Ranging chronologically from the twelfth to the fifteenth century and thematically from Latin to vernacular literary modes, this book challenges standard assumptions about the musical cultures and philosophies of the European Middle Ages. Engaging a wide range of premodern texts and contexts, from the musicality of sodomy in twelfth-century polyphony to Chaucer's representation of pedagogical violence in the Prioress's Tale, from early Christian writings on the music of the body to the plainchant and poetry of Hildegard of Bingen, the (...) author argues that medieval music was quintessentially a practice of the flesh. The book reveals a medieval world in which erotic desire, sexual practice, torture, flagellation, and even death itself resonated with musical significance and meaning. In its insistence on music as an integral part of the material cultures of the Middle Ages, the book presents a revisionist account of an important aspect of premodern European civilization. (shrink)
Most legal analyses of selective nontreatment of seriously ill children centre on the question of whether it is in a child’s best interests to be kept alive in the face of extreme suffering and/or an intolerable quality of life. Courts have resisted any direct confrontation with the question of whether the child’s death is in his or her best interests. Nevertheless, representations of death may have an important role to play in this field of jurisprudence. The prevailing philosophy (...) is to configure death as a release from a futile or painful existence and/or as a dignified end in an objectively hopeless situation. However, there can be disagreement about the meaning of death in these settings. Some parents object that death would be premature or that it represents a culpable neglect of their child. A closer examination of these discordant interpretations allows for a better comprehension of the cultural understandings that underscore clinical and legal accounts of death following end-of-life decisions. (shrink)
The main theme of the article is the tension between the obligation to preserve life, and the value of timely death. This tension is resolved by distinguishing between precipitating death, which is prohibited, and merely removing an impediment to it, which is permitted. In contemporary Jewish law, a distinction is made between therapy, which may be discontinued, and life-support, which must be maintained until the establishment of death. Another theme is that of “soft” patient autonomy, and its (...) role in dealing with the dying in both traditional Jewish law and Israel’s Terminal Patient Law, 2005. Preventing suffering in relation to a dying person, and praying for his or her death are also discussed in the article. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest that near-death experiences (NDEs) provide a rational basis for belief in life after death. My argument is a simple one and is modeled on the argument from religious experience for the existence of God. But unlike the proponents of the argument from religious experience, I stop short of claiming that NDEs prove the existence of life after death. Like the argument from religious experience, however, my argument turns on whether or not there (...) is good reason to believe that NDEs are authentic or veridical. I argue that there is good reason to believe that NDEs are veridical and that therefore it is reasonable to believe in the existence of what they seem to be experiences of, namely, a continued state of consciousness after the death of the body. I will then offer some comments on the philosophical import of NDEs, as well as reflections on the current state of contemporary philosophy in light of the neglect of this phenomenon. (shrink)
Artists inspired by music and musicians -- Composers inspired by art and artists -- Twin talents : artist-musicians and musician-artists -- Musicians pose for the artists : a history of portrait iconography.
This study focuses on the ancient commentaries on Plato’s Phaedo by Olympiodorus and Damascius and aims to present the relevance of their challenging and valuable readings of the dialogue to Neoplatonic ethics.
A tale of forbidden love and inevitable death, the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde recounts the story of two lovers unknowingly drinking a magic potion and ultimately dying in one another's arms. Critics have lauded Wagner's Tristan und Isolde for the originality and subtlety of the music, but have often viewed the drama as a "mere trifle," about Wagner's own forbidden affair with Matilde Wesendonk, the wife of a banker who supported him during his exile in Switzerland. (...) In Death-Devoted Heart Scruton aims to vindicate the stature of the drama, presenting it as more than just a sublimation of the composer's love for Wesendonck or a wistful romantic dream. Scruton argues that Tristan und Isolde has profound religious meaning, as relevant today as it was to Wagner's contemporaries. Both philosophical and musicological, Scruton's analysis touches on the nature of tragedy, the significance of ritual sacrifice, and the meaning of redemption. Scruton provides a guide to the drama while offering insight into the nature of erotic love and the peculiar place of the erotic in our culture. (shrink)
This is an excerpt from a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from the workshop on perceptual learning and perceptual recognition at the University of Toronto, Mississauga on May 10th and 11th, 2012. This excerpt explores the question: How do we recognize distinct types of emotion in music?
