The tendency to test outcomes that are predicted by our current theory (the confirmation bias) is one of the best-known biases of human decision making. We prove that the confirmation bias is an optimal strategy for testing hypotheses when those hypotheses are deterministic, each making a single prediction about the next event in a sequence. Our proof applies for two normative standards commonly used for evaluating hypothesis testing: maximizing expected information gain and maximizing the probability of falsifying the current hypothesis. (...) This analysis rests on two assumptions: (a) that people predict the next event in a sequence in a way that is consistent with Bayesian inference; and (b) when testing hypotheses, people test the hypothesis to which they assign highest posterior probability. We present four behavioral experiments that support these assumptions, showing that a simple Bayesian model can capture people's predictions about numerical sequences (Experiments 1 and 2), and that we can alter the hypotheses that people choose to test by manipulating the prior probability of those hypotheses (Experiments 3 and 4). (shrink)
In 1968, the Harvard criteria equated irreversible coma and apnea with human death and later, the Uniform Determination of Death Act was enacted permitting organ procurement from heart-beating donors. Since then, clinical studies have defined a spectrum of states of impaired consciousness in human beings: coma, akinetic mutism, minimally conscious state, vegetative state and brain death. In this article, we argue against the validity of the Harvard criteria for equating brain death with human death. Brain death does not disrupt somatic (...) integrative unity and coordinated biological functioning of a living organism. Neurological criteria of human death fail to determine the precise moment of an organism’s death when death is established by circulatory criterion in other states of impaired consciousness for organ procurement with non-heart-beating donation protocols. The criterion of circulatory arrest 75 s to 5 min is too short for irreversible cessation of whole brain functions and respiration controlled by the brain stem. Brain -based criteria for determining death with a beating heart exclude relevant anthropologic, psychosocial, cultural, and religious aspects of death and dying in society. Clinical guidelines for determining brain death are not consistently validated by the presence of irreversible brain stem ischemic injury or necrosis on autopsy; therefore, they do not completely exclude reversible loss of integrated neurological functions in donors. The questionable reliability and varying compliance with these guidelines among institutions amplify the risk of determining reversible states of impaired consciousness as irreversible brain death. The scientific uncertainty of defining and determining states of impaired consciousness including brain death have been neither disclosed to the general public nor broadly debated by the medical community or by legal and religious scholars. Heart-beating or non-heart-beating organ procurement from patients with impaired consciousness is de facto a concealed practice of physician-assisted death, and therefore, violates both criminal law and the central tenet of medicine not to do harm to patients. Society must decide if physician-assisted death is permissible and desirable to resolve the conflict about procuring organs from patients with impaired consciousness within the context of the perceived need to enhance the supply of transplantable organs. (shrink)
Analyzes Schelling's arguments for his idealism and pieces together a description of his theory of nature from among the large number of his writings in this area. It also traces the influence of Naturphilosophie on 19th-century science and connects it with recent System Theory.
