In this important study, first published in 1989, Thomas Halper examines the policies and practices of the British National Health Services in treating kidney disease. Technological advances since the 1960s mean that end-stage renal disease, an otherwise fatal condition, can usually be treated successfully. In Britain, however, the availability of resources necessary for treatment has been limited in past years and many people have gone untreated. Professor Halper discusses a number of issues, both ethical and political, that arise (...) from having to choose who does and does not get treated. These issues include: the right to health care; the interaction between political demands, government agencies, and public policy; the promise of technology in a society where resources are scarce; and duties owed the individual by the community. The book draws on numerous personal accounts, often moving or unintentionally revealing, and should prove interesting to professionals and students with an interest in philosophy, health care, public health, public policy and British politics. (shrink)
This paper argues against the continued practice of Confucian familism, even in its moderate form, in East Asian hospitals. According to moderate familism, a physician acting in concert with the patient's family may withhold diagnostic information from the patient, and may give it to the patient's family members without her prior approval. There are two main approaches to defend moderate familism: one argues that it can uphold patient's autonomy and protect her best interests; the other appeals to cultural relativism by (...) construing the principle of ‘family autonomy’ to be incommensurable with that of individual autonomy. We respond to the first approach by explaining how the familist arguments either depend on some unreasonable assumptions or simply fail to articulate. The critique of the second approach is based on our recent survey showing that there is no dichotomy of relevant values between the East and the West: we believe that the result can effectively block the familist's reliance on certain traditional or cultural values to explain their resistance to the incorporation of pluralist values. Despite our disagreement with familism, we consider the Eastern emphasis on the family to be conducive to the communication between patient, family members and medical personnel, which is indispensible to the patient's well being and autonomy. We conclude that respect for patient autonomy is perfectly consistent with the involvement of the family in making medical decision as long as the family plays a merely consultant role. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explain how to design and teach a course that meets the special requirements of Freshman Seminar programs by using feature films to examine philosophical themes. Two such courses are discussed. By organizing each course around a theme, the teacher can use the films to illustrate and, sometimes, critique philosophical positions that she elaborates. Discussing the films, the students develop analytical and interpretive skills important for more rigorous philosophy courses as well as for work (...) in other disciplines. (shrink)
A.1. Some philosophers, including Tarski and Russell, have concluded from a study of various versions of the Liar Paradox ‘that there must be a hierarchy of languages, and that the words “true” and “false”, as applied to statements in any given language, are themselves words belonging to a language of higher order’. In his famous essay on truth Tarski claimed that ‘colloquial’ language is inconsistent as a result of its property of ‘universality’: that is, whatever can be said at all (...) can in principle be said in it, with an extended vocabularly if necessary. Thus, in English we can talk about English expressions, what they denote, what they say, whether what they say is true or false, and so on: English contains its own metalanguage. This universality enables us to construct sentences which say of themselves that they are false, and by applying the law of excluded middle to them we easily derive a contradiction. Tarski concludes that ‘these antinomies seem to provide a proof that every language which is universal in the above sense, and for which the normal laws of logic hold, must be inconsistent’ . He then proposes to avoid such contradictions by the use of a hierarchy of languages such that statements about any one language can be made only in a different language at a higher level. (shrink)
FEW PHILOSOPHERS, NONE APPROACHING HIS STATURE, would agree with Hegel’s claim that we have an ethical duty to marry. More commonly, philosophers sanction marriage as ethically permissible, as Kant does, or even, at least in recent years, reject marriage as ethically illegitimate. Hegel’s view reflects his understanding of the family as a moral institution, that is, an institution in which mere participation is a moral act and, therefore, obligatory. The notion that the family is or, at least, is supposed to (...) be moral has become so deeply ingrained that it may sound perverse to suppose that its morality needs any sort of justification; on the other hand, it is difficult to understand why marriage and family should be obligatory. The first aim of this paper is to answer the question, why does Hegel think that marriage is a moral institution that we have a duty to enter? The issue here is not how to recover or preserve “family values” but why the family has any value at all morally. To refine the issue, I will contrast Hegel’s approach with that of someone who, surprisingly, denies the intrinsic moral value of the family, Aristotle. (shrink)
