The oxymoron, a figure of speech formed by the combination of antithetical terms, is used by Gregory of Nyssa as a linguistic means to express the ineffable divine mystery and the experience of man which incessantly turns toward it. A more accurate analysis of such expressions within some of his spiritual works, one that takes into account their history or originality, allows for an understanding of some nuances of his theology based on divine infinity and an appreciation of a use (...) of language which by way of the very shattering of logic arrives at its maximal expressive capacity. (shrink)
Medical complicity in torture is prohibited by international law and codes of professional ethics. But in the many countries in which torture is common, doctors frequently are expected to assist unethical acts that they are unable to prevent. Sometimes these doctors face a dilemma: they are asked to provide diagnoses or treatments that respond to genuine health needs but that also make further torture more likely or more effective. The duty to avoid complicity in torture then comes into conflict with (...) the doctor’s duty to care for patients. Sometimes the right thing for a doctor to do requires complicity in torture. Whether this is the case depends on: the expected consequences of the doctor’s actions; the wishes of the patient; and the extent of the doctor’s complicity with wrongdoing. Medical associations can support physicians who face this dilemma while maintaining a commitment to clear principles denouncing torture. (shrink)
In this book, originally published in 2007, Chiara Bottici argues for a philosophical understanding of political myth. Bottici demonstrates that myth is a process, one of continuous work on a basic narrative pattern that responds to a need for significance. Human beings need meaning in order to master the world they live in, but they also need significance in order to live in a world that is less indifferent to them. This is particularly true in the realm of politics. (...) Political myths are narratives through which we orient ourselves, and act and feel about our political world. Bottici shows that in order to come to terms with contemporary phenomena, such as the clash between civilizations, we need a Copernican revolution in political philosophy. If we want to save reason, we need to look at it from the standpoint of myth. (shrink)
After initially emerging in China, the coronavirus outbreak has advanced rapidly. The World Health Organization has recently declared it a pandemic, with Europe becoming its new epicentre. Italy has so far been the most severely hit European country and demand for critical care in the northern region currently exceeds its supply. This raises significant ethical concerns, among which is the allocation of scarce resources. Professionals are considering the prioritisation of patients most likely to survive over those with remote chances, and (...) this news has triggered an intense debate about the right of every individual to access healthcare. The proposed analysis suggests that the national emergency framework in which prioritisation criteria are currently enforced should not lead us to perceive scarce resources allocation as something new. From an ethical perspective, the novelty of the current emergency is not grounded in the devastating effects of scarce resources allocation, which is rife in recent and present clinical practice. Rather, it has to do with the extraordinarily high number of people who find themselves personally affected by the implications of scarce resources allocation and who suddenly realise that the principle of ‘equals should be treated equally’ may no longer be applicable. Along with the need to allocate appropriate additional financial resources to support the healthcare system, and thus to mitigate the scarcity of resources, the analysis insists on the relevance of a medical ethics perspective that does not place the burden of care and choice solely on physicians. (shrink)
Le Quaestiones 2 («Se l’oggetto adeguato della conoscenza divina sia l’essenza di Dio o l’ente universale») e 3 («Se le creature secondo le loro proprie nature e le loro essenze siano vita in Dio e nel Verbo») della Distinctio 35 dello Scriptum di Pietro Aureoli sono importanti per la ricostruzione sia del pensiero del loro autore che della storia della dottrina delle idee divine nel Medioevo. Aureoli rifiuta il modello tradizionale di causalità esemplare, secondo cui Dio avrebbe creato il mondo (...) sulla base di modelli archetipi esistenti dall’eternità nella sua mente. Ricorrendo al concetto di aequivocatio, stabilisce che l’essenza di Dio è in maniera equivoca l’unico esemplare per tutte le creature ed elabora, così, la teoria della causalità esemplare equivoca. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophy, law and political science, and on a wealth of practical experience delivering emergency medical services in conflict-ridden settings, Lepora and Goodin untangle the complexities surrounding compromise and complicity.
