This paper considers the debate surrounding the elucidation of Laka-tosian novel facts in Keynesian macroeconomics. An analysis of this debate highlights how, in the process of using methodologies to appraise economics, economic methodologists have been forced into adopting the methodology of historiographic research programmes (MHRP) as a method of appraising methodologies. It is argued here that the failure to find Lakatosian novel facts in Keynesian macroeconomics has prompted economic methodologists to consider the appropriateness of MHRP as a method of meta-methodological (...) appraisal. This paper suggests that the failure to find Lakatosian novel facts in economics must necessarily lead economic methodologists into a Kuhnian-type investigation of what it is that economists actually do. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin When an unborn child is diagnosed with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, many people now believe that the best solution is to immediately terminate the pregnancy. This article explores the option of continuing the pregnancy with the support of perinatal palliative care. Many parents have found this alternative fits better with their values, and better honours both their unborn child and their situation as the loving parents of this child. The article also explores the information and support (...) which parents need in order to make a truly informed choice between termination and continuing the pregnancy. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin This exploration of business ethics is based on the fifth edition of Business Ethics by Damian Grace and Stephen Cohen. Against the view that business is an ethics-free zone, it argues that for almost all of us, there is an important place for ethics in business. Against the view of neoliberalism or economic rationalism that free and unfettered markets necessarily bring about fairness, it argues that there is a place for government regulation of business. This article also (...) includes material on a number of other topics including ethics in advertising, ethics in the professions, environmental responsibility, and supporting an ethical culture in organisations through codes of ethics and codes of conduct. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin When a girl or woman has an unplanned pregnancy, her choices are to keep the child, to give the child for adoption, or to have an abortion. The best outcome is any situation which allows her to keep and successfully raise the child. When this is not possible, this article argues that modern open adoption is a better outcome for both the woman and her child than abortion. In making this argument, this article reviews the complex social (...) history of adoption in Australia. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin In December 2008, the US President's Council on Bioethics issued a White Paper titled 'Controversies in the Determination of Death.'1 Responding to contemporary critiques of the concept of brain death, the Council upholds the validity of this neurological standard for determining death. Significantly, it also proposes replacing the existing explanation of this standard with a new, very different rationale. As well, it argues that 'total brain failure' is a better name for this condition than 'brain death.' This (...) article summarises and then comments on this important statement. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin Over the next three decades, the number of people living with dementia both in Australia and around the world will almost triple. This calls for significant changes within our society. It calls for international cooperation, with particular assistance being given to low income countries. It calls for increased research into many aspects of dementia, ranging from the search for a cure to the identification of best practice in the care of persons with dementia. It calls for upskilling (...) in Australia's health, community and aged care sectors. Because many people with dementia will continue to live in the community, above all it calls for the creation of dementia-friendly communities. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a new Instruction on bioethics on 12 December 2008, and titled it as Dignitas Personae. A brief summary of the new Vatican Instruction on bioethics is presented, which is aimed at contributing to the formation of conscience, and to promote biomedical research which is ethically sound and which truly serves human beings.
McGovern, Kevin; Khalafzai, Rida Usman This article explores the new Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. The Code is addressed to research institutions and researchers. It charges research institutions with the responsibility to develop and maintain a framework of research governance "through which research is assessed for quality, safety, privacy, risk management, financial management and ethical acceptability.
McGovern, Kevin This is a slightly edited version of a talk given on 23 August 2010 at the Catholic Health Australia National Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Three bioethicists were asked to reflect on Ethical Challenges Ten Years from Now. This talk focussed not on new issues but on current concerns which will continue to challenge us.
McGovern, Kevin This is a slightly edited version of a talk given on 1 September 2011 at the Catholic Health Australia National Conference at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. The theme of the conference was Remaining True.
McGovern, Kevin In recent years, some speakers at Catholic conferences and a few articles on Catholic websites and in Catholic newspapers have claimed that brain death is not really death. Some Catholics may be confused by this - particularly if they are asked to agree to the removal of mechanical ventilation or the procurement of organs from a relative or friend who has been declared brain dead. At the same time, these claims might damage the reputation of the Church (...) within the scientific and health care communities. This article reviews what brain death is, and then details Catholic investigations and statements about this concept. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin After a brief account of the Victorian Law Reform Act 2008, this article reports on three responses to this law in the last year. Because Section 8 of this law restricts the healthcare practitioner's usual right of conscientious objection, this article also discusses conscience and conscientious objection.
McGovern, Kevin Benedict XVI released his third encyclical on 29 June 2009. Its Latin title is 'Caritas in Veritate;' its English title is 'On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth.' This article explores the significant teachings of this encyclical.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores a Report titled 'Dementia: Ethical Issues,' which was produced by the UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The Report calls us to examine our attitudes towards both dementia and people with dementia, and to act in solidarity with people with dementia by seeking to include them in mainstream society, and to provide them with sufficient help and services so that they are able to enjoy a good quality of life throughout the course of their illness. (...) It also calls us to act in solidarity with the carers of people with dementia, providing them with help and services both in their caring capacity and also in meeting their personal needs. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin; Brussen, Kerri Anne Some vaccines are produced using cell lines which were originally developed from tissue from an aborted foetus. Vaccines are ethically compromised by this connection to abortion. within the Catholic Church, the Pontifical Academy for Life has called for research and development of alternative vaccines which are ethically acceptable. Until alternative vaccines are developed, it has also accepted the use even of these ethically compromised vaccines in order to protect children, pregnant women and the population (...) as a whole from the risk of contracting serious disease. This article explores all these issues from an Australian perspective. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin Well-known ABC presenter Caroline Jones has written a memoir about her father's death, and her own long and painful experience of grief afterwards. Titled 'Through a Glass Darkly', her memoir has much to teach us about medical decision-making, chaplaincy and pastoral care, grief, and the search for meaning in life.
