This review essay examines H. TristramEngelhardt, Jr.'s The Foundations of Bioethics, a contemporary nonfeminist text in mainstream biomedical ethics. It focuses upon a central concept, Engelhardt's idea of the moral community and argues that the most serious problem in the book is its failure to take account of the political and social structures of moral communities, structures which deeply affect issues in biomedical ethics.
In two studies, we used the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) to investigate the relationship between individual differences in moral philosophy, involvement in the animal rights movement, and attitudes toward the treatment of animals. In the first, 600 animal rights activists attending a national demonstration and 266 nonactivist college students were given the EPQ. Analysis of the returns from 157 activists and 198 students indicated that the activists were more likely than the students to hold an "absolutist" moral orientation (high idealism, (...) low relativism). In the second study, 169 students were given the EPQ with a scale designed to measure attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Multiple regression showed that gender and the EPQ dimension of idealism were related to attitudes toward animal use. (shrink)
This essay examines an overlooked element of the precautionary principle: a prudent assessment of the long-range or remote catastrophes possibly associated with technological development must include the catastrophes that may take place because of the absence of such technologies. In short, this brief essay attempts to turn the precautionary principle on its head by arguing that, (1) if the long-term survival of any life form is precarious, and if the survival of the current human population is particularly precarious, especially given (...) contemporary urban population densities, and (2) if technological innovation and progress are necessary in order rapidly to adapt humans to meet environmental threats that would otherwise be catastrophic on a large scale (e.g., pandemics of highly lethal diseases), then (3) the development of biomedical technologies in many forms, but in particular including human germ-line genetic engineering, may be required by the precautionary principle, given the prospect of the obliteration of humans in the absence of such enhanced biotechnology. The precautionary principle thus properly understood requires an ethos that should generally support technological innovation, at least in particular areas of biotechnology. (shrink)
: Its promises to the contrary notwithstanding, bioethics is plural. There is a diversity of content-full moral understandings of the good and the right. Moreover, there is no secular means in principle to set this diversity aside without begging the question. This moral diversity exists both as a sociological condition and as a moral epistemological constraint. Without succumbing to a metaphysical scepticism or moral relativism, the bioethics of the future, if it is to be honest, should learn how to live (...) with robust moral diversity. (shrink)
In Sein und Zeit, Heidegger claims that (1) das Man is an 'existential' i.e. a necessary feature of Dasein's Being; and (2) Dasein need not always exist in the mode of the Man-self, but can also be eigentlich, which I translate as 'self-owningly'. These apparently contradictory statements have prompted a debate between Hubert Dreyfus, who recommends abandoning (2), and Frederick Olafson, who favors jettisoning (1). I offer an interpretation of the structure of Dasein's Being compatible with both (1) and (2), (...) thus resolving the Dreyfus-Olafson debate. Central to this resolution is the distinction between das Man and the Man-self. Das Man is one of three existential 'horizons', or fields of possibilities; the other two horizons are the world and death. At any time, Dasein encounters entities in one of two basic modes: either by 'expressly seizing' possibilities of the horizon, or by occluding these possibilities. These modes are 'existentiell', i.e. features of Dasein's Being that are possible, but not essential. Self-ownership and the Man-self are the two basic existentiell modes of being oneself, i.e. projecting everyday possibilities of oneself appropriated from the horizon of das Man. What differentiates these two modes is the stance one takes to the possibility of death, the existential horizon of being oneself. (shrink)
To understand better why evidence of student cheating is often ignored, a national sample of psychology instructors was sampled for their opinions. The 127 respondents overwhelmingly agreed that dealing with instances of academic dishonesty was among the most onerous aspects of their profession. Respondents cited insufficient evidence that cheating has occurred as the most frequent reason for overlooking student behavior or writing that might be dishonest. A factor analysis revealed 4 other clusters of reasons as to why cheating may be (...) ignored. Emotional reasons included stress and lack of courage. Difficult reasons included the extensive time and effort required to deal with cheating students. Fear reasons included concern about retaliation or a legal challenge. Denial reasons included beliefs that cheating students would fail anyway and that the worst offenders do not get caught. The reasons why instances of academic dishonesty should be proactively confronted are presented. (shrink)
The ways in which ethical issues arise in making clinical judgments are briefly discussed. By showing the topography of the role of value judgments in medical diagnostics it is suggested why clinical medicine remains inextricably a value-infected science.
