Contemporary philosophy of health has been quite focused on the problem of determining the nature of the concepts of health, illness and disease from a scientific point of view. Some theorists claim and argue that these concepts are value-free and descriptive in the same sense as the concepts of atom, metal and rain are value-free and descriptive. To say that a person has a certain disease or that he or she is unhealthy is thus to objectively describe this person. On (...) the other hand it certainly does not preclude an additional evaluation of the state of affairs as undesirable or bad. The basic scientific description and the evaluation are, however, two independent matters, according to this kind of theory. Other philosophers claim that the concept of health, together with the other medical concepts, is essentially value-laden. To establish that a person is healthy does not just entail some objective inspection and measurement. It presupposes also an evaluation of the general state of the person. A statement that he or she is healthy does not merely imply certain scientific facts regarding the person’s body or mind but implies also a (positive) evaluation of the person’s bodily and mental state. My task in this paper will be, first, to present the two principal rival types of theories and present what I take to be the main kind of reasoning by which we could assess these theories, and second, to present a deeper characterization of the principal rival theories of health and illness. (shrink)
As a part of a research project on Dignity and Older Europeans Programme) I explore in this paper a set of notions of human dignity. The general concept of dignity is introduced and characterized as a position on a value scale and it is further specified through its relations to the notions of right, respect and self-respect. I present four kinds of dignity and spell out their differences: the dignity of merit, the dignity of moral or existential stature, the dignity (...) of identity and the universal human dignity. Menschenwürde pertains to all human beings to the same extent and cannot be lost as long as the persons exist. The dignity of merit depends on social rank and position. There are many species of this kind of dignity and it is very unevenly distributed among human beings. The dignity of merit exists in degrees and it can come and go. The dignity of moral stature is the result of the moral deeds of the subject; likewise it can be reduced or lost through his or her immoral deeds. This kind of dignity is tied to the idea of a dignified character and of dignity as a virtue. The dignity of moral stature is a dignity of degree and it is also unevenly distributed. The dignity of identity is tied to the integrity of the subject's body and mind, and in many instances, although not always, also dependent on the subject's self-image. This dignity can come and go as a result of the deeds of fellow human beings and also as a result of changes in the subject's body and mind. (shrink)
The paper contrasts Lennart Nordenfelt’s normative theory of health with the naturalists’ point of view, especially in the version developed by Christopher Boorse. In the first part it defends Boorse’s analysis of disease against the charge that it falls short of its own standards by not being descriptive. The second part of the paper sets out to analyse the positive concept of health and introduces a distinction between a positive definition of health and a positive conception of health. An (...) objection against Nordenfelt’s account is developed by making use of a specific example of an ambitious athlete. It is stated that Nordenfelt’s conceptualisation includes too many phenomena under the umbrella of ill health. An ideal conception of health like Nordenfelt’s is in danger of supporting medicalization. In conclusion, although Nordenfelt’s theory is not altogether rejected and even seen in congruence with Boorse’s account, it is claimed that the naturalistic framework should obtain conceptual priority. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to explore the ethical foundations for a caring conversation. The analysis is based on the ethics of Paul Ricoeur and deals with questions such as what kind of person the nurse ought to be and how she or he engages in caring conversations with suffering others. According to Ricoeur, ethics (the aim of an accomplished life) has primacy over morality (the articulation of aims in norms). At the ethical level, self-esteem and autonomy were shown (...) to be essential for a person (nurse) to act with respect and responsibility. The ethical relationship of a caring conversation was found to be asymmetrical, because of the passivity inflicted by suffering. This asymmetry was found to be potentially unethical if not balanced with reciprocity. In the ethical context, the caring conversation is one in which the nurse makes room through the ethos of caritas for a suffering person to regain his or her self-esteem, and thus makes a good life possible. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
