There has been an increase in recent years in the use of empirical methods in healthcare ethics. Appeals to empirical data cannot answer moral questions, but insights into the knowledge, attitudes, experience, preferences and practice of interested parties can play an important part in the development of healthcare ethics. In particular, while we may establish a general ethical principle to provide explanatory and normative guidance for healthcare professionals, the interpretation and application of such general principles to actual practice still requires (...) interpretation and judgement. And many situations in healthcare practice are complex and may involve a variety of principles, each of which may conflict with the others. Simple surveys or interview studies may not be sufficient if we wish to develop a nuanced approach to ethical practice that can be set out in guidelines, codes or directives. We do not resolve moral questions by plebiscite. In this paper, the authors argue for the use of consensus methods to develop shared understanding of ethical practice, and they argue further for the combination of the Delphi method with the use of vignettes to illustrate the kind of situations that may occur in practice. They develop their argument in part by reference to their experience of using this approach in their recent research. (shrink)
"The studies collected in this book are all concerned with aspects of the Platonic tradition, either in its own internal development in the Hellenistic age and the period of the Roman Empire, or with the influence of Platonism, in one or other of its forms, on other spiritual traditions, especially that of Christianity." [Book jacket].
Umerez’s analysis made me aware of the fundamental differences in the culture of physics and molecular biology and the culture of semiotics from which the new field of biosemiotics arose. These cultures also view histories differently. Considering the evolutionary span and the many hierarchical levels of organization that their models must cover, models at different levels will require different observables and different meanings for common words, like symbol, interpretation, and language. These models as well as their histories should be viewed (...) as complementary rather than competitive. The relation of genetic language and human language is the central issue. They are separated by 4 billion years and require entirely different models. Nevertheless, these languages have in common a unique unlimited expressive power that allows open-ended evolution and creative thought. Understanding the nature of this expressive power and how it arises remains a basic unsolved problem of biosemiotics. (shrink)
Liberalism is commonly believed, especially by its exponents, to be opposed to interference by way of enforcing value judgments or concerning itself with the individual's morality. My concern is to show that this is not so and that liberalism is all the better for this. Many elements have contributed to liberal thought as we know it today, the major elements being the liberalism of which Locke is the most celebrated exponent, which is based upon a belief in natural, human rights; (...) the liberalism of which Kant is the best known exponent, which is based on respect for persons as ends in themselves; and the liberalism of Bentham and the Mills, which is based upon utilitarian ethical theories and most especially with concern for pleasure and the reduction of pain. These different elements of liberalism have led to different emphases and different political and social arrangements, but all have involved a concern to safeguard values and to use force to that end. Today they constitute strands of thought which go to make up liberal thought as we now know it, hence it is not simply a historical fact about liberalism, but a fact about its philosophical basis, that liberalism is firmly involved in certain value and moral commitments. In the remainder of this paper I shall seek to bring this out. (shrink)
The revised edition contains a new chapter which provides an elegant description of the semantics. The various classes of lambda calculus models are described in a uniform manner. Some didactical improvements have been made to this edition. An example of a simple model is given and then the general theory (of categorical models) is developed. Indications are given of those parts of the book which can be used to form a coherent course.
