Three studies of human nonmonotonic reasoning are described. The results show that people find such reasoning quite difficult, although being given problems with known subclass-superclass relationships is helpful. The results also show that recognizing differences in the logical strengths of arguments is important for the nonmonotonic problems studied. For some of these problems, specificity – which is traditionally considered paramount in drawing appropriate conclusions – was irrelevant and so should have lead to a “can’t tell” response; however, people could give (...) rational conclusions based on differences in the logical consequences of arguments. The same strategy also works for problems where specificity is relevant, suggesting that in fact specificity is not paramount. Finally, results showed that subjects’ success at responding appropriately to nonmonotonic problems involving conflict relies heavily on the ability to appreciate differences in the logical strength of simple, non-conflicting, statements. (shrink)
Ford, Norman M Doctors and nurses understand the personal dignity of their patients and their natural desire to be healthy and happy. The aged with failing memories or mental impairments are persons whose dignity and moral worth remain intact. They also know patients differ in their personal circumstances, their faith, their stages of life's journey and their attitude to sickness and approach of death. This awareness enables them to adequately perform their valuable professional services from a subject centred perspective (...) as well as from an objective approach based on our shared rational human nature. All this needs to be re-affirmed for patients, especially the aged, those living with post coma unresponsiveness, Alzheimer's disease and any other unconscious state. (shrink)
Two essays relating Thomas and Whitehead have recently appeared. Coming To Be by James W. Felt, S.J., modifies Thomas by replacing his substantial form with Whitehead’s notion of subjective aim, the essencein-the-making introduced by God to guide the occasion’s act of coming into being. Felt also substitutes subjective aim for matter as the means of individuation. This is one of Whitehead’s individuating principles, although a case can be made that matter (the multiplicity of past actualities as proximate matter) is another. (...) “God and Creativity” by Stephen T. Franklin develops a reconciliation of these two ultimates by conceiving of God as the source of creativity, and seeing creativity in terms of the Thomistic esse. In my reflections on this project I explore four alternativeswith respect to the source of creativity: (a) creativity as derived from the past; (b) creativity as inherent in the present; (c) God as the source of transitional creativity (Franklin); (d) God as the source of concrescent creativity (Ford). The last two differ with respect to being’s relation to becoming. Does being undergird becoming, or does becoming bring about being, such that apart from it there would be no being? Our theory of creation depends upon this question. (shrink)
Ford, Norman Once therapies using embryonic stem cells enter clinical practice, pressure will increase to find pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic purposes that are not derived from human embryos. This article explores several likely sources of such pluripotent cells.
Ford's book on the question of when human personhood begins, When Did I Begin? Conception of the Human Individual in History, Philosophy and Science (Cambridge University Press; 1988), is reviewed by Michael J. Coughlan in this issue of Bioethics. Here Ford responds to Coughlan's review, focusing on three topics: the importance of rationality for personhood, how far back one can trace the ontological identity of what is indisputably a human individual and human person, and the difference between the (...) awareness of the reality of human persons and the varying degrees of perception of their value in the family and society. (shrink)
Ford, Norman M Throughout history Catholics held the commonly accepted views of the times regarding human reproduction, and these views changed as advances were made in scientific knowledge. Hence, it would be best to begin with Aristotle's views on human reproduction.
Ford, Norman Many people think that the Catholic Church is morally opposed to all research and therapeutic use of stem cells. This is far from the truth. The Church is rightly morally opposed to all destructive use of human embryos to obtain pluripotent embryonic stem cells, but it is not opposed to pluripotent stem cells ethically derived from adult cells.
Ford, Norman Lord Brennan, a Catholic Lawyer, chaired an inquiry into the allegations following criticism of certain unethical practices performed in St John and Elizabeth, a large London Catholic Private Hospital, thus providing an opportunity to reflect on the ethics of cooperating in the unethical actions of others. It is recommended that the opinion of a hospital's select group of staff, an ethicist and/or moral theologian would help discern when a proportionately critical cause justifies cooperation and hence collusion with (...) evil would be avoided. (shrink)
Ford, Norman There has been some confusion in the media over what Pope Benedict XVI meant by his comments on the use of condoms. He was discussing acts of sexual intercourse performed by male prostitutes in relation to HIV (human immune deficiency virus) infection in reply to a question put to him during an interview with Peter Seewald. The Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi SJ said the Pope 'had confirmed to him that the example was valid in the case of (...) all prostitutes. The point of the example, he said, "was not the sex of the prostitute but the process of growing awareness of the risk [to] the life of the other person".' He was not referring to married couples nor contraception but the prevention of HIV infection from acts of prostitution. (shrink)
Ford has developed the relationship between theology and each of these other spheres, but this is the first volume to bring together a complete and well-rounded account of theology's interaction with all its conversation partners. An innovative book about the shape of theology in reaction to its relationship with the Church, with theologians, with other religions, and with the university Written by David Ford, recognized internationally as one of the most creative of contemporary theologians Considers how theology shapes (...) other areas of life via its conversations in the public sphere and with non-faith communities Views theology as both a way of thinking and a way of living, and considers how this lived character cannot be entirely grasped through reason alone The first volume to bring together a complete and well-rounded account of theology’s interaction with all its conversation partners. (shrink)
Ford, Norman The basic moral principle in health care requires us to have medical treatment that is reasonably required in the circumstances to restore health or to save life. It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to interpret this duty in dialogue with their patients.
