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Towards Humane Technologies

Biotechnology, New Media and Ethics

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Edited by Naomi Sunderland, Phil Graham, Peter Isaacs and Bernard McKenna

What are the ethical and political implications when the very foundations of life—things of awe and spiritual significance—are translated into products accessible to few people? This book critically analyses this historic recontextualisation. Through mediation—when meaning moves ‘from one text to another, from one discourse to another’—biotechnology is transformed into analysable data and into public discourses.
The unique book links biotechnology with media and citizenship.
As with any ‘commodity’, biological products have been commodified. Because enormous speculative investment rests on this, risk will be understated and benefit will be overstated. Benefits will be unfairly distributed. Already, the bioprospecting of Southern megadiverse nations, legally sanctioned by U. S. property rights conventions, has led to wealth and health benefits in the North.
Crucial to this development are biotechnological discourses that shift meanings from a “language of life” into technocratic discourses, infused with neo-liberal economic assumptions that promise progress and benefits for all. Crucial in this is the mass media’s representation of biotechnology for an audience with poor scientific literacy. Yet, even apparently benign biotechnology spawned by the Human Genome Project such as prenatal screening has eugenic possibilities, and genetic codes for illness are eagerly sought by insurance companies seeking to exclude certain people.
These issues raise important questions about a citizenship that is founded on moral responsibility for the wellbeing of society now and into the future. After all, biotechnology is very much concerned with the essence of life itself. This book provides a space for alternative and dissident voices beyond the hype that surrounds biotechnology.

Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation

Multifaith Ideals and Realities

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Edited by Jerald D. Gort, Henry Jansen and Hendrik M. Vroom

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Deane Curtin and Robert Litke

Violence can be physical and psychological. It can characterize personal actions, forms of group activity, and abiding social and political policy. This book includes all of these aspects within its focus on institutional forms of violence. Institution is also a broad category, ranging from formal arrangements such as the military, the criminal code, the death penalty and prison system, to more amorphous but systemic situations indicated by parenting, poverty, sexism, work, and racism. Violence is as complex as the human beings who resort to it; its institutional forms pervade our relational lives. We are all participants in it as victims and perpetrators. The chapters in this book were written in the hope that violence can be explicated, even if not fully understood, and that such clarification can help us in devising less violent forms of living, even if it does not lead to its total abolition. The studies bring new aspects of violence to light and offer a number of suggestions for its remedy.

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Edited by Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg

This book is the first sustained inquiry into the ways in which postmodern thinkers have grappled with the historical bases, implications, and methodological problems of the Holocaust. The book examines the thinking of Arendt, Levinas, Foucault, Lyotard, and Derrida, all of whom have recognized the centrality of the Nazi genocide to the epoch in which we live. The essays written for this volume constitute a wide-ranging study of the efforts of postmodernism to articulate the Holocaust.

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Edited by Thomas Magnell

The essays in Explorations of Value are drawn from work first presented at the 20th Conference of Value Inquiry. They are not mere records of conference presentations. The authors have reflected on their initial presentations. They have re-thought arguments in light of discussions at the conference. They have revised their work. All of this has combined to bring fresh ideas on important issues into carefully considered discussions. The nineteen authors of the essays do not share a common viewpoint on all problems of value inquiry. They are certainly not in agreement in their conclusions. Their concerns, however, cluster around a recognizable body of questions. Several of the authors raise fundamental questions on the nature of values and the possibility of giving them an objective status. Some of the authors raise questions about where value inquiry becomes value advocacy. They are also ready to ask whether or not advocacy is in the legitimate purview of philosophers. A number of authors set out to examine conditions of moral practice and of harming or benefiting people in general. Other authors show a concern for juxtaposing moral values and aesthetic values, in some cases to observe similarities, in some, differences. Finally, a few authors focus on particular notions such as forgiveness, intimacy, and love that are central to our lives.

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Edited by Steven Earnshaw

The essays collected here represent the latest thinking on postmodernism in a number of key areas: economics, law, postcolonialism, literature, feminism, film, philosophy. One of the issues common to the volume is the desire to cast postmodernism in a predominantly ethical ('just') light, and the opportunities and obstacles postmodernism might place in the path of the description of, and search for, justice. The collection highlights the most recent trends in postmodern thinking, the turn away from postmodernism as mere discourse and language games to a more politically and socially engaged forum. The book will be of interest to all students of contemporary cultural, social and critical thought.