Organ donation after cardiac or circulatory death (DCD) has been introduced to increase the supply of transplantable organs. In this paper, we argue that the recovery of viable organs useful for transplantation in DCD is not compatible with the dead donor rule and we explain the consequential ethical and legal ramifications. We also outline serious deficiencies in the current consent process for DCD with respect to disclosure of necessary elements for voluntary informed decision making and respect for the donor's autonomy. (...) We compare two alternative proposals for increasing organ donation consent in society: presumed consent and mandated choice. We conclude that proceeding with the recovery of transplantable organs from decedents requires a paradigm change in the ethics of organ donation. The paradigm change to ensure the legitimacy of DCD practice must include: (1) societal agreement on abandonment of the dead donor rule, (2) legislative revisions reflecting abandonment of the dead donor rule, and (3) requirement of mandated choice to facilitate individual participation in organ donation and to ensure that decisions to participate are made in compliance with the societal values of respect for autonomy and self-determination. (shrink)
Since the introduction of the concept of brain death by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death in 1968, the validity of this concept has been challenged by medical scientists, as well as by legal, philosophical, and religious scholars. In light of increased criticism of the concept of brain death, Stephen Napier, a staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, set out to prove that the whole-brain death criterion serves as (...) good evidence for death in the Catholic bioethical framework, on the grounds that when whole-brain death has occurred the soul has already departed from the body. Opponents have argued that (1) brain death does not disrupt the somatic integrative unity and coordinated biological functioning of a living organism and (2) clinical tests outlined in the practice guidelines for determining brain death lack sufficient power to exclude persisting function and fail to detect elements of the brain that, although currently functionless, may retain potential for recovery under conditions of optimal medical care. It is therefore possible that heart-beating organ procurement from patients with impaired consciousness is de facto a concealed practice of active euthanasia and physician-assisted death, both of which, either concealed or overt, the Catholic Church opposes. (shrink)
Advance health care directives and informed consent remain the cornerstones of patients' right to self-determination regarding medical care and preferences at the end-of-life. However, the effectiveness and clinical applicability of advance health care directives to decision-making on the use of life support systems at the end-of-life is questionable. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) has been revised in 2006 to permit the use of life support systems at or near death for the purpose of maximizing procurement opportunities of organs medically (...) suitable for transplantation. Some states have enacted the Revised UAGA (2006) and a few of those have included amendments while attempting to preserve the uniformity of the revised Act. Other states have introduced the Revised UAGA (2006) for legislation and remaining states are likely to follow soon. (shrink)
Organ donation after cessation of circulation and respiration, both controlled and uncontrolled, has been proposed by the Institute of Medicine as a way to increase opportunities for organ procurement. Despite claims to the contrary, both forms of controlled and uncontrolled donation after cardiac death raise significant ethical and legal issues. Identified causes for concern include absence of agreement on criteria for the declaration of death, nonexistence of universal guidelines for duration before stopping resuscitation efforts and techniques, and assumption of presumed (...) intent to donate for the purpose of initiating temporary organ-preservation interventions when no expressed consent to donate is present. From a legal point of view, not having scientifically valid criteria of cessation of circulation and respiration for declaring death could lead to a conclusion that organ procurement itself is the proximate cause of death. Although the revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act of 2006 provides broad immunity to those involved in organ-procurement activities, courts have yet to provide an opinion on whether persons can be held liable for injuries arising from the determination of death itself. Preserving organs in uncontrolled donation after cardiac death requires the administration of life-support systems such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. These life-support systems can lead to return of signs of life that, in turn, have to be deliberately suppressed by the administration of pharmacological agents. Finally, allowing temporary organ-preservation interventions without expressed consent is inherently a violation of the principle of respect for a person's autonomy. Proponents of organ donation from uncontrolled donation after cardiac death, on the other hand, claim that these nonconsensual interventions enhance respect for autonomy by allowing people, through surrogate decision making, to execute their right to donate organs. However, the lack of transparency and the absence of protection of individual autonomy, for the sake of maximizing procurement opportunities, have placed the current organ-donation system of opting-in in great jeopardy. Equally as important, current policies enabling and enhancing organ procurement practices, pose challenges to the constitutional rights of individuals in a pluralistic society as these policies are founded on flawed medical standards for declaring death. (shrink)