This book is a translation of W.V. Quine's Kant Lectures, given as a series at Stanford University in 1980. It provide a short and useful summary of Quine's philosophy. There are four lectures altogether: I. Prolegomena: Mind and its Place in Nature; II. Endolegomena: From Ostension to Quantification; III. Endolegomena loipa: The forked animal; and IV. Epilegomena: What's It all About? The Kant Lectures have been published to date only in Italian and German translation. The present book is filled out (...) with the translator's critical Introduction, "The esoteric Quine?" a bibliography based on Quine's sources, and an Index for the volume. (shrink)
J. H. Hexter, an American historian of early seventeenth-century history, terms himself whiggish and claims whiggishness is returning after the misguided popularity of Marxism. The distinction "whiggish" is more elusive than his claim suggests, and the accuracy of its application to Hexter's claim is unclear. Three characteristics commonly assigned to whig interpretation by its critics can be seen as reflections of broader, unresolved historical issues. These are: attention to political and constitutional issues; a tendency to refer to the present in (...) interpreting the past; and a belief in inevitability. It is difficult to ascertain whether Hexter's attention to political matters is a result of his view of them as intrinsically important to historical inquiry or as particularly relevant to historical accounts of Stuart England. The charge of presentism cannot confidently be made against him, as he is not guilty of anything as crude as anachronism, and subtle presentism is neither avoidable nor necessarily reprehensible. Inevitabilism is not only difficult to define, it is not displayed by Hexter. If he displays the weaknesses of whiggishness it is only through implication, in the body of ideas underlying his text. (shrink)
Entities of many kinds, not just material things, have been credited with parts. Armstrong, for example, has taken propositions and properties to be parts of their conjunctions, sets to be parts of sets that include them, and geographical regions and events to be parts of regions and events that contain them. The justification for bringing all these diverse relations under a single ‘part–whole’ concept is that they share all or most of the formal features articulated in mereology. But the concept (...) has also prompted an ontological thesis that has been expressed in various ways: that wholes are ‘no ontological addition’ to their parts ; that to list both a whole and its parts is ‘double counting’; and that there is ‘no more’ to a whole than its parts: for example, that there is no more to a conjunction than the conjuncts that are its parts, and whose truth or falsity determines whether it is true or false. For brevity, I shall express the thesis in the last of these ways, as the claim that entities with parts are ‘nothing but’ those parts. (shrink)
Miss G. E. M. Anscombe has said that, in order for progress to be made in ethics, we must have some determinate idea of ‘human flourishing.’ I want to cite in what follows the work of a number of writers in the psychiatric field who seem to me to throw light on just what it is for a human individual to flourish, for a human community to flourish, and for a human individual to flourish in relation to or in spite (...) of his community. (shrink)
This is a collection of essays on themes of legal philosophy which have all been generated or affected by Hart's work. The topics covered include legal theory, responsibility, and enforcement of morals, with contributions from Ronald Dworkin, Rolf Sartorius, Neil MacCormach, David Lyons, Kent Greenawalt, Michael Moore, Joseph Raz, and C.L. Ten, among others.
Epistemologists have not usually had much to say about believing ‘in’, though ever since Plato's time they have been interested in believing ‘that’. Students of religion, on the other hand, have been greatly concerned with belief ‘in’, and many of them, I think, would maintain that it is something quite different from belief ‘that’. Surely belief ‘in’ is an attitude to a person, whether human or divine, while belief ‘that’ is just an attitude to a proposition? Could any difference be (...) more obvious than this? And if we over-look it, shall we not be led into a quite mistaken analysis of religious belief, at any rate if it is religious belief of the theistic sort? On this view belief ‘in’ is not a propositional attitude at all. (shrink)
The modern corpuscular theory of radiation was born in 1905 when Einstein advanced his light quantum hypothesis; and the steps by which Einstein's hypothesis, after years of profound scepticism, was finally and fully vindicated by Arthur Compton's 1922 scattering experiments constitutes one of the most stimulating chapters in the history of recent physics. To begin to appreciate the complexity of this chapter, however, it is only necessary to emphasize an elementary but very significant point, namely, that while Einstein based his (...) arguments for quanta largely on the behaviour of high-frequency black body radiation or ultra-violet light, Compton experimented with X-rays. A modern physicist accustomed to picturing ultra-violet light and X-radiation as simply two adjacent regions in the electromagnetic spectrum might regard this distinction as hair-splitting. But who in 1905 was sure that X-rays and γ-rays are far more closely related to ultra-violet light than to α-particles, for example ? This only became evident after years of painstaking research, so that moving without elaboration from Einstein's hypothesis to Compton's experiments automatically eliminates from consideration an important segment of history—a segment in which a major role was played by William Henry Bragg. (shrink)