Ford, Norman Catholic healthcare facilities fulfil their mission in the world of the sick and dying of all ages. Challenges occasionally arise to remain faithful to their identity and mission in a world whose ethical standards are changing. This article discusses the nature of the challenges ahead.
Ford, Norman Victoria's Minister for Health, the Hon. Bronwyn Pike MLA introduced a Bill to allow therapeutic cloning in Victoria on March 13, 2007. If this Bill is passed, Victoria would be the first State to permit somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning) and thereby open the way for the destruction of cloned human embryos for therapeutic purposes and medical research.
Ford, Norman This is an article to introduce readers to the issue of people planning their options for future health care and medical treatment, and the importance of taking it seriously and acting on it.
Ford, Norman Details of a speech given during a conference called 'Health Care Towards the End of Life, Ethics and Spirituality', organised by the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics and held at St Vincent's Hospital on May 23, 2006 are presented. The topic of the conference was the impact of spirituality on making healthcare decisions. Special consideration to the relationship of patients' conscience and autonomy to their spirituality, religious beliefs or lack thereof was recommended considering some beliefs of (...) many Christians, which could consciously or subconsciously influence their healthcare decisions. (shrink)
Ford, Norman The moral worth and dignity of the unborn child varies according to peoples' fundamental religious and personal beliefs on what constitutes a human person. The antithetical views on the moral value of the unborn child are due to different philosophies, which admits the existence and meaningfulness of nonmaterial reality and the other that practically denies both.
Ford, Norman Following on from the previous article by Anne Moates, I will take for granted the need for all infected birds to be tracked down and destroyed. I am assuming the scenario that some human beings may be infected by a mutated form of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza so that this modified bird flu virus can be transmitted from human to human by social contact. Some of the ethical issues that arise in this possible scenario need (...) to be briefly considered. (shrink)
When Did I Begin? investigates the theoretical, moral, and biological issues surrounding the debate over the beginning of human life. With the continuing controversy over the use of in vitro fertilization techniques and experimentation with human embryos, these issues have been forced into the arena of public debate. Following a detailed analysis of the history of the question, Reverend Ford argues that a human individual could not begin before definitive individuation occurs with the appearance of the primitive streak about (...) two weeks after fertilization. This, he argues, is when it becomes finally known whether one or more human individuals are to form from a single egg. Thus, he questions the idea that the fertilized egg itself could be regarded as the beginning of the development of the human individual. The author also differs sharply, however, from those who would delay the beginning of the human person until the brain is formed, or until birth or the onset of conscious states. (shrink)
This Thesis engages with contemporary philosophical controversies about the nature of dispositional properties or powers and the relationship they have to their non-dispositional counterparts. The focus concerns fundamentality. In particular, I seek to answer the question, ‘What fundamental properties suffice to account for the manifest world?’ The answer I defend is that fundamental categorical properties need not be invoked in order to derive a viable explanation for the manifest world. My stance is a field-theoretic view which describes the world as (...) a single system comprised of pure power, and involves the further contention that ‘pure power’ should not be interpreted as ‘purely dispositional’, if dispositionality means potentiality, possibility or otherwise unmanifested power or ability bestowed upon some bearer. The theoretical positions examined include David Armstrong’s Categoricalism, Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties, Brian Ellis’s New Essentialism, Ullin Place’s Conceptualism, Charles Martin’s and John Heil’s Identity Theory of Properties and Rom Harré’s Theory of Causal Powers. The central concern of this Thesis is to examine reasons for holding a pure-power theory, and to defend such a stance. This involves two tasks. The first requires explaining what plays the substance role in a pure-power world. This Thesis argues that fundamental power, although not categorical, can be considered ontologically-robust and thus able to fulfil the substance role. A second task—answering the challenge put forward by Richard Swinburne and thereafter replicated in various neo-Swinburne arguments—concerns how the manifestly qualitative world can be explained starting from a pure-power base. The Light-like Network Account is put forward in an attempt to show how the manifest world can be derived from fundamental pure power. (shrink)
