Mason and McCall Smith's classic textbook discusses the relationship of medical practice and ethics with the operation of the law. The subjects covered include natural and assisted reproduction, the impact of modern genetics on medicine, medical confidentiality, consent to medical treatment, the use of resources and problems surrounding death in the new medical era. It is of significance to anyone with an interest in the ethical and legal practice of medicine.
The difficulty of ascribing metaphysical predicates such as absoluteness, necessity and perfection to God while simultaneously ascribing personal predicates such as compassion, freedom and agency has often been noted. Most efforts to resolve this dilemma have tended to fall into one of three categories: a merely verbal solution such as that God is ‘compassionate in terms of our experience but…not so in terms of [God's] own’; the univocal and unqualified ascription of the metaphysical predicates to God coupled with equivocation with (...) respect to the personal predicates which results in the final elimination of the latter; the fideistic denial that intelligible language is applicable to God. Unfortunately, none of these is satisfactory. The first solution is seen to be but a version of the second, and it is arguable that the second is, as Feuerbach contends, tantamount to a ‘subtle, disguised atheism’, since ‘to deny all the qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being himself’ or, alternatively, ‘an existence in general, an existence without qualities, is an insipidity, an absurdity’. The third ‘solution’ is no better and is hardly more than an evasive tactic. (shrink)
Elinor Mason draws on ethics and responsibility theory to present a pluralistic view of both wrongness and blameworthiness. Mason argues that our moral concepts, rightness and wrongness, must be connected to our responsibility concepts. But the connection is not simple. She identifies three different ways to be blameworthy, corresponding to different ways of acting wrongly. The paradigmatic way to be blameworthy is to act subjectively wrongly. Mason argues for an account of subjective obligation that is connected to (...) the notion of trying - to act rightly is try to do well by morality, to act wrongly (and to be blameworthy) is to fail to try hard enough. Trying involves understanding morality, those who do not grasp morality are in a different category. So agents might also be blameworthy for being oriented away from what really matters. In that case, agents are blameworthy in a different sense, the detached sense. Finally, we can become blameworthy by taking responsibility in cases where our agency is ambiguous. In the final section, Mason gives us an account of taking responsibility and agues that that is an important art of our responsibility practices. (shrink)
This collection of previously unpublished essays addresses a number of issues arising out of philosophical controversies over the possibility of genuine moral dilemmas. Issues addressed include the form of a moral dilemma; the paradoxes a moral dilemma is said to entail; the question of whether a moral dilemma must exhibit inconsistency; the role of intractable circumstances in occasioning moral dilemmas; and the plausibility of supposing that there might be rational ways of addressing moral dilemmas in practice. The contributors, writing from (...) a number of widely differing points of view, include Simon Blackburn, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Alan Donagan, Terrance McConnell, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Mary Mothersill, Norman Dahl, David Brink, Peter Railton, Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Christopher Gowans, and H.E. Mason. (shrink)
James Lenman argues that consequentialism fails as a moral theory because it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of our actions. I agree that it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of actions, but argue that this does not count as a strike against consequentialism. I focus on the principle of indifference, which tells us to treat unforeseeable consequences as cancelling each other out, and hence value-neutral. I argue that though we cannot defend this principle independently, we cannot (...) do without it in practical rationality. Thus abandoning the principle of indifference would involve abandoning all of rationality, not just consequentialist reasoning. I suggest that we should understand the principle as P. F. Strawson understands inductive reasoning – as being part of rationality. Correspondence:c1 Elinor.Mason@colorado.edu. (shrink)
_Plato_ explores the thought of a man who, in a literary career of fifty years, generated ideas that have pervaded history from antiquity to today. After laying out the basics of Plato’s intellectual development and considering his complex relationship with Socrates, Andrew Mason offers a thematic approach to help readers navigate through an often challenging body of work. Throughout, this concise volume traces the development of continuing themes in Plato’s dialogues and considers the relevance of these themes for modern (...) thought. Drawing on recent scholarship, this engaging introduction offers the ideal, up-to-date overview of a figure who remains essential reading in western history and philosophy. (shrink)
Marilyn Mason, education officer of the British Humanist Association, asks whether an adequate moral education must involve religion, and reflects on the way that attitudes to moral education have changed over the last fifty years.
