In this paper, the problem of correct ascriptions of consciousness to patients in neurological intensive care medicine is explored as a special case of the general philosophical other minds problem. It is argued that although clinical ascriptions of consciousness and coma are mostly based on behavioral evidence, a behaviorist epistemology of other minds is not likely to succeed. To illustrate this, the so-called total locked-in syndrome, in which preserved consciousness is combined with a total loss of motor abilities due to (...) a lower ventral brain stem lesion, is presented as a touchstone for behaviorism. It is argued that this example of consciousness without behavioral expression does not disprove behaviorism specifically, but rather illustrates the need for a non-verificationist theory of other minds. It is further argued that a folk version of such a theory already underlies our factual ascriptions of consciousness in clinical contexts. Finally, a non-behaviorist theory of other minds for patients with total locked-in syndrome is outlined. (shrink)
An examination of the contemporary Italian movement associated with M. P. Sciacca, and the serious application of dialectical and phenomenological methods to unveil the structure of "intentionality" or "spirit." An appraisal of Sciacca together with a sample critique of Dante follows a competent summary of the prevailing positions.--D. B. B.
Psychopaths routinely disregard social norms by engaging in selfish, antisocial, often violent behavior. Commonly characterized as mentally disordered, recent evidence suggests that psychopaths are executing a well-functioning, if unscrupulous strategy that historically increased reproductive success at the expense of others. Natural selection ought to have favored strategies that spared close kin from harm, however, because actions affecting the fitness of genetic relatives contribute to an individual’s inclusive fitness. Conversely, there is evidence that mental disorders can disrupt psychological mechanisms designed to (...) protect relatives. Thus, mental disorder and adaptation accounts of psychopathy generate opposing hypotheses: psychopathy should be associated with an increase in the victimization of kin in the former account but not in the latter. Contrary to the mental disorder hypothesis, we show here in a sample of 289 violent offenders that variation in psychopathy predicts a decrease in the genetic relatedness of victims to offenders; that is, psychopathy predicts an increased likelihood of harming non-relatives. Because nepotistic inhibition in violence may be caused by dispersal or kin discrimination, we examined the effects of psychopathy on (1) the dispersal of offenders and their kin and (2) sexual assault frequency (as a window on kin discrimination). Although psychopathy was negatively associated with coresidence with kin and positively associated with the commission of sexual assault, it remained negatively associated with the genetic relatedness of victims to offenders after removing cases of offenders who had coresided with kin and cases of sexual assault from the analyses. These results stand in contrast to models positing psychopathy as a pathology, and provide support for the hypothesis that psychopathy reflects an evolutionary strategy largely favoring the exploitation of non-relatives. (shrink)
This essay reviews six different approaches to intellectual property. It and argues that none of these accounts provide an adequate justification of intellectual property laws and policies because there are many different types of intellectual property, and a variety of incommensurable values play a role in the justification of intellectual property. The best approach to intellectual property is to assess and balance competing moral values in light of the particular facts and circumstances.
