Norms and assumptions concerning the structure of the family constrain the direction of scientific progress in the area of human reproduction. It is one’s family status that determines whether one’s reproductive aspirations are classified as medical needs and thus eligible for treatment. In turn, needs deemed eligible for medical treatment form the basis of future research priorities. Conversely, innovations in human reproduction, facilitated by scientific progress, challenge these norms and assumptions and require adjustments in ethics and law.
Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are posited by some as one of – if not the – greatest potential threats to humanity. This chapter examines this view and casts it in a new light. Artificial intelligence can be divided into that which exists – unconscious artificial intelligence – and the posited superintelligent AI, with intelligence equal to or greater than our own. Regulation and policy around the development of these two types presents different challenges – the former raises questions around liability, ownership, the workforce, and more; but the latter presents issues we have never before faced. A sapient intelligence may in effect be a novel being, a potential person – and there is reason to think we should treat it as such. The possibility of non-Homo sapiens persons engenders questions about the very nature of humanity and our place at the top of the moral status ‘ladder’. Ultimately, it may be that there is no good reason to treat an artificial intelligence of this type as being substantively different to ourselves.
The standard view on science and human freedom claims that science contributes to human autonomy or self-determination through the discovery of natural laws and processes. In other words, by providing knowledge and devices to solve practical problems and stimulate economic growth. A more likely hypothesis is that the invention of the scientific method in the modern age has introduced a new way of thinking into human communities. In this way, some new psychological skills have been made available to an increasing number of people. These skills allowed human beings to achieve important cognitive and moral improvements, which made liberal and democratic governments possible. The chapter defends this hypothesis. Specifically, it suggests that science education has the potential to make people more cooperative, less self-centred and impulsive, and more self-controlled (in the sense of autonomous). The chapter discusses strategies to enhance individual capacities and to make social communities flourish.
Recognising that there will continue to be constraints placed on scientific freedom by international policymakers on security grounds, this chapter presents arguments for reciprocal responsibilities of the scientific community and international policymakers in appropriately governing the security aspects of scientific research involving dangerous pathogens. It also explores how the international community is responding to the need to balance certain freedoms and responsibilities in relevant policy processes. In the context of tensions between health-related and security-related approaches to the international governance of pathogens, the chapter explores how the scientific and policymaking communities can best support each other in developing and implementing international biosecurity measures. These tensions arise because scientific work on pathogens is necessary for the protection of health, but such work also poses risks to health, through accidental or deliberate releases. Effective management of these tensions requires ongoing dialogue and improved science advisory mechanisms within relevant policy processes.
Immortality may not yet be on the cards for us, at least not on this earth, but we live longer than the previous generation, and the next generations will live longer than us. This offers us hope for a long life, and is perhaps the fulfilment of one of our most ancient and rooted dreams. But the sweetest of dreams can easily turn into the worst nightmare. With increased longevity, the amount of ill health and disability will also increase, the workforce will decrease, chronic conditions, multiple morbidities and cognitive impairments will become more common, raising long-term expenditure to unknown levels. At the same time families will face increasing pressure to balance care with other responsibilities, particularly work. As the population ages, so will the workforce. How can nations’ economic well-being be preserved? This chapter shows that many worries are based on misconceptions and misunderstandings relating to diseases and old age. Moreover, many important steps can be taken to prevent certain negative outcomes from materialising.
Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than
300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before
the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were
intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked
Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential
neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak
grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter
them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem
treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and
their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of
the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay
systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition,
collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that
impacted on the victims.
On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.
The construction of an underground car park beneath the main square of Turin,
Italy in 2004 led to the unearthing of the skeletonised remains of twenty-two
individuals attributable to the early eighteenth century. At this time the city
was besieged during the War of the Spanish Succession in a hard-fought battle
that resulted in unexpected triumph for the Piedmontese, a victory that marked a
fundamental turning point in Italian history. The current study assesses the
strength of evidence linking the excavated individuals to the siege and assesses
their possible role in the battle through consideration of their biological
profiles, patterns of pathology and the presence of traumatic injuries. This
article presents the first analysis of evidence for the siege of Turin from an
anthropological point of view, providing new and unbiased information from the
most direct source of evidence available: the remains of those who actually took