The professional mining engineer has a number of different duties. He must: produce engineering designs, meet the production requirements set by the mining operation he works for, ensure efficient cooperation between the different departments in a mine, and he is responsible for mine planning. Also, and very importantly, he is responsible for meeting high safety standards and ensuring that his mine is as injury and fatality free as possible. However, it is unfortunately the case that accidents do occur in mines, (...) and that miners are sometimes injured or even killed. Such tragedies raise questions about whether the mining engineer bears some responsibility for the injuries or deaths. In this paper, we argue that the engineer does bear responsibility, but that depending on the circumstances surrounding any particular accident, ascriptions of moral responsibility do not always mean that the engineer is morally blameworthy. We conclude that professional accountability and moral responsibility require that the mining engineer take practical steps to ensure that high safety standards are upheld, and that, when accidents occur, steps are taken to identify the causes so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future. (shrink)
Multifunctional agricultural systems seek to expand upon production-based benefits to enhance family wellbeing and animal health, reduce inputs, and improve environmental services such as biodiversity and water quality. However, in many countries a landscape-level conversion is uneven at best and stalled at worst. This is particularly true across the eastern rural landscape in the United States. We explore the role of social networks as drivers of system transformation within dairy production in the eastern United States, specifically rotational grazing as an (...) alternative management option. We hypothesize the importance of weak ties within farmer social networks as drivers of change. In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New York, we conducted 53 interviews with confinement, low-intensity, and rotational grazing dairy producers as well as 35 interviews with associated network actors. Though confinement and grazier networks had similar proportions of strong and weak ties, confinement producers had more market-based weak ties, while graziers had more weak-ties to government agencies and other graziers in the region. These agency weak ties supported rotational graziers through information exchange and cost sharing, both crucial to farmers’ transitions from confinement-based production to grazing systems. While weak ties were integral to initial innovation, farmers did not maintain these relationships beyond their transition to grazing. Of equal importance, grazier weak-tie networks did not include environmental organizations, suggesting unrealized potential for more diverse networks based on environmental services. By understanding the drivers, we can identify barriers to expanding weak tie networks and emergent properties in order to create institutions and policies necessary for change. (shrink)
Truth, the pragmatist claims, is something we make, not something which corresponds to reality. If this view of truth is accepted, Rorty notes, two problems arise: the pragmatist will have little to say to those who abuse others, because he or she will not be able to point to some universal standards that the abusers are vio lating ; and the torturers may be able to quote pragmatic principles in their own defence. Rorty argues that the pragmatist can reduce cruelty (...) by splitting himself or herself into public and private parts. I examine this problem and Rorty's solution. I argue that his solution fails for two reasons: first, keeping our public and private selves apart is unlikely to reduce cruelty; and, second, he cannot maintain the public/private split. Consequently, Rorty is unable to deal with the anti-pragmatic criticism that his theory of truth could lead to an increase in cruelty. Key Words: democracy liberalism political theory pragmatism Richard Rorty. (shrink)
We will show that there is a strong form of emergence in cell biology. Beginning with C.D. Broad's classic discussion of emergence, we distinguish two conditions sufficient for emergence. Emergence in biology must be compatible with the thought that all explanations of systemic properties are mechanistic explanations and with their sufficiency. Explanations of systemic properties are always in terms of the properties of the parts within the system. Nonetheless, systemic properties can still be emergent. If the properties of the components (...) within the system cannot be predicted, even in principle, from the behavior of the system's parts within simpler wholes then there also will be systemic properties which cannot be predicted, even in principle, on basis of the behavior of these parts. We show in an explicit case study drawn from molecular cell physiology that biochemical networks display this kind of emergence, even though they deploy only mechanistic explanations. This illustrates emergence and its place in nature. (shrink)
In moral case deliberation (MCD), healthcare professionals meet to reflect upon their moral questions supported by a structured conversation method and non-directive conversation facilitator. An increasing number of Dutch healthcare institutions work with MCD to (1) deal with moral questions, (2) improve reflection skills, interdisciplinary cooperation and decision-making, and (3) develop policy. Despite positive evaluations of MCD, organization and implementation of MCD appears difficult, depending on individuals or external experts. Studies on MCD implementation processes have not yet been published. The (...) aim of this study is to describe MCD implementation processes from the perspective of nurses who co-organize MCD meetings, so called ‘ local coordinators ’. Various qualitative methods were used within the framework of a responsive evaluation research design. The results demonstrate that local coordinators work hard on the pragmatic implementation of MCD. They do not emphasize the ethical and normative underpinnings of MCD, but create organizational conditions to foster a learning process, engagement and continuity. Local coordinators indicate MCD needs firm back-up from management regulations. These pragmatic action-oriented implementation strategies are as important as ideological reasons for MCD implementation. Advocates of clinical ethics support should pro-actively facilitate these strategies for both practical and ethical reasons. (shrink)
