CAVE Media 2015

CAVE Media 2015

Written - 1

2015

A new way to think about race, by Tiger Webb

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, December 21, 2015
CAVE Member, Adam Hochman

The modern concept of race has its roots in science no more rigorous than phrenology. So why is it still so widely used? The Philosopher's Zone looks to history. Read more.

Regulations have improved since thalidomide but drug scares are still possible, by Wendy Lipworth

The Conversation, December 10, 2015
CAVE Affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

The thalidomide tragedy, which resulted in thousands of deaths and disabilities in the late 1950s and early 1960s, changed medicine forever. One of its outcomes was the establishment of more robust mechanisms for the regulation of medicines and medical devices. Read more.

Debate on whether we should use gene-editing technology is far from black and white, by Nicole Vincent and Emma A. Jane

The Conversation, December 3, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Arguments in favour of embracing gene editing focus on how it can deliver cheap treatments and cures for some truly awful medical conditions. They contest banning the technology based on all the good it can do for people, especially the most vulnerable. Read more.

Criminal minds: how neuroscience is changing the law, by Michaela Whitbourn

Sydney Morning Herald, November 30, 2015
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett, and CAVE affiliate member, Allan McCay

Terence Martin kept meticulous records of his sexual exploits. The former Tasmanian MP and mayor had a spreadsheet and hundreds of photographs detailing his encounters with sex workers – 162 in all, over 506 different occasions. Read more.

We need to separate the neuroscience hype from the reality, by Sascha Callaghan and Allan McCay

Sydney Morning Herald, November 30, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Allan McCay

Oregon serial killer Dayton Leroy Rogers was recently sentenced to death for the fourth time, after a strongly argued case that the sentence should be reduced to life in prison. 

Rogers' lawyer argued that scans indicated damage to parts of his brain could have caused his manic killing sprees. The thrust of the argument was that brain damage reduced his responsibility for the crimes. Read more.

The brain's miracle superpowers of self-improvement, by Will Storr

BBC Future, November 23, 2015
CAVE member Greg Downey

It’s perhaps understandable why crazy levels of hope are raised when people read tales of apparently miraculous recovery from brain injury that feature people seeing again, hearing again, walking again and so on. These dramatic accounts can make it sound as if anything is possible. But what’s usually being described, in these instances, is a very specific form of neuroplasticity – functional reorganisation – which can happen only in certain circumstances. “The limits are partly architectural,” says Greg Downey. “Certain parts of the brain are better at doing certain kinds of thing, and part of that comes simply from where they are.” Read more.

This story was originally in Mosaic, entitled, "Can you think yourself into a different person?"

Research Spotlight: Wendy Rogers, by Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, November 12, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

What is innovative surgery? What are the benefits and harms of surgical innovation?

Trying new surgery techniques or devices can benefit patients but it raises questions of risk, evidence, and patient safety. Often these harms are difficult to identify and manage appropriately as they fall into grey areas between ordinary practice and surgical research.

Professor Wendy Rogers and her research team is on a mission to make surgery safer for patients through philosophical and ethical analysis of innovative surgery. The team developed a checklist tool to identify when surgical innovation occurs and when extra support is needed to make the surgical procedure safer for patients. Read more.

An epidemic of over diagnosis, by Shiela Pham

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, November 9, 2015
CAVE Member, Wendy Rogers, and CAVE Visitor, Thomas Schramme

The lack of clarity about what constitutes a disease is driving increasing diagnosis rates for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and autism. Can philosophy provide some conceptual clarity to manage this medical problem? Sheila Pham takes a look. Read more.

Faculty of Arts academics recognised at the 2015 Macquarie Research Awards, by Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, November 9, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Faculty of Arts academics have had great success at the 2015 Macquarie Research Awards. Professor Wendy Rogers from the Department of Philosophy was awarded the 2015 Award for Excellence in Research – Resilient Societies, while Professor Naguib Kanawati received the highly prestigious Distinguished Professor award for the second time.

The 2015 Research Awards directly aligned with the Five Future-Shaping Research Priorities outlined in the Strategic Research Framework (2015 – 2024). Each category recognises the world-leading research with world-changing impact undertaken across the range of disciplines by researchers at Macquarie University.

“I am very honoured to receive the Macquarie Research Excellence Award on behalf of my team. This research brings together a great group of investigators from a range of different disciplines (philosophy, law, surgery and bioethics),” says Professor Rogers.

“Together we’ve investigated the challenges of supporting safer innovative surgery by linking conceptual research to practical outcomes.” Read more.

What puts the 'mental' in mental illness? by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, November 5, 2015
CAVE student Anke Snoek

I have a 3 year old who doesn’t eat. He seems not to be interested in food in general. We were offered many explanations for why he doesn’t eat and most specialists suspect a psychological source for his lack of appetite. But recently a friend suggested that maybe there is something wrong with the muscles in his mouth that makes it hard to swallow. I wondered: why didn’t I get offered more of these physical explanations as opposed to psychological ones? What makes ‘not eating’ almost by definition a mental disorder for most people? What other behaviour are we inclined to label as a mental disorder rather than staying open for other explanations? Read more.

