This article reviews the Dutch societal debate on euthanasia/assisted suicide in dementia cases, specifically Alzheimer's disease. It discusses the ethical and practical dilemmas created by euthanasia requests in advance directives and the related inconsistencies in the Dutch legal regulations regarding euthanasia/assisted suicide. After an initial focus on euthanasia in advanced dementia, the actual debate concentrates on making euthanasia/assisted suicide possible in the very early stages of dementia. A review of the few known cases of assisted suicide of people with so-called (...) early dementia raises the question why requests for euthanasia/assisted suicide from patients in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease are virtually non-existent. In response to this question two explanations are offered. It is concluded that, in addition to a moral discussion on the limits of anticipatory choices, there is an urgent need to develop research into the patient's perspective with regard to medical treatment and care-giving in dementia, including end-of-life care. (shrink)
Background As our society is ageing, nursing homes are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with an expanding population of patients with dementia and a decreasing workforce. A potential answer to this problem might lie in the use of technology. However, the use and application of surveillance technology in dementia care has led to considerable ethical debate among healthcare professionals and ethicists, with no clear consensus to date. Aim To explore how surveillance technology is viewed by care professionals and ethicists (...) working in the field, by investigating the ideal application of surveillance technology in the residential care of people with dementia. Methods Use was made of the concept mapping method, a computer-assisted procedure consisting of five steps: brainstorming, prioritising, clustering, processing by the computer and analysis. Various participants (ranging from ethicists to physicians and nurses) were invited on the basis of their professional background. Results The views generated are grouped into six categories ranging from the need for a right balance between freedom and security, to be beneficial and tailored to the resident, and clearly defined procedures to competent and caring personnel, active monitoring and clear normative guidance. The results are presented in the form of a graphic chart. Conclusions There appears to be an inherent duality in the views on using surveillance technology which is rooted in the moral conflict between safety and freedom. Elaboration of this ethical issue has proved to be very difficult. (shrink)
A recently published book, 'The Economics of Health Reconsidered' by Tom Rice, provides a strong critique of the role of markets in health care. Many of the issues of 'market failure' raised by Rice, however, have been, to varying extents, recognised previously in the health economics literature (at least outside the U.S.). What perhaps sets Rice's book apart from previous attempts to document such issues is its elegance and the methodical manner in which this critique is delivered. Significantly the critique (...) is based solely on conventional economic arguments. There has, however, been an emerging strand of the health economics literature not acknowledged in Rice's book which has approached some of these issues of market failure from a different perspective. Notably this research has involved, in part, borrowing from the ideas and methodological traditions of other disciplines. The emphasis in this work has been to expand the scope and the concerns of economic analysis in health care. (shrink)
Given the significant disparities in health and health related disadvantage between Aboriginal andnon-Aboriginal Australians, the application of somenotion of equity has a role to play in the formulationof policy with respect to Aboriginal health. Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander has been abbreviated to Aboriginal. There has been considerable debate in Australia as to what the principles of equity should be. This paper discussesthe relevance of the principle of vertical equity (theunequal, but equitable, treatment of unequals) toAboriginal health funding. In particular, the (...) paperadvocates pursuing procedural justice as the basis forvertical equity where the focus is on the fairness ofhow things are done rather than on the distribution ofoutcomes per se (i.e. distributive justice).Particular attention is paid to how the principle ofvertical equity might be handled at a practical level.Details of the approach used in a number of Australianindigenous communities are discussed. It is concludedthat there are strong arguments for pursuingprocedural justice under vertical equity particularlywhen there are cultural differences in the ways healthis defined and when there is importance attached toindigenous involvement in the health care decisionmaking process. (shrink)
In this article Jan Steutel's paper 'Towards a sexual ethics for adolescence' is discussed. It is argued that his dichotomous conception of 'child' versus 'adult' unnecessarily limits his conception of 'adolescence', with unfortunate consequences for the answers to his research questions. Steutel's treatment of 'competences' is discussed, in particular the competences of adolescents, and it is argued that in this respect also Steutel is hindered by his conception of 'adolescence'. His conclusion that a liberal ethics is bound to declare all (...) sexual acts of adolescents morally impermissible goes too far. Some practical-pedagogical, ethical and philosophical issues concerning Steutel's alternative sexual ethics for adolescence are discussed. The article concludes with a modest attempt to supplement a liberal sexual ethics for adolescents. (shrink)
Review Essay: A Review of Tom Nairn and Paul James, Global Matrix: Nationalism, Globalism and State-Terrorism ; Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization or Empire? ; Patrick Hayden and Chamsy el-Ojeili , Confronting Globalization: Humanity, Justice and the Renewal of Politics.