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Edited by Laura Duhan Kaplan and Laurence F. Bove

The essays in this volume explore in detail many of the ways power structures our daily personal, political and intellectual lives, and evaluate the workings of power using a variety of theoretical paradigms, from Hobbesian liberalism to Foucauldian feminist postmodernism. Taken as a whole, the book aims towards an end to unjust and destructive uses of power and the flowering of an encouraging, educated empowerment for all human beings in a pluralistic world. Section I offers a progressive chain of arguments that moves from the acceptance of domination, through the rejection of domination and, finally, to a new vision of power based on equality and mutual respect. Section II explores the questions, how is the philosophical self, that is, our very understanding of who we are, implicated in the web of power and domination? Section III responds to political realism as it explores morally ideal solutions to the global problems of poverty, war and hunger. Section IV discusses ways in which our thought and practice in both public and private life are bound up in hierarchies of domination.

Sex, Love, and Friendship

Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, 1977-1992

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Edited by Alan Soble

This collection joins together sixty essays on the philosophy of love and sex. Each was presented at a meeting of The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love held between 1977 and 1992 and later revised for this edition. Topics addressed include ethical and political issues (AIDS, abortion, homosexual rights, and pornography), conceptual matters (the nature, essence, or definition of love, friendship, sexual desire, and perversion); the study of classical and historical figures (Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, and Kierkegaard); and issues in feminist theory (sexual objectification, the social construction of female sexuality, reproductive and marital arrangements). Authors include Jerome Shaffer, Sandra Harding, Michael Ruse, Richard Mohr, Russell Vannoy, Claudia Card, M.C. Dillon, Gene Fendt, Steven Emmanuel, T.F. Morris, Timo Airaksinen, and Sylvia Walsh. The editor, who is the author of Pornography (1986), The Structure of Love (1990), and Sexual Investigations (1996), has also contributed six pieces and an Introduction.

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W.H. Werkmeister

Edited by Richard T. Hull

This work is a publication of a manuscript left unfinished at his death by the author. From the time of their conversations in 1936, William Henry Werkmeister has studied the phenomenon of Martin Heidegger's thought and the critical literature commenting on it. During a period spanning 36 years, Werkmeister wrote some nine articles and reviews about his findings. He turned to other interests, but the Heidegger phenomenon continued to reside at the back of his mind. At age ninety, Werkmeister set out once again to write a work that would unify Heidegger's thought, clarify a number of its essential features, place Heidegger's chief works in an order that corresponds to the time line of his thought, critically appraise the development of his thought against the work of other German philosophers (particularly Nicolai Hartmann), and assess the question of Heidegger's alleged Nazi sympathies.

Being Human in the Ultimate

Studies in the Thought of John M. Anderson

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Edited by N. Georgopoulos and Michael Heim

For John M. Anderson philosophy, as the love of wisdom, is a concern for what is ultimate. The essays in this volume take to heart this understanding of philosophy, and are therefore responses to the ultimate. The first four essays by Kaelin, Schrag, Baillif and Johnstone, deal with Anderson's own account of ultimacy as it is presented in his reflections on the aesthetic occasion, the experience of the sublime, on freedom and on insight. The concern for what is ultimate is formulated differently by each of the other eight essays. Desmond articulates ways of our encounter with the ultimate by means of what he calls essential perplexity. Gendlin reflects on Aristotle's characterization of thinking as an activity that is ultimate. Biemel and Lingis present death as an aspect of the ultimate. Hersch sees our loss of meaning and value as the result of our refusal of finitude and thus of our denial of the ultimate which reveals itself in this finitude. Ginsberg initiates us into the ultimacy of the human encounter that is dialogue. Verene speaks of the ultimate through his account of the fool. For Kockelmans philosophy, unlike science, deals with what-is as it manifests itself in our encounter with our lived world which is a source of meaning, and in that sense an ultimate. Finally, John M. Anderson writes of the awareness of our becoming more than we are, and does so by bespeaking the origin of the dialogue we are.