In this paper, we explore and discuss the use of the concept of being affected in biomedical decision making processes in Germany. The corresponding German term ‘Betroffenheit’ characterizes on the one hand a relation between a state of affairs and a person and on the other an emotional reaction that involves feelings like concern and empathy with the suffering of others. An example for the increasing relevance of being affected is the postulation of the participation of people with disabilities and (...) chronic or acute diseases in the discourse, as partly realized in the German National Ethics Council or the Federal Joint Committee. Nevertheless, not only on the political level, the resistance against the participation of affected people is still strong; the academic debate seems to be cross-grained, too. Against this background, we explore the meaning and argumentative role of the concept of being affected as it is used by affected and lay people themselves. Our analysis is based on four focus group discussions in which lay people, patients and relatives of patients discuss their attitudes towards biomedical interventions such as organ transplantation and genetic testing. This setting allows for a comparison of how affected and non-affected people are concerned and deliberate about medical opportunities, but also of how they position themselves as being affected or non-affected with respect to (scientific) knowledge and morality. On this basis, we discuss the normative relevance of being affected for the justification of political participation. (shrink)
ABSTRACTEvaluative aesthetic discourse communicates that the speaker has had first-hand experience of what is talked about. If you call a book bewitching, it will be assumed that you have read the book. If you say that a building is beautiful, it will be assumed that you have had some visual experience with it. According to an influential view, this is because knowledge is a norm for assertion, and aesthetic knowledge requires first-hand experience. This paper criticizes this view and argues for (...) an alternative view, according to which aesthetic discourse expresses affective states of mind, analogously to how assertions express beliefs. It is because these affective states require first-hand experience that aesthetic discourse communicates that such acquaintance is at hand. The paper furthermore argues that the lack of an experience requirement for aesthetic belief ascriptions constitutes a problem for the kind of expressivist who claims that evaluative belief states are covert non-cognitive states. (shrink)
Gurven discusses three key features of food sharing, specifically producer control, need, and contingency. I make two general points regarding the use of these variables in tests of food-sharing hypotheses. First, that these variables are relative, not absolute concepts; and second, that the predictions generated from these variables overlap significantly. In addition, I suggest frequency of sharing as a measure of contingency for the RA hypothesis.
A quasi‐experimental, treatment‐control group investigation was designed to test the effects of a pre‐service training course for secondary education teachers. Previous findings from teacher effects research and cognitive strategy instruction were translated into two direct instructional models: a model of executive acting directed at well‐structured skills and a model of strategic acting directed at higher‐level thinking strategies. Pre‐ and post‐training comparison of classroom observations by trained observers revealed significantly more effective instruction by the student teachers after training. No treatment effect (...) was found for pupil engagement rates. The ratings from the supervising teachers did not show significantly better use of the recommended instructional skills by the trained student teachers than by the untrained student teachers. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this article we use theory and empirical evidence to synthesize a model for the analysis of autonomy in people with addictions. We review research on motivation and denial as accepted addiction constructs that need to be replaced with non-stigmatizing and autonomy-supportive language when seeking to ?treat? addicts. We present three main factors involved in relational autonomy in addiction (mentalizing, positive self-concept, and stigma), and illustrate our model by examining variations on these parameters in two case studies of heroin (...) addicts. We conclude that a growth perspective is needed to assess functioning in populations believed to be ?addicted? and make suggestions for assessment. (shrink)
On the heels of Franzén's fine technical exposition of Gödel's incompleteness theorems and related topics (Franzén 2004) comes this survey of the incompleteness theorems aimed at a general audience. Gödel's Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse is an extended and self-contained exposition of the incompleteness theorems and a discussion of what informal consequences can, and in particular cannot, be drawn from them.
Over the past twenty odd years, North America has witnessed the complete medicalization of unhappiness by transforming it into depression, which has been conceived in psychologically reductionistic terms. Many are unhappy with this state of affairs, including the contemporary American novelists, Walker Percy, Richard Ford, and Jonathan Franzen. This paper explores why they are unhappy with this trend and why they reject psychological reductionism in favor of a vision of life that is more thoroughly moral in its outlook.