Is there only one bioethics? Is a global bioethics possible? Or, instead, does one encounter a plurality of bioethical approaches shaped by local cultural and national traditions? Some thirty years ago a field of applied ethics emerged under the rubric `bioethics'. Little thought was given at the time to the possibility that this field bore the imprint of a particular American set of moral commitments. This volume explores the plurality of moral perspectives shaping bioethics. It is inspired by Kazumasa Hoshino's (...) critical reflections on the differences in moral perspectives separating Japanese and American bioethics. The essays include contributions from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Texas, the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. The volume offers a rich perspective of the range of approaches to bioethics. It brings into question whether there is unambiguously one ethics for bioethics to apply. (shrink)
The epistemological and sociological consequences of post-modernity include the inability to show moral strangers, in terms they can see as binding, the moral wrongness of activities such as abortion. Such activities can be perceived as morally disordered within a content-full moral narrative, but not outside of the context it brings. Though one can salvage something of the Enlightenment project of justifying a morality that can bind moral strangers, one is left with moral and metaphysical views that can be recognized as (...) impoverished and incomplete by those who live their lives within the embrace of a content-full moral narrative. The cardinal dualism of post-modemity is not that which separates mind from body, but the gulf between the morality binding moral strangers and that binding moral friends. Keywords: dualism, human embryo, personhood, post-modernity CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Instead of benefitting from open meetings and public discussions, the Clintons drafted their health care plan in private and asked that it be accepted in haste. They advance an ideology that claims we can receive the best care for all without any increase in cost or rationing, and then they use "ethicists" to justify this ideology through a supposedly common morality. However, there is no such common morality. In the context of American pluralism, one must look to the actual consent (...) of the governed and recognize the limits on state authority. The result will be a two tiered system of health care, with a basic tier focusing on cost-effective care for the poor that eliminates suffering rather than equalizing inputs, and a space for collateral private insurance. Keywords: Clinton health plan, egalitarianism of envy, egalitarianism of altrusim, limited democracy, moral pluralism CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Long-term care is controversial because it involves foundational disputes. Some are moral-economic, bearing on whether the individual, the family, or the state is primarily responsible for long-term care, as well as on how one can establish a morally and financially sustainable long-term-care policy, given the moral hazard of people over-using entitlements once established, the political hazard of media democracies promising unfundable entitlements, the demographic hazard of relatively fewer workers to support those in need of long-term care, the moral hazard to (...) responsibility of shifting accountability to third parties, and the bureaucratic hazard of moving from individual and family choice to bureaucratic oversight. These disputes are compounded by controversies regarding the nature of the family (Is it to be regarded primarily as a socio-biological category, a fundamental ontological category of social reality, or a construct resulting from the consent of the participants?), as well as its legal and moral autonomy and authority over its members. As the disputes show, there is no common understanding of respect and human dignity that will easily lead out of these disputes. The reflections on long-term care in this issue underscore the plurality of moralities defining bioethics. (shrink)
The challenge in maintaining patient autonomy regarding medical decision-making and confidentiality lies not only in control over information transferred to and regarding patients, but in the ambiguity of autonomy itself. post-modernity is characterized by the recognition of not just numerous accounts of autonomy, but by the inability in a principled fashion to select one as canonical. Autonomy is understood as a good, a right-making condition, and an element of human flourishing. In each case, it can have a different content, depending (...) in part on whether it is given a nomological or a volitional construal. Different accounts of autonomy can lead to strikingly different understandings of appropriate behavior, including the argument that one ought on behalf of autonomy to liberate individuals from the sense of autonomy they themselves affirm. In the face of competing accounts of moral probity, autonomy in a secular morality and bioethics must by default be understood in terms of the permission of patients, which makes space for numerous moral accounts and different communal construals of free choice, which in turn will legitimate different practices of informing patients and maintaining confidentiality. (shrink)
Orthodox Christian theology gives philosophy the same role it played in the Church of the first half-millennium. This article distinguishes among nine senses of philosophy and four senses of theology in order to highlight the characteristic features of Orthodox Christian theology’s use of philosophy and philosophical reasoning. It shows why, given the metaphysics and epistemology of Orthodox Christian theology (e.g., God is recognized as fully transcendent, such thatthere is no analogia entis between created and Uncreated Being, with the result that (...) the experience of the encounter with God can only be recounted apophatically) and its sociology of knowledge (e.g., theology in the strict sense occurs primarily in monasteries, not in the academy), philosophy is regarded as not able to contribute to the development of old doctrines or the fashioning of new doctrines, but only to the clarification of doctrinal statements. As a consequence, Orthodox Christian theology has been committed to severely confining philosophy’s role in theology. (shrink)