In a world of rapid technological advances, the moral issues raised by life and death choices in healthcare remain obscure. Life and Death in Healthcare Ethics provides a concise, thoughtful and extremely accessible guide to these moral issues. Helen Watt examines, using real-life cases, the range of choices taken by healthcare professionals, patients and clients which lead to the shortening of life. The topics looked at include: euthanasia and withdrawal of treatment; the persistent vegetative state; abortion; IVF and (...) cloning; and life-saving treatment of pregnant women. (shrink)
I read Sara Kofman's work on Nietzsche, Charles Mills' _The Racial Contract_, and Kodwo Eshun's Afrofuturist musicology to argue that most condemnations of "faking it" in music rest on a racially and sexually problematic fetishization of "the real.".
North American music education is a commodity sold to pre-service and in-service music teachers. Like all mass-produced consumables, it is valuable to the extent that it is not creative, that is, to the extent that it is reproducible. This is demonstrated in curricular materials, notably general music series textbook and music scores available from a rapidly shrinking cadre of publishers, as well as rigid and pre-determined pedagogical practices. Distributing resources and techniques that produce predicable, consistent, and (...) repeatable goods and services, the economy of music teacher preparation and development must necessarily exclude creativity, which consequently must be viewed as not only inefficient but unprofitable. More than undesirable, however, creativity is constructed as dangerous as it injects difference in a system that relies on sameness. Because of its implications for music education discourse and practices, I focus my discussion on research in general and feminist critique in particular in music education. Reading through Monique Wittig's ‘The Trojan Horse’ as literary war machine, I argue that creative writing and academic research are not mutually exclusive, and that it is only through infusing the literary or creative in scholarly writing that interlocking systems of oppression may be altered and difference implicated in music education. My analysis of Roberta Lamb's (1995) research piece, ‘Tone Deaf/Symphonies Singing: Sketches for a Musicale’ depicts it as Trojan Horse, albeit one that Lamb herself, most likely as a function of editorial imperative, hobbles. (shrink)
The question of emotion in music is addressed from a linguistic perspective, providing a typology of statements that can be made about that topic. In particular, it is analyzed how an interlocutor could react to such statements uttered by another person, and whether or how the content of the statements could be refuted by the listener, and possibly corroborated by the speaker. Furthermore, it is briefly discussed which theories of emotion in music are compatible with the respective types (...) of statement and what illocutionary and perlocutionary function they may serve. (shrink)
Postmodernism is a term that has been used extensively to describe general trends and specific works in many different cultural contexts, including literature, cinema, architecture and the visual arts. This introduction clarifies the term and explores its relevance for music through discussion of specific musical examples from the 1950s to the present day, providing an engagement between theory and practice. Overall, this book equips students with a thorough understanding of this complex but important topic in music studies. It: (...) • outlines and addresses the problems of defining what we mean by postmodernism • explores when postmodernism begins • engages with a broad range of literature and reference sources, inviting wider reading and thinking • uses specific musical examples to present ways of interpreting music that can be defined as postmodernist. (shrink)
The utilitarian construct of two alternative criteria of human death increases the supply of transplantable organs at the end of life. Neither the neurological criterion (heart-beating donation) nor the circulatory criterion (non-heart-beating donation) is grounded in scientific evidence but based on philosophical reasoning. A utilitarian death definition can have unintended consequences for dying Muslim patients: (1) the expedited process of determining death for retrieval of transplantable organs can lead to diagnostic errors, (2) the equivalence of brain (...) class='Hi'>death with human death may be incorrect, and (3) end-of-life religious values and traditional rituals may be sacrificed. Therefore, it is imperative to reevaluate the two different types and criteria of death introduced by the Resolution (Fatwa) of the Council of Islamic Jurisprudence on Resuscitation Apparatus in 1986. Although we recognize that this Fatwa was based on best scientific evidence available at that time, more recent evidence shows that it rests on outdated knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of human death. We recommend redefining death in Islam to reaffirm the singularity of this biological phenomenon as revealed in the Quran 14 centuries ago. (shrink)
Recent encounters with structuralist and poststructuralist critical theory, linguistics, and cognitive sciences have brought the theory and analysis of music into the orbit of important developments in present-day intellectual history. Without seeking to impose an explicit redefinition of either theory or analysis, this book explores the limits of both. Essays on decidability, ambiguity, metaphor, music as text, and music analysis as cognitive theory are complemented by studies of works by Debussy, Schoenberg, Birtwistle and Boulez.