Imperativism: But what about...? by Colin Klein

Brains Blog, November 5, 2015
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Imperativism works well for sprained ankles. Pains are a diverse bunch, though, and pain science presents a number of interesting cases. Much of my book is taken up with defusing potential counterexamples. These fall into three classes, which I’ll take in order of seriousness.

First, there are strange or maladaptive pains. These are often the first things that people turn to when they want to object. What about cancer pain? What about headaches? What about menstrual cramps? These seems weird. They don’t help — protecting your body doesn’t do anything, and often makes things worse. Read more.

Pain vs Suffering, by Colin Klein

Brains Blog, November 4, 2015
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Over the past two days, I’ve sketched a picture of pains. Pains are imperatives which express commands which, when obeyed, motivate you to solve problems pertaining to bodily integrity. That fits nicely with a broad story about the bodily sensations and their role.

You might think this is missing something rather important though. Pains hurt. They feel bad. It’s because they feel bad that we’re motivated to do stuff. Anecdotal evidence aside, everyone thinks that pains hurt. Right?Read more.

Are Smart Drugs Good for College Students? by Catherine Morris

Diverse Issues in Higher Education, November 3, 2015
CAVE Affiliate Member, Nicole Vincent

Should college students take smart drugs? That was the question posed to a panel of professors at an Intelligence Squared debate at George Washington University on Monday night.

Smart drugs, or “cognitive enhancers,” can help consumers be more alert, improve concentration, and retain information better. In other words, they can make learning easier and improve overall performance. Some of the more commonly used smart drugs are Ritalin, Adderall, and Modafinil, which are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Read more.

‘Smart drugs’ are here — should college students be allowed to use them? By Princess Ojiaku

The Washington Post, November 3, 2015
CAVE Affiliate Member, Nicole Vincent

We use coffee to stay awake, good food and nutrition to stay healthy and alert. But if there was a drug that made you smarter, helped you learn, and made you more focused, would you take it? Read more.

The biological role of pain, by Colin Klein

Brains Blog, November 3, 2015
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Yesterday I gave a broad outline of the view in my book. But why be an imperativist? I came to imperativism via reflection on the biological function of pain. Most accounts treat pain as a signal of damage. That has always seemed wrong to me — both false to experience and obviously maladaptive. (Mere signals can always be ignored, after all.) Pain is not a symptom of a problem. Instead, it is already part of the solution. We feel pain in order to motivate us to solve whatever problem was causing the pain in the first place. Fleshing out that idea is key to my defence of imperativism. Read more.

Imperativism: The Big Picture, by Colin Klein

Brains Blog, November 1, 2015
CAVE member, Colin Klein

My book is devoted to defending pure imperativism about pains. Imperativism is the claim that pains are akin to imperatives in ordinary language. Right now, I have a dull ache in my left ankle. Imperativism says that this ache expresses something like that expressed by the sentence “Don’t put weight on me!” Pure imperativism claims that this is all that my pain expresses. In particular, I don’t get any information (at least directly)  about what’s causing the ache. I don’t need to. I’m motivated by the commands of my body. If I obey, then the problem will sort itself out (at least under ordinary circumstances). Read more.

Five minutes with Colin Klein, by MIT Press

The MIT Press Blog, October 26, 2015
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Today’s five minutes with the author features Colin Klein, author of What the Body Commands. Here he asks us to consider the pain of a sprained ankle, and informs us that pains are unusual compared to other sensations. Read more.

Living with other hominids, by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, October 20, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

The recent discovery of what is claimed to be a distinct species of the genus Homo, our genus, raises to three the number of species that may have co-existed with Homo Sapiens. Homo naledi is yet to be dated, but it may be only tens of thousands of years old; if so, it coexisted with modern humans. Homo floresiensis, the so-called ‘hobbit’, seems to have been extant well after sapiens evolved, and there is strong evidence that the Neanderthals coexisted with, probably interbred with, and may have been killed by, our ancestors. Read more.

Open access as a requirement for ethics committee approval, by Wendy Rogers

Letters, BMJ, October 14, 2015
CAVE member Wendy Rogers

Restoring Study 329 has important implications for research ethics. Whether clinical trials are considered ethical depends on risk to participants, merit and integrity of the research, potential benefits, whether and how potential participants are respected and offered informed choices, and how justice requirements are met. The merit and integrity of the research are linked to potential benefits: high quality research produces valid and reliable results to inform the care of future patients. Read more.

Gender gaps in the brain? Expert to speak on a long flawed notion, by Staci Matlock

Santa Fe New Mexican, October 13, 2015
CAVE affiliate member Cordelia Fine

Psychologist Cordelia Fine didn’t set out to debunk the notion that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

She was just a parent trying to glean tips from popular parenting books, and one who happened to have a background in neuroscience. Read more.

Should the army abandon their zero-tolerance policy on substance abuse? by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, October 8, 2015
CAVE student Anke Snoek

In the UK around 500 soldiers each year get fired because they fail drug-testing. The substances they use are mainly recreational drugs like cannabis, XTC, and cocaine. Some call this a waste of resources, since new soldiers have to be recruited and trained, and call for a revision of the zero tolerance policy on substance use in the army. Read more.

