This study describes the results of a retrospective review of patients' charts who had an advanced directive (AD) and who were hospitalized in a tertiary, acute care teaching hospital. The purpose of the review was to understand from clinical, sociological, ethical and legal perspectives the nature and utility of ADs. Findings and implications of the review are discussed in terms of: patient demographics; diagnoses; quality of ADs; influence of ADs on clinical decisions; and legal aspects of ADs.
The Concept of Physical Law is an original and creative defense of the Regularity theory of physical law, the concept that physical laws are nothing more than descriptions of whatever universal truths happen to be instanced in nature. Professor Swartz clearly identifies and analyzes the arguments and intuitions of the opposing Necessitarian theory, and argues that the standard objection to the Regularity theory turns on a mistaken view of what Regularists mean by 'physical impossibility'; that it is impossible to (...) construct an empirical test that can distinguish between events Necessitarians call 'mere accidents' and those they call 'nornologically necessary', and that the Necessitarian theory cannot account fot human beings' free wills. Other topics in this important work include: the distinction between instrumental scientific laws and true physical laws; the distinction between failure and doom; potentialities; miracles and marvels; predictability and uniformity; statistical and numerical laws; and necessity-in-praxis. (shrink)
Suppose it were known, by someone else, what you are going to choose to do tomorrow. Wouldn't that entail that tomorrow you must do what it was known in advance that you would do? In spite of your deliberating and planning, in the end, all is futile: you must choose exactly as it was earlier known that you would. The supposed exercise of your free will is ultimately an illusion. Historically, the tension between foreknowledge and the exercise of free will (...) was addressed in a religious context. According to orthodox views in the West, God was claimed to be omniscient (and hence in possession of perfect foreknowledge) and yet God was supposed to have given humankind free will. Attempts to solve the apparent contradiction often involved attributing to God special properties, e.g. being 'outside' of time. However, the trouble with such solutions is that they are generally unsatisfactory on their own terms. Even more serious is the fact that they leave untouched the problem posed not by God's foreknowledge but that of any human being. Do human beings have foreknowledge? Certainly, of at least some events and behaviors. Thus we have a secular counterpart of the original problem. A human being's foreknowledge, exactly as would God's, of another's choices would seem to preclude the exercise of human free will. Various ways of trying to solve the problem – e.g. by putting constraints on the truth-conditions for statements, or by 'tightening' the conditions necessary for knowledge – are examined and shown not to work. Ultimately the alleged incompatibility of foreknowledge and free will is shown to rest on a subtle logical error. When the error, a modal fallacy, is recognized, and remedied, the problem evaporates. (shrink)
Within metaphysics, there are two competing theories of Laws of Nature. On one account, the Regularity Theory, Laws of Nature are statements of the uniformities or regularities in the world; they are mere descriptions of the way the world is. On the other account, the Necessitarian Theory, Laws of Nature are the “principles” which govern the natural phenomena of the world. That is, the natural world “obeys” the Laws of Nature. This seemingly innocuous difference marks one of the most profound (...) gulfs within contemporary philosophy, and has quite unexpected, and wide-ranging, implications. (shrink)
I was seven or eight years old. In Hebrew school we had just learned the Aleph-Bet and were, haltingly, beginning to sound out words. As we spoke the ancient text, our teacher translated: "... And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. ..."[note 2] Here was magic; here was the supernatural; here was the creation of the universe. I resonated to the story. I was filled with wonder, far more than had ever been elicited by any fairy (...) tale my parents had read to me. I pictured in my imagination the majesty of it: God speaks and Nature obeys. (shrink)
7.3.1 Ostension 7.3.2 Extensional Definition by Naming 7.3.3 Extensional Definition by Unique Description 7.4 Two Case Studies in the Application of the Intension/Extension Distinction 7.4.1 "God exists, by definition" 7.4.2 The 'Width' of an Intensional Definition..
Thesis: Such things as beliefs, statements, assertions, remarks, hypotheses, and theories are those things that are true or false . (Example: we do say such things as "Her belief that her mother had phoned was false." Or, "His assertion that Alberta is smaller than British Columbia is true.").