Since the 1980s, Islamic scholars and medical experts have used the tools of Islamic law to formulate ethico-legal opinions on brain death. These assessments have varied in their determinations and remain controversial. Some juridical councils such as the Organization of Islamic Conferences' Islamic Fiqh Academy (OIC-IFA) equate brain death with cardiopulmonary death, while others such as the Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences (IOMS) analogize brain death to an intermediate state between life and death. Still other (...) councils have repudiated the notion entirely. Similarly, the ethico-legal assessments are not uniform in their acceptance of brain-stem or whole-brain criteria for death, and consequently their conceptualizations of, brain death. Within the medical literature, and in the statements of Muslim medical professional societies, brain death has been viewed as sanctioned by Islamic law with experts citing the aforementioned rulings. Furthermore, health policies around organ transplantation and end-of-life care within the Muslim world have been crafted with consideration of these representative religious determinations made by transnational, legally-inclusive, and multidisciplinary councils. The determinations of these councils also have bearing upon Muslim clinicians and patients who encounter the challenges of brain death at the bedside. For those searching for ‘Islamically-sanctioned’ responses that can inform their practice, both the OIC-IFA and IOMS verdicts have palpable gaps in their assessments and remain clinically ambiguous. In this paper we analyze these verdicts from the perspective of applied Islamic bioethics and raise several questions that, if answered by future juridical councils, will better meet the needs of clinicians and bioethicists. (shrink)
This article announces the discovery of a Sinhalese version of the traditional meditation ( borān yogāvacara kammaṭṭhāna ) text in which the Consciousness or Mind, personified as a Princess living in a five-branched tree (the body), must understand the nature of death and seek the four gems that are the four noble truths. To do this she must overcome the cravings of the five senses, represented as five birds in the tree. Only in this way will she permanently avoid (...) the attentions of Death, Māra, and his three female servants, Birth, Sickness and Old Age. In this version of the text, when the Princess manages not to succumb to these three, Māra comes and snatches her from her tree and rapes her. The Buddha then appears to her to explain the path to liberation. The text provides a commentary, padārtha , which explains the details of the symbolism of the fruit in terms of rebirth and being born, the tree in terms of the body, etc. The text also offers interpretations of signs of impending death and prognostications regarding the next rebirth. Previously the existence of Khmer and Lānnā versions of this text have been recorded by Francois Bizot and Francois Lagirarde, the former publishing the text as Le Figuier a cinq branches (Le figuier à cinq branches, 1976). The Sinhalese version was redacted for one of the wives of King Kīrti Śrī Rājasiṅha of Kandy by the monk Varañāṇa Mahāthera of Ayutthayā. This confirms earlier speculation that this form of borān/dhammakāya meditation was brought to Sri Lanka with the introduction of the Siyam Nikāya in the mid-eighteenth century. It also shows that in Sri Lanka, as in Ayutthayā, this form of meditation—which in the modern period was to be rejected as ‘unorthodox’—was promoted at the highest levels of court and Saṅgha. (shrink)
This study examined health professionals’ (HPs) experience, beliefs and attitudes towards brain death (BD) and two types of donation after circulatory death (DCD)—controlled and uncontrolled DCD. Five hundred and eighty-seven HPs likely to be involved in the process of organ procurement were interviewed in 14 hospitals with transplant programs in France, Spain and the US. Three potential donation scenarios—BD, uncontrolled DCD and controlled DCD—were presented to study subjects during individual face-to-face interviews. Our study has two main findings: (1) (...) In the context of organ procurement, HPs believe that BD is a more reliable standard for determining death than circulatory death, and (2) While the vast majority of HPs consider it morally acceptable to retrieve organs from brain-dead donors, retrieving organs from DCD patients is much more controversial. We offer the following possible explanations. DCD introduces new conditions that deviate from standard medical practice, allow procurement of organs when donors’ loss of circulatory function could be reversed, and raises questions about “death” as a unified concept. Our results suggest that, for many HPs, these concerns seem related in part to the fact that a rigorous brain examination is neither clinically performed nor legally required in DCD. Their discomfort could also come from a belief that irreversible loss of circulatory function has not been adequately demonstrated. If DCD protocols are to achieve their full potential for increasing organ supply, the sources of HPs’ discomfort must be further identified and addressed. (shrink)
