Media Archive

Media Archive

CAVE in the media (archive)

Our 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.

These are the stories from previous years. If you'd like stories from this year, go back to our media page.

Written

2016

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

Question
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.

Consensus statement on conscientious objection in healthcare, by Practical Ethics

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, August 29, 2016
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

On the 7th, 8th, and 9th of June 2016 a group of philosophers and bioethicists gathered at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in a workshop on healthcare practitioners’ conscience and conscientious objection in healthcare. Conscientious objection is the refusal by a healthcare practitioner to provide a certain medical service, for example an abortion or medical assistance in dying, because it conflicts with the practitioner’s moral views. Aim of the workshop was to discuss the ethical and legal aspects of conscientious objection in healthcare, in view of proposing some guidelines for the regulation of conscientious objection in healthcare in the future.

At the end of the workshop, the participants formulated a consensus statement of 10 points, which are here proposed as ethical guidelines that should inform, at the level of legislations and institutional policies, the way conscientious objections in healthcare is regulated. Read more.

Wendy Rogers on the Chinese organ trade, by Nina Yan

New Tang Dynasty TV, August 20, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Wendy Rogers was interviewed for the Chinese independent TV station, NTD, about the organ procurement for organ transplantation. There are two segments (in Chinese):

Segment 1 (Video and transcript): 澳医学专家:吁各界制止中国活摘器官

Segment 2 (Video and transcript): 器官移植大会召开 澳洲医学专家关注活摘

This interview also appeared in the Epoch Times (in Chinese).

Australian organ transplant doctors defend China ties, by Rick Feneley and Joel Keep

SBS, August 19, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Criticism is being leveled at clinicians from Sydney’s Westmead Institute for Medical Research, including Dr. Philip O’Connell and Professor Jeremy Chapman, the current and past presidents of The Transplantation Society – as the international body meets in Hong Kong for its 26th congress today.

Recently published research by author Ethan Gutmann, former Canadian politician David Kilgour and lawyer David Matas claims China is performing 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants a year. They say this dwarfs the Communist regime’s estimates of about 10,000 and that it cannot be explained by China’s fledgling program for voluntary organ donors. Read more.

Video games - a moral game changer? by Macquarie Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, August 19, 2016
CAVE member, Paul Formosa

With 98 per cent of Australian households with children having at least one form of video game, it not only seems logical but indeed ethical that we discuss the moral content of videogames.

A recent paper by Macquarie University researchers challenges the concept that games are amoral spaces where actions are without ethical significance.

Dr Paul Formosa from the Department of Philosophy explains that artists across every medium engage audiences with challenging moral questions concerning topics of war, crime corruption, fidelity and the abuse of power. However, Formosa argues relatively few video games invite us to engage deeply with the morality of the worlds they depict or the behaviours they encourage us to adopt. Read more.

Why being a sporting role model isn't as simple as most people think, by Katrina Hutchison

The Conversation, August 17, 2016
CAVE member, Katrina Hutchison

New reports of Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) stopping during the 5000m finals at the Rio Olympics to help fellow competitor Abbey D’Agostino (US) after they’d crashed on the track have evoked the “Olympic spirit”. The New Zealander also waited until D'Agostino, who was injured in the fall, could continue the race, sacrificing any chance of catching up to the main pack. Read more.

Here's what Australia can do to help end the Chinese organ trade, by Wendy Rogers

The Conversation, August 9, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Exact numbers are unknown, but a Daily Telegraph special feature reports at least some Australians travel each year to China for organ transplants. Many go for kidneys, some of which may come from living donors.

For those who travel to China for whole livers, lungs or hearts, there can be little doubt that, after organ retrieval, the donor is dead. When such operations are booked in advance, the death is timed to be convenient for the recipient and/or transplant team. Read more.

Won't someone think of the children? by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, July 18, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Andrea Leadsom’s suggestion that being a mother made her a better candidate for being a leader than Theresa May, because it gave her a stake in the future that May lacked, seems to have sunk her leadership bid. The horrified responses to her remarks were motivated in important part by the observation that Leadsom was trading on the common sexist belief that it is somehow unnatural or perverse for women (but not men) to be childless. But might Leadsom have had a point? What do we actually know about how having children affects parents’ political engagement and orientation? Read more.

People who feel too specialised to transfer occupations may be at an increased risk of suicide-related thinking and behaviour, by Macquarie Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, July 13, 2016
CAVE member, Monique Crane

People who believe their occupational skills are non-transferable to other professions are potentially at an increased risk of suicide-related thinking and behaviour, a Macquarie University study has found. The study is the first to investigate how a person’s perceived skill transferability is linked to suicide-related thinking and behaviour, and has implications for clinical practitioners, human resource managers, and training institutions, such as universities. Read more.

The Stem Cell "Sell", by Megan Munsie, Ian Kerridge, Cameron Stewart, Tereza Hendl, Wendy Lipworth, Tamra Lysaght & Catherine Waldby

Australasian Science, July/August 2016
CAVE affiliate member Wendy Lipworth

The unfettered commercial environment that has allowed stem cell tourism to flourish must be challenged, and the professionals who enable it should be held to account. Read more (subscription required).

Biobanks Go Global, by Paul H. Mason, Wendy Lipworth & Ian Kerridge

Australasian Science, July/August 2016
CAVE affiliate member Wendy Lipworth

Global networks of depositories for biological samples open a range of scientific, legal and ethical challenges. Read more (subscription required).

Do insects have consciousness? by Abigail Tucker

Smithsonian.com, July 1, 2016
CAVE member Colin Klein

Amid the usual parade of creeping horrors—super lice, mayfly plagues and a “troll-haired insect discovered in remote Suriname”—the exterminator news site PestWeb recently shared a piece of unsettling intelligence.

“Insects Have Consciousness, Self-Awareness and Egos,” the headline read.

Whether or not the consciences of professional bug slayers were burdened by this revelation, other people were alarmed. We’re a far cry from “insect rights,” mused the bioethicist and animal rights advocate Peter Singer, but the prospect of bugs’ inner lives ups the ethical stakes. Read more.

How to trick your brain into wanting less junk food, by Paul Biegler

Cosmos Magazine, June 22, 2016
CAVE member Neil Levy

All this might look like the bitter end for free will and food, but there could be a phoenix to rise from the ashes.

Neil Levy, a philosopher at Macquarie University and the University of Oxford, accepts the possibility of “determinism” – the view that every effect, including all human action, is preceded by a cause. If we knew every fact and physical law, we could predict human behaviour. Read more.

China accused of lying over organ harvesting, by Billy Briggs

The Ferret, June 17, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

An Australian academic has challenged claims by China’s government that it has stopped removing organs from executed prisoners for transplants.

Professor Wendy Rogers spoke to The Ferret ahead of a visit to the Scottish Parliament for a special screening of a film on Chinese organ harvesting.

She called on MSPs to condemn the Chinese government for the practice and for the Scottish Government to pass a law to prevent people from taking part in the illegal trade of organs. Read more.

Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship? By Neil Levy

Aeon Ideas, June 13, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

If human beings are ever to colonise other planets – which might become necessary for the survival of the species, given how far we have degraded this one – they will almost certainly have to use generation ships: spaceships that will support not just those who set out on them, but also their descendants. The vast distances between Earth and the nearest habitable planets, combined with the fact that we are unlikely ever to invent a way of travelling that exceeds the speed of light, ensures that many generations will be born, raised and die on board such a ship before it arrives at its destination. Read more.

Scotland urged to speak out against China's horrific organ harvesting as more savage atrocities are revealed, by Billy Briggs

Daily Record, June 12, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

SCOTS have been urged to join worldwide condemnation of China’s barbaric organ harvesting programme.

The Beijing authorities have come under huge pressure over the secret harvesting of organs from prisoners.

Professor Wendy Rogers, an Australian expert, called on Scotland to question all links to the Chinese government. Read more.

Affirmative Action for Women in Mathematics: Fighting Discrimination with Discrimination? by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, June 7, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

The University of Melbourne (the most prestigious university in my hometown) has advertised three senior positions in mathematics. Like some (but not all) other STEM subjects, mathematics has a low proportion of female academics. In part, this is a pipeline problem: women are significantly less likely to do mathematics degrees than men (28% of maths students at Melbourne are female). The head of the school of mathematics and statistics at the university hopes that the appointments might help by fixing the leaking pipeline: the three appointments will provide role models and mentors for female students and might encourage more of them to enrol, finish and go on to higher degrees. Read more.

