It is widely acknowledged among those philosophers and theologians who have given the matter much thought that the fact of animal suffering challenges Theism in a distinctive way. Standard attempts to reconcile human suffering with a perfectly powerful and benevolent deity don’t seem to apply easily to the case of animals. Animals can hardly be said to deserve their suffering or be morally improved by it, nor is it generally supposed that animals will be compensated for their pain in an (...) afterlife. On the face of it, then, animal pain appears to be a bothersome evil still left over when all the theodicy work is done. I would like to consider some of the attempts to deal with animal suffering in theodicy, showing why each ultimately fails. Rather than attempting to provide the successful theodicy myself, I will try to show what the theodicies reveal about the relationship between Theism and moral attitudes toward animals. (shrink)
This paper discusses recent neuroscientific research that indicates a solution for what we label the ''causal problem'' of pain qualia, the problem of how the brain generates pain qualia. In particular, the data suggest that pain qualia naturally supervene on activity in a specific brain region: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The first section of this paper discusses several philosophical concerns regarding the nature of pain qualia. The second section overviews the current state of knowledge regarding the neuroanatomy and physiology (...) of pain processing. The third section highlights the recent research by Rainville et al. [(1997) Pain affect encoded in human anterior cingulate but not somatosensory cortex, Science, 277, 968-971], which suggests that pain affect is encoded in the ACC. The final section of the paper spells out exactly how these data affect the causal problem of pain qualia. (shrink)
Over the past decade, interest in human enhancement has waxed and waned. The initial surge of interest and funding, driven by the US Army’s desire for a ‘Future Force Warrior’ has partly given way to the challenges of meeting operational demands abroad. However the ethical opportunities provided by soldier enhancement demand that investigation of its possibilities continue. Benefits include enhanced decision-making, improved force capability, reduced force size and lower casualty rates. These benefits — and enhancement itself — carry concomitant risks, (...) including morale issues due to tension between enhanced and unenhanced soldiers, the issues of enhanced veterans and ownership of enhanced bodies, challenges to the army’s core values and personal identity issues. A range of measures should be designed to highlight the opportunities offered by enhancement while also minimising the potential risks. This includes providing advice on which areas the army ought to demonstrate restraint in research for ethical reasons. (shrink)
Invisible Hand accounts of the operations of the competitive market are often thought to have two implications for morality as it confronts economic life. First, explanations of agents economic activities eschew constitutive appeal to moral notions; and second, such moralism is pernicious insofar as it tends to undermine the operations of a socially valuable social process. This is the Mandevillean Conceit. The Conceit rests on an avarice-only reading of the profit-motive that is mistaken. The avarice-only reading is not the only (...) way of characterising the profit-motive, and there are some positive grounds for thinking the benefits of profit pursuit are better attributed to the "lucrephile", and not the avarice-only "lucrepath". (shrink)
Monotheism and the Meaning of Life explores the role of God, and the relationship to the question 'What is the meaning of life?' for adherents of the main monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Exploring the various senses of 'meaning' and 'life', Mawson argues that there are various questions implicit in the notion of the meaning of life and that the God of monotheistic religion is central to the correct answers to all of them.
Curbside ethics consultations occur when an ethics consultant provides guidance to a party who seeks assistance over ethical concerns in a case, without the consultant involving other stakeholders, conducting his or her own comprehensive review of the case, or writing a chart note. Some have argued that curbside consultation is problematic because the consultant, in focusing on a single narrative offered by the party seeking advice, necessarily fails to account for the full range of moral perspectives. Their concern is that (...) any guidance offered by the ethics consultant will privilege and empower one party’s viewpoint over—and to the exclusion of—other stakeholders. This could lead to serious harms, such as the ethicist being reduced to a means to an end for a clinician seeking to achieve his or her own preferred outcome, the ethicist denying the broader array of stakeholders input in the process, or the ethicist providing wrongheaded or biased advice, posing dangers to the ethical quality of decision-making. Although these concerns are important and must be addressed, we suggest that they are manageable. This paper proposes using conflict coaching, a practice developed within the discipline of conflict management, to mitigate the risks posed by curbside consultation, and thereby create new “spaces” for moral discourse in the care of patients. Thinking of curbside consultations as an opportunity for “clinical ethics conflict coaching” can more fully integrate ethics committee members into the daily ethics of patient care and reduce the frequency of ethically harmful outcomes. (shrink)
