The crisis in the meaning of freedom -- What is freedom? -- Limiting freedom -- Freedom and justice -- Why we should accept this view of freedom -- Conditions that make us more free -- Applying the theory to the real world --Conclusion -- Appendix for professional philosophers -- Notes.
We are pleased to annouce that God’s Companions by Samuel Wells has been shortlisted for the 2007 Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing. www.michaelramseyprize.org.uk Grounded in Samuel Wells’ experience of ordinary lives in poorer neighborhoods, this book presents a striking and imaginative approach to Christian ethics. It argues that Christian ethics is founded on God, on the practices of human community, and on worship, and that ethics is fundamentally a reflection of God's abundance. Wells synthesizes dogmatic, liturgical, (...) ethical, scriptural, and pastoral approaches to theology in order to make a bold claim for the centrality of the local church in theological reflection. He considers the abundance of gifts God gives through the practices of the Church, particularly the Eucharist. His central thesis, which governs his argument throughout, is that God gives his people everything they need to worship him, be his friends, and eat with him. Wells engages with serious scholarly material, yet sets out the issues lucidly for a student audience. (shrink)
This updated and revised second edition of Donald A. Wells's popular 'War Crimes and Laws of War', originally published in 1984, traces the rules of war since ancient times. The major sources of the rules or 'laws' of war are explored: the congresses of the Hague, Geneva, and the United Nations. But an abyss exists between what military manuals allow and what the congresses prohibit; this book attempts to resolve this dilemma. An important text for military college courses and (...) international relations, as well as social philosophy courses. Co-published with the North American Society for Social Philosophy. Here is what reviewers had to say about the first edition. (shrink)
This new paperback edition of How and Wells's standard commentary deals with the first four of Herodutus' books. There is a detailed commentary, short introductory summaries, and a detailed introduction to Herodutus' life.
The principle of informed consent obligates physicians to explain possible side effects when prescribing medications. This disclosure may itself induce adverse effects through expectancy mechanisms known as nocebo effects, contradicting the principle of nonmaleficence. Rigorous research suggests that providing patients with a detailed enumeration of every possible adverse event?especially subjective self-appraised symptoms?can actually increase side effects. Describing one version of what might happen may actually create outcomes that are different from what would have happened without this information. This essay argues (...) that the perceived tension between balancing informed consent with nonmaleficence might be resolved by recognizing that adverse effects have no clear black or white?truth.? This essay suggests a pragmatic approach for providers to minimize nocebo responses while still maintaining patient autonomy through?contextualized informed consent,? which takes into account possible side effects, the patient being treated, and the particular diagnosis involved. (shrink)
Whether or not capitalism is compatible with ethics is a long standing dispute. We take up an approach to virtue ethics inspired by Adam Smith and consider how market competition influences the virtues most associated with modern commercial society. Up to a point, competition nurtures and supports such virtues as prudence, temperance, civility, industriousness and honesty. But there are also various mechanisms by which competition can have deleterious effects on the institutions and incentives necessary for sustaining even these most commercially (...) friendly of virtues. It is often supposed that if competitive markets are good, more competition must always be better. However, in the long run competition enhancing policies that neglect the nurturing and support of the bourgeois virtues may undermine the continued flourishing of modern commercial society. (shrink)
Criticism of ethical review of research continues and research ethics committees (RECs) need to demonstrate that they are “fit for purpose” by meeting acknowledged standards of process, debate and outcome. This paper reports a workshop in Warsaw in April 2008, organised by the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice, on the problems of setting standards for RECs in the European Union. Representatives from 27 countries were invited; 16 were represented. Problems identified were the limited and variable resources, difficulties of setting (...) standards for ethical debate and its outcomes and that REC members, as volunteers, may resent the imposition of standards. Other ways to set standards were discussed, including analysis of current multicentre review, collecting REC member reports for review, learning from appeals and feedback from applicants, and use of other regional and national meetings. The place of a central, national board or ethics committee was debated as was the need for collaborating with partners in other fields. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of group context on the ethical predispositions of group members. Results indicate that groups exert a powerful influence on individuals' ethical frameworks, and that the patterns of these influences differ depending on the type of ethical framework involved. Individuals' ethical utilitarianism was affected by both leadership style and group cohesiveness. Ethical formalism was most affected by the leadership style in the group.