Prehistoric instinct could explain mystery of glucose-boosted self control, by Natalie Morrison

FoodNavigator, June 7, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Glucose’s mysterious positive effect on self control could be due to the brain’s natural instinct to grab immediate rewards when deprived of sugary foods, a new theory suggests. Read more.

No sweet surrender: Glucose actually enhances self-control, study shows, by ScienceDaily

ScienceDaily, June 2, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

In the age of the 'sugar tax', good news about glucose is hard to come by. But an Australian scientist has just proposed a new understanding of the established link between the sweet stuff and improved self-control

As Neil Levy, from Macquarie University, explains in the journal Philosophical Psychology, the current 'ego depletion' model of the link between glucose and self-control holds that self-control is a depletable resource. Or put another way, glucose is the fuel for the engine of self-control. Read more.

Don't dismiss conflict-of-interest concerns in IVF, they have a basis, by Jane Williams, Brette Blakely, Christopher Mayes, and Wendy Lipworth

The Conversation, June 1, 2016
CAVE affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

It’s estimated over 5 million children have been born worldwide as a result of assisted reproductive technology treatments. Assisted reproductive technology, an umbrella term that includes in vitro fertilisation (IVF), is a highly profitable global industry, and fertility clinics are increasingly regarded as an attractive investment option. Read more.

My brain made me do it: will neuroscience change the way we punish criminals? by Allan McCay and Jeanette Kennett

The Conversation, May 26, 2016
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett, and CAVE affiliate member, Allan McCay

Australian law may be on the cusp of a brain-based revolution that will reshape the way we deal with criminals.

Some researchers, such as neuroscientist David Eagleman, have argued that neuroscience should radically change our practices of punishment. According to Eagleman, the courts should give up on the notion of punishment altogether and instead focus on managing criminals and containing their behaviour in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Is this a good idea? And is this how Australian judges are responding to our increasing knowledge of the neurobiological bases of behaviour? Read more.

Also reported in The Independent: Can neuroscience revolutionise the way we punish criminals?

Blame it on the brain: How neuroscientific evidence is changing case law in Australia, by LSJ

Law Society Journal Online, May, 2016
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett, and CAVE affiliate member, Allan McCay

“If you could trace back some awful behavior to something in a person’s brain that might be more worrying because it might indicate that they are intrinsically bad. A colleague of ours was interviewing judges and asked about how they would sentence an offender with a genetic predisposition related to anger and the judge said ‘Am I supposed to lock him up for less time, or more time?” - Jeanette Kennett. Read more (subscription required).

Budget Insider: Top new talent, by InnovationAus.com

InnovationAus.com, April 20, 2016
CAVE student, Leigh Dayton

InnovationAus.com is proud to announce three new experts who will join Budget Insider 2016’s brilliant line-up of panelists who will round up and dissect the innovation initiative expected from Treasurer Scott Morrison’s highly anticipated first Budget speech. Read more.

What it is like to be a bee: insects can teach us about the origin of consciousness, by Colin Klein and Andrew Barron

The Conversation, April 19, 2016
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Do bees like the taste of nectar? Does the ant foraging for your crumbs feel better when she finds one?

Are insects merely tiny robots? Or, in the phrase popularised by the philosopher Thomas Nagel, is there something it is like to be a bee?

Until recently, most scientists and philosophers would have laughed at the question. But now, research is challenging that dismissive attitude towards invertebrate consciousness. Read more.

Do insects have consciousness and ego? by Jason Daly

Smithsonian.com, April 19, 2016
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Most of us think of insects as little automatons, living creatures driven by instinct and outside stimulus to slurp up nectar or buzz around our ears. But in a new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers suggest that insects have the capacity “for the most basic aspect of consciousness: subjective experience.” Read more.

Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea, by James Gorman

The New York Times, April 18, 2016
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Bees find nectar and tell their hive-mates; flies evade the swatter; and cockroaches seem to do whatever they like wherever they like. But who would believe that insects are conscious, that they are aware of what’s going on, not just little biobots? Read more.

Insects could shed light on the evolution of consciousness, by Gemma Chilton

Australian Geographic, April 18, 2016
CAVE member, Colin Klein

Insects have the capacity for 'subjective experience' and the brain structures that support this basic form of consciousness originated more than 480 million years ago, two Australian researchers have argued in a paper out today. Read more.

Can neurolaw change the criminal justice system? by Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis

All in the Mind, ABC Radio National, April 15, 2016
CAVE Member, Jeannette Kennett

Could mental impairment compel you to commit a crime? And if it could, would you then be responsible for your actions? 'Neurolaw' raises complex questions about the nature of guilt, free will and culpability. Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis report. Read more.

This research was also reported in The Independent: Terence Martin: The Tasmanian MP whose medication 'turned him into a paedophile'.

Catalyst: Echolocation, by Graham Phillips

ABC Catalyst, April 12, 2016
CAVE member Greg Downey

The blind man leading the blind to see - how echolocation is redefining our understanding of vision. Daniel Kish is blind but his ability to "see using sound" is remarkable. His use of echolocation to effortlessly get around using mouth clicks has earned him the nickname "Batman". Now researchers are getting a clearer picture on the way his brain turns sounds into images and it's redefining our understanding of vision. Read more (video available).

How Can Philosophy Contribute to Public Debates and Discourse? by Nicole Vincent

Blog of the APA, April 6, 2016
CAVE Affiliate Member, Nicole Vincent

Really? What kind of question is that anyway? I mean, where do I even start?

Personally, I cannot imagine doing philosophy in any other way. But I do often wonder if this is just a reflection of my personal taste that the topics I choose to work on have the potential to contribute to public debates and discourse—for instance, free will and responsibility, neurolaw and neurophilosophy more generally, cognitive enhancement, moral enhancement, psychopathology and mental disorder, distributive justice, philosophy of technology, happiness, and, of late, gender and sexuality. Read more.

CommInsure scandal reminds us commercial forces are at play in medicine, by Wendy Lipworth, Ian Kerridge, and Narcyz Ghinea

The Conversation, March 10, 2016
CAVE affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

A scandal has emerged involving the insurance giant CommInsure, following claims by the company’s (now ex) chief health officer that they purposefully sought to avoid paying health-related claims by using outdated disease definitions; dishonestly used medical reports; and denied claims for frivolous reasons. Read more.

Euthanasia: more options don't always expand our freedoms, sometimes it limits them, by Neil Levy

The Conversation, March 8, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Liberal democracies are built around individual freedom. That is, the freedom of the individual to act more or less as she wishes so long as she doesn’t harm others. We take this freedom for granted today, but it is historically novel. Read more.

Drug testing 'problematic', by Shane Manning

The Daily Advertiser, March 6, 2016
CAVE Affiliate member, Mary Walker

An ethics academic has weighed into the controversy surrounding the drug-driving laws clogging the court system.

The divisive issue has seen a heated debate emerge on The Daily Advertiser’s Facebook page, with many voicing their concerns.

It comes as an Advertiser poll, asking if the 'driving with illicit drug in bloodstream' charge was an attack on civil liberties, revealed 81.87 per cent of 1401 respondents believed the legislation encroached on their rights. Read more.

What defines a healthy population? by This Week

This Week, March 4, 2016
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Dr Sonia Allan is Head of the Department of Health Systems and Populations in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sonia was recently appointed by the Minister for Health in South Australia to review the changes to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (SA).

We asked Sonia a number of questions about her professional background and expertise, and the opportunities and challenges for health that lie ahead. Read more.

The allure of Donald Trump, by Neil Levy

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, February 23, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

The primary season is now well underway, and the Trump bandwagon continues to gather pace. Like most observers, I thought it would run out of steam well before this stage. Trump delights in the kinds of vicious attacks and stupidities that would derail any other candidate. His lack of shame and indifference to truth give him a kind of imperviousness to criticism. His candidacy no longer seems funny: it now arouses more horror than humour for many observers. Given that Trump is so awful – so bereft of genuine ideas, of intelligence, and obviously of decency – what explains his poll numbers?  Read more.

A version of this article appeared in Quartz: Donald Trump’s fans may be influenced an evolutionary strategy called “prestige bias”.

This blog post was also reported in BioEdge: The psychology of Trump Voters.

