The first time I saw 30 Rock, I was struck by how often it fails to be funny. This is not to say that 30 Rock is never funny—sometimes it is very funny indeed. But what stood out most to me was how strikingly not funny it often is. The show is, nevertheless, very entertaining. And it is curious that a sitcom—a show that is ostensibly designed to entertain through the use of humor—could entertain so successfully while being so unsuccessful (...) at making its audience laugh. This curiosity is the subject of this paper. My purpose is to offer a theory that explains three features of 30 Rock: first, how it sometimes achieves comedic effect; second, why its. (shrink)
Promoting respect for the four principles remains of great practical importance in ordinary medicineThe following are four “scenarios” with brief outlines of how Raanan Gillon has analysed them using the “four principles” approach. These are the four cases that the commentators were asked to analyse.Professor Gillon has for many years advocated the use of the Beauchamp and Childress four principles approach as a widely and interculturally acceptable method for medical ethics analysis . At present there seems to be (...) a backlash by some bioethicists against this approach, with among others, adherents of feminist ethics, narrative ethics, virtue ethics, and various varieties of regional ethics claiming to offer better approaches to medical ethics.At Raanan Gillon’s request this special issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics is intended to focus on this aspect of his work, with a view not only to discussing the issue of how different approaches to medical ethics are and/or are not compatible with the four principles approach but also to make clear to JME readers what alternative ethics analysis method is preferred and used by the various commentators.THE “STANDARD” JEHOVAH’S WITNESS CASEIn the first scenario, that of the “standard” Jehovah’s Witness case, a competent adult patient loses a massive amount of blood from a blood vessel bleeding in an acute duodenal ulcer. The best chance of …. (shrink)
Ted Shotter's founding of the London Medical Group 50 years ago in 1963 had several far reaching implications for medical ethics, as other papers in this issue indicate. Most significant for the joint authors of this short paper was his founding of the quarterly Journal of Medical Ethics in 1975, with Alastair Campbell as its first editor-in-chief. In 1980 Raanan Gillon began his 20-year editorship . Gillon was succeeded in 2001 by Julian Savulescu, followed by John Harris and (...) Soren Holm in 2004, with Julian Savulescu starting his second and current term in 2011. In 2000 an additional special edition of the JME, Medical Humanities , was published, under the founding joint editorship of Martyn Evans and David Greaves. In 2003 Jane Macnaughton succeeded David Greaves as joint editor. Deborah Kirklin, under whose auspices MH became an independent journal, took over in 2008, and she was succeeded in 2013 by Sue Eckstein. This short paper offers reminiscences and reflections from the two journals’ various editors.From the start the JME was committed to clearly expressed reasoned discussion of ethical issues arising from or related to medical practice and research. In particular, both Edward Shotter and Alastair Campbell, each a cleric , were at pains to make clear that the JME was not a religious journal and that it had no sort of partisan axe to grind.Campbell's appointment as founding editor was something of a surprise, as the original intention had been to appoint a medical doctor, who could be expected to know medical practice from the inside. However, in 1972 Campbell, a Joint Secretary of the Edinburgh Medical Group, had published Moral dilemmas in medicine. …. (shrink)
It is hypothesised and argued that “the four principles of medical ethics” can explain and justify, alone or in combination, all the substantive and universalisable claims of medical ethics and probably of ethics more generally. A request is renewed for falsification of this hypothesis showing reason to reject any one of the principles or to require any additional principle(s) that can’t be explained by one or some combination of the four principles. This approach is argued to be compatible with a (...) wide variety of moral theories that are often themselves mutually incompatible. It affords a way forward in the context of intercultural ethics, that treads the delicate path between moral relativism and moral imperialism. Reasons are given for regarding the principle of respect for autonomy as “first among equals”, not least because it is a necessary component of aspects of the other three. A plea is made for bioethicists to celebrate the approach as a basis for global moral ecumenism rather than mistakenly perceiving and denigrating it as an attempt at global moral imperialism. (shrink)
Knowledge of the ethical and legal basis of medicine is as essential to clinical practice as an understanding of basic medical sciences. In the UK, the General Medical Council requires that medical graduates behave according to ethical and legal principles and must know about and comply with the GMC’s ethical guidance and standards. We suggest that these standards can only be achieved when the teaching and learning of medical ethics, law and professionalism are fundamental to, and thoroughly integrated both vertically (...) and horizontally throughout, the curricula of all medical schools as a shared obligation of all teachers. The GMC also requires that each medical school provides adequate teaching time and resources to achieve the above. We reiterate that the adequate provision and coordination of teaching and learning of ethics and law requires at least one full-time senior academic in ethics and law with relevant professional and academic expertise. In this paper we set out an updated indicative core content of learning for medical ethics and law in UK medical schools and describe its origins and the consultative process by which it was achieved. (shrink)
This paper addresses two questions: what is the distinction between semantics and pragmatics? And why is this distinction important? These questions are discussed in light of the central explanatory goal of linguistics and in relation to the phenomenon of context sensitivity, as illustrated by relational words with implicit arguments and by so-called quantifier domain restriction. It is concluded that context sensitivity is, in the former case, grammatical or lexical and, in the latter case, neither.
