Both the diagnosis and medical treatment of gender dysphoria —particularly in children and adolescents—have been the subject of significant controversy in recent years. In this paper, we outline the means by which GD is diagnosed in children and adolescents, the currently available treatment options, and the bioethical issues these currently raise. In particular, we argue that the families and healthcare providers of children presenting with GD currently face two main ethical dilemmas in decision making regarding treatment: the pathway dilemma and (...) the consent dilemma. (shrink)
This paper makes a comparison between enactivism and Levinas’ philosophy. Enactivism is a recent development in philosophy of mind and cognitive science that generally defines cognition in terms of a subject’s natural interactions with the physical environment. In recent years, enactivists have been focusing on social and ethical relations by introducing the concept of participatory sensemaking, according to which ethical know-how spontaneously emerges out of natural relations of participation and communication, that is, through the exchange of knowledge. This paper will (...) argue first that, although participatory sensemaking is a valuable concept in that it offers a practical and realistic way of understanding ethics, it nevertheless downplays the significance of otherness for understanding ethics. I will argue that Levinas’ work demonstrates in turn that otherness is significant for ethics in that we cannot completely anticipate others through participation or know-how. We cannot live the other’s experiences or suffering, which makes ethical relation so difficult and serious (e.g. care for a terminally ill person always falls short to a certain extent). I will argue next that enactivism and Levinas’ philosophy nevertheless do not exclude each other insofar they share a similar concept of subjectivity as a quality of naturally interacting with the external world to gain knowledge (Levinas speaks of dwelling). Finally, I will argue that enactivism’s notion of participatory sensemaking also offers something which Levinas’ insufficiently defines, namely a concept of social justice, based on equality and participation, that emerges out of natural relations. (shrink)
_The Ambiguity of Justice_ consists of a collection of essays that address difficulties and potential contradictions in thinking justice by focussing on Ricoeur's theory of justice and on the major thinkers that were influential for it.
This book examines Paul Ricœur’s moral anthropology. It shows that his hermeneutical approach to responsibility and justice, focusing on the analysis of the singularity of lived existence, complements recent developments in moral philosophy that tend toward moral relativism and understand responsibility and justice in naturalistic terms.
Recent enactive accounts of cognition have begun to disentangle social and normative aspects of the human mind. In this paper, we will contribute to this debate by developing an enactive account of moral development, i.e. the learning of ethical norms, and critical engagement with these norms through social affordances, participatory sense-making, and moral concern. The difficulty in articulating such an account is in reconciling the affective embodied aspects of moral experiences with the more orthodox aspects of ethics like critical reflection. (...) In order to respond to this difficulty, we bring Ricoeur’s hermeneutics into dialogue with enactivism. Complementing the enactive tradition, we frame critical ethical learning as embodied interaction with diverse ethical dimensions allowing us to incorporate moral values in the form of critical narratives and the social imaginary. We agree with enactivist theories that participation and democratic dialogue are essential parts of critical reflection on ethical norms. Yet, we also contend that this kind of critical reflection benefits from hermeneutical interpretation, challenging larger participatory networks, such as social institutions, which nourish inequality and maintain unethical values. (shrink)
In this article I will examine Ricœur’s idea of the universal in his understanding of justice. Scholars recently discussed the extent to which Ricœur understands universal moral norms and universal rules of justice in his anthropology of human action, and argue that Ricœur stresses too much the idea of universal moral norms with regard to cultural and moral diversity,. G. H. Taylor, “Reenvisioning Justice,” Lo Squarda 12 : 65-80). In this article I will take part in the debate about universalism (...) and approach Ricœur’s idea of the universal from a different angle, in placing it in light of his idea of evil. The point I will aim to make in this article is that Ricœur’s idea of the relation between justice and evil demonstrates what I understand as the ambiguity of justice, which highlights the difficulty of defining universal rules of justice. I will argue that this ambiguity is the following: justice aims at the establishment of social peace and in that sense it is the necessary remedy against human evil, but justice also implies power, and possibly violence, over others in that it relates to violent feelings of vengeance, to institutional mechanism of authority, and to a struggle of values. Yet if rules of justice relate to evil in the sense of power over others, so I argue, then it is problematic to define absolute criteria for rules of justice, i.e., for rules for social peace: because justice relates to particular values, which means that the risk of violence is inherent to institutional rules of justice, there is no ultimate universal set of such rules. This article therefore questions Ricœur’s understanding of universal rules of justice in Oneself as Another. Yet, I will also draw on a series of other texts of Ricœur on justice, and argue that Ricœur’s idea of justice allows understanding how we find common sensibilities about justice through dialogue, a sensibility for the other, and narratives as a way of critique of existing moral norms and rules of justice. (shrink)
