This new edition of Law and Medical Ethics continues to chart the ever-widening field that the topics cover. The interplay between the health caring professions and the public during the period intervening since the last edition has, perhaps, been mainly dominated by wide-ranging changes in the administration of the National Health Service and of the professions themselves but these have been paralleled by important developments in medical jurisprudence.
The catastrophe of the eye -- A new view of seeing -- Applying the new view of seeing -- The illusion of seeing everything -- Some contentious points -- Towards consciousness -- Types of consciousness -- Phenomenal consciousness, raw feel, and why they're hard -- Squeeze a sponge, drive a porsche : a sensorimotor account of feel -- Consciously experiencing a feel -- The sensorimotor approach to color -- Sensory substitution -- The localization of touch -- The phenomenality plot -- (...) Consciousness. (shrink)
Recently, new developments took place in the Dutch debate on the legislation of euthanasia. After a brief account of that debate, the article discusses a new government proposal for legislation in this field, which was submitted to the Dutch parliament in November 1991. This proposal relates not only to euthanasia but also to some other medical decisions concerning the end of life. The author concludes that, for several reasons, it is unsatisfactory.
A set is said to be amorphous if it is infinite, but is not the disjoint union of two infinite subsets. Thus amorphous sets can exist only if the axiom of choice is false. We give a general study of the structure which an amorphous set can carry, with the object of eventually obtaining a complete classification. The principal types of amorphous set we distinguish are the following: amorphous sets not of projective type, either bounded or unbounded size of members (...) of partitions of the set into finite pieces), and amorphous sets of projective type, meaning that the set admits a non-degenerate pregeometry, over finite fields either of bounded cardinality or of unbounded cardinality. The hope is that all amorphous sets will be of one of these types. Examples of each sort are constructed, and a reconstruction result for bounded amorphous sets is presented, indicating that the amorphous sets of this kind constructed in the paper are the only possible ones. The final section examines some questions concerned with the resulting cardinal arithmetic. (shrink)
The literature on collective action largely ignores the constraints that moral principle places on action-prompting intentions. Here I suggest that neither individualism nor holism can account for the generality of intentional contents demanded by universalizability principles, respect for persons, or proactive altruism. Utilitarian and communitarian ethics are criticized for nominalism with respect to social intentions. The failure of individualism and holism as grounds for moral theory is confirmed by comparing Tuomela's reductivist analysis of we-intentions with Gilbert's analysis of social facts. (...) Tuomela's account founders over intentions to cooperate, and Gilbert's cannot accommodate legitimate authority, vicarious agency, or group structure. (shrink)
Mason and McCall Smith's classic textbook discusses the relationship of medical practice and ethics with the operation of the law. The subjects covered include natural and assisted reproduction, the impact of modern genetics on medicine, medical confidentiality, consent to medical treatment, the use of resources and problems surrounding death in the new medical era. It is of significance to anyone with an interest in the ethical and legal practice of medicine.
