A leading scholar of humanitarian intervention, Brown (2002) refers to British internal politics to satisfy the influential church and other non-conformist libertarian community leaders, and above all ?undermining Britain's competitors, such as Spain and Portugal, who were still reliant on slave labour to power their economies, as the principal motivation for calls to end the slave trade than any genuine humanitarian concerns of racial equality or global justice?. Drawing on an empirical exploration, this article seeks to draw a parallel between (...) this politics of humanitarian intervention which characterised the abolition movement, albeit rarely recognised in the academic literature, and the British intervention to end the almost 11 year civil war in Sierra Leone. The article concludes with a discussion on the implications of this politics of humanitarian intervention in the reconstruction of post-conflict Sierra Leone. (shrink)
Eldon Soifer and Béla Szabados argue that hypocrisy poses a problem for consequentialism because the hypocrite, in pretending to live up to a norm he or she does not really accept, acts in ways that have good results. They argue, however, that consequentialists can meet this challenge and show the wrongness of hypocrisy by adopting a desirefulfilment version of their theory. This essay raises some doubts about Soifer and Szabados's proposal and argues that consequentialism has no difficulty coming to grips (...) with hypocrisy, whether or not one favours a desire-fulfilment account of the good. (shrink)
_Theurgy and the Soul_ is a study of Iamblichus of Syria, whose teachings set the final form of pagan spirituality prior to the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Gregory Shaw focuses on the theory and practice of theurgy, the most controversial and significant aspect of Iamblichus's Platonism. Theurgy literally means "divine action." Unlike previous Platonists who stressed the elevated status of the human soul, Iamblichus taught that the soul descended completely into the body and thereby required the performance of (...) theurgic rites—revealed by the gods—to unite the soul with the One. Iamblichus was once considered one of the great philosophers whose views on the soul and the importance of ritual profoundly influenced subsequent Platonists such as Proclus and Damascius. The Emperor Julian followed Iamblichus's teachings to guide the restoration of traditional pagan cults in his campaign against Christianity. Although Julian was unsuccessful, Iamblichus's ideas persisted well into the Middle Ages and beyond. His vision of a hierarchical cosmos united by divine ritual became the dominant world view for the entire medieval world and played an important role in the Renaissance Platonism of Marsilio Ficino. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that he expected a reading of Iamblichus to cause a "revival in the churches." But modern scholars have dismissed him, seeing theurgy as ritual magic or "manipulation of the gods." Shaw, however, shows that theurgy was a subtle and intellectually sophisticated attempt to apply Platonic and Pythagorean teachings to the full expression of human existence in the material world. (shrink)
Often labelled as "indescribable," the sublime is a term that has been debated for centuries amongst writers, artists, philosophers and theorists. Usually related to ideas of the great, the awe-inspiring and the overpowering, the sublime has become a complex yet crucial concept in many disciplines. Offering historical overviews and explanations, Philip Shaw looks at: · The legacy of the earliest, classical theories of the sublime through the romantic to the post-modern and avant-garde sublimity · The major theorists of the (...) sublime such as Kant, Burke, Lyotard, Derrida, Lacan and Zizek, offering critical introductions to each · The significance of the concept through a range of literary readings including the Old and New testaments, Homer, Milton and writing from the romantic era · How the concept of the sublime has affected other art forms such as painting and film, from abstract expressionism to David Lynch's neo-noir This remarkably clear study of what is, in essence, a term which evades definition, is essential reading for students of literature, critical and cultural theory. (shrink)
In a post‐9/11 world, where the politics of “us” versus “them” has reemerged under the umbrella of “terrorism,” especially in the United States, can we still envision an éducation sans frontières: a globalized and critical praxis of citizenship education in which there are no borders? If it is possible to conceive it, what might it look like? In this review essay, Awad Ibrahim looks at how these multilayered and complex questions have been addressed in three books: Peter McLaren and (...) Ramin Farahmandpur’s Teaching Against Global Capitalism and the New Imperialism, Nel Noddings’s Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, and Gita Steiner‐Khamsi’s The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending. Ibrahim concludes that, through creating a liminal, dialogical space between humanism, environmentalism, materialism, philosophy, and comparative education, the authors in these books offer a critical pedagogy in which éducation sans frontières is possible — a project that is as visionary as it is hopeful. (shrink)
