Employing the National Institute of Mental Health-funded Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly Collaborative Trial as a case study, we discuss 2 sets of ethical issues: obtaining informed consent for a clinic-based intervention study and using treatment as usual (TAU) as the control condition. We then address these ethical issues in the context of the debate about the quality improvement efforts of health care organizations. Our analysis reveals the tension between ethics and scientific integrity involved with using TAU as (...) a control condition and the difficulty in designing high-quality research in a community-based setting. (shrink)
Our primary focus is on analysis of the concept of voluntariness, with a secondary focus on the implications of our analysis for the concept and the requirements of voluntary informed consent. We propose that two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions must be satisfied for an action to be voluntary: intentionality, and substantial freedom from controlling influences. We reject authenticity as a necessary condition of voluntary action, and we note that constraining situations may or may not undermine voluntariness, depending on the (...) circumstances and the psychological capacities of agents. We compare and evaluate several accounts of voluntariness and argue that our view, unlike other treatments in bioethics, is not a value-laden theory. We also discuss the empirical assessment of individuals? perceptions of the degrees of noncontrol and self-control. We propose use of a particular Decision Making Control Instrument. Empirical research using this instrument can provide data that will help establish appropriate policies and procedures for obtaining voluntary consent to research. (shrink)
Beginning from a basis in the theoretical analysis of comparative religious ethics provided by David Little and Sumner Twiss, this essay extends that analysis by sketching certain "benchmark" theoretical options in comparative religious ethics and by identifying certain fundamental questions which ethicists ought to address to the data supplied by descriptive studies of comparative religions. To illustrate the application of the theoretical model thus defined, the essay concludes with an analysis of selected themes in the essays by Campany, Guberman, and (...) Read in this Focus. (shrink)
A new account of the semantic function (character) of ‘real’ and ‘really’ is defended. ‘Really’ as a sentential operator typically indicates that a report of what has been represented elsewhere ends and subsequent discourse is to be taken as making claims about the world. ‘Real’ and ‘really’ as applied to nouns or predicate phrases indicate that something is not being called an F merely because it represents an F. A way of drawing the distinction between realism and anti-realism based on (...) this new account is also defended. (shrink)
Peirce's Scientific Metaphysics is the first book devoted to understanding Charles Sanders Peirce's (1839-1914) metaphysics from the perspective of the scientific questions that motivated his thinking. While offering a detailed account of the scientific ideas and theories essential for understanding Peirce's metaphysical system, this book is written in a manner accessible to the non-specialist.
We present a Hilbert style axiomatisation for the set of formulas in the temporal language with F and P which are valid over non-transitive cyclical flows of time. We also give a simpler axiomatisation using the slightly controversial 'irreflexivity rule' and go on to prove the decidability of any temporal logic over cyclical time provided it uses only connectives with first-order tables.
In contrast to many of his contemporaries, A. J. Ayer was an analytic philosopher who had sustained throughout his career some interest in developments in the work of his ‘continental’ peers. Ayer, who spoke French, held friendships with some important Parisian intellectuals, such as Camus, Bataille, Wahl and Merleau-Ponty. This paper examines the circumstances of a meeting between Ayer, Merleau-Ponty, Wahl, Ambrosino and Bataille, which took place in 1951 at some Parisian bar. The question under discussion during this meeting was (...) whether the sun existed before humans did, over which the various philosophers disagreed. This disagreement is tangled with a variety of issues, such as Ayer’s critique of Heidegger and Sartre (inherited from Carnap), Ayer’s response to Merleau-Ponty’s critique of empiricism, and Bataille’s response to Sartre’s critique of his notion of ‘unknowing’, which uncannily resembles Ayer’s critique of Sartre. 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