How much consciousness does an octopus have? Or an iPhone? by Emily Reynolds

Wired.co.uk, October 7, 2015
CAVE member Neil Levy

Animals ranging from parrots to elephants continue to challenge our perception of consciousness, long-held as a uniquely human trait. But the reaches of consciousness don't stop at animals. As artificial intelligence gets smarter, we are faced with moral dilemmas of how machines could one day not just think but also feel. Read more.

Bodily Integrity Identity Disorder: the condition where sufferers want to be disabled, by Neil Levy

The Independent, October 5, 2015
CAVE member Neil Levy

A number of news outlets have recently reported the case of a woman named Jewel Shuping who was apparently blinded, at her own request, by a psychologist. Allegedly, the psychologist applied a local anaesthetic and then poured drain cleaner into her eyes: she gradually lost her sight over the following months. Read more.

Culture, Illness and Normality - defining mental disorder, by Anke Snoek

The Ethics Centre Blog, September 22, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

At the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, The Ethics Centre’s interactive art installation asked, what do you wish we could talk more about? Mental health was a recurring answer. In response, Anke Snoek explores the origins of our definitions of mental health. Read more.

Sacha Molitorisz gets top prize in Arts 3MT competition, by Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, September 15, 2015
CAVE student, Sacha Molitorisz

Five PhD candidates participated in this year’s Faculty of Arts 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) heat which was held on Thursday, 13 August 2015 at the Campus Hub (C10A).

Competitors had just three minutes to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Read more (video available)

Written - 2

2015

The Virtuous Homophobe, by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, September 14, 2015
CAVE member Neil Levy

A few days ago, Kim Davis was released from jail, where she had spent the past few days. Davis, as you probably recall, is the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (more technically, for contempt for refusing to obey an order to grant such licenses). Davis says that doing so is inconsistent with her Christian beliefs. Let’s assume (rightly, I am very confident) that Davis’s belief that single sex marriage is morally objectionable is wrong. Is there nevertheless something admirable about her behaviour? Read more.

Must we throw the brain out with the bathwater? by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, September 7, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

When neuroscience started to mingle into the debate on addiction and self-control, people aimed to use these insights to cause a paradigm shift in how we judge people struggling with addictions. People with addictions are not morally despicable or weak-willed, they end up addicted because drugs influence the brain in a certain way. Anyone with a brain can become addicted, regardless their morals. The hope was that this realisation would reduce the stigma that surrounds addiction. Unfortunately, the hoped for paradigm shift didn’t really happen, because most people interpreted this message as: people with addictions have deviant brains, and this view provides a reason to stigmatise them in a different way. Read more.

Talking about our work is important but it can land researchers in trouble, by Neil Levy

The Conversation, September 1, 2015
CAVE Member, Neil Levy

In recent decades, the public engagement of academics has increased enormously: the results of academic research are often shared with the public via the media and blogs; academics are interviewed on radio and television shows; and they publish popular books for non-specialist readers, while social media reaches a wide audience instantly. Read more.

Distorted Memory: Interview with John Sutton, by Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Imperfect Cognitions Blog, August 28, 2015
CAVE member, John Sutton

I interviewed John Sutton, Professor of Cognitive Science at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, Sydney. John is interested in memory, skill, and distributed cognition, and in his work he seeks to integrate philosophical, psychological, and historical ideas and methods. This is the first in a series of three posts. Read more

Choosing children's sex is an exercise in sexism, by Tereza Hendl

The Conversation, August 24, 2015
CAVE graduate, Tereza Hendl

Australian guidelines for the ethical use of IVF allow selecting a child's sex for medical reasons. But draft guidelines that are now open for public submissions raise the possibility of extending this and allowing the choice for social reasons. Read more.

Collaborative Memory: Interview with John Sutton, by Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Imperfect Cognitions Blog, August 20, 2015
CAVE member, John Sutton

I interviewed John Sutton, who is Professor of Cognitive Science at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, Sydney. John is interested in memory, skill, and distributed cognition, and in his work he seeks to integrate philosophical, psychological, and historical ideas and methods. This is the third in a series of three posts, you can read the first (on distorted memory) here and the second (on observer memory) here. Read more.

Australian Courts Facing 'Crime Gene' Conundrum, by Allan McCay

The Huffington Post Blog, August 19, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Allan McCay

It may not be long until an Australian court hears a claim about an offender with a 'crime gene'.

Australia would be a late starter to the field; the issue of a genetic propensity to aggression was first raised in the American courts in the 1990s. More recently, it has been considered by the Italian courts. Read more.

Could gender-selective abortions be happening in Australia, by SBS

SBS, August 18, 2015
CAVE graduate, Tereza Hendl

Exclusive: An SBS investigation has found higher numbers of boys than girls being born in some ethnic communities, raising questions about sex selection in Australia. Read more

Will it be possible to upload your mind? by Olivia Willis

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, August 18, 2015
CAVE Visitor, Max Cappuccio

The concept of digital immortality might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but the idea of uploading one's mind is gaining traction in the real world. A number of philosophers, neuroscientists and futurists believe that a safe form of mind transfer will be possible one day. But is it a philosophical trap? Read more.