Does the desire to punish have any place in modern justice? by Neil Levy

Aeon Opinions, February 19, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Human beings are a punitive species. Perhaps because we are social animals, and require the cooperation of others to achieve our goals, we are strongly disposed to punish those who take advantage of us. Those who ‘free-ride’, taking benefits to which they are not entitled, are subject to exclusion, the imposition of fines or harsher penalties. Wrongdoing arouses strong emotions in us, whether it is done to us, or to others. Our indignation and resentment have fueled a dizzying variety of punitive practices – ostracism, branding, beheading, quartering, fining, and very many more. The details vary from place to place and time to culture but punishment has been a human universal, because it has been in our evolutionary interests. However, those evolutionary impulses are crude guides to how we should deal with offenders in contemporary society. Read more.

Is technology eating our brains? by Michael Coulter

The Sydney Morning Herald, Digital Life, February 7, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Quick quiz. When was the last time you ...

a) wrote a letter by hand;

b) used a street directory or other paper map; 

c) multiplied two large numbers in your head; 

d) memorised a phone number that wasn't your own.

Chances are it's been a while, and there's a simple reason: technology means we hardly ever need to. With nine in 10 Australians carrying a smartphone in their pocket, skills that society once considered essential have become redundant. Read more.

On the cutting edge: Ethics and surgical innovation, by Wendy Rogers

Australian Quarterly 2016 Special Edition, January, 2016
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Surgery is such a central part of contemporary health care that we take much of it for granted. Joint replacements, once innovative, are now commonplace, while laparoscopic, or 'keyhole' surgery has become the norm for many surgical procedures. Developments like these are the result of innovation. Successful innovation can be highly beneficial to patients. Prior to the use of stents for coronary artery disease, many patients underwent invasive open heart surgery; while organ transplants have transformed the lives of countless recipients. Yet surgical innovation has a dark side. Sometimes trying something new can have catastrophic effects. Read more (subscription required).

Also available on Informit for download.

The Beauty of Limits: A Q&A with Dr. Nicole Vincent

Enhancing Life Project Blog, January 19, 2016
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed to children who have trouble concentrating in school, to help them focus. But increasingly, college students and professionals in competitive work environments are using these medications off-label to artificially enhance their cognition. Taking these drugs allows some people to think more sharply and concentrate for longer, even on little sleep, to enjoy their work more, and some argue that expanding access to these drugs could promise extraordinary gains in human efficiency—but at what cost? Nicole Vincent, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Neuroscience at Georgia State University, says that we need to think carefully about how and when technologies like so-called “smart drugs” should be used. We should be bolder about controlling these innovations, she argues, to prevent work and economic competition from taking over other—equally important—aspects of our lives. Read more.

Four psychological tricks to help stick to your New Year's resolutions, by Neil Levy

The Conversation, January 4, 2016
CAVE member, Neil Levy

Every year, millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions. And every year, the great majority of us break and abandon those resolutions.

Self-control is a major problem for many of us, so failure to maintain our resolutions isn’t surprising. But is it inevitable? Is there anything we can do to make it more likely that we stick to our resolve? Read more.

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.

The Impact of Human Rights Legislation in Australia, by Macquarie Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom Research Impact, October 6, 2015
CAVE member Denise Meyerson

The ACT and Victoria have enacted human rights laws but can we actually tell if they have had any impact? How do you even assess if a human rights law is achieving its objective? Professor Denise Meyerson of Macquarie Law School has been working with Professor Simon Rice of the Australian National University to develop a measurement method.

Their assessment metrics look at whether the enacted legislation is achieving one of its most important objectives – that of fostering a human rights culture. By designing a survey to measure awareness, the research demonstrates that it is possible to measure awareness of human rights legislation among social service providers and legal practitioners. While the sample sizes were too small to draw definitive conclusions from the data, the research suggests that social service providers had internalised human rights norms slightly more than the surveyed lawyers had. The research shows that a survey method such as this is a viable instrument for testing an essential aspect of human rights legislation. 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)

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.

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.

Blaming Buried Prejudice: Neil Levy on implicit bias and moral responsibility, by Gil Percival

The Partially Examined Life, April 26, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

If you haven’t seen it, there is a scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David is casually walking across a parking lot having just parked his car. An African-American man walks past him in the same direction as Larry’s vehicle. Larry suddenly turns and clicks the button on his remote keyless system, locking his car doors with a swift electronic bleep that breaks the silence like a well-timed punch line. The man turns and glowers. “Think I’m gonna steal your car?” he challenges. “No . . . it’s not you”, Larry awkwardly bumbles, “it’s not a race thing”. 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 bias and moral responsibility: assessing responsibility, by Neil Levy

The Brains Blog, April 15, 2015
CAVE member, Neil Levy

This post continues on from the last. I’m going to assume the claims I made in that post – in particular, that implicit attitudes are patchy endorsements – though in fact what I will say would go through on most rival views (the only extant view on which it would be false would be the Mandelbaum/De Houwer view, according to which implicit attitudes are structured beliefs). In the last post, I argued that we must avoid intuition mongering when it comes to assessing the moral responsibility of agents for actions that have a moral character due to the agents’ implicit attitudes. Instead, I suggest, we should construct our account of moral responsibility, in whatever way we judge appropriate, and then pretty mechanically apply it to the cases think hand. We should just churn the cases through the machinery. 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.

2014

Professor Catriona Mackenzie elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, by Macquarie Newsroom

Macquarie Newsroom, November 28, 2014
CAVE member, Catriona Mackenzie

In one of the highest honours for achievement in the humanities in Australia, The Australian Academy of the Humanities has elected nineteen new Fellows, including Professor Catriona Mackenzie from Macquarie University’s Department of Philosophy.

Mackenzie was recognised by the Academy as: “a philosopher with an international reputation for her research in moral psychology, applied ethics, social philosophy and feminist philosophy.” Read more.

How easy is it to bring overseas-born surrogate babies back to Australia and what are their parents' rights? by ABC Fact File

ABC Fact File, August 20, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

The recent baby Gammy case has exposed the pitfalls of the international commercial surrogacy trade. Read more.

Sydney hospital launches internal investigation after patient records altered, by Belinda Hawkins

ABC AM with Chris Uhlman, August 18, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: When you go to see your doctor, you assume that he or she will keep an accurate record of that consultation.

But that's not what happened at a public hospital in Sydney. Read or hear more.

Searching for C11, by ABC

ABC Australian Story, August 11 and 18, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

At the age of 21, aeronautical engineer Lauren Burns was told a family secret that turned her world upside down.

Barbara Burns revealed that Lauren was conceived in a Melbourne clinic using donor sperm. The man she knew as her father was infertile. Read more: Part 1 and Part 2

An unproductive story of reproductive success and PMS, by Cordelia Fine

The Conversation, August 15, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

It's been a mixed week for women and their hormones.

When Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, a Cambridge mathematician suggested it would "put to bed many myths about women and mathematics", one of which is the idea that females are not exposed to enough prenatal testosterone to excel in the field. Read more.

Review of Mind Change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains, by Cordelia Fine

Financial Times, August 15, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

A neuroscientist's study of how technology is affecting our brains and everyday lives. 

Neither digital technologies nor the worries they provoke will be disappearing any time soon. This makes Susan Greenfield's goal in Mind Change - "to explore the different ways in which the digital technologies could be affecting not just thinking patterns and other cognitive skills, but lifestyle, culture and personal aspirations" - an important one. Read more

Sperm-donor-conceived woman planning next step in six-year fight to secure identification rights and learn identity of father, by Belinda Hawkins

ABC News, August 13, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

An aeronautical engineer is plotting her next move in what has been a six-year battle to see the rights of donor-conceived children enshrined in law. Read more

Gammy surrogacy case fires up debate on bigger issues, by Deborah Snow and Lindsay Murdoch

Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

To hear the story of Adelaide woman Donna's* decades-long struggle to have a child is to understand why, in desperation, she turned to a third-world surrogate mother to bring her baby into the world. Read more.

Après Gammy, c'est le sort de sa jumelle qui inquiète les Australiens, by Caroline Lafargue

ABC Radio Australia, August 6, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Car leur père est un pédophile. David John Farnell, un électricien de 56 ans installé en Australie occidentale, a un casier judiciaire bien chargé. Read more. (In French)

Baby Gammy needs our support. So do women coerced into surrogacy, by Sonia Allan

The Guardian, August 5, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Commercial surrogacy is not the answer. While we rally to support baby Gammy and his Thai family, we should also ensure that women are protected from exploitation. Read more.

