What value is this scholarly debate about the origins of Jaspers' phenomenology to psychiatric clinicians? For one thing, it might help kindle enough interest among scholars and clinicians in Jaspers' General Psychopathology to warrant its reprinting. This would expand the psychiatrist's appreciation of the relevance of philosophy to medical thinking and patient care. In the GP, Jaspers quotes Kant's opinion that "the psychiatrist's competence is really commensurate with how far his education and knowledge would qualify him to belong to the (...) philosophic faculty". (shrink)
This book approaches ethical and legal issues in medicine from the patient's viewpoint and argues that many patients do not want the full burden of decision making that contemporary bioethics has thrust upon them.
In this paper, we review recent neuroimaging investigations of disorders of consciousness and different disciplines' understanding of consciousness itself. We consider potential tests of consciousness, their legal significance, and how they map onto broader themes in U.S. statutory law pertaining to advance directives and surrogate decision-making. In the process, we outline a taxonomy of themes to illustrate and clarify the variance in state-law definitions of consciousness. Finally, we discuss broader scientific, ethical, and legal issues associated with the advent of neuroimaging (...) for disorders of consciousness and conclude with policy recommendations that could help to mitigate confusion in this realm. (shrink)
Recent studies indicate that patients who are diagnosed with vegetative states may retain more awareness than their clinical assessments suggest. Disorders of consciousness traditionally have been diagnosed on the basis of outwardly observable behaviors alone, but new functional imaging studies have shown surprising levels of brain activity in some patients, indicating that even higher-level cognitive functions like language processing and visual imagery may be preserved. For example, one recently developed method purports to detect voluntary mental imagery solely on the basis (...) of neural response patterns observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging. This line of research has already led to some widely reported cases of patients who were discovered to have more brain activity than expected. In November 2009, Rom Houben, a Belgian man who was thought to be in a coma for 23 years, was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome through the use of neuroimaging; however, that assessment was later overturned by further testing. (shrink)
In America today, public policy governing an increasing number of social issues is made through the judicial enforcement of constitutional rights. Cruzan raised the question whether policy regarding the withdrawal of medical care from incompetent patients is to be handled similarly. This essay argues that privacy-rights doctrine provides a poor basis for constructing public policy in this area. It suggests that the Court has been unable to articulate a convincing basis for privacy rights and that the basis the Court seems (...) to assume poorly fits many circumstances to which it is applied. The essay further contends that the Court has been unable to describe a persuasive method of analyzing the state interests that are at stake in privacy cases and to accommodate those interests in a reasonable way. The essay concludes that these are issues as to which policy is better formed through a political, not judicial, process. Keywords: constitutional rights, courts, fundamental right, personal right, public policy, rights CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Though Nietzsche never developed a theory of history, his comments on time yield a radical approach to historical interpretation. Central to this philosophy is the concept of eternal recurrence. Time, with neither boundary nor purpose, returns from the past to repeat itself in its same form. This generates a psychological and moral problem for men, as it fails to provide the elements of meaning which Nietzsche considered essential to the human psyche. Men survive the aimlessness of history by living in (...) the unhistorical consciousness of the immediate present. Nietzsche's ideal is the suprahistorical man, whose awareness of history, and his disgust with it, lead him to find meaning in the structure of time-a structure of meaninglessness. The value system of history is this will to power and precludes the extension of historical judgment to situations beyond the sphere of inquiry. (shrink)
Motivated by analogous applications to sonoluminescence, neutron stars mergers are examined in the context of Schwinger's dynamical Casimir effect. When the dielectric properties of the QED vacuum are altered through the introduction of dense matter, energy shifts in the zero-point fluctuations can appear as photon bursts at gamma-ray frequencies. The amount of radiation depends upon the properties and amount of matter in motion and the suddenness of the transition. It is shown that the dynamical Casimir effect can convert sufficient energy (...) of neutron star mergers into gamma rays. Using information extracted from simulations of matter flow in neutron star mergers by Ruffert and Janka, we estimate that the total Casimir energy released can exceed 10 53 ergs in gamma-ray frequencies. The Casimir energy approach is capable of explaining the most energetic gamma-ray bursts. (shrink)