It is controversial whether masses (what mass nouns refer to) exist. But on the assumption that they do, here are two uncontroversial facts about them: first, they satisfy a fusion principle which takes any set of masses of kind K and yields a mass fusion of kind K; secondly, a mass must have all and only the same parts at every time at which it exists. These two theses are usually built into the concept 'mass'. I argue that the latter (...) follows from the former. This shows that the concept 'mass' is unified, not gerrymandered. Moreover, since my arguments show that any entity which follows a certain fusion principle is also mereologically constant, and since these two properties are sufficient for being a mass, my arguments make it easier to argue that there are masses. (shrink)
The Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015 and the subsequent attacks of November 13 cast a garish light onto a conundrum at the center of how liberal democracies understand themselves. The Syrian emigrant crisis has added further color. How can a tolerant, liberal political culture tolerate the presence of intolerant, illiberal, sub-cultures while remaining true to its principles of tolerance? The problem falls within the intersection of two developments in the thinking of John Rawls, the great American political philosopher (...) who died in 2002. The later Rawls struggled with the problem of how society might stably survive the clash of plural sub-cultures that a liberal society - unless it is oppressively coercive - must itself foster and allow to flourish. And he separately struggled with the problem of how liberal peoples might peacefully share the planet with illiberal, but "decent" peoples elsewhere. This article shows that Rawls's two solutions do not easily mix. (shrink)
In this thesis, I use a close reading of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin to examine a question of listening posed by Jean-Luc Nancy, “Is listening something of which philosophy is capable” (Nancy 2007:1)? Drawing on the work of Nancy, Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Spivak, I consider a claim that philosophy has failed to address the topic of listening because a logocentric tradition claims speech as primary. In response to Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism, Nancy complicates the problem of (...) listening by distinguishing between l’écoute and l’entente. L’écoute is an attending to and answering the demand of the other and l’entente is an understanding directed inward toward a subject. Nancy could deconstruct an undervalued position of l’écoute, making listening essential to speech. I argue, Nancy rather asks what kind of listening philosophy is capable of. To examine this question, I focus on the peculiarly dialogical figure derived from Chaplin that communicates meaning without using speech. This discussion illustrates how Chaplin, in the role of a silent figure, listens to himself (il s’écoute) as other. Chaplin’s listening is Nancean resonance, a movement in which a subject refers back to itself as another subject, in constant motion of spatial and temporal non-presence. For Nancy, listening is a self’s relationship to itself, but without immediate self-presence. Moving in resonance, Chaplin makes the subject as other as he refers back to himself as other. I argue that Chaplin, through silent dialogue with himself by way of the other, makes his listening listened to. Chaplin refused to make his character speak because he believed speech would change the way in which his work would be listened to. In this way, Chaplin makes people laugh by making himself understood (se fait entendre) as he makes himself listened to (se fait écouter). In answer to Nancy’s question, I conclude philosophy is capable of meeting the demand of listening as both l’entente and l’écoute when it listens as Chaplin listens. (shrink)
The opinion of Mr. Justice Francis of the English High Court which denied the parents of Charlie Gard, who had been born with an extremely rare mutation of a genetic disease, the right to take their child to the United States for a proposed experimental treatment occasioned world wide attention including that of the Pope, President Trump, and the US Congress. The case raise anew a debate as old as the foundation of Western medicine on who should decide and (...) on what standard when there is a conflict between a family and the treating physicians over a possible treatment. This paper will explore the different approaches of the British and American courts on the issue and the various proposals from that of John Rawls in his A Theory of Justice to a processed-based approach for resolving such disputes. As carefully crafted as the opinion of Mr Justice Nicholas Francis in the Gard case proved to be, it left commentators unsatisfied. A widespread criticism, captured in an article by Michael Dougherty in The National Review was for the state to ‘get out of the way of the parents trying to act in the best interests of the child’.1 Although he conceded the parents could be adding to the suffering of the child by taking Charlie to America for an experimental therapy and agreed that such a choice ‘may be the wrong decision,’ in Dougherty’s view, it should still be ‘their decision’. Dougherty’s stand was the popular response to the question of ‘Who should decide?’ It fails, however, to propose any rationale for the decision. It provided no norms, no standards and no guidelines for the parents. Their motive could equally well be indifference to the suffering of the child as concern for his well-being. Furthermore, even good, loving parents may make …. (shrink)