In this moderate realist account of the whole range of issues facing contemporary analytic philosophy, J. K. Swindler aims to fill the gap in the literature between extreme realism and extreme nominalism. He discusses such fundamental concepts as existence, property, universality, individual, and necessity; analyzes the paradoxes of negative existentials and the substitutivity of co-referential terms; and defends objectivity in philosophy. The study moves through three phases: first, an argument that objective philosophical truth is attainable; second, an extended realist analysis (...) of fundamental ontological concepts; and finally, a demonstration of advantages of this ontology over leading alternatives. Weaving: An Analysis of the Constitution of Objects will be of interest to all philosophers working in contemporary philosophy, philosophy of language, logic, and metaphysics, and will serve as an excellent text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper traces the development of parental rights to accept or to refuse treatment for a defective newborn infant in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America; its main purpose is to explore the common trends from which an acceptable policy may be derived. It is probable that the British law on parental decision-making in respect of infants suffering from Down's syndrome is to be found in the civil case of In Re B rather than in the (...) criminal case of R v Arthur. United States court decisions are strongly influenced by constitutional law and reflect the right to personal privacy. The position on each side of the Atlantic seems very similar but this similarity includes a sense of uncertainty as to legal responsibility. There is a case for agreed guidelines and a suggested format is offered for consideration. (shrink)
Most discussions of medical futility try to answer the Futility Question: when is a medical procedure futile? No answer enjoys universal support. Some futility policies say that the health care provider will answer this question when the provider and patient cannot agree. This raises the Decision Question: who has the moral authority to decide what to do in cases where futility is disputed? I look for a procedural answer to this question, an answer that does not turn on whether a (...) given party happens to answer the Futility Question correctly. I argue that these policies get it right; the provider should decide because providers have a right of conscientious refusal that extends to refusing procedures on grounds of futility. This is a procedural answer because providers have this right even if they are sincerely mistaken about whether a procedure is futile. (shrink)
Background: The American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association have guidelines that specifically discourage physicians from self-prescribing or prescribing to family members, but only the BMA addresses informal prescription requests between colleagues. Objective: To examine the practices of paediatric providers regarding self-prescribing, curbsiding colleagues, and prescribing and refusing to prescribe to friends and family. Methods: 1086 paediatricians listed from the American Academy of Paediatrics 2007 web-based directory were surveyed. Results: 44% of eligible survey respondents returned (...) usable surveys. Almost half of respondents had prescribed for themselves. An equal number had informally requested a prescription from a colleague. Three-quarters stated they had been asked to prescribe a prescription drug for a first-degree or second-degree relative, and 51% had been asked by their spouse. Eighty-six per cent stated that they had refused to write a prescription on at least one occasion for a friend or family member. The following reasons “strongly influenced” their decision to refuse a prescription request: outside of provider’s expertise ; patient’s need for his or her own physician ; not medically indicated ; need for a physical examination. Conclusion: These data confirm that most physicians have engaged in self-prescribing or curbside requests for prescriptions. It can be argued that curbsiding is more morally problematic than self-prescribing because it implicates a third party, and should be discouraged regardless of whether the requester is a colleague, family member or friend. (shrink)
_Despite advances in standard of living of the population, the condition of widows and divorced women remains deplorable in society. The situation is worse in developing nations with their unique social, cultural and economic milieu, which at times ignores the basic human rights of this vulnerable section of society. A gap exists in life expectancies of men and women in both developing and developed nations. This, coupled with greater remarriage rates in men, ensures that the number of widows continues to (...) exceed that of widowers. Moreover, with women becoming more educated, economically independent and aware of their rights, divorce rates are increasing along with associated psychological ramifications. The fact that widowed/divorced women suffer from varying psychological stressors is often ignored. It has been concluded in various studies that such stressors could be harbingers of psychiatric illnesses (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance dependence), and hence should be taken into account by treating physicians, social workers and others who come to the aid of such women. A change in mindset of the society is required before these women get their rightful place, for which a strong will is needed in the minds of the people, and in law-governing bodies._. (shrink)