These free-wheeling, often exhilarating dialogues—which grew out of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Talks—are an exchange between two of the most prominent figures in contemporary culture: Daniel Barenboim, internationally renowned conductor and pianist, and Edward W. Said, eminent literary critic and impassioned commentator on the Middle East. Barenboim is an Argentinian-Israeli and Said a Palestinian-American; they are also close friends. As they range across music, literature, and society, they open up many fields of inquiry: the importance of a sense of (...) place; music as a defiance of silence; the legacies of artists from Mozart and Beethoven to Dickens and Adorno; Wagner’s anti-Semitism; and the need for “artistic solutions” to the predicament of the Middle East—something they both witnessed when they brought young Arab and Israeli musicians together. Erudite, intimate, thoughtful and spontaneous, Parallels and Paradoxes is a virtuosic collaboration. (shrink)
Reading music and playing a musical instrument is a complex activity that comprises motor and multisensory (auditory, visual, and somatosensory) integration in a unique way. Music has also a well-known impact on the emotional state, while it can be a motivating activity. For those reasons, musical training has become a useful framework to study brain plasticity. Our aim was to study the specific effects of musical training versus the effects of other leisure activities in elderly people. With that (...) purpose we evaluated the impact of piano training on cognitive function, mood and quality of life in older adults. A group of participants that received piano lessons and did daily training for four-month (n=13) was compared to an age-matched control group (n=16) that participated in other types of leisure activities (physical exercise, computer lessons, painting lessons, among other). An exhaustive assessment that included neuropsychological tests as well as mood and quality of life questionnaires was carried out before starting the piano program and immediately after finishing (4 months later) in the two groups. We found a significant improvement on the piano training group on the Stroop test that measures executive function, inhibitory control and divided attention. Furthermore, a trend indicating an enhancement of visual scanning and motor ability was also found (Trial Making Test part A). Finally, in our study piano lessons decreased depression, induced positive mood states, and improved the psychological and physical quality of life of the elderly. Our results suggest that playing piano and learning to read music can be a useful intervention in older adults to promote cognitive reserve and improve subjective well-being. (shrink)
Playing a musical instrument demands the engagement of different neural systems. Recent studies about the musician’s brain and musical training highlight that this activity requires the close interaction between motor and somatosensory systems. Moreover, neuroplastic changes have been reported in motor-related areas after short and long-term musical training. Because of its capacity to promote neuroplastic changes, music has been used in the context of stroke neurorehabilitation. The majority of patients suffering from a stroke have motor impairments, preventing them to (...) live independently. Thus, there is an increasing demand for effective restorative interventions for neurological deficits. Music-supported Therapy (MST) has been recently developed to restore motor deficits. We report data of a selected sample of stroke patients who have been enrolled in a MST program (1 month intense music learning). Prior to and after the therapy, patients were evaluated with different behavioral motor tests. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was applied to evaluate changes in the sensorimotor representations underlying the motor gains observed. Several parameters of excitability of the motor cortex were assessed as well as the cortical somatotopic representation of a muscle in the affected hand. Our results revealed that participants obtained significant motor improvements in the paretic hand and those changes were accompanied by changes in the excitability of the motor cortex. Thus, MST leads to neuroplastic changes in the motor cortex of stroke patients which may explain its efficacy. (shrink)
This paper suggests certain differences between the interpretation of Indian classical music and the interpretation of Western classical music. In Indian music the work is constituted in the moment of a recital. The performer is the maker of the music. Accordingly, the performer simultaneously produces a work and interprets it. Further, in the Indian tradition. music is a path of “bhakti yoga,” or a path of devotion.