On 24 July 2017, the long-running, deeply tragic and emotionally fraught case of Charlie Gard reached its sad conclusion. Following further medical assessment of the infant, Charlie’s parents and doctors finally reached agreement that continuing medical treatment was not in Charlie’s best interests. Life support was subsequently withdrawn and Charlie died on 28 July 2017.Box 1 ### Case summary and timeline21–23 Charlie Gard was born at full term, apparently healthy, in August 2016. At a few (...) weeks of age his parents noticed early signs of muscle weakness. At 2 months of age, he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital with poor feeding, failure to thrive and respiratory failure. He was admitted to intensive care, where investigations led to the diagnosis of a rare severe mitochondrial disorder – infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The specific genetic form of MDDS in Charlie Gard had previously been reported in approximately 15 infants, with typical clinical features including early onset, rapid progression and death in infancy.24 By that point, Charlie was paralysed and unable to breathe without respiratory support. He was found to have congenital deafness, and his heart, liver and kidneys were affected by the disorder. Doctors felt that Charlie’s prognosis was extremely poor. In early 2017, Charlie’s parents identified an experimental treatment, previously used in a different form of MDDS, which they hoped might benefit Charlie. In mouse models of a myopathic form of MDDS, early supplementation with deoxypryrimidine nucleosides apparently bypasses the genetic defect and leads to a reduction in the biochemical defect and in the severity of the clinical phenotype.25 26 Doctors at GOSH initially planned to use nucleoside treatment in Charlie, but in January he developed evidence of electrical seizures, and clinicians became convinced that treatment, both continued intensive care and the requested …. (shrink)
British courts have adjudicated dozens of medical futility disputes over the past 10 years. Many of these cases have involved pediatric patients. All these judgements are publicly available in searchable legal reporters. And most were covered by the print or broadcast media.1 Yet, as noted by Dressler, none of these earlier cases received even a fraction of the public or scholarly attention that Charlie Gard has received. One might assess the Gard case from two different perspectives. At one level, (...) the Gard case is not unique. It is merely the n+1 medical futility dispute decided by the British courts. Admittedly, the Gard case has a much higher profile than earlier cases. But it announced no new rules or principles. It merely focused a spotlight on an already well-established process for resolving medical futility disputes. However, from another perspective, the Gard case is distinctive in at least five ways from other medical futility cases decided by the British courts. Because these unique features illustrate the limits or weaknesses of current rules and principles, they allude to potential improvements in the dispute resolution process. The papers in this special issue offer many valuable suggestions. After identifying the five unique features of the Gard case, I focus on the most prevalent two questions. Are courts the best forum for resolving these disputes? Is the best interest standard the right test for determining the limits of surrogate decision-making authority? Because the British courts have so many publicly available judgements in medical futility cases, it is possible to identify five distinctive features in the Gard case. First, Charlie’s parents were not asking GOSH clinicians to continue treating Charlie against either their professional judgement or against their personal beliefs. Instead, Charlie’s parents wanted to transfer him to another hospital that was willing …. (shrink)
This discussion follows a series of high profile cases involving a terminally ill child, Charlie Gard. These cases are significant as they trace the complexities that arise when parents and medical teams do not agree as well as addressing the question of whether there is a right to access experimental treatment.