Cryoethics is a new theme within bioethics (see bioethics) concerned with the ethics of cryonic storage. Cryonics, which is also erroneously referred to as “cryogenic” technology, offers people the option of having their bodies or brain-stems preserved at very low temperatures after death in order to be revived at some point in the future when technology is sufficiently advanced to enable reanimation, and possibly immortality. The main issues in cryoethics center around whether it is ethical to use this technology, and (...) whether it is prudent to do so. While there are several prudential and ethical arguments against cryonic storage, there is only one argument in favor, but it is quite powerful: the possibility of cheating death for a few years, or even forever if technology advances enough in the time before revival (Shaw 2009). (shrink)
`This book grew out of the conviction, not in itself strange or startling, that the ordinary person can and should think straight rather than crooked.' Patrick Shaw has written a commonsense introduction to the use of logic in everyday thought and argument. It explains some of the rules of good argument and some of the ways in which arguments can fail, drawing illustrations from a variety of contemporary and international sources, such as the press, radio, and television. Symbols and (...) technicalities are kept to a minimum in this thorough and provocative investigation of the rational approach to thought - and its limitations. Logic and Its Limits emphasizes the use of logic in helping to settle and clarify disputes. It will help the reader to avoid bad arguments, to detect them in others, and so to think and argue more effectively. A wide range of thought-provoking examples and exercises concerned with contemporary social and political issues make this a readable and stimulating guide for the student and general reader alike. (shrink)
Review of Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11097-012-9255-1 Authors Dominic Shaw, Department of Philosophy, The University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD UK Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759.
Two of the most important contributions that Bimal Krishna Matilal made to comparative philosophy are his doctoral dissertation The Navya-Nyāya Doctrine of Negation: The Semantics and Ontology of Negative Statements in Navya-Nyāya Philosophy and his classic: Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowing. In this essay, we aim to carry forward the work of Bimal K. Matilal by showing how ideas in classical Indian philosophy concerning absence and perception are relevant to recent debates in Anglo-analytic philosophy. In particular, (...) we focus on the recent debate in the philosophy of perception centering on the perception of absence. In her Seeing Absence, Anya Farennikova argues for the thesis that we literally see absences. Her thesis is quite novel within the contexts of the traditions that she engages: analytical philosophy of perception, phenomenology, and cognitive neuroscience. In those traditions there is hardly any exploration of the epistemology of absence. By contrast, this is not the case in classical Indian philosophy where the debate over the ontological and epistemological status of absence is longstanding and quite engaging. In what follows, we engage Farennikova’s arguments, and those of John-Rémy Martin and Jérome Dokic in their response to her work. Using the work of Matilal, Bilimoria and Shaw we show that there are several engaging ideas that can be taken from Indian philosophy into the terrain explored by Farennikova, and Martin & Dokic. Our aim is to provide an updated comparative engagement on absence and its perception for the purposes of enhancing future discussions within global philosophy. However, we do not aim to do this merely by focusing on the history of primary texts or on twentieth century commentary on primary texts. Instead, we hope to show that the living tradition of Indian philosophy that Matilal embodied carries forward in his students and colleagues as they revive, revise, and extend Indian philosophy. (shrink)
In the 1980s and 1990s the discipline of philosophy of education had an impact on schooling and the public service in New Zealand because of the contracted work of James Marshall and Michael Peters. This personal reﬂection by Robert Shaw is a tribute to James Marshall and provides insight into the relationship between Ministry ofﬁcials, the community, and educational researchers.
