Blog Posts (7)
June 17, 2013
I cannot claim to have had anything more than a casual and intermittent personal acquaintance with Professor Pellegrino, whose passing this last week is a great loss for bioethics, medicine, academia, and the church alike. I did, however, have the priv...
January 9, 2012
We sadly note the passing of philosopher and bioethicists, Bernard “Bernie” Gert. Bernie was also a member of American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and received its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.…
June 9, 2009
It’s the workaholics who are told that “your work is your life”. It’s many in academia who find that they are drawn to study the issues that afflict them or plague them or trouble them most about themselves or about the world.…
May 15, 2009
One of the oldest jokes around for those trained in philosophy includes a punch line about serving fries at insert name of favorite fast food restaurant.…
April 10, 2008
According to an article earlier this week in NYT, philosophy has become a hot major on college campuses:
Once scoffed at as a luxury major, philosophy is being embraced at Rutgers and other universities by a new generation of college students who are drawing modern-day lessons from the age-old discipline as they try to make sense of their world, from the morality of the war in Iraq to the latest political scandal.…
January 14, 2008
Yesterday’s NYT Mag included an article by Steven Pinker about the science of morality:
… Illusions are a favorite tool of perception scientists for exposing the workings of the five senses, and of philosophers for shaking people out of the nave belief that our minds give us a transparent window onto the world (since if our eyes can be fooled by an illusion, why should we trust them at other times?).…
September 12, 2007
Seed recently posted an interesting article from Carl Zimmer about the multidisciplinary effort to develop a theory — instead of a defintion — of life:
“A science in which the most important object has no definitionthat’s absolutely unacceptable,” says [Radu Popa, geobiologist and the author of Between Probability and Necessity: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life].…
May 17, 2012 9:54 am
Will “the self” survive because it can provide people with a greater sense of happiness? Or is it – perhaps along with the constructs “Free Will” and “Determinism” – doomed to the dustbin of history? Should cyborgs, avatars, and a rewired human brain be developed with a stronger or weaker sense of self? An interview with Dr. Garret Merriam, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Southern Indiana.
May 10, 2012 11:30 am
The new sciences in fact have a tendency to divide neatly into two parts. On the one hand there is an analysis of some feature of our mental or social life and an attempt to show its importance and the principles of its organisation. On the other hand, there is a set of brain scans. Every now and then there is a cry of “Eureka!” – for example, when Joshua Greene showed that dilemmas involving personal confrontation arouse different brain areas from those aroused by detached moral calculations. But since Greene gave no coherent description of the question, to which the datum was supposed to suggest an answer, the cry dwindled into silence.
April 10, 2012 11:07 pm
A core concept of the Enlightenment was that the more that reasoning is based on experimentation the more we can learn about the world. Manipulation of variables, recommended in the 17th century by Francis Bacon, proved to be a turning point in the history of science. By uncovering previously invisible truths and giving human beings novel and effective ways to manage their environment scientific method gave the idea of progress a whole new meaning. Until then it wasn’t at all clear that civilization wasn’t in some kind of steady state, or even that we weren’t in decline from some “golden age.” But it turned out that the golden age was still ahead of us, if we were smart enough to invest in it and wise enough not to misuse the knowledge being gained.
March 10, 2012 9:35 am
Evan Selinger considers the ramifications of using apps to improve our habits. And also whether willpower as we normally think about it even exists. #bioethics #neuroethics #brain #philosophy
March 2, 2012 4:50 pm
Dr Francesca Minerva, a former Oxford University ethicist, who co-wrote a controversial article that argued killing newborn babies should be as permissible as abortion, has said she has received death threats over the paper. #philosophy #bioethics