We discuss three varieties of affective dynamics. In each case, we suggest how these affective dynamics should be operationalized and measured in daily life using time-intensive methods, like ecological momentary assessment or ambulatory assessment, and recommend time-sensitive analyses that take into account not only the variability but also the temporal dependency of reports. Studies that explore how these affective dynamics are associated with psychological disorders and symptoms are reviewed, and we emphasize that these affective processes are within a nexus of (...) other components of emotion regulation. (shrink)
Amongst other countries, the Netherlands currently allows euthanasia, provided the physician performing the procedure adheres to a strict set of requirements. In 2016, Second Chamber member Pia Dijkstra submitted a law proposal which would also allow euthanasia without the reason necessarily having any medical foundation; euthanasia on the basis of a completed life. The debate on this topic has been ongoing for over two decades, but this law proposal has made the discussion much more immediate and concrete. This paper considers (...) the moral permissibility of Pia Dijkstra’s law proposal, focusing on the ethics of the implementation Dijkstra describes in her proposal. I argue that, at present, Dijkstra’s law proposal is unsuitable for implementation, due to a number of as of yet unaddressed problems, including the possible development of an ageist stigma and undue pressure on the profession of end-of-life coordinator. Perhaps adequate responses can be conceived to address these issues. However, the existence of a radically different, yet currently equally unacceptable position regarding the implementation of euthanasia for a completed life as proposed by fellow party member Paul Schnabel suggests it may be difficult to formulate an ethically acceptable implementation for this, in principle, ethically acceptable concept. (shrink)
Recent advances in synthetic biology have made it possible to revive extinct species of animals, a process known as ‘de-extinction’. This paper examines two reasons for supporting de-extinction: the potential for de-extinct species to play useful roles in ecosystems; and human valuing of certain de-extinct species. I focus on the particular case of passenger pigeons to argue that the most critical challenge for de-extinction is that it entails significant suffering for sentient individual animals. I also provide reasons to take existence (...) value, or valuing the mere the fact that a species exists, into consideration in debates over de-extinction. (shrink)
Questions about knowledge, and about the relation between logic and language, are at the heart of philosophy. Eleven distinguished philosophers from Britain and America contribute papers on such questions. All the contributions are examples of recent philosophy at its best. The first half of the book constitutes a running debate about knowledge, evidence and doubt. The second half tackles questions about logic and its relation to language.
Can the issue of how important it is whether or not there is a God be decided prior to deciding whether or not there is a God? In this paper, I explore some difficulties that stand in the way of answering this question in the affirmative and some of the implications of these difficulties for that part of the Philosophy of Religion which concerns itself with assessing arguments for and against the existence of God, the implications for how its importance (...) may best be defended within secular academe. (shrink)
How do we think about animals? How do we decide what they deserve and how we ought to treat them? Subhuman takes an interdisciplinary approach to these questions, drawing from research in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, law, history, sociology, economics, and anthropology. Subhuman argues that our attitudes to nonhuman animals, both positive and negative, largely arise from our need to compare ourselves to them.
Recent highly publicized privacy breaches in health care and genomics research have led many to question whether current standards of data protection are adequate. Improvements in de-identification techniques, combined with pervasive data sharing, have increased the likelihood that external parties can track individuals across multiple databases. This paper focuses on the communication of identifiability risks in the process of obtaining consent for donation and research. Most ethical discussions of identifiability risks have focused on the severity of the risk and how (...) it might be mitigated, and what precisely is at stake in pervasive data sharing. However, there has been little discussion of whether and how to communicate the risk to potential donors. We review the ethical arguments behind favoring different types of risk communication in the consent process, and outline how identifiability concerns can be incorporated into either a detailed or simplified method of communicating risks during the consent process. (shrink)
Notes on Contributors • Timothy Smiley, Preface LECTURE I • James Higginbotham, On Higher-Order Logic and Natural Language Commentary • David Bostock, On Motivating Higher-Order Logic LECTURE II • R M Sainsbury, Indexicals and Reported Speech Commentary • J E J Altham, Reporting Indexicals LECTURE III • Timothy Williamson, Iterated Attitudes Commentary • Dorothy Edgington, Williamson on Iterated Attitudes.