For a finite universe of discourse, if Φ → and ~(Ψ → Φ) , then P(Ψ) > P(Φ), i.e., there is always a loss of information, there is an increase in probability, in a non reversible implication. But consider the two propositions, "All ravens are black", (i.e., "(x)(Rx ⊃ Bx)"), and "Some ravens are black" (i.e., "(∃x)(Rx & Bx)"). In a world of one individual, called "a", these two propositions are equivalent to "~Ra ∨ Ba" and "Ra & Ba" respectively. (...) However, (Ra & Ba) → (~Ra ∨ Ba) and ~[(~Ra ∨ Ba) → (Ra & Ba)]. Consequently, in a world of one individual it is more probable that all ravens are black than that some ravens are black! (shrink)
 The venerable question "Why is there anything (rather than nothing) at all?" has become particularly topical after a long absence from the philosophical scene. In 1981, it elicited a novel, and rather startling, response from Robert Nozick (Nozick 1981: 115-64). Since then, it has received steady attention from a number of astrophysicists, in particular, those promoting one version or another of an Anthropic Principle (see e.g. Barrow et al. 1986).  In the midst of this activity, a small volume (...) by Nicholas Rescher has appeared, The Riddle of Existence . In it, Rescher echoes approvingly Heidegger's claim that this is `the most fundamental question of metaphysics' and accordingly undertakes (what he has described privately.. (shrink)
Wilson has returned to a debate whose heyday was the ﬁfties and early sixties. He staunchly aligns himself with the deductivists, philosophers such as Popper, Hempel, Bergmann, and Braithwaite, who argued that scientiﬁc and historical explanations presuppose general laws and statements of initial conditions from which explanandum statements are validly deduced.
Definition: A condition A is said to be sufficient for a condition B, if (and only if) the truth (/existence /occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the truth (/existence /occurrence) of B.
Research and pedagogy in the field of morality and moral education has long been dominated by philosophical and psychological disciplines. Although sociological studies and theorising in the field have not been absent, it has been limited and non?systematic. Drawing on a study that investigated the lived morality of a group of young South Africans growing up in the aftermath of Apartheid and in the townships of Cape Town, this paper surveys the historical contribution made by sociologists to the study of (...) morality and introduces two sociological notions of importance to moral education research and practice: ?moral ecology? and ?moral capital?. Employing Bronfenbrenner?s ecological systems theory it describes the moral life as an ecology of interconnecting systems, complex antinomies, diverse codes, multiple positionings, discordant processes and competing influences, over time and on multiple levels. Moral capital, draws on Bourdieu?s work on capitals and is described in two ways. First, as a dialectic, such that young people living in poverty identify how being ?good? can be translated into economic capital, which in turn enables them to remain ?good?. Second, it asks, what are the necessary elements of moral capital that young people need in order to be good and so attain the economic future to which they aspire? The paper concludes by noting how a sociology of moral education contributes to understanding the relationship between poverty and morality, including the social reproduction of morality; and its relevance for moral education research and practice. (shrink)
CONTEMPORARY MATERIALIST theories of mind, viz. Causal Correspondence and Identity, are usually contrasted with several alleged historical competitors: Parallelism; Epiphenomenalism; Dual-aspect; and Emergence. What I shall here attempt to argue is that this last-mentioned theory, Emergence, is no competitor at all, but rather is a natural supplement to a materialist theory. I shall try to argue that there is a good case for saying that if, in particular, sensation-states are caused by or are identical to brain-states, then they are caused (...) by or are identical to emergent brain-states. (shrink)
Marcus J. is a mathematician extraordinaire. Because it is no longer politically correct to use ivory, the tower in which he is hermetically sealed is made of recycled plastics. In his tower, walled off from the rest of the world, he pursues mathematics. Having started out modestly with theorizing that flipping two coins will yield two heads with a probability of 25%, he has lately gone on to more ambitious projects. Most recently he has published a paper, earning wide acclaim, (...) in which he has theorized that, since there are exactly four possible pairings (female-female; male-male; female-male; and male-female) of adult human beings, there is, then, a 25% probability that a household is headed by two women; a 25% probability that a household is headed by two men; and a 50% probability that a household is headed by one man and one woman. (shrink)
In his paper, "The Two Main Problems of Philosophy"[Note 1], Professor N.L. Wilson offers an inductive argument for the thesis "that there is only one possible world … possibility, actuality and necessity collapse into each other."[p. 200].