An ethical perspective on legislating gender selective abortion, by SBS Radio

SBS Radio, August 17, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers, and CAVE graduate, Tereza Hendl

Doctor Tereza Hendl, Sydney University, expert in the ethical aspects of selecting a child's gender, thinks there is no point trying to legislate against sex selective abortions because it is impossible to know why a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy. Read and hear more.

Am I myself when I dream? A philosophical look at dreams, by Olivia Willis

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, August 10, 2015
CAVE graduate, Mel Rosen

Aristotle gave them some thought and Rene Descartes lost his bearings over the very idea of them. That's understandable; dreams bring up a bunch of deeply philosophical questions that remain largely unresolved, from the nature of consciousness to personal identity and selfhood. Can you really dream you are someone else? Olivia Willis reports. Read more.

The role of identity in mental illness, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, August 5, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

If you break a leg or have a cold, it probably wouldn't affect your identity at all. But when you have an invasive, chronic illness, it will probably change your way of being in the world, and the way you perceive yourself. Our body is the vehicle with which we interact with the world. There are many personal accounts in the disability bioethics literature on how a chronic illness affects one's sense of being. For example, in the work of Kay Toombs, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or Havi Carel, who was diagnosed with lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare lung disease. Both describe how their illnesses gradually changed their identities, their senses of being. Read more

Left, Right, and Belief Formation, by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, August 3, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

A recent article by Jeff Sparrow on the Australian writer Helen Dale/Darville/Demidenko has left me pondering the way that we form beliefs. Under the penname 'Helen Demidenko', Dale published a novel that told the story of a Ukrainian family, members of whom were perpetrators of crimes against Jews during the Holocaust. The novel was instantly successful, winning major awards, and equally controversial. It was described as anti-Semitic in its sympathetic depiction of ordinary Ukranians and its (alleged) caricatures of Jews. The book gained an aura of authenticity from the author's claims that she based much of it on interviews with members of her own family, who had lived through the events depicted. Demidenko's bubble burst when it was revealed she was born Helen Darville, and had no Ukrainian relatives to recount these tales. Read more.

Calls to change laws that 'discriminate' against donor conceived people, by Natalie Whiting

The World Today, ABC News, July 20, 2015
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

ELEANOR HALL: An Adelaide man who was conceived with anonymous donor sperm says laws preventing him from changing his birth certificate are discriminatory and should be reviewed.

Damien Adams failed in his court bid to have his father's name changed to "unknown".

A medical law expert is backing his call to review the laws. Read/Hear more.

Common drugs can affect our mind and morals - but should we be worried about it? by Neil Levy

The Conversation, July 16, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Neuro-scientific research is rapidly expanding our knowledge of how we can alter brain function - for better or for ill. Most of this research is motivated by a desire to cure disease or to slow down normal age-related decline, of course. But some of it seems to hold out the hope of improving function in the already well-functioning brain. We might be able to enhance attention, for instance, or working memory, mathematical ability and even our capacity to reason morally. Read more

If obesity is a moral failing, then our morals have failed, by Anke Snoek

Aeon Ideas, July 7, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

The other day I saw a chubby little girl wearing a beautiful dress. I tried to make eye contact to compliment her about her dress, but she skilfully avoided my gaze. A friend of mine who struggles with obesity told me how, when she eats an ice cream in public, strangers walk over to her and tell her that she shouldn't eat ice cream. As Diane Carbonell describes on her blog, making critical remarks to obese people in public is widely accepted. And I wonder if that's the reason the little girl I saw on the street avoided my gaze. Read more.

A feminist defence of the nanny state, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, July 6, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

In Australia Senator David Leyonhjelm has won support for a broad-ranging parliamentary inquiry into what he calls the 'nanny state'. A committee will test the claims of public health experts about bicycle helmets, alcohol laws, violent video games, the sale and use of alcohol, tobacco and pornography. "If we don't wind back this nanny state, the next thing you know they'll be introducing rules saying that you'll need to have a fresh hanky and clean underpants". Read more.

Donor conception, secrecy, and the search for information, by Sonia Allan

The Conversation, July 1, 2015
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Over the past 50 years, assisted reproduction using donor sperm (and more recently, eggs and embryos) has been both celebrated - for enabling people to have children - and derided for religious, moral and social reasons. Read more.

Educators want matter of school ethics or scripture to fall to parents, by James Robertson

The Sydney Morning Herald, June 28, 2015
CAVE students, Leigh Dayton and Sacha Molitorisz, drafted the letter, and other members and students signed it

A group of 60 educators has written to NSW Premier Mike Baird criticising a plan to remove information about the availability of ethics classes on school enrolment forms as "just wrong".

Fairfax revealed this month that the Premier's office sought to fast-track a change to public school enrolment forms, removing the option for parents to select ethics class as an opt-out alternative to "special religious education". Read more

You can sign a petition to request that the option for ethics classes to be made clearly available to parents on enrollment forms here: Change.org Petition

Is the 'nanny state' so bad? After all, voters expect governments to care, by Neil Levy

The Conversation, June 26, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Independent senator David Leyonhjelm has launched a parliamentary inquiry into what he calls "the nanny state". He objects to what he sees as government interference with the freedom of people to make choices, including, if they want, bad choices. Read more.