In policy-making the consumption of specially labelled products, and its role in improving the welfare of livestock, has attracted considerable attention. There is in many countries a diverse market for animal welfare-friendly products which is potentially confusing and may lack transparency. We ask whether special quality labels that involve medium levels of animal welfare, as compared with labels promoting premium levels of animal welfare, have a role to play in promoting improvements in animal welfare. The Danish pork market is our (...) reference case, but we also widen the context by comparing the markets for pork in three other European countries. Our findings suggest that in order to improve animal welfare through demand for welfare-friendly products it is important to maintain separate the market for products with strong animal welfare profiles from markets for products with medium levels of animal welfare where, often, animal welfare is bundled together with other food quality attributes. We conclude that such quality labels may indeed play an important role in promoting higher animal welfare standards provided that they offer real improvements in animal welfare as compared with standard products. They will be attractive to consumers with a positive, but not especially strong interest in animal welfare as an individual food attribute who would otherwise be inclined to purchase standard products. (shrink)
The basic work for this book was carried out during the spring of 1989 in Edinburgh, where I had been granted a research position at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. I should like to express here my indebtedness to the Institute for the opportunity thus afforded me. I should also like to say how very grateful I am for the stimulating conversations I had there with Professor Timothy Sprigge and Dr. Elizabeth Telfer. Dr. Telfers’s own treatise Happiness (...) has been a major influence on my view of the questions involved. The basic view of health and illness presented in this book is more fully set out in my On the Nature of Health. As in the case of my previous larger projects, I have received a great amount of support and may wise comments from Professor Ingmar Pörn, Helsinki. Three Danish experts – Anton Aggernaes, Erik Ostenfeld and Peter Sandøe – have made valuable comments. Professor Heng ten Have, Nijmegen, has improved my reading of the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. I should also like to thank my colleagues at the Department of Health and Society, University of Linköping, for helping me to avoid a number of the pitfalls that can so easily stumble into when it comes to a treatise like this. Especially I should like to mentioned Per-Erik Liss, Ingemar Nordin and Bo Petersson, all three of whom have read and commented on the entire manuscript. A Swedish version of this book, Livskvalitet och hälsa, came out in 1991. I have been made quite a number of corrections and additions, one type of addition being replies to critical points made in reviews of the Swedish version. I should like to thank Malcolm Forbes for valuable help putting my English into publishable condition. Linköping, May 1993 Lennart Noredenfelt. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to clarify some senses of dignity that are particularly relevant for the treatment and care of the elderly. I make a distinction between two quite different ideas of dignity, on the one hand the basic kind of dignity possessed by every human being, and on the other hand the dignity which is the result of a person's merits, whether these be inherited or achieved. Common to both these ideas is that having a dignity (...) entails having a set of rights, in the case of basic dignity the set of rights which we call human rights, the rights which the United Nations, among others, has tried to determine. The dignities of merit also provide some rights, although normally rights with limited scope covering, for instance, a professional area. This observation gives my preliminary answer to the fundamental question of what distinguishes dignity from other high values that could be attached to humans. I discuss further a kind of value that might be mistaken for a kind of dignity, viz. what I call public status. This status is to be distinguished from social status (the status of e.g. kings, governors, and officials) that I take to be a proper dignity of merit. The public status is the status gained solely via public perception and not directly via any merits on the part of the dignified. Finally, I turn to the topic of the dignity of the elderly and try to determine whether there is some dignity peculiar to the elderly, and which is over and above the basicMenschenwrde. My two preliminary proposals are the following: the elderly have a dignity of wisdom and they have a highly general dignity of merit, which results from their life-long efforts and achievements, and for this they deserve our gratitude. (shrink)
Grammatical gender is independent of biological sex for the majority of animal names (e.g., any giraffe, be it male or female, is grammatically treated as feminine). However, there is apparent semantic motivation for grammatical gender classes, especially in mapping human terms to gender. This research investigated whether this motivation affects deductive inference in native German speakers. We compared German with Japanese speakers (a language without grammatical gender) when making inferences about sex-specific biological properties. We found that German speakers tended to (...) erroneously draw inferences when the sex in the premise and grammatical gender of the target animal agreed. An over-generalization of the grammar–semantics mapping was found even when the sex of the target was explicitly indicated. However, these effects occurred only when gender-marking articles accompanied the nouns. These results suggest that German speakers project sex-specific biological properties onto gender-marking articles but not onto conceptual representations of animals per se. (shrink)
We consider an infinite hierarchy of systems of Alethic Modal Logic with so-called Levels of Perfection, and add to them suitable definitions of such interesting deontic categories as those of supererogation, offence, conditional obligation and conditional permission. We then state three problems concerning the proper characterization of the resulting logic(s) for our defined notions, and discuss two of these problems in some detail.
