Clinical Ethics and the Dynamics of Group Decision-Making: Applying the Psychological Data to Decisions Made by Ethics Committees Content Type Journal Article Pages 207-228 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9096-7 Authors Erica K. Rangel, Saint Louis University Department of Health Care Ethics 6333 North Rosebury Ave #3W St. Louis MO 63105 USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 2.
In this paper we suggest a revisionist perspective on two significant figures in early modern life science and philosophy: William Harvey and John Locke. Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, is often named as one of the rare representatives of the ‘life sciences’ who was a major figure in the Scientific Revolution. While this status itself is problematic, we would like to call attention to a different kind of problem: Harvey dislikes abstraction and controlled experiments (aside from (...) the ligature experiment in De Motu Cordis), tends to dismiss the value of instruments such as the microscope, and emphasizes instead the privileged status of ‘observed experience’. To use a contemporary term, Harvey appears to rely on, and chiefly value, ‘tacit knowledge’. Secondly, Locke’s project is often explained with reference to the image he uses in the Epistle to the Reader of his Essay, that he was an “underlabourer” of the sciences. In fact, despite the significant medical phase of his career, Locke’s ‘empiricism’ turns out to be above all a practical (i.e. ‘moral’) project, which focuses on the delimitation of our powers in order to achieve happiness, and rejects the possibility of naturalizing knowledge. When combined, these two cases suggest a different view of some canonical moments in early modern natural philosophy. (shrink)
Hume’s theory of justice is commonly regarded by contemporary theorists of justice as a theory of justice as mutual advantage. It is thus widely thought to manifest all the unattractive features of such theories: in particular, it is thought to endorse the exclusion of people with serious mental or physical disabilities from the scope and protection of justice and to justify the European expropriation of the lands of defenceless aboriginal people. I argue that this reading of Hume is mistaken. Mutual (...) advantage is only part of Hume’s theory, the part that explains the origins of the institutions of justice in a general sense (property and promise keeping), and it is bracketed off from those parts of Hume’s theory that explain who is included within the scope of justice, how much each receives, and why and to whom we have a duty to be just. The interpretation of Hume’s theory as a theory of justice as mutual advantage not only fails to convey Hume’s complex purposes, but it portrays Hume’s theory of justice as the kind of theory he was most concerned to refute. (shrink)
In a contribution to this journal Amos Witzum has challenged a common interpretation of Adam Smith's theory of justice, according to which Smith ‘employed a concept of justice – in the tradition of natural laws theories – whereby rights are related to guarding what is one's own rather than to what is one's due’ (Witzum, 1997, p. 242). Witzum claims that not only does Smith's conception of justice include one's due, and hence, distributional considerations, but the right to one's own (...) ‘stems from the right to what is one's due’ (p. 244). Furthermore, he asserts that ‘as all members of society own their natural faculties, which presumably were given to them to enable them to survive, the fruits of their labour up to subsistence level belong to them by virtue of their ownership of their own faculties’ (p. 259). This leads him to the conclusion that property acquisition gives rise to a duty, on the part of property holders, to ‘distribute subsistence’ and that when wages fall below the subsistence level, the rights of workers have been violated ‘in exactly the same sense that taking an acquired asset away from its owner constitutes a violation of justice’ (p. 244). (shrink)
In 1988 I began a report on the accuracy of expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases utilizing Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield as a case study (Wakefield & Underwager, 1988). In response, Underwager and Wakefield began a campaign of harassment and intimidation, which included multiple lawsuits; an ethics charge; phony (and secretly taped) phone calls; and ad hominem attacks, including one that I was laundering federal grant monies. The harassment and intimidation failed as the author refused demands to retract. (...) In addition, the lawsuits and ethics charges were dismissed. Lessons learned from the experience are discussed. (shrink)
This article addresses, from a Frankfurt School perspective on law identified with Franz Neumann and more recently Habermas, the attack upon the principles of war criminality formulated at the Nuremberg trials by the increasingly influential legal and political theory of Carl Schmitt. It also considers the contradictions within certain of the defence arguments that Schmitt himself resorted to when interrogated as a possible war crimes defendant at Nuremberg. The overall argument is that a distinctly internal, or “immanent”, form of critique (...) is required of Schmitt's position, in which its is found wanting even on its own terms. In principle, the application of this dialectical mode of critique can allow a genuine debate to emerge between those seeking to continue both the Schmittian and critical theory traditions, whilst safeguarding the latter from the dangers of formulating polemical interventions that are, in effect, counterproductive to their own intentions. (shrink)
As Post (1996) observes, accounting firms are unique among multinationals. They are more likely than firms in almost any other category to go abroad. They also have less choice in location as their expansion is determined largely by the desired locations of their clients (Anderson and Gatignon, 1986). Given the widespread global presence of such firms, it can be argued that the global audit firm is uniquely at risk from variations in ethical perceptions across nations. This study extends the (...) U.S. accounting literature on determinants of cheating among accounting students to the U.K. Based on the work of Cohen et al. (1993) it develops a model that suggests that students in lower "uncertainty avoidance" countries will be both less likely to cheat, and when they do cheat, will be driven by internal rather than external mode. Our results supported the model as proposed as our results indicated that U.S. students were more likely to cheat and were more responsive to external stimuli than were the U.K. students. (shrink)
I build on Christoyannopoulous’s (2011) compendium of Christian anarchist thought to shed light on the divergence between Christian anarcho-communitarians and Christian anarcho-capitalists. The anarcho-communitarians believe the institution of private property is contrary to the Word of Christ, while the anarcho-capitalists hold it is justifiable. I show that the anarcho-communitarians misunderstand [...].