It is not intended as some sort of revelation on my part that Greenberg's cultural theory was originally Marxist in its stresses and, indeed in its attitude to what constituted explanation in such matters. I point out the Marxist and historical mode of proceeding as emphatically as I do partly because it may make my own procedure later in this paper seem a little less arbitrary. For I shall fall to arguing in the end with these essay's Marxism and their (...) history, and I want it understood that I think that to do so is to take issue with their strengths and their main drift.But I have to admit there are difficulties here. The essays in question ["Avant-Garde and Kitsch" and "Towards a Newer Lacoön"] are quite brief. They are, I think, extremely well written: it was not for nothing the Partisan Review described Clement Greenberg, when he first contributed to the journal early in 1939, as "a young writer who works in the New York customs house"—fine, redolent avant-garde pedigree, that! The language of these articles is forceful and easy, always straightforward, blessedly free from Marxist conundrums. Yet the price paid for such lucidity, here as so often, is a degree of inexplicitness—certain amount of elegant skirting round the difficult issues, where one might otherwise be obliged to call out the ponderous armory of Marx's concepts and somewhat spoil the low of the prose from one firm statement to another. The Marxism, in other words, is quite largely implicit; it is stated on occasion, with brittle and pugnacious finality, as the essay's frame of reference, but it remains to the reader to determine just how it works in the history and theory presented—what that history and theory depend on, in the way of Marxist assumptions about class and capital or even abase and superstructure. That is what I intend to do in this paper: to interpret and extrapolate from the texts, even at the risk of making their Marxism declare itself more stridently than the "young writer" seems to have wished. And I should admit straight away that there are several point in what follows where I am genuinely uncertain as to whether I am diverging from Greenberg's argument or explaining it more fully. This does not worry me overmuch, as long as we are alerted to the special danger in this case, dealing with such transparent yet guarded prose, and as long as we can agree that the project in general—pressing home a Marxist reading of texts which situate themselves within the Marxist tradition—is a reasonable one.22. This carelessness distinguishes the present paper from two recent studies of Greenberg's early writings, Serge Guilbaut's "The New Adventures of the Avant-Garde in America," October 15 , and Fred Orton and Griselda Pollock's "Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed," Art History 3 I am indebted to both these essays and am sure that their strictures on the superficiality—not to say the opportunism–of Greenberg's Marxism are largely right. But I am nonetheless interested in the challenge offered to most Marxist, and non-Marxist, accounts of modern history by what I take to be a justified though extreme, pessimism as t the nature of established culture since 1870. That pessimism is characteristic, I suppose, of what Marxists call an ultraleftist point of view. I believe, as I say, that a version of some such view is correct and would therefore with to treat Greenberg's theory as if it were a decently elaborated Marxism of an ultraleftist kind, on which issues in certain mistaken views but which need not so issue and which might still provide, cleansed of those errors, a good vantage for a history of our culture.T. J. Clark, professor of fine arts at Harvard University, is the author of The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 and Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. His book on impressionist painting and Paris is forthcoming. (shrink)
‘The Meaning of Life’ and ‘The Philosophy of Religion’ have meant different things to different people, and so I do well to alert my reader to what these phrases mean to me and thus to the subject area of this review of recent work on their intersection. First, ‘The Meaning of Life’: within the analytic tradition, an idea has gained widespread assent; whatever the vague and enigmatic nature of the phrase ‘the meaning of life’, we may sensibly speak of meaningfulness (...) in a life as a particular, positive, normative feature that some individuals’ lives may well have, and this feature is to be distinguished from, though closely related to, other positive features – satisfaction, wellbeing, virtue and so forth. There has been much work done on these assumptions in recent years. An excellent summary of this work up to its date of publication is given by Thaddeus Metz (in his 2007 a). Many – though by no means all – philosophers retain an instinctive scepticism toward the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ and a reluctance to engage with it, for it seems to connote vague and/or impossible-to-fulfil cosmic expectations. (See Thomson , chapter 11 and Seachris 2009 for attempts to engage with it nonetheless.) But philosophers are not generally now so sceptical about talk of meaningfulness in life and thus not so sceptical about the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ if it is taken to be referring merely to this. And that is how I shall be taking it. Secondly, ‘The Philosophy of Religion’: in the analytic tradition, this has usually been taken to be philosophical reflection on the rational acceptability or otherwise of classical theism and on what God's existence, should He exist, entails ontologically, metaphysically, metaethically and so forth. Therefore, I shall be talking about recent reflection in the analytic tradition on the relationship between the God of classical theism's existence (or lack of it) and meaningfulness (or lack of it) in human lives. (shrink)
The standard approach to protecting privacy in healthcare aims to control access to personal information. We cannot regain control of information after it has been shared, so we must restrict access from the start. This ‘control’ conception of privacy conflicts with data-intensive initiatives like precision medicine and learning health systems, as they require patients to give up significant control of their information. Without adequate alternatives to the control-based approach, such data-intensive programmes appear to require a loss of privacy. This paper (...) argues that the control view of privacy is shortsighted and overlooks important ways to protect health information even when widely shared. To prepare for a world where we no longer control our data, we must pursue three alternative strategies: obfuscate health data, penalise the misuse of health data and improve transparency around who shares our data and for what purposes. Prioritising these strategies is necessary when health data are widely shared both within and outside of the health system. (shrink)
This major addition to Ideas in Context examines the development of natural law theories in the early stages of the Enlightenment in Germany and France. T. J. Hochstrasser investigates the influence exercised by theories of natural law from Grotius to Kant, with a comparative analysis of the important intellectual innovations in ethics and political philosophy of the time. Hochstrasser includes the writings of Samuel Pufendorf and his followers who evolved a natural law theory based on human sociability and reason, fostering (...) a new methodology in German philosophy. This book assesses the first histories of political thought since ancient times, giving insights into the nature and influence of debate within eighteenth-century natural jurisprudence. Ambitious in range and conceptually sophisticated, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment will be of great interest to scholars in history, political thought, law and philosophy. Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment has been selected as the winner of the annual Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history published in 2000. (shrink)
The eschatological myth in the tenth book of the Laws contains a paragraph which purports to explain why, in the next world, efficient treatmentof souls according to their deserts is ‘marvellously easy’.