This paper argues that Charlie Gard’s parents should have been the decision-makers about their son’s best interests and that determination of Charlie’s best interests depended on a moral decision about which horn of a profound moral dilemma to choose. Charlie’s parents chose one horn of that moral dilemma and the courts, like Charlie Gard’s doctors, chose the other horn. Contrary to the first UK court’s assertion, supported by all the higher courts that considered it, that its (...) judgement was ‘objective’, this paper argues that the judgement was not and could not be ‘objective’ in the sense of objectively correct but was instead a value judgement based on the judge’s choice of one horn of the moral dilemma. While that horn was morally justified so too was the horn chosen by the parents. The court could and should have avoided depriving the parents of their normal moral and legal right and responsibility to decide on their child’s best interests. Instead, this paper argues that the court should have acknowledged the lawfulness of both horns of the moral dilemma and added to its judgement that Charlie Gard’s doctors were not legally obliged to provide treatment that they believed to be against their patient’s best interests the additional judgement that Charlie’s parents could lawfully transfer his care to other doctors prepared to offer the infant a trial of the experimental treatment requested by his parents. (shrink)
The parents of Charlie Gard, who was born August 4, 2016, with an exceedingly rare and incurable disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, fought a prolonged and heated legal battle to allow him access to experimental treatment that they hoped would prolong his life and to prevent his doctors from withdrawing life-sustaining care. Charlie's clinicians at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London believed that the brain damage Charlie had suffered as a result of frequent epileptic seizures, (...) along with many other severe disabilities, would render any innovative therapy futile, and they disagreed with his parents’ wishes to use an experimental therapy. They felt it in Charlie's best interest that he be allowed to die. A battle ensued among Charlie's parents, his doctors, and a guardian who had been appointed to represent him that drew the attention of politicians and prominent persons from all over the world. The case was much in the news over the past year, but it has also been frequently misunderstood. (shrink)
Much of the commentary in the wake of the Charlie Gard litigation was aimed at apparent shortcomings of the law. These include concerns about the perceived inability of the law to consider resourcing issues, the vagueness of the best interests test and the delays and costs of having disputes about potentially life-sustaining medical treatment resolved by the courts. These concerns are perennial ones that arise in response to difficult cases. Despite their persistence, we argue that many of these criticisms (...) are unfounded. The first part of this paper sets out the basic legal framework that operates when parents seek potentially life-sustaining treatment that doctors believe is against a child’s best interests, and describes the criticisms of that framework. The second part of the paper suggests an alternative approach that would give decision-making power to parents, and remove doctors’ ability to unilaterally withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment that they regard is futile. This proposal is grounded in several values that we argue should guide these regulatory choices. We also contend that the best interests test is justifiable and since the courts show no sign of departing from it, the focus should be on how to better elucidate the underlying values driving decisions. We discuss the advantages of our proposed approach and how it would address some of the criticisms aimed at the law. Finally, we defend the current role that the judiciary plays, as an independent state-sanctioned process with a precedent-setting function. (shrink)
Patients are increasingly turning to medical crowdfunding as a way to cover their healthcare costs. In the case of Charlie Gard, an infant born with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, crowdfunding was used to finance experimental nucleoside therapy. Although this treatment was not provided in the end, we will argue that the success of the Gard family’s crowdfunding campaign reveals a number of potential ethical concerns. First, this case shows that crowdfunding can change the way in which communal healthcare (...) resources are allocated. Second, within the UK’s National Health Service, healthcare is ostensibly not a market resource; thus, permitting crowdfunding introduces market norms that could commodify healthcare. Third, pressures inherent to receiving funds from external parties may threaten the ability of patients-cum-recipients to voluntarily consent to treatment. We conclude that while crowdfunding itself is not unethical, its use can have unforeseen consequences that may influence conceptions of healthcare and how it is delivered. (shrink)