In his article 'Women in Music' Gordon Graham argues that 'women do not make composers' and 'there is good reason to believe that the composition of music will continue to be an activity largely of men'. In reply Shaw argues there is a deep inconsistency in Graham's argument or a gap which, given Graham's views, he would be hard pressed to fill. Shaw also raises objections to Graham's claim that his view that women cannot compose significant music, if (...) it were true, ought not depress feminists and other defenders of the equal worth of women. (shrink)
Historically, the productive aspect of the aesthetic experience can be described as a process during which aesthetic practice freed itself step by step from restrictions imposed on productive activity in both the classical and the biblical tradition. If one understands this process as the realization of the idea of creative man, it is principally art which actualizes this idea.1 First, when the poietic capacity is still one and undivided, it asserts itself subliminally; later, in the competition between technical and artistic (...) creation, it explicitly claims to be a production of a special kind. It is in that history of the concepts labor and work that the restrictions become most palpable.2 In the Greek tradition, all producing remains subordinate to practical action . As the activity of slaves who are rigorously excluded from the exercise of the virtues, poiesis occupies the lowest rank in social life. In the Christian tradition, handiwork is cursed, which means that man is meant to maintain himself only by toiling against a resistant nature ; salvation can only be found beyond his activity in this world. But in both the classical and the Christian conceptual fields relating to labor, we already encounter ambivalent definitions which could introduce and justify an upward revaluation of man's labor.1. See Hans Blumenberg, "'Nachahmung der Natur': Zur Vorgeschichte des schöpferischen Menschen," Studium Generale 10 : 266-83, still unexcelled. I also base my discussion on Jürgen Mittelstrass, Neuzeit und Aufklärung; Studien zur Entstehung der neuzeitlichen Wissenchaft und Philosophie , and to the results of two seminars at Constance held jointly and to which I owe essential insights.2. See Werner Conze, "Arbeit," in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Historiches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, ed. Conze, Otto Brunner, and Reinhart Koselleck, 4 vols. , 1:154-215, and Walther Bienert, Die Arbeit nach der Lehre der Bibel ; an abbreviated version appears in Bienert's "Arbeit," Die Religion in Gescheichte und Gegenwart .Hans Robert Jauss is professor of literary criticism and Romance philology at the University of Constance. He is the author of many books and articles, including two works forthcoming in English, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception and Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics, from which the present essay is taken. Michael Shaw has translated many works, among them Max Horkheimer's Dawn and Decline. (shrink)
The Monarchia, Dante's treatise on political theory, addresses the fundamental question of what form of political organisation best suits human nature; it embodies a political vision of startling originality and power, and illuminates the intellectual interests and achievements of one of the world's great poets. The whole text is here presented in a new translation, the first for forty years, based on a more up-to-date and scholarly version of the Latin original than has previously been available. The translation, together with (...) accompanying introduction and notes, has been prepared by Prue Shaw. In this new and accessible form, the Monarchia will interest not only Dante specialists, but also students of literary studies, political history and philosophy. (shrink)
_Indigeneity and Political Theory_ engages some of the profound challenges to traditions of modern political theory that have been posed over the past two decades. Karena Shaw is especially concerned with practices of sovereignty as they are embedded in and shape Indigenous politics, and responses to Indigenous politics. Drawing on theories of post-coloniality, feminism, globalization, and international politics, and using examples of contemporary political practice including court cases and specific controversies, Shaw seeks to illustrate and argue for a (...) way of doing political theory that is more responsive to the challenges posed by a range of contemporary issues. An engaging and highly original analysis of Indigenenity and sovereignty, this book enables the reader to develop a more robust consideration of relationships between theory and practice, and thus the politics of theorizing. (shrink)