Jan Albert van Laar and Erik Krabbe’s paper “Splitting a difference of opinion” studies an important type of dialogue shift, namely that from a deliberation dialogue over action or policy options where critical and persuasive argumentation is exchanged about the rational acceptability of the policy options proposed by various parties, to a negotiation dialogue where agreement is reached by a series of compromises, or trade-offs, on the part of each side in the disagreement.
As regular readers of The Pluralist are aware, there appeared in 2008 an issue devoted to Jan Olof Bengtsson's The Worldview of Personalism.1 The issue included five articles, each concerned with a different aspect of the book; and after each article, there was a "Reply" by Bengtsson. In what follows, I shall say something about Bengtsson's reply to my own contribution, "Absolute and Personal Idealism." However, first let me briefly describe that article's argument.In "Absolute and Personal Idealism," I examined the (...) personalist attack on absolutism as formulated by Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison in two works: Hegelianism and Personality and The Idea of God in the Light of Recent Philosophy. In the first section of .. (shrink)
This article analyzes the lectures and texts from the last period of Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, one of the last disciples of Edmund Husserl, the founding father of phenomenology. The point of departure is Patočka’s critical reception of Husserl’s concept of the crisis of European mankind. There are, however, two other elements distinctive of Patočka’s thought essential for this interpretation. First, he was a classical philosopher aiming at Socratic ‘care for the soul’. Second, he approached the theme of universal human (...) history from his own unique historic position: as a Czech philosopher, involved in the Socratic manner primarily with his own Czech national community, for whom the big question of the future of European mankind and its legacy at the end of its golden modern age is inseparably connected with a ‘small’ one: the question of Czech national existence – the question of the future of his nation in a changing world and the issue of its freedom. (shrink)
The fundamental problem of Jan Srzednicki’s new epistemology is the question: how thoughts surpass the resistance of that what is ontologically present, how this process is possible? In Srzednicki’s opinion, thinking is a process of distancing from the pressure of ontological presence. His ideas offer a splendid inspiration for philosophy of medicine which attempts to answer the question “whether (and how) a disease is cognizable?” This question refers directly to and is translated into the question of the capacity to diagnose (...) particular diseases. Answering to the above stated question whether disease is cognizable we should answer in the affirmative, however, in a “modified” form that its pre-cognitive resistance to reality is formed at the articulated level. Somewhat intuitively we feel the presence of a disease before we express it in words as a disease according to our scientific or informal thought style. (shrink)
This article examines the libertarian arguments of Jan Narveson and James P. Sterba regarding the compatibility of liberty and equality. It then posits that their arguments fail in solving tensions between liberty and equality, because all fundamental rights cannot be derived from liberty. A coherent scheme of human rights is only possible if human dignity is used to balance the conflicting interests of liberty and equality. It then proceeds to make some suggestions on how human dignity as core value might (...) help to solve tensions between equality and liberty. (shrink)
We have sought to expound how Jan van Ruusbroec goes about representing the relationship of love between God and human beings by proceeding from God’s inner life of love. Therefore, in the first part of our paper we elucidated Ruusbroec’s view of the inner love reality of the Triune God. In the second part we explained how genuine Christian mystical life is founded within the intra-trinitarian life of love. Prior to discussing the characteristics of Ruusbroec’s trinitarian position, we dwelled upon (...) the author’s development of his idea of the Trinity from a personal perception of his relation with God, the embedding of Ruusbroec’s love-mysticism in traditional Christian faith and his repeated clarification of the Triune God from two perspectives: God’s nature and God’s