The term "stakeholder engagement" has gained increasing prominence over the last few years. This prominence is fueled by a range of issues such as an increased dissatisfaction with business's focus on stockholder/shareholder interests and the demands for greater transparency from business following major business scandals. A perceived response to this issue in South Africa has been the inclusion of guidelines on stakeholder engagement in the King II Report on Corporate Governance. Despite this growing interest, there has not been clarity on (...) how companies engage with their stakeholders and specifically with how they identify and prioritize their stakeholders. The study sought to establish the reporting practices of South African business in relation to stakeholder identification and prioritization through a content analysis of their annual reports. The findings are discussed and recommendations on the two aspects of stakeholder engagement presented. (shrink)
Introduction: In The Netherlands, physicians have to be convinced that the patient suffers unbearably and hopelessly before granting a request for euthanasia. The extent to which general practitioners (GPs), consulted physicians and members of the euthanasia review committees judge this criterion similarly was evaluated. Methods: 300 GPs, 150 consultants and 27 members of review committees were sent a questionnaire with patient descriptions. Besides a “standard case” of a patient with physical suffering and limited life expectancy, the descriptions included cases in (...) which the request was mainly rooted in psychosocial or existential suffering, such as fear of future suffering or dependency. For each case, respondents were asked whether they recognised the case from their own practice and whether they considered the suffering to be unbearable. Results: The cases were recognisable for almost all respondents. For the “standard case” nearly all respondents were convinced that the patient suffered unbearably. For the other cases, GPs thought the suffering was unbearable less often (2–49%) than consultants (25–79%) and members of the euthanasia review committees (24–88%). In each group, the suffering of patients with early dementia and patients who were “tired of living” was least often considered to be unbearable. Conclusions: When non-physical aspects of suffering are central in a euthanasia request, there is variance between and within GPs, consultants and members of the euthanasia committees in their judgement of the patient’s suffering. Possible explanations could be differences in their roles in the decision-making process, differences in experience with evaluating a euthanasia request, or differences in views regarding the permissibility of euthanasia. (shrink)
In our society, where interest in Buddhist meditation is expanding enormously, numerous scientific studies are now conducted on the neurophysiological effects of meditation practices and on the neural correlates of meditative states. However, very few studies have been conducted on the experience associated with contemplative practice: what it is like to meditate -- from moment to moment, at different stages of practice -- remains almost invisible in contemporary contemplative science. Recently, 'micro-phenomenological' interview methods have been developed to help us become (...) aware of lived experience and describe it with rigour and precision. The present article presents the results of a pilot project1 aimed at applying these methods to the description of meditative experience. The first part of the article describes these methods and their adjustment for the investigation of meditative experience. The second part provides micro- phenomenological descriptions of two processes of which meditation practice enables the practitioner to become aware: the process of losing contact with the current situation and generation of virtual ones in 'mind-wandering' episodes, and the process of emergence of a thought. The third part of the article highlights the interest such descriptions may have for practitioners and for teachers of meditation, defines the status of these results, and outlines directions for further research. (shrink)
Hereditary structural completeness is established for a range of substructural logics, mainly without the weakening rule, including fragments of various relevant or many-valued logics. Also, structural completeness is disproved for a range of systems, settling some previously open questions.
In defining physical (i.e. causal dynamic) units to which conscious experience is to be ascribed, integrated information theory (IIT) raises three notable requirements: (1) that a unit to which consciousness is ascribed must be defined, or circumscribed, by some intrinsic aspect or property, where intrinsic implies existing 'for itself' or 'from its point of view'; (2) that the intrinsic aspect that defines the unit to which consciousness is ascribed must be dynamic (i.e. involve causal power) rather than purely structural or (...) kinematic; (3) that this dynamic aspect must involve the integration of elements of information in such a way that semantic values of elements are interdependent, allowing rich meaning. It will be argued that, although these requirements are all well-motivated, IIT falls short on them within a testable natural science framework. Concerns raised about the three requirements all point towards one central problem: that the concept of 'integrated information' does not involve any specific causal relation. Although IIT starts from strictly causal premises, the final analysis appears to invoke two incompatible accounts of the same events, with 'integration' having no causal relational basis. It will also be argued that the way IIT attempts to provide a testable theory of dynamic units to which consciousness is ascribed mustcausal reason inherent in any means of testing, be at best redundant for in the human case and, as a general principle, untenable. (shrink)