Political theorists have long been frustrated by Nietzsche's work. Although he develops profound critiques of morality, culture, and religion, it is very difficult to spell out the precise political implications of his insights. He himself never did so in any systematic way. In this book, Tamsin Shaw claims that there is a reason for this: Nietzsche's insights entail a distinctive form of political skepticism. Shaw argues that the modern political predicament, for Nietzsche, is shaped by two important historical (...) phenomena. The first is secularization, or the erosion of religious belief, and the fragmentation of moral life that it entails. The second is the unparalleled ideological power of the modern state. The promotion of Nietzsche's own values, Shaw insists, requires resistance to state ideology. But Nietzsche cannot envisage how these values might themselves provide a stable basis for political authority; this is because secular societies, lacking recognized normative expertise, also lack a reliable mechanism for making moral insight politically effective. In grappling with this predicament, Shaw claims, Nietzsche raises profound questions about political legitimacy and political authority in the modern world. (shrink)
Plato often rejects hedonism, but in the Protagoras, Plato's Socrates seems to endorse hedonism. In this book, J. Clerk Shaw removes this apparent tension by arguing that the Protagoras as a whole actually reflects Plato's anti-hedonism. He shows that Plato places hedonism at the core of a complex of popular mistakes about value and especially about virtue: that injustice can be prudent, that wisdom is weak, that courage is the capacity to persevere through fear, and that virtue cannot be (...) taught. The masses reproduce this system of values through shame and fear of punishment. The Protagoras and other dialogues depict sophists and orators who have internalized popular morality through shame, but who are also ashamed to state their views openly. Shaw's reading not only reconciles the Protagoras with Plato's other dialogues, but harmonizes it with them and even illuminates Plato's wider anti-hedonism. (shrink)
The recent failures and scandals involving many large businesses have highlighted the importance of corporate social responsibility as a fundamental factor in the soundness of the free market system. The corporate social responsiveness orientation of business executives plays an important role in corporate decision making since managers make important decisions on behalf of their corporations. This paper explores whether there is a relationship between an individual's degree of religiousness and his or her corporate social responsiveness (CSR) orientation. The results of (...) a survey of 473 business students found a significant relationship between degree of religiousness and attitudes toward the economic and ethical components of CSR. Some explanations as well as limited generalizations and implications are developed. (shrink)
Doctors at four German hospitals have been suspended from their posts following internal investigations which alleged that they had been manipulating the organ transplant allocation system in order to help their patients get donor livers more quickly. It is alleged that doctors exaggerated the severity of their patients’ conditions so that they would be accorded higher priority for receiving organs, but there may also have been manipulation of medical records, deception of patients and potential harm to patients both within Germany (...) and across the EU. There has been significant public reaction to these events. The reported events require analysis as there may be several lessons for the UK context; doing so requires analyzing the alleged events in terms of the issues raised in a hypothetical manner. (shrink)
The challenge that confronts corporate decision-makers in connection with global labor conditions is often in identifying the standardsby which they should govern themselves. In an effort to provide greater direction in the face of possible global cultural conflicts, ethicistsThomas Donaldson and Thomas Dunfee draw on social contract theory to develop a method for identifying basic human rights: Integrated Social Contract Theory . In this paper, we apply ISCT to the challenge of global labor standards, attempting to identify labor rights that (...) could serve as guides for corporations producing or outsourcing outside of their home country. In addition to identifying areas of universal agreement, we also examine whether ISCT is, in fact, a sufficient basis for determining worker rights; we seek to define the parameters of the “sweatshop” problem; we include the application and results of our ISCT analysis as applied to labor standards: the global labor rights hypernorms; and conclude that ISCT is sufficient only for rights that are universal. We also discuss whether market-driven decisions can identify the boundaries of labor rights, or at least assure that market outcomes are compatible with maintaining labor rights, in order to respond to the shortcomings of ISCT. We conclude with some comments on directions of analysis for labor rights determination. (shrink)
