We examined participants' reading and recall of informed consent documents presented via paper or computer. Within each presentation medium, we presented the document as a continuous or paginated document to simulate common computer and paper presentation formats. Participants took slightly longer to read paginated and computer informed consent documents and recalled slightly more information from the paginated documents. We concluded that obtaining informed consent online is not substantially different than obtaining it via paper presentation. We also provide suggestions for improving (...) informed consent-in both face-to-face and online experiments. (shrink)
The public, mental health consumers, as well as mental health practitioners wonder about what kinds of values mental health professionals hold, and what kinds of values influence psychiatric diagnosis. Are mental disorders socio-political, practical, or scientific concepts? Is psychiatric diagnosis value-neutral? What role does the fundamental philosophical question "How should I live?" play in mental health care? In his carefully nuanced and exhaustively referenced monograph, psychiatrist and philosopher of psychiatry John Z. Sadler describes the manifold kinds of values and (...) value judgements involved in psychiatric diagnosis and classification systems like the DSM. Professor Sadler takes the reader on a fascinating conceptual tour of the inner workings of psychiatric diagnosis, considering the role of science, culture, sexuality, politics, gender, technology, human nature, patienthood, and professions in building his vision of a more humane psychiatric diagnostic process. (shrink)
"Want to become a professional philosopher but don't have the skills? Brook Sadler reveals twelve indispensible philosophical techniques that will take you to the top..." -/- The author humorously explains techniques not to use when engaging in philosophical writing and teaching. -/- This piece is sometimes cited online as "Tips for the top: How to be a philosopher"; the provenance of this folk subtitle is unknown.
A defence of the possibility of amoralism is important to discussions about the foundations of ethics and the justification of morality. I argue against Michael Smith's attempt to show, through a defence of internalism, that amoralism is incoherent. I argue first, that a de dicto reading of the externalist's explanation of changes in motivation which are pursuant upon changes in judgement is not objectionable or implausible as Smith contends; and second, that internalism cannot account for the effort of the will (...) required to make such changes in motivation. I also argue that the internalism/externalism debate can be diffused by considering the epistemic difficulties associated with identifying motivating states and by rejecting the notion that motivation can be understood in terms of psychlogical states. (shrink)
I offer ten arguments to demonstrate why student plagiarism is unethical. In sum, plagiarism may be theft; involve deception that treats professors as a mere means; violate the trust upon which the professor-student relationship depends; be unfair to other students in more than one way; diminish the student’s education; indulge vices such as indolence and cowardice; foreclose access to the internal goods of the discipline; diminish the value of a university degree; undercut creative self-expression and acceptance of epistemic limitations; and (...) undermine the vital interpersonal component of higher education. Plagiarism warrants severe penalties that effectively combat the student’s presumptive competitive strategy for individual success. (shrink)
Addressing controversy over same-sex marriage, I defend the privatization response: disestablish civil marriage, leaving the question of same-sex marriage to private organizations; detach civil rights from erotic affiliation; and grant legal equality through the mechanism of civil unions. However, the privatization response does not fully address one key conservative argument to the effect that (heterosexual) marriage constitutes a public good of such importance that civil society has a sustaining interest in it. I acknowledge the legitimate, even profound, values or goods (...) that marriage promotes, but contend that they are compatible withhomosexuality. Further, I argue that marriage is neither necessary nor sufficient for sustaining the goods that inhere in modern marriage. Thus, it is not clear that marriage is the best way for the state to promote these goods. Finally, I suggest that the core goods of marital commitment are moral and are not the proper subject of state regulation. (shrink)
The determinative issue in applying the insanity defense is whether the defendant experienced a legally relevant functional impairment at the time of the offense. Categorical exclusion of personality disorders from the definition of mental disease is clinically and morally arbitrary because it may lead to unfair conviction of a defendant with a personality disorder who actually experienced severe, legally relevant impairments at the time of the crime. There is no need to consider such a drastic approach in most states and (...) in the federal courts, where the sole test of insanity is whether the defendant was “unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the offense.” This is because the only symptoms that are legally relevant in such jurisdictions are those that impair reality-testing and thereby affect the person's capacity to understand the nature and consequences of her actions. However, if the test of insanity includes a “volitional prong” (inability to control one's behavior), some way must be found to limit the scope of the defense to the core cases (involving psychotic conditions) to which it has traditionally been applied, and to prevent a shift toward a deterministic account of criminal conduct — i.e., “people can't help being who they are and doing what they do.” The best way of accomplishing this is to limit the definition of mental disease to severe disorders characterized by gross disturbances of the person's capacity to understand reality. (shrink)
Passages in Aristotle’s Politics Book 3 are cited in discussions of the “rule of law”, most particularly sections in 1287a where the famous characterization of law as “mind without desire” occurs and in 1286a where Aristotle raises and explores the question whether it is better to be ruled by the best man or the best laws. My paper aims, by exegetically culling out Aristotle’s position in the Politics, Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric, to argue that his view on the rule of (...) law and its relations to human subjects is considerably more complex and considerably more interesting. Despite Aristotle’s dictum, laws are not expressions or institutions of a pure and passionless rationality, and in order to be framed, understood and administered well, one must both have the sort of solid understanding of virtues, vices, passions, and motives of human action that Aristotle’s moral philosophy provides and have developed, at least to some degree, certain virtues. My paper focuses particularly on three themes: the role of the passions and desires in judgment, action, virtues and vices; the inescapability of passions and desires in the functioning of law; the possibility for rule of law and a certain level of virtue to be mutually supporting. (shrink)
