. HIV/AIDS has changed from a disease of white gay men in the United States to a pandemic that largely involves women and dependent children in developing countries. Many theologies of disease are necessary to cope with the variety of expressions of this pandemic. Christian theoethical reflection on HIV/AIDS has been largely focused on sexual ethics, with uneven and mainly unhelpful results. Among the ethical issues that shape future useful conversations are globalized economics and resource sharing, the morality and economics (...) of the pharmaceutical industry, and the need for sex education and access to reproductive choice. Considering such issues in international, interreligious, multiscientific contexts is a concrete next step for the religion-and-science dialogue. It will put the powerful tools of both fields to the service of the common good. (shrink)
Brian Ellis has argued that the assigning of forces is, in the final analysis, a matter of convention. This conclusion is backed by the premises (1) that forces and force-effects are necessary and sufficient for each other, and (2) that the classification of some state of affairs as a force-effect is at least partly conventional. We argue that the first premise is false, that the second premise is ambiguous as between several senses of "conventional," and finally that he has not (...) established that force-effects are conventional in the sense required for the conclusion he wishes to draw. (shrink)
In acute inpatient mental health services, patients commonly demonstrate extreme behaviours. A number of coercive practices, such as locked doors, enforced medication and seclusion, are used in these settings to control such behaviours. The aim of this report is to explore briefly some of the contemporary debates pertaining to seclusion. A perusal of the literature reveals a clarion call to end the practice of seclusion, without consideration of feasible alternatives. It is hoped that this brief report will encourage further evidence-based (...) discussion and research initiatives on this important ethical topic. (shrink)
Locked inpatient units are an increasing phenomenon, introduced in response to unforseen abscondences and suicides of patients. This paper identifies some value issues concerning the practice of locked psychiatric inpatient units. Broad strategies, practicalities and ethical matters that must be considered in inpatient mental health services are also explored. The authors draw on the published research and commentary to derive relevant information to provide to patients and staff regarding the aims and rationales of locked units. Further debate is warranted in (...) relation to best practice. Inpatient staff need to be aware of their practice values, be able to access education and supervision and negotiate apparent contradictions. Further patient/clinician focused enquiry is necessary to mitigate the negative and stigmatising effects of locked mental health units. (shrink)
In "Omniprescient Agency" (Religious Studies 28, 1992) David P. Hunt challenges an argument against the possibility of an omniscient agent. The argument—my own in "Agency and Omniscience" (Religious Studies 27, 1991)—assumes that an agent is a being capable of intentional action, where, minimally, an action is intentional only if it is caused, in part, by the agent's intending. The latter, I claimed, is governed by a psychological principle of "least effort," viz., that no one intends without antecedently feeling that (...) (i) deliberate effort is needed to achieve desired goals, (ii) such effort has a chance of success, and (iii) it is yet contingent whether the effort will be expended and the goals realized. The goals can be anything from immediate intentional doings, tryings or basic actions, to remote and perhaps unlikely consequences of actions, e.g., global justice. The thrust of the principle is that it would be impossible for a wholly rational self-aware agent to intend without a background presumption of an open future as concerns the desired state and the means to it. But this presumption embodies a sense of contingency which, in turn, requires an acknowledged ignorance about what the future holds, otherwise the future would appear closed relative to present knowledge with the desired state presented as either guaranteed (necessary) or ruled out (impossible). Regardless whether this self-directed attitude is accurate, it follows that intentional action precludes complete knowledge of one's present and future. Consequently, no omniscient or omniprescient being can be an agent. (shrink)
Reichenbach worked in an era when philosophers were hopeful about the unity of science, and particularly about unity of method. He looked for universal tests of causal connectedness that could be applied across disciplines and independently of specific modeling assumptions. The hunt for quantum causes reminds us that his hopes were too optimistic. The mark method is not even a starter in testing for causal links between outcomes in E.P.R., because our background hypotheses about these links are too thin (...) to supply the kind of information we need to put the method into play. When we turn to conventional statistical methods, we have seen that one test proposed — robustness of the conditional probabilities — can be conclusive only when we know that there are no other causal factors at work. In the particular case of E.P.R., it has often been assumed that this antecedent question can be settled by applying Reichenbach's conjunctive fork condition. But that application is in no way free of further modeling assumptions. Cartwright (1989) has shown that the conjunctive fork is only a necessary condition on a common cause under very limiting restrictions (restrictions that take one far from the case of maximal commonality); and she has argued that these special conditions are not satisfied in E.P.R.Finally, even given the assumption that there are no other causes at work, the significance of robustness for E.P.R. is unclear. We need a model which tells us how one outcome would influence the other; without that, there is no way of interpreting the results of the robustness test so that it is decisive. In each of the approaches we discussed, Reichenbach provided the crucial guiding ideas that underlay our construction of a causality test; but the articulation of a specific criterion depends on the other details of the model. What is a criterion for a specific kind of link in one model need not be in another. We have illustrated with robustness and E.P.R., but we take the point to be perfectly general: there are no tests of causality outside of models which already have significant causal structure built in. (shrink)
