Population-level biomedical research offers new opportunities to improve population health, but also raises new challenges to traditional systems of research governance and ethical oversight. Partly in response to these challenges, various models of public involvement in research are being introduced. Yet, the ways in which public involvement should meet governance challenges are not well understood. We conducted a qualitative study with 36 experts and stakeholders using the World Café method to identify key governance challenges and explore how public involvement can (...) meet these challenges. This brief report discusses four cross-cutting themes from the study: the need to move beyond individual consent; issues in benefit and data sharing; the challenge of delineating and understanding publics; and the goal of clarifying justifications for public involvement. The report aims to provide a starting point for making sense of the relationship between public involvement and the governance of population-level biomedical research, showing connections, potential solutions and issues arising at their intersection. We suggest that, in population-level biomedical research, there is a pressing need for a shift away from conventional governance frameworks focused on the individual and towards a focus on collectives, as well as to foreground ethical issues around social justice and develop ways to address cultural diversity, value pluralism and competing stakeholder interests. There are many unresolved questions around how this shift could be realised, but these unresolved questions should form the basis for developing justificatory accounts and frameworks for suitable collective models of public involvement in population-level biomedical research governance. (shrink)
Many are calling for concrete mechanisms of oversight for health research involving artificial intelligence (AI). In response, institutional review boards (IRBs) are being turned to as a familiar model of governance. Here, we examine the IRB model as a form of ethics oversight for health research that uses AI. We consider the model's origins, analyze the challenges IRBs are facing in the contexts of both industry and academia, and offer concrete recommendations for how these committees might be adapted in order (...) to provide an effective mechanism of oversight for health‐related AI research. (shrink)
Comparative study of religions and philosophies, in spite of its significance and urgency, has been neither fully appreciated nor developed in the study of religion or philosophy. Comparative study, historically speaking, is still young and complex in its approach. Religious Studies as an intellectual discipline has traditionally concentrated on the investigation of a single tradition, enabling a student to become an ‘expert’ in that particular tradition. The world in which we live, however, no longer allows us to be content with (...) the idea, the value, the way of thinking in our own tradition alone. In short, we no longer live in a ‘provincial’ age but in a ‘global’ age. (shrink)
Bruce Janz, Jessica Locke, and Cynthia Willett interact in this exchange with different aspects of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad’s book Human Being, Bodily Being. Through “constructive inter-cultural thinking”, they seek to engage with Ram-Prasad’s “lower-case p” phenomenology, which exemplifies “how to think otherwise about the nature and role of bodiliness in human experience”. This exchange, which includes Ram-Prasad’s reply to their interventions, pushes the reader to reflect more about different aspects of bodiliness.
According to the naïve, pre-theoretic conception, lying seems to be characterized by the intent to deceive. However, certain kinds of bald-faced lies appear to be counterexamples to this view, and many philosophers have abandoned it as a result. I argue that this criticism of the naïve view is misplaced; bald-faced lies are not genuine instances of lying because they are not genuine instances of assertion. I present an additional consideration in favor of the naïve view, which is that abandoning it (...) comes at an extremely high price; alternative accounts which eschew the intent-to-deceive condition on lying have difficulty distinguishing lies from non-literal speech. (shrink)
Jessica Flanigan defends patients' rights of self-medication on the grounds that same moral reasons against medical paternalism in clinical contexts are also reasons against paternalistic pharmaceutical policies, including prohibitive approval processes and prescription requirements.
The debate about the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence dates from the 1960s :741–742, 1960; Wiener in Cybernetics: or control and communication in the animal and the machine, MIT Press, New York, 1961). However, in recent years symbolic AI has been complemented and sometimes replaced by Neural Networks and Machine Learning techniques. This has vastly increased its potential utility and impact on society, with the consequence that the ethical debate has gone mainstream. Such a debate has primarily focused on principles—the (...) ‘what’ of AI ethics —rather than on practices, the ‘how.’ Awareness of the potential issues is increasing at a fast rate, but the AI community’s ability to take action to mitigate the associated risks is still at its infancy. Our intention in presenting this research is to contribute to closing the gap between principles and practices by constructing a typology that may help practically-minded developers apply ethics at each stage of the Machine Learning development pipeline, and to signal to researchers where further work is needed. The focus is exclusively on Machine Learning, but it is hoped that the results of this research may be easily applicable to other branches of AI. The article outlines the research method for creating this typology, the initial findings, and provides a summary of future research needs. (shrink)
For many people attracted to Eastern religions (particularly Zen Buddhism), Asia seems the source of all wisdom. As Bernard Faure examines the study of Chan/Zen from the standpoint of postmodern human sciences and literary criticism, he challenges this inversion of traditional "Orientalist" discourse: whether the Other is caricatured or idealized, ethnocentric premises marginalize important parts of Chan thought. Questioning the assumptions of "Easterners" as well, including those of the charismatic D. T. Suzuki, Faure demonstrates how both West and (...) East have come to overlook significant components of a complex and elusive tradition. Throughout the book Faure reveals surprising hidden agendas in the modern enterprise of Chan studies and in Chan itself. After describing how Jesuit missionaries brought Chan to the West, he shows how the prejudices they engendered were influenced by the sectarian constraints of Sino-Japanese discourse. He then assesses structural, hermeneutical, and performative ways of looking at Chan, analyzes the relationship of Chan and local religion, and discusses Chan concepts of temporality, language, writing, and the self. Read alone or with its companion volume, The Rhetoric of Immediacy, this work offers a critical introduction not only to Chinese and Japanese Buddhism but also to "theory" in the human sciences. (shrink)
Technologies to rapidly alert people when they have been in contact with someone carrying the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 are part of a strategy to bring the pandemic under control. Currently, at least 47 contact-tracing apps are available globally. They are already in use in Australia, South Korea and Singapore, for instance. And many other governments are testing or considering them. Here we set out 16 questions to assess whether — and to what extent — a contact-tracing app is ethically justifiable.
