When I studied the Scriptures then I did not feel as I am writing about them now. They seemed to me unworthy of comparison with the grand style of Cicero. As for the absurdities which used to offend me in Scripture, … I now looked for their meanings in the depth of mystery.
‘There is a kind of eloquence’, maintained St Augustine, which is manifestly inspired by God. Biblical writers have spoken with this kind of eloquence. … ‘On the other hand’ they have uttered some passages with a beneficial and salutary obscurity, to exercise and, in a sense, to polish the minds of their readers, to break down aversions and spur on the zeal of those who are anxious to learn, as well as to conceal the meaning from the minds of the (...) impious. (shrink)
Many classic philosophical debates converge on the twin questions ‘What is man?’ and ‘What is his place in nature?’, in the sense that taking up a position in those debates normally commits one to a certain range of answers to these questions. Such answers typically lie near the centre of one's web of belief, deeply entrenched in the structure of one's concepts, and thus remain remarkably resistant to the standard techniques of confirmation and refutation.
Argument and imagination are often interdependent. The Aesthetics of Argument is concerned with how this relationship may bear on argument's concern with truth, not just persuasion, and with the enhancement of understanding such interdependence may bring. The rationality of argument, conceived as the advancement of reasons for or against a claim, is not simply a matter of deductive validity. Whether arguments are relevant, have force, or look foolish cannot always be assessed in these terms. Martin Warner presents a series of (...) case studies which explore how analogy, metaphor, narrative, image, and symbol can be used in different ways to frame one domain in terms of another, and how criteria drawn from the study of imaginative literature may have a bearing on their truth-aptness. (shrink)
Warner here puts forward a much broader discussion of rationality than that which underlies today's polarization between analytic and continental philosophy. Through a series of case-studies the author explores ancient conceptions of dialectic and rhetoric in relation to the positive role given to sentiment or "the heart" by Pascal, Hume, and Nietzsche. These studies point to an understanding of philosophy which undercuts fashionable disputes and which helps to reaffirm a range of ideas long marginalized by the dominance of the geometric (...) model of philosophical argument. (shrink)
This call to restore a sense of beauty to our culture will serve as a bellwether of the future of literary studies. _Beauty and the Critic _brings together well-known members of the literary academy to reassert the importance of "aesthetic criticism" and the treatment of literature as art. The contributors are responding to what the editor calls "the banality of partisanship of literary criticism in this country." The common focus is a shared suspicion of critics who are only interested in (...) reducing authors and their works to ideological elements, thereby mostly ignoring what makes their writings distinctive as works of art. This focus, however, by no means represents a curmudgeonly reaction or a united front. Indeed, the collection's strength is precisely its rich diversity even as the contributors struggle with familiar problems in contemporary criticism, including the problem of the increasing distance between the language of the professoriate and the language of the general reader. This collection of essays by its very nature does not present a solution to the problem but demonstrates that critics still have many ways to approach literature that attend to its peculiar idiom and its distinctive achievement. The essays suggest that the profession of literature is undergoing a sea change, not necessarily for the better, and that popular models of interpretation have become rote, shopworn conventions--techniques that replace thought rather than express it. James Soderholm and his colleagues invite us to restore a sense of beauty and a sense of dignity to the study of literature. (shrink)
Nancy Warner's photographs tell the stories of buildings that were once loved yet have now been abandoned. Her evocative images are juxtaposed with the voices of Nebraska farm people, lovingly recorded by sociologist David Stark.
There is now a body of evidence suggesting that the occurrence and course of schizophrenia are affected by a variety of environmental factors. _The Environment of Schizophrenia_ draws upon our knowledge of these factors in order to design innovations that will decrease its incidence and severity, while enhancing the quality of life for sufferers and their relatives. Examining environmental forces operating at the individual, domestic and broad societal levels, Richard Warner proposes feasible interventions such as: * education about obstetric risks (...) * marketing effective psychosocial treatments * business enterprises set up to employ people with mental illness * cognitive-behavioral therapy for psychosis The Environment of Schizophrenis suggests practical ways to create a better world for those who suffer from this serious illness and for those who are close to them. It will prove fresh and stimulating reading for mental health managers and policy makers, as well as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health advocates, and communications specialists. (shrink)
Since argument frames precede most other arguing processes, argument editing among them, one’s frames may well predict one’s preferred editorial standards. This experiment assesses people’s arguing frames, gives them arguments to edit, and tests whether the frames actually do predict editorial preferences. Modest relationships between argument frames and argument editing appear. Other connections among frames, editing, and additional individual differences variables are more substantial. Particularly notable are the informative influences of psychological reactance. A new theoretical contribution is offered, connecting argument (...) frame research to Erving Goffman’s frame analysis. (shrink)
H.P. Grice is known principally for his influential contributions to the philosophy of language, but his work also includes treatises on the philosophy of mind, ethics, and metaphysics--much of which is unpublished to date. This collection of original essays by such philosophers as Nancy Cartwright, Donald Davidson, Gilbert Harman, and P.F. Strawson demonstrates the unified and powerful character of Grice's thoughts on being, mind, meaning, and morals. An introductory essay by the editors provides the first overview of Grice's work.
