This essay examines several recent philosophical attempts to define ‘disease’. Two prominent ones are considered in detail, an objective approach by Christopher Boorse and a normative approach by Caroline Whitbeck. Both are found to be inadequate for a variety of reasons, though Whitbeck's is superior because of her careful preliminary distinctions and because of its normative approach which is more nearly in accord with medical and lay usage. The paper concludes with a discussion of the nature of such efforts at (...) definition and suggests that their limitations are due both to the nature of our language and concepts in general, and to the nature of medicine in particular. It is the practical and changing character of medicine and its language that frustrates the efforts of philosophers to formulate such definitions. Keywords: disease, definition CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In a wide-ranging inquiry Richard W. Miller provides new resources for coping with the most troubling types of moral conflict: disagreements in moral conviction, conflicting interests, and the tension between conscience and desires. Drawing on most fields in philosophy and the social sciences, including his previous work in the philosophy of science, he presents an account of our access to moral truth, and, within this framework, develops a theory of justice and an assessment of the role of morality in (...) rational choice. In Miller's view, we are often in a position to claim that our moral judgments are true descriptions of moral facts. But others, relying on contrary ways of moral learning, would reject truths that we are in a position to assert, in dissent that does not depend on irrationality or ignorance of relevant evidence or arguments. With this mixed verdict on moral realism, Miller challenges many received views of rationality, scientific method, and the relation between moral belief and moral choice. In his discussion of justice, Miller defends the adequacy, for modern political choices, of a widely shared demand that institutions be freely and rationally acceptable to all. Drawing on social research and economic theories, he argues that this demand has dramatically egalitarian consequences, even though it is a premise of liberals and conservatives alike. In the final chapters, Miller investigates the role and limits of morality in the choice of conduct, arguing for new perspectives on reason and impartiality. (shrink)
The self-communication of being and the human person’s intellectual vocation to draw it gradually into logos are important themes in the writing of W. Norris Clarke. This paper addresses two related obstacles to understanding the person’s individual essence: (1) the limited intellectual reach of the potential knower, who has no access to another’s subjectivity, (2) the person’s inability to reveal her individual essence in any one act and the need for it to be gradually unfolded. These obstacles can be partially (...) surmounted through motivational narrative, as developed by Arthur Miller, wherein persons describe those actions to which they are uniquely inclined and that bring profound fulfillment. The privileged recipient has rich access into the narrator’s subjectivity and opportunity to see in the story an ontologically stable pattern of motivated behavior that expresses her individual essence. (shrink)
What makes an act of killing morally wrong is not that the act causes loss of life or consciousness but rather that the act causes loss of all remaining abilities. This account implies that it is not even pro tanto morally wrong to kill patients who are universally and irreversibly disabled, because they have no abilities to lose. Applied to vital organ transplantation, this account undermines the dead donor rule and shows how current practices are compatible with morality.
This contribution explores the psychological basis of illusion and the feeling of what is real in relation to a process theory (microgenesis) of mind/brain states. The varieties of illusion and the alterations in the feeling of realness are illustrated in cases of clinical pathology, as well as in everyday life. The basis of illusion does not rest in a comparison of appearance to reality nor in the relation of image to object, since these are antecedent and consequent phases in the (...) same mental state. The study of pathological illusions and hallucinations shows that the feeling of realness in an object depends on its coherence within and across perceptual modalities. Illusion is shown to be not the taking of the phenomenal for the real, but the overlooking of the real in the phenomenal, since all things exist, i.e. are real, as categories of intrinsic relations in the unique mode of their conception. Finally, the implications of the account are discussed in relation to moral conduct, self-realization, acceptance, and the will to enjoy a world of 'brain-born' mental phenomena. (shrink)
Clarifying the essential experiential structures at work in our everyday moral engagements promises both (1) to provide a perspicacious self-understanding, and (2) to significantly contribute to theoretical and practical matters of moral philosophy. Since the phenomenological enterprise is concerned with revealing the a priori structures of experience in general, it is then well positioned to discern the essential structures of moral experience specifically. Phenomenology can therefore significantly contribute to matters pertaining to moral philosophy. In this paper I would like to (...) contribute to the relatively small yet burgeoning field of phenomenological ethics. I endeavour to do so by first identifying and consolidating the basic level of sense-bestowal, and then outlining the a priori structures of volition in order to demonstrate how such phenomenologically discerned structures are required for moral experience. Specifically, in section one I locate moral experience as at the level of meaning that is phenomenologically identified as the life-world, and then vindicate the life-world by illustrating how it is immune to naturalistic rationalisation. By thus both securing the level of meaning that is of concern and importantly delimiting the scope of our analysis, I proceed in section two to relate the volitional analyses of Aristotle, Husserl, and Heidegger. This relation is achieved thanks to a conceptual point of continuity: ‘prohairesis’. By examining the function of this concept (as an intentional structure) and its phenomenological continuity, the ground is then prepared for further phenomenological analyses of the virtues. (shrink)
Microgenesis is a process model of the mind/brain state that has developed out of the study of clinical symptoms that arise with damage to the brain. The microgenetic theory of the mental state provides an account of the neural basis of duration, the present moment, and the replacement of one mental state by the next. The resemblance of this theory to the concepts of momentariness and the replication of points in Buddhist writings is explored here.
