Background In Japan, discussion concerning advance directives (ADs) has been on the rise during the past decade. ADs are one method proposed to facilitate the process of communication among patients, families and health care providers regarding the plan of care of a patient who is no longer capable of communicating. In this paper, we report the results of the first in-depth survey on the general population concerning the preferences and use of ADs in Japan. Method A self-administered questionnaire was sent (...) via mail to a stratified random sampling of 560 residents listed in the residential registry of one district of Tokyo, Japan (n = 165,567). Association between correlating factors and specific preferences toward ADs was assessed using contingency table bivariate analysis and multivariate regression model to estimate independent contribution. Results Of the 560 questionnaires sent out, a total of 425 participants took part in the survey yielding a response rate of 75.9 %. The results of the present study indicate that: 1) the most important components to be addressed are the specifics of medical treatment at the end of life stage and disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis; 2) the majority of participants found it suitable to express their directives by word to family and/or physician and not by written documentation; 3) there is no strong need for legal measures in setting up an AD; 4) it is permissible for family and physician to loosely interpret one's directives; 5) the most suitable proxy is considered to be a family member, relative, or spouse. Multivariate analysis found the following five factors as significantly associated with preferences: 1) awareness regarding living wills, 2) experience with the use of ADs, 3) preferences for end-of-life treatment, 4) preferences for information disclosure, and 5) intentions of creating a will. Conclusions Written ADs might be useful in the Japanese setting when the individual either wishes: 1) to not provide a lot of leeway to surrogates and/or caregivers, and/or 2) to ensure his or her directives in the cases of terminal illness, brain death, and pain treatment, as well as regarding information disclosure. (shrink)
Background Ethics committees and their system of research protocol peer-review are currently used worldwide. To ensure an international standard for research ethics and safety, however, data is needed on the quality and function of each nation's ethics committees. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and developments of ethics committees established at medical schools and general hospitals in Japan. Methods This study consisted of four national surveys sent twice over a period of eight years to two separate (...) samples. The first target was the ethics committees of all 80 medical schools and the second target was all general hospitals with over 300 beds in Japan (n = 1457 in 1996 and n = 1491 in 2002). Instruments contained four sections: (1) committee structure, (2) frequency of annual meetings, (3) committee function, and (4) existence of a set of guidelines for the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses. Results Committee structure was overall interdisciplinary. Frequency of annual meetings increased significantly for both medical school and hospital ethics committees over the eight years. The primary activities for medical school and hospital ethics committees were research protocol reviews and policy making. Results also showed a significant increase in the use of ethical guidelines, particularly those related to the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses, among both medical school and hospital ethics committees. Conclusion Overall findings indicated a greater recognized degree of responsibilities and an increase in workload for Japanese ethics committees. (shrink)
Background Japanese people have become increasingly interested in the expression and enhancement of their individual autonomy in medical decisions made regarding medical treatment at and toward the end of life. However, while many Western countries have implemented legislation that deals with patient autonomy in the case of terminal illness, no such legislation exists in Japan. The rationale for this research is based on the need to investigate patient's preferences regarding treatment at the end of life in order to re-evaluate advance (...) directives policy and practice. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional survey with 418 members of the general middle-aged and senior adults (aged between 40 and 65) in Tokyo, Japan. Respondents were asked about their attitudes toward advance directives, and preferences toward treatment options. Results Over 60% of respondents agreed that it is better to express their wishes regarding advance directives (treatment preferences in writing, appointment of proxy for care decision making, appointment of legal administrator of property, stating preferences regarding disposal of one's property and funeral arrangements) but less than 10% of them had already done so. About 60% of respondents in this study preferred to indicate treatment preferences in broad rather than concrete terms. Over 80% would like to decide treatment preferences in consultation with others (22.2% with their proxy, 11.0% with the doctor, and 47.8% with both their proxy and the doctor). Conclusion This study revealed that many Japanese people indicate an interest in undertaking advance directives. This study found that there is a range of preferences regarding how advance directives are undertaken, thus it is important to recognize that any processes put into place should allow flexibility in order to best respect patients' wishes and autonomy. (shrink)
Compared to institutional and area-based ethics committees, little is known about the structure and activities performed by ethics committees at national medical organizations and societies. This five year follow-up study aimed to determine (1) the creation and function of ethics committees at medical organizations in Japan, and (2) their general strategies to deal with ethical problems. The study sample included the member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences (n=92 in 1998, n=96 in 2003). Instruments consisted of two sections: (...) (1) the structure, function and activities of ethics committees, and (2) the strategies for dealing with ethical problems. Response rates were 84.4% in 1998 and 64.4% in 2003. Findings showed a significant increase of ethics committees at medical organizations between 1998 (25.6%) and 2003 (50.0%). Members were mostly male, medical doctors in clinical or basic medicine, and members of the organization. The major functions of ethics committees were ethical reviews of research protocols, policy making and ethical reviews of manuscripts submitted for journal publication. Among organizations that did not have an ethics committee, a significant decrease was found in organizations that replied that they had never experienced an ethical problem which needed further investigation (p<0.01). Findings suggested an overall rise in awareness of the importance of ethical issues and also highlighted an increase in recognition of responsibility regarding ethical problems. (shrink)
Public satisfaction with policy process influences the legitimacy and acceptance of policies, and conditions the future political process, especially when contending ethical value judgments are involved. On the other hand, public involvement is required if effective policy is to be developed and accepted.
