Considering the “Born-Alive” Rule and Possession of Sperm Following Death Content Type Journal Article Category Recent Developments Pages 323-327 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9324-0 Authors Bernadette Richards, Law School, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Bill Madden, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia Tina Cockburn, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 4.
Sorabji has written a comprehensive and scholarly volume on the concepts of Time, Creation, and the Continuum and their development from antiquity up until the early middle ages. The major portion of the book, however, focuses on the ancient period from the pre-Socratics through the Neoplatonic period. Sorabji does, however, trace the influence of Hellenistic thought on early medieval theory especially that of the Islamic tradition. Before going into some of the specific areas that are covered it is worth noting (...) that this work is a contribution not only to philosophy but to mathematics, physics, and other disciplines interested in the topic of time. A word of caution. This is a formidable book to digest, not because of any deficiency on the part of the author but because of the subject matter which demands at least an elementary grasp of physics. For those who are willing to apply themselves diligently to the task of accompanying Sorabji in his scrupulous analysis of the texts and trenchant criticism the venture will be rewarded. The scope of Sorabji's project is so extensive that one would anticipate that the material might be treated superficially. This is not the case. He is so conscientious in mining the original texts as well as secondary sources that we cannot but be impressed by his commitment to scholarship and thoroughness. An example of the author's credentials as a scholar is the fact that he includes in the book no less than 476 bibliographical entries categorized under very specific headings. An instance of this is that under the general rubric of Time there are listings under the categories of Time and determinism, Is time real?, Time, change and flow, and Timelessness and changelessness. The chapters are replete with footnotes and cross referencing. To further facilitate the reader there is an extensive index that exhausts every conceivable person and subject discussed in the corpus. This is a decided advantage since the book is of such quality that it deserves to serve as a permanent source book especially for those interested in the concept of time as it develops in the ancient period. What does Sorabji offer in the way of content? In Part I on "The Reality of Time" the question is raised, "Is Time Real?" Subsequently, Chapter 2 offers the solutions from Diodorus to August. Chapter 3 is titled "Iamblichus' Solution: Static and Flowing Time," Chapter 4, "Aristotle on Static and Flowing Time," and Chapter 5, "Solutions by the Last Athenian Neoplatonists." Part II is concerned with "Eternity," Part III, "Time and Creation," Part IV, "Creation and Cause," Part V, "Atoms, Time-Atoms and the Continuum," a total of 26 chapters. While the main intent of Sorabji is to critically examine the texts and give his own exegesis supported by other commentators of note he is not remiss in giving recognition to those of opposing views, such as Norman Kretzmann, A. C. Lloyd, and Myles Burnyeat. If one could trigger in on one or more positive contributions of the book it is the consideration rendered to some less well known or at least less treated philosophers of the ancient period such as Diodorus Cronus, Iamblichus and Damascius, to cite only a few. One of the most stimulating chapters is the one on eternity in which Sorabji raises the question, "Is eternity timeless?" The answer would seem to have recourse to analytic analysis of the concept of eternity that implies opposition to time. But the fact is there are a plethora of interpretations of the concept that do not espouse the timelessness of eternity and Sorabji investigates them all with a commitment to give air to both negative and positive responses to the question although he asserts at the beginning what his own response is. Whatever effort is spent in mining the contents of this book will be remunerated by an in-depth, scholarly, and provocative analysis of some of the theories of time that have come down to us from the Hellenistic period and have since been revived and subjected to scrutiny even in the last decade with the emergence of the quantum theory that proposes an atomic structure of the universe.--Kathleen R. Madden, De Paul University, Chicago. (shrink)
Sale of Sperm, Health Records, Minimally Conscious States, and Duties of Candour Content Type Journal Article Category Recent Developments Pages 7-14 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9347-6 Authors Cameron Stewart, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2006 Bernadette Richards, Law School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia 5005 Richard Huxtable, Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TH UK Bill Madden, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia (...) Tina Cockburn, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 1. (shrink)
"How, if at all, is responsibility possible," and "What kind of beings must we be if we are ever to be responsible for the results of our wills?". This study is not intended to guarantee final answers to these questions. What Wolf's study attempts to offer is insight into and a new perspective on the problem of the relationship between responsibility and freedom; it accomplishes this. After introducing us to the dilemma of autonomy as an issue germane to the problem, (...) Wolf embarks upon an examination and criticism of two standard positions: The Real Self View and the Autonomy View. While both of these contain plausible arguments, Wolf's examination exposes their inadequacies. According to the Real Self View, the actions of an agent are free and responsible if those actions arise out of one's own valuation system and are governed by the desires of the real self. The major difficulty is that if the real self is "deeply responsible" so as to deserve praise or blame, it leaves unanswered an explanation of why the real self is "deeply responsible" at all. Hence, the Real Self View fails to provide a solution. The Autonomy View is more radical and less defensible than the Real Self View. An autonomous agent can make choices on no basis, and is no more bound by reason than desire. To want autonomy is not only to want the ability to make choices when no choices exist, but to desire to be able to make choices for no reason, even if a reason exists. Wolf targets the vulnerability of the position. Prescinding from a cognitive perspective of reason, Wolf describes reason as a "normative faculty," or "whatever faculties are thought to be most likely to lead to true beliefs and good values". Concrete examples provide Wolf with supportive evidence that no responsible agent would want the ability to act contrary to reason. Like the Real Self View, the Autonomy View is inadequate. Wolf procedes to formulate her own theory in which reason plays a pivotal role. Her view is marked by a refreshing simplicity that does not undermine its philosophical soundness or its persuasiveness. According to Wolf's view, or the Reason View, the condition for responsibility is the ability to act in accordance with right reasons, the true, and the good. Philosophically, the true and the good are concepts that invite endless inquiry and debate. Wolf wisely