Increased technological and pharmacological interventions in patient care when patient outcomes are uncertain have been linked to the escalation in moral and ethical dilemmas experienced by health care providers in acute care settings. Health care research has shown that facilities that are able to attract and retain nursing staff in a competitive environment and provide high quality care have the capacity for nurses to process and resolve moral and ethical dilemmas. This article reports on the findings of a systematic review (...) of the empirical literature (1980 — February 2007) on the effects of unresolved moral distress and poor ethical climate on nurse turnover. Articles were sought to answer the review question: Does unresolved moral distress and a poor organizational ethical climate increase nurse turnover? Nine articles met the criteria of the review process. Although the prevailing sentiment was that poor ethical climate and moral distress caused staff turnover, definitive answers to the review question remain elusive because there are limited data that confidently support this statement. (shrink)
This paper defends the use-based metasemantic project against the problem of meaning without use, which allegedly shows the predictions of use-based metasemantic accounts to be indeterminate with respect to unusably long or complex expressions. This criticism is commonly taken to be decisive, prompting various retreats and contributing to the project’s eventual decline. Using metasemantic conventionalism as a case study, I argue the following: either such expressions do not belong to used languages or their meanings are uniquely determined by use. Thus, (...) the alleged problem of meaning without use offers no challenge to the use-based metasemantic project generally, nor to conventionalism in particular. (shrink)
did plato and aristotle have anything to say about belief? The answer to this question might seem blindingly obvious: of course they did. Plato distinguishes belief from knowledge in the Meno, Republic, and Theaetetus, and Aristotle does so in the Posterior Analytics. Plato distinguishes belief from perception in the Theaetetus, and Aristotle does so in the De anima. They talk about the distinction between true and false beliefs, and the ways in which belief can mislead and the ways in which (...) it can steer us aright. Indeed, they make belief a central component of their epistemologies.The view underlying these claims—one so widespread these days as to remain largely unquestioned—is that when Plato and Aristotle talk... (shrink)
In this paper, we describe four broad ‘meta-methods’ employed in scientific and philosophical research of qualia. These are the theory-centred metamethod, the property-centred meta-method, the argument-centred meta-method, and the event-centred meta-method. Broadly speaking, the theory-centred meta-method is interested in the role of qualia as some theoretical entities picked out by our folk psychological theories; the property-centred meta-method is interested in some metaphysical properties of qualia that we immediately observe through introspection ; the argument-centred meta-method is interested in the role of (...) qualia in some arguments for non-physicalism; the event-centred metamethod is interested in the role of qualia as some natural events whose nature is hidden and must be uncovered empirically. We will argue that the event-centred metamethod is the most promising route to a comprehensive scientific conception of qualia because of the flexibility of ontological and methodological assumptions it can provide. We also reveal the hidden influences of the different meta-methods and in doing so show why consideration of meta-methods has value for the study of consciousness. (shrink)
Pt. I. The apparent good. Evaluative cognition -- Perceiving the good -- Phantasia and the apparent good -- pt. II. The apparent good and non-rational motivation. Passions and the apparent good -- Akrasia and the apparent good -- pt. III. The apparent good and rational motivation. Phantasia and deliberation -- Happiness, virtue, and the apparent good -- Practical induction -- Conclusion : Aristotle's practical empiricism.
