This article is a collective writing experiment undertaken by philosophers of education affiliated with the PESGB. When asked to reflect on questions concerning the Philosophy of Education in a New Key in May 2020, it was unsurprising that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on society and on education were foremost in our minds. We wanted to consider important philosophical and educational questions raised by the pandemic, while acknowledging that, first and foremost, it is a human tragedy. With nearly a (...) million deaths reported worldwide to date, and with everyone effected in one way or another by Covid-19, there is a degree of discomfort, and a responsibility to be sensitive, in reflecting and writing about it academically. Members of this ‘Covid Collective’ come from various countries, with perspectives from Great Britain and Ireland well represented, and we see academic practice as a globally connected enterprise, especially since the digital revolution in academic publishing. The concerns raised in this article relate to but move beyond Covid-19, reflecting the impact of neoliberalism [and other political developments] on geopolitics with educational concerns as central to our focus. (shrink)
A STUDY OF THE WAY IN WHICH SCHILLER, HEGEL, AND MARX USE A MODEL BASED ON ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE AND MODERN AESTHETIC THEORY AS AN IDEAL FOR REMAKING THE MODERN WORLD AND FOR OVERCOMING ALIENATION AND ESTRANGEMENT AT THE LEVELS OF LABOR AND THE STATE. A STUDY OF THESE MATTERS ALLOWS US TO LOCATE A SHIFT IN MARX'S THOUGHT AND TO GAIN A CLEARER PICTURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE EARLIER TO THE LATER MARX.
Philosophy is often conceived in the Anglophone world today as a subject that focuses on questions in particular ‘‘core areas,’’ pre-eminently epistemology and metaphysics. This article argues that the contemporary conception is a new version of the scholastic ‘‘self-indulgence for the few’’ of which Dewey complained nearly a century ago. Philosophical questions evolve, and a first task for philosophers is to address issues that arise for their own times. The article suggests that a renewal of philosophy today should turn the (...) contemporary conception inside out, attending to and developing further the valuable work being done on the supposed ‘‘periphery’’ and attending to the ‘‘core areas’’ only insofar as is necessary to address genuinely significant questions. (shrink)
The first half of this book argues that physicalism cannot account for consciousness, and hence cannot be true. The second half explores and defends Russellian monism, a radical alternative to both physicalism and dualism. The view that emerges combines panpsychism with the view that the universe as a whole is fundamental.
Philip Pettit offers a new insight into moral psychology. He shows that attachments such as love, and certain virtues such as honesty, require their characteristic behaviours not only as things actually are, but also in cases where things are different from how they actually are. He explores the implications of this idea for key moral issues.
The ninth edition of Media Ethics: Issues and Cases has been updated to reflect the most pressing ethical issues in media. Featuring 25 new cases on hot topic issues from fake news to drones and a new chapter on social justice, this authoritative case book gives students the tools to make ethical decisions in an increasingly complex environment.
This brief opening for a special issue of Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical on Philip Clayton’s thought and its connection with that of Michael Polany introduces Clayton’s essay and the responses by Martinez Hewlett, Gregory R. Peterson, Andy F. Sanders and Waler B. Gulick.
