In this paper I have not, of course, presented all the embryological data that can be collected from the Talmudic and Midrashic literature. More details can be found in Julius Preuss' classical work on biblical and talmudic medicine, now available in Fred Rosner's English translation and in a French M.D. thesis by Martine Michel.75 I also did not present any data on teratology, and did not deal with the very rich Jewish mystical lore, the Cabbala. But a few comments are (...) in order here about the material on embryology.There are very few original ideas in the Talmudic corpus on embryology, but it is obvious that the Sages were well aware of the Greek and Roman theories on embryology.The fact that the Talmud is a compilation that was built up slowly, during several centuries, explains why the information recorded in it cannot be ascribed solely to one school of thought or one clear-cut influence.When a definite problem was difficult to solve because there were many different theories about it, the Sages based their opinion on a famous experiment that seemed to offer guarantees of validity. This was the case with the controversial problem of the formation of the embryo and its sexual differentiation, where the Sages made use of an experiment allegedly initiated by Cleopatra.The Sages were ready to discuss scientific problems with non-Jewish scholars and even to accept their arguments. This was the case with the important topic of the time of the entry of the soul into the embryo. But the legal conclusions drawn from the Sages' opinion were not consistent with those declared by Churth Fathers such as Tertullian. Embryotomy, for instance, was permitted by Jewish law.Wide interest, scholarly discussions, suggestive descriptions and readiness to inquire and to obtain detailed information characterized the Talmudic discussions of embryology.In conclusion, I quote a Talmudic text that reviews the whole process of embryological development through the sequence of prayers of a faithful Jew who learns that his wife is expecting a baby.The first three days, [he should pray to the Lord] that the seed should not putrefy.From the third to the fortieth day: that the child should be a male.From the fortieth day to the third month: that there should not occur any superfetation, which could lead the first embryo to be a fetus compressus.From the third to the sixth month: that an abortion should not occur.From the sixth to the ninth month: that the birth should be without problems.76. (shrink)
When Thomas Jefferson placed 'the pursuit of happiness' along with life and liberty in The Declaration of Independence he was most likely referring to Aristotle's concept of happiness, or eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is not about good feelings but rather the fulfilment of human potentials. Fulfilment is made possible by virtue; the moderation of desire and emotion by reason. The Psychology of Happiness was the first book to bring together psychological, philosophical, and physiological theory and research in support of Aristotle's view. It (...) examines the similarity between Aristotle's concept of virtue and modern cognitive theories of emotion. It discusses the discovery of human potentials, the development of virtue and its neurological basis, the mistaken idea that fulfilment is selfish, and several other issues related to the pursuit of a good human life. (shrink)
I Know There is a God explores the creation of the world and the role of the Designer God. The book refutes the arguments of neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium; expounds upon Paley's imagery of the watch as evidence that both the watch and the world need a maker; and seeks to answer Nietzsche's question of whether or not the watchmaker is still alive.
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that thinking (...) and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
This work presents the basic arguments and fundamental themes of the political and moral thought of the seventeenth-century philosopher, Samuel Pufendorf--one of the most widely read natural lawyers of the pre-Kantian era. Selections from the texts of Pufendorf's two major works, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence and The Law of Nature and of Nations, have been brought together to make Pufendorf's moral and political thought more accessible. The selections included have received a new English translation, the first for both works (...) in roughly sixty years. The editor, a political scientist, and the translator, a philosopher, have developed a volume that is comprehensive and representative of Pufendorf's thought without being repetitive, fragmented, or obscure. (shrink)
The UK Chief Medical Officer’s 2016 Annual Report, Generation Genome, focused on a vision to fully integrate genomics into all aspects of the UK’s National Health Service. This process of integration, which has now already begun, raises a wide range of social and ethical concerns, many of which were discussed in the final Chapter of the report. This paper explores how the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project —the catalyst for Generation Genome, and for bringing genomics into the NHS—is negotiating these ethical (...) concerns. The UK’s 100 kGP, promoted and delivered by Genomics England Limited, is an innovative venture aiming to sequence 100,000 genomes from NHS patients who have a rare disease, cancer, or an infectious disease. GEL has emphasised the importance of ethical governance and decision-making. However, some sociological critique argues that biomedical/technological organisations presenting themselves as ‘ethical’ entities do not necessarily reflect a space within which moral thinking occurs. Rather, the ‘ethical work’ conducted by organisations is more strategic, relating to the politics of the organisation and the need to build public confidence. We set out to explore whether GEL’s ethical framework was reflective of this critique, and what this tells us more broadly about how genomics is being integrated into the NHS in response to the ethical and social concerns raised in Generation Genome. We do this by drawing on a series of 20 interviews with individuals associated with or working at GEL. (shrink)
This article seeks to demonstrate the influence of J. G. Fichte's philosophy on Søren Kierkegaard's theory of the self as he develops it in The Sickness unto Death and to interpret his theory of the self as a religious critique of autonomy. Following Michelle Kosch, it argues that Kierkegaard's theory of the self was developed in part as a critique of idealist conceptions of agency. Moreover, Kierkegaard's view of agency provides a powerful way of understanding human freedom and finitude that (...) has implications for contemporary debates about autonomy, normativity, and agency. (shrink)