Recently on Fiverr, I was asked to write a letter, which being a (militant) advocate for written-correspondence I was glad to comply. The only problem, though, was that I was asked to talk about "Hope." Where does one even begin? Deciding not to focus on my own experiences, I wanted to investigate what Hope actually is -- and I wanted be more practical and philosophical than merely (and often unfulfillingly) poetic. You'll find here no allusions to spring or sunrise. For such a nebulous but necessary emotion, I think it requires more seriousness than that.
Here’s my second article for Columbia’s “Voices in Bioethics.” In it I review a paper by Dr. Annabelle Littoz-Monnet and discuss the problems inherent at the intersection of bioethical “expertise” and government. In short, there’s no such thing as the neutral state.
by Joshua Preston •
In a new paper published by Dr. Annabelle Littoz-Monnet, an associate professor of political science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, she asks whether government bioethics experts bolster or inhibit democratic control of policy. To answer this, she cites the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies’ (EGE) role in the European Union’s early-2000s debate on whether to fund human embryotic stem cell research. Drawing upon news articles, reports, and personal interviews, Dr. Littoz-Monnet observes that when the debate reached a stalemate, the European Commission (the EU’s executive body) sought out the EGE’s recommendations. What followed was the use of the EGE as a means for “control[ling] the policy process despite the presence of a salient and publicly debated conflict (17, italics in original).
Although the case study is itself interesting, the value of Dr. Littoz-Monnet’s paper lies…
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Yesterday I came across a poem and, reading it, obsessed over its simplicity, its horror, its capacity to make the past breathe (or, more appropriately, choke). Although there are many reasons why one may write poetry, one of the highest, I believe, is to aspire for timelessness. "Dulce et Decorum est" by the WWI-era British soldier Wilfred Owen does that.Wilfred Owen A few weeks ago I wrote about the centennial of the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and how it triggered the events that led to World War One. So, it's in this same spirit I'm posting the work of Owen who, unfortunately, never lived to see much of his poetry published. Sadly, on November 4, 1918, he was killed in the battlefield one week before the Armistice was signed. It's easy to distance oneself from the past, to see epochs not our own in faded colors, the actors as automatons playing their parts to achieve the present. In some ways, I think this habit is a self-defense mechanism, but I'll save that for another article (Does this mean the future will forget my own humanity? But everything I do is so important!). But it's through pieces like this that the snake-trenches across Europe become real. It's scenes like those in the last stanza that the horrors of war become vivid.
A friend of mine recently posted an article from The Atlantic ("Study Theology, Even If You Don't Believe in God") and I just wanted to address something that I found a little irritating. In brief, the author, Tara Isabella Burton, argues that we should mourn the decline of theology programs in both the US and UK … Continue reading Study Methodology, Even If You Believe in God
Anything We Want to Know We Can Know With so much information available at our fingertips, there is no excuse for ignorance. In this century, from the privileged vantage point of watching the world through a screen, there is no reason why we should not have a well-informed opinion on anything that tickles our curiosity. Whether it's Wikipedia, … Continue reading Let’s Study Neuroethics Together!
Introduction: The Cold of Winter Is Just A Dream On November 8, 2013, I'll turn twenty-three years old. To many of my "experienced and enlightened" readers this may not seem like much of a milestone, but to me, though, it feels like an awakening. Here's how I see it: while the exact age is arbitrary, … Continue reading Four Men in May (Part 1): Memory, Oscar Wilde, and Aldous Huxley
"Literature is dying," says the parents to their children, as their parents at once said to them. As though it were an heirloom to be passed on - words of both wisdom and condemnation. It is what it is, but it's your fault. Yeah, yeah, but what's new? Shaj Mathew has written a short little … Continue reading “Literature is dying,” says the parents to their children