A new model of ritual based on Durkheim's ( 1995) theory is developed. It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social-psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. Specifically, the distinctive elements of ritual practice are shown to induce altered subjective states and effortful and/or anomalous behaviors, which are subsequently misattributed in such a way that belief and belonging are created or maintained around the focus of ritual attention. These processes (...) are traced in detail, and the resulting model is shown to be empirically credible, comprehensive, and theoretically fertile. (shrink)
This distinctive collection by scholars from around the world focuses upon the cultural, educational, and political significance of Richard Rorty's thought. The nine essays which comprise the collection examine a variety of related themes: Rorty's neopragmatism, his view of philosophy, his philosophy of education and culture, Rorty's comparison between Dewey and Foucault, his relation to postmodern theory, and, also his form of political liberalism.
We describe an evaluation undertaken on contract for the New Zealand State Services Commission of a major project (the Administrative Decision-Making Skills Project) designed to produce a model of administrative decision making and an associated teaching/learning packagefor use by government officers. It describes the evaluation of a philosophical model of decision making and the associated teaching/learning package in the setting of the New Zealand Public Service, where a deliberate attempt has been initiated to improve the quality of decision making, especially (...) in relation to moral factors. (shrink)
We use Homer and Sun Tzu as a background to better understand and reformulate confrontation, anger and violence in medicine, contrasting an unproductive ‘love of war’ with a productive ‘art of war’ or ‘art of strategy’. At first glance, it is a paradox that the healing art is not pacific, but riddled with militaristic language and practices. On closer inspection, we find good reasons for this cultural paradox yet regret its presence. Drawing on insights from Homer's The Iliad and The (...) Odyssey, we argue for better understanding of confrontation, anger, bullying, intimidation and violence in medicine in order to change the culture. For example, equating medicine with war is not a given condition of medicine but a convenient metaphor with historical origins and a historical trajectory. Other, non-martial metaphors, such as medicine as collaboration, may be more appropriate in an age of team-based care. Taking lessons from Homer, we suggest three key ways in which cold-hearted confrontation and anger in medicine can be transformed into productive, warm-hearted engagement: the transformation of angry impulse into reflection, moral courage and empathy. Thinking with Homer can offer an aesthetically and morally charged alternative to the current body of literature on topics, such as anger in doctors, and how this may be ‘managed’, without recourse to an instrumental economy where emotions are viewed as commodities, and emotional responses can be ‘trained’ through communication skills courses. (shrink)
Abstract In his paper ?The compatibility of punishment and moral education?, Hobson (1986) attempts to refute arguments which I had advanced (Marshall, 1984) to the effect that there were incompatibilities between claims to be morally educating children and to be punishing them. I wish to point out in Hobson's paper some questionable interpretations of the punishment literature and a serious flaw in the argument. More importantly, I wish to advance the debate by recourse to historical material and the work (...) of Michel Foucault, as opposed to abstract philosophical argument alone. Foucault argues that the practices of punishment have changed and that the legal notion of punishment (Hobson, 1986) is inappropriate for the description of what he calls disciplinary punishment. This notion best describes what we do to children. Hence claims to be punishing (legal notion) fit uneasily with claims to be developing rational autonomy. (shrink)
Postmodernism was not launched by the development of Warholesque pop art in the 1960s, nor was it initiated by the explosive destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe modern housing project of St Louis, Missouri in 1972, or by the commissioning of Jean-Francois Lyotard's work on knowledge in advanced societies by the Quebec government in the late 1970s. Postmodernism began with the publication of a paper entitled `The individualistic concept of plant the association' in 1926 by the plant ecologist Henry Gleason. If we (...) dare to characterize postmodernism, emphases on ideas such as heterogeneity, ephemerality, anti-foundationalism, pluralism, fragmentation, indeterminacy, schizophrenia, chaos, antiformalism, discontinuity, absence, playfulness, irony, localism, anarchy and ontological meaninglessness are the ones that tend to abound. The Gleasonian theory of plant associations can be said to reflect such ideas in the ecological arena. Certainly there is room for, and an expanding professional commitment to, a fully-fledged neo-Gleasonian postmodern approach to natural history in which ecological phenomena are examined using non-determinist, pluralist and local perspectives that reject the foundationalism and unifying approach of modernist science and which posits a view of the Earth's biota highlighting fragmentation, anarchism and non-interaction. Community ecology, as opposed to the unifying and totalizing tendencies of ecosystems ecology, might rightly claim to be the intellectual site of such a postmodern natural history. Often, postmodern studies not only attempt to describe a postmodern phenomenon but act to forge new varieties of postmodernism. It is in this vein that this paper seeks to present a non-anthropocentric form of postmodernism; not by dissolving the dualistic barrier that separates humanity from nature (as many environmentalisms would advocate) but by dissolving humanity and nature. (shrink)
Studies on informed consent to medical research conducted in low or middle-income settings have increased, including empirical investigations of consent to genetic research. We investigated voluntary participation and comprehension of informed consent among women involved in a genetic epidemiological study on breast cancer in an urban setting of Nigeria comparing women in the case and control groups.
