I have previously based my own ethical approach to interactions with other species on Jeremy Bentham’s derivation of rights from the ability to suffer. Bentham was a British philosopher and the founder of utilitarian philosophy (utilitarianism is “a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, usually defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.”). As Bentham put it, “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
I don’t want to die, but apparently Daniel Callahan wants me to. He wants me to say nothing, do nothing about aging and just wait until I am 75 and die quietly. Well, that’s not going to happen, mister. Bioethicisits like Callahan are the ones responsible for our suffering from the horrors of aging-related diseases and death. And here’s why. The opinion of bioethicists prevents the progress from being fast enough to cure aging. The decision-makers rely upon what senior “thinkers” like Callahan have in mind on the problem of life extension.
Did anyone see the World War Z scene where the zombies reach the top of a massive zombie-proof wall and start pouring over? The same thing has finally happened to Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state. Council members in Pierce County, Washington got busted last week because they allocated taxpayer dollars to fund not one, but two evangelical missionary organizations that target public school kids for conversion.
In this, the final, part we will do two further things. First, we will step back from the particular arguments for and against the legitimacy of mental illness, and focus on Neil Pickering’s meta-philosophical diagnosis of the problems inherent in the debate. Then, having sharpened our appreciation for the meta-philosophical issues, we will consider what is probably the most recent and widely-discussed attempt to define “illness” in such a way that it (properly) includes mental illnesses: Jerome Wakefield’s Harmful Dysfunction analysis.
This is the second post in a brief series looking at the philosophy of mental illness. As noted in part one, some people are suspicious about the concept of mental “illness”. To call something an illness is to deem it worthy of medical scrutiny and treatment. This makes sense — so they argue — when dealing with things like broken bones, viruses, clotted arteries, bacterial infections, cancerous tumours and so forth. They all involve clear, objectively assessable physical effects and causes. Mental illness is not the same: it involves more nebulous, less tractable effects and causes, ones that are not always open to the same level of objective assessment.
My Facebook account is reserved for close friends and family (if you want to follow my writings, there’s Twitter). One of my very close relatives is a fellow of about my age, self-professed politically progressive, and with whom there is a lot of reciprocal respect and love. The ideal conditions to conduct the occasional rational discourse on politics or social issues, right? Wrong.
Is there another you reading this article at this exact moment in a parallel universe? Dr. Brian Greene, author of The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, believes that this freakish quirk of nature may exist; and he discusses its amazing possibilities in this 3-minute TV interview.
A third of respondents to the recent poll question “Should apes (chimps, gorillas, bonobos) and dolphins be liberated from zoos?” thought that apes and dolphins should be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. But two thirds favored other options.
Healthcare providers are establishing electronic health record (EHR) systems at an astonishing rate, due in part to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH Act was created as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Radical life extension is coming. That means future societies will have to do a dramatic rethink of our ideas about how long offenders should be imprisoned and — more crucially — the ways they’ll be rehabilitated.
It may be a push, but I think it is fair to say that no branch of modern medicine faces the same existential challenges as psychiatry. To give a sense of the problem, a quick browse through Amazon reveals aplethoraofbooks, many published within the past ten years, that either directly challenge the legitimacy of mental illness, call into question the medicalisation of the mind, or dispute the unholy alliance between “pharma” and psychiatry.
Many transhumanist factions point out a need to gain some form of longevity or even immortality. The most common forms are mind upload, life extending drugs and treatments, body part replacement with prosthetics or “spare parts” and lastly, cryonics.
A Pew Research Center survey of 2,012 American adults done between March and April, 2013 shows, somewhat surprisingly, that a majority of those surveyed (58%) would not like to live radically extended lives—although they think that other people besides themselves would.
In his latest book, “Self Comes to Mind,” Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, defines consciousness as, “the ability that we have to look out on the world and grasp it. It is a way evolution found to increase our effectiveness in dealing with life and its struggles.”
