The principle of respect for autonomy is increasingly under siege as a valuable component of healthcare ethics. Its critics charge that it has been elevated to a position out of proportion to its contribution, so that the individual's wishes and rights have come to dominate healthcare decisionmaking, while obligations and responsibilities are ignored or devalued. If we are to salvage respect for autonomy we must find a way to reconnect the individual and the community, rights and responsibilities, in the way (...) we think about, discuss, and make healthcare decisions. (shrink)
: The principle of respect for autonomy has come under increasing attack both within health care ethics, specifically, and as part of the more general communitarian challenge to predominantly liberal values. This paper will demonstrate the importance of respect for autonomy for the social practice of assigning moral responsibility and for the development of moral responsibility as a virtue. Guided by this virtue, the responsible exercise of autonomy may provide a much-needed connection between the individual and the community.
In this article I provide an overview of philosophical conceptions of privacy and suggest 3 models to assist with the ethical analysis of privacy invasion by the news media. The models are framed by respect for persons (Kantian), the comparison of harms and benefits (Utilitarian), and the transfer of power. After describing the models, I demonstrate how they can be applied to news reporting that invades the privacy of public figures.
The American Medical Association has provided a list of patient responsibilities, said to be derived from patient autonomy, without providing any justification for this derivation. In this article, the virtue of moral responsibility is proposed as a way to justify these kinds of limits on respect for individual autonomy. The need for such limits is explained by examining the traditional principles of health care ethics. What is missing in health care decision making, and can be provided by the virtue of (...) moral responsibility, is a careful consideration of the impact of individual decisions on particular others and the community, as a whole. The concept of moral responsibility as a virtue is then developed and examples of its application to health care decision making are provided. Finally, the roles of both physicians and health care ethicists in promoting the morally responsible exercise of individual autonomy are explored. (shrink)
The coverage of national tragedies by the news media has come under increasing criticism. Yet, we continue to watch, listen, and read. One approach to resolving this conflict is through an understanding and recognition of the contribution the news media make to public discourse and public grieving.Themes from communication studies, political theory, and contemporary ethics are all employed to develop a new perspective on this type of news coverage. The perspective taken here is based on the ritual view of communication, (...) according to which the purpose of communication is the maintenance of society and the representation of shared beliefs. The argument is made that the news media in these tragic situations have the responsibility of providing needed information, stimulating public discourse, bringing us together as a community of fellow-citizens, and telling stories that engage our emotions and lead us to re-evaluate our own values, attitudes, choices, and actions. Specific examples are provided from the September 11 attacks to demonstrate that in all of these ways the news media make a valuable contribution to public grieving by initiating and supporting the kind of public discourse that can meet human needs in the face of grief and loss. (shrink)
This paper approaches the topic of visual art in medical education from a philosophical perspective, drawing on arguments from epistemology, philosophy of science, aesthetics, and contemporary ethical theory. Several medical ethicists have noted that the traditional clinical paradigm may increase the epistemic and emotional distance between patient and physician in part by focusing on the physical body and medical technology. Some of these same writers recommend a new approach to patients based on empathy and increased attention to suffering. After reviewing (...) these arguments, supporting examples, and recommendations, I explain how visual art that expresses or symbolizes the emotional response to illness could be used to introduce an additional paradigm into medical education. This would be a paradigm based on empathetic attention to patients' emotional experiences in illness. My own argument is that this additional way of perceiving and relating to patients may reduce the distance between patient and physician and may allow physicians to better meet the ideal of treating the patient as a person. (shrink)
This article contributes to the development of a professional responsibility theory of public relations ethics. Toward that end, we examine the roles of a public relations practitioner as a professional, an institutional advocate, and the public conscience of institutions served. In the article, we review previously suggested theories of public relations ethics and propose a new theory based on the public relations professional's dual obligations to serve client organizations and the public interest.
The current interest in and discussion of virtue ethics suggests that this approach to moral decisionmaking has several distinct advantages as applied to ethical issues in healthcare delivery. For the most part, calls to incorporate the virtues of the healthcare provider in discussions of these issues have sought to supplement rather than totally replace traditional ethical theories, such as the utilitarian focus on maximizing the best overall consequences and the Kantian concern to act on the duty of respect for persons. (...) Including virtue-based ethics in such discussions allows for a more eclectic view of what should be considered in resolving difficult moral problems. As many critics of the purely principle-based approach have noted, real moral dilemmas are usually quite messy and are not easily susceptible to satisfactory resolution solely on the basis of abstract moral theories or principles. (shrink)
1. The portrait and the man – each is unique. “Here is the only portrait of a man, painted exactly from nature and completely true to it.” And this man, “it will be myself…. Myself alone…. I am different.” And yet this unique portrait of this unique man, “may be used as the first comparative work in the study of man, which is certainly yet to be begun.”.