Robert Stern has argued that Levinas is a kind of command theorist and that, for this reason, Løgstrup can be understood to have provided an argument against Levinas. In this paper, I discuss Levinas’s use of the vocabulary of demand, order, and command in the light of Jewish philosophical accounts of such notions in the work of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emil Fackenheim. These accounts revise the traditional Jewish idea of command and I show that Levinas’s use of this (...) vocabulary is also revisionary. I show that in light of this tradition of discussion, Levinas’s use is not susceptible to the interpretation Stern proposes and thus that the Løgstrup-style argument cannot be used against Levinas. (shrink)
This book presents a unique examination of mental illness. Though common to many mental disorders, delusions result in actions that, though perhaps rational to the individual, might seem entirely inappropriate or harmful to others. This book shows how we may better understand delusion by examining the nature of compulsion.
Contemporary philosophy of health and disease has been quite focused on the problem of determining the nature of the concepts of health and disease from a scientific point of view. Some theorists claim and argue that these concepts are value-free and descriptive in the same sense as the concepts of atoms, metal, and rain are value-free and descriptive. According to this descriptive or naturalist line of thought, the notions of health and disease are furthermore related to the idea of a (...) normal or natural function. A bodily organ is healthy insofar as it functions normally, and it is diseased when it does not fulfill its functions. Other philosophers claim that the concept of health, together with other medical concepts, is essentially value-laden. To establish that a person is healthy does not just entail some objective inspection and measurement. It presupposes also an evaluation of the general state of the person. My purpose in this article is to scrutinize the relation between the notion of a natural function, on the one hand, and the concepts of health and disease on the other. In characterizing the notion of a normal function I will follow the classic analysis put forward by American philosopher Christopher Boorse. I will criticize Boorse’s proposal mainly by using arguments from the analysis of ordinary lay and medical language. I ask questions such as: what do we normally mean when we ascribe health or disease to a person? In the end I will recommend an analysis of these and related medical notions, which is unrelated to the notion of a natural function as normally interpreted. (shrink)
Resilience is often promoted as a boundary concept to integrate the social and natural dimensions of sustainability. However, it is a troubled dialogue from which social scientists may feel detached. To explain this, we first scrutinize the meanings, attributes, and uses of resilience in ecology and elsewhere to construct a typology of definitions. Second, we analyze core concepts and principles in resilience theory that cause disciplinary tensions between the social and natural sciences. Third, we provide empirical evidence of the asymmetry (...) in the use of resilience theory in ecology and environmental sciences compared to five relevant social science disciplines. Fourth, we contrast the unification ambition in resilience theory with methodological pluralism. Throughout, we develop the argument that incommensurability and unification constrain the interdisciplinary dialogue, whereas pluralism drawing on core social scientific concepts would better facilitate integrated sustainability research. (shrink)
The article deals with two problems that arise within moorean style act-utilitarianism (a.u.): (i) how is the notion of 'the alternatives to' a particular action to be explicated? (ii) how should a.u. be formulated in order for it to validate the laws of standard deontic logic? it is argued that these intertwined problems can be solved only if the traditional formulations a a.u. are rejected in favor of some new and more viable ones. in the literature the two problems seem (...) to have been seriously considered only by bergstrom and castaneda. in a final section the author extends his new versions of a.u. to 'sequences' of "single" particular actions and argues for the necessity of working with 'tensed' deontic notions as well as for a combination of deontic logic with tense-logic. (shrink)
