CAVE in the media

Jeanette Kennett on ABC's All in The MindOur members often present their work to the public through the popular media. Collected here are the news articles, opinion pieces, and blog posts that are either written by or feature our members. There's a wide range of articles, from Conversation pieces to posts in the Brains blog to articles in the New York Times. There are also radio and podcast interviews where our members talk about their research or give their expert opinions on certain topics.

As an added feature, there are videos: some long ones, of the annual CAVE public lecture, and some short ones, including interviews and popular talks by our members at events such as TEDx.

These will give you a great introduction to the ideas and problems that this centre is interested in. We hope that you enjoy them!

Latest story:

New article: Wendy writes in the Conversation about organ harvesting from China. Read more.

New podcast: CAVE affiliate member Cordelia Fine on the gendered mind. Hear more.

For stories from previous years, please visit our media archive.



Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine - men, women and myths, by Antonia Macar

Financial Times, February 18, 2017
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

I’m not sure whether there was ever a time when I believed that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. If there was, thankfully I don’t remember it. But after reading Cordelia Fine’s previous book, Delusions of Gender (2011), which I found totally convincing, even life-changing, and now her new one, I have become more acutely aware of just how hard it is to resist the insidious, mesmeric pull of the received story that she dubs “Testosterone Rex”. Read more.

China says it has stopped harvesting organs, but evidence belies its claim, by Wendy Rogers

The Conversation, February 15, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

The Chinese government has claimed the country no longer harvests organs from prisoners. But recent revelations about two leading Chinese researchers indicate this may not be true.

In 2005, China publicly stated what many already believed: that its transplant system was built on harvesting organs from criminals sentenced to death (“executed prisoners”). According to declarations by officials, this practice has been banned since January 2015, with organs now sourced from volunteer citizen donors. Read more.

Do religious beliefs respond to evidence? by Neil Levy

Imperfect Cognitions Blog, February 14, 2017
CAVE member, Neil Levy

There are two central strands to Neil Van Leeuwen’s post (hereafter NVL). One is the claim that there is a class of representational state (in the post he focuses on religious belief, but in his paper in Cognition he suggests that ideological beliefs belong to this class too) which fail to be evidentially vulnerable in the same way as more mundane beliefs. The second strand is the one developed in his paper in Philosophical Explorations, arguing that we best understand the limited signs of evidence responsiveness exhibited by these beliefs in terms of a kind of imaginative play. People who respond to evidence with regard to their religious beliefs typically do so because the apparent evidence is assigned a role within a circumscribed Evidence Game. Read more.

Sex selection via IVF in Australia: Sarah's journey to have a baby girl, by Kylie Matthews, February 13, 2017
CAVE affiliate member, Tereza Hendl

ALL Sarah ever wanted was to have a baby girl to call her own.

Already mum to two young boys and unwilling to risk naturally conceiving a third, in 2011 Sarah and her family chose to travel from Australia to the United States for IVF to take advantage of highly accurate sex selection technology to achieve her dream.

After the birth of her first born child, a son, Sarah tells that she and her husband tried everything to naturally conceive a girl, but nothing worked. Read more.

Medical journal to retract paper after concerns organs came from executed prisoners, by Melissa Davey

The Guardian, February 9, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

A prestigious medical journal will retract a scientific paper from Chinese surgeons about liver transplantation after serious concerns were raised that the organs used in the study had come from executed prisoners of conscience.

The study was published last year in Liver International. It examined the outcomes of 564 liver transplantations performed consecutively at Zhejiang University’s First Affiliated hospital between April 2010 and October 2014. Read more.

Concerns over source of livers for transplant, by Cosmos Magazine

Cosmos Blog, February 9, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Grisly news out of China, where a medical journal assessing the outcomes of liver transplants has been forced to retract a paper on concerns that organs came from executed prisoners.

The study was published last year in the prestigious journal Liver International. It looked at 564 liver transplantations performed at Zhejiang University’s First Affiliated hospital between April 2010 and October 2014.

The authors of the study wrote that “all organs were procured from donors after cardiac death and no allografts [organs and tissue] obtained from executed prisoners were used”. Read more.