What are the most detailed descriptions under which subjects intend to perform bodily actions? According to Pacherie, these descriptions may be found by looking into motor representations—action representations in the brain that determine the movements to be performed. Specifically, for any motor representation guiding an action, its subject has an M-intention representing that action in as much detail. I show that some M-intentions breach the constraints that intentions should meet. I then identify a set of intentions—motor intentions—that represent actions in (...) as much detail as some motor representations while meeting the constraints that intentions should meet. (shrink)
Offering a new, systematic understanding of the imaginal and its nexus with the political, Chiara Bottici brings fresh insight into the formation of political and power relationships and the paradox of a world rich in imagery yet seemingly ...
In Imagining Europe, Chiara Bottici and Benoît Challand explore the formation of modern European identity. Europe has not always been there, although we have been imagining it for quite some time. Even after the birth of a polity called the European Union, the meaning of Europe remained a very much contested topic. What is Europe? What are its boundaries? Is there a specific European identity or is the EU just the name for a group of institutions? This book answers (...) these questions, showing that in Europe's formation, myth and memory, although distinct, are often merged in a common attempt to construct an identity for its present and its future. In a time when Europe is facing an existential crisis, when its meaning is being questioned, Imagining Europe explores a vital and often unacknowledged aspect of the European project. (shrink)
The exponential accumulation, processing and accrual of big data in healthcare are only possible through an equally rapidly evolving field of big data analytics. The latter offers the capacity to rationalize, understand and use big data to serve many different purposes, from improved services modelling to prediction of treatment outcomes, to greater patient and disease stratification. In the area of infectious diseases, the application of big data analytics has introduced a number of changes in the information accumulation models. These are (...) discussed by comparing the traditional and new models of data accumulation. Big data analytics is fast becoming a crucial component for the modelling of transmission—aiding infection control measures and policies—emergency response analyses required during local or international outbreaks. However, the application of big data analytics in infectious diseases is coupled with a number of ethical impacts. Four key areas are discussed in this paper: automation and algorithmic reliance impacting freedom of choice, big data analytics complexity impacting informed consent, reliance on profiling impacting individual and group identities and justice/fair access and increased surveillance and population intervention capabilities impacting behavioural norms and practices. Furthermore, the extension of big data analytics to include information derived from personal devices, such as mobile phones and wearables as part of infectious disease frameworks in the near future and their potential ethical impacts are discussed. Considered together, the need for a constructive and transparent inclusion of ethical questioning in this rapidly evolving field becomes an increasing necessity in order to provide a moral foundation for the societal acceptance and responsible development of the technological advancement. (shrink)
Compromise arises in contexts where irreconcilable claims must nonetheless somehow be resolved. Ordinary people in everyday life, politicians and artists, doctors engaging in research, humanitarian workers providing aid in the midst of war – all of them will have faced situations where compromise appeared to be the only reasonable option, and yet will have felt that there was nevertheless something deeply wrong with it. The aim of this paper is to help make sense of that sentiment. The focus of this (...) paper will be on some aspects of the morality of compromise. Its lynchpin will be to construe compromise as a joint action, in particular, a joint wrongdoing – taking part in, and sharing responsibility for, the doing of things that are wrong from the point of view of those who are the parties to the compromise. The question of ‘what is wrong with compromise?’ is thus recast as a question of ‘what is my part in the wrongs being done as part of the compromise?’ It is tempting to suppose that a compromise serves to dilute personal responsibility, parsing it out among parties to the compromise. Viewing a compromise as a joint action, in contrast, will help us to see how a compromise actually increases responsibility among parties to it. They are now jointly collaborating in some action that each of them sees as wrong, at least in part (albeit in differing parts). Discussions of compromise traditionally prioritize the inter-personal aspect – compromise, in the transitive form of ‘compromising with’ someone. But I argue that the intransitive form – ‘compromise of’ – deserves pride of place. The reason for prioritizing the intransitive ‘compromise of’ is simple: that is what is involved in the intra-personal calculation that must, of necessity, go on inside one's own head in the process of deciding whether or not to agree to a 'compromise with' someone else. In this paper I shall concentrate specifically on compromises of principles, or (more precisely) on ‘matters of principled concern to the compromising parties’. Not only is that the most troubling and morally problematic sort of compromise, it is also logically the most central case. I demonstrate that that is so by shifting the focus from inter-personal compromise to the more fundamental intra-personal process underlying it – the compromise we are involved in when adjudicating among our own conflicting values, to decide whether or not to agree to a compromise of the inter-personal sort. This is the subject of the first section of the paper below. Compromise involves resolving conflicts of principles through mutual concessions that are accepted and undertaken by all parties. Doing so may be on-balance desirable, not only from some larger perspective (of social peace, or whatever) but also from each party's own perspective. Nevertheless, from each party's perspective, compromise necessarily involves interacting with, and sometimes contributing to, wrongdoing. Morally, something is lost, even if more is gained on balance. (shrink)