The most recent commentators on Edmund Burke have renewed the charge that his political thought lacks the consistency and coherency necessary to even claim the status of a political philosophy and that he is indeed a "utilitarian." They mark him off as an "ideologist," a "rhetorician," and a "deliberate propagandist." Even Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, his most profound statement of a political philosophy, is regarded by some as a work of mere "persuasion," not "philosophy." All this occurs (...) in spite of the seminal work of Stanlis, Canavan, and Wilkins, who in the 1950s and ‘60s, demonstrated the natural law foundations of Burke’s politics. Burke revisionists, forced to acknowledge his use of the "natural law," label such use as a rhetorical means for utilitarian ends. Directly opposed to this renewed "utilitarian" interpretation of Burke is Joseph Pappin’s work The Metaphysics of Edmund Burke. Not only does this work challenge the "utilitarian" view of Burke, it sets out, as not other work on Burke has attempted to do, "to make explicit the implicit metaphysical core of Burke’s political thought." Pappin does this by examining both Burke’s critics and Burke’s own attack on a rationalist, ideologically inspired metaphysics. Drawing from Burke’s vast writings, Pappin establishes as his goal "to demonstrate that Burke’s political philosophy is grounded in a realist metaphysic, one that is basically consonant with the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition." Does the author succeed? According to Francis Canavan, in his Foreword to this work, the "explanatory key" of a realist metaphysics grounding Burke’s politics "is a key that fits the lock better than any other that scholars have offered." Canavan further holds that the author offers "us a more thorough analysis of Burke’s understanding of God, the creation, nature, man, and society than has previously appeared.". (shrink)
Our research’s aim is to assess the effect of cultural factors on business ethical decision-making process in a Western cultural context and in a non-Western cultural context. Specifically, this study investigates ethical perceptions, religiosity, personal moral philosophies, corporate ethical values, gender, and ethical intentions of U.S. and Moroccan business managers. The findings demonstrate that significant differences do exist between the two countries in idealism and relativism. Moroccan managers tend to be more idealistic than the U.S. managers. There is a strong (...) positive relationship between religiosity and idealism. There were mixed findings in examining the correlates of religiosity and various components of ethical intentions. Moroccan managers were more homogenous in their corporate ethical values than were the U.S. managers. The results demonstrate that (in general) idealism is a good predictor of ethical intentions and behaviors. Additionally, managers from the two countries differed in the degree of relationship between perceptions and intentions in three of the four scenarios. This study’s results confirm other research findings that, in general, female business managers have higher ethical sensitivity in terms of their ethical judgment than their male counterparts. Managerial implications are also discussed. (shrink)
Islam and End-of-Life Practices in Organ Donation for Transplantation: New Questions and Serious Sociocultural Consequences Content Type Journal Article Pages 175-205 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9095-8 Authors Mohamed Y. Rady, Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix 5777 East Mayo Boulevard Phoenix Arizona USA 85054 Joseph L. Verheijde, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 5777 East Mayo Boulevard Phoenix Arizona USA 85054 Muna S. Ali, Arizona State University Phoenix Arizona USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue (...) Volume 21, Number 2. (shrink)
A defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty in retrieving semantic memories, or memories encoding facts and knowledge. While it has been suggested that this impairment is caused by a degradation of the semantic store, the precise ways in which the semantic store is degraded are not well understood. Using a longitudinal corpus of semantic fluency data, we derive semantic network representations of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and of healthy controls. We contrast our network-based approach with analyzing fluency data with (...) the standard method of counting the total number of items and perseverations in fluency data. We find that the networks of Alzheimer’s patients are more connected and that those connections are more randomly distributed than the connections in networks of healthy individuals. These results suggest that the semantic memory impairment of Alzheimer’s patients can be modeled through the inclusion of spurious associations between unrelated concepts in the semantic store. We also find that information from our network analysis of fluency data improves prediction of patient diagnosis compared to traditional measures of the semantic fluency task. (shrink)
While denying that God has moral obligations, William Alston defends divine moral goodness based on God’s performance of supererogatory acts. The present article argues that an agent without obligations cannot perform supererogatory acts. Hence, divine moral goodness cannot be established on that basis. Defenses of divine moral obligation by Eleonore Stump and Nicholas Wolterstorff are also questioned. Against Stump, it is argued (among other things) that the temptations of Jesus do not establish the existence of a tendency to sin in (...) a divine being. Hence, Stump’s Christological objection to Alston’s denial of divine moral obligation fails. Some counterexamples to that denial offered by Wolterstorff also fail. It is concluded that claims of divine moral goodness remain problematic. (shrink)
The debate between the theory-theory and simulation has largely ignored issues of cognitive architecture. In the philosophy of psychology, cognition as symbol manipulation is the orthodoxy. The challenge from connectionism, however, has attracted vigorous and renewed interest. In this paper I adopt connectionism as the antecedent of a conditional: If connectionism is the correct account of cognitive architecture, then the simulation theory should be preferred over the theory-theory. I use both developmental evidence and constraints on explanation in psychology to support (...) this claim. (shrink)
The Internet furore over Intel’s flawed Pentium chip provides an important case study of the ethical ambiguity of internet communications and the legitimacy of certain forms of “electronic activism”. Joseph Badaracco, Jr., is John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at the Harvard Business School and his co‐author is a former Research Associate at Harvard and currently on the editorial staff of Inc. magazine.