A Chinese medical study is being retracted for relying on organs harvested from executed prisoners, by Ephrat Livni

The Quartz, February 9, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Last year, a prestigious medical journal published research from Chinese surgeons involving 564 transplanted livers. Now, Liver International is retracting the study amid accusations that the livers were extracted from executed prisoners of conscience—people killed for their beliefs.

If the accusations are true, these Chinese researchers aren’t alone in using incarcerated humans for medical experiments. There’s a long and gruesome history of unethical medical organ harvesting. For example, in the early 19th century, a serial killer who made a living harvesting parts for doctors in England was sentenced to death and dissected for bits like his victims; even his skin was used to bind a book. Read more.

Vatican row as China invited to organ transplant meet, by AFP

Daily Mail Australia, February 8, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Ethics experts and human rights lawyers slammed the Vatican for inviting a top Chinese health official to an organ trafficking summit despite concerns the Asian giant still uses tissue from executed prisoners.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences invited Huang Jiefu, the man in charge of overhauling China's transplant system, to the two-day conference in the tiny city state.

Wendy Rogers, a medical ethics expert at Macquarie University in Australia and the chair of an advisory committee on tackling organ theft in China, slammed Huang's presence as "shocking". Read more.

Debate Flares Over China’s Inclusion at Vatican Organ Trafficking Meeting, by Didi Kirsten Tatlow

The New York Times, February 7, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

BEIJING — A politely worded but testy debate has flared over a Vatican conference on human organ trafficking, with a group of ethicists warning that China will use the participation of its most senior transplant official to convince the world that it has overhauled its organ procurement system.

In a letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, where the two-day Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism began on Tuesday, 11 ethicists wrote: “Our concern is with the harvesting and trafficking of organs from executed prisoners in China.” Read more.

Engaging with China on organ transplantation, by Wendy A Rogers, Matthew P Robertson, and Jacob Lavee

BMJ, February 7, 2017
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Withdraw professional engagement pending transparency about procurement and accountability for past abuses.

In 2005, one of China’s most prominent liver transplant surgeons travelled to the far western province of Xinjiang. There he performed a highly complex autologous liver transplantation. The patient’s liver was explanted, the cancer excised, and the liver retransplanted.

As a backup to this innovative, risky procedure, the surgeon ordered two extra livers by phoning hospitals in Chongqing and Guangzhou. These were delivered the next morning. Such events are unimaginable in systems where organs are freely donated, scarce, and allocated according to need. In China in 2005, most organs for transplants came from executed prisoners. Read more.

    Top Chinese Transplant Surgeon has study retracted, by Larry Ong

    Epoch Times, February 7, 2017
    CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

    A medical journal has retracted a disputed study on liver transplantation co-authored by a Chinese doctor implicated in forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, a move that acknowledges concerns over the Chinese regime’s murky transplantation system and may spur other journal editors to enforce stricter ethical guidelines, according to researchers.

    The disputed study, published in the journal Liver International in October 2016, analyzed 564 liver transplants at Zhejiang University’s First Affiliated Hospital from April 2010 to October 2014. Co-author Dr. Zheng Shusen and 16 other academics claimed in the paper that no organs were taken from executed prisoners. Read more.

    Vatican defends inviting Chinese ex-minister to organ trafficking talks, by Stephanie Kirchgaessner

    The Guardian, February 6, 2017
    CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

    Vatican officials have defended their decision to invite a Chinese former deputy health minister to a conference on organ trafficking despite concerns that China still relies on the organs of executed prisoners in its transplant programme.

    Medical ethics experts and human rights activists have decried the move by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to invite Huang Jiefu to a two-day conference starting on Tuesday that aims to expose organ trafficking and seeks to find “moral and appropriate solutions” to the issue. Read more.

    Chinese Transplant Doctor Accused of Ordering Executions Speaks at Vatican, by Larry Ong

    Epoch Times, February 6, 2017
    CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

    The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences has run into controversy for inviting a speaker linked to forced organ harvesting in China to present the regime’s narrative at the Vatican’s Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism on Feb. 7 and 8.