essence. We found that, in his explanation of God’s nature, Ruusbroec underlines its fruitfulness as a way of demonstrating that God is one dynamic of love, without beginning or end, which ceaselessly and simultaneously consists in “flowing out” and “being flowed back”. This phenomenon, we stated, he associates with the concept, “oneness in threeness” and “threeness in oneness”. Through an exposition on the differing features of unity and the Persons of the Trinity, we came to the conclusion that the author in all of his works combines both the origin of “flowing out” and “flowing-back” with the Holy Spirit as the bond or unity of love of Father and Son. From this we concluded that none of the Persons is the principle or source of regiratio, i.e. return, to the unity. The view that God’s unity of Persons is the principle of exitus-reditus – and not only the third Person as recent scientific research has sought to demonstrate – is what we consider to be the heart of Ruusbroec’s trinitarian way of thinking. We ascertained, further, that the author not only links the unity of the Persons with fruitfulness; he believes that the same “fruitful” unity, drawing in the divine Persons on the level of God’s nature, is the “enjoying” unity on the level of God’s essence. By means of the distinction between God’s enjoying unity and the unity of God’s fruitful nature, Ruusbroec explicates the true facts of the intra-trinitarian life of love. The perception leads him to conclude that God, as a unity of Persons, is ceaselessly and simultaneously working and enjoying. In the second part, we illustrated how Ruusbroec’s trinitarian thought mirrors the basis of his mystical doctrine: the conviction that mystics are unified with the divine Persons both in working and enjoying, and that they are one reality of love with God. We explained how the author, first of all, maintains that mystics, who bear a full likeness to God’s fruitful nature, ceaselessly turn to good works and virtues, just as God, ceaselessly, through the divine Persons, flows out in love. We then avered that the likeness to God’s nature is not the result of human effort and that it arises from God’s touch within the human mind. Moreover, we showed that Ruusbroec, in accordance with his intuition that God’s fruitful unity is both out-flowing and inwarddrawing, believes that God is both impelling humans outward toward virtues and drawing them into God’s unity of love. In analogy with the first part of our argument – as far as the “return” of humans is concerned – we ascertained that our author is stressing the initiative of God’s unity of the Holy Spirit, i.e. the mutual love between the Father and the Son. We found the emphasis on God’s inward-drawing unity to be of great significance, because God’s unity of love also plays a crucial role with respect to the transition to “enjoyment” of human beings in God’s essence. We clarified how human beings, according to Ruusbroec, through the likeness to God’s nature, participate in the enjoyment of God’s essence with the divine Persons. We pointed out that the union in God’s essence is the most intimate experience, but not the end-point of the mystical life as, according to our author, contemplatives are directed, again and again, to good works. Lastly, we arrived at the conclusion that Ruusbroec considers the mystical life, like the life of God, to be ceaselessly consisting of action and enjoyment. However, it is not primarily the analogy with God’s trinitarian reality of love that Ruusbroecs stresses. Basically, he accentuates the fact that mystics ceaselessly experience unification with the divine Persons, both in working and enjoying. This means that mystics, united with the divine Persons in one enjoyment on the level of God’s essence, concurrently experience that, with the divine Persons, they also “share” in God’s “flowing” and “ebbing” on the level of God’s nature. On the basis of this we have affirmed that, according to Ruusbroec, God’s activity and enjoyment in the “Divinity Itself” is God’s activity and enjoyment in the human being, and the inverse. Moreover, we have shown how the author considers both moments to occur simultaneously, both in God and in human beings, meaning that the mystical life is continuously one reality of love with God. (shrink)
_A Companion to Jan Hus_ offers in eleven substantial essays authored by specialized researchers from four countries an account of the life, work, thought and commemoration of Jan Hus, an important Czech theologian, reformer and martyr.
