The Dutch law states that a physician may perform euthanasia according to a written advance euthanasia directive when a patient is incompetent as long as all legal criteria of due care are met. This may also hold for patients with advanced dementia. We investigated the differing opinions of physicians and members of the general public on the acceptability of euthanasia in patients with advanced dementia.
The Netherlands is one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal under strict conditions. This study investigates whether Dutch newspaper articles use the term ‘euthanasia’ according to the legal definition and determines what arguments for and against euthanasia they contain.
My object in this paper is to suggest a few reflections on some themes in Bentham's work which others as well as I have noted, without perhaps developing them as fully as might with advantage be done. There will be nothing like full development in the limited compass of what is said here, but what is said may at least indicate possible directions for further exploration. The greater part of the paper will be concerned with the notion of natural authority; (...) but I want to begin by taking a broader, though no doubt rather superficial, view of the role in Bentham's thinking of the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘the natural’. (shrink)
The object of this article is to examine, with the work of Jeremy Bentham as the principal example, one strand in the complex pattern of European social theory during the second half of the eighteenth century. This was of course the period not only of the American and French revolutions, but of the culmination of the movements of thought constituting what we know as the Enlightenment. Like all great historical episodes, the Enlightenment was both the fulfilment of long-established processes and (...) the inauguration of new processes of which the fulfilment lay in the future. Thus the seminal ideas of seventeenth-century rationalism realized and perhaps exhausted their potentialities in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The ideas with which this article is concerned, however—conveniently grouped and labelled as the ideas of utilitarianism—only began to achieve systematic development in these later decades of the eighteenth century. Within that period—during the first half and more of Bentham's long life—attempts to apply those ideas to the solution of social problems met largely with failure and frustration. Yet unrealized potentialities remained, the realization of which was reserved for a time when the world of the philosophes no longer existed. The movements for social and political reform which have played so large a part in modern history since the French Revolution may be judged in widely differing ways; but whatever the verdict, these movements surely cannot be understood without due consideration of that part of their origins which lies in eighteenth-century utilitarianism. (shrink)
According to familiar accounts, Rousseau held that humans are actuated by two distinct kinds of self love: amour de soi, a benign concern for one's self-preservation and well-being; and amour-propre, a malign concern to stand above other people, delighting in their despite. I argue that although amour-propre can (and often does) assume this malign form, this is not intrinsic to its character. The first and best rank among men that amour-propre directs us to claim for ourselves is that of occupying (...) 'man's estate'. This does not require, indeed it precludes, subjection of others. Amour-propre does not need suppression or circumscription if we are to live good lives; it rather requires direction to its proper end, not a delusive one. (shrink)
Strategic games require reasoning about other people’s and one’s own beliefs or intentions. Although they have clear commonalities with psychological tests of theory of mind, they are not clearly related to theory of mind tests for children between 9 and 10 years of age “Flobbe et al. J Logic Language Inform 17(4):417–442 (2008)”. We studied children’s (5–12 years of age) individual differences in how they played a strategic game by analyzing the strategies that they applied in a zero, first, and (...) second-order reasoning task. For the zero-order task, we found two subgroups with different accuracy levels. For the first-order task, subgroups of children applied different suboptimal strategies or an optimal strategy. For the second-order task only suboptimal strategies were present. Strategy use for all tasks was related to age. The 5- and 6-year old children were additionally tested on theory of mind understanding and executive functioning. Strategy-use in these children was related to working memory, but not to theory of mind after correction for age, verbal ability and general IQ. (shrink)
This lecture is divided, roughly, into three parts. First, there is a general and perhaps rather simple-minded discussion of what are the ‘facts’ that social anthropologists study; is there anything special about these ‘facts’ which makes them different from other kinds of facts? It will be useful to start with the common-sense distinction between two kinds or, better, aspects of social facts; first—though neither is analytically prior to the other—and putting it very crudely, ‘what people do’, the aspect of social (...) interaction, and second, ‘what—and how—people think’, the conceptual, classifying, cognitive component of human culture. Now in reality, of course , these two aspects are inextricably intertwined. But it is essential to distinguish them analytically, because each aspect gives rise to quite different kinds of problems of understanding for the social anthropologist. We shall see that the problem of how to be ‘objective’, and so to avoid ethnographic error, arises in both contexts, but in rather different forms in each. (shrink)
Principal editor of the great Encyclopedia , novelist and prose writer of genius, contributor to the development of scientific thought and method, to the theory of the bourgeois drama and to the practice of art criticism, Diderot perhaps embodies the rich variety of the Enlightenment spirit more than any other man. His only real rival is surely Voltaire. Rousseau, whose influence was greater than Diderot's, would not thank us for classing him among the philosophes . The more profound philosophers - (...) a Hume or a Kant - not only lack his range, but are less unquestionably ‘Enlightenment men’. (shrink)
In many theories in contemporary philosophy of mind, attention is constitutively linked to phenomenal consciousness. Ned Block has recently argued that ‘identity crowding’ provides an example of subjects consciously seeing something to which they are unable to attend. Here I examine the reasons that Block gives for thinking that this is a case of a consciously perceived item that we are unable to attend to, and I offer a different interpretation.
