This paper describes the interventions by the International Committee of the Red Cross to support a hospital in Afghanistan during the mid 1990s. We present elements of the interventions introduced in Ghazni, Afghanistan, and consider a number of ethical issues stimulated by this analysis. Ethical challenges arise whenever humanitarian interventions to deal with complex political emergencies are undertaken: among those related to the case study presented are questions concerning: a) whether humanitarian support runs the risk of propping up repressive and (...) irresponsible governments; b) whether humanitarian relief activities can legitimately focus on a narrow range of interventions, or need to broaden to address the range of challenges facing the health system; and c) whether sustainability and quality of care should be routinely considered in such settings. The paper concludes by highlighting the value of case studies, suggesting mechanisms for extending transparency and accountability in humanitarian health interventions, and highlighting the need of contextualising humanitarian work if the interventions are to be successful. (shrink)
A social ecological model of resilience avoids the reductionism of simple explanations of the complex and multisystemic processes associated with well-being in contexts of adversity. There is evidence that when stressors are abnormally high, environmental factors account for more of an individual's resilience than do individual traits or cognitions. In this commentary, a social ecological model of resilience is discussed.
"Michael Psellos was the 'Cicero of Byzantium,' except that his interests were more wide-ranging than those of his Roman predecessor. In addition to being a politician, poet, and writer of letters, speeches, and treatises on philosophy and rhetoric, he was an innovative historian and a practical educator who interested himself in all aspects of learning, from mathematics and medicine to theurgy. Before now, only his 'Chronographia' has been at all well known. Anthony Kaldellis has done a great service (...) in making accessible a collection of texts bearing upon personal familial relationships, of which we know so little in Byzantium. His translations read well, are accurate, and reflect Psellos' literary subtlety. His commentaries are scholarly and give vital information for the better understanding of this facet of Byzantine society." —_Antony R. Littlewood, University of Western Ontario_ “Anthony Kaldellis is a skilled and gifted translator, one of the best I have ever encountered. I am very excited that we will have access to Psellos’ two important encomia of his mother and daughter in an accurate and readable translation, so that more scholars and students will be able to read these works which offer such fascinating insights into family life in eleventh-century Byzantium. This book will be an excellent lead-off volume in the Psellos series, and make scholars anxious for the subsequent volumes to appear.” —_Alice-Mary Talbot, Director, Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks_ _Mothers and Sons, Fathers and Daughters_ makes available for the first time complete English translations from the works of Michael Psellos, a key philosopher of the Byzantine Empire. This book contains the works that Psellos wrote about his family, including a long funeral oration for his mother that features unique recollections from a childhood spent in Constantinople; a funeral oration for his young daughter Styliane, which includes a detailed description of her physical appearance and a moving account of her illness and death; a legal work pertaining to the engagement of his second, adopted, daughter; and various letters and other works that relate to the private life of this Byzantine family. (shrink)
By helping to introduce the relatively new concept of institutional racism into Britain, Sir Michael and Ann Dummett expanded the concept of racism beyond the limited sense it had been given in the 1940s and 1950s when racism tended to be associated with the scientific concept of race and when the focus tended to fall on the intent to harm or speak harm of a group that was identified as a race by science. They recognised that ‘race’ was primarily (...) a political and not a scientific concept. This led them in a different direction from that taken by the next generation of mainstream philosophers working in this area, such as Kwame Anthony Appiah, who adopted the UNESCO approach of highlighting the scientific deficiencies of the concept of race. However, although they both succeeded in developing ways to break through the forms of self-deception that allow institutional racism to go unnoticed and at the same time offered instructive insights into the ways politicians hide behind the racism of others, I argue that they failed to see, as clearly as Sartre and Fanon did, that the conception of institutional racism necessitates a structural changes in society beyond anything they contemplated. (shrink)
The paper examines the relation of esotericism and oblique politics in the Byzantine philosopher Michael Psellos on the basis of Eva De Vries’ study of the letters that Psellos addressed to the statesman Leo Paraspondylos. Traditionally, the name of Psellos signifies a revival of Neoplatonism in medieval Constantinople according to researchers like Chr. Zervos in the beginning of 20th century. Contemporary researchers such as Anthony Kaldellis and Stratis Papaioannou point to a more organic than speculative theorization in Psellos’ (...) work while another contemporary scholar, Frederick Lauritzen, undertakes a synthesis of the two approaches. In any case, as this paper supports, it would be inadequate to consider the relation of esotericism to politics without referring to the evolution of the moral standards considered in a contextualized manner. (shrink)
Michael Strevens’ Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation is an impressive recent contribution to the philosophical literature on explanation. While clearly influenced by several of the leading theories of the later twentieth century, Strevens’ account of explanation is firmly rooted in the causal tradition. His most notable intellectual debts in this regard owe to David Lewis, Wesley Salmon and James Woodward. Still, Strevens sees the work of these theorists as flawed in important respects, and his “kairetic account” of explanation (...) is meant to provide answers to problems his predecessors left unresolved (or poorly resolved, as the case may be). Before examining Strevens’ account in detail we should identify the more significant of these problems and briefly survey the contexts in which they arose. (shrink)
Shaftesbury's philosophy combined a powerfully teleological approach, according to which all things are part of a harmonious cosmic order, with sharp observations of human nature (see section 2 below). Shaftesbury is often credited with originating the moral sense theory, although his own views of virtue are a mixture of rationalism and sentimentalism (section 3). While he argued that virtue leads to happiness (section 4), Shaftesbury was a fierce opponent of psychological and ethical egoism (section 5) and of the egoistic social (...) contract theory of Hobbes (section 6). Shaftesbury advanced a view of aesthetic judgment that was non-egoistic and objectivist, in that he thought that correct aesthetic judgment was disinterested and reflected accurately the harmonious cosmic order (section 7). Shaftesbury's belief in an harmonious cosmic order also dominated his view of religion, which was based on the idea that the universe clearly exhibits signs of perfect divine design (section 8). According to Shaftesbury, the ultimate end of religion, as well as of virtue, beauty, and philosophical understanding (all of which are turn out to be one and the same thing), is to identify completely with the universal system of which one is a part. (shrink)