Advances in neuroscience might make it possible to develop techniques for directly altering offenders’ brains, in order to make offenders more responsible and law-abiding. The idea of using such techniques within the criminal justice system can seem intuitively troubling, even if they were more effective in preventing crime than traditional methods of rehabilitation. One standard argument against this use of brain interventions is that it would undermine the individual’s free will. This paper maintains that ‘free will’ (at least, as that (...) notion is understood by those who adopt the influential compatibilist approach) is an inadequate basis for explaining what is problematic about some direct brain interventions. This paper then defends an alternative way of objecting to certain kinds of direct brain interventions, focusing on the relationship between the offender and the state rather than the notion of free will. It opposes the use of interventions which aim to enhance ‘virtue responsibility’ (by instilling particular values about what is right and wrong), arguing that this would objectify offenders. In contrast, it argues that it may be acceptable to use direct brain interventions to enhance ‘capacity responsibility’ (i.e. to strengthen the abilities necessary for the exercise of responsible agency, such as self-control). Finally it considers how to distinguish these different kinds of responsibility enhancement. (shrink)
People frequently make ethical choices they later regret. Causal Loop Archetypes offer a basic systems framework for analyzing the unintended consequences of personal and professional ethical decisions. Pressure or enticement or defensiveness can stymie individuals’ rational sensemaking. Causal Loop Thinking, and in particular the “Fixes That Fail” Archetype, draw on the familiar decision model of identifying the problem, specifying the alternative courses of action andtheir consequences, to guide our final choice. As students grapple with their own conflicts and business school (...) faculty look for tools to anticipate professional ethical dilemmas, Causal Loop Thinking can expand our awareness of the context of choices and actions, thus leading to a more fully assessed decision. (shrink)
One area of business performance of particular interest to both scholars and practitioners is corporate social responsibility. The notion that organizations should be attentive to the needs of constituents other than shareholders has been investigated and vigorously debated for over two decades. This has provoked an especially rich and diverse literature investigating the relationship between business and society. As a result, researchers have urged the study of the profiles and backgrounds of corporate upper echelons in order to better understand this (...) relationship.There is ample evidence that corporations have in recent years increased the proportion of outside directors on their boards. This has been partly in reaction to increased interest in the corporate social responsiveness of business organizations and suggestions that the board of directors could play a unique role in this area. The expectation on the part of practitioners, researchers, and governmental regulators is that outside directors will advocate greater corporate responsiveness to society''s needs by playing a more active role in overseeing managerial decisions. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a substantial amount of research on emotional intelligence (EI) across a wide range of disciplines. Also, this term has been receiving increasing attention in the popular business press. This article extends previous research by seeking to determine whether there is a relationship between emotional intelligence and ethical judgment among practicing managers with respect to questions of ethical nature that can arise in their professional activity. It analyzes the results of a survey of 324 managers (...) enrolled in executive MBA programs from five universities in the southeastern and northeastern United States. This study is based on a model presented by Forsyth showing two dimensions that play an important role in ethical evaluation and behavior. Respondents were classified into one of four groups according to their idealism and relativism levels—situationists, subjectivists, absolutists, and exceptionists. The four ideological group’s scores were compared. The results indicate significant differences between the situationists and absolutists on the one hand, and subjectivists and exceptionists on the other. The former’s emotional intelligence scores were significantly higher thus demonstrating a strong relationship between emotional intelligence and ethical ideology. The results raise important implications for practitioners and educators. (shrink)
Adults apply ownership not only to objects but also to ideas. But do people come to apply principles of ownership to ideas because of being taught about intellectual property and copyrights? Here, we investigate whether children apply rules from physical property ownership to ideas. Studies 1a and 1b show that children (6–8 years old) determine ownership of both objects and ideas based on who first establishes possession of the object or idea. Study 2 shows that children use another principle of (...) object ownership, control of permission—an ability to restrict others’ access to the entity in question—to determine idea ownership. In Study 3, we replicate these findings with different idea types. In Study 4, we determine that children will not apply ownership to every entity, demonstrating that they do not apply ownership to a common word. Taken together, these results suggest that, like adults, children as young as 6 years old apply rules from ownership not only to objects but to ideas as well. (shrink)