In this article it is argued that wittgenstein advanced a critique of the mythology of deduction as destructive as hume's critique of the myth of induction, And that objections to wittgenstein's assembled remainders in this regard depend for their apparent force on continuing to accept the very assumptions he has shown untenable.
The utilitarian construct of two alternative criteria of human death increases the supply of transplantable organs at the end of life. Neither the neurological criterion (heart-beating donation) nor the circulatory criterion (non-heart-beating donation) is grounded in scientific evidence but based on philosophical reasoning. A utilitarian death definition can have unintended consequences for dying Muslim patients: (1) the expedited process of determining death for retrieval of transplantable organs can lead to diagnostic errors, (2) the equivalence of brain death with human death (...) may be incorrect, and (3) end-of-life religious values and traditional rituals may be sacrificed. Therefore, it is imperative to reevaluate the two different types and criteria of death introduced by the Resolution (Fatwa) of the Council of Islamic Jurisprudence on Resuscitation Apparatus in 1986. Although we recognize that this Fatwa was based on best scientific evidence available at that time, more recent evidence shows that it rests on outdated knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of human death. We recommend redefining death in Islam to reaffirm the singularity of this biological phenomenon as revealed in the Quran 14 centuries ago. (shrink)
In seeking to determine what place, if any, the concept of moral rights can and/or should have in theological ethics, it is first necessary to clarify the nature of the concept. On this task contemporary moral philosophy is found to be especially helpful. It is then suggested that from a theological standpoint an appeal to moral rights might be justified by reference to (1) the moral fabric of persons under God, (2) the worth of persons as ends, and (3) the (...) inclusiveness of the moral community. The author claims that the concept of moral rights is compatible with belief in a sovereign God who promises his steadfast love, and that it need not imply any "natural" ethic in competition with theological ethics. Finally, the affirmation of moral rights is found to be highly appropriate to an emphasis upon love toward other persons. (shrink)
End-of-life organ donation is controversial in Islam. The controversy stems from: scientifically flawed medical criteria of death determination; invasive perimortem procedures for preserving transplantable organs; and incomplete disclosure of information to consenting donors and families. Data from a survey of Muslims residing in Western countries have shown that the interpretation of religious scriptures and advice of faith leaders were major barriers to willingness for organ donation. Transplant advocates have proposed corrective interventions: reinterpreting religious scriptures, reeducating faith leaders, and utilizing media (...) campaigns to overcome religious barriers in Muslim communities. This proposal disregards the intensifying scientific, legal, and ethical controversies in Western societies about the medical criteria of death determination in donors. It would also violate the dignity and inviolability of human life which are pertinent values incorporated in the Islamic moral code. Reinterpreting religious scriptures to serve the utilitarian objectives of a controversial end-of-life practice, perceived to be socially desirable, transgresses the Islamic moral code. It may also have deleterious practical consequences, as donors can suffer harm before death. The negative normative consequences of utilitarian secular moral reasoning reset the Islamic moral code upholding the sanctity and dignity of human life. (shrink)