As children in elementary school we were taught to recite the alphabet in order: “Aay, Bee, See, Dee, Eii, Eff, Ghee, Aaych, …, Why and Zee”. There is nothing natural about this particular ordering: it is strictly a matter of convention. (When and where it was settled upon I haven’t the remotest notion.) Then, having mastered the ordering, we were taught to apply that knowledge to alphabetize lists of words. The procedure is surprisingly complex, and its mastery by mere eight-year (...) olds attests to the elevated intellectual capacities of human beings. One merely has to try to write down the procedure in a flow chart to see how complex it truly is. In any event, most of us probably emerged from the exercise of learning to use a dictionary believing that we knew all there is to know about alphabetizing. If only that were all there is to it. The trouble is that our third-grade teachers had not reckoned on our having to program computers to alphabetize.. (shrink)
A carpet vendor has to measure her customer's living room for some new broadloom. She has forgotten her tape measure, but does have a meterstick. She lays the meterstick on the floor, snug up against the wall, with the left edge of the stick in one corner of the room. She then makes a pencil mark at the right edge. Next she shifts the stick right until the left edge of the stick is at her mark, and again marks the (...) right edge. She does this three times, but then finds that less than a full length remains to be measured. She turns the stick around so that the zero is now at the right side and lays it in the right corner and notes that her last pencil mark is at 70 cm. She concludes that the wall she is measuring is 3.7 meters in length. She then measures the opposite wall and concludes that it, too, is 3.7 meters in length. She then repeats the process for the remaining two opposite walls, and finds that they each measure 4.1 meters. To see if the room is rectangular, she runs a piece of twine from one corner to its opposite, pulls the twine taut and then cuts it to fit exactly. She then uses the same piece of twine on the other two corners to see if they are the same distance apart as the first two. The twine fits exactly. On the basis of these measurements, she.. (shrink)
The massive growth in global health research in past decades has posed many challenges for its effective ethical oversight, not least of which is how best to provide effective protection of research participants. The extent of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa in particular makes research into prevention technologies for HIV, including HIV vaccine research, a global priority. However, the need for vaccine research must be considered in conjunction with the individual's right to informed consent, which is based on the (...) principle of respect for autonomy. One of the primary human rights violations likely to occur in the context of HIV vaccine research is that potential research participants may not fully understand what participation in research studies entails. People who elect to enrol in HIV vaccine trials are required to understand both the potential negative effects of participation (eg, discrimination) as well as complex scientific concepts such as randomisation and prophylaxis in order to be ethically enrolled. In this study, two vignettes are presented to illustrate two core issues in conducting phase III HIV vaccine trials in low-income countries—namely, (1) from the perspective of participants, the extent to which understanding is a prerequisite for consenting to participate in a trial, and (2) from the perspective of trial investigators, whether it is appropriate to persuade eligible people to enrol in a trial, even though their initial reaction is to decline to participate. These vignettes are used to analyse these issues through the prisms of research ethics and human rights in order to identify helpful synergies. It is argued that the human rights perspective provides a helpful lens on ethical issues. (shrink)
This article maps my journey as a scholar engaged in the research of youth morality (located in the Global South); as a beneficiary of injustice having grown up as a white South African; as a navigator of complex personal histories (discovering my mixed race family origins); and arriving at restitution as a career research focus. It reflects on the experience of being turned inside out through examining personal and political locatedness in moral research and how these change as new discoveries (...) are made. It also explores feelings of professional exclusion despite being the recipient of a privileged Northern hemisphere education and shows how the topic of restitution addresses some of the inherent tensions in my personal life, whilst offering potential for redemptive North?South partnerships. Moreover, researching restitution in global contexts of moral injustice, across the Global North-South divide, has the potential to expand the internationalisation of scholarship on morality and moral education. (shrink)
Next SectionInformal care work is indispensible to healthcare but is often invisible. Using my own experience with carers who looked after my dying mother, I explore the submerged racial and gender politics of care work, issues which have a particular relevance in South Africa. I raise the question of whether it is possible for powerful professionals like myself to engage with care workers in ways which do not reproduce patterns of exclusion and exploitation. Telling of and thinking about ‘private’ stories (...) which are intimate and visceral experiences may help us to think more clearly and more visibly about the politics of care work. (shrink)
This review essay, concerning three collections of Shils’ essays published in 1997, focuses on Shils’ assertion of the importance of charisma or the sacred in the ties that bind a secular society together and enable it to function as it does, asks why Shils did not accept Polanyi’s views about intellectuals, and refers to aspects of the sacred attributed to universities and to our academic traditions.
This article argues that while elements of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology are increasingly employed in American sociology, it is rare to find all three of Bourdieu’s master concepts—habitus, capital, and field—incorporated into a single study. Moreover, these concepts are seldom deployed within a relational perspective that was fundamental to Bourdieu’s thinking. The article “Bourdieu and Organizational Analysis” by Mustafa Emirbayer and Victoria Johnson is a welcomed exception, for it draws on all three of Bourdieu’s pillar concepts to propose a relational approach (...) to the study of organizations. It both reframes existing thinking about organizations, particularly from the neo-institutional and resource dependence schools, and indicates new directions for research in organizations to move. This paper evaluates their contribution calling attention to its many strengths and suggesting a few points that need future clarification and elaboration. (shrink)
This essay gives an account of thee exchanges between Jacques Derrida and Hans-Georg Gadamer at the Goethe Institute in Paris in April 1981. Many commentators perceive of this encounter as an "improbable debate," citing Derrida's marginalization, or, in deconstructive terms, deconcentration of Gadamer's opening text as the main reason for its "improbabliity." An analysis of the questions that Derrida poses concerning "communication" as an axiom from which we derive decidable truth brings us to the central feature of this discussion: How (...) does one engage the "other" in conversation in the light of the problems reptaining to meaningful communication? The essay suggests that the first round of exchanges between Derrida and Gadamer is a good example of the violence that is prevalent (and perhaps inevitable) in all academic discussions. Finally a more "ethical" approach to discussion, based on Derrida's postulation of a friendship," is suggested. It challenges the hermeneutic search for consensus, whereby the "other" is contracted into fraternity, but cannot eliminate elements of violence completely. (shrink)