Our knowledge of the human brain and the influence of pharmacological substances on human mental functioning is expanding. This creates new possibilities to enhance personality and character traits. Psychopharmacological enhancers, as well as other enhancement technologies, raise moral questions concerning the boundary between clinical therapy and enhancement, risks and safety, coercion and justice. Other moral questions include the meaning and value of identity and authenticity, the role of happiness for a good life, or the perceived threats to humanity. Identity and (...) authenticity are central in the debate on psychopharmacological enhancers. In this paper, I first describe the concerns at issue here as extensively propounded by Carl Elliott. Next, I address David DeGrazia’s theory, which holds that there are no fundamental identity-related and authenticity-related arguments against enhancement technologies. I argue, however, that DeGrazia’s line of reasoning does not succeed in settling these concerns. His conception of identity does not seem able to account for the importance we attach to personal identity in␣cases where personal identity is changed through enhancement technology. Moreover, his conception of authenticity does not explain the reason why we find inauthentic values objectionable. A broader approach to authenticity can make sense of concerns about changes in personal identity by means of enhancement technologies. (shrink)
Research from behavioural sciences shows that people reach decisions in a much less rational and well-considered way than was often assumed. The doctrine of informed consent, which is an important ethical principle and legal requirement in medical practice, is being challenged by these insights into decision-making and real-world choice behaviour. This article discusses the implications of recent insights of research on decision-making behaviour for the informed consent doctrine. It concludes that there is a significant tension between the often non-rational choice (...) behaviour and the traditional theory of informed consent. Responsible ways of dealing with or solving these problems are considered. To this end, patient decisions aids are discussed as suitable interventions to support autonomous decision-making. However, current PDAs demand certain improvements in order to protect and promote autonomous decision-making. Based on a conception of autonomy, we will argue which type of improvements are needed. (shrink)
Despite the reported limited success of conventional treatments and growing evidence of the effectiveness of adult bariatric surgery, weight loss operations for (morbidly) obese children and adolescents are still considered to be controversial by health care professionals and lay people alike. This paper describes an explorative, qualitative study involving obesity specialists, morbidly obese adolescents, and parents and identifies attitudes and normative beliefs regarding pediatric bariatric surgery. Views on the etiology of obesity—whether it should be considered primarily a medical condition or (...) more a psychosocial problem—seem to affect the specialists’ normative opinions concerning the acceptability of bariatric procedures as a treatment option, the parents’ feelings regarding both being able to influence their child’s health and their child being able to control their own condition, and the adolescents’ sense of competence and motivation for treatment. Moreover, parents and adolescents who saw obesity as something that they could influence themselves were more in favor of non-surgical treatment and vice versa. Conflicting attitudes and normative views—e.g., with regard to concepts of disease, personal influence on health, motivation, and the possibility of a careful informed consent procedure—play an important role in the acceptability of bariatric surgery for childhood obesity. (shrink)
A widespread historiographical portrayal represented Descartes' dualism as constituted in direct contrast with Aquinas' concept of soul-form. In the wake of the many studies that have opposed this prejudice in recent decades, this book reconstructs the fifteenth and seventeenth-century debate on psychology, focusing primarily on the Jesuit context and on the intersection between Aristotelianism, Platonism, and Augustinianism in early modern France. Beginning with a rigorous investigation of the theories of the separated soul, particular attention is then given to the indirect (...) derivation of the Cartesian cogito and innatism from angelological themes of the time. Indeed, in the years in which Descartes elaborates his metaphysics, the immediate proximity between souls and angels is somehow a matter of fact, in the light of which many of the argumentative choices of the Meditations, and even the relationship that closely joins the "thinking substance" with the body-machine, appear clear. -/- . (shrink)
This book presents new research into key areas of the work of German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Reflecting various aspects of Leibniz's thought, this book offers a collection of original research arranged into four separate themes: Science, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Religion and Theology. With in-depth articles by experts such as Maria Rosa Antognazza, Nicholas Jolley, Agustín Echavarría, Richard Arthur and Paul Lodge, this book is an invaluable resource not only for readers just beginning to discover Leibniz, but (...) also for scholars long familiar with his philosophy and eager to gain new perspectives on his work. (shrink)