A recent literature review of commentaries and ‘state of the art’ articles from researchers in psychiatric genetics (PMG) offers a consensus about progress in the science of genetics, disappointments in the discovery of new and effective treatments, and a general optimism about the future of the field. I argue that optimism for the field of psychiatric molecular genetics (PMG) is overwrought, and consider progress in the field in reference to a sample estimate of US National Institute of Mental Health funding (...) for this paradigm for the years 2008 and 2009. I conclude that the amounts of financial investment in PMG is questionable from an ethical perspective, given other research and clinical needs in the USA. (shrink)
Tomasello et al. propose that shared intentionality is a uniquely human ability. In light of this, we discuss several cultural behaviors that seem to result from a motivation to share experiences with others, suggest evidence for coordination and collaboration among chimpanzees, and cite recent findings that counter the argument that the predominance of emulation in chimpanzees reflects a deficit in intention reading.
This essay introduces a thematic issue focused on the contributions to clinical ethics and the philosophy of medicine by Richard M. Zaner. We consider the apparent divorce of Zaners philosophical roots from his recent narrative immersions into the blooming, buzzing confusions of clinical-moral lifeworlds. Our considerations of the Zanerian context and origins of the clinical encounter introduce the fundamental questions faced by Zaner and his commentators in this issue, questions about the role of ethics consultants, moral authority, and clinical truths.
Aristotle figures significantly in the recent boom of literature on forgiveness, particularly accounts wishing to construe forgiveness as a virtue. While his definition of anger is often invoked, he is also a foil for accounts valuing forgiveness more than did Aristotle. I argue through interpretive exegesis of Aristotle’s texts that, while there are definite limits on forgiveness in his thought, so that his notion of forgiveness does not extend as far as in Christian ethics, it does play a significant role (...) in his ethics. Forgiveness is particularly connected with the emotion and dynamic of anger, and my paper examines Aristotle’s discussions of anger, hatred and righteous indignation, indicating how forgiveness fits into these. Finally, I express my suspicions of recent accounts attempting to construe forgiveness itself as a virtue, arguing it is traditionally and more adequately understood as governed by virtues, in particular mildness (praōtēs) as Aristotle articulates it. (shrink)
An important issue raised and resolved in St. Anselm’s Proslogion is the compatibility between justice and mercy as divine attributes. In this paper I argue (1) that Anselm’s discussion of divine justice and mercy is an exploration of God’s nature as quo maius cogitari non potest, and (2) that his discussion contributes to a better understanding of the complicated relationship between God and creatures—including the creatures attempting to know or argue about God. It seems at first that God’s mercy must (...) be in contradiction with God’s justice. On the basis of a more adequate way of framing the issue, however—one that requires reference to other parts of the Proslogion and is supported by the Monologion—we can grasp, though not fully comprehend, the harmony between divine justice and divine mercy. (shrink)
In Maurice Blondel’s work, the problem of immortality is dealt with in terms of one’s resolution of the problem of human destiny articulated in the form of a self-determinative option. Although this option can take many determinate forms, it is ultimately one between egoism and selfishness or mortification and charity. In the course of this paper, I outline this opposition and indicate in particular how it bears on intellectual life and culture. For Blondel, the theoretical and the practical could not (...) be neatly separated; thinking and expression are forms of action, and action requires structuring for its intelligibility and fruition. One commits oneself and forms the elements of one’s ultimate judgment, not only by what one does, but also by what one says or thinks, what doctrines and institutions one commits oneself to. (shrink)
Obtaining informed consent has typically become a stylized ritual of presenting and signing a form, in which physicians are acting defensively and patients lack control over the content and flow of information. This leaves patients at risk both for being under-informed relative to their decisional needs and of receiving more information than they need or desire. By personalizing the process of seeking and receiving information and allowing patients to specify their desire for information in a prospective manner, we aim to (...) shift genuine control over the informational process to patients. A new paradigm of Information on Demand, such as we suggest, would also enhance legal certainty, achieve greater congruence between the information patients want and the information they receive, and promote more meaningful patient-physician interactions, a desirable outcome that has been difficult to achieve by other means. (shrink)
Freedom, justice, and inclinations of the will have significant roles in St. Anselm’s moral theory, as does, I argue, virtues and vices, which can be understoodin relation to freedom and justice and as inclinations of the will. The first section of the paper discusses the relationship between freedom, justice, and the will inAnselm’s works. The second part explores Anselm’s distinctions between different aspects of the human will, as will-as-instrument, will-as-use, and will-as-inclination, then examines his further distinction of the latter into (...) the will-for-justice and will-for-benefit. The third part then argues that the will-as-inclination-for-justice takes determinate forms as virtues, which may be understood as ways of properly using and preserving human freedom. (shrink)
Bonnie Steinbock argues that Peter Singer has made an important contribution to remind us that animals deserve very special consideration, but that he fails to make a compelling case against "speciesism.".