In the Laura Ashworth case in 2008, the Human Tissue Authority considered itself bound to overturn a deceased daughter's alleged wish that one of her kidneys should go to her mother, who at the time had end stage kidney failure and was on dialysis. 12 This was so even though Laura's earlier wish to be a living donor would most likely have been authorised, had the formal assessment process begun. The decision provoked much criticism. The recent Department of Health document (...) Requested Allocation of a Deceased Donor Organ, published 29 March 2010, developed by the UK health administrations together with the HTA and NHS Blood and Transplant , which is the main organ allocation body in the UK, seeks to resolve this ethical dilemma by setting out the circumstances in which requests for such deceased donations may be acceptable. 3 The most important conditions appear to be:a. the donation must be unconditional in nature;b. there must be …. (shrink)
in his prolegomena to any future metaphysics, Kant states that “[a]ll metaphysicians are … suspended from their occupations until such a time as they will have satisfactorily answered the question: How are synthetic cognitions a priori possible?” (Prolegomena, 4:278).1 In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant describes the issue of the synthetic a priori as “[t]he real problem of pure reason” (B19), and in the Critique of the Power of Judgment as “the general problem of transcendental philosophy” (Judgment, 5:289). Kant (...) attempts to answer this question for certain synthetic a priori cognitions (for example, those of mathematics and of natural science), and argues that no such answer can be found for others (in .. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing about moral (...) improvements, that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
Leibniz holds that nothing in nature strictly corresponds to any geometric curve or surface.Yet on Leibniz’s view, physicists are usually able to ignore any such lack of correspondence and to investigate nature using geometric representations. The primary goal of this essay is to elucidate Leibniz’s explanation of how physicists are able to investigate nature geometrically, focussing on two of his claims: there can be things innature which approximate geometric objects to within any given margin of error; the truths of geometry (...) state laws by which the phenomena of nature are governed. A corollary of Leibniz’s explanation is that physical bodies do have boundaries with which geometric surfaces can be compared to very high levels of precision. I argue that the existence of these physical boundaries is mind-independent to such an extent as to pose a significant challenge to idealist interpretations of Leibniz. (shrink)
Weighing complex sets of evidence (i.e., from multiple disciplines and often divergent in implications) is increasingly central to properly informed decision-making. Determining “where the weight of evidence lies” is essential both for making maximal use of available evidence and figuring out what to make of such evidence. Weighing evidence in this sense requires an approach that can handle a wide range of evidential sources (completeness), that can combine the evidence with rigor, and that can do so in a way other (...) experts can assess and critique (transparency). But the democratic context in need of weight-of-evidence analysis also places additional constraints on the process, including communicability of the process to the general public, the need for an approach that can be used across a broad range of contexts (scope), and timeliness of process (practicality). I will compare qualitative and quantitative approaches with respect to both traditional epistemic criteria and criteria that arise from the democratic context, and argue that a qualitative explanatory approach can best meet the criteria and elucidate how to utilize the other approaches. This should not be surprising, as the approach I argue for is the one that most closely tracks general scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Modal realists face a puzzle. For modal realism to be justified, modal realists need to be able to give a successful reduction of modality. A simple argument, however, appears to show that the reduction they propose fails. In order to defend the claim that modal realism is justified, modal realists therefore need to either show that this argument fails, or show that modal realists can give another reduction of modality that is successful. I argue that modal realists cannot do either (...) of these things and that, as a result, modal realism is unjustified and should be rejected. (shrink)
This study developed and tested a model of culture’s effect on budgeting systems, and hypothesized that system variables and reactions to them are influenced by culture-specific work-related and ethical values. Most organizational and behavioral views of budgeting fail to acknowledge the ethical components of the problem, and have largely ignored the role of culture in shaping organizational and individual values. Cross-cultural differences in reactions to system design variables, and in the behaviors motivated or mitigated by those variables, has implications for (...) the design and effectiveness of budgeting systems. The data largely support our research model, demonstrating the hypothesized national cultural differences in system design variables (e.g., participation, standards tightness, budget emphasis, etc. which we characterized as the opportunity and incentives to create budgetary slack), and the expected relationship between incentives (but not opportunity) to create slack and slack creation behavior. The data demonstrate hypothesized cultural differences in ethical ideology but show ethical ideology related to slack creation behavior only for U.S. managers. A discussion of the results and their implications is included. (shrink)
The "Ibercorp affair" was front-page news in Spain at various times between 1992 and 1995. In itself, there was nothing particularly new about it: a newly formed financial group engaged in legally and ethically reprehensible behaviour that eventually came to light in the media, ruining the company (and the careers of those involved). What aroused public interest at the time was the fact that it involved individuals connected with Spanish public and political life, the media and certain business circles. Above (...) all, it demonstrated the personal, economic, social and political consequences of a business culture based on the pursuit of easy profits at any price (what came to be known as the cultura del pelotazo or "culture of the fast buck"). Again, this is all too familiar in business ethics. But it served to goad Spanish society into a rejection of such behaviour. This article describes the facts and their ethical implications. (shrink)
