One of the most recent controversies to arise in the field of bioethics concerns the ethics for the Groningen Protocol: the guidelines proposed by the Groningen Academic Hospital in The Netherlands, which would permit doctors to actively euthanise terminally ill infants who are suffering. The Groningen Protocol has been met with an intense amount of criticism, some even calling it a relapse into a Hitleresque style of eugenics, where people with disabilities are killed solely because of their handicaps. The purpose (...) of this paper is threefold. First, the paper will attempt to disabuse readers of this erroneous understanding of the Groningen Protocol by showing how such a policy does not aim at making quality-of-life judgements, given that it restricts euthanasia to suffering and terminally ill infants. Second, the paper illustrates that what the Groningen Protocol proposes to do is both ethical and also the most humane alternative for these suffering and dying infants. Lastly, responses are given to some of the worries expressed by ethicists on the practice of any type of non-voluntary active euthanasia. (shrink)
I shall attempt something rash in this paper. I shall draw your attention to some past and current work on perception by psychologists and others. I shall concentrate on work in vision and hearing. This outline will occupy the first part of my lecture. I shall then go on, in the second part, to suggest that this scientific work has certain philosophical implications. This whole attempt is a bit rash for obvious reasons. It is not easy to outline fairly and (...) accurately past and current work in any branch of science. I am very liable, therefore, to do an injustice to the efforts of psychologists and others in this field. What makes matters more difficult for me is that I also have to show that this work is of philosophical interest. What has led me to embark on this perilous enterprise is a hunch I have developed in recent years. I have the hunch that philosophers who are interested in perception would do well to pay rather more attention than they have been wont to do in the past to the work and discourse coming out of the scientific laboratory and similar places. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes four major types of futility (physiological, imminent demise, lethal condition, and qualitative) that have been advocated in the literature either in a patient dependent or a patient independent fashion. It proposes five criteria (precision, prospective, social acceptability, significant number, and non-agreement) that any definition of futility must satisfy if it is to serve as the basis for unilaterally limiting futile care. It then argues that none of the definitions that have been advocated meet the criteria, primarily because (...) their proponents have not paid sufficient attention to the problematic nature of the data supporting the use of their definitions. (shrink)
Neuronal aggregates involved in conscious awareness are not evenly distributed throughout the CNS but comprise key components referred to as the neural network correlates of consciousness (NNCC). A critical node in this network is the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices. The cytological and neurochemical composition of this region is reviewed in relation to the Brodmann map. This region has the highest level of cortical glucose metabolism and cytochrome c oxidase activity. Monkey studies suggest that the anterior thalamic projection likely (...) drives retrosplenial and posterior cingulate cortex metabolism and that the midbrain projection to the anteroventral thalamic nucleus is a key coupling site between the brainstem system for arousal and cortical systems for cognitive processing and awareness. The pivotal role of the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices in consciousness is demonstrated with posterior cingulate epilepsy cases, midcingulate lesions that de-afferent this region and are associated with unilateral sensory neglect, observations from stroke and vegetative state patients, alterations in blood ﬂow during sleep, and the actions of general anesthetics. Since this region is critically involved in self reﬂection, it is not surprising that it is similarly a site for the NNCC. Interestingly, information processing during complex cognitive tasks and during aversive sensations such as pain induces efforts to terminate self reﬂection and result in decreased processing in posterior cingulate and precuneal cortices. (shrink)
Psychoactive drugs are being prescribed to millions of Americans at an increasing rate. In many cases these drugs are necessary in order to overcome debilitating emotional problems. Yet in other instances, these drugs are used to supplant, not supplement, interpersonal therapy. The process of overcoming emotional obstacles by introspection and the attainment of self knowledge is gradually being eroded via the gratuitous use of psychoactive medication in order to rapidly attain a release from the common problems that life inevitably presents (...) us with. In this paper, I argue that Kant’s formula of humanity, which maintains that persons ought never to treat others or themselves soley as a means to an end, proscribes this. Moreover, Kant argues that we have an imperfect duty of self development, and I argue that we fail to adhere to such a duty whenever we seek to evade the process of introspection and self knowledge in favour of the expedient results that drugs may provide us with as we attempt to overcome the emotional hurdles in our lives. (shrink)
In this target article the following hypotheses are discussed: (1) Colour is autonomous: a perceptuolinguistic and behavioural universal. (2) It is completely described by three independent attributes: hue, brightness, and saturation: (3) Phenomenologically and psychophysically there are four unique hues: red, green, blue, and yellow; (4) The unique hues are underpinned by two opponent psychophysical and/or neuronal channels: red/green, blue/yellow. The relevant literature is reviewed. We conclude: (i) Psychophysics and neurophysiology fail to set nontrivial constraints on colour categorization. (ii) Linguistic (...) evidence provides no grounds for the universality of basic colour categories. (iii) Neither the opponent hues red/green, blue/yellow nor hue, brightness, and saturation are intrinsic to a universal concept of colour. (iv) Colour is not autonomous. (shrink)
Sections R1 to R3 attempt to take the sting out of hostile commentaries. Sections R4 to R5 engage Berlin and Kay and the World Color Survey to correct the record. Section R6 begins the formulation of a new theory of colour as an engineering project with a technological developmental trajectory. It is recommended that the colour space be abandoned.
