Merab Konstantinovich [Mamardashvili] met with me immediately, as soon as I requested it, although he forewarned me that he could only dimly remember much of that distant past in which I was most interested. But evidently that past still perturbed him as well, since he agreed to speak with me even though he had not yet completely recovered from his illness, and hence his voice was feeble, at times subsiding to a whisper; he would pronounce his words indistinctly, constantly sticking (...) one onto another; on top of that, for technical reasons the dictaphone was situated a bit away from him. It was therefore very difficult to transcribe the text, and I raised many questions with the idea of asking Merab Konstantinovich about them at our next meeting and clearing up some things. But alas, there was no next meeting … Hence I am permitting myself now to publish only some of the most clearly enunciated fragments of my conversation with him, one of the four "forefathers" of the Moscow Methodological Circle, whose name for us, today's participants (and hence neophytes) in the methodological movement, is enveloped by legends handed down by word of mouth. I kept my questions to a minimum. Mamardashvili's reminiscences, arguments, and reflections will seem contentious to many. But no matter, one can dispute points of substance even with those who have passed on. (shrink)
When Wittgenstein moved from Manchester to Cambridge he was following a path from the study of the natural sciences to the study of philosophy which was then not unusual, and has since become increasingly common. Russell had preceded him in that intellectual emigration and many more were to follow. Of the three philosophy departments I have been in, two were headed by natural scientists. Both my research supervisors in philosophy were natural scientists. Less surprising, but still significant, a considerable proportion (...) of Presidents of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science were originally trained as natural scientists. Yet it is a subject still unrecognized by the Royal Society. The editors of both the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and the journal Analysis were both originally natural scientists. Eminent scientists seem to feel impelled to discuss there own subjects in a wider context of philosophy. Bohr, Schrodinger, Kilmister, Hoyle, Hawking and Penrose, are but a few from a long list. (shrink)
Background One of the objectives of medicine is to relieve patients' suffering. As a consequence, it is important to understand patients' perspectives of suffering and their ability to cope. However, there is poor insight into what determines their suffering and their ability to bear it. Purpose To explore the constituent elements of suffering of patients who explicitly request euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS) and to better understand unbearable suffering from the patients' perspective. Patients and methods A qualitative study using in-depth (...) face-to-face interviews was conducted with 31 patients who had requested EAS. The grounded theory approach was used to analyse the data. Results Medical, psycho-emotional, socio-environmental and existential themes contributed to suffering. Especially fatigue, pain, decline, negative feelings, loss of self, fear of future suffering, dependency, loss of autonomy, being worn out, being a burden, loneliness, loss of all that makes life worth living, hopelessness, pointlessness and being tired of living were constituent elements of unbearable suffering. Only patients with a psychiatric (co)diagnosis suffered unbearably all the time. Conclusions Unbearable suffering is the outcome of an intensive process that originates in the symptoms of illness and/or ageing. According to patients, hopelessness is an essential element of unbearable suffering. Medical and social elements may cause suffering, but especially when accompanied by psycho-emotional and existential problems suffering will become ‘unbearable’. Personality characteristics and biographical aspects greatly influence the burden of suffering. Unbearable suffering can only be understood in the continuum of the patients' perspectives of the past, the present and expectations of the future. (shrink)
Judgment aggregation theory, which concerns the translation of individual judgments on logical propositions into consistent group judgments, has shown that group consistency generally cannot be guaranteed if each proposition is treated independently from the others. Developing the right method of abandoning independence is thus a high-priority goal. However, little work has been done in this area outside of a few simple approaches. To ﬁll the gap, we compare four methods based on distance metrics between judgment sets. The methods generalize the (...) premise-based and sequential priority approaches to judgment aggregation, as well as distance-based preference aggregation. They each guarantee group consistency and implement a range of distinct functions with different properties, broadening the available tools for social choice. A central result is that only one of these methods (not previously considered in the literature) satisﬁes three attractive properties for all reasonable metrics. (shrink)