avoids the pitfalls of many inquisitors and assumes a common sense, matter of fact approach to what constitutes the true and the good. There is objectivity in the world sufficient to yield empirical beliefs. Responsible agents are able to discern the true from the false and form value judgments that serve as a basis for action. Absolute metaphysical independence is not integral to responsible action, since there is always the presence of physical and psychological factors. But these factors are not so great as to deter or hinder responsible action. Whether or not an agent ultimately chooses to do that which is objectively better than something else does not alter the fact that one has the ability to act responsibly. Using the fundamental rational powers of perception, imagination, reflection, training, and logical thinking, the agent can recognize and appreciate the true and the good and act in accordance with them. The Reason View presumes that those whose intellectual and emotional capabilities fall within the range of normality are able to perceive what is objectively valid and morally good. Responsible action extends beyond the bounds of the moral sphere. Included under the category of responsible action are aesthetic, as well as personal, goals, and whatever else may be seen as good for the agent. What reason values as good has objective validity, albeit not absolute validity. What is good for the agent can never be judged apart from a given, determinate environment or from the psychological disposition of the agent that has its own normative competence. In its judgments, reason accommodates itself to both factors, and the responsible agent comes to see and appreciate the True and the Good. Wolf does not absolutize her theory; she offers it as working moral certitude for responsible agents. Her claim is that if the Reason View is correct, "It is important to cultivate and promote an open and active mind and an attitude of alertness and sensitivity to the world," so that one can come to "appreciate the True and Good" and "direct one's actions, in light of them". One can find little to discredit in Wolf's arguments, and her approach to the problem of the relationship between responsibility and freedom provides a relief from the tedious and convoluted debates that often take place when this issue is the topic.--Kathleen R. Madden, Chicago, Ill. (shrink)
Recent Developments Content Type Journal Article Pages 113-119 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9300-8 Authors Bernadette Richards, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia Bill Madden, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia Tina Cockburn, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2.
In this paper, I critically examine Harre and Madden's attempt, largely as it occurs in their Causal Powers, to secure for causes and laws of nature a kind of necessity which although consistent with commonsensical empiricism and anti-idealistic philosophy of science nevertheless runs counter to the humean-positivistic tradition, which denies the existence of any distinctively "natural" or causal necessity. In the course of the paper, I reveal the multifarious nature of their account and show that each part of that (...) account, commonsensical or ontological, is inadequate. I indicate as well how the multifarious nature of the account allows and even encourages an evasive shifting about in the face of adversity, which shifting no doubt contributes to whatever illusion of adequacy is present in their treatment. (shrink)
: In this essay, I examine the arguments against physician - assisted suicide Susan Wolf offers in her essay, "Gender, Feminism, and Death : Physician - Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." I argue that Wolf's analysis of PAS, while timely and instructive in many ways, does not require that feminists reject policy approaches that might permit PAS. The essay concludes with reflections on the relationship between feminism and questions of agency, especially women's agency.
A number of authors recently have pointed out what they think are enlightening similarities between psychoanalysis and history. In stressing such similarities they are usually trying to justify their own particular characterization of psychoanalysis. I show wherein I think these characterizations go wrong and at the same time try my own hand at clarifying the nature of psychoanalytic propositions.
There are a standard number of replies to the riddle of induction, none of which has gained ascendency. It seems that a new approach is needed that concedes less to the Humean dialectic. Humeans, both traditional and contemporary, unwittingly play on the ambiguity of the phrase "change in the course of nature," and that is why `C· ∼ E' appears to be self-consistent, though in fact it is not. I provide an analysis of 'cause' and 'natural necessity' which gives inductive (...) inference that internal warrant we assume it to have in ordinary and scientific thinking and rebut in advance contemporary Humean objections based on the erroneous assumption that 'x is necessary' and 'x is a priori' are materially equivalent. (shrink)
While I do not accept any current analysis of theoretical terms I also reject certain criticisms of them. Specifically, I reject the criticism that the paradoxes of material implication and the counterfactual problem eliminate the explicit definition view; and I also reject the criticism that explicitly defined theoretical terms do not refer to anything which "really exists" or do not have "excess meaning." I do argue, however, that the explicit definition view confuses and conflates the concepts of criterion and meaning (...) analysis. I also defend reduction sentences against the counterfactual difficulty, but show, too, how this view is already logically committed to the network or postulational view of meaning. Finally, I show how the concept of reduction sentences confuses in several ways the concepts of criterion and meaning analysis--although not in quite the same way as explicit definitions do. (shrink)
Most philosophers of science nowadays hold a network or postulational view of the meaning of theoretical words. However, there are many nuances to this view, and after explicitly separating them, we show what we take to be wrong with each one. While we reject the postulational view we do not defend its traditional alternatives either; rather we show the pointlessness of insisting on a single source for the meaning of theoretical words. We also point out the shortcomings of Carnap's newest (...) meaning criterion which depends upon a network view. But, again, we suggest not only that this new rendition of the criterion is faulty but also that there is something misguided about any search at all for such a criterion. (shrink)
Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands in the correct (...) relation to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
This is a critical notice/review essay on *L'embryogenèse du monde et le Dieu silencieux*, a manuscript completed by Raymond Ruyer in the early 1980s. It came out as a monograph in November 2013, with the Éditions Klincksieck in Paris. It offers a presentation in an organized fashion of many aspects of his thought. Ruyer considered that a book about God could only be churned into a series of chapters on the unachievable character of our knowledge in different domains of (...) human inquiry. The nature of this final solution on God's relationship to the world and to natural forms is here assessed critically. (shrink)