A major strategy in the creation of sustainable economies is the establishment of alternative market institutions, such as fair trade and local market systems. However, the dynamics of these alternative markets are poorly understood. What are the rules of behavior by which these markets function? How do these markets maintain their separate identity as “alternative”: apart from the conventional (“free”) market system? Building on Lyson’s notion of civic agriculture, we argue that alternative markets maintain themselves through civic engagement. However, we (...) argue that the civically-engaged practices of alternative markets are poorly understood. We seek, therefore, to begin a conversation about the everyday forms of civic engagement in alternative practice and to do this we introduce a few useful conceptual tools. Building upon ideas in science studies about the collaboration of scientists (Hess, Alternative pathways in science and industry, 2007) we argue that civic markets have their own “market fields” and “modes of governance” (Bulkeley et al., Environment and Planning A 39:2733–2753, 2007), their own fields of social interaction in which rules of behavior become stabilized and determine how the market works. The creation of a social field also requires the demarcation of boundaries, referred to in the science studies literature as “boundary work” (Gieryn, Cultural boundaries of science: Credibility on the line, 1999). We apply the idea of boundary work to understand how alternative market actors maintain boundaries between alternative and conventional markets. Finally, studies of collaboration in science have often centered on the object created through these interactions, an object that is partially material and partially a product of knowledge, what (Rheinberger, Toward a history of epistemic things: Synthesizing proteins in the test tube, 1997) calls an “epistemic object.” We use this idea to understand that the creation of alternative objects of exchange, such as organic food, are epistemic objects in that they combine both particular materialities and particular ways of knowing. Using these concepts, we will carry out a close analysis of the mode of governance in the national organic market, looking specifically a recent governance crisis in organic agriculture known as the Harvey lawsuit. (shrink)
English mass noun phrases & count noun phrases differ only minimally grammatically. The basis for the difference is ascribed to a difference in the features +/-CT. These features serve the morphosyntactic function of determining the available options for the assigment of grammatical number, itself determined by the features +/-PL: +CT places no restriction on the available options, while -CT, in the unmarked case, restricts the available options to -PL. They also serve the semantic function of determining the sort of denotation (...) associated with demonstrative & quantified noun phrases. The feature -CT requires that the associated denotation be the set whose sole member is the greatest aggregate of which the noun phrase or noun is true; the feature +CT requires that the associated denotation be the set whose members are all & only those minimal aggregates of which the noun phrase or noun is true. At the same time, neither mass NPs nor count NPs that are arguments of a predicate have their predicate evaluated with respect to their denotations. Rather, the predicate is evaluated with respect to an aggregation, a set of aggregates constructed from the denotation of the noun phrase that is an argument of the predicate. 3 Tables, 4 Figures, 74 References. AA. (shrink)
I show that words with indefinite implicit complements occasion a dilemma for their model theory. There has been only two previous attempts to address this problem, one by Fodor and Fodor (1980) and one by Dowty (1981). Each requires that any word tolerating an implicit complement be treated as ambiguous between two different lexical entries and that a meaning postulate or lexical rule be given to constrain suitably the meanings of the various entries for the word. I show that the (...) positing of such an ambiguity runs counter to the facts and propose an alternative solution which does not appeal to ambiguity, meaning postulates or lexical rules. Indeed, I show that the dilemma posed by indefinite implicit complements is posed by all implicit complements and that a general solution to the problem of implicit complements follows from an independently motivated, single treatment of five other problems, that of subcategorization, that of phrasal projections of words, that of defining a model theoretic structure for phrase structure grammars, that of complement polyvalence and that of complement polyadicity. (shrink)