The author is concerned with a minimal system dl of deontic logic, His main purpose being to draw attention to the existence of interpretations of dl that give rise to various systems of what may be called "atheoretical logic." by this we understand logical systems dealing with expressions that are--Very probably at least--Neither true nor false, Such as sentences expressing promises, Intentions, Wishes, Commands, And similar things. As it is well known, The status of atheoretical logic in this sense is (...) somewhat problematic for the reason that logical relations might be held to apply to true or false sentences only. However, The author here disregards this much discussed difficulty and proceeds to construct systems of atheoretical logic out of dl in a "philosophically naive" manner. (staff). (shrink)
This study aims at discovering the essential constituents involved in the experiences of guilt and shame. Guilt concerns a subject’s action or omission of action and has a clear temporal unfolding entailing a moment in which the subject lives in a care-free way. Afterwards, this moment undergoes a reconstruction, in the moment of guilt, which constitutes the moment of negligence. The reconstruction is a comprehensive transformation of one’s attitude with respect to one’s ego; one’s action; the object of guilt and (...) the temporal-existential experience. The main constituents concerning shame are its anchorage in the situation to which it refers; its public side involving the experience of being perceptually objectified; the exclusion of social community; the bodily experience; the revelation of an undesired self; and the genesis of shame in terms of a history of frozen now-ness. The article ends with a comparison between guilt and shame. (shrink)
We consider a version of so called T x W logic for historical necessity in the sense of R.H. Thomason (1984), which is somewhat special in three respects: (i) it is explicitly based on two-dimensional modal logic in the sense of Segerberg (1973); (ii) for reasons of applicability to interesting fields of philosophical logic, it conceives of time as being discrete and finite in the sense of having a beginning and an end; and (iii) it utilizes the technique of systematic (...) frame constants in order to handle the problem of irreflexivity in tense logics, well known since Gabbay (1981). Axiomatizations are given for two infinite hierarchies of two-dimensional modal tense logics, one without and one with the characteristic operators for historical necessity and possibility. Strong and weak completeness results are obtained for both hierarchies as well as a result to the effect that two approaches to their semantics are equivalent, much in the spirit of Di Maio and Zanardo (1996) and von Kutschera (1997). (shrink)
Thought, according to Hegel, is not only the product of a faculty of a subject, or a means by which a thinking subject tries to grasp a world that is alien to him. It is also the very structure of the world, that is disclosed to a subject through the thinking activity of a subject. The fundamental question that crosses the whole post-Kantian philosophy is that of the relation between thought and reality, i.e. the question of whether reality depends on (...) the categorial requirements imposed by the thinking subject, or whether reality maintains some form of independence from the thinking subject. Seen from this standpoint, Hegel can be read both as an author who radicalizes Kant’s transcendental perspective, and also as a critic of that perspective. In other words, he can be seen as an idealist: according to Hegel, any philosophy is idealist if it claims that something finite, qua finite, is essentially connected with something other. He can also be seen as an anti-idealist: insofar as his philosophy aims to overcome a hyper-transcendentalist perspective, i.e. it is so since it rejects idealism as subjective idealism. Moreover, Hegel’s anti-idealism can be characterized as realism. This is because, if we admit that overcoming transcendentalism without falling back again on a pre-critical conception of thought and of reality involves an idea of thought which is not reducible to a "mentalistic" conception of it, we need to conceive of thought as something that is not alien to reality. Hegel conceives of thought as intimately connected with the world, as its own rational structure. This “realism” of thought is what makes Hegelian idealism, so to speak, anti-idealistic. Through this "realism" of thought Hegel pursues two goals. On the one hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought, according to which a subject talks and relates to a reality that is always only a construction of him, and so it is necessarily the simulacrum of something that remains inaccessible in its truth. On the other hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a conception of reality characterized merely as alien and opposite to thought itself, and which is the counterpart of the subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought. By pursuing these two goals it should be gained a conception of reality which could warrant some form of objectivity, but which cannot be equated with the substantialistic conception of the pre-Kantian metaphysics. (shrink)