Even in the quietest of rooms, our senses are perpetually inundated by a barrage of sounds, requiring the auditory system to adapt to a variety of listening conditions in order to extract signals of interest (e.g., one speaker’s voice amidst others). Brain networks that promote selective attention are thought to sharpen the neural encoding of a target signal, suppressing competing sounds and enhancing perceptual performance. Here, we ask: does musical training benefit cortical mechanisms that underlie selective attention to speech? To (...) answer this question, we assessed the impact of selective auditory attention on cortical auditory-evoked response variability in musicians and nonmusicians. Outcomes indicate strengthened brain networks for selective auditory attention in musicians in that musicians but not nonmusicians demonstrate decreased prefrontal response variability with auditory attention. Results are interpreted in the context of previous work from our laboratory documenting perceptual and subcortical advantages in musicians for the hearing and neural encoding of speech in background noise. Musicians’ neural proficiency for selectively engaging and sustaining auditory attention to language indicates a potential benefit of music for auditory training. Given the importance of auditory attention for the development of language-related skills, musical training may aid in the prevention, habilitation and remediation of children with a wide range of attention-based language and learning impairments. (shrink)
Organ donation after cessation of circulation and respiration, both controlled and uncontrolled, has been proposed by the Institute of Medicine as a way to increase opportunities for organ procurement. Despite claims to the contrary, both forms of controlled and uncontrolled donation after cardiac death raise significant ethical and legal issues. Identified causes for concern include absence of agreement on criteria for the declaration of death, nonexistence of universal guidelines for duration before stopping resuscitation efforts and techniques, and assumption (...) of presumed intent to donate for the purpose of initiating temporary organ-preservation interventions when no expressed consent to donate is present. From a legal point of view, not having scientifically valid criteria of cessation of circulation and respiration for declaring death could lead to a conclusion that organ procurement itself is the proximate cause of death. Although the revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 2006 provides broad immunity to those involved in organ-procurement activities, courts have yet to provide an opinion on whether persons can be held liable for injuries arising from the determination of death itself. Preserving organs in uncontrolled donation after cardiac death requires the administration of life-support systems such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. These life-support systems can lead to return of signs of life that, in turn, have to be deliberately suppressed by the administration of pharmacological agents. Finally, allowing temporary organ-preservation interventions without expressed consent is inherently a violation of the principle of respect for a person's autonomy. Proponents of organ donation from uncontrolled donation after cardiac death, on the other hand, claim that these nonconsensual interventions enhance respect for autonomy by allowing people, through surrogate decision making, to execute their right to donate organs. However, the lack of transparency and the absence of protection of individual autonomy, for the sake of maximizing procurement opportunities, have placed the current organ-donation system of opting-in in great jeopardy. Equally as important, current policies enabling and enhancing organ procurement practices, pose challenges to the constitutional rights of individuals in a pluralistic society as these policies are founded on flawed medical standards for declaring death. (shrink)
The confusion surrounding Heidegger's account of death in Being and Time has led to severe criticisms, some of which dismiss his analysis as incoherent and obtuse. I argue that Heidegger's critics err by equating Heidegger's concept of death with our ordinary concept. As I show, Heidegger's concept of death is not the same as the ordinary meaning of the term, namely, the event that ends life. But nor does this concept merely denote the finitude of Dasein's possibilities (...) or the groundlessness of existence, as William Blattner and Hubert Dreyfus have suggested. Rather, I argue, the concept of death has to be understood both as temporal finitude and as finitude of possibility. I show how this reading addresses the criticisms directed at Heidegger's death analysis as well as solving textual problems generated by more limited interpretations of the concept. (shrink)
The dilemma referred to in the title occurs in many contexts concerned with expressive meaning in art, and especially music, which suggests that the issue it raises will be central to any complete theory of musical expressiveness. One notable attempt to resolve the paradox of simultaneous generality and particularity in music is in Aaron Ridley's book Music, Value and the Passions. I show why I consider his account unsatisfactory and then propose my own resolution of the paradox. (...) It takes the form of distinguishing between two distinct notions of generality (which I term ‘generality’ and ‘abstractness’) and of particularity (‘specificity’ and ‘concreteness’), and of constructing two relatively independent oppositions: the concrete versus the abstract and the specific versus the general. Finally, I show that a description of music's expressive meaning as abstract, but specific, rightly captures what is usually thought about music, and does not entail any contradictions. (shrink)