Most of the discussion in bioethics and health policy concerning social responsibility for health has focused on society’s obligation to provide access to healthcare. While ensuring access to healthcare is an important social responsibility, societies can promote health in many other ways, such as through sanitation, pollution control, food and drug safety, health education, disease surveillance, urban planning and occupational health. Greater attention should be paid to strategies for health promotion other than access to healthcare, such as environmental and public (...) health and health research.Lifestyle plays a major role in most of the illnesses in industrialised nations.1 Six of the 10 leading factors contributing to the global burden of disease are lifestyle related: unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco use, alcohol use, high cholesterol and obesity.2 Lifestyle-related illnesses also contribute to the rising costs of healthcare. Spending on healthcare accounts for about 16% of the gross domestic product in the USA, or US$1.9 trillion.3 Although smoking has declined steadily there since the 1960s, smoking-related medical expenses are still about US$75.5 billion per year.4 Obesity, which has been climbing in the past two decades, accounts for about US$75 billion in healthcare costs there each year.5 Alcoholism and drug addiction in the USA account for annual healthcare costs of about US$22.5 billion and US$12 billion, respectively.6,7 Federal government spending on healthcare relating to HIV/AIDS is over US$13 billion per year.8Given the well-documented relationship between lifestyle, disease burden and healthcare costs, it makes economic and medical sense to hold individuals morally responsible for their health-related choices. While this view has a great deal of intuitive appeal, it also faces numerous objections.9–12 First, holding individuals entirely responsible for their own health conflicts with medicine’s obligation to treat the sick and society’s obligation …. (shrink)
Can the totality of consciousness be found within the waking state? Can human consciousness be understood in its entirety by only considering the contents presented to us in the waking state? Why is the waking state so privileged? -/- This treatise from Indian author D.B. Gangolli presents the tri-basic method or the method of the three states of consciousness as the principle device or strategy employed in the science of Advaita Vedanta for arriving at knowledge and understanding of Ultimate Reality (...) as expounded in the Upanishadic tradition. This tri-basic method of wisdom inquiry into Pure Consciousness is contrasted with the pervasive mono-basic or waking-state-only method of inquiry common to science, western, and most other philosophical systems wherein explication of the Ultimate Reality is sought solely within waking consciousness. -/- The tri-basic method of the Advaita system takes waking consciousness as only one of three great states of conscious awareness within Intuition or Intuitive experience, the other two being dreaming and sleeping (deep sleep) states. Instead of privileging the waking state, the tri-basic method views all three states from the viewpoint of Intuition and sets about to inquire into the whole of conscious experience giving equal importance to all three states. It helps us to recognize how we are taught to see waking consciousness as predominant, as the sole perspective from within which we discover knowledge of truth and reality, and to see the limitations of the truncated view of consciousness that it is. -/- Advaita Vedanta is the only philosophical system that consciously inquires within all three great states of consciousness in order for the discrimination of Ultimate Reality. “To observe these states and discriminate about them means whatever is witnessed in the states – all that is to be taken en masse (rolled up into one mass) and is to be made an object to one’s Intuition, i.e., the essence of Being as the Witness or the Self, and then discriminate.” . (shrink)
Another exceptionally fine text by Suppes. Designed for those who can follow a mathematical argument, but presupposes no special knowledge of mathematics or symbolic logic. The system developed is that of Zermelo-Fraenkel. Especially noteworthy is the discussion of the exact role played by the various axioms.--N. D. B., Jr.
This is a first attempt to formalize the language required for analysis of purposive organizations or systems into the subordinate systems of which they organically consist. The authors take a philosophic position midway between Atomism and the Absolute; like Aristotle, they take a finite, complex individual as the ultimate referent of explanation. The sole primitive is "s///tOx," interpreted as "upon analytic dissection, the system t organized by [the property] x." It is claimed without argument that the relationship is independent of (...) who, so to speak, is doing the dissecting. This paper is welcome as a first attack on a difficult problem, although it does not pay off in the production of non-trivial theorems or in clarification much beyond that afforded by technical English.--N. D. B. Jr. (shrink)
This essay develops a framework for thinking about the moral basis for the commodification of human reproductive materials. It argues that selling and buying gametes and genes is morally acceptable although there should not be a market for zygotes, embryos, or genomes. Also a market in gametes and genes should be regulated in order to address concerns about the adverse social consequences of commodification.
An application of probabilistic, stimulus-response learning theory to game-like small group situations. The theory is axiomatic, precise, and quantitative; and is deductively fruitful. There is a running comparison of the predictive success of the stimulus-response theory and game theory. The authors claim to have demonstrated "in empirical detail and with quantitative accuracy" that "the social situation, qua social, does not require the introduction of new concepts" beyond those of stimulus-response learning theory. --N. D. B. Jr.
