12,978 research outputs found

    Eugenics as wrongful

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    In a landmark legal case in 1996, eugenics survivor Leilani Muir successfully sued the province of Alberta for wrongful confinement and sterilization. The legal finding implied that Ms. Muir should never have been institutionalized at the Provincial Training School of Alberta as a “moron” and sterilized under the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta. The trial itself revealed many unsettling features of the province’s practice of eugenics, raising questions about how a seemingly large number of people, like Ms. Muir, who were not mentally defective, could have been wrongfully confined at an institution for the feeble-minded, and subsequently sterilized on eugenic grounds. Employing a three-agent model of wrongful accusation and conceiving of eugenics as wrongful more generally may help in understanding the operation of eugenic practices, such as institutionalization and sterilization, both in Western Canada and elsewhere. Eugenic practice involves a form of wrongful accusation that marks a significant departure from eugenic ideology

    Roles of science in eugenics

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    The relationship of eugenics to science is intricate and many-layered, starting with Sir Francis Galton’s original definition of eugenics as “the science of improving stock”. Eugenics was originally conceived of not only as a science by many of its proponents, but as a new, meliorative science emerging from findings of a range of nascent sciences, including anthropology and criminology in the late 19th-century, and genetics and psychiatry in the early 20th-century. Although during the years between the two World Wars many central claims made by eugenicists were critiqued by scientists in these disciplines, in more recent years forms of eugenics (e.g., liberal eugenics”) have been defended as an inevitable outcome of biotechnologies and respect for autonomous choice. Understanding the shifting and varied roles that science has played in eugenics requires an appreciation of the ways in which science and values are intertwined


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    This is an introductory article on sociobiology, particularly its relationship to eugenics

    Eugenics: positive vs negative

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    The distinction between positive and negative eugenics is perhaps the best-known distinction that has been made between forms that eugenics takes. Roughly, positive eugenics refers to efforts aimed at increasing desirable traits, while negative eugenics refers to efforts aimed at decreasing undesirable traits. Still, it is easy to fall into confusion in drawing and deploying the distinction in particular contexts. Clarity here is important not only historically, but also for appeals to the distinction in contemporary discussions of “new eugenics” or “newgenics”


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    This volume of twelve specially commissioned essays about species draws on the perspectives of prominent researchers from anthropology , botany, developmental psychology , the philosophy of biology and science, protozoology, and zoology . The concept of species has played a focal role in both evolutionary biology and the philosophy of biology , and the last decade has seen something of a publication boom on the topic (e.g., Otte and Endler 1989; Ereshefsky 1992b; Paterson 1994; lambert and Spence 1995; Claridge, Dawah, and Wilson 1997; Wheeler and Meier 1999; Howard and Berlocher 1998)

    The Drink You Have When You’re Not Having a Drink

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      The Architecture of the Mind is itself built on foundations that deserve probing. In this brief commentary I focus on these foundations—Carruthers’ conception of modularity, his arguments for thinking that the mind is massively modular in structure, and his view of human cognitive architectur

    Eugenic traits

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    Certain traits, such as intelligence and mental deficiency, have been the focus of eugenic research and propaganda. This focus on such eugenic traits builds on three commonsense ideas: (1) People differ with respect to some of their traits, such as eye-colour and height; (2) Many traits run in families, being passed on from parents to their children; (3) Some traits are desirable, while others are undesirable. These three ideas about traits—their variability, heritability, and desirability—fed the much more controversial eugenicist view that some traits make a person of “good stock”, while others reflect the fact that she comes from “inferior stock”. In combination with the power to influence human reproduction, the systematic study of eugenic traits has thus been thought to provide the basis for human improvement across generations. Three sources reveal which traits were considered important to eugenicists, the public, and decision makers: the research publications of eugenicists, discussions of eugenics in public and popular media, and legislation
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