    The summit was held in hopes of addressing the problems of organ trafficking and transplant tourism, but researchers of forced organ harvesting claimed it could end up giving the worst perpetrator of forced organ harvesting a propaganda victory. Read more.

    Study retraction reignites concerns over China's possible use of prisoner organs, by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

    ScienceMag, February 6, 2017
    CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

    A journal has decided to retract a 2016 study because of concerns that its data on the safety of liver transplantation involved organs sourced from executed prisoners in China. The action, taken despite a denial by the study’s authors that such organs were used, comes after clinical ethicist Wendy Rogers of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues authored a letter to the editor of Liver International on 30 January, calling for the paper’s retraction in the “absence of credible evidence of ethical sourcing of organs.” Read more.

    Exploding myths of gender, by Stuart Derbyshire

    Spiked Review, January 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Cordelia Fine’s excellent new book takes apart the idea that male and female behaviours are determined by evolution.

    I teach a course at the National University of Singapore on evolutionary psychology. I am critical of the field, but I did accept a central tenet of evolutionary psychology, which is that the greater biological investment of women into reproduction impacts the psychology and behaviour of men and women. The logic is compelling. In order to reproduce, women are obliged to become pregnant and give birth. Pregnancy is demanding. Often pregnant women suffer increased blood pressure as their bodies are forced to deliver more blood and nutrition to the fetus, and many suffer morning sickness. All pregnancies involve weight gain, stretching, difficulty moving and discomfort, which renders the woman less able to protect and feed herself. Then, at the end of pregnancy, there is the painful, exhausting and dangerous birth. Assuming the woman survives pregnancy and childbirth, there is breastfeeding, which can extend the period of discomfort and exhaustion for several more years. Read more.

    Testosterone Rex review: Cordelia Fine takes issue with the making of men, by Simon Caterson

    The Age, January 28, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Shortly before Christmas in 2014, then prime minister Tony Abbott responded to a campaign led by Greens senator Larissa Waters protesting against segregated store aisles of gendered toys with the retort that "boys will be boys and girls will be girls".

    According to Cordelia Fine, Abbott was not just being reactionary and insensitive. He was also plain wrong in terms of the current scientific understanding of the endlessly fluid association between sex and gender. Read more.

    The Science of Gender: No, Men Aren't From Mars and Women Aren't from Venus, by Barbara J. King

    NPR, January 26, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Testosterone Rex is extinct.

    That's the central conclusion of a fascinating new book by University of Melbourne psychologist Cordelia Fine. Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society hit the bookstores Tuesday.

    "Testosterone Rex" is a nickname for the view that women and men are essentially different, owing very largely to biology. The hormone testosterone is, in this view, a biological agent that makes men more liable to seek a variety of sexual partners, more prone to risk-taking, and so on. Read more.

    Breaking Away From the Gender Binary: A Q&A with 'Testosterone Rex' author Cordelia Fine, by Katie Klabusich

    Rewire, January 24, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Many people in our society have long argued that men and women have inherent traits thanks to our very natures. While some point to patriarchal interpretations of religion to prop up centuries-old myths, others have relied on faulty science to support their misguided assumptions about innate tendencies regarding power, sexual inclinations, and life goals.

    Out today, University of Melbourne professor Cordelia Fine‘s Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society does the public service of deconstructing the biological and societal tenets on which the continued inequality of the sexes is largely founded. Read more.

    How Testosterone Rex gave the differences between sexes a bad press, by Cordelia Fine

    The Sydney Morning Herald, January 21, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    One memorable evening, I mentioned over the family dinner that it was time to get our newly acquired dog de-sexed. At this point I should explain that my older son has a strange, unchild-like interest in taxidermy. Thus, ever since this boisterous, loving canine entered the household, my son has been campaigning for the dog, after it dies, to live on not just in our hearts, but in a tasteful, formaldehyde-preserved pose in the living-room. Read more.

    Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine review - the question of men's and women's brains, by Sarah Ditum

    The Guardian, January 18, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Cordelia Fine is an optimistic writer. In her two earlier books of popular neuroscience (A Mind of Its Own and Delusions of Gender), the psychologist established a reputation for exemplary clarity on complex topics, pleasing wit, feminist principle – and beneath it all, the animating faith that people can be improved through knowledge. Testosterone Rex starts with a quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists that establishes the Fine approach perfectly: “But in addition to being angry, I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of humans to make and remake themselves for the better.” Read more.

    Liberal or Conservative? Most of our beliefs shift around, by Neil Levy

    The Conversation, January 17, 2017
    CAVE member, Neil Levy

    One common reaction to the election of Donald Trump (and perhaps to a lesser extent, the Brexit vote) among liberals like me is an expression of dismay that some of our fellow citizens are more racist and more sexist than we had dreamed. It seems many were prepared, if not to support openly racist comments and sexist actions, then at least to overlook them. It looks as though battles we thought we had won, having to do with a recognition of a basic kind of equality, need to be fought all over again. Many have concluded that they were never won at all; people were just waiting for a favourable climate to express the racism and sexism they held hidden. Read more.

    What can we learn from the Implicit Association Test? A Brains blog roundtable, by John Shwenkler

    The Brains Blog, January 17, 2017
    CAVE member, Neil Levy

    Recently there has been a lot of discussion of the value of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) as a measure of implicit bias — discussion generated largely by a new paper by Calvin Lai, Patrick Forscher and their colleagues that presents the results of a meta-analysis of studies conducted using the IAT, plus a provocative article in New York magazine by Jesse Singal that discusses that paper and the methodological controversy it’s a part of. The title of Singal’s article? “Psychology’s Favorite Tool for Measuring Racism Isn’t Up to the Job: Almost two decades after its introduction, the implicit association test has failed to deliver on its lofty promises”. (Please bear in mind that headlines are usually written by someone other than the author.) Read more.

    Book Excerpt from Testosterone Rex, by Cordelia Fine

    The Scientist, January 1, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Sometimes these days I’m introduced to people as an academic who wrote a book about how the brains of women and men aren’t that different. Disappointingly, the wide range of reactions to this brief biography has yet to include You must be Cordelia Fine! Would you sign this copy of your book that I carry around with me? Instead, people often shoot me a startled look, and then ask whether I’d also deny that there are other basic physiological differences between the sexes. Whenever this happens, I’m always tempted to fix my interrogator in the grip of a steely gaze and pronounce briskly, “Certainly! Testes are merely a social construction,” then see how the conversation flows from there. Read more.


    What if you could take a pill for a better, more moral you? Neuroethicists ponder the panacea, by Sharon Kirky

    National Post, December 30, 2016
    CAVE member Neil Levy

    Go vegan. Oppose Trump. Drink less. Exercise more. Have more houseplants.

    It’s the season of self-delusion with Twitter users pledging resolutions they’ll make and, statistics tell us, promptly break. But what if we could be better people with drugs — more moral mortals by taking a pill?

    Neuroethicists and other thinkers are increasingly absorbed by the idea of “moral enhancement” through pharmaceuticals, implanted brain electrodes or other biomedical means. Read more.

    What Australia can do to avoid complicity in foreign transplant abuse, by David Matas

    International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, November 29, 2016
    CAVE Public Lecturer 2016, David Matas

    Public Lecture by David MatasPresentation to Macquarie University, Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics [CAVE] annual lecture 23 November, 2016 Sydney, Australia

    Because of shortage of organs, patients in need of transplants wait endlessly and become desperate, spurring transplant tourism. The Government of China has been sourcing organs from prisoners in large numbers, in violation of international ethics. I and other researchers have concluded that these sources are mostly prisoners of conscience Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and, primarily, practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong. The Government of China claims that prisoner organ sourcing has stopped, but the claim is unsubstantiated and there is much contrary evidence. Read more.

    Our political beliefs predict how we feel about climate change, by Neil Levy

    The Conversation, November 28, 2016
    CAVE member, Neil Levy

    The man who called global warming a fabrication invented by the Chinese to make US manufacturing less competitive is now president-elect of the US. His followers expect him to withdraw the US from the Paris climate change agreement and eliminate the environmental regulations introduced by his predecessor.

