There are numerous ‘solutions’ to the problem of evil, from which theists can and do freely take their pick. It is fairly clear that any attempt at a solution must involve a scaling-down of one or more of the assertions out of whose initial conflict the problem arises – either by a downward revision of what we mean by omnipotence, or omniscience, or benevolence, or by minimizing the amount or condensing the varieties of evil actually to be found in the (...) universe. And indeed, in one or more of these different ways, the charge of logical inconsistency can no doubt always be vouchsafed at least a formal answer. Unfortunately, the mere ironing-out of formal inconsistencies does not of itself go very far towards providing a solution to this central problem of theism which will be morally, religiously, and intellectually convincing and acceptable as well as logically impeccable. Everything depends on how the inconsistencies are ironed out. For every attempt at a solution of the problem of evil has to be made at a price, in keeping with the scale and type of conceptual or ethical readjustments which it requires of us. And if the solutions which are generally offered seldom seem to carry much conviction, this is because the price they require us to pay nearly always seems far too high. A ‘solution’ to the problem of evil that is to count as a genuine solution must not require us to make any conceptual or ethical readjustments which it would not on independent grounds be entirely reasonable to make. A ‘solution’ that was finally to count as the solution of the problem of evil would presumably need to be that particular one which required us to make only those conceptual and ethical readjustments which were on independent grounds the ones that it was the most reasonable to make. What follows is offered as a solution, in the above sense, of the problem of evil. However, I shall not here attempt to argue that it is the solution. (shrink)
As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just why (...) we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ‘it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
In the chapter “A History of Ideas Concerning the Morality of Suicide, Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Euthanasia ” author Craig Paterson explores questions concerning the legitimacy of the practices of suicide, assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. The aim of this article is of identifying some of the main historical protagonists, and delineating some of the key arguments that have been used for the acceptance or rejection of these practices.
As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just why (...) we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ’it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
In this paper, I seek to advance the thesis that if we are to come to a better appreciation of the historical rootedness of philosophical thinking, we must strive to encourage the contextualization of philosophical texts and support this goal by developing methods and tools for research that are facilitative of this contextualist goal.
In this chapter I seek to examine the credibility of Finnis’s basic stance on Aquinas that while many neo-Thomists are meta-ethically naturalistic in their understanding of natural law theory (for example, Heinrich Rommen, Henry Veatch, Ralph McInerny, Russell Hittinger, Benedict Ashley and Anthony Lisska), Aquinas’s own meta-ethical framework avoids the “pitfall” of naturalism. On examination, the short of it is that I find Finnis’s account (while adroit) wanting in the interpretation stakes vis-à-vis other accounts of Aquinas’s meta-ethical foundationalism. I think (...) that the neo-Thomists are basically right to argue that for Aquinas we cannot really understand objective truths about moral standards unless we derive them from our intellective knowledge of natural facts as given to us by the essential human nature that we have. While I find Finnis’s interpretative position on Aquinas wanting, I go on to argue that his own attachment to non-naturalism is justified and should not be jettisoned. Because I think non-naturalism important to the future tenability of a viable natural law ethics (an ethics that is both cognitive and objectivist), I argue that Finnis should, so to speak, “beef up” his “fundamental option” for non-naturalism and more fully avail himself of certain argumentative strategies available in its defense, argumentative strategies that are inspired by the analytical philosophy of G.E. Moore. (shrink)
The article examines from an historical perspective some of the key ideas used in contemporary bioethics debates both for and against the practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Key thinkers examined--spanning the Ancient, Medieval and Modern periods--include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, and Mill. The article concludes with a synthesizing summary of key ideas that oppose or defend assisted suicide and euthanasia.
This overview proceeds by outlining, albeit very briefly, something of the historical growth of Thomism, turning then to a brief account of how analytic philosophy in the twentieth century can be viewed in relation to that history, before finally turning to a further consideration of what the phrase “Analytical Thomism,” can be taken to mean in light of this brief historical account.