Introduction : up against Carl Schmitt -- An afterlife for Carl Schmitt? -- On politics, law and ideology -- Mobilising direct political action: Sorel, myths and counter-myths -- Myths of parliamentarism -- Leviathan : a political myth misfired? -- Hamlet as an instructive prototype of a political myth? -- Political myths underpinning democracy.
Carl Schmitt, an increasingly influential German law professor, developed a provocative and historically oriented model of “political theology” with specific relevance to legal scholarship and the authorship of constitutional texts. His “political theology” is best understood neither as an expressly theological discourse within constitutional law, nor as a uniquely legal discourse shaped by a hidden theological agenda. Instead, it addresses the possibility of the continual resurfacing of theological ideas and beliefs within legal discourses of, for instance, sovereignty, the force of (...) law and states of emergency (or “exception”) that present themselves as relentlessly secular, even—in the case of Kelsenian jurisprudence—”scientific”. This article illustrates and then critically evaluates Schmitt’s theory in terms of the authorship of constitutional texts in particular. It includes two case studies—genocidal colonial land appropriation and Kelsenian positivism in order to illustrate aspects of his political theology. Whilst Schmitt is defended against reductionist interpretations, I show that there remains considerable unfinished business before a Schmittian approach to legal theory merits full acceptance. (shrink)
In this commentary I discuss the shared theme found in articles by Hoult, Calof, Cheit, Freyd, and Salter (this issue) of the prices of resisting attempts to engender silence when the topic is sexual abuse of children. The parallels between silencing tactics of sexual abusers of children and those used by the false memory movement against its critics are analyzed. Questions are raised about the ethical implications of such silencing strategies.
We have learned that the issues we raised are very difficult to think about clearly, and what "works" for one thinker falls flat for another, and leads yet another astray. So it is particularly useful to get these re-expressions of points we have tried to make. Both commentaries help by proposing further details for the Multiple Drafts Model, and asking good questions. They either directly clarify, or force us to clarify, our own account. They also both demonstrate how hard it (...) is for even sympathetic commentators always to avoid the very habits of thought the Multiple Drafts Model was designed to combat. While acknowledging and expanding on their positive contributions, we must sound a few relatively minor alarms. (shrink)
Benner, Erica. Machiavelli’s Ethics. Princeton, 2009. 527p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780691141763, $75.00; ISBN 9780691141770 pbk, $35.00.
Reviewed in CHOICE, April 2010
This major new study of Machiavelli’s moral and political philosophy by Benner (Yale) argues that most readings of Machiavelli suffer from a failure to appreciate his debt to Greek sources, particularly the Socratic tradition of moral and political philosophy. Benner argues that when read in the light of his Greek sources, Machiavelli appears as much less the immoralist or (...) sophist he often is taken for and instead as a serious moral philosopher very much concerned with the republican ideals of justice and the rule of law. The author does not ignore Machiavelli’s more infamous dicta, but argues that a careful reading shows that they are expressions of views he ultimately rejects. Particularly noteworthy here is her careful attention to Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories. Benner’s reading of Machiavelli is far too complex and subtle for such a brief summary. Her research is meticulous and her arguments finely honed. This important contribution to both Machiavelli studies and the history of political philosophy will be indispensable for scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers. — B. T. Harding
"Machiavelli's Ethics is a superb scholarly book. Erica Benner does truly impressive work in analyzing Machiavelli's views on the most fundamental ethical issues--including necessity and virtue, justice and injustice, and ends and means. She shows, with very solid evidence, that Machiavelli did in fact worry a lot about justice and that he put it at the core of his republican theory."--Maurizio Viroli, author of Niccolò's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli
"Machiavelli's Ethics is excellent--learned, subtle, highly original, and a constant pleasure to read. And, since it is really a study of Machiavelli's thought in its entirety, it is also the first book of its kind. Its originality lies in taking seriously the claim by some sixteenth- and seventeenth-century readers--notably Bacon, Spinoza, and Alberico Gentili--that Machiavelli was essentially a moral and political philosopher. Erica Benner does a brilliant job of resurrecting this neglected Machiavelli."--Giulia Sissa, University of California, Los Angeles
About the book, from the publisher: Machiavelli's Ethics challenges the most entrenched understandings of Machiavelli, arguing that he was a moral and political philosopher who consistently favored the rule of law over that of men, that he had a coherent theory of justice, and that he did not defend the "Machiavellian" maxim that the ends justify the means. By carefully reconstructing the principled foundations of his political theory, Erica Benner gives the most complete account yet of Machiavelli's thought. She argues that his difficult and puzzling style of writing owes far more to ancient Greek sources than is usually recognized, as does his chief aim: to teach readers not how to produce deceptive political appearances and rhetoric, but how to see through them. Drawing on a close reading of Greek authors--including Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch--Benner identifies a powerful and neglected key to understanding Machiavelli.
