The critical look at hospice care by Felicia Ackerman in Vol. 6 of the CambridgeQuarterly requires a response, since the author presents her view as having major implications for health policy. As a healthcare executive with over 25 years experience, and as a spokesperson for both my own program and others in the National Hospice Work Group, twelve of the nation's largest nonprofit hospices, I submit that her analysis of hospice care is naive. Ackerman's lack of practical understanding concerning (...) the care of the terminally ill results in a discussion that misses the key policy issues. (shrink)
But of all diversions, the theater is undoubtedly the most entertaining. Here we may see others act even when we cannot act to any great purpose ourselves. Skepticism about the possibility of autonomous action accounts in part for romanticism’s many theatrical failures—misfires precisely because they stage failures to act. Uncertain whether the playing out of the revolution in France underscored the capacity of people to act independently or confirmed their status as mere instruments of heteronymous forces, the romantic dramas of (...) Heinrich Von Kleist and William Wordsworth direct our attention not to the actions of characters but to the character of action. This uncertainty about the possibility of .. (shrink)
Stem cell research. Drug company influence. Abortion. Contraception. Long-term and end-of-life care. Human participants research. Informed consent. The list of ethical issues in science, medicine, and public health is long and continually growing. These complex issues pose a daunting task for professionals in the expanding field of bioethics. But what of the practice of bioethics itself? What issues do ethicists and bioethicists confront in their efforts to facilitate sound moral reasoning and judgment in a variety of venues? Are those immersed (...) in the field capable of making the right decisions? How and why do they face moral challenge -- and even compromise -- as ethicists? What values should guide them? In The Ethics of Bioethics, Lisa A. Eckenwiler and Felicia G. Cohn tackle these questions head on, bringing together notable medical ethicists and people outside the discipline to discuss common criticisms, the field's inherent tensions, and efforts to assign values and assess success. Through twenty-five lively essays examining the field's history and trends, shortcomings and strengths, and the political and policy interplay within the bioethical realm, this comprehensive book begins a much-needed critical and constructive discussion of the moral landscape of bioethics. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that tyranny is a persisting phenomenon very much alive today, a greater danger than newer forms of misrule such as totalitarianism. One argument is based on human nature being such that the temptation to abuse political power in the form of tyranny remains a possibility in all societies. Another defines tyranny as a spiritual disorder of the soul and polity. Both date the 19th century as the time when tyranny dropped out of the western political (...) vocabulary. In this view, modern political thought, like political science generally, has been impoverished by ignorance of, or indifference to, the nature of tyranny. By contrast, I treat tyranny not as possessing an essential, unchanging nature, but as a contested political concept used for a variety of purposes by different regimes and groups. Nor do I agree that, because ‘tyranny’ was used infrequently during the 19th century, systematic abuses of political power went unnoticed and unclassified. I treat a number of cases by postulating a family of controversial and contested regime types: tyranny, despotism, absolute monarchy, Bonapartism, Caesarism, and dictatorship. From them I conclude that, after tyranny was conflated with despotism at the end of the 18th century, both concepts were redescribed in terms of newer classifications belonging to the same conceptual family. Because ‘tyranny’ was then extended to many non-political arenas, it became so trivialized as to leave no prospect of our retrieving its once potent political meanings. If ‘tyranny’ is equally applicable to teachers, husbands, fashions, or public opinion, the concept has lost its political cutting edge. It now lacks any distinctive meaning that might frame a situation and define it as calling for urgent and decisive action, especially in foreign policy. (shrink)
Three of the classic "founding fathers" of sociology (Comte, Marx and Tocqueville) were contemporary observers of the French Revolution of 1848. In addition, another important theoretical tradition was represented in contemporary observations of 1848 by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. The present paper summarizes aspects of the views of these theoretically minded observers, notes some points at which more recent historical research suggests revisions to these classical views, and poses three arguments: (1) The revolution of 1848 exerted a direct shaping influence on classical (...) social theory through lessons (some now subject to revision) learned from observation of the revolutionary struggles. (2) The 1848 revolution influenced classical social theory indirectly by contributing to the submergence of the radical French revolutionary tradition (along with utopian socialism) after the defeat of the June insurrectionaires and Bonaparte's coup. (3) Both writers in the classical tradition and current researchers have failed to thematize adequately a basic transformation in effectiveness of national integration, communication and administration which made 1848 in crucial ways much more akin to 1789 than it was direct evidence for the growth of class struggle and the likelihood of further revolution in advanced capitalist countries. (shrink)
I am indebted to many people, especially Dorsey Armstrong, Shannon French, and Kenneth Hodges, for helpful discussions of this material. An early version of this essay was read at the Thirty-Sixth International Congress on Medieval Studies.This essay is dedicated to the glorious memory of Nina Lindsey.