Gammy case highlights risks of for-profit surrogacy market, by Sonia Allan

The Age, August 5, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

The story of baby Gammy and his surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua is in news headlines around the world. Gammy, born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition, is a twin, conceived as a result of a commercial surrogacy arrangement between an unknown Australian couple and Chanbua, a Thai national whose family was struggling to pay off debts. When it was discovered that one of the babies Chanbua was carrying had Down syndrome, she was told to abort it. She refused and went on to give birth to the twins. The Australian couple took the healthy baby, while Gammy was left behind, and although loved and cared for, Chanbua and her family were unable to meet the costs of his medical needs and care. Read more.

Baby Gammy case reveals murky side of commercial surrogacy, by Sonia Allan

The Conversation, August 5, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

The story of baby Gammy and his "surrogate" mother has captured the world's attention, highlighting just how complex and fraught commercial surrogacy arrangements can be. It also shows Australia is right to prohibit commercial surrogacy - and why other countries should do the same. Read more.

Surrogate Mother Cares for Baby Abandoned Because of Down Syndrome, by Sonia Allan

Biopolitical Times Blog, August 4, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

The story of baby Gammy and his "surrogate" mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, hit headlines around the world last week. Six-month-old Gammy, born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition, was conceived as a result of a commercial surrogacy arrangement between Chanbua, a Thai national, and an unknown Australian couple who abandoned him at birth. Read more.

Take out the pilot from Australia's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, by Jai Galliott

The Conversation, July 8, 2014
CAVE student, Jai Galliott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott sat in the pilot seat of a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the time he announced his government will buy an additional 58 planes at a cost of at least A$12.4 billion. But imagine if there was no need for a pilot to fly inside the so-called fifth generation aircraft. Read more.

Turf war? Woolies' health checks fuss not just about patients, by Wendy Lipworth

The Conversation, July 2, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

When supermarket chain Woolworths announced plans to offer in-store "health checks" earlier this week, health groups came out in force to criticise the move. But scratch the surface and it's apparent that the criticisms aren't just about protecting the public. Read more.

Australian budget hits science jobs, by Leigh Dayton

Nature, July 1, 2014
CAVE student, Leigh Dayton

Research-agency staff protest over slashed spending and concerns about country's future research capability. Read more

Australian scientists take to the streets to protest job cuts, by Leigh Dayton

Science, June 26, 2014
CAVE student, Leigh Dayton

Abandoning their usual reserve, nearly 1000 scientists across the country downed instruments and grabbed placards this week to protest pending job losses at the nation's leading research organization, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). "Scientists are not known for rushing to the barricades," says Anthony Keenan of the CSIRO Staff Association, who adds that while staff members are concerned about job cuts at CSIRO, they are "dismayed" at the government's short-sighted approach to science. Read more.

Drinking alcohol or using drugs during pregnancy could become a crime, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, June 26, 2014
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

Recently a neuroscientist discovered he was a psychopath. He was studying the brain scans of psychopaths, and intended to use some brain scans of family members and one of himself for the control group. Now one of the brain scans from the control group show clear signs of psychopathy, so he thought he must have misplaced it. He checked the reference number, and found out it was his own brain! This came as a total surprise to him, he never showed any signs of psychopathy, yet, he was very convinced that if his brain scan showed similarities with that of psychopaths, he must be a psychopath himself. Retrospectively his wife admitted that she thought he had some of the signs like lacking in empathy, and he found some famous murderers in his family. Instead of hiding this intimate fact about himself, he wrote a book about it, showing how amazing brain scans are. His book argued that brain scans can detect a psychopath like him, who never had any compelling symptoms of psychopathy. Read more.

Peering into a person's genome opens a Pandora's Box, by Nicky Phillips

The Sunday Morning Herald, June 22, 2014
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

When Joseph Schwartz's* elderly mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and agreed to participate in a study to understand its causes, he thought little about what the research would mean for himself. Read more.

Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see, by Wendy Lipworth and Ian Kerridge

The Conversation, June 18, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Wendy Lipworth

In the endless drive to get people's attention, advertising is going 'native', creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care. Read more.

Put down the smart drugs - cognitive enhancement is ethically risky business, by Nicole A. Vincent and Emma A. Jane

The Conversation, June 16, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Cognitive performance enhancers promise to deliver a better version of ourselves: smarter, more alert and more mentally agile. But what if such enhancement was no longer a personal choice but a socially and legally enforced responsibility? In the final instalment of  Biology and Blame, Nicole A Vincent and Emma A. Jane explore the risks of normalising this emerging trend. Read more

Why shouldn't addiction be a defence to low-level crime? by Jeanette Kennett

The Conversation, June 12, 2014
CAVE member, Jeanette Kennett

In today's article in our series Biology and Blame, Jeanette Kennett considers an inconsistency in the law's approach to compulsion - addicts are responsible but others compelled to harmful behaviours are not. Read more

Don't fret about girls and pink, by Catherine Bennett

The Guardian, May 4, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

When did you last see or hear of a Bratz doll? Exactly. Quite possibly, these "slutty", "sexualised", even "post-coital" looking dolls, with their infamous feather boas and fishnet tights, are still sneakily corrupting our daughters, as once advertised by concerned psychologists and child welfare experts. But they have been forgiven, or forgotten. Read more

The advantages and disadvantages of stigmatizing smoking, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, April 30, 2014
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

A new study among students, found that those who smoked cannabis performed better academically than their tobacco smoking, stigmatized peers. The study has been collecting data among students (8,331 in total) in grade 7,9 and 11 for 30 years, and noticed the following trends. While the use of tobacco around the 90ties decreased, the use of cannabis increased. While the use of tobacco became increasingly associated with a slow and painful death due to cancer, the cry for legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes (for example to treats side effects of cancer treatment) gave cannabis a more positive image. The study emphasizes that performing worse academically has nothing to do with the substance tobacco itself. Although it is well known that cannabis can effect one's memory, no such effect is known about tobacco. The fact that tobacco users perform worse than cannabis users has all to do with changing social norms and the marginalizing of tobacco smokers. The study seems to suggest that it is a double effect: marginalized students will choose to smoke tobacco rather than cannabis, but this will marginalize them further. Students who use marijuana are more like the general population, so perform better academically than the marginalized group. Instead of zooming in on the effects of marginalization of tobacco smokers, the study chooses to warn again the normalization of cannabis use, which, according to the study, is a very dangerous substance, in many aspects as dangerous as tobacco. Non-users of tobacco or cannabis still perform better than cannabis users. The study wants to make a case against the legalization of cannabis. Read more.

SA's Edinburgh RAAF base to host drones fleet, by Max Opray

The Saturday Paper, April 26, 2014
CAVE student, Jai Galliott

The government plans to buy a fleet of unproven unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol for asylum seekers and illegal fishing boats. Basing it in Adelaide suggests a political agenda. Read more.

TEDx speakers' favourite TED talks of all time

The Sydney Morning Herald, April 24, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Nicole Vincent, neuroethicist
Favourite TED: The Art of Memory, by Daniel Kilov

I write lists to remember stuff. Yellow post-it notes, whiteboards and gadgets that go "bling" are my enhancers of choice for a memory like Swiss cheese.
Daniel Kilov's talk has similarly profound effects on memory, but it's more portable than my whiteboard, and safer than Ritalin, Modafinil, or tDCS (look them up)
Australian memory athlete Kilov not only demonstrates one of his techniques by teaching viewers the names and order of our Solar system's planets, but he also skilfully explains how teaching school children the art of memory would transform education. And unlike pills, gadgets, and whiteboards, Kilov's talk is free.Read (and see) more.

A new womb for the baby, by Richard Orange

The Sydney Morning Herald, April 23, 2014
CAVE student, Ruby Catsanos

Dr Mats Brannstrom's phone begins to buzz and the words ''Donor 9'' flash up on the screen. He apologises, picks up and then starts nodding patiently, answering the caller's questions under his breath. Read more

Total recall: truth, memory and the trial of Oscar Pistorius, by Amanda Barnier, John Sutton, Misia Temler

The Conversation, April 11, 2014
CAVE member, John Sutton

In the legal system, first-hand memory reports of victims, witnesses and suspects are crucial evidence. Some cases rely also on physical evidence and expert testimony. But the accounts of those who experienced the event remain central in the legal process, as we've seen this week in the trial of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius. Read more.

The man with 1000 children: The limit of male fertility, by Greg Downey

Neuroanthropology, Public Library of Science Blog, April 5, 2014
CAVE member, Greg Downey

Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif succeeded to the sultanate of Morocco after his brother fell from a horse and died in 1672. Twenty-six when he became the Sharifian Emperor, Moulay Ismael "the Bloodthirsty" - as he was called - went on to expand his holding in a remarkable reign. His armies conquered neighbouring territories and fought off the Ottomans (eventually forcing them to recognize Moroccan independence), and the emperor went on a building spree to make Meknes a rival to Versailles, with French engineers to help. Read more.