This important new interpretation is based on the most comprehensive study of Machiavelli's writings to date, including a detailed examination of all of his major works: The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, and Florentine Histories. It helps explain why readers such as Bacon and Rousseau could see Machiavelli as a fellow moral philosopher, and how they could view The Prince as an ethical and republican text. By identifying a rigorous structure of principles behind Machiavelli's historical examples, the book should also open up fresh debates about his relationship to later philosophers, including Rousseau, Hobbes, and Kant. . (shrink)
We begin, in section 2, with a brief sketch of a cluster of assumptions about human desires, beliefs, actions, and motivation that are widely shared by historical and contemporary authors on both sides in the debate. With this as background, we’ll be able to offer a more sharply focused account of the debate. In section 3, our focus will be on links between evolutionary theory and the egoism/altruism debate. There is a substantial literature employing evolutionary theory on each side of (...) the issue. However, it is our contention that neither camp has offered a convincing case. We are much more sanguine about recent research on altruism in social psychology, which will be our topic in section 4. Though we don’t think this work has resolved the debate, we will argue that it has made illuminating progress – progress that philosophers interested in the question cannot afford to ignore. (shrink)
The approach to generative grammar originating with Chomsky (1957) has been enormously successful within linguistics. Seeing such success, one wonders whether a similar approach might help us understand other human domains besides language. One such domain is morality. Could there be universal generative moral grammar? More specifically, might it be useful to moral theory to develop an explicit generative account of parts of particular moralities in the way it has proved useful to linguistics to produce generative grammars for parts of (...) particular languages? Should moral theorists attempt to develop a theory of moral universals that is analogous to the theory of universal grammar in linguistics? Can moral theorists develop a “principles and parameters” account of possible moralities inspired by the principles and parameters approach to language in current linguistics? Could there be a “minimalist” program for moral theory inspired by the minimalist program in linguistics? In this chapter we offer a preliminary account of some analogies, focusing on clarifying issues, making distinctions, and considering how—in a general way—such analogies might yield a fruitful research program for moral theory. There are two main parts to our discussion, one focusing on an analogy between generative grammar and moral theory, the other focusing on analogies between universal grammar and theories of moral universals. In the first part, we say a little about the background and say how we are going to understand morality and moral theory. We describe certain aspects of generative grammar and how claims about generative grammars are tested, allowing for a distinction between “competence” and “performance”. We then try to say what a corresponding “generative moral grammar” would be and how it would be tested. We next discuss a number of objections to the analogy between moral theory and generative grammar and indicate possible responses. In the second part, we discuss certain universal constraints on grammars and consider whether there might be similar constraints on moralities. Then we discuss how linguists describe core aspects of languages in terms of principles and parameters and consider what aspects of moralities might be described in similar terms. After that we make some brief remarks about minimalism. (shrink)
We first describe recent empirical research on racial cognition, particularly work on implicit racial biases that suggests they are widespread, that they can coexist with explicitly avowed anti-racist and tolerant attitudes, and that they influence behavior in a variety of subtle but troubling ways. We then consider a cluster of questions that the existence and character of implicit racial biases raise for moral theory. First, is it morally condemnable to harbor an implicit racial bias? Second, ought each of us to (...) suspect ourselves of racial bias, and therefore correct for it in ordinary activity, such as grading student papers? (shrink)
The concept of valuing plays an important role in the way we think about people’s attitudes toward the things they care about most. We invoke this concept in sentences like: I value your friendship. We need to find a leader who truly values political equality. To live a good life, one must always return to the things one values most. Yet there also seem to be cases in which a person has a strong desire for a particular object but in (...) which we would not say that he or she ‘values’ this object. Thus, consider the typical heroin addict. It would sound wrong to say of such a person. (shrink)
Hegel's legacy is particularly controversial, not least in legal theory. He has been classified as a proponent of either natural law, legal positivism, the historical school, pre-Marxism, postmodern critical theory, and even transcendental legal theory. To what degree has Hegel actually influenced contemporary legal theorists? This review article looks at Michael Salter's collection Hegel and Law. I look at articles on civil disobedience, contract law, feminism, and punishment. I conclude noting similarities between Hegel's legal theory and that of Ronald (...) Dworkin. I also criticize the volume's emphasis on Hegel's postmodern credentials, all of which I doubt. (shrink)
Analogies are often theoretically useful. Important principles of electricity are suggested by an analogy between water current flowing through a pipe and electrical current “flowing” through a wire. A basic theory of sound is suggested by an analogy between waves caused by a stone being dropped into a still lake and “sound waves” caused by a disturbance in air.