Training for members of research ethics committees varies from state to state in Europe. To follow this up, the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice organised a workshop in March 2007 to explore these issues and look for solutions. This article summarises the discussion, providing ways forward to develop REC training.
Interviews with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) growers in Iowa, a majority of whom are women, shed light on the relationship between gender and CSA as a system of resource management. Growers, male and female alike, are differentiated by care and caring-practices. Care-practices, historically associated with women, place priority on local context and relationships. The concern of these growers for community, nature, land, water, soil, and other resources is manifest in care-motives and care-practices. Their specific mix of motives differs: providing safe (...) and nutritious food, educating self and others, and building relationships with other growers, shareholder-members, and the land. Care-practices include reducing or eliminating chemical usage, encouraging or accepting beneficial insects and wildlife, building soil, and creating resource management partnerships with shareholder members. CSA, viewed through a lens of care, may offer a means of transcending gender stereotypes. (shrink)
Introduction -- Elucidating complexity theories -- Complexity in the natural sciences -- Complexity in social theory -- Towards transdisciplinarity -- Complexity in philosophy: complexification and the limits to knowledge -- Complexity in ethics -- Earth in the anthropocene -- Complexity and climate change -- American dreams, ecological nightmares and new visions -- Complexity and sustainability: wicked problems, gordian knots and synergistic solutions -- Conclusion.
Adam Smith is respected as the father of contemporary economics for his work on systemizing classical economics as an independent field of study in The Wealth of Nations. But he was also a significant moral philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, with its characteristic concern for integrating sentiments and rationality. This article considers Adam Smith as a key moral philosopher of commercial society whose critical reflection upon the particular ethical challenges posed by the new pressures and possibilities of commercial society remains (...) relevant today. The discussion has three parts. First I address the artificial separation between self-interest and morality often attributed to Smith, in which his work on economics is stripped of its ethical context. Second I outline Smith’s ethical approach to economics, focusing on his vigorous but qualified defence of commercial society for its contributions to prosperity, justice, and freedom. Third I outline Smith’s moral philosophy proper as combining a naturalistic account of moral psychology with a virtue ethics based on propriety in commercial society. (shrink)
This article focuses on the philosophical aspects of the Capability Approach and its foundations in the work of Amartya Sen. It discusses the development and structure of Sen’s account, how it relates to other ethical approaches, and its main contributions and criticisms. It also outlines various capability theories developed within the Capability Approach, with particular attention to that of Martha Nussbaum.
Bishop John A.T. Robinson's Honest to God was exceptionally successful. In the decade following its publication more than a million copies were sold in seventeen different languages. Robinson was aware that numerous awkward questions were being asked about traditional Christian beliefs, which it was no longer possible to ignore. His purpose was not so much to question traditional ideas of God as to suggest alternatives for those who found them unsatisfactory . He wanted to convince such persons that an inability (...) to believe what is stated in the Bible or the prayer book does not disqualify them from calling themselves Christians and presenting themselves at church. He speaks of traditional Christian beliefs, as stated in the New Testament, as a ‘language’ and thinks that Christianity should be conveyed to people in a variety of languages. By employing, as he does, the language of such Christian scholars as Bonhoeffer, Tillich and Bultmann, an atheist may find himself able to call himself a Christian. But the old familiar language of the Bible remains more pleasing to most of God's children, particularly to his ‘older children’ , so we must not give it up, although he allows that it is becoming increasingly unpopular, so that without ‘the kind of revolution’ he is advocating, ‘Christian faith and practice … will come to be abandoned’. (shrink)
The paradox of analysis has been a problem for analytic philosophers at least since Moore’s time, and it is especially significant for those who seek an account of analysis along classical lines. The present paper offers a new solution to the paradox, where a theory of analysis is given where (1) analysandum and analysans are distinct concepts, due to their failing to share the same conceptual form, yet (2) they are related in virtue of satisfying various semantic constraints on the (...) analysis relation. Rather than distinguish between analysandum and analysans by appeal to epistemic considerations, the paper appeals to semantic considerations in giving a candidate account of the identity conditions for concepts. The distinctness of analysandum and analysans then serves to block the paradox in a straightforward way. (shrink)
