In this article, we want to reply to the recent article by Buturovic, to be able to correct some statements and allegations about this combined procedure. Organ donation after euthanasia is an extremely difficult procedure from an ethical point of view. On the one hand, we see a suffering patient who wants to die but who also wants to make an altruistic effort to donate his organs. On the other hand, we visualise a patient in need of an organ but (...) who is wary of the fact that someone else needs to die in order to potentially receive a transplant organ. Healthcare professionals seem to walk a tightrope when balancing between the interests of the patients at these two extremes: while facilitating the dying patient’s last wish on the one hand and abiding by all regulations regarding donation and transplantation on the other. Yet, these physicians, nurses and transplant coordinators do their utmost best to keep a strict line between euthanasia and organ donation, to avoid any external pressure on the patient, and to respect his autonomy. They really make an utmost attempt to make the process bearable for the donating patient. However, undeniably the patient who is about to undergo organ donation after euthanasia is nevertheless confronted with dozens of feelings and thoughts. However, this does not imply that procedural safeguards are failing to disentangle organ donation from euthanasia. (shrink)
This new translation of the first Critique forms part of a fifteen-volume English-language edition of the works of Immanuel Kant under the general editorship of this volume’s editor-translators, Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. The edition, which is almost complete by now, comprises all of Kant’s published works along with extensive selections from his literary remains, his correspondence, and student transcripts of his lecture courses in metaphysics, ethics, logic, and anthropology. The Cambridge edition aims at a consistent English rendition of Kant’s (...) works, both within a given volume and across volumes. In terms of scope and detail, the Cambridge edition is unrivaled in any language, except for the authoritative Academy edition begun under the directorship of Wilhelm Dilthey in 1900, which, however, is still not completed and several volumes of which are in serious need of re-editing. In one case, that of the Opus postumum, the best edition currently available seems to be the one in the Cambridge edition. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to analyse how secondary stakeholders influence managerial decision-making on Corporate Social Responsibility disclosure. Based on stakeholder salience theory, we empirically investigate whether differences in environmental disclosure among companies are systematically related to differences in the level of power, urgency and legitimacy of the environmental non-governmental organisations with which these companies are confronted. Using proprietary archival data for an international sample of 199 large companies, our results suggest that differences in environmental disclosures between companies are (...) mainly associated with differences between their environmental stakeholders’ legitimacy. The effects of power and urgency are of an indirect nature, as they are mediated by legitimacy. This study improves our understanding of CSR disclosure by demonstrating that, next to the well-documented effect of company characteristics, stakeholder characteristics are also important. Besides, it provides scarce empirical evidence that not only primary stakeholders, but also secondary stakeholders are influential with regards to management decision-making. And more specifically, it offers insight into why some stakeholder groups are better able to influence disclosure decisions than other. The results also have important practical implications for managers of both environmental NGOs and large companies. For managers of environmental NGOs the results provide evidence of the most successful tactics for having their environmental information demands satisfied by companies. For company management the results provide insights into the most important stakeholder characteristics, on the basis of which they may develop strategies for proactively disclosing environmental information. (shrink)
Military doctors and nurses, working neither as pure soldiers nor as merely doctors or nurses, may face a ‘role conflict between the clinical professional duties to a patient and obligations, express or implied, real or perceived, to the interests of a third party such as an employer, an insurer, the state, or in this context, military command’. This conflict is commonly called dual loyalty. This chapter gives an overview of the military and the medical ethic and of the resulting dual (...) loyalty problem for medical personnel working in the military. It considers how dual loyalties relate to being a professional, something medical personnel are the paradigmatic examples of, but also something military personnel claim to be. Against that background, the chapter elaborates on the medical rules of eligibility used in Afghanistan, and on the policies concerning military involvement in local healthcare, to see what the existing rules and policies are, and whose interests they serve. (shrink)
