The popular television series House M.D. is drawn upon to provide a critical examination of medical paternalism and how it is presented in the show. Dr Gregory House, the character named in the title of the series, is a paradigm of a paternalistic physician. He believes that he knows what is best for his patients, and he repeatedly disregards their wishes in order to diagnose and treat their illnesses. This paper examines several examples of medical paternalism and the means used (...) to portray it favourably in the series. It is argued that the positive depiction of medical paternalism in the fictional world of the series does not apply in the real world. The paper also considers why a show that features a paternalistic physician who so blatantly flouts mainstream medical ethics might appeal to health professionals and members of the general public. (shrink)
This paper describes the first three-year experience of the Consortium Ethics Program (CEP-1) of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Ethics, and also outlines plans for the second three-year phase (CEP-2) of this experiment in continuing ethics education. In existence since 1990, the CEP has the primary goal of creating a cost-effective, permanent ethics resource network, by utilizing the educational resources of a university bioethics center and the practical expertise of a regional hospital council. The CEP's conception and specific (...) components stem from recognition of the need to make each hospital a major focus of educational efforts, and to provide academic support for the in-house activities of the representatives from each institution. (shrink)
There is an ancient and ambiguous philosophical doctrine that perception is passive. This can mean that the mind contributes nothing to the content of our sensory experience: its power of perception is a mere receptivity. In this sense the principle has often been questioned, and is indeed doubtful on empirical grounds, given one reasonable interpretation of what it would be for the mind to make such a contribution.
Anthony Quinton's The Nature of Things covers competently a good deal of philosophical ground in hopeful pursuit of a coherent ontology de-scribable as ‘a version of materialism’. He seems to discern two major difficulties for the enterprise: first, that of giving an acceptable account of ontology, and, secondly, that of reconciling his naturalism with his empiricist principles. ‘Naturalism’ is the view that man and his doings constitute a part of nature on the same ontological level as other natural things, and (...) materialism is a naturalist philosophy. Of the second difficulty Quinton writes: …a naturalistic view of the world has had to find its chief philosophical expression through doctrines of a sceptical and subjectivist kind, such as Hume's, which have a tendency to undermine the naturalistic presumptions which inspired them. In this book I have tried to equip materialism with solid philosophical credentials. (shrink)
Ever since its first publication critics of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason have been struck by certain strong formal resemblances between transcendental idealism and Berkeley's immaterialism. Both philosophers hold that the sensible world is mind-dependent, and that from this very mind-dependence we can draw a refutation of scepticism of the senses.
Writing from a scientifically and philosophically informed perspective, the authors provide a critical overview of the conceptual difficulties encountered in many current neuroscientific and psychological theories.
Looking at the recent spate of claims about “fake news” which appear to be a new feature of political discourse, I argue that fake news presents an interesting problem in epistemology. Te phenomena of fake news trades upon tolerating a certain indiference towards truth, which is sometimes expressed insincerely by political actors. Tis indiference and insincerity, I argue, has been allowed to fourish due to the way in which we have set the terms of the “public” epistemology that maintains what (...) is considered “rational” public discourse. I argue one potential salve to the problem of fake news is to challenge this public epistemology by injecting a certain ethical consideration back into the discourse. (shrink)
Judging the warrant of conspiracy theories can be difficult, and often we rely upon what the experts tell us when it comes to assessing whether particular conspiracy theories ought to be believed. However, whereas there are recognised experts in the sciences, I argue that only are is no such associated expertise when it comes to the things we call `conspiracy theories,' but that the conspiracy theorist has good reason to be suspicious of the role of expert endorsements when it comes (...) to conspiracy theories and their rivals. The kind of expertise, then, we might associate with conspiracy theories is largely improvised—in that it lacks institutional features—and, I argue, ideally the product of a community of inquiry. (shrink)