    But recently, Donald Trump has shown a few signs that he might be open to being convinced that climate change is a real problem requiring action. In discussion with journalists at the New York Times, he expressed the view that there is “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change, adding that he’s keeping an open mind about it. Read more.

    US military successfully test electrical brain stimulation to enhance staff skills, by Ian Sample

    The Guardian, November 8, 2016
    CAVE member, Neil Levy

    US military scientists have used electrical brain stimulators to enhance mental skills of staff, in research that aims to boost the performance of air crews, drone operators and others in the armed forces’ most demanding roles.

    The successful tests of the devices pave the way for servicemen and women to be wired up at critical times of duty, so that electrical pulses can be beamed into their brains to improve their effectiveness in high pressure situations. Read more.

    Constructing Race, by Richard Marshall

    3:AM Magazine, November 5, 2016
    CAVE Visitor, Ron Mallon

    Ron Mallon is a philosopher who thinks about the philosophy of race and social construction. Here he discusses various default metaphysical positions taken regarding race, racialism, race talk, then goes on to think about the role of semantic theories, problems with this, whether we continue with race talk, whether race talk started in the west, ex phi, why there are so few non-white philosophers and what should be done about that (and sexism too). Roll on Ron… Read more.

    Peirce, Pragmatism and Race, Racism, by Richard Marshall

    3:AM Magazine, October 29, 2016
    CAVE member, Albert Atkin

    Albert Atkin is currently working on the philosophy of Race and Racism, and has a particular interest in how the definition of “racism” impacts upon applied social and political questions. He also has ongoing interests in the work of C.S. Peirce and pragmatism which is where this discussion starts. He discusses Peirce and ‘pragmaticism’ rather than pragmatism, his architectonic, his theory of signs, reference, Frege’s puzzle, Peirce’s link with John Perry, his formal logic and metaphysics. He then discusses philosophy of race, how he thinks race should be approached by philosophers, the whiteness of the academy, why he thinks philosophy is white, male and wealthy, and what is to be done. Take away the rag from your face, now ain’t the time… Read more.

    On Sexism and Gender Bias, by Sally Haslanger

    MIT SHASS: Great Ideas Change the World, October, 2016
    CAVE Distinguished Visitor 2016, Sally Haslanger

    "As long as 'being presidential' and 'looking presidential' are about being and looking masculine, we will be unable to address what is ripping us apart as a country." 

    — Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy

    For the first time in history, a woman is a serious contender for the U.S. presidency. Based on your research, to what degree do you think gender bias and sexism have been factors in the 2016 election process? What is the single most important finding/perspective about gender attitudes that would be useful for an American voter to know? Read more.

    What do sugar and climate change have in common? Misplaced scepticism of the science, by Neil Levy

    The Conversation, September 30, 2016
    Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, October 3, 2016
    CAVE member, Neil Levy

    Why do we think that climate sceptics are irrational? A major reason is that almost none of them have any genuine expertise in climate science (most have no scientific expertise at all), yet they’re confident that they know better than the scientists. Science is hard. Seeing patterns in noisy data requires statistical expertise, for instance. Climate data is very noisy: we shouldn’t rely on common sense to analyse it. We are instead forced to use the assessment of experts. Read more.

    Cross-posted at the Oxford Uehiro Practical Ethics blog: Read more.

    A Doctor's Morality or a Patient's Right to Treatment: Which Comes First? by Scotty Hendricks

    Big Think, September 21, 2016
    CAVE member Jeanette Kennett

    Refusing to act is often as controversial as any action: whether Colin Kaepernick should stand for an anthem, for example, or the right of Kim Davis not to sign a marriage certificate. Also of particular interest is the right of healthcare providers to conscientiously object to providing certain medical treatments.

    Is a medical professional entitled to deny care they object to? Even if the care is medically necessary? What if the objection is based on bad data or insincere claims of morality? What if it is based on sincerely held beliefs? Read more.

