Ocular gene transfer clinical trials are raising hopes for blindness treatments and attracting media attention. News media provide an accessible health information source for patients and the public, but are often criticized for overemphasizing benefits and underplaying risks of novel biomedical interventions. Overly optimistic portrayals of unproven interventions may influence public and patient expectations; the latter may cause patients to downplay risks and over-emphasize benefits, with implications for informed consent for clinical trials. We analyze the news media communications landscape about (...) ocular gene transfer and make recommendations for improving communications between clinicians and potential trial participants in light of media coverage. (shrink)
Shelly Kagan argues for a hierarchical position in animal ethics where people count more than animals do, and some animals count more than others. In arguing for his account of morality, Kagan sets out what needs to be done to establish our obligations toward animals and to fulfil our duties to them.
Most people believe that there are limits to the sacrifices that morality can demand. Although it would often be meritorious, we are not, in fact, morally required to do all that we can to promote overall good. What's more, most people also believe that certain types of acts are simply forbidden, morally off limits, even when necessary for promoting the overall good. In this provocative analysis Kagan maintains that despite the intuitive appeal of these views, they cannot be adequately defended. (...) In criticizing arguments for limited moral requirements as well as those for unconditionally prohibited acts, Kagan offers a sustained attack on two of the most basic features of ordinary common sense morality. (shrink)
There is one thing we can be sure of: we are all going to die. But once we accept that fact, the questions begin. In this thought-provoking book, philosophy professor Shelly Kagan examines the myriad questions that arise when we confront the meaning of mortality. Do we have reason to believe in the existence of immortal souls? Or should we accept an account according to which people are just material objects, nothing more? Can we make sense of the idea (...) of surviving the death of one’s body? If I won’t exist after I die, can death truly be _bad_ for me? Would immortality be desirable? Is fear of death appropriate? Is suicide ever justified? How should I _live_ in the face of death? Written in an informal and conversational style, this stimulating and provocative book challenges many widely held views about death, as it invites the reader to take a fresh look at one of the central features of the human condition—the fact that we will die. (shrink)
The Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres in Nicaragua - birthed in part from the Sandinista Revolution of the 1980s - represents one of the largest, most diverse, and most autonomous women's movements in all of Latin America. While it's true that scholars across a wide range of disciplines have written invariably about this social movement what remains missing from this body of work is scholarship aimed at understanding, specifically, the psychology of resistance; in other words, what are the psychological mechanisms and (...) methodologies that emerge from the margins that determine the kind of social action that revolutionizes societies? Investigating the psychosocial processes behind resistance is critical to understanding a commitment to justice and the development of subjectivity necessary for enacting the political activity required for social transformation. Psychology, in particular, as author Shelly Grabe argues, is positioned to engage in a systematic exploration of the links between social and political conditions that determine how, why, and under what circumstances resistance emerges. Narrating a Psychology of Resistance documents the first-hand accounts of the Nicaraguan women's Movimiento: a coordinated mobilization of women that has weathered unremitting power differentials characterized by patriarchy and capitalism. In this collection of testimonios, Grabe gives voice to these extraordinary women and closely examines how psychological processes that emerge in response to sociopolitical oppression can lead to gendered justice and the revolutionizing of societies at large. ". (shrink)
In this article, the author explores the gendered dynamics of “grinding,” sexualized dancing common at college parties. Drawing on the observations of student participant observers, the author describes the common script for initiating this behavior. At these parties, men initiated more often and more directly than women, whose behaviors were shaped by a sexual double standard and relational imperative. The heterosexual grinding script enacts a gendered dynamic that reproduces systematic gender inequality by limiting women’s access to sexual agency and pleasure, (...) privileging men’s pleasure and confirming their higher status. (shrink)
Peter Singer famously argued in Animal Liberation that almost all of us are speciesists, unjustifiably favoring the interests of humans over the similar interests of other animals. Although I long found that charge compelling, I now find myself having doubts. This article starts by trying to get clear about the nature of speciesism, and then argues that Singer's attempt to show that speciesism is a mere prejudice is unsuccessful. I also argue that most of us are not actually speciesists at (...) all, but rather accept a view I call modal personism. Although I am not confident that modal personism can be adequately defended, it is, at the very least, a philosophical view worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
According to the dominant philosophical tradition, intrinsic value must depend solely upon intrinsic properties. By appealing to various examples, however, I argue that we should at least leave open the possibility that in some cases intrinsic value may be based in part on relational properties. Indeed, I argue that we should even be open to the possibility that an object''s intrinsic value may sometimes depend (in part) on its instrumental value. If this is right, of course, then the traditional contrast (...) between intrinsic value and instrumental value is mistaken. (shrink)
governed by Newtonian laws. In standard quantum mechanics only the wave function or the results of measurements exist, and to answer the question of how the classical world can be part of the quantum world is a rather formidable task. However, this is not the case for Bohmian mechanics, which, like classical mechanics, is a theory about real objects. In Bohmian terms, the problem of the classical limit becomes very simple: when do the Bohmian trajectories look Newtonian?