If someone abstains from meat-eating for reasons of taste or personal economics, no moral or philosophical question arises. But when a vegetarian attempts to persuade others that they, too, should adopt his diet, then what he says requires philosophical attention. While a vegetarian might argue in any number of ways, this essay will be concerned only with the argument for a vegetarian diet resting on a moral objection to the rearing and killing of animals for the human table. The vegetarian, (...) in this laense, does not merely require us to change or justify our eating habits, but to reconsider our attitudes and behaviour towards members of other species across a wide range of practices. (shrink)
Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that (...) mountaineering may actually be worthwhile because of the risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms of how risky mountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve are justified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering often is justified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified by and because of the risks it involves. (shrink)
Is rhetoric just a new and trendy way to épater les bourgeois? Unfortunately, I think that the newfound interest of some economists in rhetoric, and particularly Donald McCloskey in his new book and subsequent responses to critics, gives that impression. After economists have worked so hard for the past five decades to learn their sums, differential calculus, real analysis, and topology, it is a fair bet that one could easily hector them about their woeful ignorance of the conjugation of Latin (...) verbs or Aristotle's Six Elements of Tragedy. Moreover, it has certainly become an academic cliché that economists write as gracefully and felicitously as a hundred monkeys chained to broken typewriters. The fact that economists still trot out Keynes's prose in their defense is itself an index of the inarticulate desperation of an inarticulate profession. (shrink)
Despite the bad reputation of the legal profession, law remains king in America. A highly diverse society relies on the laws to maintain a working sense of the dignity and inviability of each individual. And a persistent element in contemporary debates is the fear that naturalistic theories of the human person will erode our belief that we have a dignity greater than that of other natural objects. Thus the endurance of the creation vs. evolution debate is due less to the (...) arguments of creationists, or to the continued influence of the book of Genesis, than to the reading of the evidence provided by Phillip E. Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, Law School. (shrink)
Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and formal (...) properties, and that Scanlon is ambiguous about whether the formal property of a reason can stop the buck. Drawing from Wallace, I respond to Crisp's reasons and the good objection by developing an augmented buck-passing account of reasons and value, where the buck is passed consistently from the formal properties of both to the substantive properties of considerations and evaluative attitudes. I end by describing two unresolved problems for buck-passers. (shrink)
The advance of science and human knowledge is impeded by misunderstandings of various statistics, insufficient reporting of findings, and the use of numerous standardized and non-standardized presentations of essentially identical information. Communication with journalists and the public is hindered by the failure to present statistics that are easy for non-scientists to interpret as well as by use of the word significant, which in scientific English does not carry the meaning of "important" or "large." This article promotes a new standard method (...) for reporting two-group and two-variable statistics that can enhance the presentation of relevant information, increase understanding of findings, and replace the current presentations of two-group ANOVA, t-tests, correlations, chi-squares, and z-tests of proportions. A brief call to highly restrict the publication of risk ratios, odds ratios, and relative increase in risk percentages is also made, since these statistics appear to provide no useful scientific information regarding the magnitude of findings. (shrink)
Jonathan Glover and I, while not in such deep disagreement about the ethics of killing as to make all communication impossible, still disagree enough to make sustained confrontation worthwhile. At minimum, such confrontation should make it clear what are the most fundamental issues at stake in ethical arguments about various kinds of killing.
Suppose that a person P 1 dies some time during 1978. Many years later, the resurrection world, a perennial object of Christian concern, begins on the morning of the day of judgment. On its first morning there are in that world distinct persons, P 2 and P 3 , each of whom is related in remarkably intimate ways to P 1 . You are to imagine that each of them satisfies each of the criteria or conditions necessary for identity with (...) P 1 to some extent, that both of them satisfy these conditions to exactly the same extent, and that every other denizen of the resurrection world satisfies each of these conditions to a lesser extent than P 2 and P 3 do. Thus, for example, philosophers often claim that bodily continuity is a necessary condition for personal identity. If it is, you might assume that the body P 2 has on the morning of the day of judgment contains some of the same atoms the body of P1 1 contained when P 1 died, and that P 2 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death just in case P 3 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death. Or, again, some philosophers hold that connectedness of memory is necessary for personal identity. If so, you are to suppose that on the morning of the day of judgment P 3 seems to remember some of the events in the life of P 1 having happened to him, and that P 3 seems to remember a certain event in the life of P 1 having happened to him just in case P 2 seems to remember that very event in the life of P 1 having happened to him. You are to fill in the details by adding complete parity between P 2 and P 3 with respect to similarity of DNA molecules, character traits and whatever else you deem relevant to personal identity. And, finally, you are to complete the story by imagining that P 2 and P 3 live very different sorts of lives in the resurrection world. To heighten the poignancy of the story, you might imagine that P 2 enjoys forever after the beatitude promised to the blessed while P 3 suffers the everlasting torments reserved for the damned. (shrink)
