2013 Books

Bioprediction, Biomarkers and Bad Behavior

Singh, I., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. P. and Savulescu, J., Eds. (2013). 'Bioprediction, Biomarkers and Bad Behavior'. (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

  • The first interdisciplinary collection of perspectives on the fascinating and important topic of bioprediction and law
  • An early volume that will only become more essential as new scientific studies suggest further methods in bioprediction
  • Bioprediction opens questions about the justification for social and biological interventions into aberrant behaviors, both present and predicted

Many decisions in the legal system and elsewhere depend on predictions of bad behaviors, including crimes and mental illnesses. Some scientists have suggested recently that these predictions can become more accurate and useful if they are based in part on biological information, such as brain structure and function, genes, and hormones. The prospect of such bioprediction, however, raises serious concerns about errors and injustice. Can biological information significantly increase the accuracy of predictions of bad behavior? Will innocent or harmless people be mistakenly treated as if they were guilty or dangerous? Is it fair to keep people in prisons or mental institutions longer because of their biology? Will these new instruments of bioprediction be abused in practice within current institutions? Is bioprediction worth the cost? Do we want our government to use biology in this way? All of these scientific, legal, and ethical questions are discussed in this volume. The contributors are prominent neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, ethicists, and legal scholars. This volume will interest everyone with hopes that bioprediction will solve problems

Death or Disability?

Wilkinson, D., (2013), 'Death or Disability?  The 'Carmentis Machine' and decision-making for critically ill children'. (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Death or disability book cover

Oxford University Press

In ancient Rome parents would consult the priestess Carmentis shortly after birth to obtain prophecies of the future of their newborn infant. Today, parents and doctors of critically ill children consult a different oracle. Neuroimaging provides a vision of the child's future, particularly of the nature and severity of any disability. Based on the results of brain scans and other tests doctors and parents face heart-breaking decisions about whether or not to continue intensive treatment or to allow the child to die. 
Paediatrician and ethicist Dominic Wilkinson looks at the profound and contentious ethical issues facing those who work in intensive care caring for critically ill children and infants. When should infants or children be allowed to die? How accurate are predictions of future quality of life? How much say should parents have in these decisions? How should they deal with uncertainty about the future? He combines philosophy, medicine and science to shed light on current and future dilemmas.

  • Written by an expert in both paediatrics and ethics
  • Illuminates the medical and scientific aspects of ethical dilemmas
  • Draws on the latest in neuroscience
  • Moves the debate forwards, with practical suggestions

This book reflects a remarkable blend of philosophical sophistication and clinical expertise . . . Wilkinson's book will be mandatory reading for philosophers and clinical ethicists who are writing on, or working with, critically ill children and their parents. - J. Paul Kelleher, Mind

this is a wonderful book: wise, clever, humane, realistic and humble. It will be, and richly deserves to be, the cornerstone of academic and practitioner debate about this terrible, and terribly important area of ethics and medicine. - Charles Foster, European Journal of Health Law

His style, clear and simple for a work on a subject of considerable complexity, and yet profound in its way of dealing with issues more related to philosophy and ethics, make this book a read of great interest not only for professionals pediatric medicine, but also for affected families and for anyone who wants to know the problems of bioethics from a multidisciplinary perspective. - Revista Española de Discapacidad

the best book of the decade in bioethics . . . this is a book that must be read by everybody who is seriously interested in the bioethical issues that arise in neonatal intensive care or, more generally, in decision making for children with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening conditions. - John D. Lantos, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

this was an interesting read, comprehensive, analytical, and thought-provoking . . . Wilkinson does a good job of articulating and providing evidence to support his point of view. He successfully accomplishes what he sets out to do, while keeping the reader entertained with historical points, clinical examples, and philosophical theories and vignettes. - Marlyse F. Haward, The American Journal of Bioethics