United States will question a prospective loan early in the preparation process, And during final deliberation of a loan proposal by the Bank's executive board, it will make comments designed to draw attention to general matters of ...
Conventional medical ethics and the law draw a bright line distinguishing the permitted practice of withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from the forbidden practice of active euthanasia by means of a lethal injection. When clinicians justifiably withdraw life-sustaining treatment, they allow patients to die but do not cause, intend, or have moral responsibility for, the patient's death. In contrast, physicians unjustifiably kill patients whenever they intentionally administer a lethal dose of medication. We argue that the differential moral assessment of these two practices (...) is based on a series of moral fictions – motivated false beliefs that erroneously characterize withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in order to bring accepted end-of-life practices in line with the prevailing moral norm that doctors must never kill patients. When these moral fictions are exposed, it becomes apparent that conventional medical ethics relating to end-of-life decisions is radically mistaken. (shrink)
According to Peter Singer, virtually all of us would be forced by adequate reflection on our own convictions to embrace a radical conclusion about giving. The following principle, he says, is “surely undeniable” -- at least once we reflect on secure convictions concerning rescue, as in his famous case of the drowning toddler.
The recent move to naturalize phenomenology through a mathematical protocol is a significant advance in consciousness research. It enables a new and fruitful level of dialogue between the cognitive sciences and phenomenology of such a nuanced kind that it also prompts advancement in our phenomenological analyses. But precisely what is going on at this point of ‘dialogue’ between phenomenological descriptions and mathematical algorithms, the latter of which are based on dynamical systems theory? It will be shown that what is happening (...) is something more than a mere ‘passing of the baton’ from phenomenology to mathematics. For this sophisticated naturalization to prove a worthy endeavour it must produce more than just correlation, it must prove some form of interrelation to the extent that phenomenology is deterministic. But such interrelational and deterministic requirements are the start of a slippery slope, and it will be argued that this slope only loses more friction once a further demand of formal and precise descriptions is made of phenomenology. Such deterministic and formally precise demands misconstrue phenomenology’s ideal goal of a unification of genuine/originary reason and truth. Not a deductive and definitive discipline, phenomenology is rather from the outset descriptive and critical. Phenomenology’s descriptive beginnings will thus be employed as an essential barrier to the naturalization of phenomenology. (shrink)
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Political choices favoring one''s country or one''s nationality are wrong if they conflict with a principle of universal free acceptability, prohibiting choices that violate every set of rules to which any willing cooperator would want all to conform. Despite its universalism, this principle requires patriotic favoritism in political choices and permits individuals to assert nationalist interests in claims for state aid. But it deprives patriotism and nationalism of any distinctive role in establishing the legitimacy of wars and uprisings. These restrictions (...) are appropriate even if stronger forms of patriotism and nationalism are psychologically indispensable for achieving social goals required for universal free acceptability. (shrink)
In their important paper “Autonomous Agents”, Floridi and Sanders use “levels of abstraction” to argue that computers are or may soon be moral agents. In this paper we use the same levels of abstraction to illuminate differences between human moral agents and computers. In their paper, Floridi and Sanders contributed definitions of autonomy, moral accountability and responsibility, but they have not explored deeply some essential questions that need to be answered by computer scientists who design artificial agents. One such question (...) is, “Can an artificial agent that changes its own programming become so autonomous that the original designer is no longer responsible for the behavior of the artificial agent?” To explore this question, we distinguish between LoA1 (the user view) and LoA2 (the designer view) by exploring the concepts of unmodifiable, modifiable and fully modifiable tables that control artificial agents. We demonstrate that an agent with an unmodifiable table, when viewed at LoA2, distinguishes an artificial agent from a human one. This distinction supports our first counter-claim to Floridi and Sanders, namely, that such an agent is not a moral agent, and the designer bears full responsibility for its behavior. We also demonstrate that even if there is an artificial agent with a fully modifiable table capable of learning* and intentionality* that meets the conditions set by Floridi and Sanders for ascribing moral agency to an artificial agent, the designer retains strong moral responsibility. (shrink)