The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophical (...) discussion is that contemporary fake news is not a new kind of phenomenon, but just the latest iteration of a broader kind of phenomenon that has played out in different ways across the history of human information-dissemination technologies. While we agree with this, we argue that newer sorts of fake news reveal substantial flaws in earlier understandings of this notion. In particular, we argue that no deceptive intentions are necessary for fake news to arise; rather, fake news arises when stories which were not produced via standard journalistic practice are treated as though they had been. Importantly, this revisionary understanding of fake news allows us to accommodate and understand the way that fake news is plausibly generated and spread in a contemporary setting, as much by non-human actors as by ordinary human beings. (shrink)
Making sense of Kant’s claim that it is morally necessary for us to believe in the immortal soul is a historically fraught issue. Commentators typically reject it, or take one of two paths: they either restrict belief in the immortal soul to our subjective psychology, draining it of any substantive rational grounding; or make it out to be a rational necessity that morally interested beings must accept on pain of contradiction. Against these interpreters, I argue that on Kant’s view, belief (...) in our immortality is necessary because it further determines and enriches the cognitive content contained in the concept of the highest good. Through this sharpened conceptual content, we acquire the resources to withstand theoretical skepticism about our moral vocation. (shrink)
Typically, fair machine learning research focuses on a single decision maker and assumes that the underlying population is stationary. However, many of the critical domains motivating this work are characterized by competitive marketplaces with many decision makers. Realistically, we might expect only a subset of them to adopt any non-compulsory fairness-conscious policy, a situation that political philosophers call partial compliance. This possibility raises important questions: how does partial compliance and the consequent strategic behavior of decision subjects affect the allocation outcomes? (...) If k% of employers were to voluntarily adopt a fairness-promoting intervention, should we expect k% progress (in aggregate) towards the benefits of universal adoption, or will the dynamics of partial compliance wash out the hoped-for benefits? How might adopting a global (versus local) perspective impact the conclusions of an auditor? In this paper, we propose a simple model of an employment market, leveraging simulation as a tool to explore the impact of both interaction effects and incentive effects on outcomes and auditing metrics. Our key findings are that at equilibrium: (1) partial compliance by k% of employers can result in far less than proportional (k%) progress towards the full compliance outcomes; (2) the gap is more severe when fair employers match global (vs local) statistics; (3) choices of local vs global statistics can paint dramatically different pictures of the performance vis-a-vis fairness desiderata of compliant versus non-compliant employers; (4) partial compliance based on local parity measures can induce extreme segregation. Finally, we discuss implications for auditors and insights concerning the design of regulatory frameworks. (shrink)
Vaccine refusal harms and risks harming innocent bystanders. People are not entitled to harm innocents or to impose deadly risks on others, so in these cases there is nothing to be said for the right to refuse vaccination. Compulsory vaccination is therefore justified because non-vaccination can rightly be prohibited, just as other kinds of harmful and risky conduct are rightly prohibited. I develop an analogy to random gunfire to illustrate this point. Vaccine refusal, I argue, is morally similar to firing (...) a weapon into the air and endangering innocent bystanders. By re-framing vaccine refusal as harmful and reckless conduct my aim is to shift the focus of the vaccine debate from non-vaccinators’ religious and refusal rights to everyone else’s rights against being infected with contagious illnesses. Religious freedom and rights of informed consent do not entitle non-vaccinators to harm innocent bystanders, and so coercive vaccination requirements are permissible for the sake of the potential victims of the anti-vaccine movement. (shrink)
An essentialist theory of modality claims that the source of possibility and necessity lies in essence, where essence is then not to be defined in terms of necessity. Hence such theories owe us an account of why it is that the essences of things give rise to necessities in the way required. A new approach to understanding essence in terms of the notion of generalized identity promises to answer this challenge by appeal to the necessity of identity. I explore the (...) prospects for this approach, and argue that it fails. If one favours an account of essence in terms of generalized identity, then one will not, I argue, be able to satisfactorily defend an essentialist theory of modality against the challenge; if one wishes to defend an essentialist theory of modality, and thereby to give an explanation of how necessity arises from essence, one should not understand essence in terms of generalized identity. (shrink)
Although pride has been central to philosophical and religious discussions of emotion for thousands of years, it has largely been neglected by psychologists. However, in the past decade a growing body of psychological research on pride has emerged; new theory and findings suggest that pride is a psychologically important and evolutionarily adaptive emotion. In this article we review this accumulated body of research and argue for a naturalist account of pride, which presumes that pride emerged by way of natural selection. (...) In this view, pride is prevalent in human life because of the functional and adaptive role it has played in the attainment, maintenance, and communication of social status throughout our evolutionary history. (shrink)
Something Aristotle calls ‘right logos’ plays a crucial role in his theory of virtue. But the meaning of ‘logos’ in this context is notoriously contested. I argue against the standard translation ‘reason’, and—drawing on parallels with Plato’s work, especially the Laws—in favor of its being used to denote what transforms an inferior epistemic state into a superior one: an explanatory account. Thus Aristotelian phronēsis, like his and Plato’s technē and epistēmē, is a matter of grasping explanatory accounts: in this case, (...) accounts that identify the right action and say why it is right. Arguably, Aristotelian rationality is a matter of being able to grasp accounts in general. (shrink)
