School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    'The Wheel is Crooked': Hannah Arendt on action, success and public happiness
    Cain, A (HannahArendt.net, 2024-01-17)
    In “Action and the ‘Pursuit of Happiness,’” Hannah Arendt tells the story of “an inveterate gambler” who arrives late in a town and goes straight to the gambling place, where he discovers that the wheel he wishes to gamble on is crooked. He gambles anyway, because there is no other wheel in town. The story, she suggests, “tells us that there exists such intense happiness in acting that the actor, like the gambler, will accept that all the odds are stacked against him.” In this article I use this story as a motif to investigate references to success in Arendt’s work. I argue that Arendt sought to preclude action and happiness from utilitarian notions of success, and that she ultimately presents the human impulse toward action as tragic. I also discuss the role of the historian or poet in this tragedy, concluding that what remains unclear in Arendt’s work is how the public happiness of the actor and the pleasure of the historian and poet are related.
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    The Objectivity of Science
    Sankey, H (University of Tabriz, 2023-12-01)
    The idea that science is objective, or able to achieve objectivity, is in large part responsible for the role that science plays within society. But what is objectivity? The idea of objectivity is ambiguous. This paper distinguishes between three basic forms of objectivity. The first form of objectivity is ontological objectivity: the world as it is in itself does not depend upon what we think about it; it is independent of human thought, language, conceptual activity or experience. The second form of objectivity is the objectivity of truth: truth does not depend upon what we believe or justifiably believe; truth depends upon the way reality itself is. The third form of objectivity is epistemic objectivity: this form of objectivity resides in the scientific method which ensures that subjective factors are excluded, and only epistemically relevant factors play a role in scientific inquiry. The paper considers two problems that arise for the notion of epistemic objectivity: the theory-dependence of observation and the variability of the methods of science. It is argued that the use of shared standard procedures ensures the objectivity of observation despite theory-dependence. It is argued that the variability of methods need not lead to an epistemic relativism about science. The paper concludes with the realist suggestion that the best explanation of the success of the sciences is that the methods employed in the sciences are highly reliable truth-conducive tools of inquiry. The objectivity of the methods of the sciences leads to the objective truth about the objective world.
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    Merleau-Ponty, Taylor, and the expressiveness of language
    Inkpin, A (WILEY, 2023-01-01)
    Abstract This article explores how the thought that language is expressive, in the sense of bearing emotional or affective meaning, can be made sense of, with particular attention to two authors for whom this thought plays an important role. It begins by introducing the idea of language being “expressive” and using Charles Taylor's work to consider its potential interest, before showing how the expressiveness of language might be accounted for by a position that seems particularly suited to this task, namely Merleau‐Ponty's view of embodied expression in Phenomenology of Perception. I then set out a significant challenge to that position based on Wittgenstein's “private language argument,” which implies there is no necessary connection between language use and a subject's internal (affective) states, thus contesting Merleau‐Ponty's explanatory emphasis on the body. I therefore propose a revised “complex” view of language's expressiveness that meets this Wittgensteinian challenge by reconceiving the body's role. Finally, I draw out some implications of this revised view, arguing that while language itself cannot be considered expressive, it remains significant that we can experience language as expressive. I also suggest that, although apparently threatened, Taylor's position can not only accommodate, but be better understood with, this revised view.