General practitioners (GPs) have to negotiate a range of challenges when they suspect child abuse or neglect. This article details findings from a Delphi exercise that was part of a larger study exploring the conflicts of interest that arise for UK GPs in safeguarding children. The specific objectives of the Delphi exercise were to understand how these conflicts of interest are seen from the perspectives of an expert panel, and to identify best practice for GPs. The Delphi exercise involved four (...) iterative rounds with questionnaires completed by an expert panel. Results from each round were distilled and findings sent to panel members until consensus was reached. Panel members shared insights regarding their understanding of conflicts of interest in relation to GPs and safeguarding children and responses when conflicts of interests arise. Findings suggested a broader understanding of conflicts of interest (intrapersonal, interpersonal, interprofessional and interagency), the importance of professional judgement in uncertain situations when both action and inaction have potentially negative consequences and the importance of trust. The Delphi exercise was an effective means to bring together a wide range of professional and disciplinary perspectives on a complex topic. Findings caution against the oversimplification of the conceptual and practical issues, emphasise the importance of professional judgement, and support the development of open and trusting relationships with families and among professionals in health and social care agencies. (shrink)
Human nature is enigmatic. Are we cruel, selfish creatures or good merciful Samaritans? This book takes you on a journey into the complexities of human mind and kind, from altruism, sharing, and large-scale cooperation, to cheating, distrust, and warfare. What are the building blocks of morality and sociality? Featuring contributions from leading researchers, such as Christophe Boesch, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Azar Gat, Dennis Krebs, Ara Norenzayan, and Frans B. M. de Waal, this fascinating interdisciplinary reader draws on evolutionary (...) and comparative perspectives, and is essential reading for any students interested in the unique characteristics that define humanity and society. (shrink)
Everything we do relies on causation. We eat and drink because this causes us to stay alive. Courts tell us who causes crimes, criminology tell us what causes people to commit them. D.H. Mellor shows us that to understand the world and our lives we must understand causation. _The Facts of Causation_, now available in paperback, is essential reading for students and for anyone interested in reading one of the ground-breaking theories in metaphysics. We cannot understand the world and our (...) place in it without understanding causation. Yet a complete account of the nature and implications of causation does not exist. D.H Mellor's new book is that account. (shrink)
Written nearly fifty years ago, at a time when the world was still wrestling with the concepts of Marx and Lenin, 'The Illusion of the Epoch' is the perfect resource for understanding the roots of Marxism-Leninism and its implications for philosophy, modern political thought, economics, and history. As Professor Tim Fuller has written, this "is not an intemperate book, but rather an effort at a sustained, scholarly argument against Marxian views." Far from demonising his subject, Acton scrupulously notes where Marx's (...) account of historical and economic events and processes is essentially accurate. However, Acton also points out that Marx is generally right about things that were already widely known and accepted in his own time and indeed had been long understood in the nineteenth century. On the other hand, Acton shows that in many cases Marx either is simply wrong or has stated his views so as to render his theories immune to disproof. Acton also explains why the embodiment of Marxist-Leninist theory in an actual social order would require coercive support if it were not, sooner or later, to collapse of its own contradictions. (shrink)
Once God is no longer recognized as the ground and the enforcer of morality, the character and force of morality undergoes a significant change, a point made by G.E.M. Anscombe in her observation that without God the significance of morality is changed, as the word criminal would be changed if there were no criminal law and criminal courts. There is no longer in principle a God's-eye perspective from which one can envisage setting moral pluralism aside. In addition, it becomes impossible (...) to show that morality should always trump concerns of prudence, concerns for one's own non-moral interests and the interests of those to whom one is close. Immanuel Kant's attempt to maintain the unity of morality and the force of moral obligation by invoking the idea of God and the postulates of pure practical reason are explored and assessed. Hegel's reconstruction of the status of moral obligation is also examined, given his attempt to eschew Kant's thing-in-itself, as well as Kant's at least possible transcendent God. Severed from any metaphysical anchor, morality gains a contingent content from socio-historical context and its enforcement from the state. Hegel's disengagement from a transcendent God marks a watershed in the place of God in philosophical reflections regarding the status of moral obligations on the European continent. Anscombe is vindicated. Absent the presence of God, there is an important change in the force of moral obligation. (shrink)
This book studies Wallace Stevens and pre-Socratic poetic philosophy, showing how concepts that animate Stevens’ poetry parallel concepts found in the works of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Xenophanes.
[D. H. Mellor] Kant's claim that our knowledge of time is transcendental in his sense, while false of time itself, is true of tenses, i.e. of the locations of events and other temporal entities in McTaggart's A series. This fact can easily, and I think only, be explained by taking time itself to be real but tenseless. /// [J. R. Lucas] Mellor's argument from Kant fails. The difficulties in his first Antinomy are due to topological confusions, not the tensed nature (...) of time. Nor are McTaggart' s difficulties due to the tensed nature of time. The ego-centricity of tensed discourse is an essential feature of communication between selves, each of whom refers himself as 'I', and is required for talking about time as well as experience and agency. Arguments based on the Special Theory are misconceived. Some rest on a confused notion of 'topological simultaneity'. In the General Theory a cosmic time is defined, as also in quantum mechanics, where a natural present is defined by a unique hyperplane of collapse into eigen-ness. (shrink)
May I first say, Mr Chairman, that I regard it as a great honour to have been invited to take part in this Conference? I speak to you as a philosopher who happens to be interested both in religion and in psychical research. But I am afraid I am going to discuss some questions which it is ‘not done’ to talk about.
