To be clear, I did not ask science or scientists to make policy: I asked that bioethicists consider the social implications of the research they produced.

Now, in doing so, I appealed to Dewey's conception of the responsibility of science to society for very good reasons.
First, many bioethicists seem to think of themselves as informing the deployment of science via philosophy. That's fine. But as purported experts on the ethical questions at the intersection of biology and ethics, they share responsibility for how the work is used.
This point is worth considering as the work of the authors of that paper is routinely circulated within the professional fields that emerge from the sciences. Here, I'm talking specifically about medicine, and the ways their work informs medical dispositions toward disability.
But that's neither here nor there. The question remains as to what I mean by responsibility here. As I said, I'm relying on Dewey who states the following in his 1931 piece "Science and Society:"
Bioethics as done in the mode of Singer and company still falls victim to Dewey's critique of science in a number of ways. Specifically, the work is employed "absent-mindedly" as far as its effects on human beings, particularly disabled humans, is concerned.
That is, as Singer and company's work reveals, we have extraordinary control over the organization of our bodies, and how that organization plays out, and yet out engagement with it is haphazard insofar as it does not take seriously the social effects of that control.
By "social effects," I mean the ways that much of the "eugenics" literature in bioethics relies on the organization of disability as a problem to be solved through elimination, which is a thoughtless way of understanding the experience of disability broadly.
Because of this thoughtlessness, and the repeated citation of this thoughtlessness, this idea that disability is something to be solved through better and better technology has taken root in society. The "disability dongle," as an unneeded remedy to disability, is one example.
Now, I am not laying the disability dongle at the feet of Singer and company, or bioethics broadly; rather, I am pointing out how Singer and company's work, as circulated, maintains a narrative about disability as a problem to be solved. It is "absent-minded" in its projects.
That said, there are several scholars who have written whole books on this phenomena in philosophy and its social implications. For example, Os Keys and Rua Williams' work on phrenological AI and neurodiversity; Shelley Tremain's ongoing work on disability in philosophy.
But let's put that aside for the moment: Dewey's other statement, that the aims which have decided the social results of these technologies aren't inherent to science, is worth considering. This raises the question of the source of the "aims" of defending "eugenics," via Singer.
I would argue that the source of these aims lies in the broad history of the pathologization of disability, something that scholars like Aparna Nair, for example, have engaged thoroughly with. That is, the aim of Singer and company's research is continuous with this history.
Specifically, I would go so far as to say that singer and company legitimize this historical aim of medical research under the auspices of "living a good life" via technological intervention because it is impossible to imagine being disabled and having a "good life."
The moral habits of pathologizing disability have served as a cultural mythoi (cf Thomas Alexander in "The Human Eros") which organizes the directions of bioethical work like Singer's and his coauthors which is then circulated through professional fields and shapes dispositions.
This, in turn, is part of the reason why there are so many horror stories, including some of my own, about the ways medical professionals treat people with disabilities. Our "treatment" is a result of the habits maintained by a field that takes work like Singer's uncritically.
But lets get back to the initial point. Scientists and science-adjacent folks have a responsibility to consider how their work would "extend enormously the scope and power of interests and values which anteceded its rise," values like ableism and racism in medicine.
To this end, I would say that bioethicists have an even larger responsibility to consider the above given the way that their work directly influences how we understand the "pecuniary aims" which direct the use of these technologies. They are the ones who could change these aims.
Unfortunately, few among them are willing to do the work to change these aims. Thus, I agree with Dewey:
For Dewey, "intelligence" is the ability to see the actual in light of the possible. Understood in this way, few bioethicsists have displayed the capacity to view the actuality of the lives and experiences of disabled folks in light of the possibilities of their work.
By which I mean, few bioethicists have taken the time to consider what the application of their work would mean for the lives of disabled people EXCEPT in the mode of eliminating disability for the sake of a better life.

So to quote a famous philosopher:

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More from @shengokai

6 Jun
Since this has been living rent free in my head, the way that philosophy thinks about "thought experiments," the qualitative control or "style" required for thought experiments to be taken as such, has a lot to do with how they fail where fiction succeeds.
By "qualitative control," I mean the very specific stylistic demands of "thought experiments" in philosophy. Now, most philosophers would argue that there is no "style" nor a "stylistic demand" imposed upon philosophical thought experiments, I take that to be bullshit.
Were this not the case, we would recognize Mengzi's "child in the well," Dogen's "Mountains and Rivers as Sutras," or even the whole tradition of Koan practice across Buddhism as thought experiments. And yet, they are classed as something else, something other.
Read 9 tweets
5 Jun
I'm going to respond to this one because it is important. In "Feminist Killjoys and Other Willful Subjects" Sara Ahmed says the following:

"That you have described what was said by another as a problem means you have created a problem. You become the problem you create."
Put in an academic context, that I have described the "quest for truth" as practiced by the academy as a problem, means that I have created a problem. In creating the problem, in problematizing the quest for truth, I have become a problem. Hence, I am an example of the problem.
Let's run this back. I've become the problem because I've shattered the "happy image" of what the quest for truth entails, what the consequences of that quest have been, and how those consequences have caused suffering. The "happy image" of an unproblematic life of mind is gone.
Read 10 tweets
5 Jun
My thread on the Singer paper has apparently upset some folks with my characterization of its conclusions and how I associated it with a larger trend of using academic freedom to defend bigotry and marginalization.

I'd like to begin my response with the following:
Having said that, I'm actually going to respond seriously.

I will not be tagging some folks I'm referencing in this thread because they, and their work, do not deserve to be collateral damage in whatever twitter shitstorm emerges from the "partisan language" in this response.
That said, many of the responses are concerned about how the thread "shuts down inquiry" or uses the language of religion to essentially do what Singer and company predicted would be done in their section on "partisan language" and "polarization." This is not a problem for me.
Read 27 tweets
5 Jun
Actually, let me go a little further about this since I'm good and mad. I warned people that the logical consequence of these "academic freedom" fights would be the creation of a field where people can pass off bigotry as scholarship unchecked.
Now, "Can 'eugenics' be defended" doesn't function in the same way as the GC's circulation of bigotry as scholarship, but it is operating in the same rhetorical sphere where inquiry must be defended at all costs, regardless of the harm it does to the subjects of that inquiry.
And, make no mistake, this article isn't calling for a reasoned conversation about the nature of "genetic enhancement" or any of the other euphemisms used by the authors: it is looking to evade the responsibility of considering the impact of this scholarship on disabled people.
Read 8 tweets
5 Jun
I read that fucking Singer eugenics paper and rarely have I been more disgusted with the state of this cursed field.
Bold of them to make this claim when the majority of these folks, and the discipline at large, refuses to engage with work by disabled philosophers, much less philosophical work that puts these "problems" in a larger social and cultural context, a context this piece ignores.
I'm suddenly reminded of Audre Lorde, of Frederick Douglass, who pointed out the hypocrisy of asking us to engage in dialogue when no such olive branch has been extended. We need only look at the citations on this paper for confirmation of this point.
Read 7 tweets
4 Jun
Get to work figuring out the broader institutional structure. What does "head of Universal Pictures" mean, and what are the limits of my authority?

That would take about a month Then, I'd collect my first paycheck, and pay off some of my debt.
Oh, you meant what else I would do? Start an educational division focused on providing students with practical, hands on experience in each of Universal's subsidiary units.

I'd focus the division's outreach at public 4 year, regional, minority serving, and community colleges.
By "practical, hands on experience," I don't just mean the actor/director/writer's craft, I mean everything from information technology, to set forepersons, to catering and transportation services, all of it.
Read 4 tweets

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