Institutional review boards (IRBs) have a reputation for impeding research. This reputation is understandable inasmuch as many studies are poorly designed, exploit participants, or do not ask a relevant question , and it is entirely proper that IRBs should reject such proposals. However, IRBs also frequently reject or tamper with perfectly sound and relevant studies in the name of protecting participants from harm, in accordance with the widely accepted message that “clinical research is justified only when participants are protected from (...) excessive risks”. Here, I argue that IRBs should never reject a study because it poses too high a risk to participants, and that their role should be confined to ensuring that risks and any potential benefits are fully explained to potential participants. Everyone should have the right to participate in research without paternalistic decisions about risk being made on their behalf. (shrink)
BackgroundGenome-wide association studies provide a powerful means of identifying genetic variants that play a role in common diseases. Such studies present important ethical challenges. An increasing number of GWAS is taking place in lower income countries and there is a pressing need to identify the particular ethical challenges arising in such contexts. In this paper, we draw upon the experiences of the MalariaGEN Consortium to identify specific ethical issues raised by such research in Africa, Asia and Oceania.DiscussionWe explore ethical issues (...) in three key areas: protecting the interests of research participants, regulation of international collaborative genomics research and protecting the interests of scientists in low income countries. With regard to participants, important challenges are raised about community consultation and consent. Genomics research raises ethical and governance issues about sample export and ownership, about the use of archived samples and about the complexity of reviewing such large international projects. In the context of protecting the interests of researchers in low income countries, we discuss aspects of data sharing and capacity building that need to be considered for sustainable and mutually beneficial collaborations.SummaryMany ethical issues are raised when genomics research is conducted on populations that are characterised by lower average income and literacy levels, such as the populations included in MalariaGEN. It is important that such issues are appropriately addressed in such research. Our experience suggests that the ethical issues in genomics research can best be identified, analysed and addressed where ethics is embedded in the design and implementation of such research projects. (shrink)
Webmasters are a key moral agent in the issue of privacy. This study attempts to understand the factors underlying their attitudes about privacy based on the theory of moral intensity. Webmasters of high-traffic sites were invited via email to participate in a web-based survey. The results support the application of moral intensity to the domain of privacy and the population of webmasters - both outcomes and social norms have statistically significant main effects on attitudes. The results also suggest a reconfiguration (...) of the dimensions of moral intensity. This is based on the observation that proximity to the organization has a negative main effect on attitudes, and it moderates the relationship between social norms and attitudes. The original theory of moral intensity did not acknowledge the possibility of this moderating role for proximity. These observations have important implications for future research and practice in the areas of privacy, moral intensity, and ethical decision making. (shrink)
The authors argue that corporate philanthropy is far too important as a social instrument for good to depend on ethical egoism for its support. They claim that rule utilitarianism provides a more compelling, though not exclusive, moral foundation. The authors cite empirical and legal evidence as additional support for their claim.
Differences and similarities between inside and outside board members with regard to their attitudes toward corporate social responsibility are examined. The results indicate that outside directors exhibit greater concern about the discretionary component of corporate responsibility and a weaker orientation toward economic performance. No significant differences between the two groups were observed with respect to the legal and ethical dimensions of corporate social responsibility. Some explanations as well as limited generalizations and implications are developed.
This article extends previous research by investigating the basis for attitudes toward codes of ethics. Specifically, its purposes are threefold. First, to examine business managers' attitudes toward codes of ethics. Second, to ascertain whether gender differences do exist with respect to these attitudes. Third, to provide a benchmark for future studies of attitudes toward codes of ethics. A survey of 286 managers revealed significant differences between the female and male managers with respect to six of the eight variables studied.
Invoking three desiderata (empirical adequacy, conceptual precision, and sensitivity to social positioning), this paper argues that poverty is best understood as the deprivation of certain human capabilities. It defends this way of conceiving of poverty against standard alternatives: lack of income, lack of resources, inequality, and social exclusion.