    Westmead Hospital rejects China-link transplant 'benefits', by John Ross

    The Australian, September 7, 2016
    CAVE member Wendy Rogers

    A Sydney teaching hospital has rejected claims that it benefited from its association with a Chinese hospital linked with transplants involving executed prisoners’ organs.

    Westmead Hospital, which is aligned with the University of Sydney, says it trained staff at the central Chinese hospital in safe “xenotransplantation” research techniques — after learning that they planned to pursue such studies — because it wanted to help avert catastrophe. Read more.

    Transitional Constitutionalism and the Peace Agreement in Colombia, by Macquarie Newsroom

    Macquarie Newsroom Research Impact, September 1, 2016
    CAVE member Carlos Bernal

    On Wednesday 24 August 2016, from Havana Cuba, delegates of Colombia’s government and leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reached an historic peace accord to end their half-century civil war. The Colombian people will vote on the agreement, which will lead to the demobilization of one of the few remaining guerrilla units on the planet, in a referendum on 2nd October. If approved, the Constitutional Court will review the conformity of the agreement to the 1991 Colombian Constitution, and to the major International Human Rights treatises signed by Colombia that, in virtue of Section 93 of the Constitution, are binding to all government authorities. Read more.



    Little Atoms Podcast 453: Cordelia Fine and Nichi Hodgson, by Little Atoms

    Little Atoms Podcast, February 14, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Cordelia Fine is a Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of much-acclaimed A Mind of Its Own (Icon, 2006) and Delusions of Gender (Icon, 2010), described as ‘a truly startling book’ by the Independent, ‘fun, droll yet deeply serious’ by New Scientist and an ‘important book … as enjoyable as it is timely and interesting’ by the West Australian. Her latest book is Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds.

    This show also features a short interview with Nichi Hodgson on her book The Curious History of Dating. Hear more.

    The Gendered Mind, by Lynne Malcolm

    ABC RN All in The Mind, February 12, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Do men and women have fundamentally different minds? We’ve all heard stories about men being risk-takers and good at map reading, in contrast to women, who work best in the social and nurturing realm—but is that true, and how much of it is actually to do with biology and hormones? We re-examine the science to see if testosterone really is king when it comes to our gender formation. Hear more.

    Debate: Professor Gab Kovacs and Dr Tereza Hendl, by Jeremy Fernandez

    ABC Lateline, February 7, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Tereza Hendl

    Jeremy Fernandez hosts our Late Debate on the ethics of gender selection and whether it should be allowed in Australia. See more (or read transcript).

    Sexism, sport, and testosterone, by John Standish

    ABC Radio Melbourne, February 6, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Katrina Sedgwick is Jon Faine's co-host. She is the Director and CEO of ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), and was previously Head of Arts for ABC TV and online.

    Their first guest is academic psychologist and writer Cordelia Fine. She is a Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne and the author of Delusions of Gender and A Mind of Its Own. Her latest book is Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds (Icon Books). Hear more.

    Cordelia Fine and Testosterone - is it time we stop giving this hormone so much credit for how a man behaves? by Sarah Macdonald

    ABC RN Nightlife, February 3, 2017
    CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

    Much of our scientific understanding of gender was based for a long time on one scientist's study of fruit flies - a study that was later revisited, with many questions raised as to its accuracy. The study found males took more risks, were more promiscuous and that females were cautious about which flies they mated with. From everyday language to medical and scientific understanding, most of us see testosterone (and estrogen) and the defining characteristics of male and female. Sarah Macdonald sits down with author of "Testosterone Rex" Cordelia Fine, Professor of History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. Hear more.


    Pioneering Minds: Wendy Rogers and Medical Ethics, by Macquarie Newsroom

    Pioneering Minds Podcast Series, December 14, 2016
    CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

    This week on the Pioneering Minds Podcast we speak to Professor Wendy Rogers from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, talking contemporary medical ethics, surgical innovation and the issues of over-diagnosis and organ matching. Listen and subscribe:


    Tens of thousands of organ transplants still performed by Chinese government: report, by Fran Kelly

    ABC RN Breakfast, November 23, 2016
    CAVE Public Lecturer, David Matas

    Ten years ago a controversial Canadian report brought the world's attention for the first time to a horrific allegation—that the Chinese government was secretly harvesting organs from political prisoners, including many followers of the spiritual practice known as Falun Gong. Hear more.