Advances in transplantation have extended the life and relieved the suffering of thousands of individuals. The prospect of being able to use tissues from embryos, as well as from anencephalic newborns, offers the promise of further relief of suffering. However, these possibilities raise significant moral and public policy issues. The question arises of the extent to which those who disapprove of abortion may make use of tissues derived from abortion in order to treat serious diseases. This essay argues that, with (...) proper safeguards, such tissue can be used without cooperating in abortion. That is, even those who oppose abortion can benefit from the use of tissue procured during abortion. Questions also arise regarding the probity of maintaining a pregnancy in order to produce an anencephalic newborn whose biological existence will be maintained so as better to secure organs once death is declared. It is argued that, since no harm can be done to a being that has neither a sense of self or the capacity to feel pain, and since women have a right to forego abortions, there is no legitimate ground for opposing women's seeking meaning in their pregnancy through maximizing the opportunity of others to use the organs of their anencephalic newborn once death has been declared. Finally, it is argued that, since the capacities for sentience, a minimal condition for personhood, are never realized by an anencephalic, the entity has never been alive as a person. Therefore, there should be no opposition in principle to aborting anencephalics nor, after proper declaration, to making their organs available as one would after whole-brain death, despite the continued functioning of the brain stem. Keywords: anencephalics, transplantation, fetal tissue, definition of death CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Codes are a well known and popular but weak form of ethical regulation in medical practice. There is, however, a lack of research on the relations between moral judgments and ethical Codes, or on the possibility of morally justifying these Codes. Our analysis begins by showing, given the Nuremberg Code, how a typical reference to natural law has historically served as moral justification. We then indicate, following the analyses of H. T. Engelhardt, Jr., and A. MacIntyre, why such general (...) moral justifications of codes must necessarily fail in a society of ââmoral strangersâ Going beyond Engelhardt we argue, that after the genealogical suspicion in morals raised by Nietzsche, not even Engelhardt's "principle of permission" can be rationally justified in a strong sense â a problem of transcendental argumentation in morals already realized by I. Kant. Therefore, we propose to abandon the project of providing general justifications for moral judgements and to replace it with a hermeneutical analysis of ethical meanings in real-world situations, starting with the archetypal ethical situation, the encounter with the Other (E. Levinas). (shrink)
The high technology and the costs involved in critical care disclose the implausibility of applying the American standard version of bioethics in the developing world. The American standard version of bioethics was framed during the rapid secularization of the American culture, the emergence of a new image for the medical profession, the development of high technology medicine, an ever greater demand in resources, and a shift of focus from families and communities to individuals. This all brought with it a particular (...) ideology of health care which promised Americans (1) the best of care, (2) equal care, and (3) physician/patient choice, without (4) runaway costs. This essay argues that this moral project is impossible in practice. This impossibility is especially salient in developing countries. In addition to the fact that it is financially impossible to provide all in the developing world with the standard of care accepted by law, policy, and convention in developed countries, different moral perspectives with different orderings of values will seem more or less plausible in different cultures. Indeed, such an approach would be harmful. A concrete bioethics applicable across the world does not appear possible. (shrink)
In his recent book The Foundation of Bioethics , H. Tristam Engelhardt Jr. advances the idea of a peaceable pluralist moral society based on principles of autonomy, beneficience, and ownership. This paper tries to show that unless there is one and only one rationally sustainable definition of "a person", then the peaceable society cannot remain peaceable, but will be stirred up by groups with different and equally rational definitions. The paper further tries to show that Engelhardt's own definition (...) of "a persons in the strict sense" is an unsatisfactory solution to the problem, and the same is true for any of the possible compromises. Keywords: medical ethics, persons, autonomy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) is, arguably, the most important American jurist of the 20th century, and his essay The Path of the Law, first published in 1898, is the seminal work in American legal theory. In it, Holmes detailed his radical break with legal formalism and created the foundation for the leading contemporary schools of American legal thought. He was the dominant source of inspiration for the school of legal realism, and his insistence on a practical approach to law (...) and legal analysis laid the basis for the realists' later concentration upon the pragmatic and empirical aspects of law and legal procedures. This volume brings together some of the most distinguished legal scholars from the United States and Canada to examine competing understandings of The Path of the Law and its implications for contemporary American jurisprudence. For the reader's convenience, the essay is republished in an Appendix. (shrink)
This paper is a critical analysis of Tristram Engelhardt''s attempts to avoid unrestricted nihilism and relativism. The focus of attention is his recent book, The Foundations of Bioethics (Oxford University Press, 1996). No substantive or content-full bioethics (e.g., that of Roman Catholicism or the Samurai) has an intersubjectively verifiable and universally binding foundation, Engelhardt thinks, for unaided secular reason cannot show that any particular substantive morality (or moral code) is correct. He thus seems to be committed to either (...) nihilism or relativism. The first is the view that there is not even one true or valid moral code, and the second is the view that there is a plurality of true or valid moral codes. However, Engelhardt rejects both nihilism and relativism, at least in unrestricted form. Strictly speaking, he himself is a universalist, someone who believes that there is a single true moral code. Two argumentative strategies are employed by him to fend off unconstrained nihilism and relativism. The first argues that although all attempts to establish a content-full morality on the basis of secular reason fail, secular reason can still establish a content-less, purely procedural morality. Although not content-full and incapable of providing positive direction in life, much less a meaning of life, such a morality does limit the range of relativism and nihilism. The second argues that there is a single true, content-full morality. Grace and revelation, however, are needed to make it available to us; secular reason alone is not up to the task. This second line of argument is not pursued in The Foundations at any length, but it does crop up at times, and if it is sound, nihilism and relativism can be much more thoroughly routed than the first line of argument has it.Engelhardt''s position and argumentative strategies are exposed at length and accorded a detailed critical examination. In the end, it is concluded that neither strategy will do, and that Engelhardt is probably committed to some form of relativism. (shrink)
This is a review of the book Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wŏnhyo's Exposition of the Vajrasamādhi-Sūtra , by Robert E. Buswell, Jr., published by the Univeristy of Hawaii Press (2008). This volume, the first to be published in the Collected Works of Wŏnhyo series, contains the translation of a single text by Wŏnhyo, the Kŭmgang Sammaegyŏng Non.