Seeking to derive the manifestly qualitative world of objects and entities without recourse to fundamental categoricity or qualitativity, I offer an account of how higher-order categorical properties and objects may emerge from a pure-power base. I explore the possibility of ‘fields’ whose fluctuations are force-carrying entities, differentiated with respect to a micro-topology of curled-up spatial dimensions. Since the spacetime paths of gauge bosons have zero ‘spacetime interval’ and no time-like extension, I argue that according them the status of fundamental entities (...) would support a pure-power ontology. Such entities, circulating within self-sustaining micro-topological ‘networks’, feasibly maintain definite spatial configurations of conserved physical quantities, including energy-momentum. Perceived as time-like and massy, and representing fermionic entities, they give rise to the manifest world. (shrink)
Michael Tyeâ€™s considered position on visual experience combines representationalism with externalism about color, so when considering spectrum inversion, he needs a principled reason to claim that a person with inverted color vision is seeing things incorrectly. Tyeâ€™s responses to the problem of the inverted spectrum ( 2000 , in: Consciousness, color, and content, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and 2002a , in: Chalmers (ed.) Philosophy of mind: classical and contemporary readings, Oxford University Press, Oxford) rely on a teleological approach to (...) the evolution of vision to secure the grounds upon which people with normal color vision can be justly called â€˜rightâ€™ and those with inverted color vision can be called â€˜wrongâ€™. I demonstrate that since the inverted spectrum thought experiment requires that both sorts of vision be behaviorally indistinguishable, no biologically acceptable concept of teleology will allow Tye to draw the distinction he needs. (shrink)
The ability to reason ethically is an extraordinarily important aspect of professionalism in any field. Indeed, the greatest challenge in ethical professional practice involves resolving the conflict that arises when the professional is required to choose between two competing ethical principles. Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Professions explores how to develop the ability to reason ethically in difficult situations. Other books merely present ethical and legal issues one at a time, along with case examples involving "right" and "wrong" answers. (...) In dramatic contrast, Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Professions provides you with the needed background in methods of ethical reasoning and introduces an innovative nine-step model of ethical decision-making for resolving ethical dilemmas. Ethical Reasoning in the Mental Health Profession discusses the ethical codes of both psychology and counseling. This interdisciplinary approach promotes a better understanding of the similarities and differences in the points of emphasis in the two codes, which, in turn, enriches your understanding of the range of ethical considerations relevant to the practice of the mental health professions. (shrink)
In response to new research into the phenomena of inattentional blindness and change- blindness, several philosophers and vision researchers have proposed a novel form of scepticism: they contend that we do not have the conscious experience that we think we have. I will show that this claim is not supported by the evidence usually cited in support of it, and I expose what I believe to be the underlying error motivating this position: the belief that consciousness is either focal (what (...) occupies the focus of attention) or non- existent. Once we appreciate the phenomenology of the periphery of attention, we see that we have the resources to place the problematic phenomena in our peripheral. (shrink)
This is a follow-up article toPhilip Brey's ``The ethics of representation andaction in Virtual Reality'' (published in thisjournal in January 1999). Brey's call for moreanalysis of ethical issues of virtual reality(VR) is continued by further analyzing issuesin a specialized domain of VR – namelymulti-user environments. Several elements ofBrey's article are critiqued in order to givemore context and a framework for discussion.Issues surrounding representations ofcharacters in multi-user virtual realities aresurveyed in order to focus attention on theimportance of additional discussion andanalysis of (...) specialized aspects of VR. (shrink)
The authors review the empirical literature in order to assess which variables are postulated as influencing ethical beliefs and decision making. The variables are divided into those unique to the individual decision maker and those considered situational in nature. Variables related to an individual decision maker examined in this review are nationality, religion, sex, age, education, employment, and personality. Situation specific variables examined in this review are referent groups, rewards and sanctions, codes of conduct, type of ethical conflict, organization effects, (...) industry, and business competitiveness. The review identifies the variables that have been empirically tested in an effort to uncover what is known and what we need to know about the variables that are hypothesized as determinants of ethical decision behavior. (shrink)
All the authors of the sixteen essays gathered in this volume are concerned, in their different ways, to clarify, criticize, and develop key ideas and insights of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), one of the towering figures of twentieth-century speculative thought, whose "process philosophy" has, in recent decades, aroused intense intellectual interest both in this country and abroad. The present volume is intended to complement, but not to duplicate, an earlier selection of important Whitehead studies, Alfred North Whitehead: Essays on His (...) Philosophy, ed. G. L. Kline (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1963). (shrink)