Starting from support for James's critique of Clifford's dictum, the article argues for holding beliefs, whether secular or religious, firmly but provisionally, remaining open to fresh experience. This consideration prompts reflection on the debate following the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Alternative beliefs were opposing each other with seemingly equal certainty. The justification for insistence on the right to free speech itself requires scrutiny. The article finishes by noting the baleful effects of the intellectual apartheid which has tended to be (...) practised in the West which presumes that religion and reason have nothing to do with each other. (shrink)
The televised Charlie Brown Christmas tale and its bawdy Peanuts characters taught me important lessons while growing up as the awkwardly drawn, “blockhead” sibling. This essay explores the down and dirty deities that reside in each of us, including Brown and Pig Pen, at once seen as contemporary symbols of the globally inter challenged-being and surprising instruments of sacred expression. Ruminations on the Bhagavad Gita, Immanuel Kant, Jessye Norman, bell hooks, and Thich Nhat Hahn encourage us to reimagine contexts (...) for power and authority, racial mistrust and injustice, and restoring our slumping spirits. (shrink)
"Nous vomissons sur tous ces gens qui, subitement, disent être nos amis," ["We vomit on all those people who suddenly declare themselves our friends"],1 Willem, one of the surviving cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo told the press shortly after the 2015 attack on the magazine's offices that left twelve dead, including six of its star cartoonists. Willem was speaking at the peak of demonstrations that were taking place across France in support of the paper, which became known as Republican marches. (...) Thrust suddenly into international prominence, CH editors made a show of their irreverence towards their new supporters, mocking the way their cause was being taken up by their erstwhile political... (shrink)
The case of Charlie Gard, an infant with a genetic illness whose parents sought experimental treatment in the USA, brought important debates about the moral status of parents and children to the public eye. After setting out the facts of the case, this article considers some of these debates through the lens of parental rights. Parental rights are most commonly based on the promotion of a child’s welfare; however, in Charlie’s case, promotion of Charlie’s welfare cannot explain (...) every fact of the case. Indeed, some seem most logically to extend from intrinsic parental rights, that is, parental rights that exist independent of welfare promotion. I observe that a strong claim for intrinsic parental rights can be built on arguments for genetic propriety and children’s limited personhood. Critique of these arguments suggests the scope of parental rights remains limited: property rights entail proper use; non-personhood includes only a small cohort of very young or seriously intellectually disabled children and the uniqueness of parental genetic connection is limited. Moreover, there are cogent arguments about parents’ competence to make judgements, and public interest arguments against allowing access to experimental treatment. Nevertheless, while arguments based on propriety may raise concerns about the attitude involved in envisioning children as property, I conclude that these arguments do appear to offer a prima facie case for a parental right to seek experimental treatment in certain limited circumstances. (shrink)
Using the work of Emmanuel Levinas, this article sheds light on Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, a piece that so far eluded the critics, despite its immense popularity with theater viewers. I show that it is not Chaplin's lack of inventiveness that makes the Tramp risk his life on the tightrope 'for nothing'. It is, on the contrary, Chaplin's intuitive sense that makes him believe, anticipating Levinas, that it is human and simple for a person to help another for no (...) benefit. It is this point that cinema-goers understood more easily than we, scholars, may think. Starting with The Circus I demonstrate that this film, which critics have underestimated due to its 'pointless' ending, becomes meaningful once interpreted as promoting radical for-the-other ethics. My argument about The Circus is supported by close reading as well as Chaplin's own remarks and his later talkie Limelight in which similar ideas are expressed more openly through language and through the ending scene, with the protagonist dying on stage, to the sounds of roaring laughter of the audience. (shrink)
Cohn's (2013) theory of “Visual Narrative Grammar” argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed (...) unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure. (shrink)
In his new paper, “Eligibility and Inscrutability,” J. R. G. Williams presents a surprising new challenge to David Lewis’ theory of interpretation. Although Williams frames this challenge primarily as a response to Lewis’ criticisms of Putnam’s model-theoretic argument, the challenge itself goes to the heart of Lewis’ own account of interpretation. Further, and leaving Lewis’ project aside for a moment, Williams’ argument highlights some important—and some fairly general—points concerning the relationship between model theory and semantic determinacy.
