The author applies Albert Hirschman's "Exit, Voice and Loyalty" framework to the dilemmas faced by humanitarian aid workers in complex settings where local or international political and military realities may "taint" the purposes and uses of aid. She reviews the pro and con arguments surrounding the difficult choices of whether to go or not, whether to stay or leave and whether to speak out or remain silent in such circumstances. Because international humanitarians insert themselves into circumstances that are not their (...) own where they see there is need for a humanitarian response, the author suggests a fourth category of choice should be added to Hirschman's three - namely that of "engagement." This option involves entering and/or staying, coupled with a quiet, off-the-record voice intended to work with and try to change from within nefarious circumstances. Concluding that none of the four options is "pure" in that all have direct impacts on the welfare and likelihood of survival of suffering people, the author argues for making each decision on its own particular merits, weighing both the personal/moral and practical/political realities of that situation. She offers guides for how such decisions may best be made, relying on differences of analyses and opinion offered by colleagues to provide grounding for one's own difficult choice. (shrink)
Paternalism is generally construed to entail two claims about persons toward whom it is directed: that their liberty is impeded, and that their good or interests are promoted or intended. Two recent arguments on the subject are based on the writings of John Stuart Mill: one* by Gerald Dworkin, maintains that paternalism is sometimes justified; the other, by Tom Beauchamp, claims that paternalism is never justified. My critique of both positions is based on a concept of human life as developmental. (...) In that context I argue that Mill's views themselves entail paternalism, Dworkin's position collapses into Beauchamp's, and Beauchamp neglects the crucial role of liberty in his critique of Mill. My conclusion suggests that a parental model be substituted for that of the pater, so that the individual's capacity for freedom be fully respected. (shrink)
Helping people to die may involve killing and/or alleviation of pain in a dying person. A dual commitment to the avoidance of killing and the alleviation of pain raises the question of whether these two ways of helping people are always compatible. This paper addresses the question through use of sources in classical American pragmatism and contemporary bioethics. First, I apply Charles Peirce’s notion of pragmatism to the concept of killing through consideration of the empirical consequences of alternative interpretations. James (...) Rachels’ account of the distinction between active and passive euthanasia is critiqued in this analysis. Second, I examine what it means to relieve pain by relating Jane Addams’ concept of maternal nurturance to an ethic of care and opposition to killing. Utilizing these concepts, I apply William James’ notion of pragmatism as a method of mediating or straddling different theoretical approaches to resolve the apparent incompatibility between pain relief and the avoidance of killing. To address social concerns raised by the practice of helping people to die, I propose a corrective insight of Addams, along with John Dewey, about the role of the philosopher as social critic. Thus understood, pragmatism is a means of avoiding abuses that may occur in the process. I conclude that so long as permissive practices are restrained sufficiently to avoid injustices, it is morally both possible and desirable to resist killing while relieving pain. (shrink)
This article responds to a recent proposal for determining where human life begins on the basis of histological and morphological development of the organism. After examining possible interpretations of the term "human" and relations between "human life," "human being" and "human becoming," I argue that metamorphosis is not a fit analogue for human development. On biological grounds the proposed "metamorphic definition" of "human being" is judged unacceptable.Alternative proposals are then considered, viz., conception, quickening, viability, live birth and personhood. Prom a (...) non- biological standpoint, only the last survives as a candidate for a human being/human becoming boundary. However, every developmental event, including histological and morphological completion of the organism, remains pertinent to moral discourse and decisions concerning human life. (shrink)
This paper: (1) gives a schema of the logical structure of functional explanation in biology; (2) shows that it falls under the covering law model of explanation by proving that the explanandum follows from the explanans; and (3) supports the claim that it captures the logical structure underlying the biological usage by analyzing in detail two cases from biology.
Narrative explanations in evolutionary biology have seemed fundamentally different from other scientific explanations, and similar to historical explanations. This investigation of the structure of narrative explanations in evolutionary biology reveals that narrative explanations do have a deductive-nomological base, but that their structure contains two significant additional elements as well. The additional elements are: the multidimensional recursive connection between the different sub-explanations in a narrative explanation; and a set of generic explanations which make possible the integration of multiple co-existing processes.