In this article we discuss Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s hermeneutical interpretation of Odysseus’ encounter with Circe in their Dialectic of Enlightenment. This encounter is further interpreted – via the ecofeminist homology between women and nature – as an answer to “the siren song of nature,” in which the elements of attraction and threat to human subjectivity are deeply intertwined. Whereas his crew gives in to the siren song and experiences the pleasure of being swine, enlightened Odysseus himself resists the temptation by (...) forcing Circe to establish a contract with him, the prototypical marriage that leads to the schizophrenic mythification of housewife and prostitute. It will be argued that there exists towards nature in late-modernity a homologous stance – that of environment and wilderness.Based on these assumptions, we are able to draw a few conclusions that are relevant for the wilderness-debate in general and the plea for wilderness restoration in particular. First of all, I accept the social-constructivist argument of the inaccessibility of pristine, wild nature, as I argue there is an ontological alienation from nature that cannot be overcome. Indeed, it appears that the Marxist distinction between first nature and second nature affiliates with social-constructivist assumptions. Nevertheless, I seek to avoid the moral indifference often implied by social-constructivism by employing Adorno and Horkheimer’s eudaemonist critique of enlightenment, and argue that another, historically determined form of alienation from nature operates in the background.Although Adorno and Horkheimer do not provide us with practical measures to effect a reconciliation of humanity and nature, they do provide us with a conceptual instrument to critique certain tendencies within our society’s ecological policy. (shrink)
Timers and sensors are common devices that make our daily life safer, more convenient, and more efficient. In a cellular context, they arguably play an even more crucial role as they ensure the survival of cells in the presence of various extrinsic and intrinsic stresses. Biological timers and sensors generate distinct signaling profiles, enabling them to produce different types of cellular responses. Recent data suggest that they can work together to guarantee correct timing and responsiveness. By exploring examples of cellular (...) stress signaling from mitosis, DNA damage, and hypoxia, the authors discuss the common architecture of timer‐sensor integration, and how its added features contribute to the generation of desired signaling profiles when dealing with stresses of variable duration and strength. The authors propose timer‐sensor integration as a widespread mechanism with profound biological implications and therapeutic potential. -/- . (shrink)
The Evolution of Complexity is addressed to a broad audience of academics and researchers from different disciplines, who are interested in the picture of our world emerging from the new sciences of complexity. This book reviews the new concepts proposed by the diverse theories of evolution, self-organisation, general systems, cybernetics, and the `complex adaptive systems' approach pioneered by the Santa Fe institute. The thread which holds everything together is the growth of complexity during the history of the universe: from elementary (...) particles, via atoms, molecules, living cells, multicellular organisms, plants, and animals to human beings, and societies. The different sections of the book discuss the foundations and philosophy of complexity evolution, its mathematical and computer models, its explanation of self-organising and living systems, the insights it provides into the origin of mind, language and culture, and its practical applications in areas such as management and system design. (shrink)
Contributing to the emerging religion and development literature, this study sets out to analyse the role of faith in the context of a particular development approach, 'Use Your Talents' at the Malagasy Lutheran Church in Madagascar. By analysing the views of lay Christian informants with regard to their involvement in the UYT project, the study asked what is the role of faith as an intangible asset in an asset-based community development project? The qualitative data were collected through participant observations and (...) interviews conducted in four congregations across Madagascar in 2018. The results showed that church teachings and biblical stories created a normativity of good and desirable behaviour in the context of the asset-based community development project. Faith may constitute an asset when it promoted the individual's capacity to achieve positive economic and social change.CONTRIBUTION: This research broadened the understanding of religion in the context of asset-based community development projects. The results showed that the participants attributed their engagement in community development to their religious calling. The belief in the existence of a higher power not only seemed to influence individuals to act but also enabled them to feel empowered and have something to contribute. As a contribution to sociology of religion, this study showed that community development can be part of Christians' and congregational holistic activities that depended on local knowledge and resources. Faith not only motivated individuals to engage in community development, but also it seemed to represent the essence of their engagement. (shrink)