IN THE beginning Parmenides sought to deny the void. But he found himself trapped by his language and his thought into admitting what he sought to deny. Wisely, he counseled others to avoid the whole region in which the problem arises, lest they too be unwarily ensnared. Plato, being less easily intimidated and grasping for the first time the urgency of the paradox, unearthed each snare in turn until he felt he had found a safe path through the forbidden terrain (...) in a new conception of being and the derivation of its linguistic consequences in the Sophist. Aristotle evidently took Parmenides’ advice; and save for a few groping scholastics, perhaps Leibniz, Brentano, and Meinong, and Frege only in passing, no one else attempted the crossing before Russell made his spectacular dash through the posted ground from the completely new direction of linguistic reference. Again the problem lay dormant for half a century until Strawson constructed a new low road through ordinary language and Quine improved Russell’s high algebraic pass. Refinements of these routes have been forthcoming, especially from Searle and Kripke, until today it might appear that there are two super highways through Parmenides’ forbidden country of nonbeing. In this essay I will first argue that these new linguistic highways are no more than flimsy camouflage hiding but not resolving the old paradoxes. I will then show how Plato’s ontological way out, though more difficult, is the straight and narrow path. (shrink)
The advent of personal genomics companies offering direct translation of scientific data into personal health information, calls into question traditional policies to refuse disclosure of such scientific data to research participants. This seems especially true for population biobanks, as they collect not only genotype information but also associated phenotype information, and thus may be in a unique position to translate their scientific findings into personal health information for their participants. Disclosure of such information seems mandated by the expectations raised by (...) biobanks and their participants' rights to know health information, to know clinical research results, to life and health and particularly their right to benefit. Refusals to disclose such information can be grounded in the lack of analytical validity and/or clinical utility of most findings, the need to avoid the therapeutic misconception, the complexity and costs involved in translation and disclosure and the disproportionate burden resulting from the obligation to respect participants' right not to know before any disclosure can be made. Currently, any demands by participants in population biobanks for full disclosure of all pertinent personal health information potentially resulting from the biobank's scientific findings are unlikely to be granted by a Dutch court under Dutch and international law. As the law stands now, a population biobank is neither a doctor nor a personal genomics company. However, in view of the rapid scientific, medical, technological, commercial and social developments, population biobanks must prepare to take more care of their participants' legitimate interest in receiving as much validated personal health information as reasonably possible, in a timely fashion, by developing appropriate translation and disclosure mechanisms. This paper examines whether population biobank participants have the right, under Dutch civil law and international law, to full disclosure, i.e. to all information generated by the biobank that is pertinent to their present and future health. It pioneers the format of a hypothetical court case to elucidate the legal and policy arguments" for and against full disclosure. (shrink)
Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski propose a framework whereby different referring forms conventionally signal different cognitive statuses on an implica-tional 'givenness hierarchy'. Interaction of the hierarchy with Grice's Maxim of Quantity gives rise to scalar implicatures which further constrain the choice among forms and their interpretations when necessary conditions for more than one form are met. Wilson and Matsui show that reference assignment for NPs introduced by the definite article is constrained within Relevance Theory by the automatic selection of an interpretation (...) that yields adequate contextual effects for minimal processing effort. This paper proposes that an optimal account of how people understand the intended referent of an NP must appeal to both the Givenness Hierarchy and Relevance Theory. Such an account still requires the first part of the Quantity Maxim, however, either as a socially based assumption or as part of the Principle of Relevance itself. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, Dutch courts have left room for euthanasia. Although a crime under the Penal Code, euthanasia will usually not result in prosecution and conviction if it is committed by a physician according to rules of careful medical practice ; if the patient's request is voluntary, well-considered, and enduring; and if there is unacceptable and hopeless suffering and there are no other solutions to the patient's situation.
Introduction: The Dutch Euthanasia Act states that euthanasia is not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with the statutory due care criteria. These criteria hold that: there should be a voluntary and well-considered request, the patient’s suffering should be unbearable and hopeless, the patient should be informed about their situation, there are no reasonable alternatives, an independent physician should be consulted, and the method should be medically and technically appropriate. This study investigates whether physicians experience problems with these (...) criteria in medical practice.Methods: In 2006, questionnaires were sent to a random, stratified sample of 2100 Dutch physicians . Physicians were asked about problems in their decision-making related to requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide after enforcement of the 2002 Euthanasia Act.Results: Of all physicians who had received a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide , 25% had experienced problems in the decision-making with regard to at least one of the criteria of due care. Physicians who had experienced problems mostly indicated to have had problems related to evaluating whether or not the patient’s suffering was unbearable and hopeless and whether or not the patient’s request was voluntary or well considered .Discussion: Physicians in The Netherlands most frequently reported problems related to aspects in which they have to evaluate the patient’s subjective perspective. However, it can be questioned whether placing emphasis on these subjective aspects is an adequate fulfilment of the duties imposed on physicians, as laid down in the Dutch Euthanasia Act. (shrink)