The cheater-detection (CD) hypothesis suggests that people who otherwise perform poorly on the Wason selection task perform well when the task is couched in cheater-detection contexts. We report three studies with new selection problems that are similar to the originals but that question the CD hypothesis. The first two studies document a pattern heretofore attributed to CD mechanisms, namely good performance with “regular” rules and inferior performance with “switched” rules, all in problems that lack a cheater-detection context. The final study (...) finds an interaction: not only is good performance elicited on non-CD problems, but poor performance is found in the context of CD problems. Performance on the selection task cannot be predicted based on the presence or absence of cheater-detection contexts, which brings into question the need to invoke a specialised cheater-detection module. (shrink)
Recently Joshua Knobe and Erica Roedder found that folk attributions of valuing tend to vary according to the perceived moral goodness of the object of value. This is an interesting finding, but it remains unclear what, precisely, it means. Knobe and Roedder argue that it indicates that the concept MORAL GOODNESS is a feature of the concept VALUING. In this article, I present a study of folk attributions of desires and moral beliefs that undermines this conclusion. I then propose (...) the beginnings of an alternative interpretation of the data that appeals to intrinsic biases in our third-person mindreading mechanisms. (shrink)
According to Chomsky, creativity is a critical property of human language, particularly the aspect of ?the creative use of language? concerning the appropriateness to a situation. How language can be creative but appropriate to a situation is an unsolvable mystery from the Chomskyan point of view. We propose that language appropriateness can be explained by considering the role of the human capacity for Mental Time Travel at its foundation, together with social and ecological intelligences within a triadic language-grounding system. Our (...) proposal is based on the change of perspective from the analysis of individual sentences to the flux of speech in which the temporal dimension of language is much more relevant. (shrink)
Evidence-based medicine has beendefined as the conscientious and judicious useof current best evidence in making clinicaldecisions. This paper will attempt to explicatethe terms ``conscientious'''' and ``judicious''''within the evidence-based medicine definition.It will be argued that ``conscientious'''' and``judicious'''' represent virtue terms derived fromvirtue ethics and virtue epistemology. Theidentification of explicit virtue components inthe definition and therefore conception ofevidence-based medicine presents an importantstarting point in the connection between virtuetheories and medicine itself. In addition, aunification of virtue theories andevidence-based medicine will illustrate theneed for (...) future research in order to combinethe fields of virtue-based approaches andclinical practice. (shrink)
The association between media literacy and media ethics is discussed in this essay, and data gathered from a media literacy study with 93 public school 6th-grade students are presented. The study details the introduction and evaluation of a media literacy program that was intended to encourage learning and critical thinking about media violence, using a selection of "high-risk" portrayal factors as a foundation. Statistical comparisons between preprogram and postprogram responses and between those participating and those in a control group show (...) some increases in the comprehension of key concepts used in the study of media violence and critical thinking about the topic. Open-ended responses also demonstrate enhanced sophistication in analyzing media violence after participating in the program. (shrink)
This article is a response to McLeod and Baylis (2007) who speculate on the dangers of requesting fresh ‘spare’ embryos from IVF patients for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, particularly when those embryos are good enough to be transferred back to the woman. They argue that these embryos should be frozen instead. We explore what is meant by ‘spare’ embryos. We then provide empirical evidence, from a study of embryo donation and of embryo donors' views, to substantiate some of (...) their speculations about the problems associated with requesting fresh embryos. However, we also question whether such problems are resolved by embryo freezing, since further empirical evidence suggests that this raises other social and ethical problems for patients. There is little evidence that the request for embryos for research, in itself, causes patients distress. We suggest, however, that no requests for fresh embryos should be made in the first cycle of IVF treatment. Deferring the request to a later cycle ensures that potential donors are better informed (by experience and reflection) about the possible destinations of their embryos and about the definition of ‘spare embryos’. Both this article, and that by McLeod and Baylis, emphasize the need to consider the views and experiences of embryo donors when evaluating the ethics of embryo donation for hESC research. (shrink)