What are the limits of well-being? This question nicely captures one of the central debates concerning the nature of the individual human good. For rival theories differ as to what sort of facts directly constitute a person's being well-off. On some views, well-being is limited to the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. But other views push the boundaries of well-being beyond this, so that it encompasses a variety of mental states, not merely pleasure alone. Some theories then (...) draw the line here, limiting well-being to the presence of the appropriately broadened set of mental states. But still others extend the limits of well-being even further, so that it is constituted in part by facts that are not themselves mental states at all; on such views, well-being is partly constituted by states of affairs that are “external” to the individual's experiences. In this essay, I want to explore some of this debate by focusing on a particular stretch of the dialectic. That is, I want to think hard about a particular connected series of arguments and counterarguments. These arguments – or, at least, the concerns they seek to express – emerge naturally in the give and take of philosophical discussion. Together they make up a rather simple story, whose plot, in very rough terms, is this: first there is an attempt to push the limits of well-being outward, moving from a narrow to a broader conception; then comes the claim that the resulting notion is too broad, and so we must retreat to a narrower conception after all. (shrink)
According to the dominant philosophical tradition, intrinsic value must depend solely upon intrinsic properties. By appealing to various examples, however, I argue that we should at least leave open the possibility that in some cases intrinsic value may be based in part on relational properties. Indeed, I argue that we should even be open to the possibility that an object's intrinsic value may sometimes depend on its instrumental value. If this is right, of course, then the traditional contrast between intrinsic (...) value and instrumental value is mistaken. (shrink)
Social relationships are intricately tied to health and well-being and people are motivated to form and maintain interpersonal bonds. While it is clear that social relationships can be highly rewarding, it is equally clear that social relationships or the lack thereof can be the source of much distress. In this article a conceptualization of social motivation that reflects the basic necessity for people to simultaneously manage approaching the incentives and avoiding the threats in social relationships is presented. We then review (...) evidence that the strength of approach and avoidance social motives and goals is strongly linked to social outcomes through several behavioral, cognitive, and affective processes. (shrink)
Moral desert -- Fault forfeits first -- Desert graphs -- Skylines -- Other shapes -- Placing peaks -- The ratio view -- Similar offense -- Graphing comparative desert -- Variation -- Groups -- Desert taken as a whole -- Reservations.
Typically, discussions of well-being focus almost exclusively on the positive aspects of well-being, those elements which directly contribute to a life going well, or better. It is generally assumed, without comment, that there is no need to explicitly discuss ill-being as well—that is, the part of the theory of well-being that specifies the elements which directly contribute to a life going badly, or less well—since (or so it is thought) this raises no special difficulties or problems. But this common assumption (...) is a mistake, since it is far from obvious how to extend even familiar theories of well-being so as to explicitly cover ill-being as well. This paper acts as an introduction to ill-being, noting some of the interesting and overlooked problems ill-being raises for qualitative hedonism, preference theory, and objective list theories. Particular attention is paid, by way of illustration, to the claim that knowledge is an objective good. Assuming this is so, what exactly is the opposite of knowledge, the objective bad which lowers one’s well-being in the same way that knowledge raises it? (shrink)
000000001. Introduction Call a theory of the good—be it moral or prudential—aggregative just in case (1) it recognizes local (or location-relative) goodness, and (2) the goodness of states of affairs is based on some aggregation of local goodness. The locations for local goodness might be points or regions in time, space, or space-time; or they might be people, or states of nature.1 Any method of aggregation is allowed: totaling, averaging, measuring the equality of the distribution, measuring the minimum, etc.. Call (...) a theory of the good finitely additive just in case it is aggregative, and for any finite set of locations it aggregates by adding together the goodness at those locations. Standard versions of total utilitarianism typically invoke finitely additive value theories (with people as locations). A puzzle can arise when finitely additive value theories are applied to cases involving an infinite number of locations (people, times, etc.). Suppose, for example, that temporal locations are the locus of value, and that time is discrete, and has no beginning or end.2 How would a finitely additive theory (e.g., a temporal version of total utilitarianism) judge the following two worlds? Goodness at Locations (e.g. times) w1:..., 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, ..... w2:..., 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ..... Example 1 At each time w1 contains 2 units of goodness and w2 contains only 1. Intuitively, we claim, if the locations are the same in each world, finitely additive theorists will want to claim that w1 is better than w2. But it's not clear how they could coherently hold this view. For using standard mathematics the sum of each is the same infinity, and so there seems to be no basis for claiming that one is better than the other.3 (Appealing to Cantorian infinities is of no help here, since for any Cantorian infinite N, 2xN=1xN.). (shrink)