This short book has two main purposes. The first is to explain Kurt Gödel's first and second incompleteness theorems in informal terms accessible to a layperson, or at least a non-logician. The author claims that, to follow this part of the book, a reader need only be familiar with the mathematics taught in secondary school. I am not sure if this is sufficient. A grasp of the incompleteness theorems, even at the level of ‘the big picture’, might require some experience (...) with the rigor of mathematical proof. Moreover, since the incompleteness theorems concern formal deductive systems, it would help for a potential reader of this book to have some familiarity with at least elementary logic.There are, of course, a number of informal expositions of the incompleteness theorems. I do not see the need to engage in a comparative study. The second, and more important, goal of the present book is to discuss some alleged consequences of the incompleteness theorems and, in particular, to debunk thoroughly claims in philosophy, religion, and literary criticism that are supposed to be established, or at least bolstered, by incompleteness. The execution of this part of the book is masterly. The arguments are clear and compelling.The book has eight chapters, each between eight and twenty-eight pages. The opening chapter gives a very brief account of the incompleteness theorems and a sketch of Gödel's life and work. Chapter 2 gives the main overview of the incompleteness theorems, plus …. (shrink)
1. Logic, determinism and free will. The determinism-free will debate is perhaps as old as philosophy itself and has been engaged in from a great variety of points of view including those of scientific, theological and logical character; my concern here is to limit attention to two arguments from logic. To begin with, there is an argument in support of determinism that dates back to Aristotle, if not farther. It rests on acceptance of the Law of Excluded Middle, according to (...) which every proposition is either true or false, no matter whether the proposition is about the past, present or future. In particular, the argument goes, whatever one does or does not do in the future is determined in the present by the truth or falsity of the corresponding proposition. Surely no such argument could really establish determinism, but one is hard pressed to explain where it goes wrong. One now classic dismantling of it has been given by Gilbert Ryle, in the chapter ‘What was to be’ of his fine book, Dilemmas (Ryle 1954). We leave it to the interested reader to pursue that and the subsequent literature. (shrink)
In 1998, Richard Rorty drew attention to a cultural tendency, most obvious in the contemporary novel, toward self-mockery or disgust. Citing the recent novels of Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Almanac of the Dead), Rorty observed in this late twentieth-century writing a palpable condescension toward national pride. This was a literature in which it was no longer considered appropriate to take pride in one’s citizenship or nation, a writing “of rueful acquiescence in the end of American hope.”2 (...) Rorty’s fondness for binary oppositions led subsequently to a contrast between this contemporary writing and the socialist novels of the early twentieth century. Books by John Steinbeck, Upton .. (shrink)
The social novel ought not to be confused with didacticism in literature and ought not to be expected to provide prescriptions for the cure of social ills. Neither should it necessarily be viewed as ephemeral. After examining justifications of the social novel offered by William Dean Howells (in the 1880s) and Jonathan Franzen (in the 1990s), the author explores the way in which social novels alter perceptions and responses at levels of sensibility that are not usually susceptible to rational argument, (...) push back moral horizons, contribute to the creation of social conscience, and expose the complexity and contextuality of moral discernment. As a concrete example, Howells's 1889 novel "A Hazard of New Fortunes" is analyzed (and defended against its detractors) in terms of its sophisticated treatment of the dilemmas that arise from a recognition of personal complicity in structural sin, its disclosure of the context-indexed evolution of values, and its attention to the importance and fragility of social trust. (shrink)
Relations between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies have been the subject of a sharply increasing amount of publications in recent years within academic business journals. In this article, we critically assess this fast-developing body of literature, which we treat as forming a ‘business and society discourse’ on NGO–business relations. Drawing on discourse theory, we examine 199 academic articles in 11 business and society, international business, and management journals. Focusing on the dominant articulations on the NGO–business relationship and key signifiers they (...) rely on, we analyze the problem-settings of articles in order to reveal the statements that are acceptable and appropriate within this field. Our threefold aim is to (1) identify dominant articulations of NGO–business relations in business and society discourse, (2) expose those articulations that are silenced or suppressed by these dominant articulations, and (3) critically assess possible power effects of these discursive dynamics in the field of discursivity. While business and society discourse on NGO–business relations overall remains open to many different articulations, we also find that those articulations that focus on NGO–business partnerships and governance initiatives tend to privilege collaborative and deliberative ways of engaging and marginalize more adversarial subject positions. We call for more recognition of the potentially constructive role that can be played by conflict. (shrink)