Mauro Zonta's long awaited work Il Commento medio di Averroè alla Metafisica di Aristotele nella tradizione ebraica is really three books in one: a historical and philological account of the two medieval Hebrew translations of Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics and editions of both translations. The Arabic of Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics is not extant apart from a few fragments (see vol. 1, pp. 13-5). Nor is there a direct Latin translation of the Arabic—indeed, Zonta states that (...) there is no evidence of reliable citations of the work by any Latin authors (vol. 1, p. 18). Zonta's book, then, presents the only way of accessing Averroes' monumental work in its .. (shrink)
The last chapter of Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise (TTP) is a brief for freedom of religion. In our enthusiasm for Spinoza's conclusion it is easy to overlook the blatant contradiction between this thesis and the central claim of the immediately preceding chapter that "right over matters of religion is vested entirely in the sovereign." There Spinoza emphasizes the necessity that there be but one sovereign in the state and the threat that autonomous religious authorities would pose to the authority of this (...) sovereign. This last claim is, in turn, bolstered by his analysis of the deficiencies of the Hebrew state in the chapter before, chapter 18, according to which it was the usurpation of political authority by priests that ultimately undermined the state. In other words, in chapters 18 and 19, Spinoza makes the case for the strict political control of religion only to conclude his treatise by arguing, in chapter 20, that the purpose of the state is, in reality, freedom and that that freedom manifests itself, in part, in freedom of religion. How could this latter not pose exactly the sort of threat to the sovereign and the state that leads Spinoza to insist on the sovereign's absolute control of religion? How can Spinoza insist that religion be both free and controlled by the state? This paper aims to answer this question and, in the process, explains a number of troubling features of the Theological-Political Treatise. (shrink)
For Aristotle and other Greek thinkers, philosophy is itself a rethinking. There are other branches of knowledge, like medicine and mathematics, that each grasp some particular subject matter. Since philosophy or, as it has come to be called, metaphysics is the highest science, its job is to grasp somehow all the other sciences and all their subjects. If the science of a subject requires a type of thinking proper to the subject, then the science of that science requires a rethinking (...) of this and all other subjects. In this paper I explore some of Aristotle’s modes of rethinking philosophy. I am interested in the connection between rethinking philosophy and the kinds of philosophical principles that emerge from this rethinking. I argue that reflexive principles are implicit in rethinking but that theyare projected onto things for systematic reasons. Because my time is short, my discussion is limited to broad brush strokes, but there are so many textual details and so much that is contentious about them that a broad sketch may be the best way to set out my point. It is plausible to proceed this way because Aristotle’s main themes are often much clearer than the details of his discussions and my argument relies only on the broad lines of his organization. (shrink)
IT IS well-known that Plato and Aristotle disagree on the possibility of knowledge of nature. Plato maintains that knowledge, in contrast with belief, is never mistaken, that the objects of knowledge are always the same and never becoming, and that what we sense is always becoming. He concludes that knowledge is possible only of objects that are unchanging and separate from sensibles, i.e., the forms. Aristotle rejects this conclusion and recognizes knowledge of sensibles. Surprisingly, though, he accepts Plato's assumptions. He (...) too maintains that knowledge is not sometimes true and sometimes false, but always true ; he distinguishes the sensibles from the unchanging eternal beings ; and he asserts that the objects of knowledge "always are or are for the most part", and occasionally he even claims that they cannot be otherwise. The problem is, how can Aristotle accept Plato's assumptions about the nature and objects of knowledge and still maintain that knowledge of nature is possible? (shrink)
Medications of choice, necessary supplies, and evidence-based health care now seem like luxuries. The contrast between my experience at a well-funded health unit and the Lev El Lev (“heart to heart”) African Refugee Clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel, is staggering. The complex personal, social, health, psychological, educational, and economic difficulties create a unique ethical environment for the health care provider.