J. H. Hexter, an American historian of early seventeenth-century history, terms himself whiggish and claims whiggishness is returning after the misguided popularity of Marxism. The distinction "whiggish" is more elusive than his claim suggests, and the accuracy of its application to Hexter's claim is unclear. Three characteristics commonly assigned to whig interpretation by its critics can be seen as reflections of broader, unresolved historical issues. These are: attention to political and constitutional issues; a tendency to refer to the present in (...) interpreting the past; and a belief in inevitability. It is difficult to ascertain whether Hexter's attention to political matters is a result of his view of them as intrinsically important to historical inquiry or as particularly relevant to historical accounts of Stuart England. The charge of presentism cannot confidently be made against him, as he is not guilty of anything as crude as anachronism, and subtle presentism is neither avoidable nor necessarily reprehensible. Inevitabilism is not only difficult to define, it is not displayed by Hexter. If he displays the weaknesses of whiggishness it is only through implication, in the body of ideas underlying his text. (shrink)
The full range of Bentham's engagement with Blackstone's view of law is beyond the scope of a single article. Yet it is important to recognize at the outset, even in a more restricted enquiry into the matter, that the engagement, begun when Bentham, not quite sixteen years of age, started to attend Blackstone's Oxford lectures, was indeed a lifelong affair. Whatever Bentham had in mind when, at the age of eighty, in 1828, he began to write a work entitled ‘A (...) familar view of Blackstone: or say Blackstone familiarized’, the manuscripts at least suffice to prove that ‘Our Author’ was still in the forefront of his mind at that octogenarian but still indefatigably active stage of his career. Every aspect of Bentham's multifarious intellectual activity over the intervening decades had been touched in some measure by his response to Blackstone's ideas. It still seems true to say what was said a dozen years ago: It would be an exaggeration to say that Bentham elaborated his own conception of law by way of a constant and conscious dialectic with the views of Blackstone. But it would be an exaggeration for which the evidence would afford some excuse. (shrink)
By the death, last summer, of Jack Robson, the world of utilitarian studies and a wider world of scholarship on both sides of the Atlantic lost one of their most distinguished figures. It would not be appropriate here, even if it were possible now, to attempt a full and measured assessment of his work. Writing only a few months after the news of his death, while the sense of loss is still so sharp for all his many friends, two things (...) are possible. Something can and should be said to acknowledge and celebrate Robson's achievement as a scholar; and to this can be added some personal recollections of one whose human qualities were as outstanding as his scholarship. (shrink)
In this book, J.H. Plumb investigates the way that humankind has, since the beginning of recorded time, molded the past to give sanction to their institutions of government, their social structure and morality. The past has also been called upon to explain the nature of our destiny in order both to strengthen the objectives of society and to reconcile us to our lot. J.H. Plumb questions this sanction of the past, the force that it has on our sense of destiny (...) and its relevance to our own times. This classic text is now reissued with a new introduction by Niall Ferguson, placing it within a contemporary context, and with a new foreword by the eminent historian Simon Schama, a former student of J.H.Plumb himself. (shrink)
Pluralist and eliminativist positions in philosophy – and other disciplines – have proliferated in recent decades. This paper emphasises the sheer scale of this movement: we start by summarising twenty debates which have been affected, thus illustrating how often debates have been transformed by the introduction of pluralist and/or eliminativist thinking. We then provide an explanation of why this shift of philosophical terrain has occurred, an explanation which in turn predicts that its reach will extend to other debates currently unaffected, (...) and for good reasons. We go on to detail the landscape of various different pluralist and eliminativist positions one may favour. We ultimately argue for pluralism at the meta-level: whether one should implement pluralism or eliminativism depends on the context of discussion and the details of the debate at hand. We use this analysis to dissolve debates between ‘pluralists’ and ‘eliminativists’ in various domains. (shrink)