The notion of a Sasaki projectionon an orthomodular lattice is generalized to a mapping Φ: E × E → E, where E is an effect algebra. If E is lattice ordered and Φ is symmetric, then E is called a Φ-symmetric effect algebra.This paper launches a study of such effect algebras. In particular, it is shown that every interval effect algebra with a lattice-ordered ambient group is Φ-symmetric, and its group is the one constructed by Ravindran in his proof that (...) every effect algebra that has the Riesz decomposition property is an interval algebra. It is shown that the doubling construction introduced in the paper is connected to the conditional event algebrasof Goodman, Nguyen, and Walker. (shrink)
This 1990 collection explores one recurrent theme connecting philosophy and politics: the relation between the nature of man and the structure of society. It does so by concentrating on the topical issue of the market economy as an attempt to resolve the clash between individual autonomy and collective action. Beginning with a historical and personal recollection by Enoch Powell and a response by Robert Skidelsky, the volume then provides a forum for political theorists and philosophers to take issue on the (...) fundamental topics of markets and morals; liberal man; and equality and libertarianism. It succeeds equally as a stimulating textbook and a book for the general reader who wishes to understand the philosophical issues arising in a market economy. (shrink)
Background: Hospital nurses are frequently the first care givers to receive a patient’s request for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS). In France, there is no consensus over which medical practices should be considered euthanasia, and this lack of consensus blurred the debate about euthanasia and PAS legalisation. This study aimed to investigate French hospital nurses’ opinions towards both legalisations, including personal conceptions of euthanasia and working conditions and organisation. Methods: A phone survey conducted among a random national sample of 1502 (...) French hospital nurses. We studied factors associated with opinions towards euthanasia and PAS, including contextual factors related to hospital units with random-effects logistic models. Results: Overall, 48% of nurses supported legalisation of euthanasia and 29%, of PAS. Religiosity, training in pallative care/pain management and feeling competent in end-of-life care were negatively correlated with support for legalisation of both euthanasia and PAS, while nurses working at night were more prone to support legalisation of both. The support for legalisation of euthanasia and PAS was also weaker in pain treatment/palliative care and intensive care units, and it was stronger in units not benefiting from interventions of charity/religious workers and in units with more nurses. Conclusions: Many French hospital nurses uphold the legalisation of euthanasia and PAS, but these nurses may be the least likely to perform what proponents of legalisation call “good” euthanasia. Improving professional knowledge of palliative care could improve the management of end-of-life situations and help to clarify the debate over euthanasia. (shrink)
Aphantasia is a recently discovered disorder characterised by the total incapacity to generate visual forms of mental imagery. This paper proposes that aphantasia raises important theoretical concerns for the ongoing debate in the philosophy and science of consciousness over the nature of dreams. Recent studies of aphantasia and its neurobehavioral correlates reveal that the majority of aphantasics, whilst unable to produce visual imagery while awake, nevertheless retain the capacity to experience rich visual dreams. This finding constitutes a novel explanandum for (...) theories of dreaming. Specifically, I argue that the recent dream reports of aphantasics constitute an empirical challenge to the emerging family of views which claim that dreams are essentially imaginative experiences, constitutively involving the kinds of mental imagery which aphantasics, ex-hypothesi, lack. After presenting this challenge in the context of Jonathan Ichikawa’s recent arguments for this view, I argue that this empirical challenge may be overcome if the imagination theorist abandons Ichikawa’s account of dreaming in favour of a modified version. This involves the claim that dreams are essentially inactive and constitutively involve non voluntary forms of imagination. I conclude with a suggestion for further research which can test the viability of this alternative hypothesis, and move the debate forward. (shrink)
