ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0182.v1
Online: 15 May 2019 (10:09:48 CEST)
A remarkable feature of US federal investments in human genetics has been the availability of parallel funding for studies examining ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI). This funding has allowed ELSI researchers to develop new strategies to understand genetics, evaluate the benefits of genetic testing, and propose health policy that maximize the promise while minimizing harms. Despite successes, a consequence of this investment is the preoccupation with what is arguably the least actionable system of biomolecules, human DNA. In contrast, the most actionable system of biomolecules, the metabolome, is grossly understudied, despite its often more alarming ELSI.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0054.v2
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: philosophy of information; organised complexity; Kolmogorov complexity; logical depth; ethics of information; computational ethics; infoethics; machine ethics; computational complexity
Online: 20 December 2018 (05:34:55 CET)
I review previous attempts, including recent ones, to introduce technical aspects of digital information and computation into the discussion of ethics. I survey some limitations and advantages of these attempts to produce guiding principles at different scales. In particular, I briefly introduce and discuss questions, approaches, challenges, and limitations based on, or related to, simulation, information theory, integrated information, computer simulation, intractability, algorithmic complexity, and measures of computational organisation and sophistication. I discuss and propose a set of features that ethical frameworks must possess in order to be considered well-grounded, both in theoretical and methodological terms. I will show that while global ethical frameworks that are uncomputable are desirable because they provide non-teleological direction and open-ended meaning, constrained versions should be able to provide guidelines at more local and immediate time scales. In connection to the ethics of artificial intelligence, one point that must be underscored about computational approaches is that (General) AI should only embrace an ethical framework that we humans are willing to adopt. I think that such a framework is possible, taking the form of a general and universal (in the sense of computation) framework built from first computational principles.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0501.v1
Online: 19 November 2020 (10:41:35 CET)
To fully appreciate genetics, one must understand the link between genotype (DNA sequence) and phenotype (observable characteristics). Advances in high-throughput genomic sequencing technologies and applications, so-called “-omics”, have made genetic sequencing readily available across fields in biology from applications in non-traditional study organisms to precision medicine. Thus, understanding these tools is critical for any biologist, especially those early in their career. This comprehensive review discusses the chronological development of different sequencing methods, the bioinformatics steps to analyzing this data, and social and ethical issues raised by these techniques that must be discussed and evaluated.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0019.v1
Online: 3 June 2020 (13:49:43 CEST)
Background: ethical issues that arise during the care of a pregnant woman with cancer are challenging to physicians, policymakers, lawyers, and the bioethics community. This article is restricted to a discussion of ethical dilemmas and controversial case reports, mainly focused before the third trimester of pregnancy, when a conflict could exist between cancer and pregnancy outcomes.Methods: published literature was retrieved through searches in PubMed or Medline, CINAHL, the Cochrane and Google Academic in April 2020, using appropriate controlled keywords (cancer, neoplasm, pregnancy, ethics). Results were restricted to review articles, ethical perspectives, clinical practice guidelines and case-based teaching guides.Discussion: when a conflict arises in the maternal-foetus dyad, like the one related with cancer treatment and the risk of foetal demise, a range of ethical frameworks might be useful to consider in the decision-making process. Pragmatic theoretical approaches include case-based analysis, ethics of care, feminist theory, and traditional ethical principlism using the framework of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Also, societal and practitioner values could add value and an ethics consultation may be helpful to mediate conflict resolution. The physician must balance autonomy and beneficence-based obligations to the pregnant woman with cancer, along with beneficence-based obligations to the foetus.Conclusions: ethical challenges have received less attention in the literature, particularly before the third trimester of pregnancy. Best, unbiased and balanced information must be granted both to the patient and to the family, regarding the benefits and harms for the woman herself as well as for the foetal outcome.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0305.v1
Subject: Keywords: ethics of technology; emerging technologies; disruptive technology; systemic disruption; ethics of disruption
Online: 13 August 2021 (22:53:28 CEST)
Disruptive technologies can be conceptualized in different ways. Depending on how they are conceptualized, different ethical issues come into play. This article contributes to a general framework to navigate the ethics of disruptive technologies. It proposes three basic distinctions to be included in such a framework. First, emerging technologies may instigate localized “first-order” disruptions, or systemic “second-order” disruptions. The ethical significance of these disruptions differs: first-order disruptions tend to be of modest ethical significance, whereas second-order disruptions are highly significant. Secondly, technologies may be classified as disruptive based on their technological features or based on their societal impact. Depending on which of these classifications one adopts and takes as the starting point of ethical inquiry, different ethical questions are foregrounded. Thirdly, the ethics of disruptive technology raises concerns at four different levels of technology assessment: the technology level, the artifact level, the application level, and the society level. The respective suitability of approaches in technology ethics to address concerns about disruptive technologies co-varies with the respective level of analysis. The article clarifies these distinctions, thereby laying some of the groundwork for an ethical framework tailored for assessing disruptive technologies.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0294.v1
Online: 24 June 2020 (09:48:04 CEST)
Ethics is a research field that is obtaining more and more attention in Computer Science due to the proliferation of artificial intelligence software, machine learning algorithms, robot agents (like chatbot), and so on. Indeed, ethics research has produced till now a set of guidelines, such as ethical codes, to be followed by people involved in Computer Science. However, a little effort has been spent for producing formal requirements to be included in the design process of software able to act ethically with users. In the paper, we investigate those issues that make a software product ethical and propose a set of metrics devoted to quantitatively evaluate if a software product can be considered ethical or not.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0076.v1
Online: 6 December 2018 (06:35:01 CET)
An examination of Emmanuel Levinas’ writings on money reveals his distance from—and indebtedness to—a philosophical predecessor, Georg Simmel. Levinas and Simmel share a phenomenological approach to analyses of the proximity of the stranger, the importance of the face, and the interruption of the dyadic relationship by the third. Money is closely linked to the conception of totality because money is the medium that compares heterogeneous values. Levinas goes beyond Simmel in positing an ethical relation to money permitting transcendence.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0084.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: euthanasia; veterinary ethics; medical ethics; end-of-life; assisted suicide; palliative care; assisted dying
Online: 7 December 2017 (05:20:50 CET)
Not a lot is known about either death or the dying process. Politicians and many in the medical profession in the UK tend to shy away from interfering with it by not allowing euthanasia as an end of life option for the patient. This is the first paper in a series of two, comparing the situation in human medicine and veterinary medicine, in which euthanasia is well practiced for relieving suffering at the end of an animal’s life. This first part takes the form of a literature review including best practice around end of life care, its deficiencies and the need for assisted dying. Veterinary surgeons are well trained in the ethics of euthanasia and put it to good use in the best interest of their animal patients. In countries which have legalized physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill reporting indicates that it works well, without increases in involuntary euthanasia and most importantly without intimidation of the vulnerable. However, there is still an ever increasing tendency to overuse sedation and opioids at the end of life, which merits further investigation. With advances in medical science able to significantly prolong the dying process, patient autonomy demands a review of the law in the UK.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0168.v1