When subjects violate epistemic standards or norms, we sometimes judge them blameworthy rather than blameless. For instance, we might judge a subject blameworthy for dogmatically continuing to believe a claim even after receiving evidence which undermines it. Indeed, the idea that one may be blameworthy for belief is appealed to throughout the contemporary epistemic literature. In some cases, a subject seems blameworthy for believing as she does even though it seems prima facie implausible that she is morally blameworthy or professionally (...) blameworthy. Such cases raise the question of whether one can be blameworthy for a belief in a specifically epistemic sense rather than in some already recognised sense, such as being morally or professionally blameworthy. A number of authors have recently argued that there is a moral or social sense in which one ought to conform one’s beliefs to the evidence. In this paper, I argue that even while accepting that there are moral and social norms governing belief, there are cases in which a subject is blameworthy for a belief but isn’t plausibly morally or socially blameworthy. If this latter view is correct, then we may need to develop a new account of blame which can be applied to beliefs which are not morally or socially blameworthy. (shrink)
Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it's correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to ascribe knowledge, not when knowledge is truly ascribed, (...) and so try to accommodate these intuitions even on an invariantist view. DeRose (Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, 1998; Philosophical Review, 2002) argues that any such 'warranted assertibility manoeuvre', or 'WAM', against contextualism is unlikely to succeed. Here, I argue that his objections to a WAM against contextualism are not persuasive and offer a pragmatic account of the data about ascriptions of knowledge. (shrink)
In this "for and against" book, ethicists Lori Watson and Jessica Flanigan debate the criminalization of sex work. Watson argues for a sex equality approach to prostitution in which buyers are criminalized and sellers are decriminalized, known as the Nordic Model. Flanigan argues that sex work should be fully decriminalized because decriminalization ensures respect for sex workers' and clients' rights, and is more effective than alternative policies.
In ‘The Varieties of Necessity’ Fine presents purported counterexamples to the view that a proposition is a naturally necessary truth if and only if it is logically necessary relative to or conditional upon the basic truths about the status and distribution of natural kinds, properties and relations. The aim of this article is to defend the view that natural necessity is relative necessity, and the general idea that we can define other kinds of necessity as relative, against Fine's criticisms.
Hypocrites invite moral opprobrium, and charges of hypocrisy are a significant and widespread feature of our moral lives. Yet it remains unclear what hypocrites have in common, or what is distinctively bad about them. We propose that hypocrites are persons who have undermined their claim to moral authority. Since this self-undermining can occur in a number of ways, our account construes hypocrisy as multiply realizable. As we explain, a person’s moral authority refers to a kind of standing that they occupy (...) within a particular moral community. This status is both socially important and normatively precarious. Hence, moral agents are right to be vigilant when it comes to hypocrisy, and are often justified in their outrage when they detect it. We further argue that our view can preserve what is attractive in rival accounts, while avoiding their associated problems. (shrink)
Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skeptical strength of an evolutionary debunking argument (...) is dependent upon the evidence for that hypothesis—evidence which, upon further inspection, proves far from compelling. Following that, however, I suggest that the same considerations which spell trouble for the empirical hypotheses of traditional debunking arguments can also be taken to give rise to an alternative—and better supported—style of debunking argument. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant’s notion of weakness or frailty warrants more attention, for it reveals much about his theory of motivation and general metaphysics of mind. As the first and least severe of the three grades of evil, frailty captures those cases where an agent fails to act on their avowed recognition that the moral law is the only legitimate determining ground of the will. The possibility of such cases raises many important questions that have yet to be settled by interpreters. Most (...) importantly, should we account for the failures of weakness by appealing to the activity of reason or sensibility? I will discuss this question in light of a tendency to adopt an overly dualistic reading of Kant’s moral psychology. Focusing on Kant’s remarks on weakness from the Religion and the Metaphysics of Morals, I argue that we should understand weakness as arising from the unique difficulties of sense-dependent judgment, rather than from self-deception, flagging commitment, or overwhelming desire. The resulting account offers a unified moral psychology capable of accommodating the many features of weakness that are difficult to reconcile on other readings. (shrink)
According to evolutionary accounts of distinct emotions, these emotions are shaped by natural selection to adjust the physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral parameters of an organism to facilitate its capacity to respond adaptively to threats and opportunities present in the environment. This account has a number of implications, most notably: each distinct emotion serves, or served, an adaptive function, and emotions are comprised of multiple components, all of which should be functional. In this article, I briefly outline an evolutionary approach (...) to understanding distinct emotions, then explain how this approach could be falsified, how one’s own emotion experience differs from the observation of an emotion experience in someone else, and why variability in emotional responding should be expected. (shrink)