Academics from diverse disciplines are recognizing not only the procedural ethical issues involved in research, but also the complexity of everyday “micro” ethical issues that arise. While ethical guidelines are being developed for research in aboriginal populations and low-and-middle-income countries, multi-partnered research initiatives examining arts-based interventions to promote social change pose a unique set of ethical dilemmas not yet fully explored. Our research team, comprising health, education, and social scientists, critical theorists, artists and community-activists launched a five-year research partnership on (...) arts-for-social change. Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council in Canada and based in six universities, including over 40 community-based collaborators, and informed by five main field projects, we set out to synthesize existing knowledge and lessons we learned. We summarized these learnings into 12 key points for reflection, grouped into three categories: community-university partnership concerns, dilemmas related to the arts, and team issues. In addition to addressing previous concerns outlined in the literature, we identified power dynamics hindering meaningful participation of community partners and university-based teams that need to be addressed within a reflective critical framework of ethical practice. We present how our team has been addressing these issues, as examples of how such concerns could be approached in community-university partnerships in arts for social change. (shrink)
With increasing calls for global health research there is growing concern regarding the ethical challenges encountered by researchers from high-income countries (HICs) working in low or middle-income countries (LMICs). There is a dearth of literature on how to address these challenges in practice. In this article, we conduct a critical analysis of three case studies of research conducted in LMICs. We apply emerging ethical guidelines and principles specific to global health research and offer practical strategies that researchers ought to consider. (...) We present case studies in which Canadian health professional students conducted a health promotion project in a community in Honduras; a research capacity-building program in South Africa, in which Canadian students also worked alongside LMIC partners; and a community-university partnered research capacity-building program in which Ecuadorean graduate students, some working alongside Canadian students, conducted community-based health research projects in Ecuadorean communities. We examine each case, identifying ethical issues that emerged and how new ethical paradigms being promoted could be concretely applied. We conclude that research ethics boards should focus not only on protecting individual integrity and human dignity in health studies but also on beneficence and non-maleficence at the community level, explicitly considering social justice issues and local capacity-building imperatives. We conclude that researchers from HICs interested in global health research must work with LMIC partners to implement collaborative processes for assuring ethical research that respects local knowledge, cultural factors, the social determination of health, community participation and partnership, and making social accountability a paramount concern. (shrink)
Constitutivism holds that an account of what a thing is yields those normative standards to which that thing is by nature subject. We articulate a minimal form of constitutivism that we call _formal, non-epistemological constitutivism_ which diverges from orthodox versions of constitutivism in two main respects. First: whereas orthodox versions of constitutivism hold that those ethical norms to which people are by nature subject are sui generis because of their special capacity to motivate action and legitimate criticism, we argue that (...) these features are compatible with treating these norms as of a piece with those ‘formal’ natural-historical norms which can be used to assess living things. Second: unlike orthodox versions of constitutivism, our version does not seek to use a non-normative account of that kind of being which we are as a means of identifying those normative claims to which we are are by nature subject. We then indicate how our position can afford us the resources to address some of the familiar difficulties that face cognitivism in ethics. (shrink)
If we had more powerful minds would we be puzzled by less - because we could make better theories - or by more - because we could ask more difficult questions? This paper focuses on clarifying the question, with an emphasis on comparisons between actual and possible species of thinker. A pre-publication version of the paper is available on my website at http://www.fernieroad.ca/a/PAPERS/papers.html .