Online: 9 September 2021 (10:33:31 CEST)
Drones are increasingly becoming a ubiquitous feature of society. They are being used for a multiplicity of applications for military, leisure, economic, and academic purposes. Their application in the latter, especially as social science research tools has seen a sharp uptake in the last decade. This has been possible due, largely, to significant developments in computerization and miniaturization which have culminated in safer, cheaper, lighter, and thus more accessible drones for social scientists. Despite their increasingly widespread use, there has not been an adequate reflection on their use in the spatial social sciences. There is need a deeper reflection on their application in these fields of study. Should the drone even be considered a tool in the toolbox of the social scientist? In which fields is it most relevant? Should it be taught as a course in the universities much in the same way that geographic information system (GIS) became mainstream in geography? What are the ethical implications of its application in the spatial social science? This paper is a brief reflection on these questions. We contend that drones are a neutral tool which can be good and evil. They have actual and potential wide applications in academia but can be a tool through which breaches in ethics can be occasioned given their unique abilities to capture data from vantage perspectives. Researchers therefore need to be circumspect in how they deploy this powerful tool which is increasingly becoming mainstream in the social sciences.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0008.v1
Online: 1 October 2020 (09:10:35 CEST)
The ethics of invertebrate research have largely been ignored compared to the consideration of higher order animals, but more recent focus has questioned this trend. Using biohybrid robotic jellyfish as a case study, we examine the ethical considerations of invertebrate work and provide recommendations for future guidelines. This paper starts with an overview of philosophical views of animal ethics, the current state of knowledge for invertebrate pain and nociception, and current ethical guidelines. Next, we delve into the case study and analogous precedents. Specifically, in prior studies, we developed biohybrid robotic jellyfish, which modified live moon jellyfish with microelectronic swim controllers for future applications in ocean monitoring. Although jellyfish possess no central nervous system, pain receptors, or nociceptors, we closely monitored their stress responses, using the precautionary and minimization principles in consideration of the 4Rs: reduction, replacement, refinement, and reproducibility. We also discuss ethical considerations related to our studies and suggest that public opinion of invertebrate research relies heavily on repugnance, including fears of ‘playing God’ or limiting the ‘free will’ of animals. These issues are also examined for prior bioethics cases, such as the RoboRoach, cyborg beetle, ‘microslavery’ of microbes, biohybrid robots incorporating tissues from sea slugs (which are known to possess nociceptors), and other tissue cutting experiments involving soft-bodied invertebrates. However, biohybrid robotic jellyfish pose further ethical questions of potential ecological consequences as ocean monitoring tools, such as the impact of electronic waste in the ocean. To conclude these evaluations, we recommend that publishers require brief ethical statements for invertebrate research, which can include the following: a scientific justification for the research, discussion of the 4Rs, and cost-benefit analysis. We also delineate the need for more research on pain and nociception in invertebrates, which can then be used to revise or validate current research standards. These actions provide a stronger basis for the ethical study of invertebrate species, with implications for individual, species-wide, and ecological impacts on animals, as well as for interdisciplinary studies in science, engineering, and philosophy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201901.0028.v1
Subject: Keywords: Fraud, Allegations, Ethics, Research Misconduct, Philosophy
Online: 3 January 2019 (14:26:28 CET)
In recent decades, a number of high-profile cases involving fraud as research misconduct have been in the media and resulted in severe consequences for those convicted. According to the increased cases of allegations and coverage in the media, this reflects a heightened awareness that fraudulent actions exist. Nonetheless, the Office of Research Integrity data suggests that despite the growth in the number of the cases of allegation there has not been a commensurate increase in findings of misconduct. The purpose of this paper is to explore misconduct to better understand what it entails. An analysis of misconduct from the perspective of the definitions of allegations and fraud of is conducted and potential frameworks for understanding both are considered. The paper considers serial-positioning effects of primacy and recency on allegation phenomena, as well as supervenience theory and contextualism as a lens for understanding fraud. Discussion of the relational semantics of the core aspects of fraud and de facto grouping of forms of misconduct. It is concluded that the interrogative pronouns of “what” and “when” could be used to categorize forms of misconduct laying the foundation for the next paper that deconstructs the definition of falsification according to the Public Health Service.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0094.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: euthanasia; veterinary ethics; medical ethics; end-of-life; assisted suicide; palliative care; assisted dying; moral stress
Online: 1 December 2017 (16:58:27 CET)
This is the second of a series of two papers comparing the end of life issues in human and veterinary medicine. We outline the main differences between human and animal patients such as patient communication, finance and ‘conflicts of interest’ between animal, owner and veterinarian. We discuss striking similarities between human and veterinary issues such as assessing quality of life and the primary role of the attending veterinarian or doctor being the welfare and care of the patient. This paper takes the form of an ethical argument in favour of allowing euthanasia in human medicine, by providing insights into end of life issues for humans from an independent veterinary perspective. Veterinary surgeons are well trained in the ethics of euthanasia and put it to good use in the best interest of their animal patients. Doctors in the UK are limited and unwilling to put forward a case for the option of euthanasia for those patients who face a slow and agonizing death. With advances in medical science being able to significantly prolong the dying process, autonomy for the patient demands a review of the law regarding patient choice in the UK.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0126.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: medical education; medical ethics; autonomy; patients' perspectives
Online: 10 May 2022 (03:52:44 CEST)
There are complex ethical dilemmas inherent in medicine teaching, particularly in clinical prac-tice involving actual patients. Questions must be raised on fulfilling medical students' training needs while still respecting patients' fundamental rights to autonomy and privacy. We aimed to assess patients' perspectives regarding medical students' involvement in their medical care. An observational, cross-sectional study was developed, and an interview-like questionnaire was ap-plied randomly to patients waiting for a consult/admitted to three distinct departments: General Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, and Infectious Diseases. Of the 77% interviewed patients who reported previous experiences with medical students, only 59% stated that they were asked for consent for their participation and 28% that students had adequately introduced themselves. Pa-tients from Gynaecology/Obstetrics were the ones who reported lower rates of these practices and were also the ones who were most bothered by students' presence, stating that they would refuse students' participation in the future. Male patients received more explanations than female pa-tients regarding the same matters. 35% of patients stated they would feel more comfortable without the medical students' presence. The study shows a need to pay closer attention to ful-filling patients' fundamental rights.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0026.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: wearable devices; ethics; children; privacy; large data; right to an open future; living in the spot-light
Online: 25 June 2021 (11:00:42 CEST)
Wearable and mobile technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last decade with technological advances creating a role from enhancing healthy living to monitoring and treating disease. However, the discussion about the ethical use of such commercial technology in the community, especially in minors, is lacking behind. In this paper, we first summarize the major ethical concerns that arise from the usage of commercially available wearable technology in children, with a focus on smart watches, highlighting issues around the consent process, mitigation of risk and potential confidentiality and privacy issues, as well as the potential for therapeutic misconceptions when used without medical advice. Then through a relevant thought experiment we move on to outline some further ethical concerns that are connected to the use of wearables by minors, to wit the issue of informed consent in the case of minors, forcing them to live in the spotlight, and compromising their right to an open future. We conclude with the view that mitigating potential pitfalls and enhancing the benefits of wearable technology especially for minors requires brave and comprehensive moral debates.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0531.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Cardiology Keywords: endocarditis; surgery; cardiac surgery; drug abuse; ethics
