This paper reports the framework, method and main findings of an analysis of cultural milieus in 4 European countries. The analysis is based on a questionnaire applied to a sample built through a two-step procedure of post-hoc random selection from a broader dataset based on an online survey. Responses to the questionnaire were subjected to multidimensional analysis-a combination of Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. We identified 5 symbolic universes, that correspond to basic, embodied, affect-laden, generalized worldviews. People in this (...) study see the world as either a) an ordered universe;b) a matter of interpersonal bond;c) a caring society;d) consisting of a niche of belongingness;e) a hostile place. These symbolic universes were also interpreted as semiotic capital: they reflect the capacity of a place to foster social and civic development. Moreover, the distribution of the symbolic universes, and therefore social and civic engagement, is demonstrated to be variable across the 4 countries in the analysis. Finally, we develop a retrospective reconstruction of the distribution of symbolic universes as well as the interplay between their current state and past, present and future socio-institutional scenarios. (shrink)
In debates over life and death it is often said that one should err on the side of caution—that is, on the side of life. In light of the recent case of Terri Schiavo, it is explained how the “err-on-the-side-of-life” argument proceeds, and an objection to it is offered.
Humanity does not gradually progress from combat to combat until it arrives at universal reciprocity, where the rule of law finally replaces warfare; humanity installs each of its violences in a system of rules and thus proceeds from domination to domination. (Foucault, 1984, 85)In this essay, I take a note from Michel Foucault regarding the notion of biopolitics. For Foucault, biopolitics has both repressive and constitutive properties. Foucault's claim is that with the rise of modern government, the state became exceedingly (...) concerned about the body politic, the bodies that make up the polis, including the health of those bodies. However, Giorgio Agamben claims that Foucault and all western political philosophy misses the relationship between power and Sovereignty, with disastrous results and totalizing tendencies. I explore the case of Terri Schiavo claiming that the social conservatives have attempted to politicize bare life in its legal maneuverings, but I also show how the social liberals open an uncontrollable space between life and death. Both the left and the right miss the aporia at the heart of western political philosophy, and bioethics is complicit in the totalizing effects of contemporary medicine. (shrink)
The controversial case of Terri Schiavo came to a close on March 31, 2005, with her death following the removal of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube. This event followed years of controversy and social upheaval. Voices from across the entire political and cultural spectrums filled the airwaves and op-ed pages of major newspapers. Protests ensued outside of Ms. Schiavo’s care facility. Ms. Schiavo’s parents published videos of their daughter on the internet in an effort to prove that she was (...) not in a vegetative state and could potentially recover. There is a certain mystery to the entire controversy given the fact that, legally, it was largely a matter of settled law. Precedent cases and legal statutes clearly set out the proper procedures and decisions to be followed in this case. Nonetheless, powerful challenges and virulent opposition to these standards arose. Through an investigation of this case as well as a comparative study of the case of Dax Cowart (in particular, the documentary depictions of Dax Cowart’s case) and of a photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin, I plan to investigate the source of these social upheavals and hypothesize that they were largely the result of a phenomenological reaction to the human face. (shrink)
On March 18, 2005, the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Government Reform issued subpoenas to Florida residents Michael and Terri Schiavo. The subpoenas summoned the Schiavos to “testify” before the committee regarding its investigation into “treatment options provided to incapacitated patients to advance the[ir] quality of life” (U.S. H.R. 1332, 2005). In light of Terri Schiavo’s long and well-known traumas, many observers questioned the sensitivity of the order for testimony. Having suffered severe anoxic brain damage as a (...) result of a cardiac arrest in 1990, Schiavo lived in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for fifteen years, unconscious and unable, among other things, to speak; although the .. (shrink)
This essay reviews a range of issues arising from the complex case of Terri Schiavo and the lessons the case raises for bioethicists. It argues that embedded in the case is a broader controversy than is immediately evident, one involving the definitions by which bioethics judge cases of extreme physical and psychological limits, in its principled form of address. Further, it argues that bioethicists who assume the issues involved in the case are settled miss the point of the emotional (...) responses it has brought forth. (shrink)
Brad Mellon argues that persistent-vegetative-state cases, including the recent Terri Schiavo case, are ambiguous. By this he seems to mean that decisions about such cases are fraught with doubt and uncertainty and perhaps even that rational resolution of many such cases is impossible. Faced with such cases the most we can do is to live and cope with the ambiguity. I am more optimistic. With good will, and much clarification and discussion, rational agreement is possible in these cases, including (...) the Schiavo case. (shrink)
The case of Terri Schiavo, a young woman who spent 15 years in a persistent vegetative state, has emerged as a watershed in debates over end-of-life care. While many observers had thought the right to refuse medical treatment was well established, this case split a family, divided a nation, and counfounded physicians, legislators, and many of the people they treated or represented. In renewing debates over the importance of advance directives, the appropriate role of artificial hydration and nutrition, and (...) the responsibilities of family members, the case also became one of history's most extensively litigated health care disputes. The Case of Terri Schiavo assembles a team of first-hand participants and content experts to provide thoughtful and nuanced analyses. In addition to a comprehensive overview, the book includes contributions by Ms. Schiavo's guardian ad litem, a neurologist and lawyer who participated in the case, and scholars who examine issues related to litigation, faith, gender, and disability. The volume also includes a powerful dissent from the views of many scholars in the bioethics community. The book is intended for students, health care professionals, policy makers, and other in search of carefully reasoned analyses of the case that will shape our view of death and end-of-life medical care for decades. (shrink)
Disorders of consciousness and the permanent vegetative state -- Legal and political wrangling over Terri's life -- In context--law and ethics -- Terri's wishes -- The limits of evidence -- The implications of surrogacy -- Qualities of life -- Feeding -- The preservation of life -- Respect and care : an alternative framework.