BackgroundMost medical schools in Japan have incorporated mandatory courses on medical ethics. To this date, however, there is no established means of evaluating medical ethics education in Japan. This study looks 1) To develop a brief, objective method of evaluation for moral sensitivity and reasoning; 2) To conduct a test battery for the PIT and the DIT on medical students who are either currently in school or who have recently graduated (residents); 3) To investigate changes in moral sensitivity and reasoning (...) between school years among medical students and residents.MethodsQuestionnaire survey: Two questionnaires were employed, the Problem Identification Test (PIT) for evaluation of moral sensitivity and a portion of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) for moral reasoning. Subjects consisted of 559 medical school students and 272 residents who recently graduated from the same medical school located in an urban area of Japan.ResultsPIT results showed an increase in moral sensitivity in 4th and 5th year students followed by a decrease in 6th year students and in residents. No change in moral development stage was observed. However, DIT results described a gradual rising shift in moral decision-making concerning euthanasia between school years. No valid correlation was observed between PIT and DIT questionnaires.ConclusionThis study's questionnaire survey, which incorporates both PIT and DIT, could be used as a brief and objective means of evaluating medical students' moral sensitivity and reasoning in Japan. (shrink)
SETTING: Medical ethics education has become common, and the integrated ethics curriculum has been recommended in Western countries. It should be questioned whether there is one, universal method of teaching ethics applicable worldwide to medical schools, especially those in non-Western developing countries. OBJECTIVE: To characterise the medical ethics curricula at Asian medical schools. DESIGN: Mailed survey of 206 medical schools in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: A total (...) of 100 medical schools responded, a response rate of 49%, ranging from 23%-100% by country. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The degree of integration of the ethics programme into the formal medical curriculum was measured by lecture time; whether compulsory or elective; whether separate courses or unit of other courses; number of courses; schedule; total length, and diversity of teachers' specialties. RESULTS: A total of 89 medical schools (89%) reported offering some courses in which ethical topics were taught. Separate medical ethics courses were mostly offered in all countries, and the structure of vertical integration was divided into four patterns. Most deans reported that physicians' obligations and patients' rights were the most important topics for their students. However, the evaluation was diverse for more concrete topics. CONCLUSION: Offering formal medical ethics education is a widespread feature of medical curricula throughout the study area. However, the kinds of programmes, especially with regard to integration into clinical teaching, were greatly diverse. (shrink)
We have determined all five independent elastic-stiffness coefficients Cij of a silicon carbide fibre with transverse isotropy from room temperature up to 873 K. Firstly, we measured the Cij of a titanium-alloy-matrix composite reinforced unidirectionally with the fibres and the matrix alloy alone. Electromagnetic acoustic resonance detected the free-vibration resonance frequencies of the specimens to determine their Cij . Secondly, we applied a micromechanics calculation to deduce the fibre Cij from the measured composite and matrix Cij . The resulting fibre (...) Cij shows strong anisotropy in the temperature derivatives of the Cij ; the temperature derivatives for the fibre-axis-direction Cij are much smaller than the others. (shrink)
In 1997, after long social debates, the Japanese government enacted a law on organ transplantation from brain-dead bodies. Since 1993, on gene therapy, administrative agencies have issued a series of guidelines. This study seeks to elucidate when people became aware of the issues and when they formed their opinions on organ transplant and gene therapy. At the same time, it aims to examine at which point in time experts, those in university ethical committees and in academic societies, consider these technologies (...) became accepted among the public. A self-administered questionnaire was sent by mail to a stratified random sampling of 3000 people nationwide in Japan. Another questionnaire was sent both to the member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences and to the ethical committees of all the medical schools in Japan. Results of the surveys indicated that many of the public remained undecided on the desirability of organ transplant or gene therapy at the time of enactment of official guidelines. A substantial part of them formed their opinions in subsequent periods, especially around the time of first implementation and thereafter. Experts of the academic societies and of the university ethical committees regarded the time of implementation as an important factor in the acceptance of the technologies in society. Since many people formed their opinion during the period of technological implementation, communications efforts to facilitate public understanding of science and technology, as well as to advance practical discussion on policy alternatives in this period can play a key role in determining the fate of technological innovation and ethical debates in medicine. (shrink)
