Scripture is somehow normative for any bioethic that would be Christian. There are problems, however, both with Scripture and with those who read Scripture. Methodological reflection is necessary. Scripture must be read humbly and in Christian community. It must be read not as a timeless code but as the story of God and of our lives. That story moves from creation to a new creation. At the center of the Christian story are the stories of Jesus of Nazareth as healer, (...) preacher of good news to the poor, and sufferer. The story shapes character and conduct and enables communal discernment. (shrink)
The article sorts through some uses of the phrase "playing God," finding that the phrase does not so much state a principle as invoke a perspective, a perspective from which scientific and technological innovations are assessed. It suggests the relevance of a perspective in which "God" is taken seriously and "play" playfully. Keywords: genetic engineering, playing God CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
The article begins with a summary of Jeffrey Bishop’s The Anticipatory Corpse. Bishop traces the malady of contemporary medicine to its reliance on the corpse as the “epistemologically normative body” and its “metaphysics of efficient causation.” He displays care for the dying as symptomatic of medicine’s malady. He closes the book with the provocative question of whether “only theology can save medicine.” The article then turns to the theology of John Calvin as a possible resource for the re-imagining of medicine, (...) for the revision of its epistemology and metaphysics, and for reforming care for the dying. Calvin’s epistemology, as developed by “Reformed epistemology,” is examined as a response to medicine’s epistemology and metaphysics. Four points are emphasized: 1) that faith is knowledge, that there is no divide between faith and knowledge; 2) that faith’s knowledge is properly basic, providing the context and standard for all knowing; 3) that faith’s knowledge is intimately related to the moral life; and 4) that faith’s knowledge is therapeutic for medicine’s malady and can provide remedies for what Bishop regards as symptomatic of its malady. (shrink)
In writing this paper I am reminded of a conference that I once attended. On that panel, the Jewish scholar spoke first. he began, and he gave a wonderful talk full of references to the legal rulings and stories of the Jewish tradition. Then the Catholic priest spoke. he began, and he gave a wonderful talk carefully attentive to the moral tradition of the Catholic Church. Finally, a Protestant spoke. he began, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but (...) now I find myself in a similar situation. (shrink)
The paper examines the roles of manager and therapist as formed by an emotivist culture, by a recognition of tragedy, and by a Christian narrative. The Christian story provides resources to resist an emotivist culture, to cope with tragedy, and to reform the roles of manager and therapist. The context for the examination is provided by reflection about the development of a mission statement for Pine Rest Christian Hospital.
Jesus was a teacher. That's not all he was, but he was surely that. This essay examines Jesus as a moral teacher who selectively retrieved the moral traditions of apocalypse, wisdom, and Torah. He taught as a seer, a sage, and a scribe. Through a ludicrously anachronistic thought experiment—convening a first-century tenure review committee—it will become clear that the apocalyptic tradition was preeminent in Jesus's teaching, giving shape to how he employed the wisdom and legal traditions. Although the decision about (...) Jesus's tenure is shown ultimately to rest in God's hands rather than any human office or institution, lessons are drawn from Jesus as a moral teacher for the vocation of all those who teach Christian ethics. (shrink)
The structure of traditional fiction is essentially linear or serial. No matter how complex a given work may be, it presents information to its reader successively, one element at a time, in a sequence determined by its author. By contrast, interactive fiction is parallel in structure or, more accurately, dendritic or tree-shaped. Not one, but several possible courses of action are open to the reader. Further, which one actually happens depends largely, though not exclusively, upon the reader’s own choices. To (...) be sure, the author is still in overall control, since it is she who has set up the particular nexus of events, but the route up the narrative tree, the actual sequence of events, is generally affected, if not completely determined, by the reader’s responses to that particular reader’s specific situation. In an adventure, the sequence of action frequently depends upon the reader’s decision to go in one geographical direction rather than another. In the eliza sample, the content of the “story” depends on such particulars as whether this reader has a brother or not, whether she fears her father, and why she has consulted the terminal. In general, the text presented to the eliza-reader depends on what that reader has already said and how the computer has interpreted and stored it, and this is generally true of interactive fiction.Further, interactive fiction is, in principle , open-ended—infinite. A conversation with eliza could go on for as long as one with Woody Allen’s psychoanalyst—in principle, forever. It has no necessary terminus. The program will go one writing texts and answers on the screen as long as the reader or player chooses to supply responses. Further, the computer can act as a metafictional narrator like John Barth or Thomas Pynchon who can create a story within a story or a story that generates another story within itself which generates another story within itself and so on, fictions dizzying and dazzling. One senses one’s essential humanity wobbling in the midst of the infinite paradoxes of existence and meaning. Anthony J. Niesz, assistant professor of German at Yale University, is the author of Dramaturgy in German Drama: From Gryphius to Goethe . He is interested in the phenomenon of the meta-theater, especially in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century German drama, as well as in the literature and cultural policies of the German Democratic Republic. Norman N. Holland is Milbauer Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida. He is the author of Laughing and The I. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that exploitation is unjust; some think it is part of the very meaning of the word ‘exploitation’ that it is unjust. Those who think this will suppose that the just society has to be one in which people do not exploit one another, at least on a large scale. I will argue that exploitation is not unjust by definition, and that a society might be fundamentally just while nevertheless being pervasively exploitative. I do think that exploitation (...) is nearly always a bad thing, and wul try to identify the moral belief which makes most of us think it is. But I will argue that its badness does not always consist in its being unjust. (shrink)
The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Walter Gilbert described the mapping and sequencing of the human genome as “the grail of molecular biology.” The implication, endorsed by enthusiasts for the new genetics, is that possessing a comprehensive knowledge of human genetics, like possessing the Holy Grail, will give us miraculous powers to heal the sick, and to reduce human suffering and disabilities. Indeed, the rhetoric invoked to garner public support for the Human Genome Project appears to appeal to the best of (...) the Western tradition's enthusiasm for progress: the idea of improving human lives through the practical application of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that Quine's principal argument for the Indeterminacy of Translation requires an untenably strong account of the underdetermination of theories by evidence, namely that that two theories may be compatible with all possible evidence for them and yet incompatible with each other. In this article, I argue that Quine's conclusion that translation is indeterminate can be based upon the weaker, uncontroversial conception of theoretical underdetermination, in conjunction with a weak reading of the ‘Gavagai’ argument which establishes the (...) underdetermination of the sense and reference of subsentential terms. If underdetermination is considered to be a widespread phenomenon in science, or in inductive reasoning more generally, then the Indeterminacy of Translation will be widespread too. Finally, I briefly consider two issues concerning the scope of this conclusion about the Indeterminacy of Translation: first, whether the argument presupposes behaviourism; and second, whether indeterminacy is restricted to the case of radical translation. I argue that the answer to both these questions is negative, and thus that the thesis of semantic indeterminacy remains relevant to those who disagree with Quine about some issues concerning the nature of mind and language. (shrink)
I review Amy Allen's Book: The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (2016) as part of a Review Symposium: -/- In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School critical theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual (...) reading of the thinkers she engages with. In what follows I will state why this book makes a central contribution to contemporary critical theory (in the wider sense), after which I pose a few questions. These questions are not meant to prove that there are any serious problems with her argumentation. Rather, they are meant in the spirit of dialogue and to allow her to further elaborate her work for the audience... (shrink)
The aim of this paper will be to show that certain strongly realist forms of scientific realism are either misguided or misnamed. I will argue that, in the case of a range of robustly realist formulations of scientific realism, the ‘scientific’ and the ‘realism’ are in significant philosophical and methodological conflict with each other; in particular, that there is a tension between the actual subject matter and methods of science on the one hand, and the realists' metaphysical claims about which (...) categories of entities the world contains on the other. (shrink)
In this book, Allen Wood investigates Kant's conception of ethical theory, using it to develop a viable approach to the rights and moral duties of human beings. By remaining closer to Kant's own view of the aims of ethics, Wood's understanding of Kantian ethics differs from the received 'constructivist' interpretation, especially on such matters as the ground and function of ethical principles, the nature of ethical reasoning and autonomy as the ground of ethics. Wood does not hesitate to criticize (...) and modify Kant's conclusions when they seem inconsistent with his basic principles or fail to make the best use of the resources Kantian principles make available. Of special interest are the book's treatment of such topics as freedom of the will, the state's role in securing economic justice, sexual morality, the justification of punishment, and the prohibition on lying. (shrink)
The idea of absolute goodness and the idea of an absolute requitement tend nowadays to be viewed with suspicion in the world of English-speaking philosophy. The tendency is well rooted and has not just arisen by osmosis from the temper of the times. There are various lines of thought, all of them attractive, by which a recent or contemporary academic practitioner of the subject could have been induced into scepticism about an ethics of absolute conceptions.