By their very nature, overseas medical missions (and even domestic medical charities such as free clinics ) are designed to serve vulnerable populations. If these groups were capable of protecting their own interests, they would not need the help of medical volunteers: their medical needs would be met through existing government health programs or by utilizing their own resources. Medical volunteerism thus seems like an unfettered good: a charitable activity provided by well-meaning doctors and nurses who want to give of (...) their time, skills, and resources to help those who would not otherwise be able to take care of their medical needs. In this article, I argue that if medical volunteerism is to be good, however, it must always meet certain basic ethical requirements. These requirements may be (and perhaps often are) overlooked in the rush to organize and carry out short-term medical missions. I illustrate my point with special reference to short-term medical missions designed to provide surgical repair of obstetric vesico-vaginal fistula, a condition in which the tissues that normally separate the bladder from the vagina are destroyed by obstetric trauma, leading to continuous and unremitting incontinence in the affected woman. (shrink)
The structure of Psalm 2 is based on direct speeches in the text. These direct speeches characterise the communication that takes place in the text. The text-immanent author addresses the text-immanent reader with a question in the first line and with a makarismos in the last line. The direct speeches of the characters enable the text-immanent reader to undergo a development in his striving towards the beatitude. In this development, the ‘now’ of the birth of the Anointed One / Son (...) is re-enacted in the reading moment of the text-immanent reader. The reception of Psalm 2 makes clear that Hebrews and the Christmas liturgy re-use the text, while retaining this re-enactment character. (shrink)
The editor's introduction discusses Clarence I. Lewis's conceptual pragmatism when compared with post-empiricist epistemology and argues that several Cartesian assumptions play a major role in the work, not unlike those of Logical Positivism. The suggestion is made that the Cartesian legacy still hidden in Logical Positivism turns out to be a rather heavy ballast for Lewis’s project of restructuring epistemology in a pragmatist key. More in detail, the sore point is the nature of inter-subjectivity. For Lewis, no (...) less than for the Logical Positivists at the time of the Protocols Controversy and Husserl in the Cartesian Meditations, this is a problem without a solution. The reason is that all these philosophers are apparently unable to realize that the existence of a plurality of knowing subjects cannot be treated at once both as a speculative problem and a methodological one. Lewis, thanks to his pragmatist approach both comes closer to the right answer and offers an even more naïve unsatisfactory solution to the pseudo-problem under discussion. The fact that he has clear in mind that inter-subjectivity means not only a plurality of linguistic utterances but also a co-existence of different kinds of practical behaviour. Eventually, the very idea of mind, the key-idea in the book, suffers from the above mentioned tension. In fact, if inter-subjective communication and action is considered at a methodological level, the very idea of mind would not need an analysis, and no kind of ‘reflexive’ analysis. Methodology might be limited to a ‘naïve’ level where the existence of the world and a plurality of subjects be taken as a bedrock of uncritically accepted evidence. Philosophical reflection on ultimate evidence, instead, would take a different approach, maybe the one Wittgenstein was putting into practice in the same years when Mind and the world order was written, namely it would be bound to question the very meaning of the idea of ‘mind’ as an undue fiction – the same carried out by Descartes – when he assumed the Cogito to be at once a body of self-evident truths and a thing or substance, the familiar Platonic idea of psyche or soul. (shrink)
The value of any kind of data is greatly enhanced when it exists in a form that allows it to be integrated with other data. One approach to integration is through the annotation of multiple bodies of data using common controlled vocabularies or ‘ontologies’. Unfortunately, the very success of this approach has led to a proliferation of ontologies which itself creates obstacles to integration. The Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) consortium has set in train a strategy to overcome this problem. Existing (...) OBO ontologies, including the Gene Ontology, are undergoing a process of coordinated reform and new ontologies being created on the basis of an evolving set of shared principles governing ontology development. The result is an expanding family of ontologies designed to be interoperable, logically well-formed, and to incorporate accurate representations of biological reality. We describe the OBO Foundry initiative, and provide guidelines for those who might wish to become involved. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
Important features of the self-concept can be located outside of the individual and inside close or related others. The authors use this insight to reinterpret data previously said to support the empathy-altruism model of helping, which asserts that empathic concern for another results in selflessness and true altruism. That is, they argue that the conditions that lead to empathic concern also lead to a greater sense of self-other overlap, raising the possibility that helping under these conditions is not selfless but (...) is also directed toward the self. In 3 studies, the impact of empathic concern on willingness to help was eliminated when oneness--a measure of perceived self-other overlap--was considered. Path analyses revealed further that empathic concern increased helping only through its relation to perceived oneness, thereby throwing the empathy-altruism model into question. The authors suggest that empathic concern affects helping primarily as an emotional signal of oneness. (shrink)
Righteous Indignation explores the philosophy of Christian anger—for example what anger is, what it means for God to be angry, and when anger is morally appropriate. The contributors examine several dimensions of the topic, including divine wrath, imprecatory psalms, and the proper place of anger in the life of Christians today.
We provide a retrospective of 25 years of the International Conference on AI and Law, which was first held in 1987. Fifty papers have been selected from the thirteen conferences and each of them is described in a short subsection individually written by one of the 24 authors. These subsections attempt to place the paper discussed in the context of the development of AI and Law, while often offering some personal reactions and reflections. As a whole, the subsections build into (...) a history of the last quarter century of the field, and provide some insights into where it has come from, where it is now, and where it might go. (shrink)
This book provides a variety of diverse perspectives related to the ethics of anger, some more analytical in nature, others focused on practical issues, some in defense of anger, and others arguing against its necessity. This book is an essential resource for scholars who want to reflect critically on the place of anger in contemporary life.