In this paper I interrogate the notion of `debunking conspiracy theories’, arguing that the term `debunk’ carries with it pejorative implications, given that the verb `to debunk’ is commonly understood as `to show the wrongness of a thing or concept’. As such, the notion of `debunking conspiracy theories’ builds in the notion that such theories are not just wrong but ought to be shown as being wrong. I argue that we should avoid the term `debunk’ and focus on investigating conspiracy (...) theories. Looking at recent research work in epistemology on conspiracy theory, I argue that the best way to avoid talk of `debunking’ conspiracy theories is by working with a non-pejorative definition of `conspiracy theory’, and forming communities of inquiry which allow us to investigate the warrant of such theories without the prejudice associated with working with a pejorative definition. (shrink)
Two and a half thousand years ago Greek philosophers "looked up at the sky and formed a theory of everything." Though their solutions are little credited today, the questions remain fresh. Early Greek thinkers struggled to come to terms with and explain the totality of their surroundings, to identitify an original substance from which the universe was compounded, and to reconcile the presence of balance and proportion with the apparent disorder of the cosmos. M. R. Wright examines cosmological theories of (...) the "natural philosophers" from Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes to Plato, the Stoics and the NeoPlatonists. The importance of Babylonian and Egyptian forerunners is also emphasized. Cosmology in Antiquity is a comprehensive introduction to the cosmological thought in ancient times. (shrink)
Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists have been accused of a great many sins, but are the conspiracy theories conspiracy theorists believe epistemically problematic? Well, according to some recent work, yes, they are. Yet a number of other philosophers like Brian L. Keeley, Charles Pigden, Kurtis Hagen, Lee Basham, and the like have argued ‘No!’ I will argue that there are features of certain conspiracy theories which license suspicion of such theories. I will also argue that these features only license a (...) limited suspicion of these conspiracy theories, and thus we need to be careful about generalising from such suspicions to a view of the warrant of conspiracy theories more generally. To understand why, we need to get to the bottom of what exactly makes us suspicious of certain conspiracy theories, and how being suspicious of a conspiracy theory does not always tell us anything about how likely the theory in question is to be false. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework that will help in understanding and evaluating, along social and ethical lines, the issue of killing day-old male chicks and two alternative directions of responsible innovations to solve this issue. The following research questions are addressed: Why is the killing of day-old chicks morally problematic? Are the proposed alternatives morally sound? To what extent do the alternatives lead to responsible innovation? The conceptual framework demonstrates clearly that there is a (...) moral “lock-in”, and why the killing of day-old chicks is indeed an issue. Furthermore, it is shown that both alternative directions address some important objections with regard to the killing of day-old chicks, but that they also raise new dilemmas. It also becomes clear that the framework enables and secures anticipation, reflection, deliberation with and responsiveness to stakeholders, the four dimensions of responsible innovation, in a structured way. (shrink)
We argue that thoughts are structures of concepts, and that concepts should be individuated by their origins, rather than in terms of their semantic or epistemic properties. Many features of cognition turn on the vehicles of content, thoughts, rather than on the nature of the contents they express. Originalism makes concepts available to explain, with no threat of circularity, puzzling cases concerning thought. In this paper, we mention Hesperus/Phosphorus puzzles, the Evans-Perry example of the ship seen through different windows, and (...) Mates cases, and we believe that there are many additional applications. (shrink)
Theoretical and empirical research in bioethics frequently focuses on ethical dilemmas or problems. This paper draws on anthropological and phenomenological sources to develop an alternative framework for bioethical enquiry that allows examination of a broader range of how the moral is experienced in the everyday lives of individuals and groups. Our account of moral experience is subjective and hermeneutic. We define moral experience as “Encompassing a person's sense that values that he or she deem important are being realised or thwarted (...) in everyday life. This includes a person's interpretations of a lived encounter, or a set of lived encounters, that fall on spectrums of right-wrong, good-bad or just-unjust”. In our conceptualisation, moral experience is not limited to situations that are heavily freighted with ethically-troubling ramifications or are sources of debate and disagreement. Important aspects of moral experience are played out in mundane and everyday settings. Moral experience provides a research framework, the scope of which extends beyond the evaluation of ethical dilemmas, processes of moral justification and decision-making, and moral distress. This broad research focus is consistent with views expressed by commentators within and beyond bioethics who have called for deeper and more sustained attention in bioethics scholarship to a wider set of concerns, experiences and issues that better captures what is ethically at stake for individuals and communities. In this paper we present our conceptualisation of moral experience, articulate its epistemological and ontological foundations and discuss opportunities for empirical bioethics research using this framework. (shrink)
