Health care professionals often face moral dilemmas. Not dealing constructively with moral dilemmas can cause moral distress and can negatively affect the quality of care. Little research has been documented with methodologies meant to support professionals in care for the homeless in dealing with their dilemmas. Moral case deliberation is a method for systematic reflection on moral dilemmas and is increasingly being used as ethics support for professionals in various health-care domains. This study deals with the question: What is the (...) contribution of MCD in helping professionals in an institution for care for the homeless to deal with their moral dilemmas? A mixed-methods responsive evaluation design was used to answer the research question. Five teams of professionals from a Dutch care institution for the homeless participated in MCD three times. Professionals in care for the homeless value MCD positively. They report that MCD helped them to identify the moral dilemma/question, and that they learned from other people’s perspectives while reflecting and deliberating on the values at stake in the dilemma or moral question. They became aware of the moral dimension of moral dilemmas, of related norms and values, of other perspectives, and learned to formulate a moral standpoint. Some experienced the influence of MCD in the way they dealt with moral dilemmas in daily practice. Half of the professionals expect MCD will influence the way they deal with moral dilemmas in the future. Most of them were in favour of further implementation of MCD in their organization. (shrink)
Interactive technology assessment (iTA) provides an answer to the ethical problem of normative bias in evaluation research. This normative bias develops when relevant perspectives on the evaluand (the thing being evaluated) are neglected. In iTA this bias is overcome by incorporating different perspectives into the assessment. As a consequence, justification of decisions based on the assessment is provided by stakeholders having achieved agreement. In this article, agreement is identified with wide reflective equilibrium to show that it indeed has the potential (...) of justifying decisions. We work out several conditions for this agreement to be achievable and just. (shrink)
An accelerated introductory text in symbolic logic, this work is a translation and revision of Carnap's 1954 Einführung.... The latter portion of the book is devoted to semantics and to axiom systems in areas as diverse as geometry and biology.--R. P.
We discuss five kinds of representations of rationales and provide a formal account of how they can alter disputation. The formal model of disputation is derived from recent work in argument. The five kinds of rationales are compilation rationales, which can be represented without assuming domain-knowledge (such as utilities) beyond that normally required for argument. The principal thesis is that such rationales can be analyzed in a framework of argument not too different from what AI already has. The result is (...) a formal understanding of rationales, a partial taxonomy, and a foundation for computer programs that represent and reason with rationales.The five kinds of rationales are as follows: (c)ompression and (s)pecialization, which yield rules, and (d)isputation, which yields a decision. These are modeled as potentially changing the focus of the dispute. Then there are (f)it, a rationale for rules, and (r)esolution, a rationale for decisions. These cannot be modeled as simply; they force disputation to a meta-level, at least temporarily. (shrink)
Understanding of organizational ethics phenomena requires complex understanding of organizational practices in their real world contexts. We can try to understand and build theory about these complex real world practices from the points of view of: a traditional deductive, ethics literature-based, literature gap formulation approach; or, an inductive, practitioner-based literature gap formulation approach. This consideration of inductive, practitioner-based versus deductive, literature-based literature gap formulation is related to the discussion concerning “engaged scholarship” and relationships and gaps between theory and practice in (...) organization studies [Van De Ven, 2007, Engaged Scholarship: A Guide for Organizational and Research Knowledge ]. However, there is an important difference with respect to the key issue of ethics literature versus practitioner-based literature gap formulation. This article offers examples of the two different approaches and makes comparisons between them. Implications for practice-based organizational ethics theory building, Ph.D. education, and public intellectual work are considered. (shrink)
Error is protean, ubiquitous and crucial in scientific process. In this paper it is argued that understanding scientific process requires what is currently absent: an adaptable, context-sensitive functional role for error in science that naturally harnesses error identification and avoidance to positive, success-driven, science. This paper develops a new account of scientific process of this sort, error and success driving Self-Directed Anticipative Learning (SDAL) cycling, using a recent re-analysis of ape-language research as test example. The example shows the limitations of (...) other accounts of error, in particular Mayo’s (Error and the growth of experimental knowledge, 1996) error-statistical approach, and SDAL cycling shows how they can be fruitfully contextualised. (shrink)
To whom do sperm and ova belong? Few tissues are produced by the human body with more waste than the germ cells. Yet dominion over the germ cells, and over the early embryo that results from their union in vitro, is behind much of the emotion that modern reproductive intervention can engender. The germ cells differ from other human tissues that can be donated or transplanted because they carry readily utilizable genetic information. Eventual expression of the germ cells' genetic potential (...) is the legitimate concern and responsibility of their donors, although in the right circumstances the responsibility can by agreement be entrusted to institutions administering gamete or embryo donor programmes; these institutions, in turn, may need to assume responsibility for decisions if, in the case of embryo storage, the wishes of the two donors conflict. The fact of sperm and ovum ownership (and the genetic potential that goes with it) before individuals part with these tissues is beyond dispute. Some contentious issues may be clarified if this area of human dominion, namely control over genetic expression among offspring, is acknowledged to be the legitimate persisting concern of those who have produced sperm and ova after storage commences. (shrink)
It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains--that happiness is (...) not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant. (shrink)
What we perceive is the product of an intrinsic process and not part of external physical reality. This notion is consistent with the philosophical position of transcendental idealism but also agrees with physiological findings on the thalamocortical system. -Frequency rhythms of discharge activity from thalamic and cortical neurons are facilitated by cholinergic arousal and resonate in thalamocortical networks, thereby transiently forming assemblies of coherent oscillations under constraints of sensory input and prefrontal attentional mechanisms. Perception and conscious experience may be based (...) on such assemblies and sensory input to thalamic nuclei plays merely a constraining role in their formation. In schizophrenia, the ability of sensory input to modulate self-organisation of thalamocortical activity may be generally reduced. If during arousal thalamocortical self-organisation is underconstrained by sensory input, then attentional mechanisms alone may determine the content of perception and hallucinations may arise. (shrink)
This edition makes available the author's privately printed Course of Lectures on Aesthetics, a 1920 article, "Mind and Medium in Art," in which appreciation and creation are sharply distinguished, and his well known, but already reprinted, article on "Psychical Distance." The author held that the future of aesthetics lies in psychology, and argues in his Lectures that aesthetics is the systematic attitude which "man takes up vis-à-vis human life."--R. P.