The notion of risk plays a central role in economics, finance, health, psychology, law and elsewhere, and is prevalent in managing challenges and resources in day-to-day life. In recent work, Duncan Pritchard (2015, 2016) has argued against the orthodox probabilistic conception of risk on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how probable it is, and in favour of a modal conception on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how modally close it is. (...) In this article, we use Pritchard’s discussion as a springboard for a more wide-ranging discussion of the notion of risk. We introduce three different conceptions of risk: the standard probabilistic conception, Pritchard’s modal conception, and a normalcy conception that is new (though it has some precursors in the psychological literature on risk perception). Ultimately, we argue that the modal conception is ill-suited to the roles that a notion of risk is required to play and explore the prospects for a form of pluralism about risk, embracing both the probabilistic and the normalcy conceptions. (shrink)
Philosophers have long agreed that moral responsibility might not only have a freedom condition, but also an epistemic condition. Moral responsibility and knowledge interact, but the question is exactly how. Ignorance might constitute an excuse, but the question is exactly when. Surprisingly enough, the epistemic condition has only recently attracted the attention of scholars, and it is high time for a full volume on the topic. The chapters in this volume address the following central questions. Does the epistemic condition require (...) akrasia? Why does blameless ignorance excuse? Does moral ignorance sustained by one’s culture excuse? Does the epistemic condition involve knowledge of the wrongness or wrongmaking features of one’s action? Is the epistemic condition an independent condition, or is it derivative from one’s quality of will or intentions? Is the epistemic condition sensitive to degrees of difficulty? Are there different kinds of moral responsibility and thus multiple epistemic conditions? Is the epistemic condition revisionary? What is the basic structure of the epistemic condition? (shrink)
Philip Quinn, John A. O’Brien Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1985 until his death in 2004, was well known for his work in the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and core areas of analytic philosophy. Although the breadth of his interests was so great that it would be virtually impossible to identify any subset of them as representative, the contributors to this volume provide an excellent introduction to, and advance the discussion of, some of the questions (...) of central importance to Quinn in the last years of his working life. Paul J. Weithman argues in his introduction that Quinn’s interest and analyses in many areas grew out of a distinctive and underlying sensibility that we might call “liberal faith.” It included belief in the value of a liberal education and in rigorous intellectual inquiry, the acceptance of enduring religious, cultural, and political pluralism, along with a keen awareness of problems posed by pluralism, and a deeply held but non-utopian faith in liberal democratic politics. These provocative essays, at the cutting edge of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and political philosophy, explore the tenets of liberal faith and invite continuing engagement with the philosophical issues. “Philip Quinn was admired enormously throughout the world of professional philosophy.... His reputation for rigor, his tireless service to the profession, and his essentially ‘non-dogmatic,’ but philosophically sophisticated faith is widely admired... The essays in this volume are first-rate contemporary philosophy along with an excellent introduction to Quinn’s work.” —_Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College_ "The papers that form _Liberal Faith_ give insightful treatments of three types of questions: first, how can we conscientiously believe something when there are many people we admire who do not believe it, and what is the underlying relation here between justification and rationality; second, what does it mean to desire union with God, and can Christians properly believe in the possibility of eternal self-annihilation; third, how should liberal democracy accommodate the religious convictions of its members, whether some comprehensive doctrine such as a religion is required to justify a commitment to human equality, and whether there is an absolute moral prohibition on the state use of torture. The volume has an unusually good introduction putting the papers into dialog with each other and with the work of Philip Quinn. The papers are cohesive because the central themes of Philip Quinn's work hold together into a picture of how Christianity and Liberal Democracy fit together." —_John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School _ “This is a collection of high quality essays dealing with various topics related to Philip Quinn’s work. The book makes an original contribution by virtue of its individual papers, each of which is new. These essays will be of interest to scholars and students who followed Quinn’s work, especially in philosophy of religion and political philosophy.“ —_John Greco, The Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy, Saint Louis University _. (shrink)
Research on personality psychology is making important contributions to psychological science and applied psychology. This second edition of The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology offers a one-stop resource for scientific personality psychology. It summarizes cutting-edge personality research in all its forms, including genetics, psychometrics, social-cognitive psychology, and real-world expressions, with informative and lively chapters that also highlight some areas of controversy. The team of renowned international authors, led by two esteemed editors, ensures a wide range of theoretical perspectives. Each research (...) area is discussed in terms of scientific foundations, main theories and findings, and future directions for research. The handbook also features advances in technology, such as molecular genetics and functional neuroimaging, as well as contemporary statistical approaches. An invaluable aid to understanding the central role played by personality in psychology, it will appeal to students, researchers, and practitioners in psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and the social sciences. (shrink)
This work concerns the oneness hypothesis--the view, found in different forms and across various disciplines, that we and our welfare are inextricably intertwined with other people, creatures, and things--and its implications for conceptions of the self, virtue, and human happiness.
