John Blund's Treatise on the Soul is probably the earliest text of its kind: a witness to the first reception of Greek and Arabic psychology at Oxford and foundation for a new area of medieval philosophical speculation. This book contains Hunt's Latin edition with a new English translation and a new introduction to the text by Michael Dunne.
The authors empirically examine the nature and extent of ethical problems confronting senior level AICPA members (CPAs) and examine the effectiveness of partner actions and codes of ethics in reducing ethical problems. The results indicate that the most difficult ethical problems (frequency reported) were: client requests to alter tax returns and commit tax fraud, conflict of interest and independence, client requests to alter financial statements, personal-professional problems, and fee problems. Analysis of attitudes toward ethics in the accounting profession indicated that (...) (1) CPAs perceive that opportunities exist in the accounting profession to engage in unethical behavior, (2) CPAs, in general, do not believe that unethical behavior leads to success, and (3) when top management (partners) reprimand unethical behavior, the ethical problems perceived by CPAs seem to be reduced. (shrink)
Kenneth Goodpaster has criticized ethicists like Feinberg and Frankena for too narrowly circumscribing the range of moral considerability, urging instead that “nothing short of the condition of being alive” is a satisfactory criterion. Goodpaster overlooks at least one crucial objection: that his own “condition of being alive” may aIso be too narrow a criterion of moral considerability, since “being in existence” is at least as plausible and nonarbitrary a criterion as is Goodpaster’s. I show that each of the arguments that (...) Goodpaster musters in support of his criterion can be used equally weIl to bolster “being in existence” as a test of moral considerability. Moreover, I argue that “being in existence” appears to be a stronger criterion overall, since it is broader. Until or unless a fuller justification is forthcoming of “being alive” as a satisfactory criterion of moral considerability-a justification which must demonstrate that “mere things,” included under the condition of “being in existence,” do not deserve moral consideration--Goodpaster’sthesis is confronted with a serious problem. (shrink)
Daniel Callahan has argued that economic and social benefits would result from a policy of withholding medical treatments which prolong life in persons over a certain age. He claims 'the real goal of medicine' is to conquer death and prolong life with the use of technology, regardless of the age and quality of life of the patient, and this has been responsible for the escalation of health care expenditure. Callahan's proposal is based on economic rationalism but there is little evidence (...) to suggest that substantial economic savings could be achieved. Moreover, his argument raises serious moral objections. A policy of withholding treatments from members of a social group involves elements of compulsion and discrimination, both of which would intrude on the doctor-patient relationship, undermine the autonomy of elderly patients, and invoke the slippery slope towards involuntary forms of euthanasia. Life-death decisions should be based on more than the one criterion of age, and take account of more relevant factors such as the patient's usual state of well-being, her/his expressed wishes, informed consent and the type of illness. Any move to the implementation and enforcement of the policy Callahan recommends would be rejected by health professionals and the public. (shrink)
Brian Ellis has argued that the assigning of forces is, in the final analysis, a matter of convention. This conclusion is backed by the premises (1) that forces and force-effects are necessary and sufficient for each other, and (2) that the classification of some state of affairs as a force-effect is at least partly conventional. We argue that the first premise is false, that the second premise is ambiguous as between several senses of "conventional," and finally that he has not (...) established that force-effects are conventional in the sense required for the conclusion he wishes to draw. (shrink)
Physical pain has always been part of human experience, and throughout history it is recorded that doctors and wise men and women have sought to ease pain. The attitudes of those suffering pain, however, have varied from stoical acceptance to sullen endurance. Today, most people consciously seek to avoid pain or to have their pain eased, although they do not always expect what in fact appears to be possible. This study of 13 patients with protracted pain was carried out at (...) The London Hospital by a professional group to see how patients regarded their own pain and the efforts of doctors and nurses to relieve it. The attitudes of the doctors and nurses were also studied, and the results, despite the limitations of the survey, suggest that: [List: see text]. (shrink)
The world I grew up in believed that change and development in life are part of a continuous process of cause and effect, minutely and patiently sustained throughout the millenniums. With the exception of the initial act of creation ..., the evolution of life on earth was considered to be a slow, steady and ultimately demonstrable process. No sooner did I begin to read history, however, than I began to have my doubts. Human society and living beings, it seemed to (...) me, ought to be excluded from so calm and rational a view. The whole of human development, far from having been a product of steady evolution, seemed subject to only partially explicable and almost invariably violent mutations. Entire cultures and groups of individuals appeared imprisoned for centuries in a static shape which they endured with long-suffering indifference, and then suddenly, for no demonstrable cause, became susceptible to drastic changes and wild surges of development. It was as if the movement of life throughout the ages was not a Darwinian caterpillar but a startled kangaroo, going out towards the future in a series of unpredictable hops, stops, skips and bounds. Indeed, when I came to study physics I had a feeling that the modern concept of energy could perhaps throw more light on the process than any of the more conventional approaches to the subject. It seemed that species, society and individuals behaved more like thunder-clouds than scrubbed, neatly clothed and well-behaved children of reason. Throughout the ages life appeared to build up great invisible charges, like clouds and earth of electricity, until suddenly in a sultry hour the spirit moved, the wind rose, a drop of rain fell acid in the dust, fire flared in the nerve, and drums rolled to produce what we call thunder and lightening in the heavens and chance and change in human society and personality.LAURENS VAN DER POST, The Lost World of the Kalahari. (shrink)
This treatise was written c. 1200, and is the earliest known philosophical work by an Oxford master. Its great interest is that it demonstrates the way in which the first generation of scholars used the translations of Greek and Arabic philosophical scientific texts which had just become available in Western Europe.
The principle that One cannot deliberate over what one already knows is going to happen, when suitably qualified, has seemed to many philosophers to be about as secure a truth as one is likely to find in this life.Fortunately, poses little restriction on human deliberation, since the conditions which would trigger its prohibition seldom arise for us: our knowledge of the future is intermittent at best, and those things of which we do have advance knowledge are not the sorts of (...) things over which we would deliberate in any case. But matters appear to stand otherwise with an all-knowing agent such as God is traditionally conceived to be; for what an omniprescient deity ‘already knows is going to happen’ is everything that is going to happen; and if He cannot deliberate over such things, there is nothing over which He can deliberate. (shrink)
The paper that follows continues a discussion with Tomis Kapitan in the pages of this journal over the compatibility of divine agency with divine foreknowledge. I had earlier argued against two premises in Kapitan's case for omniscient impotence: that intentionally A-ing presupposes prior acquisition of the intention to A, and that acquiring the intention to A presupposes prior ignorance whether one will A. In response to my criticisms, Kapitan has recently offered new defences for these two premises. I show in (...) reply why neither defence succeeds in rehabilitating the case against omniscient agency. (shrink)