A great number of constructive suggestions for the analysis of the concepts and models treated are presented in this book, which mirrors a current debate within the theory of medicine by covering three central topics: the concepts of health and disease; definition and classification in medicine; and causal explanation in medicine. Among the issues dealt with are: How should the concepts of health and disease be characterized in order to be of relevance to clinical practice? Should we try to define (...) particular diseases in explicit terms? What should be the criteria for selecting causes when explaining disease or death? These problems are treated from various points of view, the contributors being drawn from the fields of clinical medicine, epidemiology, psychiatry, social medicine, philosophy, and history of medicine. (shrink)
This article examines three aspects of the problem of understanding Benjamin Libet’s idea of conscious will causally interacting with certain neural activities involved in generating overt bodily movements. The first is to grasp the notion of cause involved, and we suggest a definition. The second is to form an idea of by what neural structure(s) and mechanism(s) a conscious will may control the motor activation. We discuss the possibility that the acts of control have to do with levels of supplementary (...) motor area activity and with the activation of populations of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons. The third aspect is to conceive of the main features of Libet’s proposed conscious mental field (CMF). We consider both an ontological and an epistemological interpretation of the CMF being nonphysical. In an attempt to refute the idea that Libet’s dualist mind–brain interactionism would violate the law of conservation of energy, we suggest that a CMF may alter the probability of the ion-channel gating by influencing structures of a size to which quantum mechanics needs to be applied. We argue that given the suggested definition of cause, and given the epistemological interpretation of the CMF being nonphysical, nothing would necessarily rule out that an element of a CMF, conscious will, may causally interact with neural activities in the brain. This defense of the idea of conscious will being causally efficacious has a bearing not only on the understanding of the mind–brain relation but also on the free will debate. (shrink)
This article presents a brief general view of the recent literature and the scholarly activity in the field of philosophy of medicine in Scandinavia. The focus of attention is not on medical ethics, but on studies on topics like decision theory, medical classification, causality, causal explanations, concept formation, and on analyses of different ideals of medical science and clinical practice. A few principal works on medical ethics are mentioned by way of introduction and a brief account of a highly topical (...) debate on the legislation on artificial insemination in Sweden is given at the end. (shrink)
In this article a brief overview is given of the field of medical ethics in Sweden in recent years. The presentation concentrates on the occurrence of official ethical norms for physicians, current ethical committees, the educational situation, legislation in force, and some essential features of the ethical debate on a few central issues.