There is a tendency to see the current challenges to Catholic health care ministry as unprecedented, and the particular shape they take certainly is. But there has always been pressure. The reason is simple: whatever the dominant political, economic, or medical system of a given time and place, Catholic identity must always be at an ethical angle. Catholics faithful to Jesus' words and deeds are “resident aliens” in every society.
We have inherited from the history of moral philosophy two very different proposals about how we ought to behave. According to one view, we are required to do what is morally right; on the alternative formulation, we are required to do what we believe to be morally right. Unless these twin demands on our moral decision-making can be made to coincide by definition, it is inevitable that in some cases our beliefs about what is morally right may be mistaken. In (...) such cases, it is not clear what we are morally required to do. Are we obliged to follow our conscience in every situation, i.e. to act according to our moral beliefs, or is it sometimes permissible not to act according to our own moral beliefs? (shrink)
This is a collection of papers, responses, and discussions that took place among philosophers and theologians of all persuasions at a conference held at Princeton. The lead papers are given by H. H. Price, William Alston, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Brand Blanshard on the respective topics of Religious Experience, Psychological Explanation of Religious Belief, the Compatibility of Understanding and Belief, and Irrationalism in Theology. The discussion of irrationalism begins with Blanshard's indictment of Barth and Barthian-style Theology, and provokes sharp responses on (...) both sides, but apparently little communication. Norris Clarke's response to MacIntyre's paper on Understanding and Belief could have been a fruitful point at which to deepen the discussion, but unfortunately MacIntyre did not publish a response to Clarke's criticism of his sociological theory of the relationship between belief and understanding. The section on psychology is deficient for want of a theologian to express an opposite viewpoint to the intra-party dialogue carried on by Alston and Malcolm. In addition to Clarke's response to MacIntyre, Virgil Aldrich's response to Price's paper on Religious Experience is quite incisive.—E. A. R. (shrink)
Corporate community involvement is attracting increasing interest in Britain, but what do shareholders feel about this use of company assets? This timely survey of top UK corporate donors provides interesting data on current practice and explores the degree to which shareholders are consulted. The author is a member of the Department of Business Studies in the Faculty of Management and Business of The Manchester Metropolitan University, Aytoun Building, Aytoun Street, Manchester M1 3GH; e–mail email@example.com.
The amygdala is a key brain area regulating responses to stress and emotional stimuli, so improving our understanding of how it is regulated could offer novel strategies for treating disturbances in emotion regulation. As we review here, a growing body of evidence indicates that the gut microbiota may contribute to a range of amygdala-dependent brain functions from pain sensitivity to social behavior, emotion regulation, and therefore, psychiatric health. In addition, it appears that the microbiota is necessary for normal development of (...) the amygdala at both the structural and functional levels. While further investigations are needed to elucidate the exact mechanisms of microbiota-to-amygdala communication, ultimately, this work raises the intriguing possibility that the gut microbiota may become a viable treatment target in disorders associated with amygdala dysregulation, including visceral pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and beyond. Also see the video abstract here: https://youtu.be/O5gvxVJjX18 The amygdala plays a central role in regulating many aspects of behavior in rodents and humans, from pain responding to social interaction and psychiatric function. Accumulating evidence suggests microbiota-to-amygdala communication along the gut-brain axis is a key modulator of these amygdala-dependent behaviors, with critical implications for health and disease. (shrink)
This paper provides a brief comparative overview of the development of the reproductive sciences especially in agriculture in the UK and the US. It begins with the establishment by F. H. A. Marshall in 1910 of the boundaries that framed the reproductive sciences as distinct from genetics and embryology. It then examines how and where the reproductive sciences were taken up in agricultural research settings, focusing on the differential development of US and UK institutions. The reproductive sciences were also pursued (...) in medical and biological settings, and I discuss how the intersections among all three allowed the circulation of both ideas and scientists’ careers. Across the twentieth century, scientific leadership in the reproductive sciences alternated between the UK and US, and these patterns are elucidated. I conclude with thoughts on future research that might emphasize the elaboration of industrialization processes in agriculture and new capacities to transform both reproductive processes and their products—life itself—as biopower comes to be more ambitiously understood as extending across all species. (shrink)
Government and market forces have fundamentally transformed the religious healthcare sector. Religious healthcare organizations are struggling to define their identities and determine what it is that makes them different and what implications the differences have for the delivery of social services and for public life. In response to these questions, the defenders of traditional Catholic healthcare make a variety of responses that first defend the continued relevance of the major institutions of Catholic healthcare, especially its hospitals, and second, specify reforms (...) to make these institutions even more relevant to the new healthcare system. This essay argues that these defenses are inadequate to that challenge and that the reforms proposed are too timid. Catholic healthcare needs a better theoretical account of its mission and more creative institutional adaptations. (shrink)
This paper reports a literature review on the topic of ethical issues in in-depth interviews. The review returned three types of article: general discussion, issues in particular studies, and studies of interview-based research ethics. Whilst many of the issues discussed in these articles are generic to research ethics, such as confidentiality, they often had particular manifestations in this type of research. For example, privacy was a significant problem as interviews sometimes probe unexpected areas. For similar reasons, it is difficult to (...) give full information of the nature of a particular interview at the outset, hence informed consent is problematic. Where a pair is interviewed (such as carer and cared-for) there are major difficulties in maintaining confidentiality and protecting privacy. The potential for interviews to harm participants emotionally is noted in some papers, although this is often set against potential therapeutic benefit. As well as these generic issues, there are some ethical issues fairly specific to in-depth interviews. The problem of dual role is noted in many papers. It can take many forms: an interviewer might be nurse and researcher, scientist and counsellor, or reporter and evangelist. There are other specific issues such as taking sides in an interview, and protecting vulnerable groups. Little specific study of the ethics of in-depth interviews has taken place. However, that which has shows some important findings. For example, one study shows participants are not averse to discussing painful issues provided they feel the study is worthwhile. Some papers make recommendations for researchers. One such is that they should consider using a model of continuous (or process) consent rather than viewing consent as occurring once, at signature, prior to the interview. However, there is a need for further study of this area, both philosophical and empirical. (shrink)
Outpatient services are increasingly recognised as an important component of health care provision and may be improved through the application of modern management techniques. We have performed a time and role audit of consultation and waiting times in two medical clinics using different queuing systems: namely, a serial processing clinic where patients wait in a single queue and a quasi-parallel processing clinic where patients are directed to the shortest queue to maintain clinic flow. Data collected were used to construct a (...) computer simulation of patient flows in clinic. Assessment of patient satisfaction in the clinic process was determined using a self-administered questionnaire. Mean waiting time was shorter in the quasi-parallel processing clinic: 26 (SD 17) minutes compared with 36(24) minutes in the serial processing clinic. In the serial processing clinic 61% of patients waited more than 30 minutes compared with 41% in the quasi-parallel processing clinic. In the serial processing clinic 8% of 142 patients surveyed complained of the time spent waiting. The computer simulation we produced was able to determine waiting times with different clinic structures. The simulation showed that reductions in waiting time up to 30% might be achieved by changing our serial processing clinic to a quasi-parallel processing one. Performance of medical outpatient clinics can be improved by examining and changing clinic management. Computer simulation of outpatient clinics offers a means of assessing the impact of such changes on waiting time in clinic and on waiting lists. (shrink)