The people's right to know and press rights to gather and publish information remain dominant justifications for controversial media activities. Yet, the power of the media to set the agenda for public discourse in our country warrants a careful analysis of these rights, their corresponding responsibilities, and their moral limits. This article examines the right to know and press freedom from the perspective of their shared purpose, facilitation of informed decision making. This article also demonstrates moral justification of limits on (...) right to know and press freedom based on traditional ethics theories and media impact on public discourse. (shrink)
Is morality rational? In this book Gauthier argues that moral principles are principles of rational choice. He proposes a principle whereby choice is made on an agreed basis of cooperation, rather than according to what would give an individual the greatest expectation of value. He shows that such a principle not only ensures mutual benefit and fairness, thus satisfying the standards of morality, but also that each person may actually expect greater utility by adhering to morality, even though the (...) choice did not have that end primarily in view. In resolving what may appear to be a paradox, the author establishes morals on the firm foundation of reason. Gauthier's argument includes an account of value, linking it to preference and utility; a discussion of the curcumstances in which morality is unnecessary; and an application of morals by agreement to relations between peoples at different levels of development and different generations. Finally, he reflects on the assumptions about individuality and community made by his account of rationality and morality. (shrink)
Fairley and Manktelow (1997) have mistaken an error of presentation for an error of substance. My causal the- ory remains the same: Causal reasoning scenarios that require the reasoner to decide whether or not an effect will occur in the presence of a viable cause trigger considera- tion of disabling conditions—that is, factors that could prevent the effect from occurring in the presence of a vi- able cause. Scenarios that require the reasoner to decide whether or not a particular cause (...) has produced an ob- served effect trigger consideration of possible alternative causes. The data reported by Cummins (1995) and Cum- mins, Lubart, Alksnis, and Rist (1991) are consistent with this theoretical analysis. (shrink)
In “On Begging the Systematicity Question,” Wayne Davis criticizes the suggestion of Cummins et al. that the alleged systematicity of thought is not as obvious as is sometimes supposed, and hence not reliable evidence for the language of thought hypothesis. We offer a brief reply.
Hobbes on Demonstration and Construction DAVID GAUTHIER 1~ IN 1656 Hobbes published Six Lessons to the Professors of Mathematics, with an Epistle Dedicatory to the Marquis of Dorchester, Lord Pierrepont. In this Epistle, Hobbes distinguishes the demonstrable from the indemonstrable arts: "demonstrable are those the construction of the subject whereof is in the power of the artist himself, who, in his demonstration, does no more but deduce the consequences of his own operation" . Although this passage, with the explication (...) Hobbes offers for it and the consequences he draws from it, and a similar discussion in De homine, published two years later, have not been unnoticed, their significance for Hobbes's account of science in general, and civil philosophy or politics in particular, has not, I think, been I am grateful to the University of East Anglia for appointing me a Visiting Research Fellow during the period in which the first draft of this paper was written. A second draft was presented at the Third Quadrennial International Fellows Conference of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Florence Center for the History and Philosophy of Science. I am grateful for the remarks of my commentator, J. E. McGuire, and for the discussion. I am also grateful for the comments of the two referees who read this paper for the Journal of the History of Philosophy. References to Hobbes's works appear as.. (shrink)
Haugeland doesn’t have what I would call a theory of mental representation. Indeed, it isn’t clear that he believes there is such a thing. But he does have a theory of intentionality and a correlative theory of objectivity, and it is this material that I will be discussing in what follows. It will facilitate the discussion that follows to have at hand some distinctions and accompanying terminology I introduced in Representations, Targets and Attitudes (Cummins, 1996; RTA hereafter). Couching the (...) discussion in these terms will, I hope, help to identify points of agreement and disagreement between Haugaland and myself. In RTA, I distinguished between the target a representation has on a given occasion of its application, and its content. RTA takes representation deployment to be the business of intenders: mechanisms whose business it is to represent some particular class of targets. Thus, on standard stories about speech perception, there is a mechanism (called a parser) whose business it is to represent the phrase structure of the linguistic input currently being processed. When this intender passes a representation R to the consumers of its products, those consumers will take R to be a representation of the phrase structure of the current input. There is no explicit vocabulary to mark the target-content distinction in ordinary language. Expressions like "what I referred to," "what I meant," and the like, are ambiguous. Sometimes they mean targets, sometimes contents. Consider the following dialogue. (shrink)
