The word dignity is frequently used both in clinical and philosophical discourse when referring to and describing the ideal conditions of the patient's treatment, particularly the dying patient. An exploration of the variety of meanings associated with the word dignity will note dignity's ambiguous usage and reveal instrumental concepts needed to better understand the discourse of the dying. When applied to a critique of recent and contemporary criticisms of the medical community's handling of the dying, such concepts might provide a (...) more coherent notion of dignity. Rather than a separate construct, a death with dignity might be viewed as an interactive process among the dying and their caretakers. Together, this interdependent amalgam engages in humanizing communication aimed toward understanding the final needs and wants of the patient. (shrink)
Flesh of My Flesh is a collection of articles by today's most respected scientists, philosophers, bioethicists, theologians, and law professors about whether we should allow human cloning. It includes historical pieces to provide background for the current debate. Religious, philosophical, and legal points of view are all represented.
Philip R. Shields shows that ethical and religious concerns inform even the most technical writings on logic and language, and that, for Wittgenstein, the need to establish clear limitations is both a logical and an ethical demand. Rather than merely saying specific things about theology and religion, major texts from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations express their fundamentally religious nature by showing that there are powers which bear down upon and sustain us. Shields finds a religious view of (...) the world at the very heart of Wittgenstein's philosophy. "Shields argues that the appearance throughout Wittgenstein's writings of such concepts as ritual, limit, transgression, a change of will, pride, temptation, and judgment implies a relation between religion and the logical aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophy."-- Choice "Of the many recent books about Wittgenstein, Logic and Sin is one of the very few that are well worth having"--Fergus Kerr, Modern Theology "What Shields has uncovered in Wittgenstein's religious sensibility is something genuine and profound. . . . Shields has not just written an important book on Wittgenstein but an enlightening work that invites further reflection."--Eric O. Springsted, Cross Currents. (shrink)
This paper explores the truism that people think about what they say. It proposes that, to satisfy their own goals, people often plan their speech acts to affect their listeners' beliefs, goals, and emotional states. Such language use can be modelled by viewing speech acts as operators in a planning system, thus allowing both physical and speech acts to be integrated into plans. Methodological issues of how speech acts should be defined in a planbased theory are illustrated by defining operators (...) for requesting and informing. Plans containing those operators are presented and comparisons are drawn with Searle's formulation. The operators are shown to be inadequate since they cannot be composed to form questions (requests to inform) and multiparty requests (requests to request). By refining the operator definitions and by identifying some of the side effects of requesting, compositional adequacy is achieved.The solution leads to a metatheoretical principle for modelling speech acts as planning operators. (shrink)
This article examines the political controversy in the United States surrounding a new process for the disposition of human remains, alkaline hydrolysis. AH technologies use a heated solution of water and strong alkali to dissolve tissues, yielding an effluent that can be disposed through municipal sewer systems, and brittle bone matter that can be dried, crushed, and returned to the decedent’s family. Though AH is legal in eight US states, opposition to the technology remains strong. Opponents express concerns about public (...) health and safety and about the dignity of our mortal remains. Proponents focus on AH’s environmental benefits over cremation and earth burial, aligning the technology with the “green burial” movement. Drawing from historical sources, Science, Technology, and Society literature, interviews with funeral professionals, industry literature, and various media sources, this article examines four prominent conceptions of the dead human body as they are deployed by various funeral stakeholders seeking to exercise authority over the dead human body, to influence the trajectory of AH technology in the United States, and to chart a course for US deathcare culture in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
Good reasoning can lead to success; bad reasoning can lead to catastrophe. Yet, it's not obvious how we reason, and why we make mistakes. This new book by one of the pioneers of the field, PhilipJohnson-Laird, looks at the mental processes that underlie our reasoning. It provides the most accessible account yet of the science of reasoning.