The author skilfully draws on his training in philosophy, bioscience and clinical practice to offer an analysis that is original, not merely in content but also in form. Wilkinsons comparison of the Carmentis Machine with contemporary neuroimaging is inspired. - Deborah Bowman, Times Higher Education Supplement

Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict: A Scientific and Conceptual Investigation

Clarke, S., Powell, R. and Savulescu, J., (Eds.) (2013). 'Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict: A Scientific and Conceptual Investigation' (Oxford: OUP)

  • Fills a significant gap in the existing literature on religion, intolerance and conflict
  • Brings together contributions from world leading academics across many disciplines
  • Each contribution is tightly focused on the core set of questions the volume seeks to address
  • Has significant implications for public policy for the promoting of religious tolerance

The relationship between religion, intolerance and conflict has been the subject of intense discussion, particularly in the wake of the events of 9-11 and the ongoing threat of terrorism. This book contains original papers written by some of the world's leading scholars in anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and theology exploring the scientific and conceptual dimensions of religion and human conflict.

Authors investigate the following themes: the role of religion in promoting social cohesion and the conditions under which it will tend to do so; the role of religion in enabling and exacerbating conflict between different social groups and the conditions under which it will tend to do so; and the policy responses that we may be able to develop to ameliorate violent conflict and the limits to compromise between different religions. The book also contains two commentaries that distill, synthesize and critically evaluate key aspects of the individual chapters and central themes that run throughout the volume.

The volume will be of great interest to all readers interested in the phenomenon of religious conflict and to academics across a variety of disciplines, including religious studies, philosophy, psychology, theology, cognitive science, anthropology, politics, international relations, and evolutionary biology.

"The book is exemplary in that it successfully brings together a variety of diverse intellectual positions regarding a rather difficult and extremely relevant question, namely, whether religion is a force for the promotion of tolerance or intolerance." (John Friday, The Heythrop Journal)

"A superb book, full of high-quality contributions that provide both an introduction for newcomers and a state-of-the-art handbook for specialists in these important debates." (George Crowder, Politics and Religion)

Wittgenstein and His Interpreters

Kahane, G., Kanterian, E. and Kuusela, O., (Eds.) (2013) 'Wittgenstein and His Interpreters',  (Oxford: Blackwells Publishers) paperback edition. Originally published 2007

Book cover: Wittgenstein and His Interpreters


  • The first collection of its kind, this volume presents a range of perspectives on the different approaches to the philosophy of WittgensteinWritten by leading experts from America, Britain, and Europe
  • Provides a much needed overview of the complex landscape of Wittgenstein exegesis and Wittgensteinian approaches to philosophy
  • Assesses the current state, aims, and future of Wittgenstein scholarship
  • An essential guide for both students and scholars

Comprising specially commissioned essays from some of the most significant contributors to the field, this volume provides a uniquely authoritative and thorough survey of the main lines of Wittgenstein scholarship over the past 50 years, tracing the history and current trends as well as anticipating the future shape of work on Wittgenstein.

"If the main function of a book like this is to stimulate readers to thoughts of their own, then it succeeds admirably in its task."  (Scribd Feed, 1 December 2012)

"An excellent survey ... .The essays are important contributions to the scholarship of Wittgenstein interpretation." (Philosophical Investigations, July 2009)

"Wittgenstein and his Interpreters is an exceptionally stimulating collection and a fine tribute to Gordon Baker, whose work on Wittgenstein leads us to see new aspects and to appreciate new possibilities. The rich variety of approaches to Wittgenstein represented in this collection will enable readers to engage more deeply with Wittgenstein’s thought, even as they become aware of the wide range of alternative ways in which his thought can be understood." (Cora Diamond, University of Virginia)

"Gordon Baker was the most innovative and simply the most important reader of later Wittgenstein of his time. Thus he richly deserves a festschrift, and this volume is full of riches. It is encouraging to see a number of the papers engaging closely with Baker's own work. Particularly welcome is Katherine Morris's highly-Bakerian essay on Wittgenstein's method." (Rupert Read, University of East Anglia)