: In his landmark book, Peirce's Theory of Signs, T. L. Short argues that music signifies as a pure icon. A pure icon, according to Peirce, is not a likeness. It "does not draw any distinction between itself and its object" (EP2:163), and it "serves as a sign solely and simply by exhibiting the quality it serves to signify" (EP2:306). In music, this quality consists of the specifically musical feelings or ideas contained in the piece in question, and such musical (...) feelings are properly interpreted by means of an emotional interpretant rather than an energetic or logical one. Short, following Peirce, is correct in maintaining that music primarily signifies feeling-content whose proper means of expression is musical and whose proper interpretation by the listener involves the generation of a corresponding feeling. Nonetheless, musical signification is not purely iconic. Responding to the musical feelings presented in a work requires previous acquaintance with its style tradition, and this acquaintance involves logical interpretants. In addition, the integral temporality of music calls into question the possibility of its being purely iconic. (shrink)
Imagine a single musical tone—for instance, the A above middle C that the oboe plays to tune an orchestra. Now imagine this tone, with no variation in dynamics, pitch, or timbre, extended over the course of “an hour or a day,” existing, as Peirce describes in “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” (W3:262),1 “as perfectly in each second of that time as in the whole taken together; so that, as long as it is sounding, it might be present to a (...) sense from which everything in the past was as completely absent as the future itself” (W3:262). Imagine a world consisting of nothing but the sensation of this single oboe A, and having never consisted of anything but it. In such a world, Peirce indicates, there would be no .. (shrink)
In December 1851, French President Louis Bonaparte – the future Emperor Napoléon III – seized power in a coup d’état , in violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution. He arrested the legislature; imprisoned, deported, or executed his political opponents; and deterred future dissent by massacring civilians in the streets.
Translated Felicia McCarren. Stanford: Stanford UP and Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995 (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics series). Pages: xxiii + 161. Pb: 0 8047 2385 0; 10.95. Hb: 0 8047 2376 I; 25.00. Originally published in French as Musica Ficta (Figures de Wagner). Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1991.
At the beginning of "The Law of Mind," Charles S. Peirce makes this striking admission (W8:135):I may mention, for the benefit of those who are curious in studying mental biographies, that I was born and reared in the neighborhood of Concord—I mean in Cambridge—at the time when Emerson, Hedge, and their friends were disseminating the ideas that they had caught from Schelling, and Schelling from Plotinus, from Boehm, or from God knows what minds struck with the monstrous mysticism of the (...) East. But the atmosphere of Cambridge held many an antiseptic against Concord transcendentalism; and I am not conscious of having contracted any of that virus. Nevertheless, it is probable that some cultured bacilli, some benignant .. (shrink)
The word ‘dignity’ is a staple of contemporary American medical ethics, where it often follows the words ‘death with’. People unfamiliar with this usage might expect it to apply to one’s manner of dying—for example, a stately exit involving ceremonial farewells. Instead, conventional usage generally holds that “death with dignity” ends or prevents life without dignity, by which is meant life marked not by buffoonery, but by illness and disability. Popular examples of dignity-depleters include dementia, incontinence, and being “dependent on (...) machines”—provided the machines are respirators rather than furnaces, refrigerators, and computers. (shrink)
Number terms and quantifiers share a range of linguistic (syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic) properties. On the basis of these similarities, one might expect these 2 classes of linguistic expression to pose similar problems to children acquiring language. We report here the results of an experiment that explicitly compared the acquisition of numerical expressions (two, four) and quantificational (some, all) expressions in younger and older 3-year-olds. Each group showed adult-like preferences for “exact” interpretations when evaluating number terms; however they did not (...) use the corresponding upper bounded interpretation when evaluating the quantifier some. Apparently, children follow different procedures for learning and evaluating numerals and quantifiers. These findings have implications for theories of number representation in child and adult grammars. (shrink)