This paper examines the challenge that psychoanalytic theory cannot be refuted. It does so by considering the theory in its orthodox Freudian form, and in the main branches into which it can be divided ? the theory of Instincts, of Development, of Psychic Structure, of Mental Economics or Defence, and of Symptom Formation. The essential character of the generalizations and concepts of these branches will just be indicated; and we shall ask of each branch whether it is possible to refute (...) it. A considerable amount of scientific enquiry has been done into the concepts and generalizations of psychoanalysis. Relevant examples of these enquiries will be noted; and the question asked whether these scientific studies have in fact done anything to refute or support the various branches of psychoanalytic theory. The general upshot will be that the challenge is both important and a mistake. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider a variety of objections against the covering-law model of scientific explanation, show that Aristotle was already aware of them and had solutions for them, and argue that these solutions are correct. These solutions involve the notions of nonHumean causality and of essential properties. There are a great many familiar objections, both methodological and epistemological, to introducing these concepts into the methodology of science, but I show that these objections are based upon misunderstandings of these concepts.
The techniques of natural duality theory are applied to certain finitely generated varieties of Heyting algebras to obtain optimal dualities for these varieties, and thereby to address algebraic questions about them. In particular, a complete characterisation is given of the endodualisable finite subdirectly irreducible Heyting algebras. The procedures involved rely heavily on Priestley duality for Heyting algebras.
This paper describes the perspectives of stakeholders within the North American dairy industry on key issues affecting the welfare of dairy cattle. Five heterogeneous focus groups were held during a dairy cattle welfare meeting in Guelph, Canada in October 2012. Each group contained between 7 and 10 participants and consisted of a mix of dairy producers, veterinarians, academics, students, and dairy industry specialists. The 1-h facilitated discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Content analysis of the resulting transcripts showed that participants (...) across all stakeholder categories identified lameness as the most important welfare issue facing dairy cattle. Other prominent issues of concern included cow comfort, disease, on-farm mortality, stockmanship, painful procedures, injuries, cull cow management, calf management, and restriction of behavioural freedoms. Participants typically gave several reasons for why they considered issues problematic. Underlying reasons were grouped according to animal-centered concerns [at both the individual and at the herd level ] and industry-centered concerns . This analysis identified areas of shared concern among diverse stakeholder groups, which should aid in the development of standards and policies that satisfy stakeholders within and external to the dairy industry. (shrink)
To describe the content of practice guidelines on euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) and to compare differences between settings and guidelines developed before or after enactment of the euthanasia law in 2002 by means of a content analysis. Most guidelines stated that the attending physician is responsible for the decision to grant or refuse an EAS request. Due care criteria were described in the majority of guidelines, but aspects relevant for assessing these criteria were not always described. Half of the (...) guidelines described the role of the nurse in the performance of euthanasia. Compared with hospital guidelines, nursing home guidelines were more often stricter than the law in excluding patients with dementia (30% vs 4%) and incompetent patients (25% vs 4%). As from 2002, the guidelines were less strict in categorically excluding patients groups (32% vs 64%) and in particular incompetent patients (10% vs 29%). Healthcare institutions should accurately state the boundaries of the law, also when they prefer to set stricter boundaries for their own institution. Only then can guidelines provide adequate support for physicians and nurses in the difficult EAS decision-making process. (shrink)
H. Tristram Engelhardt has made profound contributions to both philosophical and religious bioethics, and his philosophical and religious works may be read in mutually illuminating ways. As a philosopher, Engelhardt has mustered a powerful critique of secular efforts to develop a shared substantive morality. As a religious scholar, Engelhardt has affirmed a Christian bioethics that does not emanate from human rationality but from the experience of God found in Orthodox Christianity. In this collection of essays, both defenders and critics of (...) Engelhardt's religious bioethics have their say, and the spirited nature of their discussion attests, in its own right, to Engelhardt's enduring influence. (shrink)
Until a few years ago, the works of Thomas Reid were known only by specialists in the history of philosophy, and, insofar as people did think at all about Reid and his school of common sense philosophy, it was generally thought that Kant had been right in dismissing them as naive thinkers who did not really understand what philosophical skepticism was all about. This attitude about Reid changed very rapidly in recent years. More and more people now realize that Reid (...) was one of the most important British philosophers, and that his works are full of deep insights that have only recently been rediscovered. (shrink)