Fact check: is Australia legally obliged to look after children abandoned after commercial surrogacy? by Sonia Allan

The Conversation, June 24, 2015
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

"I would imagine there'd be a number of reasons why the police should be involved and obviously the welfare authorities as well... I would have thought also that Australia has some obligation to track down and look after the welfare of the child that has been left behind." - Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit Court, John Pascoe, Foreign Correspondent, June 23, 2015. Read more.

Hiding ethics classes from parents is bad faith, by Matthew Beard

The Conversation, June 23, 2015
CAVE students, Leigh Dayton and Sacha Molitorisz, drafted the letter, and other members and students signed it

Several weeks ago, NSW Premier Mike Baird found himself under scrutiny for allegedly cutting a deal with Fred Nile to reduce parents' ability to be aware of the option of ethics classes as an alternative to Special Religious Education (SRE) - or "scripture" - in NSW Primary Schools. Read more.

Propaganda or cost of innovation? The high cost of new drugs, by Narcyz Ghinea, Ian Kerridge, and Wendy Lipworth

The Conversation, June 16, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

Ever wonder how much it costs to develop a new drug? The independent, non-profit research group, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, estimates US$2.6 billion, almost double the centre's previous estimate a decade ago. But how accurate is this figure? Read more.

Value in clinical ethics, by Charlotte Mitchell

MJA Insight, June 15, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

EXPERTS are calling for the wider implementation of "valuable" clinical ethics services across the health system to provide support to doctors and patients, improve education and inform policy. 

Professor Wendy Rogers, professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University, Sydney, told MJA InSight that although ethics support was not a one-size-fits-all solution, it did create clear and formalised methods for negotiating some of the most difficult issues doctors face. Read more

The rise of cognitive enhancers is a mass social experiment, by Nicole Vincent and Emma Jane

The Conversation, June 15, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Want to sign up for a massive human experiment? Too late. You're already a lab rat. There was no ethics approval or informed consent. You weren't asked, you never signed up, and now there's no easy way to opt out. Read more.

Written - 3

2015

What's wrong with obesity (and addiction)? by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, June 10, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

Many of us experience failure of self-control once in a while. These failures are often harmless, and may involve alcohol or food. Because we have experiences with these failures of self-control, we think something similar is going on in cases of addiction or when people can't control their eating on a regular basis. Because we fail to exercise willpower once in a while over food or alcohol, we think that people who regularly fail to control their eating or substance use must be weak-willed. Just control yourself. Read more

4 Ethical Dilemmas on Love, Answered by Our Neuroethicist, by Marcus Costello

St James Ethics Centre, June 3, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Writer Raymond Carver once said, "It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love." A range of drugs have since been developed to help us bond and heal. Here Marcus Costello speaks with the Ethics Centre's philosopher-in-residence, neuroethicist Dr Nicole Vincent. Read more

Good Samaritans - people of great character or circumstance? by John Elder

The Age, May 31, 2015
CAVE member, Paul Formosa

Why do some people come to the rescue while other witnesses to conflict or disaster stay quiet and look at their shoes? Getting hurt or killed can be  reason enough to keep your head down. Yet some still rush in. Read more.

Neuroethique: Recontre avec Neil Levy

Sciences Psy No. 3, May 22, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Quel lien entretiendraient le cerveau et la justice ? Cette association qui peut sembler aux premiers abords étrange marque en réalité un phénomène se développant de plus en plus dans le monde : celui de l'intégration des données neuroscientifiques dans le champ judiciaire, voire juridique. L'évolution des connaissances sur le cerveau conduit à un renouvellement de la compréhension de l'homme, notamment dans ses capacités à décider et à agir. Par suite, ces éléments semblent à même de pouvoir éclairer les cas pratiques en face desquels les juges se trouvent confrontés : décider de la culpabilité, de la responsabilité et de la dangerosité d'un individu. Si les exemples se multiplient, la réflexion va croissante également : le cerveau peut-il légitimement être appelé à la barre du tribunal ? Read more (Subscription required).

Climbing the tree: the case for chimpanzee 'personhood', by Jane Johnson

The Conversation, May 20, 2015
CAVE member, Jane Johnson

Hercules and Leo don't know it, but a decision about their future has made history. In granting an order to show cause on whether Hercules and Leo (who just happen to be chimpanzees) are illegally imprisoned, a Supreme Court judge in Manhattan has kept open the possibility that some nonhuman animals will be granted legal rights under common law. Read more

Why do we like our artists on drugs but our sportspeople not? by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, May 5, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

The internet and print media are happy to herald that movie director Lars Von Trier can't work without alcohol. He reports that he tried to be sober and went to AA meetings for half a year, but has now started drinking again in order to be able to work. This is a victory for those who believe that artists are more creative on drugs. Read more.