Percy’s epic poem, Prometheus Unbound is seldom read today while his wife’s novel, Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus has become so well known that her monster graces the boxes of children’s cereal, and became the fodder from one of the funniest movies of the 20th century.
During a recent weekend, I re-watched the movie Blood Diamonds (2007), an advocacy-entertainment movie trying to raise awareness about the problem of natural resources being used to finance horrific African wars. As illustrated in Blood, conflict diamonds were used to finance a civil war in Sierra Leone. While the movie is heavy flawed, the message is still important: the mining and exploitation of natural resources is creating havoc throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Picture a series of copper beads on a fine titanium alloy wire curved in a graceful sphere. It looks like an earring, but you won’t find it in a jewelry store. It’s made to go in your uterus. Intrauterine contraceptives are the fastest growing method of birth control in the U.S.One study showed that use doubled in just two years. Why are IUD’s suddenly hot among young women? And what should you tell your friend or daughter when she says she wants one?
The world’s first International Longevity Day took place on or around October 1, in over 30 countries! These were many small steps on the great road to healthy longevity for all through support of longevity research!
Prominent free speech advocate Jonathan Rauch – who is gay and also a leading proponent of gay marriage – offers his thoughts about proposals for a boycott of Ender’s Game, the movie of Orson Scott Card’s monstrously successful novel from the mid 1980s.
In just ten years, older citizens might look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a revitalized body overflowing with energy and enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an enhanced mind and memory.
The question of prostitution has been a matter of debate throughout the progressive left for many years. To engage this topic as unbiased as possible, I must first admit that, as a white male, I cannot say that I am the best subject to take on this particular question under the personal perspective of the oppressed: that of women, who are predominantly not white.
In this article it is my hope to highlight some of the most important aspects of gender and sexual identity within the confines of hardcore science: psychology, biology, and sociology. It is my personal opinion that we have not figured out the science behind gender, rather it be sociological or biological in nature. This article is simply an overview of how modern day scientists and sociologists look at gender and sexual identity. For all I know, we are all born genderqueer and pansexual, but biological science is showing us the rainbow of diversity which comes along with being a sexually complicated evolved species.
There is an overwhelming trend in the world of warfare today, which is to move combat to remote operated systems first, and then to autonomous platforms, in the very near future. We are told that the precision of these tools is without comparisons in the world and their implementation will reduce casualties (both military and civilians), as well as collateral damage, resulting in a more humane battlefield.
Human beings have long performed sexual acts with artifacts. Ancient religious rituals oftentimes involved the performance of sexual acts with statues, and down through the ages a vast array of devices for sexual stimulation and gratification have been created. Little wonder then that a perennial goal among roboticists and AI experts has been the creation of sex robots (“sexbots”): robots from whom we can receive sexual gratification, and with whom we may even be able achieve an emotional connection.
Joel Garreau, in Radical Evolution, lays out three possibilities, all stemming from Ray Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns.” Garreau focuses on the so-called GRIN technologies: Genetics, Robotics, Information, and Nano-Technology. He sees a world where the understanding of our biological programming (genetics), allows us to build tiny robots (nano-technology, robotics) as an artificial immune system that can be updated wirelessly no matter where you are (information). In other words, he feels all four of these technologies will converge to change the rules of the human condition—for better or for worse.
In the last post, I simply listed both our traditional and our “new” ways of using animals. Perhaps I was a little harsh, since humans have treated certain classes of animals like family. We have even gone so far as to evolve essentially symbiotic relationships. For example, I wouldn’t want our family dogs to have to live wild. They don’t have those skills….
A new study spearheaded at Columbia University aims to provide parents with more information about their unborn children—including potential abnormalities and genetic defects. Spread across 10 different research hospitals that plan to secure 1,000 women each to participate, knowledge gained from the study will contribute to the ethical dialogue surrounding what parents do with more prenatal testing data.