On 19 December 2005 the recommendations of the Lockhart Review were released. One of the key recommendations was that current laws be amended to permit the creation of embryonic stem cells by somatic cell nuclear transfer. The Lockhart Report analysed the ethical arguments for and against the creation of embryos by nuclear transfer. It rationalised that, although there were various objections to such technology from some sections of Australian society, the good that this science has the potential to (...) produce in the form of stem cell therapies to assist with or cure disease should prevail This article will critically analyse the ethical arguments presented to the Lockhart Review and assess how the Review Committee resolved the debate as to the ethical status of a preimplantation embryo. It will be contended that the recommendations for reform should be fully implemented by the Federal Government, to enable scientists to have full access to both embryonic and adult stem cells, including custom-made stem cell lines created through the SCNT process, to allow medical research to progress to its fullest potential. (shrink)
An argument has been made for identifying Mill as an individualistic thinker. Certainly, A System of Logic develops views, such as methodological individualism and a conception of the ‘art of life’, which portray persons as having unique essences that, when supported by autonomous choices with respect to life experiments, reveal their individuality. These views are at least loosely applied in later works. Principles of Political Economy treats economic aspects of social life frequently in terms consistent with those of classical economists (...) for whom the self-interested actions of individuals achieve economic growth. On Liberty, the flagship volume in this view, and, less centrally, The Subjection of Women provide impressive testimony for an individualistic way of life in terms of its contributions to social progress. Considerations on Representative Government examines means for institutionalizing an individualistic way of life. And Utilitarianism provides a basis for justifying an individualistic view of this social programme: more satisfaction of individual desires. But such an account, Mill's own assessment notwithstanding, would be unsatisfactory. (shrink)
We are often uncertain how to behave morally in complex situations. In this controversial study, Ted Lockhart contends that moral philosophy has failed to address how we make such moral decisions. Adapting decision theory to the task of decision-making under moral uncertainly, he proposes that we should not always act how we feel we ought to act, and that sometimes we should act against what we feel to be morally right. Lockhart also discusses abortion extensively and proposes new (...) ways to deal with the ethical and moral issues which surround it. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
In the ninth century BCE, the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity to the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Later generations further developed these initial insights, but we have never grown beyond them. Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for example, were all secondary flowerings of the original Israelite vision. Now, in (...) The Great Transformation , Karen Armstrong reveals how the sages of this pivotal “Axial Age” can speak clearly and helpfully to the violence and desperation that we experience in our own times. Armstrong traces the development of the Axial Age chronologically, examining the contributions of such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius, and Euripides. All of the Axial Age faiths began in principled and visceral recoil from the unprecedented violence of their time. Despite some differences of emphasis, there was a remarkable consensus in their call for an abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage, and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and give us, Armstrong says, two important pieces of advice: first there must be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action. In her introduction and concluding chapter, Armstrong urges us to consider how these spiritualities challenge the way we are religious today. In our various institutions, we sometimes seem to be attempting to create exactly the kind of religion that Axial sages and prophets had hoped to eliminate. We often equate faith with doctrinal conformity, but the traditions of the Axial Age were not about dogma. All insisted on the primacy of compassion even in the midst of suffering. In each Axial Age case, a disciplined revulsion from violence and hatred proved to be the major catalyst of spiritual change. (shrink)
We frequently speak of certain things or phenomena being built out of or based in others. Making Things Up concerns these relations, which connect more fundamental things to less fundamental things: Karen Bennett calls these 'building relations'. She aims to illuminate what it means to say that one thing is more fundamental than another.
Drawing on insights from causal theories of reference, teleosemantics, and state space semantics, a theory of naturalized mental representation. In A Mark of the Mental, Karen Neander considers the representational power of mental states—described by the cognitive scientist Zenon Pylyshyn as the “second hardest puzzle” of philosophy of mind. The puzzle at the heart of the book is sometimes called “the problem of mental content,” “Brentano's problem,” or “the problem of intentionality.” Its motivating mystery is how neurobiological states can (...) have semantic properties such as meaning or reference. Neander proposes a naturalistic account for sensory-perceptual representations. Neander draws on insights from state-space semantics, causal theories of reference, and teleosemantic theories. She proposes and defends an intuitive, theoretically well-motivated but highly controversial thesis: sensory-perceptual systems have the function to produce inner state changes that are the analogs of as well as caused by their referents. Neander shows that the three main elements—functions, causal-information relations, and relations of second-order similarity—complement rather than conflict with each other. After developing an argument for teleosemantics by examining the nature of explanation in the mind and brain sciences, she develops a theory of mental content and defends it against six main content-determinacy challenges to a naturalized semantics. (shrink)
An outstanding reference source for the wide range of philosophical contributions made by women writing in Europe from about 1560 to 1780. It shows the range of genres and methods used by women writing in these centuries in Europe, thus encouraging an expanded understanding of our historical canon.
Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-30 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9882-y Authors Karen S. Lewis, Department of Philosophy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
This book discusses the notion that quantum gravity may represent the "breakdown" of spacetime at extremely high energy scales. If spacetime does not exist at the fundamental level, then it has to be considered "emergent", in other words an effective structure, valid at low energy scales. The author develops a conception of emergence appropriate to effective theories in physics, and shows how it applies (or could apply) in various approaches to quantum gravity, including condensed matter approaches, discrete approaches, and loop (...) quantum gravity. (shrink)
I offer a novel solution to the problem of counterfactual skepticism: the worry that all contingent counterfactuals without explicit probabilities in the consequent are false. I argue that a specific kind of contextualist semantics and pragmatics for would- and might-counterfactuals can block both central routes to counterfactual skepticism. One, it can explain the clash between would- and might-counterfactuals as in: If you had dropped that vase, it would have broken. and If you had dropped that vase, it might have safely (...) quantum tunneled to China. Two, it can explain why counterfactuals like can be true despite the fact that quantum tunneling worlds are among the most similar worlds. I further argue that this brand of contextualism accounts for the data better than other existing solutions to the problem. (shrink)
We hypothesised that belief in conspiracy theories would be predicted by the general tendency to attribute agency and intentionality where it is unlikely to exist. We further hypothesised that this tendency would explain the relationship between education level and belief in conspiracy theories, where lower levels of education have been found to be associated with higher conspiracy belief. In Study 1 participants were more likely to agree with a range of conspiracy theories if they also tended to attribute intentionality and (...) agency to inanimate objects. As predicted, this relationship accounted for the link between education level and belief in conspiracy theories. We replicated this finding in Study 2, whilst taking into account beliefs in paranormal phenomena. These results suggest that education may undermine the reasoning processes and assumptions that are reflected in conspiracy belief. (shrink)
Many otherwise enlightened people often dismiss etiquette as a trivial subject or—worse yet—as nothing but a disguise for moral hypocrisy or unjust social hierarchies. Such sentiments either mistakenly assume that most manners merely frame the “real issues” of any interpersonal exchange or are the ugly vestiges of outdated, unfair social arrangements. But in _On Manners_, Karen Stohr turns the tables on these easy prejudices, demonstrating that the scope of manners is much broader than most people realize and that manners (...) lead directly to the roots of enduring ethical questions. Stohr suggests that though manners are mostly conventional, they are nevertheless authoritative insofar as they are a primary means by which we express moral attitudes and commitments and carry out important moral goals. Drawing primarily on Aristotle and Kant and with references to a wide range of cultural examples—from Jane Austen’s _Pride and Prejudice_ to Larry David’s _Curb Your Enthusiasm_—the author ultimately concludes that good manners are essential to moral character. (shrink)
Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using examples (...) from specific QG approaches. Reduction is argued to be a special case of correspondence, and to form part of the definition of QG. Finally, the appropriate account of emergence in the context of QG is presented, and compared to conceptions of emergence in the broader philosophy literature. It is argued that, while emergence is likely to hold between QG and general relativity, emergence is not part of the definition of QG, and nor can it serve usefully in the development and justification of the new theory. (shrink)
Within physics there are two ways of establishing the relative fundamentality of one theory compared to another, via two senses of reduction: "inter-level" and "intra-level" (Crowther, 2018). The former is standardly recognised as roughly correlating with the chain of ontological dependence (i.e., the phenomena described by theories of macro-physics are typically supposed to be ontologically dependent on the entities/behaviour described by theories of micro-physics), and thus has been of interest to naturalised metaphysics. The latter, though, has not been considered interesting (...) for metaphysics, because it is not thought to correlate either with ontological dependence, nor causal or dynamical dependence. I argue, however, that this is a mistake, and that actually, the intra-level relation does reflect ontological dependence (in the same sense as the inter-level relation) and thus should not be neglected by metaphysics of physics. This argument further supports the assertion that the same notion of fundamentality underlies both the inter- and intra-level claims of fundamentality in physics, and that this notion of relative fundamentality in physics correlates with that of metaphysics. (shrink)
The classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterfactuals captures that Sobel sequences are consistent sequences, for example: a.If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance. b.But if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro dance. But reverse a sequence like this one and it no longer sounds so good, which is surprising on the classic semantics. This observation motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to propose (...) dynamic semantic accounts of counterfactual conditionals. Subsequently, Sarah Moss defended the classic semantics against the charge that it need be abandoned in the face of these order effects, arguing that the infelicity of the reverse sequences is pragmatic. I argue that both accounts are ultimately untenable, but each account has strengths. Seeing what works and what doesn't in each account points the way to the right positive view. With this in mind, I defend a contextualist account of counterfactuals that takes conversational relevance to play a central role. (shrink)
