Monday, 31 August 2015

Watch the videos of our symposium Reconsidering Humanity: Big Data, the Scientific Method and Images of Humans

This symposium was organised and chaired by Urban Strandberg (political science and CERGU at the University of Gothenburg), with myself as co-organiser and -chair. Funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, it took place June 25-26, 2015, at the Visual Arena venue of the joint Lindholmen campus of Chalmers Institute of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, featuring keynote speakers from anthropology, philosophy, music, neuroscience, digital design, cogntive science, robotics, computer science, digital humanities, and politics from universities and research centres in Denmark, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA, represented by Palle Dahlstedt, Paula Droege, Carry Figdor, Staffan I Lindberg, Dawn Nafus, Anil Seth, Irina Schklovski, Barry C. Smith, Patrik Svensson and Paul Verschure.

The videos also include the introduction and the final discussion, as well as the comment and question sessions in connection to each lecture. Please feel free to link and share the material as much as you like!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Essay on Reproductive and Population Ethics that Commissioned from Torbjörn Tännsjö, But Didn't Dare Publish

Indeed. For the informed in philosophical ethics, the ideas argued by professor of practical philosophy at Stockholm University and formerly my colleague in Gothenburg and once doctoral supervisor Torbjörn Tännsjö is no news. Apparently, though, it scared the socks off the editors, who decided to give in a to a perceived heckler vote and scrap a commissioned piece popularly presenting one of several well-known standard positions in population and reproductive ethics. Of course, this is very good reason to spread the article as widely as poosible, so please download it here. Naturally, this has nothing to do with whether or not you agree with Tännsjö on the issue.

Brian Leiter has the backgroundstory here, including link to a response from the Vox editors, apparently produced in a panic at being faced with a minor uproar around Twitter and other places. Read it, and I think you'll agree that it only strengthen the reasons to continue having their underwear pulled down in public. Apparently it is Vox's official position that if a person holds what they take to be a pro-life opinion on abortion (which ironically Tännsjö don't, he's radically pro-choice! and pro-life positions on the politics of abortion is in no way implied by his argument), they cannot be published in Vox provided the editors don't feel sufficiently "comfortable" about they themselves promoting the view in question. I suppose they universalize this maxim, and publish only opinions they themselves personally feel comfortable promoting – good luck with that sorry excuse for publishing policy! That in addition to their more carefully elaborated exposition of their own  lack of journalistic spunk.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Alice Dreger Resigns from Northwestern University Following Pathetic Censoring by Management

Today, I learned that Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, internationally celebrated for her work on the practices and policies around intersex and ambiguous sex conditions, especially in small children, yesterday chose to hand in her letter of resignation, following a pathetically prude and spineless piece of ham-handed censorship of her and a colleagues' work by her own medical school dean,  Eric Nielson last year, and subsequent lack of university provost, Daniel Linzer, to assure her that anything like that would never occur again.

Read it all in Alice's own words, including the letter of resignation itself, at her website and blog, here.

As Alice has just published and already won acclaim for the book, Galileo's Middle Finger, which centers around exactly the issue of censorship and supression of academic publication and scientific ideas, the development has a bizarre twist to it, indeed. Today, apparently, it is not the clerics or the many versions of politburos that academics and scientists have to fear will silence what they have to tell the world, but the leaders of the very institutions supposed to sternly guard against anything in that vein.