There is a palpable need for a new theory that embraces organisations and management – the hegemony of scientific theories is at an end. This paper argues that the phenomenological method which Husserl inaugurates has the potential to provide new insights. Those who adopt a phenomenological attitude to their situation within a business can explore unusual, and as yet unseen, depths within phenomena. The paper introduces Husserl’s method which requires the development of skills and a thoroughgoing rejection of scientific methods (...) of enquiry. However, this method is unlikely assist practitioners to achieve already determined business goals. (shrink)
I argue that on very weak assumptions about truth (in particular, that there are coherent norms governing the use of "true"), there is a proposition absolutely inexpressible with conventional language, or something very close. I argue for this claim "constructively": I use a variant of the Berry Paradox to reveal a particular thought for my readership to entertain that very strongly resists conventional expression. I gauge the severity of this expressive limitation within a taxonomy of expressive failures, and argue that (...) despite its strength there is nothing incoherent about admitting its existence. The argument forms part of a project of clarifying precisely what trade-offs are required to secure the kinds of expressive power truth theorists typically want, in the process showing that the admission of very strong expressive limitations may ultimately prove to be the lesser of two evils. (shrink)
This paper argues that Socrates does not claim to be a political expert at Gorgias 521d6-8, as many scholars say. Still, Socrates does claim a special grasp of true politics. His special grasp (i) results from divine dispensation; (ii) is coherent true belief about politics; and (iii) also is Socratic wisdom about his own epistemic shortcomings. This condition falls short of expertise in two ways: Socrates sometimes lacks fully determinate answers to political questions, and he does not grasp the first (...) principles of politics. (shrink)
It is widely accepted in clinical ethics that removing a patient from a ventilator at the patient’s request is ethically permissible. This constitutes voluntary passive euthanasia. However, voluntary active euthanasia, such as giving a patient a lethal overdose with the intention of ending that patient’s life, is ethically proscribed, as is assisted suicide, such as providing a patient with lethal pills or a lethal infusion. Proponents of voluntary active euthanasia and assisted suicide have argued that the distinction between killing and (...) letting die is flawed and that there is no real difference between actively ending someone’s life and "merely" allowing them to die. This paper shows that, although this view is correct, there is even less of a distinction than is commonly acknowledged in the literature. It does so by suggesting a new perspective that more accurately reflects the moral features of end-of-life situations: if a patient is mentally competent and wants to die, his body itself constitutes unwarranted life support unfairly prolonging his or her mental life. (shrink)
In Canada, as in many developed countries, healthcare conscientious objection is growing in visibility, if not in incidence. Yet the country's health professional policies on conscientious objection are in disarray. The article reports the results of a comprehensive review of policies relevant to conscientious objection for four Canadian health professions: medicine, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry. Where relevant policies exist in many Canadian provinces, there is much controversy and potential for confusion, due to policy inconsistencies and terminological vagueness. Meanwhile, in Canada's (...) three most northerly territories with significant Aboriginal populations, whose already precarious health is influenced by funding and practitioner shortages, there are major policy gaps applicable to conscientious objection. In many parts of the country, as a result of health professionals' conscientious refusals, access to some legal health services – including but not limited to reproductive health services such as abortion – has been seriously impeded. Although policy reform on conscientious conflicts may be difficult, and may generate strenuous opposition from some professional groups, for the sake of both patients and providers, such policy change must become an urgent priority. (shrink)
The Sleeping Beauty puzzle has dramatized the divisive question of how de se beliefs should be integrated into formal theories of rational belief change. In this paper, I look ahead to a related question: how should de se beliefs be integrated into formal theories of rational choice? I argue that standard decision theoretic frameworks fail in special cases of de se uncertainty, like Sleeping Beauty. The nature of the failure reveals that sometimes rational choices are determined independently of one’s credences (...) in the kinds of ‘narrow’ de se propositions that Sleepy Beauty has set in relief. Consequently, in addition to pinpointing a failure of standard decision theoretic frameworks, this result casts doubt on a large class of strategies for determining principles for the rationally updating de se beliefs in cases like Sleeping Beauty, and also calls into question the importance of making such a determination at all. (shrink)
Humor is a surprisingly understudied topic in philosophy. However, there has been a flurry of interest in the subject over the past few decades. This article outlines the major theories of humor. It argues for the need for more publications on humor by philosophers. More specifically, it suggests that humor may not be a well-understood phenomenon by questioning a widespread consensus in recent publications – namely, that humor can be detached from laughter. It is argued that this consensus relies on (...) a cognitivist account of emotion, one that is open to debate, and that it becomes unclear what sorts of phenomena a theory of humor is supposed to explain when one questions this assumption. (shrink)