: Focusing on a textbook controversy that emerged in Kanawha County, West Virginia, in 1974, Mason explores the discursive production of white ethnicity in the rhetorical, visual, and political strategies used during an organized protest against the new multicultural curriculum adopted by the local school board. What the author finds puzzling is the ways in which these productions of "soul" and "nation" enabled unlikely political alliances between national conservative elites and the local, historically left-leaning working class protesters. The author (...) argues that "soul" is reproduced through racialized discourse signifying the spiritual and ethnic purity of whiteness, the consolidation of white ethnicity, and the spirit of white resistance, articulated through campaigns to save children from future captivity in an "alien" world. Through this on-site theoretical analysis, the author demonstrates how a right-wing narrative of victimhood facilitates the reproduction of ethnic identification among the protesters, whose whiteness apparently can be jeopardized by reading the "wrong" books. (shrink)
Mason on the question: "What are the most important unsolved questions in political philosophy and/or related disciplines and what are the prospects for progress?" Political philosophy rarely, if ever, solves problems once and for all. Old problems usually persist despite attempts to resolve them, and even when they are successfully resolved, new ones arise from the ashes of the old. In my view, however, it would be a mistake to conclude from this that political philosophy makes no progress. We (...) should not measure progress in terms of problems solved or questions answered, but rather in terms of improved understanding. Progress occurs though clarifying the question that is being asked and by coming to a better understanding of which answers to that question are coherent. I think considerable progress has been made in the study of justice, in the sense that we understand the issues much better, though there are still many that we do not understand very well, for example, issues to do with the moral significance of national or state boundaries, and the issue of when justice requires people to bear the costs of their behaviour. I do not doubt that progress, in the sense of improved understanding, will be made on these issues as they come to the forefront of political philosophy. (shrink)
Focusing on a textbook controversy that emerged in Kanawha County, West Virginia, in 1974, Mason explores the discursive production of white ethnicity in the rhetorical, visual, and political strategies used during an organized protest against the new multicultural curriculum adopted by the local school board. What the author finds puzzling is the ways in which these productions of "soul" and "nation" enabled unlikely political alliances between national conservative elites and the local, historically left-leaning working class protesters. The author argues (...) that "soul" is reproduced through racialized discourse signifying the spiritual and ethnic purity of whiteness, the consolidation of white ethnicity, and the spirit of white resistance, articulated through campaigns to save children from future captivity in an "alien" world. Through this on-site theoretical analysis, the author demonstrates how a right-wing narrative of victimhood facilitates the reproduction of ethnic identification among the protesters, whose whiteness apparently can be jeopardized by reading the "wrong" books. (shrink)
Jeffrey A. Mason has written an informative, accessible guide to today's most popular form of philosophical writing, the journal-length essay. The Philosopher's Address does what no other book on the market has attempted: it takes the reader behind the scenes of the writing process to expose the rhetorical underpinnings of philosophical texts. Mason argues that readers need to understand why philosophical writing is constructed as it is, and to be aware of the rhetorical devices by which authors seek (...) to persuade them if they are to engage fully with these texts. This book is intended for a broad audience of specialists and students alike. Professional scholars will appreciate Mason's astute discussion of current trends within analytic philosophy, while students will benefit greatly from his comprehensive understanding of the social context in which philosophical discourse is produced, its various and competing schools of thought, and the theoretical concepts that inform them. (shrink)
This new edition of Law and Medical Ethics continues to chart the ever-widening field that the topics cover. The interplay between the health caring professions and the public during the period intervening since the last edition has, perhaps, been mainly dominated by wide-ranging changes in the administration of the National Health Service and of the professions themselves but these have been paralleled by important developments in medical jurisprudence.