This article examines the women-led natural deathcare movment in the early 21st century U.S., focusing upon the movement’s non-coincidental epistemological and gender-political similarities to the natural childbirth movement. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach and drawing upon the author’s intensive interviews with pioneers and leaders of the U.S. natural deathcare movement, as well as from the author’s own participation in the movement, this article argues that the political similarities between the countercultural natural childbirth and natural deathcare movements reveal a common cultural provocation—one (...) that spans the natal transition and the fatal transition. (shrink)
Natural selection favors not only more adaptive structural features but also more effective behavioral programs. Crucial for the prospering and very survival of an extremely sophisticated social species like homo sapiens is the biological/psychological program that might be conveniently labeled the human sense of fairness: a feeling often referred to in societies featuring supernaturalized explanations as one's "God given conscience." The sense of fairness and related programs derive a measure of their effectiveness from the fact that, in addition to the (...) pleasure/pain mechanisms reinforcing their implementation, we are programmed to want to want the goals they introduce and to experience repugnance in the face of goals that strongly conflict. (shrink)
This article outlines a theory of naive probability. According to the theory, individuals who are unfamiliar with the probability calculus can infer the probabilities of events in an extensional way: They construct mental models of what is true in the various possibilities. Each model represents an equiprobable alternative unless individuals have beliefs to the contrary, in which case some models will have higher probabilities than others. The probability of an event depends on the proportion of models in which it occurs. (...) The theory predicts several phenomena of reasoning about absolute probabilities, including typical biases. It correctly predicts certain cognitive illusions in inferences about relative probabilities. It accommodates reasoning based on numerical premises, and it explains how naive reasoners can infer posterior probabilities without relying on Bayes's theorem. Finally, it dispels some common misconceptions of probabilistic reasoning. (shrink)
In this, his second book, Robert Talisse “attempts to make explicit the pragmatist roots and motivations of the concept of democracy” developed in his 2005 book, Democracy after Liberalism: Pragmatism and Deliberative Politics . Inspired by the work of the classical American pragmatist, Charles Sanders Peirce, Talisse defends a substantive, epistemic conception of democracy, which he calls “epistemic perfectionism.” Pragmatists, political philosophers, and social epistemologists alike will discover in this book a provocative synthesis of their respective inquiries, which Talisse wields (...) in the service of democratic theory.According to Talisse, it is unfortunate that John Dewey’s philosophy has dominated pragmatist discussions of democracy, for Dewey’s theory is “fundamentally misguided and ultimately incoherent when taken as a social ideal for contemporary democratic societies” . Talisse objects to Dewey’s democratic theory because it is premised upon a “comprehensive moral doctrine” that reasonable persons may reject. But he also objects to Deweyan democratic practice, which aims “to coerce people” to live according to the Deweyan democrat’s reasonably rejectable “philosophical commitments” . Talisse argues that a Peircean conception of democracy is superior because it countenances “the fact of reasonable pluralism,” by which Talisse means, “the full and proper exercise of human reason, even. (shrink)
This paper replies to Politzer’s ( 2007 ) criticisms of the mental model theory of conditionals. It argues that the theory provides a correct account of negation of conditionals, that it does not provide a truth-functional account of their meaning, though it predicts that certain interpretations of conditionals yield acceptable versions of the ‘paradoxes’ of material implication, and that it postulates three main strategies for estimating the probabilities of conditionals.
Friedrich Nietzsche's complex connection to Charles Darwin has been much explored, and both scholarly and popular opinions have tended to assume a convergence in their thinking. In this study, Dirk Johnson challenges that assumption and takes seriously Nietzsche's own explicitly stated 'anti-Darwinism'. He argues for the importance of Darwin for the development of Nietzsche's philosophy, but he places emphasis on the antagonistic character of their relationship and suggests that Nietzsche's mature critique against Darwin represents the key to understanding his (...) broader Darwinian position. He also offers an original reinterpretation of the Genealogy of Morals, a text long considered sympathetic to Darwinian naturalism, but which he argues should be taken as Nietzsche's most sophisticated critique of both Darwin and his followers. His book will appeal to all who are interested in the philosophy of Nietzsche and its cultural context. (shrink)