The French studies scholar Patrick Coleman made the important observation that over the course of the eighteenth century, the social meanings of anger became increasingly democratized. The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is an outstanding example of this change. In Man or Citizen, Karen Pagani expands, in original and fascinating ways, the study of anger in Rousseau’s autobiographical, literary, and philosophical works. Pagani is especially interested in how and to what degree anger—and various reconciliatory responses to anger, such as forgiveness—functions (...) as a defining aspect of one’s identity, both as a private individual and as a public citizen. Rousseau himself was, as Pagani puts it, “unabashed” in his own anger and indignation—toward society on one hand (corrupter of our naturally good and authentic selves) and, on the other, toward certain individuals who had somehow wronged him (his famous philosophical disputes with Voltaire and Diderot, for example). In Rousseau’s work, Pagani finds that the extent to which an individual processes, expresses, and eventually resolves or satisfies anger is very much of moral and political concern. She argues that for Rousseau, anger is not only inevitable but also indispensable, and that the incapacity to experience it renders one amoral, while the ability to experience it is a key element of good citizenship. (shrink)
In seeking an answer to the question of what it means for a theory to be fundamental, it is enlightening to ask why the current best theories of physics are not generally believed to be fundamental. This reveals a set of conditions that a theory of physics must satisfy in order to be considered fundamental. Physics aspires to describe ever deeper levels of reality, which may be without end. Ultimately, at any stage we may not be able to tell whether (...) we've reached rock bottom, or even if there is a base level – nevertheless, I draft a checklist to help us identify when to stop digging, in the case where we may have reached a candidate for a final theory. Given that the list is – according to (current) mainstream belief in high-energy physics – complete, and each criterion well-motivated, I argue that a physical theory that satisfies all the criteria can be assumed to be fundamental in the absence of evidence to the contrary (i.e., I argue that the necessary conditions are jointly sufficient for a claim of fundamentality in physics). (shrink)
In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required—physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the crisis, (...) including in motivating the need for a new theory, and defining what this theory should be like. In particular, I consider: the generalised correspondence principle, UV-completion, background independence, and the holographic principle. I also explore how the current crisis fits with Friedman’s view on the roles of principles in revolutionary theory-change, finding that while many key aspects of this view are not represented in quantum gravity, the view could potentially offer a useful diagnostic, and prescriptive strategy. This paper is intended to be relatively non-technical, and to bring some of the philosophical issues from the search for quantum gravity to a more general philosophical audience interested in the roles of principles in scientific theory-change. (shrink)
One of the central questions of discourse dynamics is when an anaphoric pronoun is licensed. This paper addresses this question as it pertains to the complex data involving anaphora and negation. It is commonly held that negation blocks anaphoric potential, for example, we cannot say “Bill doesn’t have a car. It is black”. However, there are many exceptions to this generalization. This paper examines a variety of types of discourses in which anaphora on indefinites under the scope of negation is (...) felicitous. These cases are not just of intrinsic interest, but I argue present serious problems for the dynamic semantic framework, which builds the licensing facts into the semantics. I argue in favor of adopting a dynamic pragmatics, a theory that explains context change through general Gricean principles, and combining it with a static, d-type theory of anaphora, in which pronouns go proxy for definite descriptions. (shrink)
This collection brings together fourteen contributions by authors from around the globe. Each of the contributions engages with questions about how local and global bioethical issues are made to be comparable, in the hope of redressing basic needs and demands for justice. These works demonstrate the significant conceptual contributions that can be made through feminists' attention to debates in a range of interrelated fields, especially as they formulate appropriate responses to developments in medical technology, global economics, population shifts, and poverty.
This book provides a new interpretation of Hegel's philosophy, arguing that his theory of reason and thinking revolve around the concept of organic life. Through a detailed analysis of Hegel's philosophy and Kant's influence, Karen Ng shows that Hegel's unique contribution is that cognitive capacities are indexed to species capacities, where embodiment and the relation to the environment are central in processes of mind.
Scientists’ identities and social locations influence their work, but the content of scientific work can also influence scientists. Theory from feminist science studies, autoethnographic accounts, interviews, and experiments indicate that the substance of scientific research can have profound effects on how scientists are treated by colleagues and their sense of belonging in science. I bring together these disparate literatures under the framework of professional cultures. Drawing on the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Web of Science, I use computational social (...) science tools to argue that the way scientists write about sex in their research influences the future gender ratio of PhDs awarded across 53 subfields of the life sciences over a span of 47 years. Specifically, I show that a critical paradigm of “feminist biology” that seeks to de-essentialize sex and gender corresponds to increases in women’s graduation rates, whereas “sex difference” research—sometimes called “neurosexism” because of its emphasis on essential, categorical differences—corresponds to decreases in women’s graduation rates in most fields. (shrink)