In Gorgias, Socrates stands accused of argumentative "foul play" involving manipulation by shame. Polus says that Socrates wins the fight with Gorgias by shaming him into the admission that "a rhetorician knows what is right . . . and would teach this to his pupils" . And later, when Polus himself has been "tied up" and "muzzled" , Callicles says that he was refuted only because he was ashamed to reveal his true convictions. These allegations, if justified, directly undermine Socrates' (...) claim to be improving his interlocutors by argument. For if Socrates' use of shame tends to produce insincere assertion, then elenchus cannot serve as a tool for moral reform. In an important recent paper, Jessica Moss presents a new apologia for Socrates on these old charges. According to Moss, although Socrates adopts a strategy of shaming rather than reasoning his interlocutors into agreement, this is legitimate because his appeals to shame function as appeals to a moral sense, which connect a person to his own "deep" convictions. Moreover, she claims that shame "can be a more effective tool of persuasion than reason," for it is capable, where reason is not, of dislodging a person's "intuitive" moral beliefs. This essay argues that each of these points is mistaken. (shrink)
Inappropriate authorship is a common problem in biomedical research and may be becoming one in bioethics, due to the increase in multiple authorship. This paper investigates the authorship policies of bioethics journals to determine whether they provide adequate guidance for researchers who submit articles for publication, which can help deter inappropriate authorship. It was found that 63.3% of bioethics journals provide no guidance on authorship; 36.7% provide guidance on which contributions merit authorship, 23.3% provide guidance on which contributions do not (...) merit authorship, 23.3% require authors to take responsibility for their contributions or for the article as a whole, 20% provide guidance on which contributions merit an acknowledgement but not authorship, 6.7% require authors to describe their contributions, and only 3.3% distinguish between authorship in empirical and conceptual research. To provide authors with effective guidance and promote integrity in bioethics research, bioethics journals should adopt authorship policies that address several important topics, such as the qualifications for authorship, describing authorship contributions, taking responsibility for the research and the difference between authorship in empirical and conceptual research. (shrink)
The phrase “minimal risk,” as defined in the United States’ federal research regulations, is ambiguous and poorly defined. This article argues that most of the ambiguity that one finds in the phrase stems from the “daily life risks” standard in the definition of minimal risk. In this article, the author argues that the daily life risks standard should be dropped and that “minimal risk” should be defined as simply “the probability and magnitude of the harm or discomfort anticipated in research (...) are not greater than those encountered during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests”. (shrink)
Purpose. The aim of the article is to clarify the content of the concept of culture as an explication of vitality within the philosophy of life and its further modifications in current problems of contemporary. The analysis performed standing from the point, that contrasting of nature and culture is irrelevant, since culture does not contradict natural determinants and patterns, but rather qualitatively alters them. So, are justified the idea of culture as a phenomenon that exist accordingly and in proportion to (...) nature, need to form its potential and content and not contradict the axioms and values of life. Theoretical basis. In the theoretical field of philosophy of life, the local development of the problem of culture as an explication of vitality produces grounds for analytical and prognostic activity concerning meaningful transformations in a separate historical and social horizon. The fundamental categories of culture: spirit, value, symbol, freedom, justice and harmony receive the requested content and meaning. The idea of the constancy and super-naturality of cultural universals is illusory and dangerous. The consequences of such a "non-cosmological" justification of freedom and will, and the assertion of values, that contradict the logic of life, are the global environmental, economic and social crisis of our time. Originality. The originality of the authors’ thought lies in the interpretation of the essence of culture as an explication of vitality, as a logical and natural extension of life. In this formulation of the problem of culture, the possibility of reconciling the natural, social and value determinants of human life is formed. Theorists of the philosophy of life substantiated the primacy and supremacy of the values of life over the values and meanings of culture. The position of authors position consists in the need to understand culture as an environmentally appropriate and dimensional phenomenon, the content and strategies of which are determined by a single ontology. Conclusions. The analysis let authors understand the voluntarily chaotic element of life. Culture in its philosophical analysis took on a clearer anthropomorphic dimension: the immanent logic of being in substantiating the essence and purpose of man and the value of his being localized the universe of transcendence in the concept of "living world", "inhabited space", "human, too human". Accordingly, the range of cultural evaluations has been polarized: from the approving statement of its vital essence, to the disparaging calls for its reform. The chaotic state of voluntarily acts is transformed into cultural codes and stereotypes by rationalization. The modern global nature of crisis phenomena, both in the worldview, in the social, and in the ecological dimension, requires reformatting the understanding of culture as a continuation of nature, and not its antipode. (shrink)