: This response seeks to pick up on the key questions and concerns raised by Nancy C. M. Hartsock and Karen Houle in their critiques of The Spectacle of Violence. I mold my response around two emotions that are never far from the question of violence: fear and hope. Is it fear of ambiguity that stops us from delicately blending the experiential with the discursive, the nodal with the circular, the corporeal with the epistemic, or the oppressive with the constitutive? (...) If so, we can only hope that the power of such ambivalence lies in its ability to unsettle these treasured lines of force. (shrink)
The 20 sup > th /sup > century has been a tumultuous time in psychology -- a century in which the discipline struggled with basic questions about its intellectual identity, but nonetheless managed to achieve spectacular growth and maturation. It’s not surprising, then, that psychology has attracted sustained philosophical attention and stimulated rich philosophical debate. Some of this debate was aimed at understanding, and sometimes criticizing, the assumptions, concepts and explanatory strategies prevailing in the psychology of the time. But much (...) philosophical work has also been devoted to exploring the implications of psychological findings and theories for broader philosophical questions like: Are humans really rational animals? How malleable is human nature? and Do we have any innate knowledge or innate ideas? One particularly noteworthy fact about philosophy of psychology in the 20 sup > th /sup > century is that, in the last quarter of the century, the distinction between psychology and the philosophy of psychology began to dissolve as philosophers played an increasingly active role in articulating and testing empirical theories about the mind and psychologists became increasingly interested in the philosophical underpinnings and implications of their work. Our survey is divided into five sections, each focusing on an important theme in 20 sup > th /sup > century psychology which has been the focus of philosophical attention and has benefited from philosophical scrutiny. (shrink)
In his 1991 book ‘Consciousness Explained', Daniel Dennett presents his “Multiple Drafts” model of consciousness. Central to his theory is the rejection of the notion of ‘qualia'; of the existence of the purported ‘qualitative character' of conscious experience that many argue rules out the possibility of a purely materialist theory of mind. In eliminating qualia from his theory of consciousness, Dennett claims to be following in the footsteps of Wittgenstein, who also had much to say regarding the nature of ‘private' (...) experience. In this paper I reject this claim and argue that the elimination of qualia plays no part in Wittgenstein's radical understanding of conscious experience. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(1) 2005: 33-43. (shrink)
: Violence is a spectacle. Not because it is simply something that we observe but, more fundamentally, because it is a mechanism through which we observe and define other things. Violence has the capacity to shape the ways that we see, and thereby come to know, these things. In other words, violence is more than a practice that acts upon the bodies of individual subjects to inflict harm and injury. It is, metaphorically speaking, also a way of looking at these (...) subjects. (shrink)
Anne Conway rejects the view that creatures are essentially members of any natural kind more specific than the kind 'creature'. That is, she rejects essentialism about species membership. This chapter provides an analysis of one of Anne Conway's arguments against such essentialism, which (as I argue) is drawn from metaethical rather than metaphysical premises. In her view, if a creature's species or kind were inscribed in its essence, that essence would constitute a limit on the creature's potential to (...) participate in the divine good. It is this consideration that ultimately leads her to reject essentialism about species membership. The chapter concludes with an examination of some of the metaethical consequences of Conway's view as well as a lesson it can teach us about ideal adviser accounts of the good. (shrink)
In chapter IX of the Principles, Anne Conway claims that her metaphysics is diametrically opposed to those of Descartes and Spinoza. Scholars have analyzed her rejection of Cartesianism, but not her critique of Spinoza. This paper proposes that two central points of Conway’s metaphysics can be understood as direct responses to Spinoza: (1) the relation between God, Christ, and the creatures in the tripartite division of being, and (2) the individuation of beings in the lowest species. I will argue (...) that Conway, in criticizing Spinoza’s identification between God and nature, defends a paradoxical monism, and that her concept of individuation is a reductio ad absurdum of Spinoza’s criterion of identity in the individuation of finite modes. (shrink)
In her book, Moral Status, Mary Anne Warren defends a comprehensive theory of the moral status of various entities. Under this theory, she argues that animals may have some moral rights but that their rights are much weaker in strength than the rights of humans, who have rights in the fullest, strongest sense. Subsequently, Warren believes that our duties to animals are far weaker than our duties to other humans. This weakness is especially evident from the fact that Warren (...) believes that it is frequently permissible for humans to kill animals for food. Warren’s argument for her view consists primarily in the belief that we have inevitable practical conflicts with animals that make it impossible to grant them equal rights without sacrificing basic human interests. However, her arguments fail to justify her conclusions. In particular, Warren fails to justify her beliefs that animals do not have an equal right to life and that it is permissible for humans to kill animals for food. (shrink)