In this article we present an exploratory investigation of pictorial and multimodal metaphors appearing in print product advertisements; the aim is to ascertain their relevance for the arguments that the ads put forth. Departing from the working hypotheses that advertising is an argumentative activity type employing pictorial and multimodal metaphors, and that these are often examples of visual argumentation, we analyze a small corpus of print product ads by employing the theoretical frameworks offered by Blending Theory and the Argumentum Model (...) of Topics. This allows us to reconstruct the enthymematic structure of advertising arguments highlighting the correspondence between rhetorical tropes and argumentative loci. (shrink)
In the philosophy of science and epistemology literature, robustness analysis has become an umbrella term that refers to a variety of strategies. One of the main purposes of this paper is to argue that different strategies rely on different criteria for justifications. More specifically, I will claim that: i) robustness analysis differs from de-idealization even though the two concepts have often been conflated in the literature; ii) the comparison of different model frameworks requires different justifications than the comparison of models (...) that differ only for the assumption under test; iii) the replacement of specific assumptions with different ones can encounter specific difficulties in scientific practice. These claims will be supported by a case study in population ecology and a case study in geographical economics. (shrink)
_The Politics of Imagination_ offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the contemporary relationship between politics and the imagination. What role does our capacity to form images play in politics? And can we define politics as a struggle for people’s imagination? As a result of the increasingly central place of the media in our lives, the political role of imagination has undergone a massive quantitative and a qualitative change. As such, there has been a revival of interest in the concept of imagination, (...) as the intimate connections between our capacity to form images and politics becomes more and more evident. Bringing together scholars from different disciplines and theoretical outlooks, _The Politics of Imagination_ examines how the power of imagination reverberates in the various ambits of social and political life: in law, history, art, gender, economy, religion and the natural sciences. And it will be of considerable interest to those with contemporary interests in philosophy, political philosophy, political science, legal theory, gender studies, sociology, nationalism, identity studies, cultural studies, and media studies. (shrink)
Torture is unethical and usually counterproductive. It is prohibited by international and national laws. Yet it persists: according to Amnesty International, torture is widespread in more than a third of countries. Physicians and other medical professionals are frequently asked to assist with torture. -/- Medical complicity in torture, like other forms of involvement, is prohibited both by international law and by codes of professional ethics. However, when the victims of torture are also patients in need of treatment, doctors can find (...) themselves torn. To accede to the requests of the torturers may entail assisting or condoning terrible acts. But to refuse care to someone in medical need may seem like abandoning a patient and thereby fail to exhibit the beneficence expected of physicians. -/- In this paper, we argue that this dilemma is real and that sometimes the right thing for a doctor to do, overall, is to be complicit in torture. Though complicity in a wrongful act is itself prima facie wrongful, this judgment may be outweighed by other factors. We propose three criteria for analyzing how those factors apply to particular cases of medical complicity in torture. (shrink)
This paper aims at combining different theoretical and methodological approaches for the analysis of discourse, focusing in particular on argumentative structures. At a first level an attempt is made to include argumentation in critical discourse analysis in order to extend the analysis of interaction between “structures of discourse” and “structures of ideologies”, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Sage, London, 1995) to higher levels of language description. At a second level the study will integrate the qualitative approaches of critical discourse analysis (...) and argumentation theory with the quantitative tools of corpus linguistics, so that the analysis can be carried out on a representative amount of texts and in a more systematic way. Even though corpus linguistics tends to be focused on meanings localized at the level of words, while argumentative structures stretch out through longer units of text, an integration can be attempted by circumscribing the enquiry to those aspects of argumentation which are signalled by indicators, and are therefore electronically retrievable. In particular, this paper investigates the use of dissociation and presupposition in a corpus of newspaper articles published in the run up to the war on Iraq. Both structures respond to retrievability criteria while being powerful instruments to convey ideologically oriented messages. (shrink)
Paraconsistent quantum logics are weak forms of quantum logic, where the noncontradiction and the excluded-middle laws are violated. These logics find interesting applications in the operational approach to quantum mechanics. In this paper, we present an axiomatization, a Kripke-style, and an algebraic semantical characterization for two forms of paraconsistent quantum logic. Further developments are contained in Giuntini and Greuling's paper in this issue.