Military doctors and nurses, employees with a compound professional identity as they are neither purely soldiers nor simply doctors or nurses, face a role conflict between the clinical professional duties to a patient and obligations, express or implied, real or perceived, to the interests of a third party such as an employer, an insurer, the state, or in this context, military command (London et al. 2006). In the context of military medical ethics this is commonly called dual loyalty (or, less (...) commonly, mixed agency). Although other professionals in the military, for instance counsellors or lawyers, might experience similar problems of dual loyalties, it seems that the dual loyalties experienced by military medical personnel are particularly testing. (shrink)
Background A patient who fulfils the due diligence requirements for euthanasia, and is medically suitable, is able to donate his organs after euthanasia in Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. Since 2012, more than 70 patients have undergone this combined procedure in the Netherlands. Even though all patients who undergo euthanasia are suffering hopelessly and unbearably, some of these patients are nevertheless willing to help others in need of an organ. Organ donation after euthanasia is a so-called donation after circulatory death, (...) Maastricht category III procedure, which takes place following cardiac arrest, comparable to donation after withdrawal of life sustaining therapy in critically ill patients. To minimize the period of organ ischemia, the patient is transported to the operating room immediately after the legally mandated no-touch period of 5 min following circulatory arrest. This means that the organ donation procedure following euthanasia must take place in the hospital, which appears to be insurmountable to many patients who are willing to donate, since they already spent a lot of time in the hospital. Case presentation This article describes the procedure of organ donation after euthanasia starting at home following anesthesia in a former health care professional suffering from multiple system atrophy. This case is unique for at least two reasons. He spent his last conscious hours surrounded by his family at home, after which he underwent general anaesthesia and was intubated, before being transported to the hospital for euthanasia and organ donation. In addition, the patient explicitly requested the euthanasia to be performed in the preparation room, next to the operating room, in order to limit the period of organ ischemia due to transport time from the intensive care unit to the operating room. The medical, legal and ethical considerations related to this illustrative case are subsequently discussed. Conclusions Organ donation after euthanasia is a pure act of altruism. This combined procedure can also be performed after the patient has been anesthetized at home and during transportation to the hospital. (shrink)
Since the introduction of the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 and several other national corporate governance codes, whistleblowing policies have been implemented in a growing number of companies. Existing research indicates that this type of governance codes has a limited direct effect on ethical or whistleblowing behaviour whereas whistleblowing policies at the corporate level seem to be more effective. Therefore, evidence on the impact of (inter)national corporate governance codes on the content of corporate whistleblowing policies is important to understand their (...) indirect impact on whistleblowing behaviour. This study analyzes the contents of whistleblowing policies, and parts of corporate codes of conduct and codes of ethics, describing such policies of 56 leading European companies. By classifying the contents in seven categories, an exploratory framework was created. General contents often identified were: applicability to all employees, a group-wide scope and an authoritative tone. The most common general violations to report were breaches of internal policies and external regulations or laws. The more specific violations most frequently mentioned were criminal offences and dangers to health and safety or the environment. Contacts to report to were the direct or indirect supervisors, a compliance officer or a confidential "hotline" facility. A confidentiality guarantee was common and anonymous reporting was often possible, though sometimes discouraged. Protection against retaliation is stated by ensuring that retaliation will not happen, prohibiting it or making it punishable. The requirement of good faith was frequently given. Finally, investigation of the report was often guaranteed. Surprisingly little information is given on the treatment of whistleblowers reporting an unfounded complaint in good faith, or reporting a violation they were involved in. The study's findings are most relevant to companies without a whistleblowing policy or those that intend to benchmark their policies, and to pan-European standard setters. (shrink)
This pioneering study harnesses virtual reality to uncover the history of five venues that have been 'lost' to us: London's 1590s Rose Theatre; Bergen's mid-nineteenth-century Komediehuset; Adelaide's Queen's Theatre of 1841; circus tents hosting Cantonese opera performances in Australia's goldfields in the 1850s; and the Stardust showroom in 1950s Las Vegas. Shaping some of the most enduring genres of world theatre and cultural production, each venue marks a significant cultural transformation, charted here through detailed discussion of theatrical praxis and socio-political (...) history. Using virtual models as performance laboratories for research, Visualising Lost Theatres recreates the immersive feel of venues and reveals performance logistics for actors and audiences. Proposing a new methodology for using visualisations as a tool in theatre history, and providing 3D visualisations for the reader to consult alongside the text, this is a landmark contribution to the digital humanities. (shrink)