Biology doesn't justify gender divide for toys, by Cordelia Fine

New Scientist, March 31, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

There is concern at the increasing segregation of toys and books for boys and girls. Is there any scientific justification, asks the author of Delusions of Gender

Caught on camera in the "pink aisle" of a US toy store, 5-year-old Riley posed a multibillion dollar question: "Why does all the girls have to buy pink stuff, and all the boys have to buy different coloured stuff?" Read more.

Giving alcohol to alcoholics: not as controversial as it seems, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, March 27, 2014
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

A Dutch program pays chronic alcoholics in beer for cleaning the streets and parks. A Canadian homeless shelter provides their alcohol clients with six ounces of white wine every 90 minutes. Giving alcohol to alcoholics, it seems counterproductive from a 'just say no' perspective, but I would like to argue that it makes sense on many levels. Read more.

Euthanasia not solely responsible for vet depression, by Macquarie University

The Conversation, March 27, 2014
CAVE member, Monique Crane

Euthanasia administration is not solely responsible for veterinarians risking suicide up to four times more than the general population, new research shows. Read more.

Drone impact study is crucial, by Jai Galliot

The Sydney Morning Herald, March 15, 2014
CAVE student, Jai Galliott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed that the government will buy a fleet of drones and locate them at Edinburgh air force base in South Australia, just in time for this weekend's election in that state. Read more.

Giving names to aromas in Asian languages, by Greg Downey

Neuroanthropology, Public Library of Science Blog, March 9, 2014
CAVE member, Greg Downey

My wife and I disagree about how one should judge whether milk has gone bad or is still fresh enough to drink. She consults the date on the carton. I smell it. Read more.

Blind people can 'see' bodies with sound: study, by Madeleine Martineillo

The Conversation, March 7, 2014
CAVE student, Mirko Farina

Congenitally blind people have been taught to perceive body shape and posture through "soundscapes" that translate images into sound, a study published today in Current Biology reports. Read more.

Non-financial conflicts of interest and surgical innovation, by Wendy Rogers

The IDEAL Collaboration, February 25, 2014
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Conflicts of interest arise in medicine when professional decision-making regarding a primary interest (care of the patient) may be affected by a secondary interest. Most authors agree that secondary interests create biases, often unconscious, which affect decision-making. The most widely discussed conflicts of interest in medicine are financial, where for example, a surgeon may receive a payment from a device company for implanting a particular device into their patient; or for enrolling a patient into a research trial. Financial conflicts of interest are relatively easy to identify and to a large extent may be avoided. In this paper, Wendy Rogers and Jane Johnson argue that surgeons have a duty to innovate, which creates a within role conflict of interest that may affect the primary interest of patient care. Unlike financial conflicts, these conflicts are much more difficult to address. Read more.

From mat to bat, yoga gets an innings at cricket training, by Catherine Armitage

The Sydney Morning Herald, February 23, 2014
CAVE members, Doris McIlwain and John Sutton

Science says an elite cricketer such as South African star A.B. de Villiers reacts about 50 milliseconds faster to an oncoming ball than your average club batsman. Read more.

Shutter Bugs: New memory might not be the memory aid people expect, by Evan Williams

The Sydney Morning Herald, February 22, 2014
CAVE member, John Sutton

In 2014, a stroll down memory lane involves more technology than ever before: increasingly, people's life stories are stored on Facebook's Timeline, their observations on Twitter and breakfasts on Instagram. Now there's growing evidence some of this new technology might not improve our memory of events, but make it worse. Read more.

The death of celebrities due to addiction: on helpful and unhelpful distinctions in destigmatising addiction, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, February 20, 2014
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead. Probably due to an overdose of heroin. Hoffman didn't have to die if he wasn't so ashamed of his substance use that he did it in secrecy. Because he overdosed alone, no one could call an ambulance on him that would have probably saved his life. Some are using the media attention surrounding his death to push for better drug laws. Some want to treat heroin addicts with heroin while some simply want to draw attention to a secret demographic: high educated, rich, white, middle age heroin users. Both attempts try to destigmatise heroin use. In this blog I will argue that the deaths of celebrities will only further stigmatise substance users and outline how we should really try to reverse the stigmatisation of drug users. Read more.

Memory, Emotion, and Epistemic Value, by Marina Trakas

Imperfect Cognitions: Blog on delusional beliefs, confabulatory explanations, and implicit biases, February 19, 2014
CAVE student, Marina Trakas

My project aims to develop a general framework for understanding the content of autobiographical and episodic memory experiences as they are lived by human beings in everyday situations. In my thesis, first, I defend the idea that our memories can change through time and so their content can be "enriched" as well as the thesis that our episodic and autobiographical memories cannot be always reduced to a simple verbal description of what happened in our past but they are often charged with evaluative and emotional components. Second, I explore the implications of this conceptualization of our autobiographical and personal memories for judging when our memory experience is faithful to our past. For these purposes, I approach these topics from an interdisciplinary perspective, taking in consideration not only research on philosophy -contemporary philosophy as well as philosophers from XIX and beginning of XX century- but also current research on cognitive psychology and even neurosciences. Read more.

What is surgical innovation?: A qualitative study of surgeons' views, by Wendy Rogers

The IDEAL Collaboration, February 7, 2014
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

How do surgeons identify surgical innovation and distinguish it from variation?

One of the most challenging issues in the management of innovative surgery is identifying just when a surgical innovation occurs. This seems such a simple matter, but despite various definitions of "surgical innovation" in the literature, it is difficult to specify precisely which surgical activities are innovative. Identifying an innovation (as opposed to routine variation) is however essential to triggering the collection of evidence recommended by the IDEAL model. Read more.

Do we have a right to drink? On Australian thugs and French hedonists, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, January 23, 2014
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

It has been an interesting week awaiting the announced reforms on the alcohol laws in New South Wales, Australia. After another incident with alcohol fuelled violence where a young boy died due to an unprovoked single punch, the family of this young man, Thomas Kelly, submitted a petition asking for intoxication to be taken into account in sentencing as a mandatory aggravating factor, rather than a mitigating factor, which is now sometimes the case. While the government reflected on what to do about alcohol induced violence, the discussion in the media sparked up high. Read more.

Blame the Brain, by Melissa Davey

The Sydney Morning Herald, February 3, 2014
CAVE centre

A new branch of law is exploring the the complex relationship between neuroscience and crime. Copy of story here.

2013

Pursuing your dreams when drunk, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, December 18, 2013
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

For a long time I wanted to go to Indonesia on a holiday, to see the rice fields, the buffalo's and the wayang puppets. But for some reason it took me actually years to realize this. The reason why I didn't go had nothing to do with practical difficulties: I had money, time, a travel companion, it was more a psychological threshold: the travel seemed so important to me that I felt I couldn't just book it, I was thinking that people would find it decadent to just book a trip to Indonesia, and there always seemed to be some other travel destination that had more priority. Now this story became very popular in the news and on twitter. Luke Harding, a 19-year-old youngster went clubbing in the UK and woke up in the destination of his dreams, Paris. Read more.

New insights into gendered brain wiring, or a perfect case study in neurosexism? by Cordelia Fine

The Conversation, December 4, 2013
CAVE affiliate member, Cordelia Fine

The latest neuroscience study of sex differences to hit the popular press has inspired some familiar headlines. The Independent, for example, proclaims that: "The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading' (And why women are 'better at remembering a conversation')." Read more.

Remembering from the outside? by Christopher McCarroll

Imperfect Cognitions: Blog on delusional beliefs, confabulatory explanations, and implicit biases, November 28, 2013
CAVE student, Chris McCarroll

When remembering past experiences, one can remember the event from one's original point of view, maintaining the same visual perspective on the scene with which one experienced the event. Many people, however, report sometimes seeing themselves in the remembered scene, from an external or third-person perspective. Following Nigro and Neisser's seminal paper, these are known within psychology as memories from field and observer perspectives respectively. Read more.

In defence of philosophy, by Robert Sinnerbrink and Santiago Zabala

AlJazeera, November 21, 2013
CAVE member, Robert Sinnerbrink

World Philosophy Day, which the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) celebrates every year on the third Thursday of November, emphasises the enduring "value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual".

