In The idea of justice (2009), Amartya Sen builds on his previous work on capabilities to develop a theory of comparative justice which he contrasts to the contractarian approach. The theory has two parts: the proper materials of justice (capabilities); and, a procedure for assessing those materials. The procedure that Sen advocates is one of open impartial deliberation operationalised through Adam Smith's impartial spectator, which he contends is superior to contractarian view operationalised by Rawls’ original position. In this paper we (...) argue that Sen's open impartiality is too open and defend a more bounded version as more workable regardless of the operationalising device used. Moreover, we demonstrate that Sen's own arguments against the possibility of agreement, though aimed at the contractarian tradition, undermine his own attempts to generate a contentful account of justice by driving a wedge between the materials and procedures. Sen's attempt to provide an alternative approach to political philosophy, we conclude, fails. (shrink)
In the UK, current policies and services for people with mental disorders, including those with intellectual disabilities (ID), presume that these men and women can, do, and should, make decisions for themselves. The new Mental Capacity Act (England and Wales) 2005 (MCA) sets this presumption into statute, and codifies how decisions relating to health and welfare should be made for those adults judged unable to make one or more such decisions autonomously. The MCA uses a procedural checklist to guide this (...) process of substitute decision-making. The personal experiences of providing direct support to seven men and women with ID living in residential care, however, showed that substitute decision-making took two forms, depending on the type of decision to be made. The first process, ‘strategic substitute decision-making’, paralleled the MCA’s legal and ethical framework, whilst the second process, ‘relational substitute decision-making’, was markedly different from these statutory procedures. In this setting, ‘relational substitute decision-making’ underpinned everyday personal and social interventions connected with residents’ daily living, and was situated within a framework of interpersonal and interdependent care relationships. The implications of these findings for residential services and the implementation of the MCA are discussed. (shrink)
Despite much research on the relationship between awareness and dementia little can be concluded concerning their relationship and the role of other factors. It is likely that studies capture different phenomena of awareness. This study aimed at identifying and delineating such variation by analysing data from three questionnaires obtained during the longitudinal study of awareness in 101 people with early-stage dementia. The data concerned awareness in relation to memory, activities of daily living and socio-emotional function. Significant differences in patterns of (...) discrepancies were obtained. This suggests that the awareness phenomena involved were structurally different; and that, in turn, this may reflect variation in the intrinsic linking between awareness and its ‘object’ . The identification of such differences is necessary so that appropriate methodologies can be applied to the study of awareness in different contexts. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationships between Christianity, Englishness, and ideas about the southern English landscape in the writings of the 1930s and 1940s rural commentator, H.J. Massingham. The paper begins by looking in general terms at the conjunction of religious and national identities in the context of national landscapes before moving on to consider in more detail one particular instance of this in the writing of H.J. Massingham. Massingham's understanding of a divine natural order, his construction of a kind of (...) 'divine Englishness' and the way in which he relates this to particular English landscapes is explored. In particular, the paper investigates the natural, social and political power relationships which are embedded in Massingham's work, and suggests that his writing provides an interesting example of one way in which theological reasoning can reflect and reinforce concepts of a naturally ordered national identity. (shrink)
In her recent paper ‘The Epistemology of Propaganda’ Rachel McKinnon discusses what she refers to as ‘TERF propaganda’. We take issue with three points in her paper. The first is her rejection of the claim that ‘TERF’ is a misogynistic slur. The second is the examples she presents as commitments of so-called ‘TERFs’, in order to establish that radical (and gender critical) feminists rely on a flawed ideology. The third is her claim that standpoint epistemology can be used to establish (...) that such feminists are wrong to worry about a threat of male violence in relation to trans women. In Section 1 we argue that ‘TERF’ is not a merely descriptive term; that to the extent that McKinnon offers considerations in support of the claim that ‘TERF’ is not a slur, these considerations fail; and that ‘TERF’ is a slur according to several prominent accounts in the contemporary literature. In Section 2, we argue that McKinnon misrepresents the position of gender critical feminists, and in doing so fails to establish the claim that the ideology behind these positions is flawed. In Section 3 we argue that McKinnon’s criticism of Stanley fails, and one implication of this is that those she characterizes as ‘positively privileged’ cannot rely on the standpoint-relative knowledge of those she characterizes as ‘negatively privileged’. We also emphasize in this section McKinnon’s failure to understand and account for multiple axes of oppression, of which the cis/trans axis is only one. (shrink)
This study investigated whether temporal clustering of autobiographical memories around periods of self-development would also occur when imagining future events associated with the self. Participants completed an AM task and future thinking task. In both tasks, memories and future events were cued using participant-generated identity statements . Participants then dated their memories and future events, and finally gave an age at which each identity statement was judged to emerge. Dates of memories and future events were recoded as temporal distance from (...) the identity statement used to cue them. AMs and future events both clustered robustly around periods of self-development, indicating the powerful organisational effect of the self. We suggest that life narrative structures are used to organise future events as well as memories. (shrink)
Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness, which affects sense of identity. While the ability to have a coherent vision of the self relies partly on its reciprocal relationships with autobiographical memories, little is known about how memories ground “self-images” in schizophrenia. Twenty-five patients with schizophrenia and 25 controls were asked to give six autobiographical memories related to four self-statements they considered essential for defining their identity. Results showed that patients’ self-images were more passive than those of controls. Autobiographical memories underlying (...) self-images were less thematically linked to these self-images in patients. We also found evidence of a weakened sense of self and a deficient organization of autobiographical memories grounding the self in schizophrenia. These abnormalities may account for the poor cohesiveness of the self in schizophrenia. (shrink)