Gender dysphoria (GD) is marked by an incongruence between a person’s biological sex at birth, and their felt gender (or gender identity). There is continuing debate regarding the benefits and drawbacks of physiological treatment of GD in children, a pathway, beginning with endocrine treatment to suppress puberty. Currently, the main alternative to physiological treatment consists of the so-called “wait-and-see” approach, which often includes counseling or other psychotherapeutic treatment. In this paper, we argue in favor of a “third pathway” for the (...) diagnosis and treatment of GD in youths. To make our case, we draw on a recent development in bioethics: the phenomenological approach. Scholars such as Slatman and Svenaeus have argued that the extent to which the body can (or should be) manipulated or reconstructed through medical intervention is not only determined by consideration of ethical frameworks and social and legal norms. Rather, we must also take account of patients’ personal experience of their body, the personal and social values associated with it, and their understanding of its situation in their life: their narrative identities. We apply this phenomenological approach to medicine and nursing to the diagnosis and treatment of GD in youth. In particular, we discuss Zahavi and Martiny’s conception of the phenomenological interview, in order to show that narrative techniques can assist in the process of gender identification and in the treatment of youth presenting with GD. We focus on two case studies that highlight the relevance of a narrative-based interview in relations between patients, HCPs, and family, to expose the influence of social ideologies on how young people presenting with GD experience their bodies and gender. (shrink)
Ashley’s response to our recent paper argues that a fuller appreciation of the available clinical data, of the rights of children to autonomy, and of the primary purpose of gender-affirming endocrine treatment supports the rejection of both the pathway and consent dilemmas for the treatment of gender dysphoria, as raised in this journal. In this response, we highlight certain misrepresentations of our argument, and defend our conclusions against Ashley’s main objections.
The contributions in this book address the relation between evil, symbolism and psychoanalysisc by focusing on the two works of Riœur in which these topics play the most prominent role: The Symbolism of Evil and Freud and Philosophy. Furthermore, the bilingual book includes contributions that examine the relation between evil, symbolism and psychoanalysis in Ricœur’s work in a more general fashion, by investigating his philosophy as a whole. It brings together both French and English chapters from leading Ricœur scholars from (...) over the world. The international multilinguistic perspective reflects Ricœur’s spirit who said that when he worked on a book, all of the others were simultaneously open on his writing table. It is a groundbreaking work to those interested in Ricœur, Freud and religion. (shrink)
This article examines Paul Ricoeur’s discussion of analytical philosophy of language. I argue that Ricoeur’s idea of responsibility is exemplary for understanding this discussion and for understanding how Ricoeur conceives of the task of phenomenological hermeneutics in relation to analytical philosophy and cognitive science. According to Ricoeur, analytical philosophy of language explains how we use ordinary language for ascribing responsibility to the actions of agents. I argue that Ricoeur shows that the task of cognitive science is similar: explaining the causal (...) relation between human action and the physical body. Yet analytical philosophy of language insufficiently understands responsibility, for Ricoeur, in making an abstraction of the question of what it means to be responsible. Whereas analytical philosophy of language explains the causes of human action, so Ricoeur contends, it does not explain its motives, because these are not empirical relations that we can identify by means of common language. The task of phenomenological hermeneutics consists then, so I aim to demonstrate in line with Ricoeur, in understanding the motives of human action, which implies interpretation of text and of the self’s narrative identity: in narratives we learn the reasons for being responsible. (shrink)
This article examines Paul Ricoeur’s discussion of analytical philosophy of language. I argue that Ricoeur’s idea of responsibility is exemplary for understanding this discussion and for understanding how Ricoeur conceives of the task of phenomenological hermeneutics in relation to analytical philosophy and cognitive science. According to Ricoeur, analytical philosophy of language explains how we use ordinary language for ascribing responsibility to the actions of agents (e.g., X is responsible for giving a speech). I argue that Ricoeur shows that the task (...) of cognitive science is similar: explaining the causal relation between human action and the physical body (e.g., the debate on responsibility and neuroscience). Yet analytical philosophy of language insufficiently understands responsibility, for Ricoeur, in making an abstraction of the question of what it means to be responsible. Whereas analytical philosophy of language explains the causes of human action, so Ricoeur contends, it does not explain its motives, because these are not empirical relations that we can identify by means of common language. The task of phenomenological hermeneutics consists then, so I aim to demonstrate in line with Ricoeur, in understanding the motives of human action, which implies interpretation of text and of the self’s narrative identity: in narratives we learn the reasons for being responsible. (shrink)