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    Evaluation of Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully (CALM) in people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with immunotherapies or targeted therapies: protocol for a single-arm, mixed-methods pilot study
    Lynch, FA ; Rodin, G ; Jefford, M ; Duffy, M ; Lai-Kwon, J ; Heynemann, S ; Mileshkin, L ; Briggs, L ; Burke, J ; Leigh, L ; Spelman, T ; Ftanou, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2023-07)
    INTRODUCTION: People with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with immunotherapies (IT) or targeted therapies (TT) may have improved outcomes in a subset of people who respond, raising unique psychological concerns requiring specific attention. These include the need for people with prolonged survival to reframe their life plans and tolerate uncertainty related to treatment duration and prognosis. A brief intervention for people with advanced cancer, Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully (CALM), could help people treated with IT or TT address these concerns. However, CALM has not been specifically evaluated in this population. This study aims to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of CALM in people with advanced NSCLC treated with IT or TT and obtain preliminary evidence regarding its effectiveness in this population. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Twenty people with advanced NSCLC treated with IT or TT will be recruited from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia. Participants will complete three to six sessions of CALM delivered over 3-6 months. A prospective, single-arm, mixed-methods pilot study will be conducted. Participants will complete outcome measures at baseline, post-intervention, 3 months and 6 months, including Patient Health Questionnaire, Death and Dying Distress Scale, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy General and Clinician Evaluation Questionnaire. The acceptability of CALM will be assessed using patient experiences surveys and qualitative interviews. Feasibility will be assessed by analysis of recruitment rates, treatment adherence and intervention delivery time. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been granted by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/82047/PMCC). Participants with cancer will complete a signed consent form prior to participation, and carers and therapists will complete verbal consent. Results will be made available to funders, broader clinicians and researchers through conference presentations and publications. If CALM is found to be acceptable in this cohort, this will inform a potential phase 3 trial.
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    Reimagining memorial spaces through digital technologies: A typology of CemTech
    Allison, F ; Nansen, B ; Gibbs, M ; Arnold, M ; Holleran, S ; Kohn, T (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2023-11-01)
    Digital technologies are creating new ways for visitors to engage with cemeteries. This article presents research into the development of digital cemetery technologies, or cemtech, to understand how they are reimagining memorial spaces. Through a systematic review of examples of cemtech in online records, academic literature, patents, and trade publications, we developed a typology of cemtech according to four characteristics: application type, technical components, target users, and development status. Analysis of the application types resulted in five higher-level themes of functionality or operation-Wayfinding, Narrativizing, Presencing, Emplacing, and Repurposing-which we discuss. This typology and thematic analysis help to identify and understand the development of cemetery technology design trajectories and how they reimagine possibilities for cemetery use and experience.
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    Environmental Activism and the Fairness of Costs Argument for Uncivil Disobedience
    Lai, T-H ; Lim, C-M (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2023-09)
    Abstract Social movements often impose nontrivial costs on others against their wills. Civil disobedience is no exception. How can social movements in general, and civil disobedience in particular, be justifiable despite this apparent wrong-making feature? We examine an intuitively plausible account—it is fair that everyone should bear the burdens of tackling injustice. We extend this fairness-based argument for civil disobedience to defend some acts of uncivil disobedience. Focusing on uncivil environmental activism—such as ecotage (sabotage with the aim of protecting the environment)—we argue that some acts of uncivil disobedience can be morally superior to their civil counterparts, when and because such acts target people who are responsible for environmental threats. Indeed, insofar as some acts of uncivil disobedience can more accurately target responsible people, they can better satisfy the demands of fairness compared to their civil counterparts. In some circumstances, our argument may require activists to engage in uncivil disobedienceeven whencivil disobedience is available.
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    Conservators, Creativity, and Control
    Kemp, J (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2023-01-01)
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    Out of the madhouse: From asylums to caring community?
    Buchanan, RD (WILEY, 2021-07)
    The asylum era has occupied historians of madness for decades, but the story of deinstitutionalization has received comparatively less attention. While this complex process varied from country to country, there were common elements in the way it unfolded across the western world. Historians like to point out that deinstitutionalization was a long time coming, that the demise of the big public madhouses was grounded in their extraordinary expansion in the latter part of the 19th century. Even then, they had come in for scathing criticism suggesting they were inhumane and counterproductive. Public mental hospitals in the United States and some European countries began to empty soon after the Second World War, even before the new drugs arrived in the 1950s, partly driven by labor shortages that encouraged occupational rehabilitation. By then, psychiatrists and allied professionals had embraced the idea of a mental health continuum and shorter-term treatment in community-based services. The economic strains of the 1970s and 80s pushed the process along irreversibly, ensuring that longstanding critiques directly shaped social policy or served as convenient rationales.