This collection of original papers, entitled "The beginning and end of the universe: scientific, philosophical, and theological perspectives", derives from an interdisciplinary conference, that had been organized jointly by the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Vatican Observatory. The conference consisted of two sessions of one day each, held at the Pontifical Gregorian University during the academic year 2014-2105. The first day focused on scientific, philosophical and theological questions concerning the beginning of the universe and the second day on questions concerning (...) the end of the universe. The richness of this book derives not only from the variety of academic perspectives but also from the different heuristic methods adopted by the researchers. For the book’s final version, more contributions were added, the entire collection was reviewed by all authors for constructive criticism and mutual evaluation, and the style and content of each contribution were adjusted to ensure that the book presents a satisfactory degree of unity. After a survey of what some current astronomical theories say about the beginning and end of the universe, the philosophical topics treated include the idea of first cause, the finality of the universe, and the Heideggerian idea of world. The theological topics include some current accounts of "creatio ex nihilo", and the relation between theological eschatology and the results of the cosmology of the far distant future. (shrink)
The ethics of Kant and the ethics of Crusius are strikingly similar. This is manifested in a whole range of principles and concepts. Crusius’ moral teaching hinges on the rigorous moral law which has to be obeyed absolutely, and which makes it different from other prescriptions that are binding only to a relative degree. This is very close to the Kantian distinction between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. Another salient feature of Crusius’ moral teaching is the stress laid on the sphere (...) of internal motives. It is the inner motive that determines the morality of an act, rather than the external form of the act. These and some other features of Crusius’ ethics suggest a possible influence of Crusius on Kant. The possibility of such influence has repeatedly come under close scrutiny. The first works devoted to this problem date to the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Pointers to the possibility of such influence are semantic and structural similarities of the two thinkers’ systems. Besides, it is an unchallengeable fact that Kant was fairly familiar with the main theses of Crusian philosophy. Some scholars proceed from the study of Kantian vocabulary. Some of the terms Kant uses, especially in his early works which later formed the basis of his ethical teaching in the critical period, can be traced to the terms of Crusian philosophy. However, an alternative view is that Kant was primarily influenced by Wolffian philosophy, while the direct influence of Crusius remains unproven. I examine both points of view and propose my own solution to the problem. (shrink)
Four critical essays (on De Anima, on In Illud: Tunc et Ipse Filius, on Patristic Platonism, and on the doctrine of apokatastasis in Gregory of Nyssa and Origen), new Greek edition of De anima also based on the Coptic version predating every Greek manuscript, translations of, and commentaries on, both De Anima and In Illud: Tunc et Ipse Filius, appendixes (on the Syriac and Coptic translations of De Anima and on its reception among the Cambridge Platonists, with the first Italian (...) translation of an essay by Jane Lead[e]), bibliographies. (shrink)
Erasmus wrote his Colloquies as educational material for training boys in Latin conversation. This volume of the Amsterdam edition of the Latin texts of Erasmus offers a critical edition of the Latin texts of these influential, creative writings, which resemble short Latin plays.
This volume brings together a number of important studies by leading scholars on ritual and law, philosophy and religion, literature and entertainments in Qin and Han China. A few contributions deal with the Han legacy to later Chinese culture.
We present a new English translation of L.E.J. Brouwer's paper ‘De onbetrouwbaarheid der logische principes’ of 1908, together with a philosophical and historical introduction. In this paper Brouwer for the first time objected to the idea that the Principle of the Excluded Middle is valid. We discuss the circumstances under which the manuscript was submitted and accepted, Brouwer's ideas on the principle of the excluded middle, its consistency and partial validity, and his argument against the possibility of absolutely undecidable propositions. (...) We note that principled objections to the general excluded middle similar to Brouwer's had been advanced in print by Jules Molk two years before. Finally, we discuss the influence on George Griss' negationless mathematics. (shrink)
An empirically sensitive formulation of the norms of transformative criticism must recognize that even public and shared standards of evaluation can be implemented in ways that unintentionally perpetuate and reproduce forms of social bias that are epistemically detrimental. Helen Longino's theory can explain and redress such social bias by treating peer evaluations as hypotheses based on data and by requiring a kind of perspectival diversity that bears, not on the content of the community's knowledge claims, but on the beliefs and (...) norms of the culture of the knowledge community itself. To illustrate how socializing cognition can bias evaluations, we focus on peer-review practices, with some discussion of peer-review practices in philosophy. Data include responses to surveys by editors from general philosophy journals, as well as analyses of reviews and editorial decisions for the 2007 Cognitive Science Society Conference. (shrink)
The projection postulate, which prescribes “collapse of the state vector” upon measurement, is not an essential part of quantum mechanics. Rather it is only an optional discarding of certain branches of the state vector that are expected to be irrelevant for the purpose at hand. However, its use is hazardous, and there are examples of repeated measurements for which the conventional application of the projection postulate leads to incorrect results.