This paper reports a European Forum for Good Clinical Practice workshop held in 2011 to consider a research ethics committee training syllabus, subsequent training needs and resources. The syllabus that was developed was divided into four competencies: committee working; scientific method; ethical analysis and the regulatory framework. Appropriate training needs for each, with possible resources, were discussed. Lack of funding for training was reported as a major problem but affordable alternatives were debated. Strengths and weaknesses of this approach were discussed (...) and the resultant proposal will be disseminated through the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice and the research ethics committees of member states. (shrink)
Introduction US data reveal a Caesarean rate discrepancy between insured and uninsured patients, with the C-section rate highest among the privately insured. The data have prompted concern that financial incentives associated with insurance status might influence American physicians' decisions to perform Caesarean deliveries. Objective To determine whether differences in medical risk factors account for the apparent Caesarean rate discrepancy between Medicaid and privately insured patients in Michigan, USA. Method A retrospective review was performed of 617 269 live birth deliveries in (...) Michigan hospitals during 2004–8. All live birth records that were able to be linked to their mothers' hospital discharge records were utilised. Diagnosis-related group codes from the hospitalisation records were used to identify Caesarean deliveries. Regression models determined Caesarean probability for the time period under study, adjusted for insurance type, maternal age, race, maternal medical conditions, multiple births, prematurity and birth weight. Results From 2004 to 2008, Caesarean rates were 33% for privately insured patients and 29% for Medicaid patients. The probability of Caesarean delivery was significantly greater for privately insured than Medicaid patients on univariate analysis (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.22) but not on multivariate analysis (adjusted OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.02). Conclusion No significant disparity was found in the odds of Caesarean delivery between privately insured and Medicaid patients in Michigan after adjusting for other Caesarean risk factors. A positive disparity would have provided de facto evidence that financial incentives play a role in physician decision-making regarding Caesarean delivery. (shrink)
C.S. Lewis, the scholar of English mediaeval and Renaissance literature who died in 1963 and is still widely respected as a Christian apologist, complained that academic biblical scholars simply assume that miracles cannot have occurred in the fashion reported in the New Testament. In a lecture quoted by A.I.C. Heron 1 , he said: ‘The canon “If miraculous, unhistorical” is one they bring to their study of the texts, not one they have learned from it.’ In fact, as John Kent (...) retorted, they did not rule out in advance the idea of supernatural events, but were able, without it, to give adequate and plausible accounts of how the biblical documents reached their present form, by means of a method ‘based on questions of probability in terms of evidence’, not ‘on an a priori rejection of miracle’. 2 Conclusions concerning historical events of any kind are similarly based. ‘No historians’, says the historian R.J. Evans, ‘really believe in the absolute truth of what they are writing, simply in its probable truth, which they have done their utmost to establish by following the usual rules of evidence’. 3 To this question of ‘absolute’ truth I shall return. (shrink)
The study explored the motivations behind Australian wool producers’ intentions regarding mulesing; a surgical procedure that will be voluntarily phased out after 2010, following retailer boycotts led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Telephone interviews were conducted with 22 West Australian wool producers and consultants to elicit their behavioral, normative and control beliefs about mulesing and alternative methods of breech strike prevention. Results indicate that approximately half the interviewees intend to continue mulesing, despite attitudes toward the act of (...) mulesing being quite negative. This indicates that attitudes alone are unlikely to be good predictors of this goal directed behavior. Most respondents believed mulesing was more effective and involved less cost, time, and effort than the currently available alternatives to prevent breech strike. Further, they felt relatively little social pressure, as they believed few consumers were concerned about mulesing. However, they noted that if consumer sentiment changed they would likely change their practices. Thus, attitudes are likely to be only one of several factors influencing intentions to change farm practices to address societal concerns about animal welfare. Further, mulesing appears to be goal - directed behavior , suggesting that other factors depicted by the Model of Goal-directed Behavior (MGB; Perugini and Bagozzi In: Br J Soc Psychol, 40: 79–98, 2001 ) may be worth exploring in this context. Finally, these results provide insight into how policy makers may influence farmers to change practices in response to societal pressure for improving farm animal welfare. (shrink)