This paper inquires into the nature of intertheoretic relations between psychology and neuroscience. This relationship has been characterized by some as one in which psychological explanations eventually will fall away as otiose, overthrown completely by neurobiological ones. Against this view it will be argued that it squares poorly with scientific practices and empirical developments in the cognitive neurosciences. We analyse a case from research on visual perception, which suggests a much more subtle and complex interplay between psychology and neuroscience than (...) a complete take-over of the former by the latter. In the case of vision, cross-theory influences between psychology and neuroscience go back and forth, resulting in refinement in both disciplines. We interpret this case study as showing that: (1) Mutual co-evolution of psychological and neurobiological theories, exemplifying persisting top-down influences from psychology, is a more empirically adequate way to describe psychoneural theory relations than a view on co-evolution, favoured by reductionists, which regards the cross-theory contributions from psychology as merely heuristically useful with no enduring influence on neurobiological theorizing; (2) In research on vision, discovering (or hypothesizing) the neural basis of functions vindicates psychological approaches, it does not eliminate them; (3) Current work on vision shows that many perceptual phenomena must be understood in terms of dynamical interactions between an observer and his/her environment. Therefore, we argue that internalist characterizations of the visual system must be supplemented with externalist accounts that address these reciprocal observer-environment interactions involved in vision. Such processes seem quite different from (internal) cellular and molecular ones, and as such seem to lie outside the scope of neuroscientific inquiry. We conclude that psychoneural reduction or elimination is implausible as a meta-theoretical prediction of theory choice in empirical work. Instead, this case study of vision shows that both psychology and neuroscience contribute to, and complement one another in the study of visual perception. (shrink)
Are values and social priorities universal, or do they vary across geography, culture, and time? This question is very relevant to Asia’s emerging economies that are increasingly looking at Western models for answers to their own outmoded health care systems that are in dire need of reform. But is it safe for them to do so without sufficient regard to their own social, political, and philosophical moorings? This article argues that historical and cultural legacies influence prevailing social values with regard (...) to health care financing and resource allocation, and that the Confucian dimension provides a helpful entry point for a deeper understanding of ongoing health care reforms in East Asia – as exemplified by the unique case of Singapore. (shrink)
The effects in a quantum-mechanical system form a partial algebra and a partially ordered set which is the prototypical example of the effect algebras discussed in this paper. The relationships among effect algebras and such structures as orthoalgebras and orthomodular posets are investigated, as are morphisms and group- valued measures (or charges) on effect algebras. It is proved that there is a universal group for every effect algebra, as well as a universal vector space over an arbitrary field.
Non-fiction graphic novels about illness and death created by patients and their loved ones have much to teach all readers. However, the bond of empathy made possible in the comic form may have special lessons for healthcare providers who read these texts and are open to the insights they provide.
This is a collection of lectures and papers, written during the past ten years. They are all concerned with the logical properties of the Absolute and to this extent are a denial of the author's 1948 argument designed to disprove the existence of an Absolute Being. The first three lectures on Absolute-theory are a systematic account of the notion of a unique, necessary Existent and the repercussions such a notion has upon other philosophical problems such as space and time, substance (...) and causality, life and mind, value and evil, etc., and finally, the relation of logical necessity between this notion and a rational eschatology. The twelve remaining lectures cumulatively demonstrate the path toward a revisionary metaphysics which is logically founded upon Absolute-theory. Each is a complete essay in itself and the titles are largely descriptive of the contents. "The Teaching of Meaning" is an interchange between the author and other contemporary philosophers interested in the subject. "Some Reflections on Necessary Existence" concerns the propriety of affirming a categorically necessary existent and searches for a feasible ontological argument in the realm of value. "Freedom and Value" explores the relation between the two, while "Metaphysics and Affinity" explores the relation between thought and being, between the realities of our environment and our metaphysical approaches to them. "Hegel's Use of Teleology" is a thoroughgoing study of teleology in the works of Hegel. A description of our fragmentational approach to reality is contained in "The Diremptive Tendencies of Western Philosophy." The "Logic of Mysticism" is a refutation of Stace's account and a sketch of mysticism as a logical matter, i.e., as a frame of mind connected with some sort of absolute. "Essential Probabilities" is an attempt to formulate and connect