The following brief memoir of Wittgenstein needs a few preliminary words of explanation. Among those who attended his lectures and discussions in the years it covers was D. G. James, who later became Professor of English at Bristol University and then Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University. I met him both in Bristol and Southampton, and on one occasion suggested to him that some of us who had known Wittgenstein, but who had not become professional philosophers, might write down our recollections of (...) him, and that he and I should start. What prompted the suggestion was, I think, the publication of Norman Malcolm's book, and a feeling that the non-professionals might have something to contribute to the assessment of Wittgenstein, particularly as a person. I wrote a preliminary draft and sent it to James; but he never responded, there was much else to do, I let the matter rest, and now James is dead. I wrote in about the year 1960 on holiday and away from any books of reference and from my own notes of Wittgenstein's lectures and conversations. I have shown the typescript to a few interested people, but because of its preliminary and unfinished nature have not previously thought of publication. It has recently been suggested to me that it might be of more general interest, and I publish it now as it was written, with one or two trifling alterations. I am well aware of its limitations. It was intended to give an impression of Wittgenstein as a person rather than as a philosopher, and the rather miscellaneous collection of remarks in section 3 have that in view rather than any more strictly ‘philosophical’ intention. Others may well question some of the detail and disagree with some of the opinions expressed. And there are some things which I might put rather differently today. But if the memoir has any interest it is best left as it was written. (shrink)
How does the study of society relate to the study of the people it comprises? This longstanding question is partly one of method, but mainly one of fact, of how independent the objects of these two studies, societies and people, are. It is commonly put as a question of reduction, and I shall tackle it in that form: does sociology reduce in principle to individual psychology? I follow custom in calling the claim that it does ‘individualism’ and its denial ‘holism’.
In the present essay we attempt to reconstruct Newtonian mechanics under the guidance of logical principles and of a constructive approach related to the genetic epistemology of Piaget and García. Instead of addressing Newton’s equations as a set of axioms, ultimately given by the revelation of a prodigious mind, we search for the fundamental knowledge, beliefs and provisional assumptions that can produce classical mechanics. We start by developing our main tool: the no arbitrariness principle, that we present in a form (...) that is apt for a mathematical theory as classical mechanics. Subsequently, we introduce the presence of the observer, analysing then the relation objective–subjective and seeking objectivity going across subjectivity. We take special care of establishing the precedence among all contributions to mechanics, something that can be better appreciated by considering the consequences of removing them: the consequence of renouncing logic and the laws of understanding is not being able to understand the world, renouncing the early elaborations of primary concepts such as time and space leads to a dissociation between everyday life and physics, the latter becoming entirely pragmatic and justified a-posteriori, changing our temporary beliefs has no real cost other than effort. Finally, we exemplify the present approach by reconsidering the constancy of the velocity of light. It is shown that it is a result of Newtonian mechanics, rather than being in contradiction with it. We also indicate the hidden assumption that leads to the contradiction. (shrink)
Classical accounts of intertheoretic reduction involve two pieces: first, the new terms of the higher-level theory must be definable from the terms of the lower-level theory, and second, the claims of the higher-level theory must be deducible from the lower-level theory along with these definitions. The status of each of these pieces becomes controversial when the alleged reduction involves an infinite limit, as in statistical mechanics. Can one define features of or deduce the behavior of an infinite idealized system from (...) a theory describing only finite systems? In this paper, I change the subject in order to consider the motivations behind the definability and deducibility requirements. The classical accounts of intertheoretic reduction are appealing because when the definability and deducibility requirements are satisfied there is a sense in which the reduced theory is forced upon us by the reducing theory and the reduced theory contains no more information or structure than the reducing theory. I will show that, likewise, there is a precise sense in which in statistical mechanics the properties of infinite limiting systems are forced upon us by the properties of finite systems, and the properties of infinite systems contain no information beyond the properties of finite systems. (shrink)
What role does the wild duck play in Ibsen's famous drama? I argue that, besides mirroring the fate of the human cast members, the duck is acting as animal subject in a quasi-experiment, conducted in a private setting. Analysed from this perspective, the play allows us to discern the epistemological and ethical dimensions of the new scientific animal practice emerging precesely at that time. Ibsen's play stages the clash between a scientific and a romantic understanding of animals that still constitutes (...) the backdrop of most contemporary debates over animals in research. Whereas the scientific understanding reduces the animal's behaviour, as well as its environment, to discrete and modifiable elements, the romantic view regards animals as being at one with their natural surroundings. (shrink)
My title has been taken from the following passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : Describe the aroma of coffee—why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking?—But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?
