This paper considers which applications of research into ageing should be supported. It assumes that both applications which enhance the quality of life for the elderly and applications which extend the life-span are desirable, and then considers which should be prioritised. It is argued that in the present state of our knowledge and under present social and medical conditions there are a number of reasons for favouring the improvement of the quality of life over increasing the life-span, and thinking that (...) this is likely to do more good and for more people. (shrink)
Dr. Jansen's paper raises three main issues. The one with which he himself is most concerned is the question of which methods of abortion are ethically right, and whether methods which risk the birth of a damaged baby are wrong. But there are two others: first, how the (originally unintended) birth of a live but damaged child alters the moral situation, and secondly, whether the overcoming of sterility by inducing a multiple pregnancy in which some of the fetuses have to (...) be killed in order for any of them to survive is at all morally acceptable. (shrink)
It is often supposed, as in Professor Kluge's article (1), that one can only acquire an obligation by free consent. This paper argues that although this is true of some types of obligation, including the ones discussed by Professor Kluge, it is by no means true of all. In particular, it is argued, society may legitimately impose obligations on us without our consent, if the obligations are reciprocated, or if it is simply enforcing an already existing moral obligation.
By way of comment, I suggest: 1) That the definitions of 'competence' and 'rationality' require some modification. 2) That Professor Sherlock is right to argue that a competent but irrational decision to refuse beneficial treatment ought to be overruled; but in practice it is extremely difficult to be sufficiently sure that the decision is really irrational and the treatment really will be beneficial, except when the patient's life is in danger or he is refusing basic necessities. 3) That in practice (...) the issue is further complicated by such questions as whether there are alternative treatments, whether persuasion is possible, what the doctor's or institution's legal obligations are, and what resources are available. 4) That the presumption should be against coercion, and the patient--however irritating this may be to some doctors--should be considered 'rational until proved irrational'. (shrink)
This article argues that plato's choice of the dialogue as a vehicle for his philosophy and aristotle's choice of an objective compressed lecturing style (in his later works) has less to do with differences in philosophical doctrine and more with differences in pedagogic aim. Plato aimed at teaching pupils to begin thinking and to keep re-examining the foundations of their thought, aristotle at advancing the sum of human knowledge. This in its turn, it is argued, was connected with a difference (...) in epistemology and with aristotle's greater optimism about our ability to avoid error and to advance in knowledge. (shrink)
This article seeks, in the light of modern discussions of personal identity, to examine several arguments brought by reid against hume's account of the self as a "bundle of perceptions," and concludes that, although some of the arguments are powerful, both the linguistic, metaphysical and ethical ones, nevertheless a modified version of hume's theory can meet them.