Metaphilosophy is itself philosophy about philosophy. It is not something before or independent of philosophy. Both Kai Nielsen and Richard Rorty are deeply concerned (someone might say obsessively preoccupied) with metaphilosophy. They both are thoroughly historicist and contextualist resolutely rejecting any form of a transcendental or metaphysical turn. They argue against claims to absolute validity (as well as against absolutism in any form) and a natural order of reasons: some 'Reason' to which any rational agent must be committed. They both (...) see philosophy as a transitional genre first (historically speaking) from religion then metaphysics and more latterly from scientistic conceptions of the world. But they differ about what philosophy is transitional to. For Rorty it is historical narrative and utopian proposals; for Nielsen it is critical theory. Rorty claims this, Nielsen's intentions to the contrary notwithstanding, commits him to enlightenment rationalism. Nielsen replies that his form of critical theory is deeply historicist and contextual without being resolutely atheoretical. This plays out in political orientation to Nielsen's being a socialist while Rorty is a social democrat. (shrink)
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say that (...) the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
Wang, Kai 王楷, Naturalistic Human Nature and Cultivation of the Self: The Spirit of Xunzi’s Virtue Philosophy 天然與修為—荀子道德哲學的精神. Beijing 北京: Peking University Press, 2011, 206 pages Content Type Journal Article Pages 115-118 DOI 10.1007/s11712-011-9252-z Authors Elizabeth Woo Li, Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing, China Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 1.
Kai Nielsen’s recent book Philosophy and Atheism is discussed here. The main point is that Nielsen’s arguments against Christianity can be turned against his own rationalist atheism with similar results, namely that the position seems incoherent from its own point of view. Christianity is unempirical and irrational by certain arguments, but the position assumed underneath those arguments does not survive treatment by those same arguments. Nielsen’s dependence on arguments that undermine the position assumed in these arguments should make him open (...) to the suggestion that these arguments may not be relevant to the assessment of the validity of a religious position. (shrink)
This paper points out some of the weaknesses of the traditional account of the Homeric phrase androteta kai hében and suggests instead that the entire phrase is a relatively recent creation of the tradition on the model of an *an(b)roteta kai hében. This phrase in turn has a clear Avestan cognate hauruuatata ameretata.
In assessing the veridicality of utterances, we normally seem to assess the satisfaction of conditions that the speaker had been concerned to get right in making the utterance. However, the debate about assessor-relativism about epistemic modals, predicates of taste, gradable adjectives and conditionals has been largely driven by cases in which seemingly felicitous assessments of utterances are insensitive to aspects of the context of utterance that were highly relevant to the speaker’s choice of words. In this paper, we offer an (...) explanation of why certain locutions invite insensitive assessments, focusing primarily on ’tasty’ and ’might’. We spell out some reasons why felicitous insensitive assessments are puzzling and argue briefly that recent attempts to accommodate such assessments (including attempts by John MacFarlane, Kai von Fintel and Anthony Gillies) all fail to provide more than hints at a solution to the puzzle. In the main part of the paper, we develop an account of felicitous insensitive assessments by identifying a number of pragmatic factors that influence the felicity of assessments. Before closing, we argue that the role of these factors extend beyond cases considered in the debate about assessor-relativism and fit comfortably with standard contextualist analyses of the relevant locutions. (shrink)
In this essay I trace the terms empeiria and tribē throughout the Platonic corpus in order to expose their central position within Plato’s critique of the sophists and rhetoricians. I find that these two terms—both of which indicate a knack or habitude that has been developed through experiential familiarity with certain causal tendencies—are regularly deployed in order to account for the effectiveness of these speakers even in the absence of a technē; for, what Plato identifies with these terms is the (...) sophists’ and rhetoricians’ near masterful familiarity with and ability to manipulate the doxa and the dogma of the many, hoi poloi. (shrink)