This response to the articles of Luzzati and Broekman (in this issue) addresses principally the character of early rabbinic legal interpretation, as viewed by the Rabbis themselves. It considers, with examples, their concept of "simple meaning'' (peshat), its place within their overall hermeneutic system and its theological presuppositions. The second section responds more briefly to thetheoretical critiques of Luzzati and Broekman, stressing that (my version of) semiotics is descriptive rather than normative; resists the reduction of textual meaning to interpretation; and (...) refuses to equate decision-making with justification. (shrink)
We reproduce here the text of a lecture held by Paul Ricoeur at Naples in 1997. Ricoeur sees in Patočka’s work an elliptical movement with two foci: the phenomenology of the natural world and the question of the meaning of history. Ricoeur evidences the new features of Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology compared to Husserl’s transcendental idealism and Heidegger’s existential analytics. The transition from the phenomenology of the natural world to the problematic of history suggests in any case a substantial dialectical thread (...) that starts from the phenomenology of the movement of life, weaves through the problematic and tragic character of history and ends in the idea of the solidarity of the shaken. (shrink)
Jane Smiley's award winning and disturbing novel, A Thousand Acres, invites a critical appraisal of a popular assumption for proponents of sustainable agriculture: that family farming and sustainable agriculture are (at least indirectly) mutually reinforcing. This process begins with a plot that presents an Iowa multigenerational farm family headed by an acutely dominant father. Consequences of this dominance include subjugation of everyone involved with the farming operation, varieties of abuse of the daughters, and primitive non-environmental farming. Also in the novel (...) three structural components of the family farm/rural setting aggravate the nightmarish situation: multigenerational participation in one farming operation, children remaining on the farm, uninterrupted, into adulthood, and the power of community appearances. It is argued that these components contribute not only to the family problems, but also to making the poor farming that emerges in this family not very coincidental. This analysis, if correct, raises many issues about farm structure and farming practices. They include how the younger generation(s) of family farm structures cope with their situations, whether aspects of family farms skew who decides to remain to farm, family farm ownership and transfer structure, how well farmers understand their own farms, and the case for voluntarism regarding environmental issues in farming. One theme throughout the essay is that the novel enables better recognition and appreciation of the subtle relationship between family problems and farming practices. (shrink)
El artículo desarrolla una hermenéutica fenomenológica de las relaciones entre historia, sentido, existencia y eternidad en la filosofía de la historia de Jan Pato¹ka. Primero determina las nociones de sentido e historia. Luego explicita en qué medida la existencia humana constituye la condición de posibilidad de un sentido problemático y concurrente de la historia. Finalmente analiza la �existencia en la verdad� como resultado de una correlación entre existencia y eternidad y comprende la interpelación de la eternidad como origen del sentido.
The defence of The No Alternatives Argument in a recent paper by R. Dawid, S. Hartmann and J. Sprenger rests on the assumption that the number of acceptable alternatives to a scientific hypothesis is independent of the complexity of the scientific problem. This note proves a generalisation of the main theorem by Dawid, Hartmann and Sprenger, where this independence assumption is no longer necessary. Some of the other assumptions are also discussed, and the limitations of the no-alternatives argument are explored.
Jan Van Ruusbroec (12931327) is the most prominent exponent. 1 To date however, an in-depth study of the influence of Meister Eckharts thought has not been published. 2 In this paper I want to compare their central ideas concerning the relation between God and his creation (in particular man). More specifically, I hope to make clear that the vocabulary they occasionally share (Birth of the Son in the soul, the spark of the soul, the ground of the soul, the soul (...) as Image, and so on) actually veils two very different theologies. (shrink)