In this concluding chapter Dentith presents a synthesis of the views on offer, arguing that the various philosophical, sociological and psychology theses defended in this section point towards a necessary reorientation of the literature, one which requires we purge public discourse of the pejorative aspects of the terms ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’ and, rather, engage with conspiracy theories as theories (like we do with theories in the Sciences and the Social Sciences) appraising them on their particular merits. Not just (...) that, but there is even room in our discourse to celebrate and promote conspiracy theorising (as we do theorising in other domains) given the need to be ever vigilant with respect to the existence of conspiracies in our polities. Sometimes, Dentith argues, that even requires that we treat some on-the-face-of-it ridiculous conspiracy theories seriously and ask how and who should investigate them. (shrink)
Esfeld has proposed a minimalist ontology of nature called ‘super-Humeanism’ that purports to accommodate quantum phenomena and avoid standard objections to neo-Humean metaphysics. I argue that Esfeld’s sparse ontology has counterintuitive consequences and generates two self-undermining dilemmas concerning the nature of time and space. Contrary to Esfeld, I deny that super-Humeanism supports an ontology of microscopic particles that follow continuous trajectories through space.
Objectives: Recent legislative changes within the United Kingdom have stimulated professional debate about access to patient data within research. However, there is currently little awareness of public views about such research. The authors sought to explore attitudes of the public, and their lay representatives, towards the use of primary care medical record data for research when patient consent was not being sought.Methods: 49 members of the public and four non-medical members of local community health councils in South Wales, UK gave (...) their views on the value and acceptability of three current research scenarios, each describing access to data without patient consent.Results: Among focus group participants, awareness of research in primary care was low, and the appropriateness of general practitioners as researchers was questioned. There was general support for research but also concerns expressed about data collection without consent. These included lack of respect and patient control over the process. Unauthorised access to data by external agencies was a common fear. Current data collection practices, including population based disease registers elicited much anxiety. The key informants were equally critical of the scenarios and generally less accepting.Conclusions: This exploratory study has highlighted a number of areas of public concern when medical records are accessed for research without patient consent. Public acceptability regarding the use of medical records in research cannot simply be assumed. Further work is required to determine how widespread such views are and to inform those advising on confidentiality issues. (shrink)
Talk of fake news is rife in contemporary politics, but what is fake news, and how, if anything, does it differ from news which is fake? I argue that in order to make sense of the phenomenon of fake news, it is necessary to first define it and then show what does and does not fall under the rubric of ‘fake news’. I then go on to argue that fake news is not a new problem. Rather, if there is problem (...) with fake news it is its centrality in contemporary public debate. (shrink)
This slim volume contains a translation of the article Beau from the second volume of Diderot's Encyclopédie, plus a lengthy introduction to Diderot's work and a survey of esthetic theory in eighteenth-century England, France, and Germany as well. The translators do not mention the academic quarrels which plagued Diderot's article until 1952, when Lester G. Crocker resolved them once and for all in favor of Diderot. They also mistakenly attribute to Diderot the article Encyclopédie. These are, however, minor imperfections in (...) a text which serves as a solid introduction to Diderot studies. The translators have summarized many of Diderot's major works and have outlined significant problems in esthetics discussed by Hume, Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Wolff, Lessing, Winckelman, Montesquieu, Du Bos, and, of immediate significance to Diderot, the père Andre and the abbé Batteux. Other features of this book include extensive notes, a good index, a bibliography, and André Billy's compilation of Diderot's works in order of publication.—C. M. R. (shrink)
An analysis of the recent efforts to define what counts as a "conspiracy theory", in which I argue that the philosophical and non-pejorative definition best captures the phenomenon researchers of conspiracy theory wish to interrogate.