Anke's blog post was responded to in the Big Think blog, May 6, 2015: Artists are drug-taking heroes. Athletes inspire with sobriety, by Orion Jones, Read more.

GP guide is wrong: patches and meds no better than cold turkey quitting, by Wendy Rogers and Ross Mackenzie

The Conversation, May 5, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Comprehensive tobacco control legislation has led to an historically low daily smoking rate of 12.8% among Australians aged 14 years or older. Yet smoking is the country's leading preventable cause of early deaths, taking around 15,000 lives each year. Read more.

Imagination and Delusion, by Neil Levy

The Brains Blog, April 22, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

A number of philosophers have suggested that delusional people do not believe their delusions; they only imagine them and then mistake their imagining for a belief (Greg Currie has a view along these lines: in his recent book, Phil Gerrans defends a related view). What follows are a few inchoate thoughts about views like this. Read more.

Consciousness in the persistent vegetative state, by Neil Levy

The Brains Blog, April 18, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

There was a lot of excitement generated a few years back when a team of neuroscientists headed by Adrian Owen claimed to detect consciousness in a patient diagnosed as PVS. Read more

Implicit attitudes and moral responsibility, by Neil Levy

The Brains Blog, April 13, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Appeals to intuitions play a big role in debates over moral responsibility -  think of the enormous literature on Frankfurt-style cases (to which I've contributed, in a small way). While I think this methodology has its - limited - uses, I am sceptical it should be used at all when it comes to assessing the responsibility of agents whose actions are partially caused by their implicit attitudes (the set of cases I'm concerned with here are those cases in which the action/ omission would have had a different moral character were it not for the agent's implicit attitudes). Read more.

Ethical concerns surround first human head transplant, by Dominic Cansdale

4BC News Talk, April 17, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

A leading Australian neuroscience expert has raised concerns that the patient who will receive the world's first human head transplant is being exploited. 

30 year old Russian man Valery Spiridinov suffers from a terminal degenerative muscle disease that has left him in a wheel chair but faces a new life after Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero proposed to transplant Spiridinov's head onto a donor's body. Read more.

Taking responsibility, by Michael Enright

The Sunday Edition, CBC, April 12, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole VIncent

In 1979, the state of Arkansas found Charles Laverne Singleton guilty of murder, and sentenced him to execution. While on death row, he began to show signs of schizophrenia. That led to a stay of execution, as the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that executing the mentally insane was unconstitutional because they could not understand the reality of, or reason for, their punishment. The decision was made to medicate Singleton, restoring him to "sanity" and thereby making him competent to be killed. He was finally executed by lethal injection in 2004. Read more.

Can our DNA turn us into criminals? by Neil Levy

The Telegraph, April 10, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Do we inherit a criminal tendency? Are some of the most reviled offences not the fault of their perpetrators, but the unlucky fruit of their genes? If so, should the very word "perpetrator" be greeted not with opprobrium, but sympathy? When it comes to GBH, could the real culprit be our DNA? Read more.

Apparently most people don't see homeless people as human beings, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, April 7, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

A little video is circling the internet which shows the reactions of homeless people on nasty tweets about them. Apparently this is necessary to show the world that homeless people have feelings too. Research of Harris and Fiske (2010) showed that many people don't see homeless people as real human beings. Read more.

Getting Clearer About Surgical Innovation: a new definition and a new tool to support responsible practice, by Katrina Hutchison

The IDEAL Collaboration, March 20, 2015
CAVE member, Katrina Hutchison

Introducing surgical innovations can be risky. There are tragic examples of harm to patients and loss of reputation to practitioners when innovative procedures are not prospectively identified and introduced with appropriate supports. In our earlier qualitative research with surgeons, we found that surgeons do not agree on which procedures are innovative, and that hospitals may lack effective mechanisms for identifying innovation in advance of its occurrence. Read more.

Observer Memory: Interview with John Sutton, by Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Imperfect Cognitions Blog, March 19, 2015
CAVE member, John Sutton

I interviewed John Sutton, Professor of Cognitive Science at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, Sydney. John is interested in memory, skill, and distributed cognition, and in his work he seeks to integrate philosophical, psychological, and historical ideas and methods. This is the second in a series of three posts, you can read the first here. Read more

Michael Brown, Chiraq, and The Black-On-Black Crime Complaint, by Albert Atkin

The Critique, March 17, 2015
CAVE member, Albert Atkin

In an interview on the Fox Channel's Kelly Files in November 2014, the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley gave this diagnosis of the situation surrounding the police-shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson:

"The left wants to use racism as an all-purpose explanation for what ails the black community. Certain situations fit that narrative, like Ferguson, certain situations do not, like Chicago."

The obvious conclusion to draw, he suggested, is that "we have so many dead black bodies in this country ... not because cops are shooting them, but because other black people are shooting them". Read more

Hacking Your Brain, by David Murray

"Beyond the Lab," ABC Local Radio, March 14, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Jenny Fletcher was in her mid-40s when her life suddenly, and violently, spiralled out of control.

Over a period barely exceeding 6 months Jenny underwent surgery, lost a relative and then a close friend to suicide and, was threatened with a used syringe during a terrifying attempted car-jacking. Read and hear more

On the cutting edge: promoting best practice in surgical innovation, by Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, January 21, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

The development of new surgical procedures is vital to progress in healthcare but it can be harmful to patients.