Moral case deliberation (MCD) is a form of clinical ethics support in which the ethicist as facilitator aims at supporting professionals with a structured moral inquiry into their moral issues from practice. Cases often affect clients, however, their inclusion in MCD is not common. Client participation often raises questions concerning conditions for equal collaboration and good dialogue. Despite these questions, there is little empirical research regarding client participation in clinical ethics support in general and in MCD in particular. This article (...) aims at describing the experiences and processes of two MCD groups with client participation in a mental healthcare institution. A responsive evaluation was conducted examining stakeholders’ issues concerning client participation. Findings demonstrate that participation initially creates uneasiness. As routine builds up and client participants meet certain criteria, both clients and professionals start thinking beyond ‘us-them’ distinctions, and become more equal partners in dialogue. Still, sentiments of distrust and feelings of not being safe may reoccur. Client participation in MCD thus requires continuous reflection and alertness on relational dynamics and the quality of and conditions for dialogue. Participation puts the essentials of MCD (i.e., dialogue) to the test. Yet, the methodology and features of MCD offer an appropriate platform to introduce client participation in healthcare institutions. (shrink)
This book works within the neo-Aristotelian ethical framework to make the case that moral philosophers ought to see detective fiction as a source of ethical insight and as a tool to spark the moral imagination. It also critiques contemporary moral philosophy and proposes what autonomy might look like if understood in neo-Aristotelian terms.
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller was the foremost first generation British pragmatist; he is also the most overlooked pragmatist. F. C. S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism: The Rhetoric of a Philosophical Rebel, by Mark J. Porrovecchio, provides the first comprehensive examination of his philosophical career, examining the rhetorical practices that gave rise to his pragmatic humanism and the ways those strategies led to his erasure from the intellectual history of pragmatism.
This is a book about the philosophy of Henri Bergson which shows how relevant Bergson is to much contemporary philosophy. The book takes as its point of departure Bergson's insistence on precision in philosophy. It then discusses a variety of topics including laughter, the nature of time as experienced, how intelligence and language should be construed as a pragmatic product of evolution, and the antinomies of reason represented by magic and religion. This is not just another exposition of Bergson's work. (...) It offers an account of why Bergson commanded such a massive reading public in his own day and why he deserves to be read now. Written in a terse and clear style, this book will prove appealing to teachers and students of philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, religious studies and literature. (shrink)
Towards the close of Book V of theRepublicPlato tells us that the true philosopher has knowledge and that the objects of knowledge are the Forms. By contrast, the ‘lovers of sights and sounds’, he tells us, have no more than belief, the objects of which are physical particulars. He then goes on to present us with some very radical-sounding assertions about the nature of these physical particulars. They are bearers of opposite properties, he says, in so thorough-going a manner that (...) we cannot say of them that they are nor that they are not: they lie somewhere between being and utter non-being.This passage of theRepublic still awaits an agreed interpretation and I want to suggest as a reason for this that it is usually interpreted in isolation. I will argue that it becomes easier to understand when seen against the background of Plato's developing thought. To be more precise, it makes sense when taken as a rejection by Plato of one of his earlier beliefs: namely, a doctrine of essentialism to be found in thePhaedo.The greater part of this paper then will be an attempt to show thatRepublicV is a rejection of thePhaedo'sdoctrine of essences. Its concluding part will try to explain why that doctrine was rejected. (shrink)
Autonomy and the Situated Self offers a critique of contemporary mainstream bioethics and proposes an alternative framework for the exploration of bioethical issues. It also contrasts two conceptions of autonomy, one based on a liberal model but detached from its political foundation and one that is responsive to the concerns of virtue ethics and connected to the concept of human flourishing.
Patients suffering from advanced dementia present ethicists and caregivers with a difficult issue: we do not know how they feel or how they want to be treated, and they have no way of telling us. We do not know, therefore, whether we ought to prolong their lives by providing them with nutrition and hydration, or whether we should not provide them with food and water and let them die. Since providing food and water to patients is considered to be basic (...) care that is morally required, it is usually only the provision of nutrition and hydration by artificial means that is considered to require ethical justification. Building on what I call a virtue-based conception of autonomy, I argue that, at least for some patients suffering from advanced dementia, even providing food and liquid by hand is morally wrong. (shrink)