McGovern, Kevin The Victorian Law Reform Commission's Report on Guardianship contains many findings and recommendations about Advance Care Planning. This article considers the most significant of these from the perspective of the teaching of the Catholic Church.
McGovern, Kevin After exploring the sources of Catholic teaching about tube feeding, this article summarises that teaching in four points. Because tube feeding usually offers little if any benefit in advanced dementia, as a general rule a feeding tube is not inserted into these patients.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores how some of the ethical issues raised by Donation after Cardiac Death are addressed in Australia's new National Protocol. It endorses much of what has been established for the management of professional conflicts of interest, the management of conflicts between the wishes of donor and family, the use of ante mortem interventions, and the determination of death. However, it calls for a 5 minute observation time before the declaration of death, and a stronger statement (...) about conscientious objection. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin British political strategist Philip Gould was diagnosed with cancer early in 2008. He died towards the end of 2011. Challenging community attitudes about dying with cancer, he insisted in a book-length memoir that this was "the most important ... the most fulfilling and the most inspirational time of my life." This article reflects on Philip's testimony.
McGovern, Kevin This article reviews three statements from the National Health and Medical Research Council on post-coma unresponsiveness (PCU). One of the functions of the NHMRC is to propose standards and guidelines for health care in Australia. The paper explores the causes and neuropathology of PCU, imaging and other tests and prognosis from unresponsiveness.
McGovern, Kevin Physician and ethicist Professor Paul Komesaroff and former judge Stephen Charles QC have proposed legislation to protect health professionals from the risk of criminal prosecution when in appropriate circumstances they provide pain relief which may shorten a patient's life. For this protection, they recommend that four conditions must all be satisfied: the patient has a terminal illness; the intention is to relieve pain and suffering; the treatment is reasonable in terms of current medical practice; and the treatment (...) is necessary to relieve pain and suffering. This article examines their proposal, supports it, and joins in the call for Victorian legislation which achieves this purpose. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin A recent move in Victoria to decriminalise abortion invites reflection on this issue. In this article, I review the history which has led to the present situation, and then offer four comments.
McGovern, Kevin The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued a guide to the spiritual care of the dying person. It reminds us that spiritual care is an essential part of holistic palliative care, and that every health professional has a role to play in the provision of spiritual care.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores the report of the 2010 independent review committee into Australia's cloning and embryo research laws. Its author, the Director of the Centre, was one of the five members of this committee.
McGovern, Kevin The Catholic vision of evangelisation combines concerns about faith and spirituality with a call to provide practical service particularly to the most disadvantaged. This article explores how this vision is articulated in Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium. It also explores how in presenting this vision Evangelii Gaudium drew upon both Paul VI's Evangelii Nuntiandi and the Latin American bishops' Aparecida Document. A concise synopsis of Evangelii Gaudium is included, along with brief reflections on the implications of all this (...) for Catholic health, aged and community care services in Australia. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin When we experience serious illness, one of our deepest challenges is to make sense of what is happening to us. This article considers how we might do this. It particularly explores John Paul II's Salvifici Doloris, which suggests that Christians might discover meaning by uniting their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ.
McGovern, Kevin How might we prepare well for death? And how might we help other people also to prepare well for death? Spiritual guide Henri Nouwen suggests that we should strive to recognise that we are children of God, brothers and sisters of one another, and parents of the generations to come. This article explores what he means.
McGovern, Kevin This is an edited record of the presentation given by Revd Kevin McGovern, Director of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics, at the Centre's conference on palliative care on 3 October 2013. It explores the processes, challenges and benefits of Advance Care Planning. It also argues that Advance Care Planning will change the provision of health care significantly.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores what is said in the fourth chapter of Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium about social engagement particularly with the poor. Francis sees practical engagement with the poor as an essential component of the Christian faith. This engagement begins with loving attentiveness to them. It seeks their integral development, and their full inclusion in the life of society. Such social engagement also calls us to care for the environment, to participate in the quest for peace, and (...) to engage in dialogue with all people to seek consensus on ways of building a better world. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium calls us to both service and silence. This article explores the theological underpinning of this call, and considers its implications for Catholic health, aged and community care services in Australia.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores Reflections of a Setting Sun: Healing Experiences around Death, written by palliative care physician Michael Barbato. It considers caring for someone who is dying, and preparing for death. A major focus of this article is deathbed visions after which a dying person reports being visited by relatives or friends who have already died.
In what sense might the authoritarian practices and suspension of legal norms as means to combat the supposed threat of “terrorism,” within and by contemporary western democratic states, be understood as a problem of and not for democracy? That question lies at the heart of this article. It will be explored through the theoretical frame offered in the work of Giorgio Agamben on the state of exception and the example of British state collusion in non-state violence in the North of (...) Ireland. The North of Ireland provides a particularly illuminating case study to explore how the state of exception—the suspension of law and of legal norms and the exercise of arbitrary decision—has increasingly become a paradigm of contemporary governance. In so doing it brings into question not only the traditional conceptualization of the “democratic dilemma” of liberal democratic states “confronting terrorism” but also challenge dominant paradigms of transitional justice that generally fail to problematize the liberal democratic order. After outlining Agamben’s understanding of the state of exception the article will chart the development of “exceptional measures” and the creation of a permanent state of emergency in the North, before critically exploring the role of collusion as an aspect of counter-insurgency during the recent conflict. The paper will argue that the normalization of exceptional measures, combined with the need to delimit the explicitness of constitutional provision for the same, provided a context for the emergence of collusion as a paradigm case for the increasing replication of colonial practices into the core activity of the contemporary democratic state. (shrink)