A viable evolutionary cognitive psychology requires that speciﬁc cognitive capacities be (a) heritable and (b) ‘quasi-independent’ from other heritable traits. They must be heritable because there can be no selection for traits that are not. They must be quasi-independent from other heritable traits, since adaptive variations in a speciﬁc cognitive capacity could have no distinctive consequences for ﬁtness if eﬀecting those variations required widespread changes in other unrelated traits and capacities as well. These requirements would be satisﬁed by innate cognitive (...) modules, as the dominant paradigm in evolutionary cognitive psychology assumes. However, those requirements would also be satisﬁed by heritable learning biases, perhaps in the form of architec- tural or chronotopic constraints, that operated to increase the canalization of speciﬁc cognitive capacities in the ancestral environment (Cummins and Cummins 1999). As an organism develops, cognitive capacities that are highly canalized as the result of heritable learning biases might result in an organism that is behaviourally quite similar to an organism whose innate modules come on line as the result of various environ- mental triggers. Taking this possibility seriously is increasingly important as the case against innate cognitive modules becomes increasingly strong. (shrink)
A model of gestural sequencing in speech is proposed that aspires to producing biologically plausible fluent and efficient movement in generating an utterance. We have previously proposed a modification of the well-known task dynamic implementation of articulatory phonology such that any given articulatory movement can be associated with a quantification of effort (Simko & Cummins, 2010). To this we add a quantitative cost that decreases as speech gestures become more precise, and hence intelligible, and a third cost component that (...) places a premium on the duration of an utterance. Together, these three cost elements allow us to derive algorithmically optimal sequences of gestures and dynamical parameters for generating articulator movement. We show that the optimized movement displays many timing characteristics that are representative of real speech movement, capturing subtle details of relative timing between gestures. Optimal movement sequences also display invariances in timing that suggest syllable-level coordination for CV sequences. We explore the behavior of the model as prosodic context is manipulated in two dimensions: clarity of articulation and speech rate. Smooth, fluid, and efficient movements result. (shrink)
Reason, egoism, and utilitarianism, by H. Sidgwick.--Is egoism reasonable? By G. E. Moore.--Ultimate principles and ethical egoism, by B. Medlin.--In defense of egoism, by J. Kalin.--Virtuous affections and self-love, by F. Hutcheson.--Our obligation to virtue, by D. Hume.--Duty and interest, by H. A. Prichard.--The natural condition of mankind and the laws of nature, by T. Hobbes.--Why should we be moral? By K. Baier.--Morality and advantage, by D. P. Gauthier.--Bibliographical essay (p. 181-184).
Ce compte rendu a déjà paru dans les Archives de sciences sociales des religions 164 | 2013. Nous remercions beaucoup François Gauthier et les ASSR de nous avoir autorisé à le reproduire ici. G. Bordin, On dansait seulement la nuit. Fêtes chez les Inuit du nord de la Terre de Baffin, Nanterre, Publications de la Société d'ethnologie, coll. « Anthropologie de la nuit », 2011, 116 p. Ce beau petit livre publié par la Société d'ethnologie de Nanterre s'inscrit dans (...) la collection « Anthropologie de la (...) - Recensions. (shrink)
Robert Cummins presents a series of essays motivated by the following question: Is the mind a collection of beliefs and desires that respond to and condition our feeling and perceptual experiences, or is this just a natural way to talk about it? What sort of conceptual framework do we need to understand what is really going on in our brains?
Rousseau is often portrayed as an educational and social reformer whose aim was to increase individual freedom. In this volume David Gauthier examines Rousseau's evolving notion of freedom, where he focuses on a single quest: can freedom and the independent self be regained? Rousseau's first answer is given in Emile, where he seeks to create a self-sufficient individual, neither materially nor psychologically enslaved to others. His second is in the Social Contract, where he seeks to create a citizen who (...) identifies totally with his community, experiencing his dependence on it only as a dependence on himself. Rousseau implicitly recognized the failure of these solutions. His third answer is one of the main themes of the Confessions and Reveries, where he is made for a love that merges the selves of the lovers into a single, psychologically sufficient unity that makes each 'better than free'. But is this response a chimaera? (shrink)
In the beginning, there was the DN (Deductive Nomological) model of explanation, articulated by Hempel and Oppenheim (1948). According to DN, scientific explanation is subsumption under natural law. Individual events are explained by deducing them from laws together with initial conditions (or boundary conditions), and laws are explained by deriving them from other more fundamental laws, as, for example, the simple pendulum law is derived from Newton's laws of motion.