_A positive assessment of secularism and the possibilities it offers for a genuinely meaningful life without religion_ Although there is no shortage of recent books arguing against religion, few offer a positive alternative—how anyone might live a fulfilling life without the support of religious beliefs. This enlightening book fills the gap. Philip Kitcher constructs an original and persuasive secular perspective, one that answers human needs, recognizes the objectivity of values, and provides for the universal desire for meaningfulness. Kitcher thoughtfully (...) and sensitively considers how secularism can respond to the worries and challenges that all people confront, including the issue of mortality. He investigates how secular lives compare with those of people who adopt religious doctrines as literal truth, as well as those who embrace less literalistic versions of religion. Whereas religious belief has been important in past times, Kitcher concludes that evolution away from religion is now essential. He envisions the successors to religious life, where the senses of identity and community traditionally fostered by religion will instead draw on a broader range of cultural items—those provided by poets, filmmakers, musicians, artists, scientists, and others. With clarity and deep insight, Kitcher reveals the power of secular humanism to encourage fulfilling human lives built on ethical truth. (shrink)
This was the first cross-over book into the history of science written by an historian of economics. It shows how 'history of technology' can be integrated with the history of economic ideas. The analysis combines Cold War history with the history of postwar economics in America and later elsewhere, revealing that the Pax Americana had much to do with abstruse and formal doctrines such as linear programming and game theory. It links the literature on 'cyborg' to economics, an element missing (...) in literature to date. The treatment further calls into question the idea that economics has been immune to postmodern currents, arguing that neoclassical economics has participated in the deconstruction of the integral 'self'. Finally, it argues for an alliance of computational and institutional themes, and challenges the widespread impression that there is nothing else besides American neoclassical economic theory left standing after the demise of Marxism. (shrink)
The following objection to the ‘ontological’ argument of St Anselm has a continuing importance. The argument begs the question by introducing into the first premise the name ‘God’. In order for something to be truly talked about, to have properties truly attributed to it—it has been said—it must exist; a statement containing a vacuous name must either be false, meaningless, or lacking in truth-value, if it is not a misleading formulation to be explained by paraphrase into other terms. In any (...) case the question of the divine existence is begged. (shrink)
It has become fashionable to try to prove the impossibility of there being a God. Findlay's celebrated ontological disproof has in the past quarter century given rise to vigorous controversy. More recently James Rachels has offered a moral argument intended to show that there could not be a being worthy of worship. In this paper I shall examine the position Rachels is arguing for in some detail. I shall endeavor to show that his argument is unsound and, more interestingly, that (...) the genuine philosophical perplexity which motivates it can be dispelled without too much difficulty. (shrink)
More Heat Than Light is a history of how physics has drawn some inspiration from economics and also how economics has sought to emulate physics, especially with regard to the theory of value. It traces the development of the energy concept in Western physics and its subsequent effect upon the invention and promulgation of neoclassical economics. Any discussion of the standing of economics as a science must include the historical symbiosis between the two disciplines. Starting with the philosopher Emile Meyerson's (...) discussion of the relationship between notions of invariance and causality in the history of science, the book surveys the history of conservation principles in the Western discussion of motion. Recourse to the metaphors of the economy are frequent in physics, and the concepts of value, motion, and body reinforced each other throughout the development of both disciplines, especially with regard to practices of mathematical formalisation. However, in economics subsequent misuse of conservation principles led to serious blunders in the mathematical formalisation of economic theory. The book attempts to provide the reader with sufficient background in the history of physics in order to appreciate its theses. The discussion is technically detailed and complex, and familiarity with calculus is required. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Robert A. Oakes argues that a doctrine central to, and partially constitutive of, classical theism implies a certain sort of pantheism. The doctrine in question is a modal form of the claim that God conserves in existence the world of contingent things; alternatively, it is the view that all contingently existing things are necessarily continuously dependent upon God for their existence. And the variety of pantheism at stake is a modal form of the thesis that all (...) contingent things are, in some sense, included within the being of God. (shrink)