_Probability: A Philosophical Introduction_ introduces and explains the principal concepts and applications of probability. It is intended for philosophers and others who want to understand probability as we all apply it in our working and everyday lives. The book is not a course in mathematical probability, of which it uses only the simplest results, and avoids all needless technicality. The role of probability in modern theories of knowledge, inference, induction, causation, laws of nature, action and decision-making makes an understanding of (...) it especially important to philosophers and students of philosophy, to whom this book will be invaluable both as a textbook and a work of reference. In this book D. H. Mellor discusses the three basic kinds of probability – physical, epistemic, and subjective – and introduces and assesses the main theories and interpretations of them. The topics and concepts covered include: * chance * frequency * possibility * propensity * credence * confirmation * Bayesianism. _Probability: A Philosophical Introduction_ is essential reading for all philosophy students and others who encounter or need to apply ideas of probability. (shrink)
In 1954 F. R. Leavis wrote to the Times Literary Supplement taking issue with one of its reviewers. The reviewer had contrasted Leavis's approach to Shakespeare with that of Empson and Bradley. The latter, the reviewer had said, ‘like the plain man, or the audience in a theatre, cannot help considering the situation [in one of Shakespeare's plays] as “actual” and the characters as “real”’. Leavis, the reviewer had implied, treats the situation and characters somewhat differently.
The dominant approach to environmental policy endorsed by conservative and libertarian policy thinkers, so-called “free market environmentalism”, is grounded in the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources. Despite this normative commitment to property rights, most self-described FME advocates adopt a utilitarian, welfare-maximization approach to climate change policy, arguing that the costs of mitigation measures could outweigh the costs of climate change itself. Yet even if anthropogenic climate change is decidedly less than catastrophic, human-induced climate change is likely (...) to contribute to environmental changes that violate traditional conceptions of property rights. Viewed globally, the actions of some countries—primarily industrialized nations—are likely to increase environmental harms suffered by other countries—less developed nations that have not made any significant contribution to climate change. It may well be that aggregate human welfare would be maximized in a warmer, wealthier world, or that the gains from climate change will offset environmental losses. Yet such claims, even if demonstrated, would not address the normative concern that the consequences of anthropogenic global warming would infringe upon the rights of people in less-developed nations. As a consequence, this paper calls for a rethinking of FME approaches to climate change policy. (shrink)
Early in Peter Abelard's Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian, the philosopher and the Christian easily come to agreement about what the point of ethics is: “[T]he culmination of true ethics … is gathered together in this: that it reveal where the ultimate good is and by what road we are to arrive there.” They also agree that, since the enjoyment of this ultimate good “comprises true blessedness,” ethics “far surpasses other teachings in both usefulness and worthiness.” (...) As Abelard understood them, both fundamental elements of his twelfth-century ethical culture — Greek philosophy and Christian religion — held a common view of the nature of ethical inquiry, one that was so obvious to them that his characters do not even state it in a fully explicit way. They take for granted, as we take the ground we stand on, the premise that the most important function of ethical theory is to tell you what sort of life is most desirable, or most worth living. That is, the point of ethics is that it is good for you, that it serves your self-interest. (shrink)
Rabindranath Tagore is remembered today chiefly as a poet, and his fame as a poet has often eclipsed his great contributions to other fields of literature and life — especially education. Tagore pondered deeply on the fundamental problems of education — aims, curriculum, method, discipline, values and medium — and wrote and experimented on them freely and extensively. Tagore is perhaps the only literary genius in contemporary history who devoted a major part of his life to thinking about education and (...) creating an educational institution of international significance. Also, the institution he created at Santiniketan proved to be the most global and sustainable among the progressive educational institutions launched by individual thinkers such as Froebel and Russell. This edition revives a classic work, the first comprehensive, full-length account of Tagore’s educational thought and activity, commemorating his 150th birth anniversary. It presents a detailed chronological survey of Tagore’s educational writings and institutional activities in the perspective of his life and thought in general. The book also contains a detailed review and critical discussion on almost all major aspects of his educational work. Through an overall evaluation of Tagore’s unique contribution to education and his message to the world, it seeks to correct some common misconceptions that have existed from time to time about Santiniketan and Visva-Bharati. The book will help form a more complete view of Tagore’s life and work, filling as it does the gaps and voids in the literature that has grown around him, and reinforcing its relevance today. It will be of value to educationists, teachers, policymakers, those interested in modern Indian history and philosophy of education._ _. (shrink)
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