This paper begins with an examination of Amelie Rorty’s claim that although “emotions cannot be rational in the narrow sense of being logically derived from accepted premises, they can be deemed rational . . . as ‘appropriately formed to serve our thriving.’” This is the background against which (i) I develop a notion of ‘emotional holism’ based on the aetiology of emotion in infantile phantasy; and (ii) introduce a dark corollary about the likelihood that our emotions do not, on the (...) whole, match the myths we use to describe them to ourselves. The paper has five sections: (1) The Rationality of Kinds of Emotion and the Argument Against the Rationality of Particular Emotions; (2) Alternative Views of the Rationality of Emotions; (3) Is EmotionaI Behavior RationaI?; (4) Do Particular Emotions Generally Serve Our Thriving?; and (5) Are There Emotions Not Worth Having?: EmotionaI Holism and Manipulating One’s Emotional Repertoire. (shrink)
This paper examines how, building on earlier filmic representations such as Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de… and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako, Khady Sylla’s Le Monologue de la muette traces a continuum of women’s exploitation, from slavery to colonization to globalization.
This paper begins with an examination of Amelie Rorty’s claim that although “emotions cannot be rational in the narrow sense of being logically derived from accepted premises, they can be deemed rational... as ‘appropriately formed to serve our thriving.’” This is the background against which I develop a notion of ‘emotional holism’ based on the aetiology of emotion in infantile phantasy; and introduce a dark corollary about the likelihood that our emotions do not, on the whole, match the myths we (...) use to describe them to ourselves. The paper has five sections: The Rationality of Kinds of Emotion and the Argument Against the Rationality of Particular Emotions; Alternative Views of the Rationality of Emotions; Is EmotionaI Behavior RationaI?; Do Particular Emotions Generally Serve Our Thriving?; and Are There Emotions Not Worth Having?: EmotionaI Holism and Manipulating One’s Emotional Repertoire. (shrink)
"In 'I Don't Know, Just Wait: Remembering Remarriage in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', William Day shows how Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind should be considered part of the film genre known as remarriage comedy; but he also shows how Kaufman contributes something new to the genre. Day addresses, in particular, how the conversation that is the condition for reunion involves discovering 'what it means to have memories together as a way of learning how to be together'. (...) One of the most innovative aspects of Kaufman's filmic representation of such a conversation is its effect on the audience: how the narrative structure 'replicates for the viewer the felt contingency of memory that we attribute' to the characters we see onscreen - a couple contending with the interrelated experiences of remarriage and remembering." --David LaRocca, Introduction to The Philosophy of Charlie Kaufman, 12. (shrink)
This book explores how the practice of art, in particular of avant-garde art, keeps our relation to time, history and even our own humanity open. Examining key moments in the history of both technology and art from the beginnings of industrialisation to today, Charlie Gere explores both the making and purpose of art and how much further it can travel from the human body.
T.M. Scanlon’s ‘reasons fundamentalism’ is thought to face difficulties answering the normative question—that is, explaining why it’s irrational to not do what you judge yourself to have most reason to do (e.g., Dreier 2014a). I argue that this difficulty results from Scanlon’s failure to provide a theory of mind that can give substance to his account of normative judgment and its tie to motivation. A central aim of this paper is to address this deficiency. To do this, I draw on (...) broadly cognitivist theories of emotion (e.g., Nussbaum 2001, Roberts 2013). These theories are interesting because they view emotions as cognitive states from which motivation emerges. Thus, they provide a model Scanlon can use to develop a richer account of both the judgment-motivation connection and the irrationality of not doing what you judge yourself to have most reason to do. However, the success is only partial—even this more developed proposal fails to give a satisfactory answer to the normative question. (shrink)
According to psychological constructivism, emotions result from projecting folk emotion concepts onto felt affective episodes (e.g., Barrett 2017, LeDoux 2015, Russell 2004). Moreover, while constructivists acknowledge there’s a biological dimension to emotion, they deny that emotions are (or involve) affect programs. So they also deny that emotions are natural kinds. However, the essential role constructivism gives to felt experience and folk concepts leads to an account that’s extensionally inadequate and functionally inaccurate. Moreover, biologically-oriented proposals that reject these commitments are not (...) similarly encumbered. Recognizing this has two implications: biological mechanisms are more central to emotion than constructivism allows, and the conclusion that emotions aren’t natural kinds is premature. (shrink)