I argue that an agent can be appropriately blamed for failing to assist someone in need, even if her failure to assist is not wrong, and that an agent can be morally required to assist even if assisting is overly costly for her—more costly than what the relevant moral baseline is ordinarily taken to allow. Whether this is the case depends on whether the agent has previously failed to discharge her “prospective duties.” Once these duties are taken into consideration, even (...) apparently moderate accounts of beneficence appear to be not very moderate after all. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to recover a tradition of political philosophy which has been largely neglected and show its relevance for contemporary political thought. By arguing for the need of rethinking political myth today, the article reconstructs the philosophical reflections on this topic of Cassirer, Sorel and Spinoza, discussing both their strength and shortcomings. By adopting a comparative look backwards, it shows why they provide an ideal starting point for a philosophical approach to political myth which is aimed (...) at both understanding what political myths are and how should they be evaluated. (shrink)
I develop an account of scientific representations building on Charles S. Peirce's rich, and still underexplored, notion of iconicity. Iconic representations occupy a central place in Peirce's philosophy, in his innovative approach to logic and in his practice as a scientist. Starting from a discussion of Peirce's approach to diagrams, I claim that Peirce's own representations are in line with his formulation of iconicity, and that they are more broadly connected to the pragmatist philosophy he developed in parallel with his (...) scientific work. I then defend the contemporary relevance of Peirce's approach to iconic representations, and specifically argue that Peirce offers a useful ‘third way’ between what Mauricio Suárez has recently described as the ‘analytical’ and ‘practical’ inquiries into the concept of representation. As a philosophically minded scientist and an experimentally inclined philosopher, Peirce never divorced the practice of representing from questions about what counts as a representation... (shrink)
This essay explores how hormone treatments were used to optimize and normalize individuals under Italian Fascism. It does so by taking the activities of the Biotypological Orthogenetic Institute − an Italian eugenics and endocrinological centre founded by Nicola Pende in 1926 − as the prime example of a version of eugenics, biotypology, which was based on hormone therapies. This essay first demonstrates that Italian Fascist biopolitics was not only concerned with increasing the size of the Italian population, but also with (...) improving its quality. It suggests that under the Italian Fascist regime hormone therapies became eugenic tools of intervention to improve the Italian race. Second, while Pende's institute purportedly enhanced men and women, its activities show the extent to which the ‘techniques of normalization’ pursued by the Fascist regime were both systematic and invasive. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to reassess the conceptual link between politics and our capacity to create images. Although a lot has been written on what we can call the ‘politics of imagination’, much less has been done to critically assess the conceptual link between the two in a systematic way. This paper introduces the concept of imaginal, understood simply as what is made of images, to go beyond the current impasse of the opposition between theories of imagination as (...) an individual faculty, on the one hand, and theories of the imaginary as a social context, on the other. As such, I also argue that the concept of imaginal is the theoretical tool most adapted to capture the nature of the conceptual link between politics and our capacity to produce images. This analysis is finally applied to contemporary politics and it is shown to be able to bring light to many of its paradoxes, including that of a political world full of images, but deprived of imagination. (shrink)
How does other people’s opinion affect judgments of norm transgressions? In our study, we used a modification of the famous Asch paradigm to examine conformity in the moral domain. The question we addressed was how peer group opinion alters normative judgments of scenarios involving violations of moral, social, and decency norms. The results indicate that even moral norms are subject to conformity, especially in situations with a high degree of social presence. Interestingly, the degree of conformity can distinguish between different (...) types of norms. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that there is a kind of moral disagreement that survives the Rawlsian veil of ignorance. While a veil of ignorance eliminates sources of disagreement stemming from self-interest, it does not do anything to eliminate deeper sources of disagreement. These disagreements not only persist, but transform their structure once behind the veil of ignorance. We consider formal frameworks for exploring these differences in structure between interested and disinterested disagreement, and argue that consensus models offer us a (...) solution concept for disagreements behind the veil of ignorance. (shrink)