Different types of consent are used to obtain human biospecimens for future research. This variation has resulted in confusion regarding what research is permitted, inadvertent constraints on future research, and research proceeding without consent. The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center's Department of Bioethics held a workshop to consider the ethical acceptability of addressing these concerns by using broad consent for future research on stored biospecimens. Multiple bioethics scholars, who have written on these issues, discussed the reasons for consent, the (...) range of consent strategies, and gaps in our understanding, and concluded with a proposal for broad initial consent coupled with oversight and, when feasible, ongoing provision of information to donors. This article describes areas of agreement and areas that need more research and dialogue. Given recent proposed changes to the Common Rule, and new guidance regarding storing and sharing data and samples, this is an important and tim.. (shrink)
Peter Hanks defends a new theory about the nature of propositional content, according to which the basic bearers of representational properties are particular mental or spoken actions. He explains the unity of propositions and provides new solutions to a long list of puzzles and problems in philosophy of language.
Refiguring Critical Theory offers some thoughts about the nature of democracy and the possibilities of individual and collective self-determination. The text traces theories of the relationship between being and consciousness from Marx through Lukacs and the Frankfurt School to Habermas' recent work The Theory of Communicative Action.
In Hanks I defend a theory of propositions that locates the source of propositional unity in acts of predication that people perform in thought and speech. On my account, these acts of predication are judgmental or assertoric in character, and they commit the speaker to things being the way they are represented to be in the act of predication. This leads to a problem about negations, disjunctions, conditionals, and other kinds of embeddings. When you assert that a is F or (...) b is G you do not assert that a is F, nor do you commit yourself to a’s being F. According to my theory, however, in uttering the disjunction you predicate F of a. What is going on? I account for these cases using the concept of cancellation. In uttering the disjunction, the act of predicating F of a is cancelled, and when an act of predication is cancelled it does not count as an assertion and does not commit the speaker to anything. But what is it for an act of predication to be cancelled? One immediate concern is that cancelled predication won’t provide a unified proposition to be the input to disjunction. In this paper I answer this and related objections by explaining and defending my concept of cancellation. (shrink)
Much of the legal and social interest in new neuroimaging techniques stems from the belief that they can deliver on the materialist understanding of the relationship between the brain and the mind. This article looks at predictions about the future both of scientific advances and of social reactions to those predictions. It looks at the likely technical limits on neuroscience-based mindreading, then at the likely limits in how the law might use such technologies. It describes three kinds of technical barriers (...) to detailed and useful mindreading: the likely impossibility of making a complete and accurate model of a human brain in light of its incredible complexity, the problems of interpersonal and intrapersonal plasticity, and the problem of trying to read, now, someone's past mental state. The potential changes to the operation of the law, through the use of mindreading as evidence of pain, deception, or bias, among other things, could be extremely important. (shrink)
The authors examine the scientific possibility and the legal and ethical implications of using DNA forensic technology, through partial matches to DNA from crime scenes, to turn into suspects the relatives of people whose DNA profiles are in forensic databases.
In this paper I defend an account of the nature of propositional content according to which the proposition expressed by a declarative sentence is a certain type of action a speaker performs in uttering that sentence. On this view, the semantic contents of proper names turn out to be types of reference acts. By carefully individuating these types, it is possible to provide new solutions to Frege’s puzzles about names in identity- and belief-sentences.
Epistemic feelings like tip-of-the-tongue experiences, feelings of knowing, and feelings of confidence tell us when a memory can be recalled and when a judgment was correct. Thus, they appear to be a form of metacognition, but a curious one: they tell us about content we cannot access, and the information is supplied by a feeling. Evaluativism is the claim that epistemic feelings are components of a distinct, primitive metacognitive mechanism that operates on its own set of inputs. These inputs are (...) heuristics that correlate with the presence of mental content that can’t be accessed directly. I will argue that evaluativism is unmotivated, unsupported, and ill-conceived. I will critique the philosophical and empirical arguments for evaluativism and conclude that there is no reason to posit a distinct mechanism to explain epistemic feelings. I will conclude, however, that epistemic feelings may constitute a nonconceptual form of metacognition, which if true is a significant claim. (shrink)
This essay focuses on possible nonhuman applications of CRISPR/Cas9 that are likely to be widely overlooked because they are unexpected and, in some cases, perhaps even “frivolous.” We look at five uses for “CRISPR Critters”: wild de-extinction, domestic de-extinction, personal whim, art, and novel forms of disease prevention. We then discuss the current regulatory framework and its possible limitations in those contexts. We end with questions about some deeper issues raised by the increased human control over life on earth offered (...) by genome editing. (shrink)
Propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs, continue to be the focus of healthy debates in philosophy of language and metaphysics. This article is a critical survey of work on propositions since the mid-90s, with an emphasis on newer work from the past decade. Topics to be covered include a substitution puzzle about propositional designators, two recent arguments against propositions, and two new theories about the nature of propositions.
The conference where this article was originally presented solicited recommendations for the “right questions” to ask regarding education and technology. The author of this article suggests that we already know what the right questions are for illuminating technology and its social meaning. What the author wants to know is why those questions in fact are not being asked more widely—why is widespread disinclination to enter explicit deliberation on the proper place of technology so resilient? Langdon Winner uses the term “technological (...) somnambulism” to describe the predominant stance toward technology in our culture, that “we so willingly sleepwalk through the process of reconstituting the conditions of human existence” via the adoption of new technologies. The basic institutional and ideological forces shaping the development and use of technology are not mysterious. But, scrutiny of those forces remains limited to a relative handful of academics and activists. How can technological somnambulism be countered? (shrink)
A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.