Peter Kivy is the author of many books on the history of art and, in particular, the aesthetics of music. This collection of essays spans a period of some thirty years and focuses on a richly diverse set of issues: the biological origins of music, the role of music in the liberal education, the nature of the musical work and its performance, the aesthetics of opera, the emotions of music, and the very nature of music (...) itself. Some of these subjects are viewed as part of the history of ideas, others as current problems in the philosophy of art. A particular feature of the volume is that Kivy avoids the use of musical notation so that no technical knowledge at all is required to appreciate his work. The essays will prove enjoyable and insightful not just to professionals in the philosophy of art and musicologists, or to musicians themselves, but also to any motivated general reader with a deep interest in music. (shrink)
The University of Michigan conference “Where Religion, Policy, and Bioethics Meet: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Islamic Bioethics and End-of-Life Care” in April 2011 addressed the issue of brain death as the prototype for a discourse that would reflect the emergence of Islamic bioethics as a formal field of study. In considering the issue of brain death, various Muslim legal experts have raised concerns over the lack of certainty in the scientific criteria as applied to the definition and diagnosis (...) of brain death by the medical community. In contrast, the medical community at large has not required absolute certainty in its process, but has sought to eliminate doubt through cumulative diagnostic modalities and supportive scientific evidence. This has recently become a principal model, with increased interest in data analysis and evidence-based medicine with the intent to analyze and ultimately improve outcomes. Islamic law has also long employed a systematic methodology with the goal of eliminating doubt from rulings regarding the question of certainty. While ample criticism of the scientific criteria of brain death (Harvard criteria) by traditional legal sources now exists, an analysis of the legal process in assessing brain death, geared toward informing the clinician’s perspective on the issue, is lacking. In this article, we explore the role of certainty in the diagnostic modalities used to establish diagnoses of brain death in current medical practice. We further examine the Islamic jurisprudential approach vis-à-vis the concept of certainty (yaqīn). Finally, we contrast the two at times divergent philosophies and consider what each perspective may contribute to the global discourse on brain death, understanding that the interdependence that exists between the theological, juridical, ethical, and medical/scientific fields necessitates an open discussion and active collaboration between all parties. We hope that this article serves to continue the discourse that was successfully begun by this initial interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of Michigan. (shrink)
In his article 'Women in Music' Gordon Graham argues that 'women do not make composers' and 'there is good reason to believe that the composition of music will continue to be an activity largely of men'. In reply Shaw argues there is a deep inconsistency in Graham's argument or a gap which, given Graham's views, he would be hard pressed to fill. Shaw also raises objections to Graham's claim that his view that women cannot compose significant music, (...) if it were true, ought not depress feminists and other defenders of the equal worth of women. (shrink)
It has been demonstrated that death certificates do not accurately record the actual cause of death in up to one-fourth of cases, as determined from subsequent autopsy findings. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of natural language autopsy data bases as an automated quality assurance mechanism. We translated the account of the major process leading to death, or the primary diagnosis, from all 45,564 narrative autopsy reports obtained at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between (...) May 28, 1889, and June 30, 1987, into the hierarchical system of Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) titles. We obtained a total of 125,772 MeSH title translations, 1,563 of them distinct (average 2.8 per case), ranging in frequency from 6,029 occurrences of LUNG to 1 occurrence apiece of 357 MeSH titles. The natural-language-to-MeSH translations showed expected trends over the past century: fewer infectious diseases; more cardiovascular and neoplastic disease among adults; and more respiratory diseases and congenital malformations in the pediatric age group. The greater availability of autopsy documents in electronic form should increase the value of this resource for quality assurance. (shrink)
Amplitude death is a dynamical phenomenon in which a network of oscillators settles to a stable state as a result of coupling. Here, we study amplitude death in a generalized model of delay-coupled delay oscillators. We derive analytical results for degree homogeneous networks which show that amplitude death is governed by certain eigenvalues of the network's adjacency matrix. In particular, these results demonstrate that in delay-coupled delay oscillators amplitude death can occur for arbitrarily large coupling strength (...) k. In this limit, we find a region of amplitude death which already occurs at small coupling delays that scale with 1/k. We show numerically that these results remain valid in random networks with heterogeneous degree distribution. (shrink)
There is currently a dearth of bioethical literature presenting what might be called a more traditional approach to medicine and health care. Life and Death in Healthcare Ethics promises a reasoned and clear alternative. It considers ethical concerns raised by reproduction and death and dying. The issues considered include euthanasia and withdrawal of treatment, the persistent vegetative state, abortion, cloning and in vitro fertilization. Given its clarity and simplicity the book is likely to be read eagerly by students (...) from a range of different disciplines. For those who want a basic text to introduce them to life and death issues in bioethics, this is a most welcome contribution. (shrink)