G. A. Cohen incisively argued that our judgments of social justice should fit our convictions about how to interact with others in our personal lives. Ironically, the ordinary morality of cooperation invoked in his last book undermines his favored principle of equality, and supports John Rawls' reliance on a relevantly impartial choice promoting appropriate fundamental interests as a basis for distributive standards. His further objections to Rawls' account of distributive justice neglect the role of social relations in establishing the proper (...) scope of that impartiality and the moral force of Rawls' taxonomy of non-ideal societies. In contrast, the powerful evocation of goods of community at the end of Cohen's last book points to a genuine inadequacy. Conscientious fellow-citizens must take account of the impact of their political choices on options for sharing and caring. In finding a proper balance between these goods and competing individualist concerns, the original position is of too little use to sustain Rawls' assessment of his conception of justice as complete. In the face of our strong moral convictions about how to live together, both Cohen's luck egalitarianism and Rawls' barriers between aspirations to community and political choice must give way. (shrink)
Floridi and Sanders, seminal work, “On the morality of artificial agents” has catalyzed attention around the moral status of computer systems that perform tasks for humans, effectively acting as “artificial agents.” Floridi and Sanders argue that the class of entities considered moral agents can be expanded to include computers if we adopt the appropriate level of abstraction. In this paper we argue that the move to distinguish levels of abstraction is far from decisive on this issue. We also argue that (...) adopting certain levels of abstraction out of context can be dangerous when the level of abstraction obscures the humans who constitute computer systems. We arrive at this critique of Floridi and Sanders by examining the debate over the moral status of computer systems using the notion of interpretive flexibility. We frame the debate as a struggle over the meaning and significance of computer systems that behave independently, and not as a debate about the ‘true’ status of autonomous systems. Our analysis leads to the conclusion that while levels of abstraction are useful for particular purposes, when it comes to agency and responsibility, computer systems should be conceptualized and identified in ways that keep them tethered to the humans who create and deploy them. (shrink)
Transplantation of vital organs has been premised ethically and legally on "the dead donor rule" (DDR)—the requirement that donors are determined to be dead before these organs are procured. Nevertheless, scholars have argued cogently that donors of vital organs, including those diagnosed as "brain dead" and those declared dead according to cardiopulmonary criteria, are not in fact dead at the time that vital organs are being procured. In this article, we challenge the normative rationale for the DDR by rejecting the (...) underlying premise that it is necessarily wrong for physicians to cause the death of patients and the claim that abandoning this rule would exploit vulnerable patients. We contend that it is ethical to procure vital organs from living patients sustained on life support prior to treatment withdrawal, provided that there is valid consent for both withdrawing treatment and organ donation. However, the conservatism of medical ethics and practical concerns make it doubtful that the DDR will be abandoned in the near future. This leaves the current practice of organ transplantation based on the "moral fiction" that donors are dead when vital organs are procured. (shrink)
The goal of our target article was to review a number of emerging facts about the effects of limbic damage on memory in humans and animals, and about divisions within recognition memory in humans. We then argued that this information can be synthesized to produce a new view of the substrates of episodic memory. The key pathway in this system is from the hippocampus to the anterior thalamic nuclei. There seems to be a general agreement that the importance of this (...) pathway has previously been underestimated and that it warrants further study. At the same time, a number of key questions remain. These concern the relationship of this system to another temporal-lobe/diencephalic system that contributes to recognition, and the relationship of these systems to prefrontal cortex activity. (shrink)
Our objective is to understand how parents and children perceive their roles in decision making about research participation. Forty-five children (ages 4-15 years) with or without a chronic condition and 21 parents were the participants. A semistructured interview assessed perceptions of up to 4 hypothetical research scenarios with varying levels of risk, benefit, and complexity. Children were also administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition, to assess verbal ability, as a proxy for the child's cognitive development. The audiotaped interviews (...) were transcribed and analyzed for themes related to parent and child decision-making roles. Both parents and children varied in their perceptions of decision-making roles. Child perceptions of parental influence on decision making as knowledge-based increased with cognitive development, whereas perceptions of parental influence as power-based decreased. Both children and parents commented that they would collaborate with each other when making decisions. Collaborative decision making appeared to increase with cognitive development. These findings suggest that approaches to child assent and parent permission should consider the parent-child relationship and how children and families typically make decisions. Future research is necessary to explain variation in the process of research decision making across children and families, explore the role of collaboration on children's decision-making skills, and understand developmental trajectories and mechanisms related to research decision making. (shrink)