This essay focuses on one aspect of the social thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.: his social ethics. Specifically, it poses the question whether, in what sense, and from what time it is correct to consider King a democratic socialist. The essay argues that King was in fact a democratic socialist and, contrary to the implications of some recent interpreters who have focused on transformation and radicalization in King's thought, that King's democratic socialism was rooted in his formative experience (...) of the black religious tradition and was manifested from his student days at Crozer Theological Seminary forward. The change that may be discerned in King's later years was only a refinement, not a transformation, of his basic orientation. (shrink)
Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the personal idealism of Martin Luther King, Jr. Among the major contributors to the scholarship in this area is Rufus Burrow, Jr., who places King firmly in the tradition of personal idealism, or personalism, while also uncovering the intellectual unease that made King both a deep and creative thinker and a committed and effective social activist.1 Clearly, Burrow's own sense of his role as a personalist informs his approach to the life (...) and thought of King. Although philosophical personalism figures prominently in Burrow's treatment of King in his writings, ethical and social personalism provides the primary theoretical framework for both Burrow's exploration of .. (shrink)
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr. (1914-2006). Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create (...)Atlanta's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students (Emory v. Nash, 218 Ga. 317 (Ga. 1962)). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help" (SSRN abstract 1007006), providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most (e.g., Universities of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt). Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
: In Engelhardt's secular bioethics, moral obligations derive from contracts and agreements between rational persons, and no infants or children and few adolescents meet Engelhardt's requirements for being a rational person. This is a problem, as one cannot have any direct secular moral obligations toward nonpersons such as infants and adolescents. The Engelhardtian concepts of ownership, indenture, and social personhood, which are meant to allow the theory to accommodate children and adolescents adequately, fail to give an Engelhardtian any (...) actual means of determining the right action to take in difficult cases, even on his or her own terms. Thus, the theory is incapable of determining the morally correct action to take in cases involving children and therefore is unhelpful in dealing with moral questions involving children. (shrink)
The question of the relation of my work to that of Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be resolved with the theoretical tools Christopher Beem brings to the task. Stanley Fish has written that "those who detach King's words from the history that produced them erase the fact of that history from the slate, and they do so, paradoxically, in order to prevent that history from being truly and deeply altered." The vice of liberalism is not selfishness so much as (...) a forgetfulness that spreads like a blight from the habit of abstraction. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered his people, his savior, and his church, and he called the rest of us to share those memories. Therein lay his strength. (shrink)
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s cosmopolitanism -- Communal-political ethics I : vision and norms -- Communal-political ethics II : virtues and practice -- Martin Luther King, Jr., and glocality -- Constructive Kingian global ethics -- Kingian global ethics and world religions -- Kingian global ethics and neoliberal capitalism -- Kingian global ethics and the United States -- Conclusion: March toard the great world house.
Edited by Marthe Chandler and Ronnie Littlejohn, this work is a collection of expository and critical essays on the work of Henry Rosemont, Jr., a prominent and influential contemporary philosopher, activist, translator, and educator in the field of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. The essays in this collection take up three major themes in Rosemont's work: his work in Chinese linguistics, his contribution to the theory of human rights, and his interest in East Asian religion. Contributions include works by the leading (...) scholars in Chinese philosophy in the Western world and Rosemont's close associates: Roger T. Ames, Bao Zhiming, Mary Bockover, Marthe Chandler, Ewing Y. Chinn, Erin M. Cline, Fred Dallmayr, Jeffrey Dippmann, Herbert Fingarette, Harrison Huang, Eric Hutton, Philip J. Ivanhoe, David Jones, William La Fleur, Ronnie Littlejohn, Ni Peimin, Michael Nylan, Harold Roth, Sumner Twiss, Tu Weiming, David Wong, with responses from Henry Rosemont, Jr. and a brief Reminiscence by Noam Chomsky. (shrink)