In the latter half of the twentieth century, developed countries of the world have made tremendous strides in organ donation and transplantation. However, in this area of medicine, Japan has been slow to follow. Japanese ethics, deeply rooted in religion and tradition, have affected their outlook on life and death. Because the Japanese have only recently started to acknowledge the concept of brain death, transplantation of major organs has been hindered in that country. Currently, there is a dual (...) definition of death in Japan, intended to satisfy both sides of the issue. This interesting paradox, which still stands to be fully resolved, illustrates the contentious conflict between medical ethics and medical progress in Japan. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to explore the close link between technology and death in the philosophical writings of Lewis Mumford. Mumford famously argued that throughout the history of western civilization we find intertwined two competing forms of technics; the democratic biotechnic form and the authoritarian monotechnic form. The former technics were said to be strongly compatible with an organic form of life while the latter were said to be allied to a mechanical power complex. What is perhaps (...) less well known is the extent to which Mumford characterizes the authoritarian technical form as being a technics of death. This article will argue that the connection between death and technics is a key theme in Mumford’s philosophy of technology. In addition to elaborating this theme and detailing how it informs Mumford’s other positions on the nature of technology, this article will also argue that Mumford’s theory of a technics of death bears witness, both implicitly and explicitly, to the influence of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the death instinct. Freud’s account of the death instinct will be outlined briefly and its influence on Mumford’s writings will be explained. Death, in Mumford’s technological writings, has a generally negative function and serves to warn humanity of the perilous course that its technological civilization is set upon. However it also has a positive function in that it encourages man to transcend its biological existence in acts of creativity and purpose. Death, in this positive sense, serves the purpose of life whereas, in the negative sense, it hinders it. The role of death, in both aspects, will be explored and related to Mumford’s overall perspective on technics and life. It is argued that Mumford’s philosophy of technology cannot be fully understood without an awareness of his views on death and its role in the life of technological society. (shrink)
I offer an argument for the claim that there is a transcendent dimension in music. The argument begins with one offered by Augustine in the De Musica, and adds additional support from contemporary discussions in musicology.
The author encountered evocations of suffering and death in all the studies and research he devoted, over 40 or so years, to the intellectual, social and religious life of western Muslim Judaism, and indeed the whole of traditional Jewish thought and its varied modes of expression: rabbinical law, Hebrew poetry, the literature of homily and preaching, mystical writings and the kabbala, dialect and popular literatures in Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Berber. Some passages are taken from the Zohar (‘The town the angel (...) of death cannot enter’, for instance). The author also refers to the Talmud and magic therapeutics, the power of sacred names, Jewish and Muslim miracle workers, hunting down and casting out demons, etc. Agony, refusal to die, joyous commemoration of death, the cemetery and the cult of the dead, Judeo-Muslim pilgrimages, the wealth of the customs, beliefs and rites of the past lead the author to reflect on the question of death in the present-day world. (shrink)
Background Debates and controversies have shaped the understanding and the practices related to death determined by neurological criterion (DNC). Confusion about DNC in the public domain could undermine this notion. This confusion could further jeopardise confidence in rigorous death determination procedures, and raise questions about the integrity, sustainability, and legitimacy of modern organ donation practices. Objective We examined the depictions of ‘brain death’ in major American and Canadian print media to gain insights into possible common sources of (...) confusion about DNC and the relationship between expert and lay views on this crucial concept. Methods We gathered 940 articles, available in electronic databases, published between 2005 and 2009 from high-circulation Canadian and American newspapers containing keywords ‘brain dead’ or ‘brain death’. Articles were systematically examined for content (eg, definitions of brain death and criteria for determination of death) using the NVivo 8 software. Results Our results showed problematic aspects in American and Canadian media, with some salient differences. DNC was used colloquially in 39% (N=366) of the articles and its medical meaning infrequently defined (2.7%; N=14 in the USA and 3.6%; N=15 in Canada). The neurological criterion for determination of death was mentioned in less than 10% of the articles, and life support in about 20% of the articles. Organ donation issues related to DNC were raised more often in Canadian articles than in American articles (33.5% vs 21.2%; p<0.0001). Interpretation Further discussion is needed to develop innovative strategies to bridge media representations of DNC with experts’ views in connection with organ donation practices. (shrink)