William Rapaport, in “How Helen Keller used syntactic semantics to escape from a Chinese Room,” (Rapaport 2006), argues that Helen Keller was in a sort of Chinese Room, and that her subsequent development of natural language fluency illustrates the flaws in Searle’s famous Chinese Room Argument and provides a method for developing computers that have genuine semantics (and intentionality). I contend that his argument fails. In setting the problem, Rapaport uses his own preferred definitions of semantics and syntax, but he (...) does not translate Searle’s Chinese Room argument into that idiom before attacking it. Once the Chinese Room is translated into Rapaport’s idiom (in a manner that preserves the distinction between meaningful representations and uninterpreted symbols), I demonstrate how Rapaport’s argument fails to defeat the CRA. This failure brings a crucial element of the Chinese Room Argument to the fore: the person in the Chinese Room is prevented from connecting the Chinese symbols to his/her own meaningful experiences and memories. This issue must be addressed before any victory over the CRA is announced. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker’s causal theory of properties is an important starting place for some contemporary metaphysical perspectives concerning the nature of properties. In this paper, I discuss the causal and intrinsic criteria that Shoemaker stipulates for the identity of genuine properties and relations, and address George Molnar’s criticism that holding both criteria presents an unbridgeable hypothesis in the causal theory of properties. The causal criterion requires that properties and relations contribute to the causal powers of objects if they are to be (...) deemed genuine rather than ‘mere-Cambridge’. The intrinsic criterion requires that all genuine properties and relations be intrinsic. Molnar’s S-property argument says that these criteria conflict if one considers extrinsic spatiotemporal properties and relations to contribute causally. In this paper, I argue that a solution to the contradiction that Molnar identifies involves a denial of discreteness between objects, leading to a power holist perspective and a resulting deflationary account of intrinsicality. (shrink)
Approaches to clinical ethics dilemmas that rely on basic principles or rules are difficult to apply because of vagueness and conflict among basic values. In response, casuistry rejects the use of basic values, and specification produces a large set of specified rules that are presumably easily applicable. Balancing is a method employed to weigh the relative importance of different and conflicting values in application. We argue against casuistry and specification, claiming that balancing is superior partly because it most clearly exhibits (...) the reasoning behind moral decision-making. Hence, balancing may be most effective in teaching bioethics to medical professionals. (shrink)
This paper largely engages with Brian Ellis’s description of categorical dimensions as put forward in his paper in this volume. The New Essentialism advocated by Ellis posits the ontologically-robust existence of both dispositional and categorical properties. I have argued that the distinction that Ellis draws between the two is unpersuasive, and that the causal role of categorical dimensions—what they do—is inseparable from what they are. This observation is reinforced by the fact that absolute physical quantities permit re-interpretations of measurement that (...) remove a clear differentiation between categoricity and dispositionality. Distinguishing between ‘pure power’ and ‘dispositionality’, I further argue that: i) there are no ontologically-robust categorical properties, although their apparent existence is explicable as higher-order and supervenient; ii) that the fundamental ingredients of the world may be accounted for in terms of pure-power that is neither categorical nor dispositional; and iii) that the categorical-dispositional distinction arises only at the higher-order level of objects, and does not in any case constitute ontologically-robust partitioning of reality. -/- . (shrink)
The internet is widely used for health information and support, often by vulnerable people. Internet-based research raises both familiar and new ethical problems for researchers and ethics committees. While guidelines for internet-based research are available, it is unclear to what extent ethics committees use these. Experience of gaining research ethics approval for a UK study (SharpTalk), involving internet-based discussion groups with young people who self-harm and health professionals is described. During ethical review, unsurprisingly, concerns were raised about the vulnerability of (...) potential participants. These were dominated by the issue of anonymity, which also affected participant safety and consent. These ethical problems are discussed, and our solutions, which included: participant usernames specific to the study, a closed website, private messaging facilities, a direct contact email to researchers, information about forum rules displayed on the website, a ‘report’ button for participants, links to online support, and a discussion room for forum moderators. This experience with SharpTalk suggests that an approach to ethics, which recognises the relational aspects of research with vulnerable people, is particularly useful for internet-based health research. The solutions presented here can act as guidance for researchers developing proposals and for ethics committees reviewing them. (shrink)