Past criticisms to the contrary, methodological individualism in the social sciences is neither trivial nor obviously false. In the style of Weber's sociology, it restricts the ultimate explanatory repertoire of social science to agents' reasons for action. Although this restriction is not obviously false, it ought not to be accepted, at present, as a regulative principle. It excludes, as too far-fetched to merit investigation, certain hypotheses concerning the influence of objective interests on large-scale social phenomena. And these hypotheses, in fact, (...) merit empirical consideration. The attractiveness of methodological individualism as a regulative principle depends on two independent confusions, the conflation of an agent's reasons for action with the beliefs, needs, desires, or goals which are the reasons why he acted as he did, and the identification of explaining a phenomenon and describing its causes. (shrink)
. Dzik  gives a direct proof of the axiom of choice from the generalized Lindenbaum extension theorem LET. The converse is part of every decent logical education. Inspection of Dzik’s proof shows that its premise let attributes a very special version of the Lindenbaum extension property to a very special class of deductive systems, here called Dzik systems. The problem therefore arises of giving a direct proof, not using the axiom of choice, of the conditional . A partial solution (...) is provided. (shrink)
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been the subject of intense interest as a locus of cognitive control. Several computational models have been proposed to account for a range of effects, including error detection, conflict monitoring, error likelihood prediction, and numerous other effects observed with single-unit neurophysiology, fMRI, and lesion studies. Here, we review the state of computational models of cognitive control and offer a new theoretical synthesis of the mPFC as signaling response–outcome predictions. This new synthesis has two interacting (...) components. The first component learns to predict the various possible outcomes of a planned action, and the second component detects discrepancies between the actual and intended responses; the detected discrepancies in turn update the outcome predictions. This single construct is consistent with a wide array of performance monitoring effects in mPFC and suggests a unifying account of the cognitive role of medial PFC in performance monitoring. (shrink)
To many who develop and use free software, the GNU General Public License represents an embodiment of the meaning of free software. In this paper we examine the definition and meaning of free software in the context of three events surrounding the GNU General Public License. We use a case involving the GPU software project to establish the importance of Freedom 0 in the meaning of free software. We analyze version 3 of the GNU General Public License and conclude that (...) although a credible case can be made that the added restrictions are consistent with the definition of free software, the case requires subtle arguments. Strong arguments against the added restrictions are less subtle, and may therefore be more convincing to many users and developers. We also analyze the Affero General Public License and conclude that it is inconsistent with the definition of free software. (shrink)
We often legitimately ascribe reality both to social and to natural kinds. But the bases for these ascriptions are not entirely the same. In both cases, reality is typically determined by what characterizations of causal factors are indispensable to adequate explanation. Nonetheless, a psychological role as part of an identity that instances embrace is sometimes, distinctively, a condition for ascribing reality to a social kind. Although such assessments of reality can be construed as employing a standard of causal activity shared (...) with natural science, they reveal a distinctive moral dimension in the bases for ascribing reality to social kinds. (shrink)
This research applies the impression management theory of exemplification in an accounting study by identifying and measuring differences in both auditor and public perceptions of exemplary behaviors. The auditors were divided into two groups, one of which reported self-perceptions (A-S) while the other group reported their perceptions of a typical auditor (A-O). There were two separate public groups, which gave their perceptions of a typical auditor and were divided based on their levels of accounting sophistication. The more sophisticated public group (...) was comprised of bank loan officers (LO) while the less sophisticated public group consisted of investment club members (IC). Comparisons were made on 30 behaviors contained in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, which served as the basis for the research instrument. Profile analysis, a special form of MANOVA technique, was used to analyze the results. A-S perceptions were the highest of the four treatment levels and were significantly higher (i.e., more exemplary) than the perceptions of both the A-O and LO groups. The more sophisticated user group (LO) provided the lowest perceptions of the four treatment levels. For at least four of the six measures, the LO treatment group perceived the typical auditor to be less exemplary than both the IC and A-O treatments. There were no differences in perceptions between the A-O group and IC. Additional analysis revealed that auditors overrated the degree to which the public relied on financial statements. However, both public groups reported a reasonably high level of reliance on financial statements when making decisions. (shrink)
Define z to be the smallest cardinality of a function f: X → Y with X. Y ⊆ 2ω such that there is no Borel function g ⊇ f. In this paper we prove that it is relatively consistent with ZFC to have b < z where b is, as usual, smallest cardinality of an unbounded family in ωω. This answers a question raised by Zapletal. We also show that it is relatively consistent with ZFC that there exists X ⊆ (...) 2ω such that the Borel order of X is bounded but there exists a relatively analytic subset of X which is not relatively coanalytic. This answers a question of Mauldin. (shrink)