Expert skill in music performance involves an apparent paradox. On stage, expert musicians are required accurately to retrieve information that has been encoded over hours of practice. Yet they must also remain open to the demands of the ever-changing situational contingencies with which they are faced during performance. To further explore this apparent paradox and the way in which it is negotiated by expert musicians, this article profiles theories presented by Roger Chaffin, Hubert Dreyfus and Tony and Helga Noice. (...) For Chaffin, expert skill in music performance relies solely upon overarching mental representations, while, for Dreyfus, such representations are needed only by novices, while experts rely on a more embodied form of coping. Between Chaffin and Dreyfus sit the Noices, who argue that both overarching cognitive structures and embodied processes underlie expert skill. We then present the Applying Intelligence to the Reflexes (AIR) approach?a differently nuanced model of expert skill aligned with the integrative spirit of the Noices? research. The AIR approach suggests that musicians negotiate the apparent paradox of expert skill via a mindedness that allows flexibility of attention during music performance. We offer data from recent doctoral research conducted by the first author of this article to demonstrate at a practical level the usefulness of the AIR approach when attempting to understand the complexities of expert skill in music performance. (shrink)
During the past 50 years since the first successful organ transplant, waiting lists of potential organ recipients have expanded exponentially as supply and demand have been on a collision course. The recovery of organs from patients with circulatory determination of death is one of several effective alternative approaches recommended to reduce the supply-and-demand gap. However, renewed debate ensues regarding the ethical management of the overarching risks, pressures, challenges and conflicts of interest inherent in organ retrieval after circulatory determination of (...)death. In this article, the author claims that through the engagement of a Heideggerean existential phenomenological and hermeneutic framework what are perceived as ethical problems dissolve, including collapse of commitment to the dead donor rule. The author argues for a revisioned socially constructed conceptual and philosophical responsibility of humankind to recognize the limits of bodily finitude, to responsibly use the capacity of the transplantable organs, and to grant enhanced or renewed existence to one with diminished or life-limited capacity; thereby making the locus of ethical concern the donor–recipient as unitary ‘‘life.’ What ethically matters in the life-cycle (life-world) of donor–recipient is the viability of the organs transplanted; thereby granting reverence to all life. (shrink)
Purpose The search for cause of death is important to improve knowledge and provide answers for the relatives of the deceased. Medical autopsy following unexplained death in hospital is one way to identify cause of death but is difficult to carry out routinely. Post mortem sampling (PMS) of tissues via thin biopsy needle or ‘mini incisions’ in the skin may be a useful alternative. A study was undertaken to assess how this approach is perceived by intensive care (...) doctors and also to evaluate how this practice is considered in ethical terms in France. Methods A study of PMS practices immediately after death in 10 intensive care departments was performed. The medical director of each centre was interviewed by telephone and asked to describe practices in their unit and to outline the questions raised by this practice. Results PMS is routinely performed in 70% of the units which responded, without systematically obtaining formal consent and without precise rules for communicating results. Approaches to PMS differed between centres, but all physicians felt that PMS is useful for the scientific information it gives and also for the information it provides for relatives. All physicians regret the lack of standards to structure PMS practices. Conclusion Information from post mortem examinations is important for society to inform about causes of death, for doctors to improve practices and for decision-makers responsible for organising care. Debate persists regarding the balance between individual rights and community interests. It is suggested that an approach for identifying cause of death could easily be integrated into the relationship between carers and relatives, provided full transparency is maintained. (shrink)
There is mounting evidence that aging is associated with the maintenance of positive affect and the decrease of negative affect to ensure emotion regulation goals. Previous empirical studies have primarily focused on a visual or autobiographical form of emotion communication. To date, little investigation has been done on musical emotions. The few studies that have addressed aging and emotions in music were mainly interested in emotion recognition, thus leaving unexplored the question of how aging may influence emotional responses to (...) and memory for music. In the present study, eighteen older (60-84 years) and eighteen younger (19-24 years) listeners were asked to evaluate the strength of their experienced emotion on happy, peaceful, sad, and scary musical excerpts (Vieillard, et al., 2008) while facial muscle activity was recorded. Participants then performed an incidental recognition task followed by a task in which they judged to what extent they experienced happiness, peacefulness, sadness, and fear when listening to music. Compared to younger adults, older adults (a) reported a stronger emotional reactivity for happiness than other emotion categories, (b) showed an increased zygomatic activity for scary stimuli, (c) were more likely to falsely recognize happy music, and (d) showed a decrease in their responsiveness to sad and scary music. These results are in line with previous findings and extend them to emotion experience and memory recognition, corroborating the view of age-related changes in emotional responses to music in a positive direction away from negativity. (shrink)
Robert Sharpe examines the humanist conception of music as a language--as expressive and intelligible--which has been a dominant theory in Western culture. He argues against the view that music is expressive by causing certain states in us. Rather, he contends that our beliefs about music are integral to our appreciation of it. Differences in musical taste are then not just irresolvable differences in sensitivity, but the result of variations in circumstance and upbringing, of associations and ideology.