Anyone who reflects on the way we go about arguing for or against moral claims is likely to be struck by the central importance we give to thinking about cases. Intuitive reactions to cases—real or imagined—are carefully noted, and then appealed to as providing reason to accept various claims. When trying on a general moral theory for size, for example, we typically get a feel for its overall plausibility by considering its implications in a range of cases. Similarly, when we (...) try to refine the statement of a principle meant to cover a fairly specific part of morality, we guide ourselves by testing the various possible revisions against a carefully constructed set of cases. And when arguing against a claim, we take ourselves to have shown something significant if we can find an intuitively compelling counterexample, and such counterexamples almost always take the form of a description of one or another case where the implications of the claim in question seem implausible. Even when we find ourselves faced with a case where we have no immediate and clear reaction, or where we have such a reaction, but others don't share it and we need to persuade them, in what is probably the most common way of trying to make progress we consider various analogies and disanalogies; that is to say, we appeal to still other cases, and by seeing what we want to say there, we discover what it is plausible to say in the original case. In these and other ways, then, the appeal to cases plays a central and ubiquitous role in our moral thinking. (shrink)
Many proposed moral principles are such that it would be difficult or impossible to always correctly identify which act is required by that principle in a given situation. To deal with this problem, theorists typically offer various methods of determining what to do in the face of epistemic limitations, and we are then told that the right thing to do – given these limitations – is to perform the act identified by the given method. But since the method and the (...) underlying principle can diverge, it would seem that in such cases we are being given contradictory advice: some particular act will be both right and not right. Various attempts to resolve this apparent paradox are surveyed, but none are completely satisfactory. (shrink)
Life following an overwhelming event of violence is fundamentally changed. Survivors struggle to reconcile their present experience of life—reconfigured through trauma—with their experience of faith. When individuals and religious communities try to put the events behind them and proclaim the good news before its time, they fail to attend to the ongoing realities of a death that do not go away. This essay explores a theology that witnesses to what remains.
R. Marie Griffith and Sarah Coakley suggest that feminist ecumenism across the evangelical-liberal spectrum is valuable for feminist studies of religion and theologies. In this context, I trace the conversation that has arisen around the idea of adopting ‘submission’ vis-à-vis the Christian notion of kenosis, and turn it in a new direction. I argue that Coakley’s apophatically cruciform understanding of submission in contemplative prayer contrasts with womanist approaches like that of Delores Williams. Drawing on Williams’ considerations of atonement and Friedrich (...) Schleiermacher’s understanding of prayer, I offer ‘incarnational submission’ as a way to acknowledge the value of prayerful submission while avoiding its potentially oppressive features. (shrink)
I suggest that it is beneficial for Christian feminist theologians to affirm divine personhood on the basis of the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Doing so allows feminist theologians to connect the doctrines of God and Christ within systematic theologies. Moreover, by affirming divine personhood in concert with an extension of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s transcendental reasoning about redemption, feminists could contribute to the disruption of sexist ecclesial belief and practice. I examine Schleiermacher’s account and rejection of Nazareanism, (...) Manicheanism, Pelagianism, and Docetism, inferring from them four marks of personhood as conditions for the possibility of redemption. These include the communicability of difference, material activity, differentiated relationality, and discerning attention with circumscribed ineffability. In this way, I link feminist anthropologies with Christologically regulated soteriological claims vis-à-vis the doctrine of God. (shrink)
Witnessing Whiteness invites educators to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The author illustrates how racial discomfort leads white educators toward ineffective teaching pedagogy and poor relationships with students and colleagues of color. Questioning the implications our history has for educational institutions, school reform efforts, and diversity initiatives, this book considers political, economic, socio-cultural, and legal histories that shaped the (...) meanings associated with whiteness. Drawing on dialogue with well-known figures within education, race, and multicultural work, the book offers intimate, personal stories of cross-race friendships that address both how a deep understanding of whiteness supports cross-race collaboration and the long-term nature of the work of excising racism from the deep psyche. Concluding chapters offer practical information on building knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices, a hopeful look at our collective future, and a discussion of how to create a culture of witnessing educators who support allies for social and racial justice. (shrink)
Witnessing Whiteness invites readers to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The author illustrates how racial discomfort leads white people toward poor relationships with people of color. Questioning the implications our history has for personal lives and social institutions, the book considers political, economic, socio-cultural, and legal histories that shaped the meanings associated with whiteness. For book discussion groups and (...) workshop plans, please visit www.witnessingwhiteness.com. (shrink)
This new edition explains why developing an anti-racist white identity is an important part of cultivating an effective antiracist practice and is a necessary part of subverting the weaponizing of white identity cultivated by the far right.