This volume gives an overview of the subject of mathematical logic, placing primary emphasis on theory instead of the development of skills. It contains chapters on the history of logic, first and second order quantification theory, metatheory, and some of the philosophical implications of recent work in the field. Needless to say, none of these topics is treated in any great detail owing to the space limitations. Care has been taken by the author, however, to insure that his discussions do (...) not trade mistakes and clarity for brevity. Each section provides the reader with a grasp of the central issues and adequate information to approach more advanced literature with some confidence. The treatment of topics such as recursive functions, Skolem's paradox for set theory, and the place of mathematical logic in the study of philosophy is rarely found in introductory treatments. No special training in either mathematics or Logic is presupposed by any of the sections. Ample exercises are included which are, in some cases, quite challenging. Answers to many of these are provided. In addition, there is also a useful annotated bibliography.--R. P. M. (shrink)
Perhaps no work since John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice has attracted as much recent attention as Robert Nozick’s case for a minimal state—an ingeniously argued critique, not only of antinomian individualism, but also of liberal and socialist contractualism. It might be added that the book is no solace either to more conservative political theorists, who lament state incursion into private life, but whose political structures exhibit either actual or potential constriction of human life. Nozick’s book is both a searching (...) examination of the limitations of utilitarian consequentialism and the redistributivism of Rawls. His essential theme is that "a minimal state limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts etc., is justified; that any more extensive state will violate persons’ rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right." It is also Nozick’s contention that the coercive power of the state should not be used paternalistically to prohibit activities to people for their own protection, or to force some citizens to aid others. The last part of the book is a framework for Nozick’s utopia, and it is in this section that an essentially theoretical approach, amplified by little political or sociological data, exhibits its defects. One suspects that almost all states started with simplistic hopes for minimal coercive activity, and succumbed almost inevitably to the metastasis of function as socio-political life grew in size and complexity. Night watchmen become more than night watchmen when more than watching is needed. Moreover, Nozick’s utopia would seem to necessitate, at least by implication, coercive redistributivism and some kind of compensatory or levelling taxation process. This reviewer is not sure that he understands precisely what Nozick considers correct property theory in a state of nature. The author modestly asserts the tentative, incomplete, and conjectural nature of his work. But the taxed and manipulated citizen who grows in sympathy for the sentiments of Proudhon’s famous litany should welcome this highly literate and well argued case.—R.P.M. (shrink)
Anton views the Aristotelian contraries as "principles of understanding, generic concepts, employed in the analysis of any determinate process whatever." He argues that the principle of contrariety simply renders process intelligible and is not, as it was for many of Aristotle's predecessors, a causal principle. In the course of his argument the author shows the use of this "formal demand for determinateness" in widely diverse areas, proceeding from the categories to ontology and language, and through psychology to ethics.--R. P.
Seventeen scholars have contributed to this Festschrift presented to Eugen Fink, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Freiburg/br., on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. The essays are not intended to be "exemplary," but rather to express a community of thought; a participation of philosophers in the common task of defining significant problems for their discipline. A considerable number of the essays are thematically oriented around the works of Plato; the problems arising from his dialogues are approached from epistemological, (...) ontological and hermeneutic standpoints. Other topics include: the phenomenology of the human body viewed in its relation to the general concept of matter, pedagogics as a concern of the humanistic scholar in the light of Wilhelm Dilthey's philosophy and its continuation in his pupils, power viewed as a phenomenon, the dramas of Georg Büchner, philosophy East and West and the relation of history to tradition. A bibliography of the works of Eugen Fink and of books and essays on his works is also appended.—R. P. J. (shrink)
This work is much more than a travelogue; it is primarily a report on Buddhism in present day Western Tibet embedded in a study of its Indian origins and its Tibetan history. The author, a Lecturer in Tibetan at the University of London, brings to the work the advantages of a good reportorial eye as well as a careful study of the Buddhist texts.--R. P.