In 'Meeting Needs', Braybrooke argues that a new and improved version of utilitarianism can be constructed around making a priority of satisfying needs. In this paper I concentrate on Braybrooke's suggestion about the method for determining needs, and more generally, the method of settling issues concerning matters of need. (This emphasis is chosen since these problems are most devastating to his project as currently formulated.) I argue that Braybrooke's method is seriously flawed. Braybrooke believes that the process for settling issues (...) concerning needs guarantees consensus and fairness. I refute this claim by showing that a number of assumptions crucial to Braybrooke's method are unwarranted. In addition, I show that these and other structural defects in the method are such that Braybrooke's account is guilty of paternalism and "fraud", despite his attempts to avoid these charges. I also indicate why similar methods are unlikely to meet with success. -/- . (shrink)
Solving poverty is a laudable public policy goal. While there are many approaches, one that has gained popularity is the conditional cash transfer that requires recipients to satisfy conditions imposed on them such as requiring regular medical checkups. Another approach, which is gaining interest is unconditional cash transfers that do not impose conditions. The question we ask in this paper is: what do these past and current attempts tell us about the implications for gender? To answer this question, we explore (...) two programs using a gendered framework: Brazil's Bolsa Familia,which is a conditional cash transfer, and Manitoba's Mincome experiment, which was an unconditional cash transfer in Canada. We then consider how this information might be used by states, particularly as it relates to ending social marginalization. Broadly, this research contributes to academic discussions of public policy, income, gender and social vulnerability. (shrink)
In this paper we present a summary review of recent psychological studies which make a contribution to an understanding of how quantifiers are used. Until relatively recently, the contribution which psychology has made has been somewhat restricted. For example, the approach which has enjoyed the greatest popularity in psychology is explaining quantifiers as expressions which have fuzzy or vague projections on to mental scales of amount. Following Moxey & Sanford (1993a), this view is questioned. Experimental work is summarized showing that (...) quantifiers may be differentiated in terms of the patterns of focus which they produce, which we take as a reflection of the patterns of inference which they induce. Other work suggests that when a speaker uses certain quantifiers it is possible for a listener to draw inferences about what the speaker’s prior expectations were, including what the speaker is taken to have believed the listener to expect. These findings are discussed in relation to how quantifiers are selected, and in terms of a possible psychological basis for certain logico-linguistic judgements about quantifiers. 10.1093/jos/11.3.153. (shrink)
All too often in applied ethics debates, there is a danger that a lack of analytical clarity and precision in the use of key terms serves to cloud and confuse the real nature of the debate being undertaken. A particular area of concern in my analysis of the bioethics literature has been the uses to which the key terms “suicide,” “assisted suicide,” and “euthanasia” are put. The modest aim of this article is to render a contribution to the applied ethics (...) debate on these topics by seeking to delimit the scope and meaning of these terms. The criteria of specificity, non-arbitrariness, consistency (between various terms), and the avoidance of strong pejorative presuppositions, supply the main standards guiding my adoption of usages. (shrink)
Coriolanus, the legendary fifth-century BC general who turned against his native city for banishing him, is painted by Shakespeare as the paragon Stoic warrior. Physically strong and detached, at home in the battlefield, he is the military man par excellence. Fearless, he sheds few tears. But the turning point in Shakespeare's play comes when Coriolanus remembers how to weep. He admits that "It is no small thing to make mine eyes sweat compassion."The absence of compassion in health care is increasingly (...) remarked upon. In 2009, it led to a campaign to broaden New Zealand's Code of Patients' Rights to include the legal right "to have services provided with compassion, including a prompt and humane response to .. (shrink)
The work of Dan Brock and Helga Kuhse is typical of the current stream of thought rejecting the validity of sanctity of life appeals to instill objective inviolable worth in human life regardless of the quality of life of the patient. The context of a person's life is supremely important. In their systems life can have high value, yet the value of life can be outweighed by the force of other disvalues. The notion of quality of life has increasingly come (...) to signify the measurement of the worth of a person's life itself. Having a life equals personal life. Any objectivity to life resides in 'personal', 'biographical', or 'creative' life, not mere biological life. Personal life represents the minimal threshold for any objective worth. In responding to this challenge, John Finnis has argued extensively that life is an intrinsic good – a basic human good. Following from our grasp of human life as a basic incommensurable good, it cannot be practically reasonable both to affirm that (a) 'human life is a basic human good', and (b) that 'human life qua human life can be intentionally acted against to its destruction'. Yet, if the good of human life can be considered self-evident, the self-evidence of the basic human good qua good does not mean that dialectical reasoning cannot be engaged in to indirectly support the practical reasonableness of respecting the good of human life in the deliberative choices that persons make concerning their actions. It is to the use of such dialectical reasoning, supportive of the status of human life as such a basic human good, that the article is primarily concerned to draw out and articulate. (shrink)
This paper argues that Hegel has much to say to modern mathematical philosophy, although the Hegelian perspective needs to be substantially developed to incorporate within it the extensive advances in post-Hegelian mathematics and its logic. Key to that perspective is the self-referential character of the fundamental concepts of philosophy. The Hegelian approach provides a framework for answering the philosophical problems, discussed by Kurt Gödel in his paper on Bertrand Russell, which arise out of the existence in mathematics of self-referential, non-constructive (...) concepts (such as class). (shrink)
Touch is a sense of communication. It is receptive, expressive, can communicate empathy. It can bring distant objects and people into proximity. It is a carnal world, with its pleasures of feeling and being felt, of tasting and touching the textures of flesh and of food. And equally it is a profound world of philosophical verification, of the communication of presence and empathy with others, of the mutual implication or folding of body, flesh and world.