Informed consent is one of the foundational ethical and legal requirements of research with human subjects. The Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Declaration, the Belmont Report, the Common Rule and many other laws and codes require that research subjects make a voluntary, informed choice to participate in research.12345 Informed consent is based on the moral principle of respect for autonomy, which holds that rational individuals have a right to make decisions and take actions that reflect their values and preferences. 6 Whereas (...) most guidelines and codes also require that informed consent be properly documented, informed consent is much more than signing a piece of paper: It is a continuous process of communication between the investigator and the research subject. 7 Because the body of knowledge impacting a study frequently changes, subjects should receive information from investigators after they have enrolled in a study, such as significant new findings that may affect their decision to participate in research or clinically useful tests results. 8910 In large studies, some investigators use newsletters to update subjects on the progress of research and other developments.11Most of the ongoing communications between investigators and subjects involve little more than information sharing, without revisiting the decision to participate in research or signing any additional documents. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary for subjects to reaffirm their decision to participate, to re-consent, or to sign or re-sign a document. 8 Re-consent can be defined as an action in which a subject makes the decision to participate in research once again. Re-consent is different from reaffirming a commitment to participate in a study, because in re-consent one actually reconsiders the information necessary to make decision, whereas in reaffirmation one simply expresses …. (shrink)
The author examines literary sources, takes poets as subjects, and allows their philosophical implications to emerge. Man is thought, but thought is figuring. Hence man is the figure who figures. And good figuring works. Sewell selects six modern figures for man: temple, labyrinth, gambler, laboratory, language, machine, showing the partiality of each, only to lead into a detailed examination of the cosmic figures: the universe itself, as pole of the I; suffering and effort, as capabilities of the I; love and (...) death, as man's absolute reach. Though the book as a whole may not work, its somewhat ragged character may well display the true state of our philosophical methods for coming to grips with man.—D. B. B. (shrink)
As a survey of positions on theological language, notably those of Aquinas, Barth and Tillich, this monograph is weighted toward Aquinas, but is generally adequate and up-to-date. Comparative it is: Aquinas wins-"the distinction between modus significandi and res significata is more satisfactory than Barth's... between form and content or Tillich's between literal and symbolic meaning". But critical it is not. The author does not question the modus/res distinction, though Aquinas himself did. Epistemological questions are blanketed by "vague intuition"; semantic and (...) logical issues are avoided.—D. B. B. (shrink)
Psychiatry is increasingly dominated by the reductionist claim that mental illness is caused by neurobiological abnormalities such as chemical imbalances in the brain. Critical psychiatry does not believe that this is the whole story and proposes a more ethical foundation for practice. This book describes an original framework for renewing mental health services in alliance with people with mental health problems. It is an advance over the polarization created by the "anti-psychiatry" of the past.
Mr. Kubat attributes much of the misinformation about Brentano's theories to the lack of an edition of Brentano's collected writing. If anyone should wish to know more about Brentano's doctrines, he may have been led by this remark to despair of finding them anywhere in print. The three works which Mr. Kubat mentions, Grundlegung und Aufbau der Ethik, Religion und Philosophie, and Die Lehre vom richtigen Urteil, all edited by F. Mayer-Hillebrand and published by A. Francke in Bern, represent no (...) more than a continuation of the Gesamtausgabe of Brentano's writings which was begun by Oskar Kraus and Alfred Kastil after Brentano's death. The volumes in the Gesamtausgabe represent ten numbers in Meiner's Philosophische Bibliothek and are listed under the heading, "Gesammelte philosophische Schriften." They contain not only new editions of much of the work which Brentano published during his lifetime, but a large amount of material which Kraus and Kastil selected from his enormous Nachlass as well. I am sure that Mrs. Mayer-Hillebrand herself would be the first to recognize that the three published volumes she has edited, and the one on esthetics which is soon to appear in print, are part of a whole which also includes the volumes edited by Kraus and Kastil. Taken altogether, the thirteen volumes that have been published by Meiner and by Francke can well be viewed as at least an adequate substitute for a collected edition. Surely they include everything which is necessary to dispel the common misinformation which Mr. Kubat tries to explain by denying their existence. The trouble has not been the lack of a collected edition, but the lack of readers. (shrink)