But we are not so sure whether we will celebrate the occasion in Australia and Spain, where we live - two democratic societies that pride themselves on their commitment to principles of liberty, democratic freedom, and social justice. Unfortunately, some of our politicians seem to disregard these principles when it comes to assessing the value of philosophy for their own society. Read more.

Christopher Pyne announces $500m in research grants, by John Ross

The Australian, November 8, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Professor Rogers, a general practitioner and medical ethicist, was delighted that her 2013 application had borne fruit. She will use the grant to resume research on the concerns and cost burdens arising from diagnosis of "asymptomatic" people. Read more

Macquarie University research awarded $15 million in ARC grants, including major project to prevent over diagnosis, by Macquarie University Newsroom

Macquarie University, November 8, 2013
CAVE members, Wendy Rogers, Robert Sinnerbrink, Richard Menary

An investigative study into the evaluation of disease and cost burdens of "over diagnosis" has been announced as one of several new research projects within the University to be awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant.

The Australian government announced today that the project "Defining disease: addressing the problem of over diagnosis", lead by Professor of Clinical Ethics Wendy Rogers, has received a Future Fellowship worth $820,156 over four years. Read more.

We should stop punishing addicted people for being addicted, by Anke Snoek

Practical Ethics: Ethics in the news, November 7, 2013
CAVE student, Anke Snoek

Earlier this month, a BBC news magazine report explored a new, controversial drug law in Australia's Northern Territory targeting alcohol problems among aboriginal people. In short, the new law entails that problem drinkers can be forced into treatment. Drinkers who go on to escape from rehab three times face a jail sentence. This will cost around $95m (US) over three years. The measure is presented in the article as an initiative that originates (at least partly) from the aboriginal community themselves, who are fed up with the effects of alcohol, in particular alcohol- related violence. Aboriginal people in the Alice Springs area are 31 times more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than other Australians. Read more

What should we do about sex-selective abortion, by Wendy Rogers

The Conversation, October 29, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

A Melbourne doctor is being investigated by the medical professional standards body for refusing to refer a woman to another GP after she sought an abortion.

The case raises important questions about doctors' duties of care, particularly when they have a conscientious objection to a requested procedure, as well as about abortion itself. Read more

Not for profit: the case against commercial surrogacy, by Sonia Allan

The Conversation, October 29, 2013
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

For singles and couples who can’t naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, surrogacy is sometimes considered an option to have a child. Current laws across Australia permit “altruistic” surrogacy which prohibit the exchange of funds for surrogacy, beyond reasonable expenses, in order to protect the woman and child involved. Read more.

Girl Rising, by Wendy Rogers

International Journal of Feminist Approached to Bioethics Blog, October 21, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

October 11 was the International Day of the Girl Child. I have to admit that I wasn't very aware of it until one of the mailing lists to which I subscribe sent me a reminder, along with details of a screening of Girl Rising in Sydney. Girl Rising is a film about nine different girls, who, against the odds, survive the discrimination and injustice that precludes them from school, commits them to lives of servitude, treats them as second class citizens, discards them as worthless and otherwise denies them an equal place in society. The stories are true, in that each is about the life of a specific individual girl. Writers from the same country have been paired with each girl, to tell their stories. Read more.

Out on parole - The release plan, by Kate Rossmanith

The Monthly: Australian Politics, Society and Culture, October 2013
CAVE member, Kate Rossmanith

It is impossible to predict how people will act once they are released from jail, but organisations like the Community Restorative Centre are helping to keep former inmates on the straight and narrow. Read more.

Philosophers' contribution to society, by Robert Sinnerbrink

The Australian, September 7, 2013
CAVE member, Robert Sinnerbrink

Philosophers have often been subject to mockery for the "otherworldly" nature of their work. Read more (subscription required).

Women, politics and feminism: We need to watch our backs, by Wendy Rogers

International Journal of Feminist Approached to Bioethics Blog, July 3, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

The times are tough, both for women in politics, and regarding political decisions affecting women. Three recent events are particularly noteworthy. The first was the overthrow last week of the first female Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. While I was scouring news sites for comment and analysis on that sorry affair, I noticed the extraordinary effort of Texan senator Wendy Davis to filibister a Senate Bill that aimed to introduce regulations with the potential to close 37 of the 42 clinics that provide abortions in Texas and to ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation. Read more.

Dan Markingson: a study in research misconduct, by Wendy Rogers

International Journal of Feminist Approached to Bioethics Blog, May 21, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

As someone who has worked in research ethics for many years, I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of how and where things go wrong in the research ethics review process. Such a process can never be perfect - human judgment is involved and there will inevitably be problems that slip through the net. However, the events surrounding Dan Markingson's recruitment into an industry-sponsored trial of Seroquel (quetiapine) and his subsequent death are less an issue of what slips through the net and much more an indictment of the corrosive powers of commercial interests which make a mockery of the safety net of human research ethics review. Read more.

Drone debate too late once they get off the ground, by Jai Galliot

The Sydney Morning Herald, May 10, 2013
CAVE student, Jai Galliot

In last week's Defence Department white paper, released by the Prime Minister at Fairbairn's air force base, the Australian public got a scary one-line insight into the future of its air force. "Armed unmanned systems will be available in greater variety and sophistication in years to come," it said. Read more

Drawing the line on doctors' responsibility for patients, by Wendy Rogers

The Conversation, April 23, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

The NSW Supreme Court decision to overturn damages awarded to an obese man whose doctor failed to refer him for specialist care to help him lose weight has been widely welcomed by medical and legal experts.

The appeal is a win for patient autonomy and will hopefully avoid a rise in doctors practising defensive medicine: ordering more tests, referrals and follow-ups for fear of litigation. Read more.

Tasmania Proposes Bill to Decriminalise Termination of Pregnancy, by Wendy Rogers

International Journal of Feminist Approached to Bioethics Blog, April 22, 2013
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Whether or not women have access to safe termination of pregnancy is a critical issue for women's health. In Australia, access to termination of pregnancy is governed by a patchwork of state laws. Many states still have abortion listed under nineteenth crimes act, creating the situation in which abortion is illegal unless certain conditions are met. These conditions may be specified in the various acts, or have been determined through case law. They usually relate to the likelihood that continuing the pregnancy will pose a grave threat to the health of the woman, and require certification from two doctors before the woman can legally be offered the procedure. Read more.

Of mice and men: role of mice in biomedical research questioned, by Christopher Degeling and Jane Johnson

The Conversation, February 21, 2013
CAVE member, Jane Johnson

A study recent published in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National of Academy Sciences) shows that mice are poor models for human inflammatory diseases. The paper, which focused on sepsis, burns and trauma, raises questions about the fundamental role of mice in biomedical research. Read more.

Reproduced on Asian Scientist.

Religion-State Relations in Australia, by Denise Meyerson

Right Now, February 11, 2013
CAVE member, Denise Meyerson

There are a variety of constitutional models governing the relations between the state and religion. These range from atheist states at one end of the spectrum to outright theocracies at the other. In between the two extremes, the extent of the contact between government and religious organisations is a matter of degree. So far as Australia's arrangements are concerned, the relevant provision is section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which states that the Commonwealth "shall not make any law for establishing any religion".  There is no such restriction on the legislative power of the States and Territories. Read more.

It's a dog's life when man's best friend becomes his fattest, by Christopher Degeling

The Conversation, January 24, 2013
CAVE Visitor, Chris Degeling

A study published this morning in Nature offers further insight into how dogs became domesticated. The comparative analysis of human, canine and wolf genomes suggests that humans and dogs have evolved in parallel as a response to the increasingly starchy diets on offer after the agricultural revolution. Such a wholesale change in diet has not necessarily been benign for either species. Read more.

2012

IVF treatment for older women: is age the greatest concern? by Mianna Lotz

The Conversation, October 27, 2012
CAVE member, Mianna Lotz

Considerable public controversy exists around the question of access to in-vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF) for older women. Some support unlimited, publicly-funded access for all infertile women and couples, irrespective of age. Others beg to differ. Read more.

A womb of her own: risking uterus transplant for pregnancy, by Ruby Catsanos

The Conversation, October 15, 2012
CAVE student, Ruby Catsanos

On a weekend in mid-September 2012, a team of gynaecologists and transplant specialists at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, performed two uterus transplants with living donors. In both cases, a mother donated her womb to her daughter. Both recipients were young women in their early 30s, one had her uterus removed because of cancer and the other was born without one. Read more.

