Run Oscar, Run !

Ready to Go

Oscar Pistorius will be racing over this weekend in The Netherlands. At least some of the races, especially the 400 metres, will give him an opportunity to set a time that improves his chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics; his personal best time is 1 second slower than the qualifying time, and he’s apparently not in top-form right now. But still … he’s probably got as good a chance as the Penguins have of trumping the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup. The CBC has a nice short story on this right here.

Go, Oscar, go!

Update: news of his 200 metre run from Sports Illustrated, and now of his 100 and 400 metre runs here. Oscar needs to shave just more than 2 seconds off his 400 metre time in order to qualify for the South African team by qualification time, unless no other South African has a qualifying time.


Olympics-Guide’s disabled descriptions to be amended

more here
one has to see whether the new language will be better

What Sorts of Dignity?

The concept of Dignity has recently become a subject of considerable debate. This debate is partly being sparked by the publication of the monograph Human Dignity and Bioethics by the US President’s Council on Bioethics. The notion of dignity is being attacked as too vague and ambiguous to have any value, and some critics see the use of the concept of human dignity as ploy by conservative ethicists to thwart the advancement of medicine and science through new technologies. In fact, it has been used by both sides in such debates, but it remains vague and ambiguous. In my opinion, the problems with its squishy definition require attention, but I think there is something underneath the messy definition that needs to be explored, not abandoned. What do you think? Is dignity a concept that has no practical value and should be abandoned? If we dump the concept of dignity, what is lost? What does dignity mean to you? …. And what do you think it means to others?

Reality check: feedback call

Well, we’ve just passed both our first two weeks of full frontal attention to issues that caught our blogging attention around the question “What Sorts of People Should There Be?“, and also our 5000th hit on the blog. Let us know what you think of what you’ve seen, what you’d like to see more of, what else might be a good topic to blog on that we haven’t even come close to yet (but might). Rants? Pics / Vids? Themes?

Comment thread is open.

What Sorts of Nano research: A code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research


and here

of interest to us
4.1.16 N&N research organisations should not undertake research aiming for non-therapeutic enhancement of human beings leading to addiction or solely for the illicit enhancement of the performance of the human body.

THis suggests that every other enhancement research is allowed like ‘therapeutic’ (who decides what is therapeutic), and non therapeutic work that is not used for doping purposes or leads to addictions.. Additions are mostly drug related at first glance but may be one say that one can become addicted to ones enhancements like emotionally addicted.

In general the section seem to give the go ahead to most enhancement work

Some of the other wordings of the code might be usable for us but will see.Technorati Tags: , , ,

CFP: Feminist Philosophy and Medical Biotechnologies

Call for Papers
Special Issue of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Medical Biotechnologies, deadline 15 March 2009.

Edited by Marin Gillis and Inmaculada de Melo-Martín

Medical biotechnologies have been heralded as both the solution to most problems affecting human beings and their environments, and as a threat to all that matters to us. Feminist analysis of current medical biotechnologies has much to offer to this debate. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy invites submissions that use feminist philosophy to evaluate medical biotechnologies.

Articles exploring feminist philosophical analyses of medical biotechnologies and those evaluating how feminist values might shape the development and implementation of such technologies are welcome. Also of interest are essays reflecting on the gendered, race, and class dimensions of medical biotechnologies, those evaluating the impact of globalization on these biotechnologies and vice-versa, and articles offering new insights into the effects of medical biotechnologies on social and political arrangements.

Although feminist work in biomedicine is frequently assumed to be about women’s capacity to procreate, this issue seeks to highlight other dimensions of medical biotechnologies, including human genetic modification, cloning, xenotransplantation, chimeras, pharmacogenomics/genetics, and human genetic databases.

Papers should be no more than 8000 words, inclusive of notes and bibliography, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 100 words. Please provide a cover letter identifying your paper as a submission for the special issue “Medical Biotechnologies.” The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2009.

Papers should be submitted by electronic attachment in Word to Marin Gillis at Submissions should follow Hypatia guidelines (see Please address all correspondence, questions, and suggestions to Marin Gillis or Inmaculada de Melo-Martín at

Reductionism in Biology: SEP entry and discussion thread

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Reductionism in Biology, co-authored by Alan Love and myself, has been published online. Section 5 mentions pluralism and ideas from feminist and social epistomology bearing on reductionism. Some of you may have views on this (e.g., on issues that we did not mention in our brief discussion). We set up a discussion thread on this SEP entry, to gather comments that we will consider when revising the entry in the future. Feel free to comment on our entry there!