Online: 24 August 2020 (11:36:38 CEST)
Background: This study discerns surgeons’ attitudes and practices in the determination of heart valve replacement for patients with endocarditis due to intravenous drug use (IVDU-IE). We aimed to identify factors contributing to surgeons’ decision-making process for initial and recurrent surgical heart valves, and the availability of institutional guidance. Methods: An IRB approved, anonymous mixed-methods survey instrument was designed and validated with 24 questions. Cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. and globally were recruited with a total of 220 enrolling in the study with 176 completing every question on the survey. Results: A cluster analysis revealed that although surgeons can be divided into sub-groups based on their previous experience with valve replacements, these groups are not perfectly homogenous, and the number of identified clusters is dependent on technique used. ANOVA analysis revealed that the variables that most clearly divided the surgeons into subgroups were, in order of importance, years of practice, number of valve replacements, and geography. Conclusions: Our analysis showed heterogeneity among cardiothoracic surgeons regarding how they make clinical decisions regarding re-operative valve replacement related to IVDU-IE Therefore, an opportunity exists for an interprofessional team to develop guidelines to decrease variability in surgical decision-making regarding valve replacement associated with IVDU-IE
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0359.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Information Technology & Data Management Keywords: Internet of things; healthcare; ethics; data privacy
Online: 30 January 2020 (10:51:54 CET)
Implications of the novel usage adoption of the internet of things in various sectors of works and life are researched and documented at pace. This is related to the overall high rate at which new technologies are adopted in modern society. Healthcare is a vital aspect of everyday activities and as such overlaps with the increasingly important role played by use of the internet and associated technologies. The purpose of this review article is to draw attention to the potential social, ethical, legal and professional limitations to using IoT in the context of healthcare. The social and ethical aspects in particular, focus on IoT usage in care of the elderly with relevant case studies as reference.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0281.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Business And Administrative Sciences Keywords: Ethics, Ethical Culture and Sustainability, Family Business
Online: 29 March 2019 (12:09:05 CET)
Building an ethical culture is challenging and a basic requirement of the companies to embed transparency in their systems, creating a positive image; serving the internal and external communities. This paper based on detailed interviews of 12 family owned businesses over a period of 16 months explores how these companies build the ethical culture, identifying the ethical culture sustainability triggers, challenges and role of religion in such practices. The values, culture, community and social norms are identified as major ingredients of a sustainable ethical culture development and implementation of the ethical policies and procedures require institutional and structural mechanisms for effectiveness in family owned businesses. The findings at numerous occasions are in contrast to the literature, whereas, in other instances are similar. The religion, society, family image, the entrepreneurs themselves and their family members play a vital role. Non-interference in private matters of the employees, whistle blowing, code of ethics, training and awareness creation and a number of other factors play a leading role in ethical culture development in family businesses.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0635.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: justice, fascism, Nazi, Gnosticism, power, ethics, will
Online: 30 November 2018 (15:49:55 CET)
To show that underlying Schmitt's account of fascist politics lies a Gnostic-like metaphysical dualism separating the realms of value and power. Contrary to the normative political tradition of the West, which defends an ethical politics, Schmitt - jurist and theorist of the Nazis - aligns himself with Machiavelli and Hobbes to defend realpolitik: where sovereignty is ultimately a function of the Dictator's will alone. This paper shows the contradiction within such a position, which criticizes values in politics but by its advocacy, and its defense of the Dictator's willing, relies on valuation, choice, and hence the ethical.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0100.v1
Online: 14 March 2018 (07:50:44 CET)
Nietzsche is almost always regarded as one of the thinkers who advocate extreme individualism, totally indifferent to or exclusively polemical towards the public human dimension. While this is very difficult to contradict, if we read his texts carefully we can see how his constant celebration of the individual runs parallel to an acute awareness of living in a new era, which he defined as ‘the century of the multitude and the masses’. The herd, conformism, mediocrity, public opinion: a civilisation in which community attempts suffocate all individual inspiration, and which therefore seems to row in the opposite direction. Although Nietzsche often uses collective life merely as a negative pole for more effectively emphasising the individual, his provocative words—pushed to the limits of the inexorable victory of the herd and of the paradoxical impossibility of all that is ‘public’—offer us a direct testimony of the tragic way of life of the man of his time. This provides us with an extremely clear and interesting phenomenological cross-section of the social sphere, as well as a very finely tuned and valuable seismograph for the continual monitoring of our everyday coexistence with and perception of the constantly incumbent dangers of its degeneration.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0233.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: AI; disease surveillance; pandemics; global public health; ethics
Online: 18 February 2022 (10:36:04 CET)
Infectious diseases, as COVID-19 is proving, pose a global health threat in an interconnected world. In the last 20 years, resistant infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and now COVID-19 have been impacting global health defences, and aggressively flourishing within the rise of global travel, urbanization, climate change and ecological degradation. In parallel, this extraordinary episode in global human health highlights the potential for artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled disease surveillance to collect and analyse vast amounts of unstructured and real-time data to inform epidemiological and public health emergency responses. The uses of AI in these dynamic environments are increasingly complex, challenging the potential for human autonomous decisions. In this context, our study of qualitative perspectives will consider a responsible AI framework to explore its potential application to disease surveillance in a global health context. Thus far, there is a gap in the literature in considering these multiple and interconnected levels of disease surveillance and emergency health management through the lens of a responsible AI framework.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0331.v1
Online: 12 March 2021 (08:05:09 CET)
The present high-tech landscape has allowed institutes to undergo digital transformation in addition to the storing of exceptional bulks of information from several resources, such as mobile phones, debit cards, GPS, transactions, online logs, and e-records. With the growth of technology, big data has grown to be a huge resource for several corporations that helped in encouraging enhanced strategies and innovative enterprise prospects. This advancement has also offered the expansion of linkable data resources. One of the famous data sources is social media platforms. Ideas and different types of content are being posted by thousands of people via social networking sites. These sites have provided a modern method for operating companies efficiently. However, some studies showed that social media platforms can be a source for misinformation at which some users tend to misuse social media data. In this work, the ethical concerns and conduct in online communities has been reviewed in order to see how social media data from different platforms has been misused, and to highlight some of the ways to avoid the misuse of social media data.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0318.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: AI; ethics; safety; autonomy; free energy principle; reductionism; symbiosis
Online: 30 August 2019 (07:42:42 CEST)
