This paper outlines the development and implementation of a new course in Engineering Ethics at the University of Tennessee. This is a three-semester-hour course and is jointly taught by an engineering professor and a philosophy professor. While traditional pedagogical techniques such as case studies, position papers, and classroom discussions are used, additional activities such as developing a code of ethics and student-developed scenarios are employed to encourage critical thinking. Among the topics addressed in the course are engineering as a profession (...) and its role in society; ethical successes and failures; risk, safety, and the environment; professional responsibilities; credit and intellectual property; and international concerns. (shrink)
We, the faculty of this great university, are all specialists of one kind or another –economists, physicists, historians, philosophers, poets. Necessarily then, we are the masters of rarefied techniques of inquiry and expression peculiar to our disciplines. But if we were no more than that, we should have failed our students, and ourselves. We are also intellectuals, and citizens. We bear the citizen's duty to engage the problems of this society, and the intellectual's responsibility to speak what truth he is (...) given to know about them. (shrink)
This paper offers a listing of references to religious ethics in recent Anglo-American philosophical literature, organized in terms of a critical analysis of the main lines of argument to be found there. The principal focus is on metaethics, although references are included to other aspects of religious ethics. The author maintains that the case for a logical and/or a linguistic relation between religion and ethics is much stronger than is generally recognized in the philosophical discussions of these issues.
On the basis of the characterization of autonomy set out by Beauchamp and Childress in Principles of Biomedical Ethics, we first explore some of the parameters along which autonomy may vary in degree through a series of hypothetical examples drawn from various settings; and, second and in more detail, we examine how the range of autonomy is affected through informed consent to various medical diagnostic tests. Our conclusions are (1) that there are significant implications for patient autonomy inherent in new (...) and forthcoming diagnostic modalities, and (2) that attention should be paid to these implications in formulating policies for both clinical practice and research. We close with (a) some specific policy recommendations for clinical practice and research, and (b) some metaphysical speculations raised by our explorations. (shrink)
What were Shakespeare's final thoughts on history, tragedy, and comedy? Shakespeare's Last Plays focuses much needed scholarly attention on Shakespeare's "Late Romances." The work--a collection of newly commissioned essays by leading scholars of classical political philosophy and literature--offers careful textual analysis of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, All is True, and The Two Noble Kinsmen. The essays reveal how Shakespeare's thought in these final works compliments, challenges, fulfills, or transforms previously held conceptions of the playwright (...) and his political-philosophical views. (shrink)
The patient we call Danny was a mildly mentally retarded male in his mid-thirties who adamantly refused kidney dialysis when it was offered as the only therapeutic option for his progressive kidney failure. It was uncertain how fully Danny understood the implications of his refusal. To complicate the case still further, several “advocates” emerged to speak on Danny's behalf — each with a somewhat different interpretation of the situation and different sets of value presuppositions and ethical principles to apply to (...) the choice. We chronicle the development of this situation through a series of scenes; and in each scene we also attempt to clarify the ethical and medico-legal issues involved at that point. Danny was finally permitted to make this decision for himself — though more by default than by an agreement by all parties to honor his autonomy. Our hope is that this presentation will lead to further discussion and clarification of these important issues. (shrink)
If truth is not unproblematic, then neither is it inaccessible. And, telling the truth is decidedly a political act. "From the viewpoint of politics, truth has a despotic character," declared Hannah Arendt, in her essay, "Truth and Politics." "Unwelcome opinion can be argued with, rejected, or compromised upon," she goes on, "but unwelcome facts possess an infuriating stubbornness that nothing can move except plain lies." Moreover, at this late date in the twentieth century, we know that social justice is impossible (...) unless intellectuals tell the truth. This is a lesson which Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright turned politician, teaches as well as anyone. In "The Power of the Powerless," his classic essay on the intellectual's role in opposing totalitarianism, he observes that: "Under the orderly surface of the life of lies... there slumbers the hidden sphere of life in its real aims, of its hidden openness to truth.". (shrink)
As a way of contributing to bioethics' understanding of itself, and, more particularly, to invigorate conversation about how we can best educate future colleagues, we present here a sketch of the quarter-century-old graduate concentration in medical ethics housed in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our hope is to incite other programs to share their histories, strategies, problems, and aspirations, so as to help the field as a whole get a clearer sense of how we are (...) putting together our future, and of how we might best go about this important job. (shrink)
We investigate whether there can be scientific truth if this truth depends ’inter alia’ on a true causal principle and if the principle strictly implies ’nature’s God’ ’qua’ a ’first cause’. If there is this ’cause’, then how does one know whether it or a natural cause was the cause of a phenomenon? Responses to this question involve examining critiques of the causal principle by Hume and Kant as well as by distinguishing logical from physical possibilities.