There is a way of doing moral philosophy which goes something like this: If it can be shown that it is rational for perfectly selfish people to accept the constraints of morality, then it will follow, a fortiori, that it is rational for people capable of affective bonds, and thus less selfish, to do so. On this way of proceeding the real argument – that is, the argument for the actual constraints to be adopted – proceeds with only fully rational (...) individuals who have no other concern than to maximize their nontuistic preferences. Then it is noted that the affective capacities of human beings actually make quite palatable the constraints that the fully rational persons with wholly nontuistic preferences have agreed upon. (shrink)
The placebo drug reactions from controlled trials were studied for the first time systematically for efficacy and the safety in drug data pooled from randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentre studies. Results: The efficacy of placebo on clinical symptoms and outcome varied between the therapeutic indications. However, no placebo effects on laboratory values, as e.g. blood glucose or Hb1c in diabetics, were noted. The frequency and type of placebo-induced adverse reactions also varied between indication groups. The placebo side effect profile was largely similar (...) to the side effect profile of the active treatment. The mechanisms of placebo effects are manyfold and varied (e.g. endorphin release, conditioning), much lacks explanation. Conclusion: Since the prescription of non-evidence based medicines (= pseudoplacebos) may clearly also result in serious adverse effects, such practice may not only be non-beneficial but may even be harmful. In clinical research, the judicious use of placebo remains essential to establish the efficacy and safety, safeguarding that patients receiving placebo will not be subject to harm and are fully informed. (shrink)
Two profound atrocities in the history of Western culture form the subject of this moving philosophical exploration: American Slavery and the Holocaust. An African American and a Jew, Laurence Mordekhai Thomas denounces efforts to place the suffering of one group above the other. Rather, he pronounces these two defining historical experiences as profoundly evil in radically different ways and points to their logically incompatible aims. The author begins with a discussion of the nature of evil, exploring the fragility (...) of human beings and the phenomena of compartmentalizing, unquestioning obedience to authority, and moral drift. Citing compelling examples from history and contemporary life, he characterizes evil acts in terms of moral agency, magnitude, and intent. With moving testimony, Thomas depicts the moral pain of African Americans and Jews during their ordeals and describes how their past as victims has affected their future. Without invidious comparison, he distinguishes between extermination and domination, death and natal alienation, physical and mental cruelty, and between being viewed as irredeemable evil and as a moral simpleton. Thomas also considers the role of blacks and Jews in the Christian narrative. _In Vessels of Evil_, Thomas also considers the ways Jews and blacks have gone on to survive. He analyzes the relative flourishing of Jews and the languishing of blacks in this country and examines the implications of their dissimilar tragedies on any future relationship between these two minorities. (shrink)
Having children is the most common aim among human beings. The Family and the Political Self aims to capture the insights that can be gleaned from taking this truth seriously. One truth is that human beings may not be as self-interested as is commonly supposed. In this book LaurenceThomas argues that the best construal of the political self reflects this truth.
What rights govern heterosexual and homosexual behaviors? Two distinguished philosophers debate this important issue in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights. Laurence M. Thomas argues that a society which has the constitutional resources to protect hate groups can protect homosexuals without valorizing the homosexual life-style. He defends the view that the Bible cannot warrant the venom that, in the name of religion, is often expressed against homosexuals. Michael E. Levin defends the unorthodox view that the aversion some people experience (...) toward homosexuality deserves respect. He further argues that while homosexuals enjoy the same rights as others to be free of violence and discrimination, they do not have more extensive rights. (shrink)
This essay looks at the impact that technology is having upon friendship. For as we all know, it is nothing at all to see friends at a restaurant table all engaged in texting rather than talking to one another.
In this important and engaging volume, international scholars present opposing viewpoints to debate ten of the most important issues in contemporary social philosophy. Provides an original analysis of some of society’s most pressing issues Written by an outstanding cast of international scholars Issues covered include the nature of freedom, the limits of religious tolerance, affirmative action, parenting, the death penalty, privacy, violence, world hunger, social diversity, homosexuality, and abortion Invites the reader to participate in the exchange of arguments.
Moral distress is one of the core topics of clinical ethics. Although there is a large and growing empirical literature on the psychological aspects of moral distress, scholars, and empirical investigators of moral distress have recently called for greater conceptual clarity. To meet this recognized need, we provide a philosophical taxonomy of the categories of what we call ethically significant moral distress: the judgment that one is not able, to differing degrees, to act on one’s moral knowledge about what one (...) ought to do. We begin by unpacking the philosophical components of Andrew Jameton’s original formulation from his landmark 1984 work and identify two key respects in which that formulation remains unclear: the origins of moral knowledge and impediments to acting on that moral knowledge. We then selectively review subsequent literature that shows that there is more than one concept of moral distress and that explores the origin of the values implicated in moral distress and impediments to acting on those values. This review sets the stage for identifying the elements of a philosophical taxonomy of ethically significant moral distress. The taxonomy uses these elements to create six categories of ethically significant moral distress: challenges to, threats to, and violations of professional integrity; and challenges to, threats to, and violations of individual integrity. We close with suggestions about how the proposed philosophical taxonomy of ethically significant moral distress sheds light on the concepts of moral residue and crescendo effect of moral distress and how the proposed taxonomy might usefully guide prevention of and future qualitative and quantitative empirical research on ethically significant moral distress. (shrink)
BackgroundGiven that advances in research continuously raise new ethical issues, a multidisciplinary working group of investigators involved in biomedical research has gathered to discuss and compare ethical viewpoints in their daily practice.MethodsThe working group has drafted a Charter for Ethics in Biomedical Research that encompasses all the steps in the research process, i.e. from the initial idea to analysis and publication of the results.ResultsBased on key principles for ethically responsible research, the Charter may serve as a tool for performing research, (...) discussing research issues and training researchers.ConclusionsThe Charter should stimulate researchers to think about their responsibility for research in a progressive, caring society. (shrink)
This essay is part of a symposium on affirmative action that took place at the University of Cincinnati with the distinguished legal scholar Ronald Dworkin. I argue against affirmative action. And I discuss at length the votes of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas. I develop the idea of idiosyncratic excellence; and I argue that diversity is a weakness insofar as it (a) an excuse for social myopia and (b)an impediment to individuals seeing beyond (...) their differences and affirming the excellences that they witness. The expected publication date, Univ of Cinn Law Review, is March 2004. (shrink)