The free energy principle states that self-organization occurs through minimization of free energy, which is a measure of potential thermodynamic work. By minimizing free energy, the organism happens to also minimize surprise over its boundary, promoting chances of survival. We discuss the ethical implications of the cognitive goal in detail from an empirical point of view, highlighting the principle of least action as a physical basis of Occam's razor, the universality of the free energy principle, and its explanation of natural selection. We explain that the free energy principle extends to groups of organisms and helps us understand group-scale adaptations and selection in biology. The free energy principle applies to all scales of organization in the organism from single cells to the entire nervous system. When this principle is taken to its logical extremes of modeling groups, populations and ecosystems, we uncover a new, evolutionarily sensible path at explaining puzzling aspects of human motivation and judgement, including ethical decisions. To minimize free energy, populations have to act to maximize gathering of information, while building effective models at mitigating changes to its dynamic structure. The free energy principle thus provides a naturalistic explanation of some of our deepest ethical intuitions, and valuable principles of social behavior. We interpret the cognitive goal that corresponds to the principle as seeking a dynamic, fruitful, yet peaceful activity that sustains the organism. This state of mind is interestingly similar to the Buddhist intuition of mental equanimity; the organism's final goal is to be at peace and harmony with the environment. Another immediately relevant aspect is that assemblies must form to promote symbiotic, synergistic, positive feedback loops, which coincides with the findings of ecologists. Therefore, ethics naturally emerges in self-organizing systems. Assemblies of organisms must ultimately unite in macro-minds to achieve the greatest reduction in free energy, as well as building technological extensions of themselves to improve their capacity to do such, therefore the principle also predicts a post-singularity world-mind composed mostly of artificial intelligence.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0104.v1
Online: 7 June 2018 (07:35:48 CEST)
Community peer review is a method that extends the ethics of consent into scientific practices. It gives communities affected by scientific research the ability to determine whether research may cause them harm and be part of determining how knowledge should best circulate to reduce or eliminate that harm. This paper introduces the method of community peer review by first looking at the concepts of consent and refusal, then outlining the steps to community peer review, using a case study of community meetings on a study of plastic ingestion by fish to elucidate the details of each step. Steps include: hiring a community member to the team; researching the social, cultural, and economic contexts of the community; identify the community; ensure skills for community conversation are in place; call the community meeting; conduct the community meeting; and analyze feedback for consent and refusal. Community peer review is premised on the idea that research is not inherently good and can cause harm, and that the best people to know whether and what kinds of harms are likely to occur are community members rather than researchers. The second premise is that the researcher’s “right” to research never supersedes a community’s right to not be harmed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0170.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy Keywords: Edith Stein; care ethics; personalism; feminism; empathy; emotions; caring; phenomenology
Online: 18 April 2022 (11:41:18 CEST)
The personalist ethics of Edith Stein and her feminist thought are intrinsically interrelated. This unique connection constitutes perhaps the main novelty of Stein’s ethical thought that makes her a forerunner of some recent developments in feminist ethics, particularly ethics of care. A few scholars noticed the resemblance between Stein’s feminist personalism and care ethics, yet none of them have properly explored it. This paper offers an in-depth discussion of the overlaps and differences between Stein’s ethical insights and the core ideas of care ethics. It argues that both Stein and care ethicists relocate a certain set of practices, values and attitudes from the periphery to the center of ethical reflection. This includes relationality, emotionality and care. The paper finally argues that it is plausible and fruitful to read Stein’s advocacy of ‘woman’s values and attitudes’ in a critical feminist way, rather than as an instance of essentialist difference feminism.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0122.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: open health; simple rules; ethics; reproducibility; research significance; open science
Online: 11 September 2019 (13:27:26 CEST)
We are witnessing a dramatic transformation in the way we do science. In recent years, significant flaws with existing scientific methods have come to light, including lack of transparency, insufficient involvement of stakeholders, disconnection from the public, and limited reproducibility of research findings. These concerns have sparked a global movement to revolutionize scientific practice and the emergence of Open Science. This new approach to science extends principles of openness to the entire research cycle, from hypothesis generation to data collection, analysis, replication, and translation from research to practice. Open Science seeks to remove all barriers to conducting high quality, rigorous, and impactful scientific research by ensuring that the data, methods, and opportunities for collaboration are open to all. Emerging digital technologies and "big data" (see "Ten simple rules for responsible big data research") have further accelerated the Open Science movement by affording new approaches to data sharing, connecting researcher networks, and facilitating the dissemination of research findings. Open scientific practices are also having a profound impact on the health sciences and medical research, and specifically how we conduct clinical research with human participants. Human health research necessitates careful considerations for practicing science in an ethical manner. There is also a particular urgency to human health research since the goal is to help people, so doing good science takes on a different meaning than simply doing science well. It also implores the scientist to reassess the conventional view of human health research as a pursuit conducted by scientists on human subjects, and lays a greater emphasis on inclusive and ethical practices to ensure that the research takes into account the interests of those who would be most impacted by the research. Openness in the context of human health research also raises greater concerns about privacy and security and presents more opportunities for people, including participants of research studies, to contribute in every capacity. At the core of open health research, scientific discoveries are not only the product of collaboration across disciplines, but must also be owned by the community that is inclusive of researchers, health workers, and patients and their families. To guide successful open health research practices, it is essential to carefully consider and delineate its guiding principles. This editorial is aimed at individuals participating in health science in any capacity, including but not limited to people living with medical conditions, health professionals, study participants, and researchers spanning all types of disciplines. We present ten simple rules that, while not comprehensive, offer guidance for conducting health research with human participants in an open, ethical, and rigorous manner. These rules can be difficult, resource-intensive, and can conflict with one another. They are aspirational and are intended to accelerate and improve the quality of human health research. Work that fails to follow these rules is not necessarily an indication of poor quality research, especially if the reasons for breaking the rules are considered and articulated (see rule 6: document everything). While most of the responsibility of following these rules falls on researchers, anyone involved in human health research in any capacity can apply them.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0183.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, General Humanities Keywords: death; bodies; human rights; burial; ethics; tourism; heritage; culture; memory
Online: 14 May 2018 (05:32:40 CEST)
In The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, Thomas Laqueur argues that the work of the dead is carried out through the living and through those who remember, honour, and mourn the dead. Further, he maintains that the brutal or careless disposal of the corpse “is an attack of extreme violence”. To treat the dead body as if it does not matter or as if it were ordinary organic matter would be to deny its humanity. From Laqueur’s point of view it is inferred that the dead are believed to have rights and dignities that are upheld through rituals, practices, and beliefs of the living. Drawing on dark tourism scholarship and cultural memory theory, this paper examines the display of human bones at Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic and the tourist culture that has built up around the site. Primarily, my writing calls into question the commoditization of burial places as a conceivable violation of the human rights of the dead. My research is driven by a number of questions: What is it that draws tourists to burial grounds and how do heritage sites negotiate visitor experiences? What are the ethical boundaries when a final resting place with bodies on display is also marketed as a tourist site? Do the dead have human rights and how are the living responsible for preserving those rights?