The problem addressed is that of finding a sound characterization of ambiguity. Two kinds of characterizations are distinguished: tests and definitions. Various definitions of ambiguity are critically examined and contrasted with definitions of generality and indeterminacy, concepts with which ambiguity is sometimes confused. One definition of ambiguity is defended as being more theoretically adequate than others which have been suggested by both philosophers and linguists. It is also shown how this definition of ambiguity obviates a problem thought to be posed (...) by ambiguity for truth theoretical semantics. In addition, the best known test for ambiguity, namely the test by contradiction, is set out, its limitations discussed, and its connection with ambiguity's definition explained. The test is contrasted with a test for vagueness first proposed by Peirce and a test for generality propounded by Margalit. (shrink)
This paper, based on a talk given at a conference on compassion in health care held at the Royal Society of Medicine in November 2012, argues that the ethical requirement for humanity in health care is obvious and needs little ethical analysis – the problem is to get the results of ethical reflection, ordinary humanity and everyday common sense, into everyday behaviour. The author offers some suggestions that might help to achieve this aim and bring back the human face of (...) health and social care. These suggestions concern organisational structural changes (including `humanity objectives' in appraisal and reward schemes); individual attitudes (including self assessment of their own humanity in their work by all health and social care workers – `does my own practice manifest a human face?'); and a possible research agenda (and a concomitant effort to remind all health care research funders that `humanity is an integral component of medical, health and care research'. And the author proposes a standing high level `humanity task force' to implement and oversee Health Education England's recent `humanity mandate'. (shrink)
This paper argues that the central issue in the abortion debate has not changed since 1967 when the English parliament enacted the Abortion Act. That central issue concerns the moral status of the human fetus. The debate here is not, it is argued, primarily a moral debate, but rather a metaphysical debate and/or a theological debate—though one with massive moral implications. It concerns the nature and attributes that an entity requires to have “full moral standing” or “moral inviolability” including a (...) “right to life”. It concerns the question when, in its development from newly fertilised ovum to unequivocally mature, autonomous morally inviolable person does a human being acquire that nature and those attributes, and thus a “right to life”. The paper briefly reviews standard answers to these questions, outlining some problems associated with each. Finally there is a brief discussion of one way in which the abortion debate has changed since 1967—notably in the increasingly vociferous claim, especially from disability rights sectors, that abortion on grounds of fetal abnormality implies contempt for and rejection of disabled people—a claim that is rebutted. (shrink)
This commentary briefly argues that the four prima facie principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy and justice enable a clinician (and anybody else) to make ethical sense of the author's proposed reliance on professional guidance and rules, on law, on professional integrity and on best interests, and to subject them all to ethical analysis and criticism based on widely acceptable basic prima facie moral obligations; and also to confront new situations in the light of those acceptable principles.