Although medical and public health practitioners aim for high rates of vaccination, parent vaccination concerns confound doctors and complicate doctor-patient interactions. Medical and public health researchers have studied and attempted to counter antivaccination sentiments, but recommended approaches to dispel vaccination concerns have failed to produce long-lasting effects. We use observations made during a small study in a rural area in a southeastern state to demonstrate how a shift away from analyzing vaccination skepticism as a national issue with a global remedy (...) reveals the nuances in vaccination sentiments based on locality. Instead of seeing antivaccinationists as a distinct public based on statistical commonalities, we argue that examining vaccination beliefs and practices at the local level offers a fuller picture of the contextualized nature of vaccination decisions within the psychosocial spaces of families. A view of vaccination that emphasizes the local public, rather than a globally conceived antivaccination public, enables medical humanists and rhetoricians to offer important considerations for improving communications about vaccinations in clinical settings. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
Contract cheating, or plagiarism via paid ghostwriting, is a significant academic ethical issue, especially as reliable methods for its prevention and detection in students’ assignments remain elusive. Contract cheating in academic assessment has been the subject of much recent debate and concern. Although some scandals have attracted substantial media attention, little is known about the likely prevalence of contract cheating by students for their university assignments. Although rates of contract cheating tend to be low, criminological theories suggest that people who (...) employ ghostwriters for their assignments are likely to re-offend, and little is known about re-offence rates in this form of academic misconduct. We combined previously-collected datasets and conducted additional, and previously-unreported, analyses on self-report measures of contract cheating prevalence. We found that few students, on aggregate, ever engaged in contract cheating but this varied substantially among samples. Of those who ever engaged in contract cheating, 62.5% did so more than once. The data also suggested that engagement in contract cheating is influenced by opportunity. These figures may help policy makers, and researchers who are creating contract cheating detection methods, to estimate base rates of contract cheating and the likelihood of re-offence. (shrink)
This paper is a detailed examination of some parts of J. P. Moreland's book on "the argument from consciousness". (There is a companion article that discusses the parts of the book not taken up in this critical notice.).
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
Young children with cancer are treated with interventions that can have a high risk of compromising their reproductive potential. ‘Fertility preservation’ for children who have not yet reached puberty involves surgically removing and cryopreserving reproductive tissue prior to treatment in the expectation that strategies for the use of this tissue will be developed in the future. Fertility preservation for prepubertal children is ethically complex because the techniques largely lack proven efficacy for this age group. There is professional difference of opinion (...) about whether it is ethical to offer such ‘experimental’ procedures. The question addressed in this paper is: when, if ever, is it ethically justifiable to offer fertility preservation surgery to prepubertal children? We present the ethical concerns about prepubertal fertility preservation, drawing both on existing literature and our experience discussing this issue with clinicians in clinical ethics case consultations. We argue that offering the procedure is ethically justifiable in certain circumstances. For many children, the balance of benefits and burdens is such that the procedure is ethically permissible but not ethically required; when the procedure is medically safe, it is the parents’ decision to make, with appropriate information and guidance from the treating clinicians. We suggest that clinical ethics support processes are necessary to assist clinicians to engage with the ethical complexity of prepubertal fertility preservation and describe the framework that has been integrated into the pathway of care for patients and families attending the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. (shrink)
La metafísica después de ser ignorada por años ha regresado al centro de la escena en la filosofía contemporánea. Tomás de Aquino ha vivido una historia muy parecida, lo que dio nacimiento al tomismo analítico. A pesar de los trabajos desarrollados en esta línea de investigación, la metafísica del Aquinate ha sido fuertemente ignorada. Sin embargo, la metafísica de Tomás de Aquino tiene una ventaja, poco discutida entre los tomistas y tomasinos, y es la de ser una metafísica esencialista. Así, (...) en armonía con el trabajo del metafísico E. J. Lowe, quien presenta su metafísica como “esencialista seria”, se quiere mostrar que la metafísica del Aquinate tiene las mismas virtudes del “esencialismo serio”, lo que permite postularla como una posición válida y plausible para la metafísica contemporánea. (shrink)
When people think about how a situation might have turned out differently, they tend to imagine counterfactual alternatives to their actions. We report the results of three experiments which show that people imagine alternatives to actions differently when they know about a reason for the action. The first experiment ( n = 36) compared reason - action sequences to cause - effect sequences. It showed that people do not imagine alternatives to reasons in the way they imagine alternatives to causes: (...) they imagine an alternative to an action more than an effect, and to a cause more than a reason. The second experiment ( n = 214) and the third experiment ( n = 190) both show that different sorts of reasons have different sorts of effects on how people imagine alternatives to actions. People imagine an alternative to an action (the protagonist went to a ball) less often when they know the reason for the action was an obligation (he had to participate in fundraising) compared to when they know about a weaker reason (he wanted to meet a famous violinist) or no reason. The second experiment shows the effect for a social obligation and the third experiment replicates and extends it to a health obligation. We interpret the results in terms of the possibilities that people keep in mind about actions and their reasons. (shrink)