corner.
This rich collection, popular among teachers and students alike, provides an in-depth look at major cases that have shaped the field of medical ethics. The book presents each famous (or infamous) case using extensive historical and contextual background, and then proceeds to illuminate it by careful discussion of pertinent philosophical theories and legal and ethical issues.
In this important new book Gregory E. Pence looks at issues on the frontiers of medicine including gene therapy to produce 'brave new babies,' cloning, human eggs and embryos for sale, and experiments on human embryos. Pence argues that the conservatism of the medical establishment, the bioethics community, and the public at large has created shibboleths that impede improvements in our quality of life.
As the #1 topic in bioethics, cloning has made big news since Dolly's announced birth in 1998. In a new book building on his classic Who's Afraid of Human Cloning?, pioneering bioethicist Gregory E. Pence continues to advocate a reasoned view of cloning. Beginning with his surreal experiences as an expert witness before Congressional and California legislative committees, Pence analyzes the astounding recent progress in animal cloning; the coming surprises about human cloning; the links between animal, stem cell, and (...) human cloning; embryo politics; and other hot topics like artificial wombs and transgenic animals. -/- Pence rebuts the growing chorus of naysayers headed by Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, who attack the biomedical sciences, and explains why cloning will save endangered species and beloved pets, and help future children and people with degenerative diseases. (shrink)
In The Ethics of Food, Gregory E. Pence brings together a collection of voices who share the view that the ethics of genetically modified food is among the most pressing societal questions of our time. This comprehensive collection addresses a broad range of subjects, including the meaning of food, moral analyses of vegetarianism and starvation, the safety and environmental risks of genetically modified food, issues of global food politics and the food industry, and the relationships among food, evolution, and (...) human history. (shrink)
Human cloning raises the most profound questions about human nature, our faith in ourselves, and our ability to make decisions that could significantly alter the character of humanity. In this exciting and accessible book, Gregory Pence offers a candid and sometimes humorous look at the arguments for and against human cloning. Originating a human being by cloning, Pence boldly argues, should not strike fear in our hearts but should be examined as a reasonable reproductive option for couples. Pence considers (...) how popular culture has influenced the way we think about cloning, and he presents a lucid and non-technical examination of the scientific research and relevant moral issues in the cloning debate. This book is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about the impact of technology on human life and for those with interests in medical ethics, sociology, and public policy. (shrink)
Leading bioethicist Gregory Pence demystifies seven foundational theories of addiction to reveal how they must work together to build more comprehensive solutions. Concerned citizens, individuals suffering from addiction, their families, and those who devote their lives to fighting addiction will find this new perspective a hopeful call to arms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every human being on the planet and forced us all to reflect on the bioethical issues it raises. In this timely book, Gregory Pence examines a number of relevant issues, including the fair allocation of scarce medical resources, immunity passports, tradeoffs between protecting senior citizens and allowing children to flourish, discrimination against minorities and the disabled, and the myriad issues raised by vaccines.
This essay contends that God created humanity as His co-creators to bring Him glory with one’s entire being, including imagination and creativity. Throughout Scripture, YHWH is depicted as the artistic Creator of all that is beautiful, true, and transcendent. The Bible attests the creation of humanity in the imago Dei--sharing God’s innate creativity--and divine gifting of Spirit-inspired artisans utilizing their talents for God’s glory. Yet, over the centuries, “art” was oft misunderstood and grossly neglected in Christ’s church. Philip Ryken explains (...) how medieval skeptics began removing and destroying art believed to violate the Decalogue. Imbalanced suspicions toward art in Christendom still persist, despite the positive, inspirational effects of icons in Catholic and Orthodox traditions and scientific research that shows the therapeutic value of art across a broad spectrum of mental and physical challenges, including isolation and depression. Makoto Fujimura posits that Christian creatives possess a common faith as “border-walkers,” and can affect phoenix-like positive cultural and ecclesial change by reintroducing beauty as a visible “sermon” into a fragmented, post-pandemic world. (shrink)
This book gather's thirty-five of Pence's most influential, groundbreaking, and personal essays into one broad-ranging volume. It included essays on cloning, AIDS, dignified death,and test-tube babies.
A majority opinion seems to have emerged in scholarly analysis of the assortment of technologies that have been given the label “synthetic biology.” According to this view, society should allow the technology to proceed and even provide it some financial support, while monitoring its progress and attempting to ensure that the development leads to good outcomes. The near‐consensus is captured by the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues in its report New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology (...) and Emerging Technologies, which arguably marked the end of a preliminary round of analysis about the ethical and policy questions raised by synthetic biology. Like a number of other, earlier documents issued by various groups around the world, the report called attention to questions about how the technology will be used; whether it might be misused; what sorts of accidents might happen along the way; the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the eventual applications; whether the very idea of “synthetic biology” should be troubling; and how the debate over all of these questions will be conducted. Also like most similar documents, however, while it called for careful monitoring and oversight of technology, it did not recommend any significant new constraints on its development and use. The commission's stance was that it would be “imprudent either to declare a moratorium on synthetic biology until all risks can be determined and mitigated, or to simply ‘let science rip,’ regardless of the likely risks.”In this report, we will take stock of the current consensus, comment on some of the major points of disagreement, and identify the next steps for the debate. In part I, we offer a brief overview of the research and applications commonly grouped together under the heading of synthetic biology, partly in order to set the stage for the rest of the discussion and partly because we want to highlight some conceptual problems that attend the very label given this field. In parts II, III, and IV, we take up, respectively, three broad classes of concerns that arise in the context of synthetic biology: concerns about the intrinsic or inherent value of doing synthetic biology, concerns about the concrete harms and benefits of doing synthetic biology, and concerns about justice. Addressing these concerns requires a method for bringing the public's values to bear on policy‐making concerning emerging biotechnologies; in part V, we discuss the challenges in developing such a method. (shrink)
How strong is the argument for requiring public deliberation by very large publics—at national or even global levels—before moving forward with efforts to use gene editing on wild populations of plants or animals? Should there be a general moratorium on any such efforts until such broad public deliberation has been successfully carried out? This article works toward recommendations about the need for and general framing of broad public deliberation. It finds that broad public deliberation is highly desirable but not flatly (...) necessary before moving forward with any local cases of gene editing in the wild. It also finds that broad public deliberation would be most helpful in generating very general guidance and is unlikely to be appropriate for specific cases. Broad public deliberation is most helpful for cases that involve higher levels of uncertainty and moral ambiguity, but separating out a distinct class of cases for deliberation is not yet possible. (shrink)
For the last couple of years, The Hastings Center has been running a research project titled “The Ethical Issues of Synthetic Biology” (funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) that is focused primarily on whether the prospect of altering microorganisms to meet human ends is intrinsically troubling. “Synthetic biology” is not necessarily limited to the alteration of microorganisms, but the applications now under development—such as yeast that produce a precursor of the antimalarial drug artemisinin or blue-green algae that produce fuel—are (...) certainly limited to that. A set of essays in this issue of the Report features a variety of different takes on the field. For the last six months of the project .. (shrink)