Article responds to the criticism of speciesism that it is somehow less immoral than other -isms by showing that this is a mistake resting on an inadequate taxonomy of the various -isms. Criticizes argument by Bonnie Steinbock that preference to your own species is not immoral by comparison with racism of comparable level.
This collection contains twenty-one thought-provoking essays on the controversies surrounding the moral and legal distinctions between euthanasia and "letting die." Since public awareness of this issue has increased this second edition includes nine entirely new essays which bring the treatment of the subject up-to-date. The urgency of this issue can be gauged in recent developments such as the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands, "how-to" manuals topping the bestseller charts in the United States, and the many headlines devoted to (...) Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who has assisted dozens of patients to die. The essays address the range of questions involved in this issue pertaining especially to the fields of medical ethics, public policymaking, and social philosophy. The discussions consider the decisions facing medical and public policymakers, how those decisions will affect the elderly and terminally ill, and the medical and legal ramifications for patients in a permanently vegetative state, as well as issues of parent/infant rights. The book is divided into two sections. The first, "Euthanasia and the Termination of Life-Prolonging Treatment" includes an examination of the 1976 Karen Quinlan Supreme Court decision and selections from the 1990 Supreme Court decision in the case of Nancy Cruzan. Featured are articles by law professor George Fletcher and philosophers Michael Tooley, James Rachels, and Bonnie Steinbock, with new articles by Rachels, and Thomas Sullivan. The second section, "Philosophical Considerations," probes more deeply into the theoretical issues raised by the killing/letting die controversy, illustrating exceptionally well the dispute between two rival theories of ethics, consequentialism and deontology. It also includes a corpus of the standard thought on the debate by Jonathan Bennet, Daniel Dinello, Jeffrie Murphy, John Harris, Philipa Foot, Richard Trammell, and N. Ann Davis, and adds articles new to this edition by Bennett, Foot, Warren Quinn, Jeff McMahan, and Judith Lichtenberg. (shrink)
In these two important lectures, distinguished political philosopher Seyla Benhabib argues that since the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, we have entered a phase of global civil society which is governed by cosmopolitan norms of universal justice--norms which are difficult for some to accept as legitimate since they are sometimes in conflict with democratic ideals. In her first lecture, Benhabib argues that this tension can never be fully resolved, but it can be mitigated through the renegotiation of the (...) dual commitments to human rights and sovereign self-determination. Her second lecture develops this idea in detail, with special reference to recent developments in Europe (for example, the banning of Muslim head scarves in France). The EU has seen the replacement of the traditional unitary model of citizenship with a new model that disaggregates the components of traditional citizenship, making it possible to be a citizen of multiple entities at the same time. The volume also contains a substantive introduction by Robert Post, the volume editor, and contributions by Bonnie Honig (Northwestern University), Will Kymlicka (Queens University), and Jeremy Waldron (Columbia School of Law). (shrink)
This paper assesses the claim that an agonistic model of democracy could foster greater accommodation of citizens' social, cultural and ethical differences than mainstream liberal theories. I address arguments in favor of agonistic conceptions of politics by a diverse group of democratic theorists, ranging from republican theorists - Hannah Arendt and Benjamin Barber - to postmodern democrats concerned with questions of identity and difference, such as William Connolly and Bonnie Honig. Neither Arendt's democratic agonism nor Barber's republican-inflected account of (...) strong democracy purports to include citizens' group-based cultural identities, and so cannot further the claim that agonistic politics is more inclusive of cultural and social differences. Postmodern agonistic democrats such as Connolly and Honig rely upon Arendt's account of the relationship between agonism and pluralism, and wrongly assume that her view of politics is compatible with formal respect and recognition for citizens' cultural group identities. While agonistic democracy helpfully directs us to attend to the importance of moral and political disagreement, I argue that the stronger claim that an agonistic model of democracy could more readily include culturally diverse citizens is simply unfounded. By contrast, recent liberal variants of agonistic democracy that conceive of legal and political institutions as tools for recognizing and mediating citizens' moral and cultural differences may suggest ways to deepen our democratic practices in plural societies. Key Words: agonism agonistic democracy Hannah Arendt citizenship cultural minorities pluralism republican theory. (shrink)