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201901.0137.v1
Subject: Keywords: Organ Transplantation, Ethics, Healthcare Resource Allocation, Lower Priority, Substance Use, Merit
Online: 14 January 2019 (12:05:34 CET)
Organ transplantation centers set criteria for candidate qualification, which has led to disparate healthcare resource allocation practices affecting those with a substance use history. These individuals are denied organ transplants by committees and healthcare providers who assign them lower priority status. The lower priority argument claims that healthcare resources should not be provided equally to individuals failing to share responsibility for not doing enough in addressing the diseases associated with substance use. The purpose of this work is to explore the interrelatedness between the ethics of a merit-based system of moral responsibility and lower priority setting involved in healthcare resource allocation pertaining to those with substance use histories. An integral approach to the argument against the lower prioritists with a focus on the relationship between different organ allocation practices affecting substance users and the justification for resource allocation practices in healthcare and transplant committees. Lower priority setting is challenged, and an argument offered in which substance users are assigned higher priority when relying on “doing enough” in a merit-based system of moral responsibility. It is determined that one cannot substantiate assigning a lower priority status since a lack of success in rehab does not imply a lack of effort. Additionally, neither to confirmatory behavior, nor to non-conforming behavior may freedom be justifiably ascribed in a merit-based system of responsibility because freedom to choose can neither be established a priori, nor a posteriori with respect to meritorious behavior.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0385.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: hedonic well-being; utilitarianism; machine ethics; attitudinal hedonism; subjective desire satisfactionism
Online: 28 May 2018 (06:10:04 CEST)
Formally specifying hedonic well-being is difficult, but relevant to utilitarian theories of morality. In this paper we describe a starting point based on attitudinal hedonism, which posits that hedonic well-being is determined by the extent to which a moral patient believes her preferences to be fulfilled. While this assumption probably does not capture the sought-out notion of well-being fully, our formalization seems to be relevant first step towards more satisfactory definition of hedonic well-being.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0091.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geology Keywords: mine tailings; ethics; legislations; corporate social responsibility; policy research; South Africa
Online: 27 August 2017 (10:38:56 CEST)
It is well recognised that the mining industry in South Africa is highly rated for its substantial contribution to the country’s economic growth, including employment and infrastructural development. It is also known that mining and ore processing activities potentially pose a severe threat to public health and environmental well-being, in the way operations are carried out, mine wastes are disposed of (in dumps), local communities are relocated, mine management and the mining community in general, perceive established environmental standards and etiquette. This paper examines ethical practices and norms in the South African mining industry, with particular reference to the management of tailings dams. We analyse the modes of articulation of the country’s regulatory instruments for tailings management, and review the corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach of leading mining companies. Despite decades of research and resulting recommendations on tailings management, it is concluded that current legislations are largely ineffective, level of adherence by mine management and the mining community, low, and mechanisms for compliance monitoring, weak. New perspectives on legislative issues for unsolved problems in tailings handling are put forward, and directions for future research, indicated.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0425.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Empathy; comparative thanatology; cognitive biases; animal ethics; mentaphobia; primates; elephants; birds; robot
Online: 16 November 2020 (14:23:45 CET)
Anthropomorphism is a natural tendency in humans, but it is also influenced by many characteristics of the observer (the human) and the observed entity (here, the animal species). This study asked participants to complete an online questionnaire about three videos showing epimeletic behaviours in three animal species. In the videos, an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque, respectively) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific that suddenly regained consciousness at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a robot dog being kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. Each video was followed by a series of questions designed to evaluate the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentaphobia (no attribution of intentions and beliefs, whatever the animal species) to full anthropomorphism (full attribution of intentions and beliefs by animals, to the same extent as in humans) and to measure how far the participants had correctly assessed each situation in terms of biological reality (current scientific knowledge of each species). There is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the mental states attributed to animals by humans to animals and the real capability of animals. The heterogeneity of responses proved that humans display different forms of anthropomorphism, from rejecting all emotional or intentional states in animals to considering animals to show the same intentions as humans. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differed according to the species shown in the video and to human sociodemographic characteristics. Understanding the potential usefulness of these factors can lead to better relationships with animals and encourage a positive view of human-robot interactions. Indeed, reflective or critical anthropomorphism can increase our humanity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0711.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Cognitive & Experimental Psychology Keywords: Empathy; comparative thanatology; cognitive biases; animal ethics; mentaphobia; primates; elephants; birds; robot
Online: 31 August 2020 (06:13:03 CEST)
In this study, we asked participants to answer an online questionnaire about videos showing animal epimeletic behaviours: an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific who suddenly got back to conscious at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a dog-robot kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. After each video, questions were asked to score the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentophobia (no attribution whatever the species) to full anthropomorphism and to measure how close participants are to biological reality (actual scientific knowledge). A first important result is that there is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the anthropomorphism score (AS) and the biological reality one (BRS) showing a wrong statement. The heterogeneity of responses proved that all levels of anthropomorphism are covered from mentaphobia to full anthropomorphism. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differ according to the species shown in the video and to human characteristics. Understanding how one can play with these factors can conduct to better relationships with animals as encourage human-robot interactions. Finally, such reflective anthropomorphism can lead to an increase of human empathy and sociality, finally increasing our humanity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0483.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, General Humanities Keywords: Humanities, World citizenship, World Languages, Higher Education, Peter Critchley, Eco-praxis, Ethics
Online: 25 July 2018 (12:45:08 CEST)
It is time that universities reexamine what is meant by globalization. Contemporary researchers in science and the humanities (Critchley, Chomsky, Mumford, Ostrom, Eisenstein, Ferry, Orr, Shiva, Klein, Margulis, Meadows, Capra and Tolba, just to name a few) have aptly redefined the concept of « world » as a biological and cultural ecosystem. This paper seeks ways to integrate the theory and practice of eco-citizenship into various cross-disciplinary aspects of higher education, with a focus on curricular adjustments that may be steered by World Languages and Cultures programs. While "global citizenship" is still often understood today as a form of supranational citizenship that may find its actualization through the valuable, yet often arrested efforts of the United Nations, or as the individualistic result of a neoliberal economic emancipation of markets and capital throughout the world, this notion must rather be embedded within a radically cultural, natural and ethical bedrock from which a more potent world citizenry will stem. Departments of World Languages and Cultures and cultures are ideally positioned in the academic landscape to foster the development of a greater eco-civic and biospheric awareness that can permeate new curricular orientations of universities in the US and abroad.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0099.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Other Keywords: ethology; anthrozoology; semiotics; animal sanctuaries; captivity; anthropization; animal ethics; non invasive observation
Online: 16 October 2017 (05:42:33 CEST)
The present essay illustrates the methodological and theoretical premises of an emerging research area carrying out both ethological and (bio)ethical implications: the ethology of the freed animal (EFA). Unlike existing ethological fields, EFA focuses neither on non human (NH) animals in natural conditions of freedom in their own environment, nor on NH animals kept in conditions of “captivity”. Rather, EFA consists of a comparative study of NH animals that are released from a condition of more or less abusive captivity and instead relocated in an environment more appropriate to their species-specific and individual characteristics and inclinations. Ideal places for this study are contexts like “Animal sanctuaries” and parks/reserves provided with a camp or station for researchers, where a previously-captive NH animal can be reintroduced in his/her natural habitat. Even though EFA exists already, as a de facto practice of the specialized and/or volunteer personnel running sanctuaries and parks, the field still lacks a recognizable scholarly paradigm, and it is yet to be acknowledged at institutional/academic level. By consequence, one important aim for creating a field like this lies in the establishment of an active interaction between the two parties involved (researchers and sanctuaries/parks operators).