Community engagement to protect and empower participating individuals and communities is an ethical requirement in research. There is however limited evidence on effectiveness or relevance of some of the approaches used to improve ethical practice. We conducted a study to understand the rationale, relevance and benefits of community engagement in health research. This paper draws from this wider study and focuses on factors that shaped Community Advisory Group members’ selection processes and functions in Malawi. A qualitative research design was used; (...) two participatory workshops were conducted with CAG members to understand their roles in research. Workshop findings were triangulated with insights from ethnographic field notes, key informant interviews with stakeholders, focus group discussions with community members and document reviews. Data were coded manually and thematic content analysis was used to identify main issues. Results have shown that democratic selection of CAG members presented challenges in both urban and rural settings. We also noted that CAG members perceived their role as a form of employment which potentially led to ineffective representation of community interests. We conclude that democratic voting is not enough to ensure effective representation of community's interests of ethical relevance. CAG members’ abilities to understand research ethics, identify potential harms to community and communicate feedback to researchers is critical to optimise engagement of lay community and avoid tokenistic engagement. (shrink)
The viewpoint that consciousness, including feeling, could be fully expressed by a computational device is known as strong artificial intelligence or strong AI. Here I offer a defense of strong AI based on machine-state functionalism at the quantum level, or quantum-state functionalism. I consider arguments against strong AI, then summarize some counterarguments I find compelling, including Torkel Franzén’s work which challenges Roger Penrose’s claim, based on Gödel incompleteness, that mathematicians have nonalgorithmic levels of “certainty.” Some consequences of strong AI (...) are then considered. A resolution is offered of some problems including John Searle’s Chinese Room problem and the problem of consciousness propagation under isomorphism. (shrink)
Concepts that refer to trends like globalization and medicalization have, of late, become a hallmark of public debates. The logic of such concepts is that the same word can refer both to good and bad developments, partly depending on the chosen viewpoint. Hardly anyone opposes the global enforcement of human rights, but the global liberation of trade is sometimes viewed with suspicion. In a similar vein, advances in medicine are seldom seen as a bad thing, but medical solutions to social (...) issues can be seen as problematic. (shrink)
This qualitative social scientific study explores professional texts of healthcare ethics to understand the ways in which ethical professionalism in medicine and nursing are culturally constructed in Finland. Two books in ethics, published by Finnish national professional organizations—one for nurses and one for physicians—were analyzed with the method of critical discourse analysis. Codes of ethics for each profession were also scrutinized. Analysis of the texts sought to reveal what is taken for granted in the texts as well as to speculate (...) what appeared to be relegated to the margins of the texts or left entirely invisible. Physicians’ ethics was discovered to emphasize objectivity and strong group membership as a basis for ethical professionalism. The discourses identified in the physicians’ ethics guidebook were universal ethics, reductionism, non-subjectivity, and threat. Nursing ethics was discovered to highlight reflectivity as its central focus. This idea of reflectivity was echoed in the identified discourses: local ethics, enlightenment, and moral agency. The analysis exposes a cultural gap between the ethics discourses of medicine and nursing. More work is needed to bridge ethics discourses in Finland in a way that can support healthcare professionals to find common ground and to foster inclusivity in ethical dialogue. Further development of bioethical practices is suggested as a potential way forward. (shrink)
Many Japanese American Buddhist families in the San Jose, California area observe a series of late life celebrations in honor of their elders. The sixty-first, the seven-tieth, the seventy-seventh, and eighty-eighth birthdays are celebrated with special flourish. These celebrations mark milestones in life and underscore the respect and gratitude elders are accorded by the family and community. At these gatherings the talk among family and guests invariably turns to the life of the elder and they wonder how the elder was (...) able to survive and even flourish amid the hard- ships and setbacks during his or her long life. Indeed, long-lived elders do seem to have a presence of being that can only come from many years of living. The idea of kyogai, “one's station in life,” is especially revered in the elder. Ordinarily, kyogai refers to one's place in society. Kyogai also suggests the spiritual maturity of being able to live with equanimity and ease in a transient and interdependent world. For Shiryu Morita, a leading Japanese sho-artist or calligrapher and student of Buddhist thought and practice, kyogai is both a spiritual and an aesthetic quality. I reflect on Morita's notion of kyogai within the context of the Buddha's attitude toward aging and elders. I offer my reflections as a Buddholo- gist interested in elder ethics and as a Buddhist priest concerned with caring for and empowering elders. I begin with a description of the Buddha's attitude toward aging and elders outlined in the Sutta-Nipata, an early Buddhist document. The “Salla Sutta” in the Sutta-Nipata outlines the Buddha's attitude toward old age, elders and elder tasks. Old age is linked to the question of death and the unease of living in a transient world, in the passages cited below.1. (shrink)
A contribution to the renewed German and French discussion about the important German philosopher of this century, Martin Heidegger, and about his relation to national socialism. To deal with the ideological and personal partake of the thinker in the activity of NSDAP is deserves our attention from the two points of view. First, Heidegger's attitude towards his own past after 1945 is typical for the spiritual position that continually shaped the history of the Federal Republic of Germany up to the (...) 60's. Second, each tradition, which made people blind to the nazi regime, is to be critically adopted. J. Habermas asks if there was an inner connection between Heidegger's philosophy and his political perception of the situation. He summarizes the views of O. Poggeler, W. Franzen, H. Ott, and he refers to other writings and newspaper articles as well. The author emphasizes that any moral evaluation of the behaviour and the acting during the nazi epoch is possible only when based on a historical approach. Heidegger's work, on the other hand, disconnected itself from his personality already long time ago, and especially the Being and Time is placed so eminently in the philosophical thought of our century, that it cannot be discredited at all by his engagement on the part of fascism. (shrink)