The purpose of this paper is to set forth a sense in which programs can and do explain behavior, and to distinguish from this a number of senses in which they do not. Once we are tolerably clear concerning the sort of explanatory strategy being employed, two rather interesting facts emerge; (1) though it is true that programs are "internally represented," this fact has no explanatory interest beyond the mere fact that the program is executed; (2) programs which are couched (...) in information processing terms may have an explanatory interest for a given range of behavior which is independent of physiological explanations of the same range of behavior. (shrink)
An experiment was conducted to investigate the relative contributions of syntactic form and content to conditional reasoning. The content domain chosen was that of causation. Conditional statements that described causal relationships (if (cause>, then (effect>) were embedded in simple arguments whose entailments are governed by the rules -oftruth-functional logic (i.e., modus ponens, modus tollens, denying the antecedent, and affirming the consequent). The causal statements differed in terms ofthe number of alternative causes and disabling conditions that characterized the causal relationship. (A (...) disabling condition is an event that prevents an effect from occurring even though a relevant cause is present.) Subjects were required to judge whether or not each argument’s conclusion could be accepted. Judgments were found to vary systematically with the number of alternative causes and disabling conditions. Conclusions of arguments based on conditionals with few alternative causes or disabling conditionswerefoun~d:tobe-rnore accept~ able than cdnclusions based on those with many. (shrink)
Patients and physicians often perceive the current health care system to be unfair, in part because of the ways in which coverage decisions appear to be made. To address this problem the Ethical Force Program, a collaborative effort to create quality improvement tools for ethics in health care, has developed five content areas specifying ethical criteria for fair health care benefits design and administration. Each content area includes concrete recommendations and measurable expectations for performance improvement, which can be used by (...) those organizations involved in the design and administration of health benefits packages, such as purchasers, health plans, benefits consultants, and practitioner groups. (shrink)
As a procedure, reflective equilibrium is simply a familiar kind of standard scientific method with a new name. A theory is constructed to account for a set of observations. Recalcitrant data may be rejected as noise or explained away as the effects of interference of some sort. Recalcitrant data that cannot be plausibly dismissed force emendations in theory. What counts as a plausible dismissal depends, among other things, on the going theory, as well as on background theory and on knowledge (...) that may be relevant to under-standing the experimental design that is generating the observations, including knowledge of the apparatus and observation conditions. This sort of mutual adjustment between theory and data is a familiar feature of scientific practice. Whatever authority RE seems to have comes, I think, from a tacit or explicit recognition that it has the same form as this familiar sort of scientific inference. One way to see the rationale underlying this procedure in science is to focus on prediction. Think of prediction as a matter of projecting what is known onto uncharted territory. To do this, you need a vehicle—a theory—that captures some invariant or pattern in what is known so that you can project it onto the unknown. How convincing the projection is depends on two factors: how sure one is of the observational base, and how sure one is that the theory gets the invariants right. The two factors are not independent, of course. One's confidence in the observational base will be affected by how persuasively the theory identifies and dismisses noise; one's confidence in the theory, on the other hand, will depend on one's confidence in the observations it takes seriously. Prediction is important as a test of theory precisely because verified predictions seem to show that the theory has correctly captured the general in the particular, that it has got the drift of the observational evidence in which our confidence is ultimately grounded. (shrink)
Neo-teleology is the two part thesis that, e.g., (i) we have hearts because of what hearts are for: Hearts are for blood circulation, not the production of a pulse, so hearts are there--animals have them--because their function is to circulate the blood, and (ii) that (i) is explained by natural selection: traits spread through populations because of their functions. This paper attacks this popular doctrine. The presence of a biological trait or structure is not explained by appeal to its function. (...) To suppose otherwise is to trivialize natural selection. (shrink)
In this paper, we introduce a novel difficulty for teleosemantics, viz., its inability to account for what we call unexploited content—content a representation has, but which the system that harbors it is currently unable to exploit. In section two, we give a characterization of teleosemantics. Since our critique does not depend on any special details that distinguish the variations in the literature, the characterization is broad, brief and abstract. In section three, we explain what we mean by unexploited content, and (...) argue that any theory of content adequate to ground representationalist theories in cognitive science must allow for it.1 In section four, we show that teleosemantic theories of the sort we identify in section two cannot accommodate unexploited content, and are therefore unacceptable if intended as attempts to ground representationalist cognitive science. Finally, in section five, we speculate that the existence and importance of unexploited content has likely been obscured by a failure to distinguish representation from indication, and by a tendency to think of representation as reference. (shrink)