The concept of stewardship as resource development and conservation, a shallow environmental ethic, arises out of a domination framework. Stewardship as earthkeeping arises out of a keeping framework and falls somewhere between an intermediate and deep environmental ethic. A notion of agricultural stewardship, based on earthkeeping principles, can be used as a normative standard by whichto judge a range of agricultural economies and practices.
Restraint as an intervention in the management of acute mental distress has a long history that predates the existence of psychiatry. However, it remains a source of controversy with an ongoing debate as to its role. This article critically explores what to date has seemingly been only implicit in the debate surrounding the role of restraint: how should the concept of validity be interpreted when applied to restraint as an intervention? The practice of restraint in mental health is critically examined (...) using two post-positivist constructions of validity, the pragmatic and the psychopolitical, by means of a critical examination of the literature. The current literature provides only weak support for the pragmatic validity of restraint as an intervention and no support to date for its psychopolitical validity. Judgements regarding the validity of any intervention that is coercive must include reference to the psychopolitical dimensions of both practice and policy. (shrink)
Chapter one argues for the important contribution that a natural law based framework can make towards an analysis and assessment of key controversies surrounding the practices of suicide, assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. The second chapter considers a number of historical contributions to the debate. The third chapter takes up the modern context of ideas that have increasingly come to the fore in shaping the 'push' for reform. Particular areas focused upon include the value of human life, the value of (...) personal autonomy, and the rejection of double effect reasoning. Chapter four engages in the task of pointing out structural weakness in utilitarianism and deontology. The thesis argues that major systemic weaknesses in both approaches can be overcome by a teleology of basic human goods. John Finnis' work becomes the underpinning of subsequent applied natural law analysis. Chapter five proceeds to argue for the defence of the intrinsic good of human life from direct attack. The thesis holds out for the proposition "that it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill a human person, whether self or another, regardless of a further appeal to consequences or motive." In support of this, it defends the validity of double effect reasoning as an indispensable part of applied moral decision making. Chapter six critically assesses the arguments of anti-perfectionists that it is not the business of the state to enforce deep or substantive conceptions of the 'good life.' The chapter moves on to argue that the natural law conception of the person in society, centred on the common good, provides a solid framework for assessing both the justification for, as well as the limits on, the role of the state to use its power to legally impose certain moral standards. Chapter seven addresses the concrete relationship between natural law and legal policy by exploring the issue of assisted suicide in the constitutional context of the United States.
This paper is essentially concerned with defending the idea of a universal right to adequate health care coverage. It will argue for the existence of a human right grounded in Catholic social thought. At the outset, a statement of clarification is needed. This paper does not pretend to offer the panacea for all ills relating to health care provision. Rather, it is an inquiry into the kinds of value that should inform decision making relating to health policy. A universal right (...) to adequate health care cannot be established without questioning the underlying values that inform the debate and bring them firmly to the level of deliberative consciousness. It is these value concerns that structure the dynamic of health care provision and the general provision of wider resources in society. (shrink)