    Nicole Vincent on Neurointerventions and Human Happiness, by John Danaher

    Algocracy and the Transhumanist Project, November 21, 2016
    CAVE affiliate member Nicole Vincent

    In this episode I talk to Nicole Vincent. Nicole is an international philosopher extraordinaire. She has appointments at Georgia State University, TU Delft (Netherlands) and Macquarie University (Sydney). Nicole’s work focuses on the philosophy of responsibility, cognitive enhancement and neuroethics. We talk about two main topics: (i) can neuroscience make us happier? and (ii) how should we think about radically changing ourselves through technology? Hear more.

    Australia's True Colours - What is Racism? by Ellie Cooper

    Probono Australia, October 11, 2016
    CAVE members Albert Atkin and Neil Levy

    Australia’s racism has roots in its history of colonisation and migration, and, until recent years, racist policies and practices were embedded within Australian laws and institutions, and the debate has become tied up with national identity.

    In the first episode in a three-part series, Australia’s True Colours, Not for Podcast investigates what racism is and where it comes from to ultimately find out, is Australia racist? Hear more.

    Judging Remorse, by Rachel Carbonell

    Law Report, ABC Radio National, September 27, 2016
    CAVE member, Kate Rossmanith

    How do judges and magistrates tell if someone is genuinely remorseful?

    Is remorse legally defined?

    An interdisciplinary research initiative with academics from legal philosophy, forensic psychology and cultural studies is investigating how remorse is evaluated in the courts. Hear more.

    Pioneering Minds: Why our brains make us who (and what) we are: Prof. Greg Downey, by Macquarie Newsroom

    Pioneering Minds Podcast Series, August 11, 2016
    CAVE member, Greg Downey

    Are we all the same, deep down, or do our specific circumstances create fundamental differences between us?

    This is the question neuroanthropologist Professor Greg Downey seeks to answer, and he discusses it at length in this week’s Pioneering Minds podcast.

    Professor Downey also discusses how culture informs us, the vital importance of research, and the fact that without our amazing brains, we would just be “fairly untalented, hairless apes.” Yep.

    You can listen now on iTunes or Soundcloud.

    From Macquarie Newsroom.

    The pleasure-pain paradox, by Joe Gelonesi

    The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, June 5, 2016
    CAVE Visitors, Michael Brady, David Bain, and Jennifer Corns

    Pain is a puzzle; and so is pleasure. For instance, how do you deal with the phenomenon of a pain that doesn’t hurt, or the pleasures for some of masochism? Yes, there are evolutionary and neuroscientific explanations, but somehow they don’t seem to tell the full story. Enter the philosophers, for whom the pleasure-pain paradox needs to be solved. Hear more.

    Neuroscience and Criminal Punishment, by Jennie Lenman

    Breakfast on Radio Adelaide, 101.5FM Radio Adelaide Digital, May 27, 2016
    CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

    Researchers say that neuroscience could change the way the way Australian law punishes criminals. Should this happen and how are judges currently dealing with advances in neurological explanations for behaviour? Professor Jeanette Kennett holds a joint appointment between the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Cognitive Science at Macquarie University and she joined us to discuss. Hear more.

    The discovery of insect consciousness, by Michael Mackenzie

    Afternoons, ABC Radio National, April 22, 2016
    CAVE member, Colin Klein

    Have you ever got up close and personal with an ant and really taken a look at what it's doing?

    Did it make you wonder whether that ant was thinking and reflecting about its experience as it moved that crumb across the picnic blanket?

    Well a new theoretical paper proposes that insects such as ants and bees do think and actually demonstrate a kind of consciousness.

    It suggests that by studying the brains and behaviour of these creatures we can learn more about the evolution of our own human thought processes. Hear more.