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1
Subject: Keywords: Precision Livestock Farming; Sensors; Animal Ethics; Animal Welfare; Society; Sustainability; Human-animal relationships
Online: 16 July 2021 (11:27:24 CEST)
The demand for animal products is expected to continue to rise, which requires the development of efficient livestock farming systems. Environmental, societal and economic concerns regarding this industry are however accumulating, addressing the large resource demand, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns that the livestock industry is responsible for. Precision livestock farming systems allow the continuous automatic monitoring of various physiological, behavioural and phenotypic parameters of animals in order to increase productivity and animal welfare while controlling and minimizing the environmental impact. There is a high potential for digital farming to be the solution for responsibly and ethically feeding the growing and urbanizing population. However, many problems and concerns are still present in this developing industry and remain relatively unaddressed, starting with the ethical aspects in regard to the animal, including its objectification, human-animal relationships and welfare and ending with the societal implications of this digitalization. Concrete frameworks, inter-disciplinary studies and global legislation need to be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of the animals, farmer and society. Here, implications of digital farming for the animals, farmers, society and the planet are critically reviewed with the future outlook of digital farms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0507.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: autonomous weapons; meaningful human control; hors de combat status; killer robots; military ethics
Online: 22 March 2021 (10:17:19 CET)
Autonomous weapons systems (AWS), sometimes referred to as “killer robots”, are receiving evermore attention, both in public discourse as well as by scholars and policymakers. Much of this interest is connected with emerging ethical and legal problems linked to increasing autonomy in weapons systems, but there is a general underappreciation for the ways in which existing law might impact on these new technologies. In this paper, we argue that as AWS become more sophisticated and increasingly more capable than flesh-and-blood soldiers, it will increasingly be the case that such soldiers are “in the power” of those AWS which fight against them. This implies that such soldiers ought to be considered hors de combat, and not targeted. In arguing for this point, we draw out a broader conclusion regarding hors de combat status, namely that it must be viewed contextually, with close reference to the capabilities of combatants on both sides of any discreet engagement. Given this point, and the fact that AWS may come in many shapes and sizes, and can be made for many different missions, we argue that each particular AWS will likely need its own standard for when enemy soldiers are deemed hors de combat. We conclude by examining how these nuanced views of hors de combat status might impact on meaningful human control of AWS.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0104.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: Deep Learning, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), Machine Learning, Autoencoders, Voice Conversion, Ethics, CycleGANs
Online: 12 June 2019 (11:17:52 CEST)
The upsurge of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) in the previous five years has led to advancements in unsupervised data manipulation, sourced feature translation, and precise input-output synthesis through a competitive optimization of the discriminator and generator networks. More specifically, the recent rise of cycle-consistent GANs enables style transfers from a discrete source (input A) to target domain (input B) by preprocessing object features for a multi-discriminative adversarial network. Traditionally, cyclical adversarial networks have been exploited for unpaired image-to-image translation and domain adaptation by determining mapped relationships between an input A graphic and an input B graphic. However, this integral mechanism of domain adaptation can be applied to the complex acoustical features of human speech. Although well-established datasets, such as the 2018 Voice Conversion Challenge repository, paved way for female-male voice transformation, cycle-GANs have rarely been re-engineered for voices outside the datasets. More critically, cycle-GANs have massive potential to extract surface-level and hidden feature to distort an input A source into a texturally unrelated target voice. By preprocessing, compressing, and packaging unique acoustical voice properties, CycleGANs can learn to decompose speech signals and implement new translation models while preserving emotion, the intent of words, rhythm, and accents. Due to the potential of CycleGAN’s autoencoder in realistic unsupervised voice-voice conversion/feature adaptation, the researchers raise the ethical implications of controlling source input A to manipulate target voice B, particularly in cases of defamation and sabotage of target B’s words. This paper analyzes the potential of cycle-consistent GANs in deceptive voice-voice conversion by manipulating interview excerpts of political candidates.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0201.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Other Keywords: Finland; Nordic; cultural objects; manuscripts; research ethics; import regulation; export regulation; cultural heritage
Online: 23 March 2018 (15:32:08 CET)
In this article we shed light on the position of Finland in conversations on the movement of unprovenanced cultural objects, within the national, the Nordic and the global contexts. Finland’s geopolitical position, as a ‘hard border’ of the European Union neighbouring the Russian Federation, and its current legislative provisions which do not include import regulation, mean that nonetheless has the potential to be significant in understanding the movement of cultural property at transnational levels. In particular, we outline a recent initiative started at the University of Helsinki to kick-start a national debate on ethical working with cultural object and manuscripts. We analyse exploratory research on current awareness and opinion within Finland, and summarize our current work to produce robust research ethics to guide scholars working in Finland. Although Finland has a small population and is usually absent from international discussions on the illicit movement of cultural property (save a few exceptions), we argue that it is still possible — and important — to affect policy and attitudes concerning art crime, provenance, and the role of stakeholders such as decision-makers, traders and the academy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0066.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: ethics seminar; moral sensitivity; unethical behavior; nurse; Health care; patient; hospital; Patient safety; education
Online: 2 December 2020 (14:11:57 CET)
While nursing is an ethical profession, unethical behavior among nurses is increasing worldwide. This study examined the effects of an ethics seminar on nurses' moral sensitivity and ethical behavior. A total of 37 nurses (17 experimental, 20 control) were recruited. The ethics seminar was held over a 6-month period from May to October, 2018, and comprised six sessions held once a month for two hours. Moral sensitivity and unethical behavior were measured at the start and end of the seminar. Moral sensitivity and unethical behavior showed a negative correlation (r= -.455, p<0.01). After the ethics seminar, the experimental group's moral sensitivity was significantly increased (t = -1.039, p = 0.314). The mean scores of unethical behavior at pre and post-test in the experimental group were 12.59 and 9.47, respectively. This was a statistically significant difference (t = 3.118, p = 0.004). There was no statistically significant difference in the mean score in both moral sensitivity and unethical behavior in the control group. We conclude that ethics seminars can enhance moral sensitivity and reduce the risk of unethical behavior among nurses. Regular ethics seminars and training must be provided to nurses as a matter of policy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0262.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: research ethics; longitudinal methodology; youth; phone survey; COVID-19; low- and middle-income countries
Online: 21 June 2020 (11:17:06 CEST)
In this paper, we draw on recent experiences from the Young Lives study to discuss some of the ethical and practical challenges facing longitudinal cohort studies in low- and middle-income countries in the time of coronavirus. We argue that COVID-19 has instigated an ‘ethics of disruption’ for social researchers across the world, and for longitudinal cohort studies like Young Lives, this requires navigating three core considerations: first, managing research relationships and reciprocity within an observational study design; second, maintaining methodological continuity and consistency across time; and third, balancing an immediate short-term response to COVID-19 against the longer-term perspective. We refer to the study’s plan to implement a new COVID-19 phone survey to illustrate how the team are navigating this altered ethical terrain.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0420.v1
Subject: Keywords: absolute uterine factor infertility; uterus transplant; experimental; clinical practice; ethics; living donors; risk assessment
Online: 26 June 2018 (12:58:08 CEST)
Background: Absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI) is a kind of infertility that is completely attributable to uterine absence (surgical or congenital for women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome: MRKH) or anatomic or functional abnormality that prevents embryo implantation or completion of pregnancy to term. Until recently, the only viable option to parenthood for couples with AUFI were adoption or surrogacy. Since a first attempt of uterus transplant (UTx) in 2000, nine babies were born from women with a transplanted uterus from 2014, eight of which in Sweden, and one in the United States. These promising results are raising immense hopes for the women with AUFI and there is optimism about the possibility for UTx to become part of clinical care even though, besides encouraging results, the procedure has also resulted in increased risks and harms for both the donors and recipients and increased risks of premature birth for the fetus. At present UTx is still considered as experimental and requiring more research and safety assessment before becoming a therapeutic option for AUFI. The transition from experimental procedure to therapeutic care would result in less strict ethical scrutiny for UTx and in the possibility for patients to get reimbursement for the procedure by the relevant healthcare insurance or public healthcare providers. In turn, an increase in the number of UTx performed yearly by specialized surgical teams would result in a general improvement of the “field strength”. However, at present it is difficult to establish the amount of evidence that we need in order to consider UTx as no longer experimental but routine clinical practice. The literature on UTx provides recommendations on the different outcomes that should be monitored in this experimental phase but no study is anticipating the number of subjects that should be followed and for how long. Conclusion: As for other transplants that have become routine practice, like renal transplant and heart transplant, it is likely that the decision on “routine practice readiness” will result from available cumulated evidences, from expert capacity to find a consensus on best practices and on political considerations as well, including pressures form patients and patient groups.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0324.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: consumer behavior; green nudges; boosts; sustainability; libertarian paternalism; sustainable consumption; human bias; ethics; proportionality; autonomy.
