Quine (1960, Word and object. Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, ch. 2) claims that there are a variety of equally good schemes for translating or interpreting ordinary talk. ‘Rabbit’ might be taken to divide its reference over rabbits, over temporal slices of rabbits, or undetached parts of rabbits, without significantly affecting which sentences get classified as true and which as false. This is the basis of his famous ‘argument from below’ to the conclusion that there can be no fact of the matter (...) as to how reference is to be divided. Putative counterexamples to Quine’s claim have been put forward in the past (see especially Evans 1975; 1975, Journal of Philosophy, LXXII(13), 343–362. Reprinted in McDowell (Ed.), Gareth Evans: Collected papers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.), and various patches have been suggested (e.g. Wright (1997, The indeterminacy of translation. In C. Wright & B. Hale (Eds.), A companion to the philosophy of language (pp. 397–426). Oxford: Blackwell)). One lacuna in this literature is that one does not find any detailed presentation of what exactly these interpretations are supposed to be. Drawing on contemporary literature on persistence, the present paper sets out detailed semantic treatments for fragments of English, whereby predicates such as ‘rabbit’ divide their reference over four-dimensional continuants (Quine’s rabbits), instantaneous temporal slices of those continuants (Quine’s rabbit-slices) and the simple elements which compose those slices (undetached rabbit parts) respectively. Once we have the systematic interpretations on the table, we can get to work evaluating them. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe latest draft of UNESCO's proposed Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights is a major disappointment. The committee of government ‘experts’ that produced it made sure that it would not introduce any new obligations for States, and so the document simply restates existing agreements and lists desirable goals without specifying how they can be achieved. This article focuses on the shortcomings of the document as it would apply to health care. These shortcomings are evident in the document's scope, aims (...) and principles. The conclusion is that if UNESCO still thinks that such a declaration is needed, it should produce either an ethical document addressed to individuals and groups, which would be primarily educational in nature, or a legal document addressed to States, which should not have the word ‘ethics’ in its title. (shrink)
In this essay, Brook Ziporyn’s reading of Zhuangzi 莊子 is explicated and broken down into what I take to be its two primary parts: first, Zhuangzi’s epistemological agnosticism and perspectivism, and second, Zhuangzi’s Wild Card. The former presents a unique set of philosophical problems through the specialized terminology of the classical Chinese lexicon, while the latter tries to remedy these problems. I take the first part of Zhuangzi’s position to be compelling and pertinent, while the second part is problematic. Carrying (...) out the project, I focus primarily on Ziporyn’s recent publication, Ironies of Oneness and Difference, as well as his translation of the Zhuangzi chapters that (allegedly —... (shrink)
If one cannot establish givens, such as Platonic ideas, or determiners, such as Kantian categories, as a point of departure for philosophical inquiry, then how is philosophical inquiry to proceed in a non-question-begging manner? This, of course, is the familiar problem of grounding philosophical discourse. In this essay, I hope to offer a Zhuangzian solution—that is, a solution derived from analysis of the Zhuangzi 莊子 text—to this perennial philosophical problem. As a result, I hope to give the reader a critical (...) glimpse into a Zhuangzian philosophy without foundations, thereby providing a potential solution to the preceding problem while displaying the continued relevance of the Zhuangzi text. (shrink)
This text attempts to set forth as accurate a picture as possible of the present state of biomedical ethics in Canada, along with recommendations as to how it can be improved. It also shows how far the goal of expanding the field of biomedical ethics is to provide major improvements in the quality of health care in Canada.
One of the most beloved passages in the Zhuang-Zi text is a dialogue between Hui Zi and Zhuang Zi at the end of the “Qiu-shui” chapter. While this is one of many vignettes involving Hui Zi and Zhuang Zi in the text, this particular vignette has recently drawn attention in Chinese and comparative philosophy circles. The most basic question concerning these studies is whether or not the passage represents a substantial philosophical dispute, or instead idle chitchat between two friends. This (...) vignette has not only received much attention as of late, but commentators from at least Guo Xiang onward have taken the conversation as substantial rather than merely charming. Of the traditional readings that take the passage as substantial, there are two main strategies for taking Zhuang Zi as “winning” a substantial dispute: One that argues Zhuang Zi is undermining Hui Zi’s position without offering a positive position, and another that argues that Zhuang Zi is undermining Hui Zi’s position by offering a positive position. Guo Xiang’s “official commentary” is paradigmatic of the first “negative” strategy, while Wang Fuzhi’s reading is paradigmatic of the second “positive” strategy. The goal in the present article is to present these two strategies for reading the passage by translating and analyzing Guo’s and Wang’s annotations, thereby showing how the passage might be and has been taken as more than frivolous chitchat. (shrink)
Canadians frequently have recourse to public commissions as a means of dealing with contentious public policy issues. This essay examines the role of philosophers and philosophy in nine such commissions, all of which have dealt with issues in biomedical ethics. The principal findings of this essay are that philosophers have not been used extensively by these commissions, and that the philosophical aspects of the issues under investigation have been dealt with quite inadequately. The essay concludes with suggestions for an expanded (...) role for philosophers in such commissions. Keywords: bioethics, Canada, commissions, inquiries, philosophers CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Since its formation in 1947, the World Medical Association (WMA) has been a leading voice in international medical ethics. The WMA’s principal ethics activity over the years has been policy development on a wide variety of issues in medical research, medical practice and health care delivery. With the establishment of a dedicated Ethics Unit in 2003, the WMA’s ethics activities have intensified in the areas of liaison, outreach and product development. Initial priorities for the Ethics Unit have been the review (...) of paragraph 30 of the Declaration of Helsinki, the expansion of the Ethics Unit section of the WMA website and the development of an ethics manual for medical students everywhere. (shrink)