In reference to the different approaches in philosophy(of medicine) of the nature of (medical) technology,this article introduces the topic of this specialissue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, that is,the way the different forms of medical technologyfunction in everyday medical practice. The authorselaborate on the active role technology plays inshaping our views on disease, illness, and the body,whence in shaping our world.
It is important and urgent to question therelationship between evidence-based medicineand power shifts in health care systems.Although definitions of EBM are phrased as ascientific approach to medicine, EBM is anormative concept: it aims to improve medicineand health care. Both proponents and opponentsuse a normative concept. More particularly,they provide particular views on positions,responsibilities, possibilities, norms andrelationships between professionals, patientgroups, governments and other parties in healthcare and society. From this perspective, wewant to analyse the role of EBM in modernwestern societies. By using (...) citizenshiptheory, we will argue that the role of EBM isnot fixed but depends on the relation betweenstate and society. We will first analyse thefundamental change in western societies duringthe past decades, from modern to post-modernsocieties. Then, we will elaborate a fourfoldmodel of possible relationships between stateand society, and discuss the issue of how EBM mayfit in, by giving some examples of the practiceof EBM in different European countries. On thisbasis, we conclude to consider EBM as a publicforum where proponents and opponents of EBMdiscuss diverse and possibly conflicting waysof changing medicine, health care, and healthpolicy. This requires the incorporation of theperspective of citizens and their socialnetworks, professionals with practical andtacit knowledge, and diverse public views onwhat is regarded as `a good life'. Inasmuch asEBM is expected to be practically relevant, itought to be tied to rather than separated fromthe normative world of emancipated patients anddiverse health care practices. Proponents andopponents of EBM should be prepared to defendthe normative claims and power effects that areinherently tied to any presentation ofevidence. (shrink)
Design research programs attempt to bring together the properties of available materials and the demands derived from intended applications. The logic of problem states and state transitions in such programs, including assessment criteria and heuristic principles, is described in settheoretic terms, starting with a naive model comprising an intended profile and the operational profile of a prototype. In a first concretization the useful distinction between structural and functional properties is built into the model. In two further concretizations the inclusion of (...) potential applications is motivated and described for the case of drug research as well as the inclusion of potential realizations for the case of complex products. Next, another line of concretization of the naive model, the incorporation of potentially relevant properties, is sketched. Then the partial analogy between product- and truth-approximation is indicated. We conclude with some remarks about the usefulness of our models for products reaching the market in comparison to the the so-called social construction of technology approach. (shrink)
Since the introduction of Prozac (fluoxetine), a number of so‐called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been developed and introduced. These mood enhancers are being presently prescribed for people whose problems are not recognized mental illnesses. It is probable that in the near future the combination of data from advanced biochips and brain imaging will accelerate the development of neurotechnology. So‐called neuroceuticals, used for therapy and enhancement, and to improve different aspects of mental health, will be efficient neuromodulators. The scientific, (...) ethical, and social issues raised by mood enhancement and alteration of personal resilience require further exploration. The chapter talks about the notion of personal autonomy, cosmetic psychopharmacology, power for autonomous, and moral accountability in this context. It suggests that empirical research should also cover psychological and sociological research into perceptions and experiences of individuals who have used these drugs. (shrink)
This chapter discusses three different ways of talking about mood enhancement. First, if we do want to enhance, what is good enhancement? Second, if one wants to enhance, what is the usefulness of enhancement? Third, if we want to enhance, what might be the beneficial (or harmful) effects? To illustrate the conceptual analysis in this chapter, two classes of drugs to enhance mood are used. First is the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the other class is of (...) beta blocking agents, which are claimed to be good as “memory‐smoothing” drugs. Three different ways of using the terms “good” or “bad” are shown to be in play in mood enhancement: instrumental goodness and badness, utalitarian goodness and badness, and benefactorial goodness and badness. Mood‐improving and memory‐smoothing drugs may serve different purposes, which are linked to the general purpose of improving the mood or smoothing memories. (shrink)
The rise of genetic techniques presents a great promise as well as some difficult dilemma's about how genetics will affect the way we will be able to live our lives. For this reason, in many countries, public debates are organized to reflect upon the development of predictive medicine. In this essay we focus on economist A. Hirschman's work on “exit, voice and loyalty” to analyse and enrich these public debates. We first introduce Hirschman's triad of concepts and focus on the (...) concept of “voice,” which refers to an institution's ability to allow clients to give feedback about products or services, and its ability to listen to the feedback given. We argue that voice is particularly important for the health care system in which predictive medicine is developing. Voice is crucial because how predictive medicine will become institutionalised is now in the process of becoming determined. However, in public debates about predictive medicine, voice tends to be reduced to providing people with the option of making a choice whether to use genetic techniques or not. We argue that this reduction of voice to choice is not very informative about predictive medicine and suggest an amendment of Hirschman's concept of voice, which we call “hesitant voice.” Hesitant voice attempts to be informative about the uncertainty people experience in addressing predictive medicine and topicalises the gradual, the embodied, the tentative character of voice in developing situations like that of predictive medicine. (shrink)