Does a kindly, charitable interest in others have health benefits for the agent, particularly when coupled with helping behaviours? Although the answer remains unclear, researchers have established that there is an association between generous emotions, helping behaviour, and longevity. Increasingly, emotional states and their related behaviours are being studied by mainstream scientists in relation to health promotion and disease prevention. If helping affect or behaviour can be linked with health and longevity, there are significant implications for how we think about (...) human nature and prosperity. Although studies show that those who are physically or psychologically overwhelmed by the needs of others do experience a stressful burden that can have significant negative health consequences, little attention has been given to whether there are health benefits from helping behaviour that is fulfilling, not overwhelming. In this book, Stephen Post brings together distinguished researchers from basic science to address this question in objective terms. The book provides heuristic models, from evolution and neuroscience, to explain the association between altruism and health, and examines potential public health and practical implications of the existing data. (shrink)
The Clinton administration's revised rules regulating but not prohibiting the common practice in managed care of linking physician compensation with cost cutting and control of services demonstrates the complexity of ethical issues in managed care. As originally proposed, the federal guidelines on payment for Medicare and Medicaid services would have precluded any interrelationship between payment to physicians and delivery of services. Such a restriction would have gutted the primary mechanism in managed care plans to curb the unacceptably high cost of (...) healthcare delivery: making physicians directly responsible for cost control by placing them at direct financial risk. At first blush such a linkage seems to involve an obvious and irreconcilable conflict of interest. How can a physician be responsible for the well-being of a patient while at the same time aware that a proportion of his or her income is linked to the provision of cost-conscious care? (shrink)
Early last year, the GenEthics Consortium (GEC) of the Washington Metropolitan Area convened at George Washington University to consider a complex case about genetic testing for Alzheimer disease (AD). The GEC consists of scientists, bioethicists, lawyers, genetic counselors, and consumers from a variety of institutions and affiliations. Four of the 8 co-authors of this paper delivered presentations on the case. Supplemented by additional ethical and legal observations, these presentations form the basis for the following discussion.
This article examines the role of two distinct forms of analogy in moral discourse. The use of analogy in moral discourse. The use of analogy in abortion debates in used as an example of the dominance of analogy in applied ethics.
The human life span has been extended considerably, and among the very old, women outnumber men by a large margin. Thus, the aging society cannot be adequately addressed without taking into account the experience of women in specific. This article focuses on women as caregivers for aging parents. It critically assesses what some women philosophers are saying about the basis and limits of these caregiving duties.
The emphasis on intra-family caregiving that prevailed from ancient until relatively recent times, in both philosophy and practice, was substantially displaced under the influence of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment by an emphasis on individual independence. The ethics of familial relationships ceased to be at the center of philosophical interest. A consequence was growing inattention to the social conditions and practical arrangements needed to support family efforts to take care of the very young, the very old, the physically or mentally ill (...) or disabled, and others in need of care. The myth of the self-sufficient family must be exploded to permit the development of a public policy that will make such support possible. (shrink)