the eidetic method in philosophy with modalities, especially probability, considering its role in an a priori framework. "The Logic of Ultimates" sets out the important theorems in an absolutist logic, refutes common candidates for absolute status, and finally proposes some sort of 'infinite' teleology as a viable form of absolutism. "The Systematic Unity of Value" is an analysis of the ways and means of asserting common values and of relating them to their logical keystone found in Absolute-theory. "Intentional Inexistence" establishes intentionality as categorical and defines its working mode which culminates in a picture of 'unitive logic'. The final paper, "Toward a Neo-Neo-Platonism," is the delineation of what a metaphysic ought to envisage through a unifying, living logic which embodies the absolute. All in all, this is a refreshing, meaty reconsideration of some very out-of-vogue topics.--G. M. K. (shrink)
In recent epistemology many philosophers have adhered to a moderate foundationalism according to which some beliefs do not depend on other beliefs for their justification. Reliance on such ‘basic beliefs’ pervades both internalist and externalist theories of justification. In this article I argue that the phenomenon of perceptual learning – the fact that certain ‘expert’ observers are able to form more justified basic beliefs than novice observers – constitutes a challenge for moderate foundationalists. In order to accommodate perceptual learning cases, (...) the moderate foundationalist will have to characterize the ‘expertise’ of the expert observer in such a way that it cannot be had by novice observers and that it bestows justification on expert basic beliefs independently of any other justification had by the expert. I will argue that the accounts of expert basic beliefs currently present in the literature fail to meet this challenge, as they either result in a too liberal ascription of justification or fail to draw a clear distinction between expert basic beliefs and other spontaneously formed beliefs. Nevertheless, some guidelines for a future solution will be provided. (shrink)
The roots of much of Western medicine lie in the Christian monastic tradition and its commitment to nonstigmatizing compassionate care throughout the life cycle and to the ideal of empathic personal connection between physicians, patients, and the communities and relationships in which both of these are embedded. In the modern West, these Christianly informed aspects of medicine are increasingly being undercut as medical care becomes ever more specialized, technologized, and depersonalized. At the same time, there exist a variety of efforts (...) to counter these tendencies and to foster a practice of medicine that is more sensitive to the personal, relational, familial, and narrative dimensions of health, illness, and medical care. There are, in particular, considerable numbers of physicians, psychologists, and psychotherapists working at the intersections of biomedical and psychosocial care, of care for individuals and care for families, and of the body and the mind. Given the natural affinity that Christian bioethicists might be expected to have to communitarian, narrative, and family-oriented approaches to health care, it is thus remarkable that there appears to be no work of Christian bioethics that interacts in any discernible way with this psychotherapeutic literature concerning health, illness, families, and the mind-body interface. Instead, Christian bioethicists appear to endorse a narrowly reductionistic biomedical view of health and illness while either ignoring the psychosocial, integrative, and collaborative literature, or actively blaming and shaming those pastors or lay Christians who might have anything to do with psychotherapy or psychosocial care. This is unbecoming and unhelpful. In the fragmented, complex, and potentially dehumanizing world that is modern medical care, those who would think Christianly about the care of the sick cannot afford to despise psychology and psychosocial care. On the contrary, the church needs psychotherapy. In this article, I will thus consider, first, what the state of the conversation is where Christian bioethics and psychosocial and psychotherapeutic care are concerned. I will then turn to some of the principal landmarks in the professional literature concerning psychotherapeutic work with the sick, the disabled, the dying, and the bereaved, particularly as these are considered in contexts that include families and lay and professional caregivers. I will then identify a few opportunities for practical and theological reflection that present themselves in this literature, and will conclude with a few comments on the substance and relationship of salvation and health. (shrink)
Conscientious objection has spurred impassioned debate in many Western countries. Some Norwegian general practitioners (GPs) refuse to refer for abortion. Little is know about how the GPs carry out their refusals in practice, how they perceive their refusal to fit with their role as professionals, and how refusals impact patients. Empirical data can inform subsequent normative analysis.