A scholarly edition of letters by Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More, and their friends. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
This essay provides some historical background for, and considers the philosophical importance of, the collection of Anne Berkeley’s letters to Adam Gordon. The primary philosophical significance of the letters is her arguments against the so-called “free thinkers.” She discusses the philosophical view and the behavior of five prominent free-thinkers: Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Hume. Her discussion of Shaftesbury is particularly illuminating and can be read as a commentary on Alciphron III.13-14. Because the work of the other four were (...) published mainly after the Bishop’s death, the letters also show Anne ’s independent lifelong interest in matters theological, philosophical, and moral. (shrink)
American Indian Thought is a contemporary collection of twenty-two essays written by Indigenous persons with Western philosophical training, all attempting to formulate, and/or contribute to a sub-discipline of, a Native American Philosophy. The contributors come from diverse tribal, educational, philosophical, methodological, etc., backgrounds, and there is some tension among aspects of the collection, but what is more striking is the harmony and the singularity of the collection’s intent. Part of this singularity may derive from the solidarity among its authors. In (...) addition to the fact that all belong to Indigenous tribes, there is also a striking sensitivity to the interconnection between distinct Western disciplines—particularly between philosophy and poetry. I take the latter to be a thread which can be strategically woven into the center of the anthology’s weave. In this book discussion, I aim to draw out the poetic aspects of five of the anthology’s essays, which deal with philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics, respectively. In this way, I hope to illuminate a poetic quality at the heart of the collection, and thus also of the burgeoning field of Native American or Indigenous philosophy in general. In the process, I will also consider ways in which Indigenous philosophy resonates with the Western philosophical traditions of phenomenology and American pragmatism. With the latter tradition in particular this connection has become more fully appreciated, especially through the work of Bruce Wilshire and Scott Pratt. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWhat follows is an interview with William Damon and Anne Colby, pioneers in the fields of moral psychology and education. Throughout their careers, they have studied, moral identity, moral ideals, positive youth development, purpose, good work, vocation, character development in higher education, and professional responsibility. In their words, they are interested in the ‘best of humankind’—not only the competencies, but also the character necessary for living a good life—not only for the sake of the individual, but also for society. (...) They have received numerous academic and civic awards and honors. Their publications include Some Do Care, Greater Expectations, Educating Citizens, The Path to Purpose, and most recently, The Power of Ideals—in addition to editing, for example, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development and The Handbook of Child Psychology. As a married couple, their vocational journeys have mostly been separate, but have always complemented each other and sometimes converged. This interview asks about reflections on their careers, their own sense of purpose, their greatest contributions, current needs in our field, and advice to emerging scholars. (shrink)
ABSTRACTMany scholars have drawn attention to the way that elements of Anne Conway’s system anticipate ideas found in Leibniz. This paper explores the relationship between Conway and Leibniz’s work with regard to time, space, and process. It argues – against existing scholarship – that Conway is not a proto-Leibnizian relationist about time or space, and in fact her views lie much closer to those of Henry More; yet Conway and Leibniz agree on the primacy of process. This exploration advances (...) our understanding of Conway’s system, and the intellectual relationships between Conway, More, and Leibniz. (shrink)
In the contemporary debate on moral status, it is not uncommon to find philosophers who embrace the the Principle of Full Moral Status, according to which the degree to which an entity E possesses moral status is proportional to the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties until a threshold degree of morally relevant properties possession is reached, whereupon the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties may continue to increase, but the degree to which E possesses moral (...) status remains the same. One philosopher who has contributed significantly to the contemporary debate on moral status and embraces the Principle of Full Moral Status is Mary Anne Warren. Warren holds not only that it is possible for some entities to possess full moral status, but that some entities actually do, e.g., normal adult human beings. I argue that two of Warren’s primary arguments for the Principle of Full Moral Status—the Argument from Pragmatism and the Argument from Explanatory Power—are significantly flawed. (shrink)
So begins "For Anne Gregory," published by W. B. Yeats in 1933. It is surely one of his most charming poems.1 The poem's lilting rhythm and affectionate tone effectively soften—even disguise—what is arguably a dark and dismaying message. Anne is destined to be loved not for herself alone, but for an accidental physical attribute—her blond hair. Why do I claim that the poem's message is dark? Why should it dismay Anne if she is loved for the beauty (...) of her hair? Is that not better, after all, than not being loved in the first place? And what would it be to love Anne for herself "alone"? Love Anne for her sweet disposition; for her ability always to say the right thing; for her kindness; but for her yellow hair? .. (shrink)