If patients are to be partners rather than subjects, contributing effectively to clinical research in which they have an interest, both they and investigators must change their ways. The case is argued here that the conduct of clinical research fulfils an essential need of society and that, therefore, in the interests of society, there is a moral imperative that it be done. Further essays will develop this theme, questioning along the way whether consent is a redundant concept.
As genomic science has evolved, so have policy and practice debates about how to describe and evaluate the ways in which genomic information is treated for individuals, institutions, and society. The term genetic exceptionalism, describing the concept that genetic information is special or unique, and specifically different from other kinds of medical information, has been utilized widely, but often counterproductively in these debates. We offer genomic contextualism as a new term to frame the characteristics of genomic science in the debates. (...) Using stasis theory to draw out the important connection between definitional issues and resulting policies, we argue that the framework of genomic contextualism is better suited to evaluating genomics and its policy-relevant features to arrive at more productive discussion and resolve policy debates. (shrink)
Imagine, if you can, St. Augustine convening a council in the year 430 and announcing, "Sorry, the eschaton has been cancelled. Moreover, the City of Man, with a little time and effort, will gradually transform itself into the City of God." Now imagine the dismay of certain French communists in 1976 when their party’s 22nd Congress dropped the goal of the dictatorship of the proletariat and proclaimed its dedication to a "democratic road to socialism." This imperfect analogy may allow us (...) to sense the passion that motivates Etienne Balibar’s attack on the PCF’s decision and his defense of an orthodox reading of Lenin on the dictatorship of the proletariat. (shrink)
This study aimed at evaluating how doing poetry could affect students’ understanding of medical practice and at assessing the effectiveness of the evaluation method used. Qualitative research was carried out on the experiences of medical students participating in a poetry workshop, followed by some quantitative analysis. The study was conducted at Peninsula Medical School and St Ives, Cornwall, UK, with three medical students, a poet and a pathologist as participants. Data were collected by interviews, observation and web access. “Doing poetry” (...) with a professional poet was found to assist communication between doctors and patients as it enhanced skills of observation, heightened awareness of the effect of language and fostered deep reflection. Poetry was also found to offer an outlet for medics and patients. The voluntary workshop attracted three participants; however, it might have had an effect on the wider student community because the poetry website received 493 hits in four months. Qualitative methods worked well as a tool for evaluation. “Doing poetry for poetry’s sake” seemed to foster the development of skills related to empathy. The opportunity to do poetry should be made available to medical students as part of a wider arts and humanities programme. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that atheists who think that the issue of God's existence or non-existence is an important one; assign a greater than negligible probability to God's existence; and are not in possession of a plausible argument for scepticism about the truth-directedness of uttering such prayers in their own cases, are under a prima facie epistemic obligation to pray to God that He stop them being atheists.
Jesse Prinz and Shaun Nichols have argued that within metaethics, sentimentalism is the theory that best accords with empirical facts about human moral psychology. Recent findings in experimental moral psychology, they argue, indicate that emotions are psychologically central to our moral concepts. One way of testing the empirical adequacy of sentimentalism is by looking at research on environmental values. A classic problem in environmental ethics is providing an account of the intrinsic value of nonhuman entities, which is often thought to (...) be inconsistent with sentimentalism. However, no supporters of sentimentalist accounts of environmental values have evaluated the empirical adequacy of their claims. The relevant evidence falls under two broad categories: responses to nature itself and moral evaluations of environmental behaviors. The evidence indicates that both valuing and disvaluing nature are ultimately grounded in emotions. (shrink)
A detailed scholarly examination of the distorted image of Islam that emerged in the West during the years 1100-1350. Although most of the book is concerned with documenting this image of Islam, Daniel also explores the motives and effects of this distortion. A series of comprehensive bibliographies is included. An authoritative, if somewhat tedious, study.--J. D. T., Jr.
In a recent article for this journal, Bryan Pilkington makes a number of critical observations about one of our arguments for non-traditional medical conscientious objectors’ duty to refer. Non-traditional conscientious objectors are those professionals who object to indirectly performing actions—like, say, referring to a physician who will perform an abortion. In our response here, we discuss his central objection and clarify our position on the role of value conflicts in non-traditional conscientious objection.