This volume serves both as an introduction to the thought of Mengzi and Wang Yangming and as a comparison of their views. By examining issues held in common by both thinkers, Ivanhoe illustrates how the Confucian tradition was both continued and transformed by Wang Yangming, and shows the extent to which he was influenced by Buddhism. Topics explored are: the nature of morality; human nature; the nature and origin of wickedness; self cultivation; and sagehood. In addition to revised versions of (...) each of these original chapters, Ivanhoe includes a new chapter on Kongzi's view of the Way. (shrink)
This volume contains nine chapters of translation, by a range of leading scholars, focusing on core themes in the philosophy of Zhu Xi (1130-1200), one of the most influential Chinese thinkers of the later Confucian tradition. -/- Table of Contents: Chapter One: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Ethics by Philip J. Ivanhoe Chapter Two: Moral Psychology and Cultivating the Self by Curie Virág Chapter Three: Politics and Government by Justin Tiwald Chapter Four: Poetry, Literature, Textual Study, and Hermeneutics by On-cho Ng (...) Chapter Five: Social Conditions of His Time by Beverly Bossler Chapter Six: Heaven, Ghosts and Spirits, and Ritual by Hoyt Tillman Chapter Seven: Criticisms of Buddhism, Daoism, and the Learning of the Heart-mind by Ellen Neskar and Ari Borrell Chapter Eight: Science and Natural Philosophy by Yung Sik Kim Chapter Nine: Zhu Xi's Commentarial Work: Abiding in the Mean and the Constant by Daniel Gardner. (shrink)
Technology is a practically indispensible means for satisfying one’s basic interests in all central areas of human life including nutrition, habitation, health care, entertainment, transportation, and social interaction. It is impossible for any one person, even a well-trained scientist or engineer, to know enough about how technology works in these different areas to make a calculated choice about whether to rely on the vast majority of the technologies she/he in fact relies upon. Yet, there are substantial risks, uncertainties, and unforeseen (...) practical consequences associated with the use of technological artifacts and systems. The salience of technological failure (both catastrophic and mundane), as well as technology’s sometimes unforeseeable influence on our behavior, makes it relevant to wonder whether we are really justified as individuals in our practical reliance on technology. Of course, even if we are not justified, we might nonetheless continue in our technological reliance, since the alternatives might not be attractive or feasible. In this chapter I argue that a conception of trust in technological artifacts and systems is plausible and helps us understand what is at stake philosophically in our reliance on technology. Such an account also helps us understand the relationship between trust and technological risk and the ethical obligations of those who design, manufacture, and deploy technological artifacts. (shrink)
The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world—the “oneness hypothesis”—can be found in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior. This anthology presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of the nature and implications (...) of the oneness hypothesis. While fundamentally inspired by East and South Asian traditions, in which such a view often is critical to philosophical approach, this collection draws upon religion, psychology, and Western philosophy, as well as sociology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive neuroscience. Contributors trace the oneness hypothesis through the works of East Asian and Western thinkers and traditions, including Confucianism. Mohism, Daoism, Buddhism, Platonism, Zhuangzi, Kant, James, and Dewey. They intervene in debates over ethics, cultural difference, identity, group solidarity, and the positive and negative implications of metaphors of organic unity. Challenging dominant traditional views that presume the proper scope of the mind stops at the boundaries of the skin and skull, The Oneness Hypothesis shows that a more relational conception of the self is not only consistent with contemporary science but has the potential to lead to greater happiness and well-being for both individuals and the larger wholes of which they are parts. (shrink)
