The single most important source for Second Temple Jewish exegetical traditions is the three commentaries series written by Philo of Alexandria. Wanting to understand Second Temple Judaism more fully, a group of scholars founded the Philo Institute in 1971 to explore those traditions. The following year they began publication of The Studia Philonica as a venue for their research; however, the significance of Philo's work soon captured the interest of a broader group of scholars and quickly opened the journal's pages (...) up to all aspects of Philonic studies. Six issues were released from 1972-1980 containing twenty-five articles, annual bibliographies, and abstracts of notable publications. The list of contributors is a who's who in Philonic studies in the 1970s and 1980s. After a lapse of almost a decade, the journal was revived as the Studia Philonica Annual, which is devoted to furthering the study of Hellenistic Judaism, in particular the writings and thought of the Hellenistic-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (ca. 15 b.c.e. to ca. 50 c.e.). Each year the Annual publishes the most current Philonic scholarship along with an extensive bibliography that is maintained by David Runia. (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.
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)
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)
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.
Much work in bioethics tries to sidestep bedrock questions about moral values. This is fine if we agree on our values; arguments about human enhancement suggest we do not. One bedrock question underlying these arguments concerns the role of emotion in morality: worries about enhancement are derided as emotional and thus irrational. In fact, both emotion and reason are integral to all moral judgment.
Richard Dawkins’s best argument against the existence of God aims to show that the universe fits better with atheism than with theism. The fact that complex life developed gradually over a long period of time is required by an atheistic view but is not required by a theistic view. This fact, then, supports the atheistic view. This argument does raise the probability of atheism. I discuss four analogous arguments that point towards theism. I conclude that Dawkins’s argument lends some support (...) for atheism, but his strategy suggests sufficient arguments to see that the total case points in the opposite direction. (shrink)
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.
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.
Now in its twentieth year of publication, 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.
: A comparison of casuistry with the strain of particularism developed by John McDowell and David Wiggins suggests that casuistry is susceptible to two very different mistakes. First, as sometimes developed, casuistry tends toward an implausible rigidity and systematization of moral knowledge. Particularism offers a corrective to this error. Second, however, casuistry tends sometimes to present moral knowledge as insufficiently systematized: It often appears to hold that moral deliberation is merely a kind of perception. Such a perceptual model of deliberation (...) cannot offer a convincing account of the possibility of moral progress. This second problem is one to which particularism is itself prone. To redress it, other aspects of casuistry must be exploited: Casuistry contains an account of presumptive generalizations that explains how moral deliberation might be structured by rules while also depending at critical junctures on perception. (shrink)
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.
For the last six months or so, some of us at The Hastings Center have been participating in a kind of short-term book group. Together we have been thinking about the contribution of moral psychology to bioethics. One of our questions is whether bioethics’ understanding of moral values should draw on what moral psychology tells us about moral values. Bioethics tends to look to philosophy for guidance. Can it learn from insights in moral psychology into the biological, environmental, and cultural (...) influences on morality? The question can be taken in many directions. One that I've wrestled with has to do with debates about genetic engineering, where a common concern is that genetic alteration of other organisms, and maybe also of humans, doesn't sit well with the kind of relationship that people want to have to nature. (shrink)
The emerging phenomenon of genetic paternity testing shows how good science and useful social reform can run off the rails. Genetic paternity testing enables us to sort out, in a transparent and decisive way, the age-old but traditionally never-quite-answerable question of whether a child is genetically related to the husband of the child's mother. Given the impossibility of settling this question for certain, British and American law has long held that a biological relationship must almost always be assumed to exist. (...) According to what is known as the “marital presumption” or “presumption of legitimacy,” a child born to a woman within a marital relationship is assumed to be the biological child of the woman's husband unless he was absent, impotent, or sterile. In other words, if paternity was not a physical impossibility for the husband, there was a nearly irrebuttable presumption that he was the father of the child. The husband was locked into the role of fatherhood. a. (shrink)