We describe a dual-process theory of how individuals estimate the probabilities of unique events, such as Hillary Clinton becoming U.S. President. It postulates that uncertainty is a guide to improbability. In its computer implementation, an intuitive system 1 simulates evidence in mental models and forms analog non-numerical representations of the magnitude of degrees of belief. This system has minimal computational power and combines evidence using a small repertoire of primitive operations. It resolves the uncertainty of divergent evidence for single events, (...) for conjunctions of events, and for inclusive disjunctions of events, by taking a primitive average of non-numerical probabilities. It computes conditional probabilities in a tractable way, treating the given event as evidence that may be relevant to the probability of the dependent event. A deliberative system 2 maps the resulting representations into numerical probabilities. With access to working memory, it carries out arithmetical operations in combining numerical estimates. Experiments corroborated the theory's predictions. Participants concurred in estimates of real possibilities. They violated the complete joint probability distribution in the predicted ways, when they made estimates about conjunctions: P, P, P, disjunctions: P, P, P, and conditional probabilities P, P, P. They were faster to estimate the probabilities of compound propositions when they had already estimated the probabilities of each of their components. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of probabilistic reasoning. (shrink)
Scholars of early Chinese philosophy frequently point to the nontranscendent, organismic conception of the cosmos in early China as the source of China's unique perspective and distinctive values. One would expect recent works in Confucian ethics to capitalize on this idea. Reviewing recent works in Confucian ethics by P. J. Ivanhoe, David Nivison, R. P. Peerenboom, Henry Rosemont, and Tu Wei-Ming, the author analyzes these new studies in terms of the extent to which their representation of Confucian ethics reflects and (...) is consistent with the view that in early China the cosmos was conceived to be organismic, nontranscendent, and nondualistic. (shrink)
This empirical study of Fortune 1000 firms assesses the degree to which those firms have adopted various practices associated with corporate ethics programs. The study examines the following aspects of formalized corporate ethics activity: ethics-oriented policy statements; formalization of management responsibilities for ethics; free-standing ethics offices; ethics and compliance telephone reporting/advice systems; top management and departmental involvement in ethics activities; usage of ethics training and other ethics awareness activities; investigatory functions; and evaluation of ethics program activities. Results show a high (...) degree of corporate adoption of ethics policies, but wide variability in the extent to which these policies are implemented by various supporting structures and managerial activities. In effect, the vast majority of firms have committed to the low cost, possibly symbolic side of ethics management (e.g., adoption of ethics codes and policies, etc.). But firms differ substantially in their efforts to see that those policies or codes actually are put into practice. (shrink)
This paper reports three studies of temporal reasoning. A problem of the following sort, where the letters denote common everyday events: A happens before B. C happens before B. D happens while B. E happens while C. What is the relation between D and EEfficacylls for at least two alternative models to be constructed in order to give the right answer for the right reason. However, the first premise is irrelevant to this answer, and so if reasoners were to ignore (...) it, then they would need to construct only one model. Experiment 1 showed that one-model problems were answered faster and more accurately than multiple-model problems. When the question preceded the premises in the statement of the multiple-model problems there was a slight tendency for the latencies of response to speed up in the predicted way. Experiment 2 modified the procedure, in part by using practice problems with many irrelevant premises, so that reasoners might grasp the advantage of ignoring them. Its results showed that when the premises preceded the question, the multiple-model problems were significantly harder than one-model problems. But when the question was presented first, the difference was significantly reduced in line with the theory's prediction. Experiment 3 used only problems with valid conclusions, and so the construction of multiple models was never necessary. However, there was still a significant difference between one-model problems and multiple-model problems. (shrink)
GREGORY R. JOHNSON examines the link between Ayn Rand's ethics, which can be broadly characterized as Aristotelian, and her political philosophy, which can be broadly characterized as classical liberalism of the Lockean, natural rights variety. He maintains that Rand's argument for classical liberalism on the basis of the objectivity of values fails because of a reductionistic and excessively intellectualistic conception of human nature. In addition to discussing Rand's arguments, he surveys the Rand-influenced work of Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas (...) J. Den Uyl, as well as Tibor R. Machan and Tara Smith. (shrink)
A content analysis of 48 children's realistic animal stories shows an emphasis on pets and petkeeping that can both challenge and support traditional human-animal boundaries. The genre's sympathetic portrayal of pet animals and the condemnation of theirmistreatment invite the reader to challenge such boundaries. Yet the genre's stereotypical portrayal of these animals also constrains our conceptualization of the human-animal bond. The author discusses these and other narrative elements which render this form of popular culture ambiguous terrain for negotiating an ethic (...) of respect for nonhuman others which goes beyond most contemporary arrangements. (shrink)