Background: Many people participating in dementia research may lack capacity to give informed consent and the relationship between cognitive function and capacity remains unclear. Recent changes in the law reinforce the need for robust and reproducible methods of assessing capacity when recruiting people for research.Aims: To identify numbers of capacitous participants in a pragmatic randomised trial of dementia treatment; to assess characteristics associated with capacity; to describe a legally acceptable consent process for research.Methods: As part of a pragmatic randomised controlled (...) trial of Ginkgo biloba for mild-moderate dementia, we used a consenting algorithm that met the requirements of existing case law and the exigencies of the new Mental Capacity Act. We decided who had capacity to give informed consent for participation in the trial using this algorithm and sought predictors of capacity.Results: Most participants with mild-moderate dementia in this trial were unable to give informed consent according to the legal criteria. When adjusted for confounding, the Mini Mental State examination did not predict the presence of capacity.Conclusion: Cognitive testing alone is insufficient to assess the presence of capacity. Researchers and clinicians need to be aware of the challenging processes regarding capacity assessment. We outline a procedure which we believe meets the ethical and legal requirements. (shrink)
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)
Most American historians of medicine today would be very hesitant about any claim that medical history humanises doctors, medical students or the larger health care enterprise. Yet, the idea that history can and ought to serve modern medicine as a humanising force has been a persistent refrain in American medicine. This essay explores the emergence of this idea from the end of the 19th century, precisely the moment when modern biomedicine became ascendant. At the same institutions where the new version (...) of scientific medicine was most energetically embraced, some professional leaders warned that the allegiance to science driving the profession's technical and cultural success was endangering humanistic values fundamental to professionalism and the art of medicine. They saw in history a means for rehumanising modern medicine and countering the risk of cultural crisis. While some iteration of this vision of history was remarkably durable, the meanings attached to ‘humanism’ were both multiple and changing, and the role envisioned for history in a humanistic intervention was transformed. Starting in the 1960s as part of a larger cultural critique of the putative ‘dehumanisation’ of the medical establishment, some advocates promoted medical history as a tool to help fashion a new kind of humanist physician and to confront social inequities in the health care system. What has persisted across time is the way that the idea of history as a humanising force has almost always functioned as a discourse of deficiency—a response to perceived shortcomings of biomedicine, medical institutions and medical professionalism. (shrink)
Drawing from a four-year study of US science institutions that support biological control of arthropods, this article examines the decline in biological control institutional capacity in California within the context of both declining public interest science and declining agricultural research activism. After explaining how debates over the public interest character of biological control science have shaped institutions in California, we use scientometric methods to assess the present status and trends in biological control programs within both the University of California Land (...) Grant System and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. We present available data on the number of scientific positions and the types of positions to discuss the impact on the amount of public interest research on biological control in California. We use sociograms to depict how biological control science networks have been reconfigured over time. Our quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that the following factors contributed to the decline of biological control science in California over the 45-year period analyzed: (1) the institutional reconfiguration of university research priorities; (2) the fraying networks within and increasing specialization of biological control science; (3) the transformation of the social organization of the life science work, including privatization; and (4) the abandonment of this thematic area by civil society activist groups. This broad array of forces suggests that biological control, as a public interest science, will require a deliberate intervention, based on advocacy of clear public interest criteria. (shrink)
Patents for genetic material in theindustrialized North have expandedsignificantly over the past twenty years,playing a crucial role in the currentconfiguration of the agricultural biotechnologyindustries, and raising significant ethicalissues. Patents have been claimed for genes,gene sequences, engineered crop species, andthe technical processes to engineer them. Mostcritics have addressed the human and ecosystemhealth implications of genetically engineeredcrops, but these broad patents raise economicissues as well. The Catholic social teachingtradition offers guidelines for critiquing theeconomic implications of this new patentregime. The Catholic principle of (...) the universaldestination of goods implies that genes, genesequences, and engineered crop varieties areineligible for patent protection, although theprocesses to engineer these should be eligible.Religious leaders are likely to make a moresubstantive contribution to debates aboutagricultural biotechnology by addressing theselife patents than by speculating that geneticengineering is ``playing God.''''. (shrink)