This addition to the Comparative Studies of Cultures and Civilizations is more sharply focussed than its predecessor, Studies in Chinese Thought. Although the subject matters spans 2,500 years these twelve essays are primarily concerned with some aspect of the "use of Confucian ideas in political struggles and socio-political institutions." The authors are not so much contributing to the "history of ideas" as they are illustrating the relationships between thought and action in detailed studies of one non-Western culture. The editor's introduction (...) includes a helpful preview of the whole.--R. P. (shrink)
This work, which first appeared in 1936, offers in addition to an historical treatment displaying Cassirer's characteristic insight, an analysis of quantum mechanics largely unaffected by subsequent development in the field. The author argues, on the basis of epistemological considerations, that quantum mechanics necessitates no major revisions in our basic understanding of causality. The new laws simply refer to "definite collectives" rather than things or events and are no less determinate than the old. In the final part the author stresses (...) the independence of causality and continuity in nature and closes by sensibly warning the reader against attempting to establish ethical freedom within the gaps of physical law. Henry Margenau has expanded the bibliography and added a helpful preface which, in part, reports Cassirer's thoughts up to 1945.--R. P. (shrink)
In this collection of previously published essays, Morgenthau stresses the partial inadequacy of traditional ideas in dealing with the hard facts of the contemporary world. Particularly interesting are his studies of the influence of ideas, good and bad, on political action.--R. P.
Not a conventional history, this work is organized in terms of the author's understanding of the developing ideas of philosophy from the Italian Renaissance to the twentieth century. The first part of the work is developed along the tensions between the empiricist and Platonic traditions; thus Berkeley is seen in relation to Locke and Hume but also to the Cambridge Platonists. A novel facet of the middle part of the work is the large section separating Leibniz and Kant, devoted to (...) the developing critical spirit in Les Philosophes from Bayle to the Encyclopedia and to Rousseau and Condillac, as well as Thomas Reid and the Scottish school of common sense. After the Hegelians the work closes with a brief discussion of the philosophies of action and process and existentialism. Boas gives to many of his subjects interesting and valuable reinterpretations within the perspective of a concern for the development of ideas.--R. P. (shrink)
Although Toffler has not written an in-depth philosophical analysis of social problems, he certainly has written a highly readable popular diagnosis of the phenomenon of cultural change which social philosophers should be considering, and has given a synoptic view of contemporary culture similar to Pitirim Sorokin's popular Crisis of Our Age in the forties. Toffler's thesis is "that there are discoverable limits to the amount of change that the human organism can absorb, and that by endlessly accelerating change without first (...) determining these limits, we may submit masses of men to demands they simply cannot tolerate." Future shock is, therefore, both the physical and psychological impairment caused by reluctance and inability to absorb the rapid changes that an age of discontinuity produces. Psychic distress is identified in Leon Festinger's arresting phrase, "cognitive dissonance," the rejection or denial of information that challenges preconceptions. Physical distress is analyzed by such interesting research tools as the Rahe Life-Change Units Scale which attempts to correlate change factors with physical health. The philosophic base of modern life is seen in a Heraclitean or Bergsonian flux which ontologizes change itself and sees social and political conflict inevitably provoked by rapid change confronting an older society whose substantialist structures reflect more the stable and enduring values of an older culture. It is from the vantage point of change theory that Toffler explains the contemporary turmoil in domestic, social, political, and religious realms; and although he does not employ the more formal idiom of a Vico or Spengler in the discussion of Zeitgeist, he recognizes thought and life style as even more significant than ever in a culture in which communication is so widespread and immediate. He uses the imagery of eight hundred 62-year lifetimes to illustrate man's history of the last 50,000 years, noting the comparative stability of the previous segments and the bewildering rapidity of change cycle of idea, application, and diffusion in the last sixty-year period. He analyzes progressively the accelerative thrust that creates conflict between cultures and generations; describes the typical attitudes of citizens in an Age of Transience towards time, things, places, people, organization, and ideas; and sees "modular" man as a being for whom permanence of marriage, career, educational values, and convictions yields to "temporariness." Organizations in such a climate are characterized by lateral rather than hierarchical power relationships in which "super-industrial man," committed more to his craft than to his company, assumes more decision-making responsibility in an "adhocracy" of transient values and relationships. Toffler interestingly sees bureaucracy on the decline, technology as contributing to plurality of choice rather than to standardization, and to a kinetic imagery of impermanence in aesthetics. For the most part, Toffler, the diagnostician, resists the temptation to be the pleader. His happily infrequent divagations produce less than satisfactory critiques of family life, education, and genetic engineering. It is inevitable that this book will be criticized by specialists as bewilderingly diffuse, and verging at times on science fiction; it is possible too that the strategy of "social futurism" suggested by the author will elicit less than undiluted enthusiasm, and that inexact references to Toynbee and Maritain may be questioned. But the essential purpose of this volume to give a unified vision of contemporary culture in terms of the adaptive reaction to change--all this has been admirably realized. And one feels that the author indeed possesses the vision and research tools for particularized study in the areas treated here quite generally.--R. P. M. (shrink)