Online: 18 November 2021 (13:40:15 CET)
Recent years have shown that traditional regulatory techniques alone are not effective in achieving behavior change in important fields such as environmental sustainability. Governments all over the world have been progressively including behaviourally informed considerations in policy and law-making with the aim of improving the acceptance and impact of sustainability-oriented measures. This led to the arrival of alternative regulatory tools, such as nudges. The effectiveness of nudges for environmental sustainability (green nudges) has been largely reported but the practical and ethical implications are still largely neglected by academic research. In this contribution, “nudges” are conceptually distinguished from “boosts” and their ethical briefly explained. The analysis is made at the light of the current mostly European and US American academic literature.
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: quality of care; Covid-19; relational caring; care ethics; practical wisdom; mismatch; humanness; solicitude; habitability
Online: 28 January 2021 (12:45:14 CET)
The Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy for those who have been hard hit worldwide. At the same time, it is also a test of concepts and practices of what good care is and requires, and how quality of care can be accounted for. In this paper, we present our Care-Ethical Model of Quality (CEMQ) and apply it to the case of residential care for older people in the Netherlands during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of thinking about care in healthcare and social welfare as a set of separate care acts, we think about care as a complex practice of relational caring, crossed by other practices. Instead of thinking about professional caregivers as functionaries obeying external rules, we think about them as practically wise professionals. Instead of thinking about developing external quality criteria and systems, we think about cultivating (self-)reflective quality awareness. Instead of abstracting from societal forces that make care possible but also limit it, we acknowledge them and find ways to deal with them. Based on these critical insights, the CEMQ model can be helpful to describe, interrogate, evaluate, and improve existing care practices. It has four entries: (i) the care receiver considered from their humanness, (ii) the caregiver considered from their solicitude, (iii) the care facility considered from its habitability and (iv) the societal, institutional and scholarly context considered from the perspective of the good life, justice and decency. The crux is enabling all these different entries with all their different aspects to be taken into account. In Corona times this turns out to be more crucial than ever.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0599.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Precision medicine; Inborn errors of metabolism; Pharmacogenomics, Ethics; Genomics; Learning healthcare; Machine learning; Computational biology
Online: 23 November 2020 (20:44:20 CET)
Genome sequencing is enabling precision medicine—tailoring treatment to the unique constellation of variants in an individual’s genome. The impact of recurrent pathogenic variants is often understood, leaving a long tail of rare genetic variants that are uncharacterized. The problem of uncharacterized rare variation is especially acute when it occurs in genes of known clinical importance with functionally consequent frequent variants and associated mechanisms. Variants of unknown significance (VUS) in these genes are discovered at a rate that outpaces current ability to classify them using databases of previous cases, experimental evaluation, and computational predictors. Clinicians are thus left without guidance about the significance of variants that may have actionable consequences. Computational prediction of the impact of rare genetic variation is increasingly becoming an important capability. In this paper, we review the technical and ethical challenges of interpreting the function of rare variants in two settings: inborn errors of metabolism in newborns, and pharmacogenomics. We propose a framework for a genomic learning healthcare system with an initial focus on early-onset treatable disease in newborns and actionable pharmacogenomics. We argue that (1) a genomic learning healthcare system must allow for continuous collection and assessment of rare variants, (2) emerging machine learning methods will enable algorithms to predict the clinical impact of rare variants on protein function, and (3) ethical considerations must inform the construction and deployment of all rare-variation triage strategies, particularly with respect to health disparities arising from unbalanced ancestry representation.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0137.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; pandemic; ethics; public health; longitudinal clinical trial; silent virus carrier
Online: 8 May 2020 (07:53:54 CEST)
Some of the European countries affected by COVID-19 have not learned from previous experience in China. Italy did not learn from China and Spain did neither learn from China nor from Italy. Confinement in Spain was postponed due to pressure from economic interests and traveling of infected people, especially from Madrid to the beaches in South-East Spain, was allowed. Strict confinement and border closure came late, when the curve of infected people and the death toll already had the worse trend worldwide. Tests to SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection by PCR, were first unavailable and, later, faulty and/or detecting antibodies and not the virus itself. Instead of mobilizing research laboratories for making tests, and instead of making masks and ventilators, mediatic scientists asked for money for controversial clinical trials and for obtaining a vaccine. In this scenario, common sense indicates that ad hoc measures should be taken at the end of confinement in order to minimize pain. The chain of errors should be avoided in the management of next pandemics by designing Good Practice Rules (GPRs). In addition, post-confinement measures should be implemented as soon as possible to be ready for SARS-CoV-2 return next season. In this sense a longitudinal study in the most affected cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Vitoria and Pamplona) should be performed with the primary objective of detecting carriers with no symptoms, to stratify patients according to symptoms, and to early detection of virus reappearance. Also relevant is to sequence as many viruses as possible to detect possible variants; there are still patients that are PCR positive.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0456.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: social farming; farming for health; inclusive model; migrants inclusion; ethics; innovation; social service; vulnerable people
Online: 29 February 2020 (08:55:22 CET)
The agricultural sector, even though it has been greatly reduced and is in constant transformation, continues to be of strategic importance. Although it does not represent a quantitatively relevant employment sector, the dynamics are interesting because they reflect the structural, economic and social transformations that are affecting the sector in recent years; there is a growing need for external labour that corresponds to a massive recourse of foreigners to work. Innovative approaches are required to explore the capacity of social farming to create a sustainable and inclusive workplace for migrant. The overall methodological approach of the paper seeks to synthesize fieldwork research and qualitative interviewing to validate the Italian inclusive model. To do this, we have selected four experiences of Italian social agriculture in which migrants are included.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0082.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurology Keywords: Brain injury, coma, consciousness, cognitive motor dissociation, disorders of consciousness, ethics, neurorehabilitation, traumatic brain injury
Online: 6 December 2018 (10:05:52 CET)