Early in his career Thomas Hunt Morgan was interested in embryology and dedicated his research to studying organisms that could regenerate. Widely regarded as a regeneration expert, Morgan was invited to deliver a series of lectures on the topic that he developed into a book, Regeneration (1901). In addition to presenting experimental work that he had conducted and supervised, Morgan also synthesized and critiqued a great deal of work by his peers and predecessors. This essay probes into the history (...) of regeneration studies by looking in depth at Regeneration and evaluating Morgan's contribution. Although famous for his work with fruit fly genetics, studying Regeneration illuminates Morgan's earlier scientific approach which emphasized the importance of studying a diversity of organisms. Surveying a broad range of regenerative phenomena allowed Morgan to institute a standard scientific terminology that continues to inform regeneration studies today. Most importantly, Morgan argued that regeneration was a fundamental aspect of the growth process and therefore should be accounted for within developmental theory. Establishing important similarities between regeneration and development allowed Morgan to make the case that regeneration could act as a model of development. The nature of the relationship between embryogenesis and regeneration remains an active area of research. (shrink)
Ethical sensitivity triggers the entire ethical decision-making process (i.e., recognition of ethical content in work situations). In this article, five factors are examined that affect tax practitioners' professional ethical sensitivity. The five factors that were examined include role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, professional commitment, and ethical orientation. Ethical content in work situations is examined in relation to professional ethics as enumerated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant's (AICPA) Statements on Responsibilities in Tax Practice (SRTP). Utilizing Hunt (...) and Vitell's (1986, 1993) General Theory of Ethics, a model of ethical sensitivity was constructed and empirically tested. Role conflict negatively and job satisfaction positively influenced tax practitioners' ethical sensitivity. Also, the covariates of the tax practitioner's professional risk level and type of employer were found to be significant. The significant factors are job specific. The tax firm may have the best opportunity to positively change a tax practitioner's ethical recognition abilities. Professional accounting organizations may need to evaluate if resources should be used to formulate, maintain, and publicize codes of conduct because of the lack of significance of professional commitment. (shrink)
Let’s say that you are omniprescient iff you always believe—occurrently and with maximal confidence—all and only truths, including ones about the future. Several philosophers have argued that an omniprescient being couldn’t engage in certain kinds of activity. In what follows, I present and assess the most promising such argument I know of—what I’ll call the Serious Deliberation Argument (SDA). It concludes that omniprescience rules out serious deliberation—i.e., trying to choose between incompatible courses of action once you know that none is (...) conclusively favored by your reasons. The SDA—which (I’ll argue) should disturb many traditional theists—derives from an argument due to Tomis Kapitan; and my favored objection to the SDA—roughly: that it fails because dependent on the alleged incompatibility of omniprescience and freedom—superficially resembles a reply to Kapitan’s argument due to David Hunt. Along the way, then, I’ll briefly discuss Kapitan’s argument, and Hunt’s reply, to show how they differ from the SDA and my favored objection to it. I begin by presenting the Serious Deliberation Argument. (shrink)
Contrary to W. Murray Hunt’s suggestion, living things deserve moral consideration and inanimate objects do not precisely because living things can intelligibly be said to have interests (and inanimate objects cannot intelligibly said to have interests). Interests are crucial because the concept of morality is noncontingently related to beneficence or nonmaleficence, notions which misfire completely in theabsence of entities capable of being benefited or harmed.
Ayahuasca, a hallucinogen with profound consciousness- altering properties, has been increasingly utilized in recent studies (e.g., Strassman, 2001; Shanon, 2002a,b). However, other than Shanon's recent work, there has been little attempt to examine the effects of ayahuasca on perceptual, affective and cognitive experience, its relation to fringe consciousness or to pertinent personality variables. Twenty-one volunteers attending a seminar on ayahuasca were administered personality measures and a semi-structured interview about phenomenal qualities of their experience. Ayahuasca ingestion was associated with profound alterations (...) of temporal- spatial experiences including expansive space and slowed time. Ayahuasca use was also associated with positive emotional states, higher levels of fantasy proneness and psychological absorption and a greater openness to mystical experiences. Conversely, quickened time was associated with negative emotionality. The results are discussed within a multi-faceted model of fringe consciousness with a particular emphasis on Hunt's (1995) models of cross-modal translation as the basis for higher-order symbolic cognition and support James' (1890/1950) contention that fringe consciousness is essential to human cognition. (shrink)
This research study sought to identify whether there is a relationship between ethical perceptions and culture. An examination of the cultural variables suggests that there is a relationship between two of Hofstede's cultural dimensions (i.e., Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism) and ethical perceptions. This finding supports the hypothetical linkage between the cultural environment and the perceived ethical problem variables posited in Hunt and Vitell's General Theory of Marketing Ethics (1986).