The Work of Judges - Tough-on-crime advocates rise, by Kate Rossmanith

The Monthly: Australian Politics, Society and Culture, September 2012
CAVE member, Kate Rossmanith

Why wisdom matters, and sentencing by numbers is selling justice short.

A couple of years ago, as I waited outside Courtroom 3 of the NSW Supreme Court in King Street, Sydney, I got chatting to an elderly man, a retiree, who told me he routinely visited the courts because he liked "seeing the justice system in action". Along with 40 others, we were attending the sentencing of a 39-year-old woman who had been found guilty of murder. She had deliberately run over a young man with her car and killed him. As we filed into the courtroom, I asked my companion if he thought that the woman felt remorseful. Read more.

New hope for stem cell organs, by Cathy O'Leary

The West Australian, March 12, 2012
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Researchers are moving closer to being able to grow fully functional organs from scratch using a patient's own stem cells, offering a potential solution to donor shortages. Read more

Grow-your-own organs, by staff reporter

The Age, March 12, 2012
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

International researchers are moving closer to being able to grow fully functional organs from scratch using the patient's own stem cells, offering a potential solution to donor shortages. Read more. Also available at the Sydney Morning Herald.  

Lab-made organs could offer a solution to donor shortage, by Justin Norrie

The Conversation, March 9, 2012
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Scientists say they have developed a way to use a patient's own stem cells to build fully functional organs in a laboratory, in a potential solution to the global donor shortage crisis. Read more

Round-up: Engineering whole organs (The Lancet*) - experts respond

March 9, 2012
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Swedish and American authors say a new technique involving the use of an artificial scaffold into which a patient's own stem cells are inserted, turning it into a fully functional organ, could offer a potential solution to the donor shortage crisis. The review article is one of two papers in a Lancet stem cell series. 

Moral perils on the way to the future, by Hugh Wilson

The Australian, February 25, 2012

A super soldier with enhanced mental alertness targets weapons systems using his mind. A riot cop whose physical courage has been determined by a brain scan fires incapacitating chemicals into a crowd of protesters.

These may sound like scenarios from the latest hit video game, but according to a report by the Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, rapid advances in neuroscience could make them a realistic vision of the future of warfare and law enforcement. The report - titled Brain Waves Module 3: Neuroscience, Conflict and Security - concludes neuroscience could be used to boost the performance of soldiers and policemen, choose the most suitable individuals for particular tasks and enable soldiers to control weapons through a direct mind-machine interface, as well as creating a new generation of chemical weapons. Read more.

2011

Free funerals for organ donors: are donation incentives unethical? by Wendy Rogers

The Conversation, October 18, 2011
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the United Kingdom has suggested a scheme to gauge support for the idea of government funding for funerals of people who donate their organs.

The recommendation follows an 18-month investigation into ways to increase the rate of organ donation in the UK, which is very similar to Australia's. Read more.

The truth about lie detection, by Leigh Dayton

The Australian, July 23, 2011
CAVE Visitor, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

THINK brain imaging. In particular, think functional magnetic resonance imaging. Now, think lie detection.

Yes, instead of applying fMRI to the scientific investigation of the brain and what ails it, two US firms - No Lie MRI Inc and Cephos Corporation - claim the neuroscience is in and they can produce accurate assessments of truth-telling or lying by scanning the brains of potential fibbers. Read more.

Surgeons won pledge on drinking, by Kate Hagan

The Age, July 7, 2011
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

Derryn Hinch signed a contract committing to stay off alcohol before doctors at the Austin Hospital agreed to consider him for a liver transplant. Read more.

A philosopher's view: the benefits and dignity of work, by Nicholas Smith

The Conversation, April 21, 2011
CAVE member, Nicholas Smith

In a recent speech presented at the Sydney Institute, Julia Gillard reaffirmed her commitment to welfare reform aimed at full employment. This was justified not by the need for the government to cut its costs — there was no mention this time of a tough imminent budget–but by an ethical principle: work is a social good that governments ought to promote and help make available to everyone, if the circumstances allow it. Read more.

Audio

2016

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:

iTunes: http://apple.co/2gFN5Tp
Soundcloud: http://bit.ly/2gBfVGi

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.

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.

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.

2014

Feminist Bioethics, by Wendy Rogers

Radical Philosophy, 3CR Radio, November 6, 2014
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.

Sydney hospital launches internal investigation after patient records altered, by Belinda Hawkins

ABC AM with Chris Uhlman, August 18, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: When you go to see your doctor, you assume that he or she will keep an accurate record of that consultation.

But that's not what happened at a public hospital in Sydney. Read or hear more.

Dr. Sonia Allan on sperm donor and surrogacy legislation, by ABC News

ABC News, August 10, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Dr Sonia Allan says the recent case of Gammy, the baby born to a Thai surrogate mother, demonstrates problems surrounding assisted reproductive technology legislation. See more

Gaza truce broken, by BBC World Service

BBC World Service News hour, August 1, 2014
CAVE member, Sonia Allan

Sonia Allan was interviewed on the Baby Gammy surrogacy case. Hear more (story at 45:00; interview at 49:15).

A super dilemma, presented by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, May 18, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Personal responsibility occupies Nicole Vincent's centre stage. But the closer she looks the more complex it appears. The times aren't helping: pills and potions are being used to sharpen the wits in a very modern race to be the best. When simply being good may not be good enough, where does this leave responsibility? Should we expect more from Superman than Clark Kent? Hear more by Nicole A. Vincent. 

TEDx speakers' favourite TED talks of all time

The Sydney Morning Herald, April 24, 2014
CAVE affiliate member, Nicole Vincent

Nicole Vincent, neuroethicist
Favourite TED: The Art of Memory, by Daniel Kilov

I write lists to remember stuff. Yellow post-it notes, whiteboards and gadgets that go "bling" are my enhancers of choice for a memory like Swiss cheese.
Daniel Kilov's talk has similarly profound effects on memory, but it's more portable than my whiteboard, and safer than Ritalin, Modafinil, or tDCS (look them up)
Australian memory athlete Kilov not only demonstrates one of his techniques by teaching viewers the names and order of our Solar system's planets, but he also skilfully explains how teaching school children the art of memory would transform education. And unlike pills, gadgets, and whiteboards, Kilov's talk is free.Read (and see) more.

The Plastic Brain of Greg Downey, by Greg Wah and Dan Beeston

Smart Enough to Know Better Podcast, March 2, 2014
CAVE member, Greg Downey

Fun comedy-science interview of Greg Downey on echolocution, capoeira, strangling, and all things neuroanthropology. Hear more.

2013

Modern Dilemmas: Reciprocal Giving, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, December 16, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

It's Christmas time, the time for giving, but it's not always straight forward in families who gives what and when. Life Matters listener "gift register" has a dilemma about giving to some nieces, because her children never receive gifts in return. Should she keep giving? Or should she stop the giving now? Hear more by Doris MclIwain.

Modern Dilemmas: Sleepovers, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, November 18, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

Teenage girls love sleepovers but should you think differently about sleepovers if your daughter tells you she's bi-sexual? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Just do it? presented by Joe Gelonesi

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, November 3, 2013
CAVE member, Richard Menary

Famed choreographer George Balanchine was reputed to have said, "don't think, dear: just do". The idea that champion performers switch off their brains to achieve their best has taken hold in popular imagination. Just do it promises an existential zone where real players hit the heights whilst the rest shuffle to the back of the pack. We explore Expert action, a philosophical football punted between those for automatic responses and those who hear the whirring cogs. Hear more by Richard Menary.

Modern Dilemmas: My friend's secret, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, September 23, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

A friend's told you she's having affair, you're close to both her and her husband, what do you do? One Life Matter's listener is uncomfortable keeping her friend's secret. Should she risk everything and reveal all? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: The Angry Teen, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, August 19, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

This modern dilemma is from a mother with a 16-year-old daughter who is making life 'a living hell'. This is what the mother writes: My daughter.....is doing all the 'typical' bad behaviour that teenagers have done for many years, drinking, smoking, meeting up with boys, breaking out of the house in the middle of the night, and that type of thing - however, her behaviour has ramped up over the past 12 months. Hear more by Doris McIwain.