The harm can occur in ways that are difficult to identify and manage appropriately as they often fall into grey areas between ordinary practice and surgical research.

Surgeons have a tradition of trying new techniques or devices to help their patients. Yet we know that while innovations may benefit patients, they can also lead to serious patient harm. Read more (video available)

A Dutch university prohibits a PhD student from thanking God in his acknowledgements, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, January 20, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

A Dutch university (Wageningen University) prohibited a PhD student from thanking God in his thesis acknowledgments. The student, Jerke de Vries, wrote, "My Father God, thank You, it's the most wonderful thing to be loved and honoured by You." The university refused to grant him his thesis unless he deleted this reference to God. The university argues that science should be independent from politics or religion (political statements are also banned). The student refused to delete God from his acknowledgments and instead tore the whole page of acknowledgments out altogether. Read more.

Audio

2015

Race, by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, December 13, 2015
CAVE Member, Adam Hochman

Why does race persist as a category of being? Unlike phlogiston, race has been able to ward off close scientific and intellectual inquiry, refusing to deflate into the ether of ideas.

We know from wretched experience that talk of race can so quickly lead to racism, and yet we cling to it as something useful. So how should race be understood, and what does the history of science and philosophy tell us about its persistence? Hear more.

Cordelia Fine with John and Garry, by John Stanley and Garry Linnell

2UE 954 Breakfast, November 26, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

Cordelia Fine on gender and toys. Hear more.

Nature vs Nurture, by Beth Matthews

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, November 19, 2015
CAVE graduate, Kate Lynch

Dr Kate Lynch speaks about nature versus nurture, dominant and recessive genes and if personality traits are genetic or environmental. Hear more.

Smart drugs, by Marty Moss-Coane

Radio Times, November 16, 2015
CAVE Affiliate member, Nicole Vincent 

Use of “smart drugs” is on the rise. In high-pressure workplaces, people are popping prescription drugs like Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD, and Modafinil, which is used to treat narcolepsy. These cognitive enhancers have also become more commonplace on college campuses and in high schools. Students are using them to stay alert and awake while cramming or taking exams. But what effects do these drugs have our minds and our bodies? And what does it say about our culture that people are driven to take “productivity pills?” Marty talks with a neuroscientist and a philosopher about the biological and ethical issues raised by the cognitive enhancing drugs. Our guests ANJAN CHATTERJEE, Elliott Professor and Chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital and a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, and NICOLE VINCENT, associate professor of philosophy, law, and neuroscience at Georgia State University. Hear more.

Shame, desire, and Rene Girard, by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, November 15, 2015
CAVE Visitor, Heidi Maibom

We're told that we live in a guilt culture—an improvement of sorts on the shame culture of yore—so pity those people in distant lands and times. One problem though: it’s not true. Shame has never been more prevalent, when powered by the internet and prosecuted by swarming social tribes; explaining it in liberal times takes some conceptual rigour.

Also, we mark the passing of theorist Rene Girard. His take on desire, imitation, and the ritual scapegoat might also help explain shame’s enduring hold. Hear more.

What is a disease? by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, November 8, 2015
CAVE Member, Wendy Rogers, and CAVE Visitor, Thomas Schramme

It’s been said that philosophy can’t cure disease; but it might be able to tell you what one actually is. Philosophers of medicine are trying to answer a fundamental question, which is not getting any easier in our world of hi-tech diagnostics. How can we be sure we’ve got it right? It's a theoretical problem with ramifications for diagnosis and treatment, not to mention the cost. Hear more.

College Students Should Be Allowed To Take Smart Drugs, with Nicole Vincent

IQ2 Debate, November 2, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you? Off-label use of “smart drugs” – pharmaceuticals meant to treat disorders like ADHD, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s – are becoming increasingly popular among college students hoping to get ahead, by helping them to stay focused and alert for longer periods of time. But is this cheating? Should their use as cognitive enhancers be approved by the FDA, the medical community, and society at large? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Watch debate.

Philosophy of Feminist Bioethics, by Beth Matthews

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, October 28, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Dr Wendy Rogers. Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, speaks about the philosophy of feminist bioethics and answers such questions, such as “with the current situation with direct embryo donation, is this a case of free choice or discrimination?” Hear more.

Heartbreak, by SBS Insight

SBS Insight, September 22, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Romantic rejection is one of the most common and painful human experiences that we go through.

The brain system for romantic love is one of the most powerful processes that has ever evolved. But scientists are just now getting an understanding of how this brain chemistry works but many think heartbreak is similar to the withdrawal experienced when quitting a powerful cocaine addiction.

In this Insight we take a look at the messy, joyful, sad and funny stories of how heartbreak affects your thoughts and behaviours – and the various ways we heal a broken heart. Watch more.

Addiction, by Anke Snoek

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, August 20, 2015
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

Dr Anke Snoek answers questions such as, Are there different types of addictions? Would alcohol and tobacco be the most common type of addictive substances? Do you think that it's possible for anyone to completely recover from a serious form of addiction? Hear more.