Background: The vegetative state (VS)/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) denotes brain-injured, awake patients who are seemingly without awareness. Still, up to 15% of these patients show signs of covert consciousness when examined by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or EEG, which is known as cognitive motor dissociation (CMD). Most experts prefer the term unresponsive wakefulness syndrome to avoid the negative connotations associated with vegetative state and to highlight the possibility for CMD. However, the perception of VS/UWS by the public has never been studied systematically. Methods: Using an online crowdsourcing platform, we recruited 1297 participants from 32 countries. We investigated if vegetative state and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome might have a different influence on attitudes towards VS/UWS and CMD. Results: Participants randomized to be inquired about the vegetative state believed that CMD was less common (mean estimated frequency in unresponsive patients 38.07% ± SD 25.15) than participants randomized to unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (42.29% ± SD 26.63; p=0.016). Attitudes towards treatment withdrawal were similar. Most participants preferred unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (60.05%), although a sizeable minority favored vegetative state (24.21%; difference 35.84%, 95% CI 29.36 to 41.87; p<0.0001). Searches on PubMed and Google Trends revealed that unresponsive wakefulness syndrome is increasingly used by academics but not lay people.Discussion: Simply replacing vegetative state with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome may not be fully appropriate given that 1 of 4 prefer the first term. We suggest that physicians take advantage of the controversy around the terminology to explain relatives the concept of CMD and its ethical implications.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0528.v2
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Applied Mathematics Keywords: Conformable calculus; Fractional-order financial system; ESDDFD and NSFD methods; Hyperchaotic attractor; Market confidence; Ethics risk
Online: 6 December 2021 (12:48:05 CET)
Four discrete models using the exact spectral derivative discretization finite difference (ESDDFD) method are proposed for a chaotic five-dimensional, conformable fractional derivative financial system incorporating ethics and market confidence. Since the system considered was recently studied using the conformable Euler finite difference (CEFD) method and found to be hyperchaotic, and the CEFD method was recently shown to be valid only at fractional index , the source of the hyperchaos is in question. Through numerical experiments, illustration is presented that the hyperchaos previously detected is in part an artifact of the CEFD method as it is absent from the ESDDFD models.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: synthetic biology; CRISPR; Cas9; biotechnology; biodesign; nickase; base editing; prime editing; genome editing; ethics; responsible innovation
Online: 1 October 2020 (08:38:22 CEST)
The RNA-guided endonuclease system CRISPR-Cas9 has been extensively modified since its discovery, allowing its capabilities to be extending far beyond double-stranded cleavage to high fidelity insertions, deletions, and single base edits. Such innovations have been possible due to the modular architecture of CRISPR-Cas9 and the robustness of its component parts to modifications and the fusion of new functional elements. Here, we review the broad toolkit of CRISPR-Cas9-based systems now available for diverse genome editing tasks. We provide an overview of their core molecular structure and mechanism and distil the design principles used to engineer their diverse functionalities. We end by looking beyond the biochemistry and towards the societal and ethical challenges that these CRISPR-Cas9 systems face if their transformative capabilities are to be deployed in a safe and acceptable manner.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0349.v1
Subject: Engineering, Control & Systems Engineering Keywords: ethics; regulator; superintelligence; super-ethical systems; requisite variety; cybernetics; third-order cybernetics; cyberanthropic utopia; grand challenge
Online: 31 July 2019 (10:40:58 CEST)
This paper combines the Good Regulator Theorem with the Law of Requisite Variety and seven other requisites that are necessary and sufficient for a cybernetic regulator to be effective and ethical. The resulting Ethical Regulator Theorem provides a basis for systematically evaluating and improving the adequacy of existing or proposed designs for systems that make decisions that can have ethical consequences; regardless of whether the regulators are human, machines, cyberanthropic hybrids, organizations, corporations, or government institutions. The theorem is then used to define an ethical design process that has potentially far-reaching implications for society. A six-level framework is proposed for classifying cybernetic and superintelligent systems, which highlights the existence of a possibility-space bifurcation in our future time-line. The implementation of “super-ethical” systems is identified as an urgent imperative for humanity to avoid the danger that superintelligent machines might lead to a technological dystopia. Third-order cybernetics is defined as the cybernetics of ethical systems. Concrete actions, a grand challenge, and a vision of a super-ethical society are proposed to help steer the future of the human race and our wonderful planet towards a realistically achievable minimum viable cyberanthropic utopia.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201901.0129.v1
Subject: Keywords: the violation imperative; responsible conduct of research (RCR); research misconduct; science; definition of falsification; philosophy; ethics
Online: 14 January 2019 (09:56:48 CET)
The purpose of this paper is to critique the definition of falsification as research misconduct according to the Public Health Service (PHS) in order to better understand what it entails. In support of this purpose, the approach decided upon for analysis was philosophical including framing the issue borrowing from both mereological and epistemological perspectives. Through the consideration given to parthood relations of mereology, we gained insight from a cognitive imperfection standpoint about similarities that exist between the epistemic constraints on knowledge and the nature of violations concerning research misconduct. Findings from the examination of a case study include the significance of accuracy in representation in falsification as misconduct and the core dimensions comprising an instance of falsification, which are Deliberateness, Alteration, and Inclusion. Given that either behavior or actions must occur that violate these three aspects in order to qualify as an instance of misconduct under falsification, the author proposes that, at a minimum, any revisions made to the definition of falsification stipulate what he refers to as the Violation Imperative.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0418.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Other Keywords: big data training and learning; company and business requirements; ethics; impact; decision support; data engineering; open data; smart homes; smart cities; IoT
Online: 29 May 2018 (08:45:52 CEST)
In Data Science we are concerned with the integration of relevant sciences in observed and empirical contexts. This results in the unification of analytical methodologies, and of observed and empirical data contexts. Given the dynamic nature of convergence, described are the origins and many evolutions of the Data Science theme. The following are covered in this article: the rapidly growing post-graduate university course provisioning for Data Science; a preliminary study of employability requirements, and how past eminent work in the social sciences and other areas, certainly mathematics, can be of immediate and direct relevance and benefit for innovative methodology, and for facing and addressing the ethical aspect of Big Data analytics, relating to data aggregation and scale effects. Associated also with Data Science is how direct and indirect outcomes and consequences of Data Science include decision support and policy making, and both qualitative as well as quantitative outcomes. For such reasons, the importance is noted of how Data Science builds collaboratively on other domains, potentially with innovative methodologies and practice. Further sections point towards some of the most major current research issues.