Moral Dilemmas: The father's will, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, July 22m 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

Today's modern dilemma is one faced by many: family disputes and inheritance. A.R. has written: My father recently remarried and whilst my 3 siblings and I are happy that our dad's found a new relationship, we really don't like his new wife. My dad wants to rewrite his will and his new will would tie me and my siblings to his wife for years (assuming he dies first). He wants my siblings and I to inherit his home on his death, but his wife would be able to live there until her death. The idea of having any ties with my father's wife until her death spells trouble and I fear the legal squabbles that could ensue. What should I do? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: Should I have the baby? presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, May 20, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

Unplanned pregnancy isn't unusual but if you're not in a relationship, and the potential father doesn't want a child, is it ethical to proceed? The listener "Unsure" is trying to make the best decision for all concerned even though she wants to have the baby. Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Moral Dilemmas: Family Events, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, April 15, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

When planning family celebrations, do you feel pressured to invite everyone in your extended family? In this case, relatives not invited to a young child's birthday party are so offended they're threatening to cut off ties with the parents. So how do you balance your own needs and desires with your family's expectations? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: Work versus school, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, January 14, 2013
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

Ross emailed Life Matters with this dilemma: A major retail outlet opened in a large country town and needed junior staff. Within a matter of months, there was a major impact on the local high school. Within two years, there were Year 11 students who were doing 32 hours a week out of school hours and Year 10s doing over 20. The repercussions on academic results were obvious as assignments were not submitted and test preparation declined with the attendant failures and drop in grades. The immediate benefit for the teenagers was access to discretionary income and the benefits arising from that.  Is this short sighted or could this work offer more for a student than staying at school to Year 12? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

2012

Modern Dilemmas: The difficulty of acknowledging shame, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, December 31, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

What can you do when your partner has little interest in sex and he doesn't want to discuss the problem? Hear more by Doris McIwain.

Modern Dilemmas: The Spirit of Christmas, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, November 26, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

What is Christmas about for you? Is it about decorating the tree? Being with family and friends? Or is it about hunting down that perfect gift for a loved one? Today's dilemma is all about the spirit of giving, and when it can be too much... Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: Travel or donate? presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, October 15, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

It's the time of year when you might be planning and paying for a trip away...many of us can spend quite a bit of money on our annual holiday. The question of travel and ethics is at the core of today's modern dilemma which comes from Pippa. My modern dilemma is this - I would dearly love to re-visit some of the great art galleries of Europe. I have no doubt this would be a very enriching experience for me and I have been able to save enough to make this overseas trip, about $6,000. But here's the rub. I could spend the money in this purely self-indulgent way.  Alternatively, I could choose to give away these surplus funds in the belief that, if enough other people did likewise, it would certainly help alleviate the suffering of some of our fellow human beings who we know to be in much more desperate need than ourselves. Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: Should you retire? presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, August 27, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

What's the right time to retire? This is the dilemma facing 'Mary' and she writes: 'I've been told recently by several people that I have an ethical dilemma -- but in a tone that suggests they believe there's really only one course of action for me. I am very skilled and professionally successful and the people who engaged me were delighted with my services. I'm in my late sixties and own my own home. Yet now, apparently in the view of some people, I have no right to a job. These people have indicated that I don't have a right to seek work because I would be "taking a job" from people who have "four kids and a mortgage"... Surely I have the right to compete equally for work, regardless of my age or financial situation. Or should I accept that I no longer have that right, just because I've worked hard to pay for my home and am no longer responsible for raising my children?' Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

The Beast Within: The ethics of animal experimentation, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, August 24, 2012
CAVE member, Jane Johnson

Animal experimentation is one of the most vexed and debated issues in science and in wider society. We value some animals as pets and companions, but others are valued differently and are used in the interests of advancing medical and scientific understanding. How do we make those decisions and how do they divide us on ethical and scientific grounds? Hear more by Jane Johnson.

Modern Dilemmas: limiting terms of office for bodies corporate, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, August 6, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

The United States has a two term limit for its presidents. Thomas Jefferson argued that 'If some period be not fixed, either by the Constitution or by practice, to the services of the First Magistrate, his office, though nominally elective, will in fact be for life; and that will soon degenerate into an inheritance.' Should such a limit be applied for all executive positions from the boardroom to the body corporate? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: After the divorce, what should you tell the kids? presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, May 28, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

How much information do you tell your children about their father, your ex-husband? He has often given my adult children the same kind of heartache and hurtful abuse that he dished out to me when we were married.  After much deliberation and reflection, I am sure that I have found my own resolution but I think it is a dilemma worthy of discussion. One of the questions is: Why tell them more details other than what they might have witnessed? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Remembering together, presented by Lynne Malcolm

All in the Mind, ABC Radio National, May 27, 2012
CAVE member, John Sutton

We explore a new way of thinking about memory, collectively. We feel we should be able to recall all sorts of things at will - but how often do our individual memories fail us?  We use lists, diaries and smart phones - but very often we rely on each other to jog our memories. Hear more by John Sutton.

Modern Dilemmas: Wedding Guests, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, April 23, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

Our conundrum for this week? I've recently got engaged and my fiancé and I are struggling to keep our guest list down. How do you explain to people both family and friends or friends of parents that we have to keep the numbers down. People keep inviting themselves when they find out we are engaged as well. What do I tell them when that happens. HELP! Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Modern Dilemmas: donating to a good cause, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, April 16, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

This week's conundrum: I work in an op-shop which raises money for a not-for-profit organisation. Recently a very valuable painting was donated to sell in the shop. I remember who donated it. Do I have a moral responsibility to let the original owner know, or is the organisation free to sell the painting and keep the money? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Extending the mind, presented by Alan Saunders

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, March 25, 2012
CAVE members, Richard Menary and John Sutton

Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? Some philosophers are now arguing that thoughts are not all in the head. The environment has an active role in driving cognition; cognition is sometimes made up of neural, bodily, and environmental processes. Hear more by Richard Menary and John Sutton.

Modern Dilemmas: parents and homework, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, March 19, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

As a parent or carer, is helping a teenager with their homework cheating, or helping to keep options open? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

Clinical Trials, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, March 12, 2012
CAVE member, Wendy Rogers

How do human clinical trials work and have you ever volunteered for one? Clinical trials are crucial for the development of new treatments but are there enough safeguards for potential recruits especially if someone is terminally ill? Hear more by Wendy Rogers. 

Modern Dilemmas: The Mechanic, presented by Natasha Mitchell

Life Matters, ABC Radio National, February 6, 2012
CAVE member, Doris McIlwain

We explore the ethical minefield of modern life. Today what should an apprentice do when his employer tells him to clean and paint alternators and then sell them on as reconditioned? Hear more by Doris McIlwain.

2011

The moral judgment of psychopaths, presented by Alan Saunders

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, July 30, 2011
CAVE Visitor, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Our guest this week says psychopaths are rarely high functioning corporate executives with a taste for downsizing. More often, they are low functioning and far more prone than to violent crime than the rest of the population. Today we explore moral judgment, neuroscience, psychopathy and the criminal justice system with ethics Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong from Duke University in the United States. Hear more.

Tree of Life - The cinema of Terrence Malick, presented by Alan Saunders

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, July 23, 2011
CAVE member, Robert Sinnerbrink

Terrence Malick is, perhaps, unique: a film director who is well-trained in philosophy and who has published an English translation of a book by the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger. But should we see his movies as philosophical statements? In particular, what are we to make of his latest, The Tree of Life, which is set in Texas in the fifties but also takes us back to the creation of the world and the age of the dinosaurs? Metaphysics or pretension? This week, a philosophical investigation of Malick's work. Hear more by Robert Sinnerbrink. 

At the movies with Gilles Deleuze (part 2), presented by Alan Saunders

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, April 2, 2011
CAVE member, Robert Sinnkerbrink

This week, The Philosopher's Zone goes to the movies. In the second of two programs devoted to the great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, we examine what he had to say about cinema. He was one of the first philosophers to turn their attention to films and he saw film as a philosophical medium. But what did that mean and why, in his view, did film become more philosophical after World War II? Hear more by Robert Sinnerbrink.

Who was Gilles Deleuze? (part 1), presented by Alan Saunders

The Philosopher's Zone, ABC Radio National, March 26, 2011
CAVE member, Robert Sinnerbrink

Gilles Deleuze, who died by his own hand in 1995, was one of the most influential and prolific French philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century. He wrote influentially not just on philosophy, but on literature, film, fine art and the environment as well. But his writing style - highly allusive, peppered with neologisms - is not easy-going. This week, we try to get to grips with a significant and important thinker. Hear more by Robert Sinnerbrink.

Video

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.

CAVE member Joseph Pugliese talks about his research on torture and the institution of law, in 2015.

CAVE member Greg Downey talks about his teaching on human diversity and human intelligence, in 2015.

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."

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Page last updated: 16 Aug 2017

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