An ethical perspective on legislating gender selective abortion, by SBS Radio

SBS Radio, August 17, 2015
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers, and CAVE graduate, Tereza Hendl

Doctor Tereza Hendl, Sydney University, expert in the ethical aspects of selecting a child's gender, thinks there is no point trying to legislate against sex selective abortions because it is impossible to know why a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy. Read and hear more.

Mind Upload, by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, August 16, 2015
CAVE Visitor, Max Cappucio

Self/less- a film currently doing the rounds-entertains the idea of digital immortality. It might be a work of science fiction but what it portrays is gaining serious traction in the real world. A number of philosophers, neuroscientists, and assorted futurists believe that by mid-century a safe form of mind transfer will be achieved. But beware: there might a fly in the grey matter. In fact you'd want to be sure of your assumptions about brain, mind and consciousness before you throw the switch. Hear more.

What is it to dream? presented by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, August 9, 2015
CAVE graduate, Mel Rosen

Dreams-we all have them, even if we do forget them. But what are they exactly? Aristotle gave it them thought. And they certainly became serious business for Rene Descartes who, for a while, lost his epistemic equilibrium over the very idea. Understandable, as dreaming brings up a bunch of deeply philosophical matters that remain largely unresolved-from the nature of consciousness to personal identity and selfhood. Can you really dream that you are someone else? Hear more.

Dreams, by Melanie Rosen

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, August 6, 2015
CAVE graduate, Melanie Rosen

Beth Matthews interviews Mel Rosen about the philosophy of dreaming and whether our dreams are imagination or hallucination. Hear more.

Empathy, by Jeanette Kennett

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, July 30, 2015
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

Beth Matthews interviews Jeanette Kennett on empathy. Hear more.

Forum: Smart Drugs, by The Feed

SBS The Feed, Season 2015 Episode 214, July 24, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Should we take a drug that improves our memory, makes us more alert, or actually smarter? Australian researchers are trying to find out just how many students and workers are using prescription ADHD pills, sleep drugs and beta blockers for purposes other than prescribed. On a special forum edition of The Feed, we meet a young professional who faked ADHD symptoms to get a Ritalin prescription (and, she says, two promotions), a philosopher who once took narcolepsy drugs, a former Mr Universe who admits to steroid use, and a "mental athlete" who hated the ADD prescription he was forced to take as a teen but now sees enormous potential in the drugs. Presenter Marc Fennell asks: if the side effects are minimal and the benefits significant, what's the problem? Watch more

Calls to change laws that 'discriminate' against donor conceived people, by Natalie Whiting

The World Today, ABC News, July 20, 2015
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

ELEANOR HALL: An Adelaide man who was conceived with anonymous donor sperm says laws preventing him from changing his birth certificate are discriminatory and should be reviewed.

Damien Adams failed in his court bid to have his father's name changed to "unknown".

A medical law expert is backing his call to review the laws. Read/Hear more.

Are men and women really that different? by Cordelia Fine

CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine, giving the third annual Alan Saunders Memorial LectureABC RN Big Ideas, July 14, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

Cordelia Fine examines just how real the gender divide is and challenges some of the popular assumptions that play up the differences between the sexes.

Highlights of The gender galaxy beyond Mars & Venus: Insights for science and society. The 3rd annual Alan Saunders lecture, ABC Ultimo centre, Sydney, 7th July 2015

Presented by RN's the Philosopher's Zone and the Australasian Association of Philosophy. Hear more.

Blinded by sex - gender and the brain, presented by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, June 28, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

Men are from Mars and women-well, you know where they're from. It's become a lucrative industry: books, articles, seminars, and workshops-all in the service of bringing two distinct kinds closer together. But what if it just ain't natural? Cordelia Fine, this year's Alan Saunders Memorial Lecturer, considers a gender galaxy far from Venus and Mars. Hear more

Crossing state lines - children of surrogacy, by Francine Crimmins

2ser - Real Radio 107.3, June 25, 2015
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Commercial surrogacy is a complex issue in Australia, especially when couples are seeking this service from women in other countries. Right now, residents of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory can legally enter into a commercial surrogacy agreement oversees. Hear more.

Hacking Your Brain, by David Murray

"Beyond the Lab," ABC Local Radio, March 14, 2015
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Jenny Fletcher was in her mid-40s when her life suddenly, and violently, spiraled out of control.

Over a period barely exceeding 6 months Jenny underwent surgery, lost a relative and then a close friend to suicide and, was threatened with a used syringe during a terrifying attempted car-jacking. Read and hear more

On the cutting edge: promoting best practice in surgical innovation, by Macquarie University

Macquarie University Research Impact, January 15, 2015
CAVE member Wendy Rogers

The development of new surgical procedures is vital to progress in healthcare but it can be harmful to patients.

The harm can occur in ways that are difficult to identify and manage appropriately as they often fall into grey areas between ordinary practice and surgical research.

Surgeons have a tradition of trying new techniques or devices to help their patients. Yet we know that while innovations may benefit patients, they can also lead to serious patient harm. Read more.

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