It seems clear that the ontological argument can no longer be dismissed as a silly fallacy. The dogma of the impossibility of necessary existence is seriously threatened by the case of necessary existential truths in mathematics, and as for the claim that the ontological argument must beg the question, since by mentioning God in the premise his existence is presupposed, it is undermined by the fact that we often refer to things—Hamlet for instance— we do not for a moment think (...) exist. The doctrine that existence is not a property , insofar as it does not reduce to one of the foregoing points, is very murky, for the sense in which ‘red’ is a predicate and ‘exists’ is not has never been clearly defined. Moreover, the way many believers hold that ‘God exists’ is immune to empirical refutation strongly suggests that we are dealing here with an analytic statement, which is just what the ontological argument should be expected to produce. It seems in order, then, to conduct theological discussion under the supposition that the argument is in fact sound. (shrink)
Our global ecological crisis demands that we question the rationality of the culture that has caused it: western modernity's free market capitalism. Philip Goodchild develops arguments from Nietzsche, Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marx, to suggest that our love of Western modernity is an expression of a piety in which capitalism becomes a global religion, in practice, if not always in belief. This book presents a philosophical alternative that demands attention from philosophers, critical theorists, philosophers of religion, theologians, and those in (...) ecological politics. (shrink)
Modern technology has changed the way we live, work, play, communicate, fight, love, and die. Yet few works have systematically explored these changes in light of their implications for individual and social welfare. How can we conceptualize and evaluate the influence of technology on human well-being? Bringing together scholars from a cross-section of disciplines, this volume combines an empirical investigation of technology and its social, psychological, and political effects, and a philosophical analysis and evaluation of the implications of such effects.
Technological advances in veterinary medicine have produced considerable progress in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous diseases in animals. At the same time, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and owners of animals face increasingly complex situations that raise questions about goals of care and correct or reasonable courses of action. These dilemmas are frequently controversial and can generate conflicts between clients and health care providers. In many ways they resemble the ethical challenges confronted by human medicine and that spawned the creation of (...) clinical ethics committees as a mechanism to analyze, discuss, and resolve disagreements. The staff of the North Carolina State University Veterinary Hospital, a specialty academic teaching institution, wanted to investigate whether similar success could be achieved in the tertiary care veterinary setting. We discuss the background and rationale for this method, as well as the approach that was taken to create a clinical ethics committee. (shrink)
The 'ethical commonwealth', the central social element in Kant's account of religion, provides the church, as 'the moral people of God', with a role in establishing a cosmopolitan order of peace. This role functions within an interpretive realignment of Kant's critical project that articulates its central concern as anthropological: critically disciplined reason enables humanity to enact peacemaking as its moral vocation in history. Within this context, politics and religion are not peripheral elements in the critical project. They are, instead, complementary (...) social modalities in which humanity enacts its moral vocation to bring lasting peace among all peoples. (shrink)
Patient and family demands for the initiation or continuation of life-sustaining medically non-beneficial treatments continues to be a major issue. This is especially relevant in intensive care units, but is also a challenge in other settings, most notably with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Differences of opinion between physicians and patients/families about what are appropriate interventions in specific clinical situations are often fraught with highly strained emotions, and perhaps none more so when the family bases their desires on religious belief. In this essay, (...) I discuss non-beneficial treatments in light of these sorts of disputes, when there is a clash between the nominally secular world of fact- and evidence-based medicine and the faith-based world of hope for a miraculous cure. I ask the question whether religious belief can justify providing treatment that has either no or a vanishly small chance of restoring meaningful function. I conclude that non-beneficial therapy by its very definition cannot be helpful, and indeed is often harmful, to patients and hence cannot be justified no matter what the source or kind of reasons used to support its use. Therefore, doctors may legitimately refuse to provide such treatments, so long as they do so for acceptable clinical reasons. They must also offer alternatives, including second opinions, as well the option of transferring the care of the patient to a more accommodating physician or institution. (shrink)