The medical humanities are often implemented in the undergraduate medicine curriculum through injection of discrete option courses as compensation for an overdose of science. The medical humanities may be reformulated as process and perspective, rather than content, where the curriculum is viewed as an aesthetic text and learning as aesthetic and ethical identity formation. This article suggests that a “humanities” perspective may be inherent to the life sciences required for study of medicine. The medical humanities emerge as a revelation of (...) value inherent to an aesthetic medicine taught and learned imaginatively. (shrink)
Critical thinking, considered as a version of informallogic, must consider emotions and personal attitudesin assessing assertions and conclusions in anyanalysis of discourse. It must therefore presupposesome notion of the self. Critical theory may be seenas providing a substantive and non-neutral positionfor the exercise of critical thinking. It thereforemust presuppose some notion of the self. This paperargues for a Foucauldean position on the self toextend critical theory and provide a particularposition on the self for critical thinking. Thisposition on the self is (...) developed from moretraditional accounts of the self from Descartes toSchopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Nicholas Agar argues, that enhancement technologies could be used to create post-persons—beings of higher moral status than ordinary persons—and that it would be wrong to create such beings.1 I am sympathetic to the first claim. However, I wish to take issue with the second.Agar's second claim is grounded on the prediction that the creation of post-persons would, with at least moderate probability, harm those who remain mere persons. The harm that Agar has in mind here is a kind of meta-harm: (...) the harm of being made more susceptible to being permissibly harmed—more liable to harm. Agar suggests that, if post-persons existed, mere persons could frequently be permissibly sacrificed in order to provide benefits to the post-persons. For instance, perhaps they could be permissibly used in lethal medical experiments designed to develop medical treatments for post-persons. By contrast, he suggests that mere persons typically cannot be permissibly sacrificed to provide benefits to other mere persons. He thus claims that mere persons would be more liable to sacrifice if post-persons existed than they are in the absence of post-persons. The creation of post-persons would make them worse off in at least this one respect.Agar then argues that, since this meta-harm imposed on mere persons would not be compensated, it would be wrong to create post-persons. It is here that I believe his argument begins to go awry. According to the concept of compensation that Agar deploys , a harm imposed on X is compensated just in …. (shrink)
I suggest that the social justice issues raised by Internet regulation can be exposed and examined by using a methodology adapted from that described by John Rawls in 'A Theory of Justice'. Rawls' theory uses the hypothetical scenario of people deliberating about the justice of social institutions from the 'original position' as a method of removing bias in decision-making about justice. The original position imposes a 'veil of ignorance' that hides the particular circumstances of individuals from them so that they (...) will not be influenced by self-interest. I adapt Rawls' methodology by introducing an abstract description of information technology to those deliberating about justice from within the original position. This abstract description focuses on computing devices that users can use to access information and information networks that information devices use to communicate. The abstractness of this description prevents the particular characteristics of the Internet and the computing devices in use from influencing the decisions about the just use and regulation of information technology and networks. From this abstract position, the principles of justice that the participants accept for the rest of society will also apply to the computing devices people use to communicate, and to Internet regulation. (shrink)
This article looks at the ethical quandaries, and their social and political context, which emerge as a result of international nuclear waste substitution. In particular it addresses the dilemmas inherent within the proposed return of nuclear waste owned by Japanese nuclear companies and currently stored in the United Kingdom. The UK company responsible for this waste, British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), wish to substitute this high volume intermediate-level Japanese-owned radioactive waste for a much lower volume of much more highly radioactive (...) waste. Special focus is given to ethical problems that they, and the UK government, have not wished to address as they move forward with waste substitution. The conclusion is that waste substitution can only be considered an ethical practice if a set of moderating conditions are observed by all parties. These conditions are listed and, as of yet, they are not being observed. (shrink)
It is argued that the way towards understanding the experiments with visible light which purport to exhibit nonlocality lies in a return to the wave theory of light. A connection is also indicated between the present-day photon description and the pre-wave-theory corpuscular description, and hence we see that, essentially, the problem of nonlocality in physics was solved nearly two centuries ago by Young and Fresnel.
This article explores the integrity of the discourse in the Anglican eucharistic tradition by considering the philosophical assumptions that underlie eucharistic theology. It argues that where the conversation of the Anglican eucharistic tradition is open and unfinished then the integrity of the discourse is facilitated as opposed to the conversations of party positions and particular interests which suggest exclusive versions of truth. The conversation or dialogue of Anglican eucharistic theology is seen to be enhanced through the consideration of the philosophical (...) assumptions of realism and nominalism to both the moderate and immoderate degrees that underpin eucharistic theology as a state of affairs. The insights of contemporary philosophers are used as a way of conceptualising the discourse of the Anglican eucharistic tradition and a model of Anglican eucharistic theology is suggested as a means of facilitating the integrity of the discourse through the recognition of multiformity in the tradition and by distancing the discourse from the hermeneutic idealism of particular interest. (shrink)