The Fang Bian Xin Lun is a text on Buddhist logic which is thought to be the earliest one still to be extant. It appears in Chinese only (T1632). The great Italian indologist Giuseppe Tucci, believing that the text was originally a Sanskrit text, translated it into Sanskrit and gave it the title Upāyahṛdaya. The paper provides the historical background of the development of logic in Classical India up to the time of this text, summarizes its content and translates its (...) first section. (shrink)
In the svārthānumāna chapter of his Pramāṇavārttika, the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti presented a defense of his claim that legitimate inference must rest on a metaphysical basis if it is to be immune from the risks ordinarily involved in inducing general principles from a finite number of observations. Even if one repeatedly observes that x occurs with y and never observes y in the absence of x, there is no guarantee, on the basis of observation alone, that one will never observe (...) y in the absence of x at some point in the future. To provide such a guarantee, claims Dharmakīrti, one must know that there is a causal connection between x and y such that there is no possibility of y occurring in the absence of x. In the course of defending this central claim, Dharmakīrti ponders how one can know that there is a causal relationship of the kind necessary to guarantee a proposition of the form “Every y occurs with an x.” He also dismisses an interpretation of his predecessor Dignāga whereby Dignāga would be claiming non-observation of y in the absence of x is sufficient to warrant to the claim that no y occurs without x. The present article consists of a translation of kārikās 11–38 of Pramānavārttikam, svārthānumānaparicchedaḥ along with Dharmakīrti’s own prose commentary. The translators have also provided an English commentary, which includes a detailed introduction to the central issues in the translated text and their history in the literature before Dharmakīrti. (shrink)
Late last year the English Court of Appeal confirmed a lower court's ruling that doctors could impose an operation to separate recently born conjoined twins, overriding the refusal of consent of their parents. The doctors believed the operation would probably save one of the babies at the cost of killing the other, while not operating would highly probably be followed by the death of both twins within months of their birth. The parents, said to be devout Roman Catholics, believed that (...) it was absolutely wrong to kill one of their babies, even to save the life of the other.Undoubtedly many people, the writer included, would agree with the English courts that the “least worst” option was to separate the twins and save one at the cost of killing the other. But surely many fewer people would have imposed their own resolution of this acute moral dilemma upon parents who conscientiously chose the other limb of the dilemma, refusing to kill one baby even in order to save the other. Were the English judges right, then, to take away the parents' normal right and duty to make health care decisions on behalf of their children and instead impose their own answer to what they admitted to be a terrible dilemma? Describing the two alternatives in terms of choosing between the lesser of two evils on the one hand, and the obligation not to kill on the other, Lord Justice Ward declared, according to The Times law report,1 that: “Parents who were placed on the horns of such a terrible dilemma simply had to choose the lesser of their inevitable loss [sic]”. But that surely is to beg the moral question in favour of the judges' preferred answer to this moral dilemma. The fact is that there are—as …. (shrink)
In this issue of the journal “Lee Elder”,1 a pseudonymous dissident Jehovah's Witness , previously an Elder of that faith and still a JW, joins the indefatigable Dr Muramoto2–5 in arguing that even by their own religious beliefs based on biblical scriptures JWs are not required to refuse potentially life-saving blood transfusions. Just as the “official” JW hierarchy has accepted that biblical scriptures do not forbid the transfusion or injection of blood fractions so too JW theology logically can and should (...) permit the transfusion of whole blood when this is medically required.Few doctors would argue that they should override the adequately autonomous decisions of Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse blood transfusions even if they are likely to die as a result of such transfusions. However, there is a case to be made for doctors asking such patients to reflect on their potentially fatal refusal of blood and for drawing to these patients' attention the reasoning of members of their own faith that justifies acceptance of potentially life-saving blood transfusions. What is that case? Simply that doctors' primary professional duty to try to benefit the health of their patients entails trying to save their patients' lives when and if doing so will benefit their patients' health. Of course this is not an absolute duty overriding all other duties; in particular if patients who are adequately autonomous to do so refuse such life-prolonging treatment doctors must generally accept such refusal, however sadly. This editorial endorses that view in the case of adequately autonomous legally competent JWs. (In another paper in this issue of the journal Professor Shimon Glick argues that ethics committees should be empowered—as they now are in Israel—to override even competent refusals of life-prolonging treatment where the committee judges that …. (shrink)
English common nouns, like nouns in many other languages, can be distinguished into count nouns and mass nouns. This article sets out the basic morpho‐syntactic and semantic facts pertaining to these two classes of English nouns. In addition, it summarizes and critically discusses the various theories of the semantics of such nouns.