    Neurolaw, by Lynne Malcolm

    All in the Mind, ABC Radio National, April 10, 2016
    CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

    Can problems in your brain make you commit a crime? And if so, how much responsibility is yours? These are the complex questions being raised by the emerging field of neurolaw. Brain imaging and other neuroscientific evidence is now being brought forward in legal cases—and sometimes mitigating a sentence. This week on All in the Mind, neurolaw experts from the United States and Australia tease out some of the thorny issues. Hear more.

    Pioneering Minds: Jeanette Kennett and Neuroethics, by Macquarie Newsroom

    Pioneering Minds Podcast Series, February 24, 2016
    CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

    This week’s guest, Professor Jeanette Kennett from the Department of Philosophy, is a pioneer of neurolaw – a new interdisciplinary field that investigates the relationship between neuroscience and law. In her interview with Ben Mckelvey she discusses the implications of this on moral agency, criminality and culpability, the establishment of the neurolaw database, and how she was drawn to questions of justice. Listen to this episode and subscribe to the series through iTunes or SoundCloud.

    From the Macquarie Newsroom.

    Colin Klein, What the Body Commands: An Imperative Theory of Pain, by Carrie Figdor

    New Books in Philosophy, January 15, 2016
    CAVE member, Colin Klein

    Nothing seems so obviously true as the claim that pains feel bad, that pain and suffering go together. Almost as obviously, it seems that the function of pain is to inform us of tissue damage. In What the Body Commands: The Imperative Theory of Pain (The MIT Press, 2015), Colin Klein denies both apparently obvious claims. On his view, pain is a "protective imperative" whose content is to protect the body or body part: for example, "Don't put weight on that left ankle!". Klein, Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University, discusses the problem of pain asymbolia, in which people report feeling pain but are not the least bit motivated to do anything about it; considers how to explain masochistic pleasure, where we deliberately act in ways that do not protect the body; and addresses the question: why do pains (typically, but contingently) hurt? Hear more.


    About our members

    Our Director, Catriona Mackenzie. She was interviewed in 2013 when she won the Jim Piper Award for Excellence in Research Leadership. In this video, she talks about what she does.

    One of our executive members, Wendy Rogers. She won the Macquarie University Research Excellence Award in the category Resilient Societies in 2015, for her work on surgical innovation.

    Some of our members in the Philosophy Department in 2015, talking of the research they do thanks to the grants that they have.

    CAVE member John Sutton and his colleagues wrote a paper in 2014 on collaborative memory, entitled "Couples as socially distributed cognitive systems: remembering in every day social and material contexts." (Memory Studies, Vol. 7, Issue 3, pp. 285 - 297) This paper inspired Hashem Al-Ghaili to create this video.

    CAVE Public Lectures

    Every year, CAVE has a public lecture, which is open and free to everyone. These are the recordings from our previous lectures:

    2016: David Matas (B'nai Brith Canada), "Policy and Law in Australia to Prevent Complicity in Foreign Transplant Abuse."

    2015: Gillian Triggs (President of the Australian Human Rights Commission), "The Business of Human Rights."

    • 2014: Julian Savulescu (Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics), "Enhancing responsibility." (not recorded)
    • 2013: Bernadette McSherry (Melbourne), "Legal Capacity, Mental Capacity and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with  Disabilities." (not recorded)

    2012: Julian Burnside, AO QC, "Defining Our National Character: Our Treatment of Asylum Seekers."

    2011: Thomas Pogge (Yale), "Human rights as constraints on global institutional arrangements."

    Other talks

    Some of our members participate in events like TEDx and the Three Minute Thesis Competition. Here are the talks.

    2015: Sacha Molitorisz at the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT), "Morality bytes: Threats to privacy and truth, agency and autonomy in a new media world."

    2015: Nicole Vincent at TEDxEmory, "Cognitive enhancements for prisoners with disabilities."

    2014: Tereza Hendl at TEDxMacquarie, "Challenging Gender Selection."

    2014: Nicole Vincent at TEDxSydney, "Enhancing Responsibility."

    2010: Cordelia Fine at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, "Delusions of Gender."

    For stories from previous years, please see our media archive.

    Return to CAVE main page.

    Page last updated: 20 Feb 2017

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