Junior Scholars In Conversation
A seminar designed to integrate junior faculty members into the BC academic community by providing a forum for them to discuss their own work in progress. The idea is to demonstrate how research and collaborative interchange are possible in a modern university, and how it is valuable for us to have opportunities to talk about the interconnections between our lives, our teaching, and our research and writing projects, sharing our work even across the disciplinary boundaries that define the modern university. To read the December 2, 2004 Chronicle article about this program please click here.
"Is there a role for human nature in debates about human enhancement?"
Advances in genetics and biotechnology have opened the prospect of enhancing human capabilities beyond their current limits - e.g. genetically modifying human skin to be much more resistant to the effects of UV rays, or vastly extending the human life span. This raises the question: should we enhance normal human functioning, and if so how? In answering this question, a number of prominent thinkers have argued that enhancement is (at least prima facie) wrong on the grounds that it constitutes a form of disrespect for (human) nature. On the other side are those that think that appeals to human nature should play no significant role in the enhancement debate, on the grounds that what is in our nature has no normative significance. The basic idea is that nature, human nature included, is a mixed bag. Some parts of our nature are good for us and some are bad for us. As Francis Kamm puts it, "The human and the good are distinct conceptual categories. Human traits (such as arrogance) could be bad, and inhuman altruism could be good." The "mixed bag" conception leads naturally human nature is normatively inert - i.e. nothing normative follows from the fact that some trait is a part of our nature: it's naturalness does not, on its own, tell for or against it. And if human nature is normatively inert, then appeals to the value or importance of human nature in debates about enhancement are misplaced and best set aside. As Allen Buchanan puts it: "Appeals to human nature tend to obscure rather than illuminate the debate over the ethics of enhancement, and can be eliminated in favor of more cogent considerations."
In this presentation, I will argue against this last claim - the Elimination Claim - by showing that the Inert View is inadequate. It is inadequate because there is a plausible conception of human nature - the human form view, as I will call it - that escapes the main consideration that leads to the Inert View, namely the "mixed bag" conception of human nature. Bringing the notion of human form into view allows us to see why the Elimination Claim is misguided, and, more importantly, clarifies the proper role for appeals to human nature in debates about human enhancement.
A new seminar in 2004, designed to welcome junior faculty into the BC community by providing a forum to discuss and present work in progress.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Boston Room (Corcoran Commons 205 A)
Peter Krause (Political Science), "The Structure of Success: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and the Effectiveness of Political Violence in National Movements."
Gustavo Morello SJ (Sociology), "Argentinean Catholicism and the Pope from the End of the Earth."
Rocio Calvo (Social Work), "The Role of Health Care Literacy in Health Care Access and Quality of Care Among Latino Immigrants in the United States."
Daniele V. Filippi (Jesuit Institute), "Rewinding the Tape of History: Everyday Sonic Reality in Early Modern Europe."
Maia McAleavey (English), "The Bigamy Plot: Sensation and Convention in the Victorian Novel."
Andrea Staiti (Philosophy), "Husserl’s Transcendental Cosmopolitanism."
Sylvia Sellers-García (History), "Dangerous Distance: Social Crimes and Moral Failings in the Archbishop's Guatemala."
Jennifer L. Erickson (Political Science) "Armed and Dangerous: Arms Embargoes in World Politics."
David A. Hopkins (Political Science) "Recent Realignment? The Nature of Mass Polarization in Contemporary American Elections."
Ralf Gawlick (Music) "Spoken to Sung: A Composer's Path from Conception to Realization in Musical Tex-Setting."
Deborah A. Sampson (Nursing) "Order out of Chaos– U.S. Nurses’ Response to the Halifax, Canada Explosion of 1917."
Charles R. Gallagher, SJ (History), "Terror in the Name of Christ: The First Plot to Attack New York."
Nancy Allen (Nursing) "D-TLC for Diabetes Technology and Lifestyle Counseling."
Rocio Calvo (Social Work) "The Role of the Welfare State on the Incorporation of Immigrants."
Sara M. Moorman (Sociology and Institute on Aging) "The Family Caregiver in an Era of High-Cost Health Care: Savior or Scapegoat?"
Kelly Rossetto (Communication) "Understanding the Role of Communication in the Deployment Experience: Military Wives' Perspectives on Resilience, Coping, and Support."
Jeremy Clarke, SJ (History) "Tintin, Shanghai Calendar Girls and Jesuit Brothers: Tales From a Shanghai Orphanage."
Brian Gareau (Sociology) "The Limited Influence of Global Civil Society in Global Environmental Governance: The Montreal Protocol Case."
Andrea Staiti (Philosophy) "Phenomenological Research and the Concept of Life."
René Olate (Social Work) "High-risk Youth and Latino Gangs: A comparison between youth in Boston and San Salvador."
Tomeu Estelrich (Philosophy / Jesuit Institute), "Monsters, Humans and God: Frankenstein, Notre Dame of Paris, Faust and the Limits of Modernity."
Noah P. Snyder (Geology & Geophysics), "Ways of Knowing: Field Science in the 21st Century."
Gergana Yordanova Nenkov (Management), "How Do Emotions Influence Retirement Saving Behavior?"
Crystal Tiala (Theater), "Angels in America."
Nancy Pineda-Madrid (Theology), "Shameful Malinche... Holy Guadalupe?: Excavating the Problem of ‘Female Dualism,’ Doing Theological Spade Work."
Mary Aruda (Nursing), "Myth busters: Adolescent Pregnancy Rates are Plummeting."
Crystal Tiala (Theater), "Scene Design Presentation in Theater Productions."
Gregory Kalscheur, SJ (Law), "What Does it Mean to be Catholic in a Pluralistic, Democratic Society?"
Thomas Connelly (Nursing), "Hope in Children with Chronic Illness."
Stephanie Leone (Fine Arts), "Rome's The Palazzo Pamphilj."
Rosanna F. DeMarco & Robin Wood, "Promoting Jesuit Ideals of Justice in Health Care: Addressing Disparity in Cancer Screening and HIV Prevention for Vulnerable Populations."
Jeffrey Geoghegan (Theology),"Who wrote the bible, when and why?"
Sheila Gallagher (Fine Arts), "Chasing the rabbit: creativity and the search for meaning" To see where the rabbit comes in, please feel free to preview images from her last exhibition at the Clifford-Smith Gallery: http://www.cliffordsmithgallery.com/04sepgallagher.html
Pamela Grace (Adult Health Nursing), "Professional advocacy an illusive concept, a dangerous ideal: Defining the attributes of a 'good' professional."
Sarah Beckjord (Romance Languages), "Narrative Borders: Science and Religion in the Early Spanish Chronicles of the Indies."
Meredith Monaghan (Classics), "The Blame Game, When Good Mothers Go Bad."
Ann Morrison Spinney (Music/Irish Studies), "Musical Hybrids: Irish-American Pop and Passamaquoddy Catholic songs."