Context The attitudes of medical professionals towards physician assisted dying have been widely discussed. Less explored is the level of agreement among physicians on the possibility of ‘rational suicide’—a considered suicide act made by a sound mind and a precondition of assisted dying legislation. Objective To assess attitudes towards rational suicide in a representative sample of senior doctors in England and Wales. Methods A postal survey was conducted of 1000 consultants and general practitioners randomly selected from a commercially available database. (...) The main outcome of interest was level of agreement with a statement about rational suicide. Results The corrected participation rate was 50%; 363 questionnaires were analysed. Overall 72% of doctors agreed with the possibility of rational suicide, 17% disagreed, and 11% were neutral. Doctors who identified themselves as being more religious were more likely to disagree. Some doctors who disagreed with legalisation of physician assisted suicide nevertheless agreed with the concept of rational suicide. Conclusions Most senior doctors in England and Wales feel that rational suicide is possible. There was no association with specialty. Strong religious belief was associated with disagreement, although levels of agreement were still high in people reporting the strongest religious belief. Most doctors who were opposed to physician assisted suicide believed that rational suicide was possible, suggesting that some medical opposition is best explained by other factors such as concerns of assessment and protection of vulnerable patients. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them. When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented with this thing in front of me, which looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, (...) such a perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgment that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgment, that that is a duck. My grounds for an existential judgment in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. (shrink)
Dans l’imaginaire philosophique de J.-M.G. Le Clézio et de Göran Tunström, le rapport centralité / marginalisation occupe une place extrêmement importante. Les personnages de ces deux écrivains sont souvent intégrés dans des sociétés plus ou moins ouvertes, où l’isolement représente l’élément central. Ayant une certe philosophie implicite, mais loin de proposer l’image d’une société parfaite, les romans de J.-M.G. Le Clézio et de Göran Tunström, décrivent, tout aucontraire, la vie des enfants dans une collectivité qui ne les aime pas, où (...) règnent la pauvreté, ainsi que la haine. S’assumer le statut de marginalisé dans un monde aliéné nous démontre à quel point ce thème reste significatif pour la compréhension des personnages. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Method: Neglected Aspects By Gordon Baker. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004 pp. 328. £40.00 HB.. Wittgenstein's Copernican Revolution: The Question of Linguistic Idealism By Ilham Dilman. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. pp. 240. £52.50 HB. Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies By P. M. S. Hacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press,. pp. 400. £45.00 HB; £19.99 PB. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction By David G. Stern. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. pp. 224. £40.00 HB; £10.99 PB.
The usual way for new cells to come into being is by division of old cells. So the zygote, which is a—new—single cell formed from two, the sperm and ovum, is an exception. Textbooks of human genetics usually say that this new cell is beginning of a new human individual. What this indicates is that they suddenly forget about identical twins.
When Wittgenstein moved from Manchester to Cambridge he was following a path from the study of the natural sciences to the study of philosophy which was then not unusual, and has since become increasingly common. Russell had preceded him in that intellectual emigration and many more were to follow. Of the three philosophy departments I have been in, two were headed by natural scientists. Both my research supervisors in philosophy were natural scientists. Less surprising, but still significant, a considerable proportion (...) of Presidents of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science were originally trained as natural scientists. Yet it is a subject still unrecognized by the Royal Society. The editors of both the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and the journal Analysis were both originally natural scientists. Eminent scientists seem to feel impelled to discuss there own subjects in a wider context of philosophy. Bohr, Schrodinger, Kilmister, Hoyle, Hawking and Penrose, are but a few from a long list. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein was born in 1889, son of parents of Jewish extraction but not Jewish religion. Asked how his family came by the name ‘Wittgenstein’ Ludwig said they had been court Jews to the princely family and so had taken the name when Jews were required by law to have European-style names. The father, Karl, was a Protestant, the mother a Catholic. The Jewish blood was sufficient to bring the family later on into danger under Hitler's Nuremberg Laws. They did (...) not think of themselves as Jews or belong to the Jewish community in Vienna. The children were brought up sort-of Catholic though so far as I know only the eldest, Hermine, towards the end of her life, took this seriously and made a profession of faith before friends and household. At 9 years of age Ludwig and Paul, a year or two older than Ludwig, talked together and decided that their religion was all nonsense. Paul became a pianist of some fame, but soon after his debut in Vienna he became a wounded prisoner on the Russian front and his arm was lopped off by a surgeon who did not know he was a pianist. (shrink)
Purely by questioning Socrates has elicited from an uninstructed slave the conclusion that the square on the diagonal of a square is twice the original square in area. Then comes a part of the dialogue which I translate: Socrates . This knowledge, then, that he has now, he either got some time, or always had? Meno . Yes.
Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, im Auftrage und unter Mitwirkung des kaiserlick deutschen archaeologischen Instituts beschrieben von Walter Amerlung. Berlin: In Kommission bei Georg Reimer. Vol. I., 1903; Vol. II., 1908. Text, 8vo, pp. x + 935, 768. Plates, 4to, 121 + 83. M. 50 per vol.Guida illustrata del Museo Nazionale di Napoli; approvata dal Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione. Compilata da D. Bassi, E. Gábrici, L. Mariani, O. Maruchhi, G. Patroni, G. de Petra, A. Sogliano; per cura di A. Ruesch. (...) Naples: Richter & Co.; Munich: Buchholz, 1908. 8vo. Pp. 500. 129 illustrations in the text. Lire 25. (shrink)
One of the ways of dividing all philosophers into two kinds is by saying of each whether he is an ordinary man's philosopher or a philosophers' philosopher. Thus Plato is a philosophers' philosopher and Aristotle an ordinary man's philosopher. This does not depend on being easy to understand: a lot of Aristotle's Metaphysics is immensely difficult. Nor does being a philosophers' philosopher imply that an ordinary man cannot enjoy the writings, or many of them. Plato invented and exhausted a form: (...) no one else has written such dialogues. So someone with no philosophical bent, or who has left his philosophical curiosity far behind may still enjoy reading some of them. (shrink)