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 gives statutory force to the common law principle that all adults are assumed to have capacity to make decisions unless proven otherwise. In accord with best practice, this principle places the evidential burden on researchers rather than participants and requires researchers to take account of short-term and transient understandings common among some research populations. The aim of this paper is to explore some of the implications of the MCA 2005 for researchers working with 'vulnerable' populations (...) in health and social care settings. The Cyclical Consent Model is described and offered as a process by which researchers might develop good practice when engaged in research involving vulnerable people. (shrink)
Computer and video games have become nearly ubiquitous among individuals in industrialized nations, and they have received increasing attention from researchers across many areas of scientific study. However, relatively little attention has been given to Massively-Multiplayer Online Games . The unique social context of MMOGs raises ethical questions about how communication occurs and how conflict is managed in the game world. In order to explore these questions, we compare the social context in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Disney’s Toontown, focusing (...) on griefing opportunities in each game. We consider ethical questions from the perspectives of players, game companies, and policymakers. (shrink)
The effects of research ethics training on medical students' attitudes about clinical research are examined. A preliminary randomized controlled trial evaluated 2 didactic approaches to ethics training compared to a no-intervention control. The participant-oriented intervention emphasized subjective experiences of research participants. The criteria-oriented intervention emphasized specific ethical criteria for analyzing protocols. Compared to controls, those in the participant-oriented intervention group exhibited greater attunement to research participants' attitudes related to altruism, trust, quality of relationships with researchers, desire for information, hopes about (...) participation and possible therapeutic misconception, importance of consent forms, and deciding quickly about participation. The participant-oriented group also agreed more strongly that seriously ill people are capable of making their own research participation decisions. The criteria-oriented intervention did not affect learners' attitudes about clinical research, ethical duties of investigators, or research participants' decision making. An empathy-focused approach affected medical students' attunement to research volunteer perspectives, preferences, and attributes, but an analytically oriented approach had no influence. These findings underscore the need to further examine the differential effects of empathy-versus analytic-focused approaches to the teaching of ethics. (shrink)
The diffusion of technology in the US has taken place in an environment of both regulation and free enterprise. Each has been subject to manipulation by doctors and medical administrators that has fostered unprecedented ethical dilemmas and legal challenges. Understanding these developments and historical precedents may allow a more rational diffusion policy for medical technology in the future.
The effects of research ethics training on medical students' attitudes about clinical research are examined. A preliminary randomized controlled trial evaluated 2 didactic approaches to ethics training compared to a no-intervention control. The participant-oriented intervention emphasized subjective experiences of research participants (empathy focused). The criteria-oriented intervention emphasized specific ethical criteria for analyzing protocols (analytic focused). Compared to controls, those in the participant-oriented intervention group exhibited greater attunement to research participants' attitudes related to altruism, trust, quality of relationships with researchers, desire (...) for information, hopes about participation and possible therapeutic misconception, importance of consent forms, and deciding quickly about participation. The participant-oriented group also agreed more strongly that seriously ill people are capable of making their own research participation decisions. The criteria-oriented intervention did not affect learners' attitudes about clinical research, ethical duties of investigators, or research participants' decision making. An empathy-focused approach affected medical students' attunement to research volunteer perspectives, preferences, and attributes, but an analytically oriented approach had no influence. These findings underscore the need to further examine the differential effects of empathy-versus analytic-focused approaches to the teaching of ethics. (shrink)
“Virtual water,” water needed for crop production, is now being mainstreamed in the water policy world. Relying on virtual water in the form of food imports is increasingly recommended as good policy for water-scarce areas. Virtual water globalizes discussions on water scarcity, ecological sustainability, food security and consumption. Presently the concept is creating much noise in the water and food policy world, which contributes to its politicization. We will argue that the virtual water debate is also a “real water” and (...) food and agricultural policy debate and hence has political effects. Decisions about food strategies and resource allocation play out on the national political economy, benefiting some while harming others. Therefore, a policy choice for virtual water is not politically neutral. “Real␣water” interventions are, likewise, inspired by economic as well as political considerations like control of the countryside, geopolitical strategy, and food sovereignty (independence from international political conditionality and market uncertainties). To illustrate these ideas, we look into case studies of Egypt and the State of Punjab in India. In India, a debate on the merits and demerits of a virtual water strategy is now emerging. In Egypt, which switched to food imports in the early 1970s, a long-standing taboo on debating virtual water is now being relaxed. (shrink)