Jacob Klein raises two important questions about Aristotle’s account of number: (1) How does the intellect come to grasp a sensible as an intelligible unit? (2) What makes a collection of these intelligible units into one number? His answer to both questions is “abstraction.” First, we abstract (or, better, disregard) a thing’s sensible characteristics to grasp it as a noetic unit. Second, after counting like things, we again disregard their other characteristics and grasp the group as a noetic entity composed (...) of “pure” units. As Klein explains them, Aristotle’s numbers are each “heaps” of counted units; in contrast, each of Plato’s numbers is one. This paper argues that Klein is right to understand a noetic unit existing in the sensible entity, but that his answer to the second question is not consonant with Aristotle’s insistence that Plato cannot account for the unity of a number, whereas he can. Slightly modifying Klein’s analysis, I show that Aristotle’s numbers are each one. (shrink)
The Purpose of this paper is to ask how far Locke can be said to have anticipated modern theories of number, particularly the intuitionist theory of Brouwer and Heyting. It has in mind Mr Edward E. Dawson's statement that Locke's account of number was not merely ‘a good effort in his own day’ but that ‘what Locke had to say really was quite fundamental, and a good deal of modern mathematics assumes his position, either explicitly or implicitly’. Mr Dawson thinks (...) that some of the central notions of the intuitionist theory are already present in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding , II, xvi, ‘Of Number’. We should like to examine the view. (shrink)
Drawing principally on the Symposium, this paper argues that humor in Plato’s dialogues serves two serious purposes. First, Plato uses puns and other devices to disarm the reader’s defenses and thereby allow her to consider philosophical ideas that she would otherwise dismiss. Second, insofar as human beings can only be understood through unchanging forms that we fail to attain, our lives are discontinuous and only partly intelligible. Since, though, the discontinuity between expectation and actual occurrence is the basis for humor, (...) Plato can use humor to express who we are as human beings. (shrink)
This paper will suggest a mapping for human dynamics to see where emerging digital technology currently and could further affect the dynamics of the human, technological and natural, and the cultural forms that define them. Emerging technology will be seen to reveal and surpass the limitations of human measures built on human abilities and perception. and the social structures that are derived from them. The formation of this conceptual mapping is based on the premise that digital technology has the ability (...) to better relay and hence refine dynamics working at points where culture is created and necessitated in our perception of a shared reality. Technology thus alleviates the layering, representation, labelling, and reification notions of culture that are based in human perceptual limitations. Information as referential will be seen against the tendency of technology to offer succinct mediation and direct actions as a format for any change and application with refined cultural constructions. The mapping presents a notion of homeostasis or more bereft of balance at the point where the proximal dynamics of the unit, that is, the individual, is closely supported by the technology with a changing orientation to the dynamics of a natural environment. The notion of a person as an individual is also reconsidered in terms of technology and how this changing definition is part of how we conceptualize a balanced world. Nonlinear mapping rendered in a complex will be introduced to align these mixed dynamics. Complex is here defined as a concurrence of dynamics evident in shifts of change that act as a whole and where each action affects the whole. As measures are revealed so, too, will be the source of notions of linearity and nonlinearity; mapping; point of view as a basis of complexity; and evolutionary theory as a function of a labeling of cultural dynamics. (shrink)
Warren and Brandeis ' tort against invasion of privacy had chiefly a social goal: to enlist the courts to reinforce the norm of civility. Years later in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court announced a constitutional right of privacy that was personal in focus. Here and in subsequent rulings on abortion and the " right to die," it became apparent that Warren and Brandeis ' Victorian " right to be let alone" had metamorphosed into a right to autonomy, whose amoeboid (...) contours made prediction or even description a tricky business. But privacy is an unsatisfactory proxy for autonomy, and perhaps for this reason has dwindled in importance as a rationale in these areas. Keywords: abortion, autonomy, Charles Warren, Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, Griswold v. Connecticut, In re Quinlan, Louis Brandeis, privacy, right to die, Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Loux sets the stage with a discussion of ousia in the Categories. There, he claims, Aristotle maintained that "basic subjects" are ontologically fundamental, and the essence of each such subject is its species. Loux thinks that Aristotle was tacitly committed to the "intersection" of these two, which he terms the "unanalyzability principle": An ousia's falling under its species is a "primitive... fact about it... not susceptible of further ontological analysis".