While Agamben acknowledges the Arendtian and Foucaultian thesis of the modernity of biopower, he will claim that sovereignty and biopolitics are equally ancient and essentially intertwined in the originary gesture of all politics; sovereignty is the power to decide the state of exception whereby bare life or zoe is exposed "underneath" political life or bios. Agamben then finds in the concentration camp the modern biopolitical paradigm, in which the state of exception has become the rule and we have all become (...) [potentially] bearers of exposed bare life in that we are all subject to what I will call a "de-politicizing predication": to use the current American jargon, being named an "enemy combatant.". (shrink)
In the first part of this talk I show how some ideas in the new "4EA" branch of cognitive science (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, affective), which gets away from the computer metaphor to talk about affective cognition as the direction of action of an organism, can be illuminated by Deleuze's ontology. Now that may sound ridiculous, as Deleuze's terminology is notoriously baroque – how could it ever "illuminate" anything? So I'm going to be using plain English translations of his concepts; (...) I think his concepts are too good, too useful, for his terminology to be such a barrier to entry. Then I'm going to use this mixture of Deleuze and 4EA ideas to examine a case study which has, besides its metaphysical and psychological implications, some ethical, political, and legal ones as well. So to deal with them we'll deal just a bit with Agamben and Foucault. (shrink)
It is a mixed pleasure to see F. Matthias Alexander acknowledged in the fall 2007 issue of Education and Culture ("Dewey, women, and weirdoes: Or, the potential rewards for scholars who dialog across difference," 23, 27-62). As a professional descendant of Alexander who has been teaching the Alexander Technique (AT) for 30 years, I am glad to see Cunningham et al. including him in the list of positive influences in John Dewey's life. However, I believe Cunningham's contribution to this article, (...) "Shared explorations of body-mind: The reciprocal influences of Dewey and F. M. Alexander," falls short in its acknowledgement of Alexander and in one important aspect is incorrect. In this response, I hope to set the .. (shrink)
Gascoigne, Robert In October 1962, the world was at imminent risk of nuclear war. In response to the failed CIA backed 'Bay of Pigs' invasion, Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev had authorized the stationing of nuclear missiles in Cuba, only ninety miles from the coast of Florida. In response, President John F. Kennedy had ordered a blockade of Cuba, which the Soviet Union regarded as an act of war. In fact, the world came much closer to a nuclear exchange than has (...) long been realized. On October 27th 1962 the Soviet submarine B59 was tracked by a group of United States warships, made up of eleven destroyers and an aircraft carrier, which were using non-lethal practice depth-charges in an attempt to bring the submarine to the surface. The submarine had lost radio contact with Moscow, which-as we will see-had very shortly beforehand ordered the freighters carrying nuclear missiles to return home. Under the intense pressure of the situation, the captain of the submarine-who thought that war may already have broken out-was determined not to allow Russia to be humiliated by the capture of his submarine, and was prepared to fire a nuclear torpedo at the surrounding American warships. Three officers had to give permission for a nuclear missile to be launched-the captain himself, the political officer, and Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov, who, although second-in-command of submarine B59, was commander of the flotilla of submarines to which it belonged. Arkhipov overruled his brother officers and refused to authorize the launch of the torpedo. The world owes a great debt of gratitude to this Soviet sailor who may have prevented a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States. My father once told me how an American priest had recounted to him that, during the height of the Cuban missile crisis, the queues for confession at New York's St Patrick's cathedral stretched all the way down the nave and out onto Fifth Avenue. Given the penitential practices and beliefs of the time, and the actual state of events, there was indeed good reason for that! (shrink)
In Oregon, doctors are allowed to kill patients who are terminal and want to die. In Vermont, they're debating whether to do that. And in Holland, they not only allow euthanasia, but also at least two doctors there are killing babies born with catastrophic illness.
In this essay, I take up the question of the time of medicine in relation to two events in the U.S. from 2005—the Terri Schiavo case and Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. I consider both cases as “mediatized medical events,” that is, as events in which the practices of medicine received considerable media attention at a particular historical moment; or, we might say, as events that brought a convergence between media and medical practices. I juxtapose these two events because, (...) placed side by side, they help make visible two stories of catastrophe, as well as the many difficulties of telling stories of catastrophe. Bringing together these seemingly divergent events allows me to draw connections that I hope will expand our bioethical imaginary beyond the reductive approaches that tend to dominate the practice of bioethics today. I also juxtapose them to signal a bioethical tension at the heart of the neoliberal state’s response to catastrophe in general, what Foucault might have diagnosed as the difference between making live and letting die. In these two events, we glimpsed—if only fleetingly—the state’s operation of making live and letting die, and medicine’s central role in that operation, as well as the re-assertion of medical sovereignty in crisis events. (shrink)
Autonomy operates as a key term in debates about the rights of families to choose distinct approaches to education. Yet, what autonomy means is often complicated by the actual circumstances and contexts of schools, families, and children. In this essay, Terri S. Wilson and Matthew A. Ryg focus on the challenges involved in translating an ideal of educational autonomy into the “nonideal” contexts and circumstances that surround families' choices. Drawing on the methodological insights of Elizabeth Anderson and John Dewey, (...) they sketch out a nonideal approach for exploring autonomy. Wilson and Ryg particularly focus on Dewey's notion of an ideal, his treatment of autonomy as a concept, and his view of the self. Such a nonideal approach draws attention toward the specific circumstances, habits, and environments that make autonomy possible. Wilson and Ryg illustrate the salience of this nonideal approach by exploring one example of an empirically engaged study of autonomy. (shrink)