Ethical approval must be obtained before medical research can start. We describe the differences in EA for an pseudonymous, non-interventional, observational European study. Sixteen European national coordinators of the international study on very old intensive care patients answered an online questionnaire concerning their experience getting EA. N = 8/16 of the NCs could apply at one single national ethical committee, while the others had to apply to various regional ECs and/or individual hospital institutional research boards. The time between applying for (...) EA and the first decision varied between 7 days and 300 days. In 9/16 informed consent from the patient was not deemed necessary; in 7/16 informed consent was required from the patient or relatives. The upload of coded data to a central database required additional information in 14/16. In 4/16 the NCs had to ask separate approval to keep a subject identification code list to de-pseudonymize the patients if questions would occur. Only 2/16 of the NCs agreed that informed consent was necessary for this observational study. Overall, 6/16 of the NCs were satisfied with the entire process and 8/16 were unsatisfied. 11/16 would welcome a European central EC that would judge observational studies for all European countries. Variations in the process and prolonged time needed to get EA for observational studies hampers inclusion of patients in some European countries. This might have a negative influence on the external validity. Further harmonization of ethical approval process across Europe is welcomed for low-risk observational studies. Getting ethical approval for low-risk, non-interventional, observational studies varies enormously across European countries. (shrink)
Despite the intrinsic complexity of integrating individual, social and technologically supported intelligence, the paper proposes a relatively simple ‘connectionist’ framework for conceptualizing distributed cognitive systems. Shared information sources (documents) are represented as nodes connected by links of variable strength, which increases as the documents co-occur in the usage patterns. This learning procedure captures and exploits its users’ implicit knowledge to help them find relevant information, thus supporting an unconscious form of exchange. These principles are applied to a concrete problem domain: (...) architects sharing design knowledge through a database of associatively connected building projects. (shrink)
Bollen et al, replying to my own article, describe, in great detail, administrative and logistical aspects of euthanasia approval and organ donation in the Netherlands. They seem to believe that no useful lessons can be drawn from experiences of related groups such as euthanasia patients who cannot donate organs; patients who chose assisted suicide as opposed to euthanasia; patients in intensive care units and their relatives and suicidal young people as if we can only learn about organ donation in (...) euthanasia patients by studying this exact group and no other, no matter how closely related and obviously relevant. However, it is not only permissible but also absolutely essential to gather evidence that goes beyond immediate point of interest and carefully study groups that share important features with it. Also, groups eligible for euthanasia are constantly expanding, theoretically, legally and practically, and it would be irresponsible to not foresee what are likely future developments. Finally, myopic focus on the technicalities of the procedure misses psychological reality that drives decisions and behaviours and which rarely mimics administrative timelines. Patients proceeding through euthanasia pipeline already face substantial situational pressure and adding organ donation on top of it can make the whole process work as a commitment device. By allowing euthanasia patients to donate their organs, we are giving them additional reason to end their lives, thus creating an unbreakable connection between the two. (shrink)
There is currently a public debate in the Netherlands about the desirability about article 23 of the Dutch constitution, on the freedom of education. This freedom has come under attack because it facilitates the foundation of Muslim schools, which are entitled to support from public finances. Critics argue that, as a result of this support, the state officially sponsors the spread of Muslim segregation in Dutch society. Moreover, some liberals are now inclined to openly argue that freedom of education is (...) in contradiction with liberalism itself. This paper attempts ascertain whether freedom of education can be reconciled with liberalism. The structure of the proposed answer to this question is as follows. First, I will interpret the nature of liberalism, exploring two types of liberalism: Locke and Montesquieu. I will argue that these two liberalisms involve fundamentally different commitments: the one to autonomy and bourgeois interest, the other to liberty and civic virtue. Second, the two brands of liberalism are compared in their relation to the Enlightenment, which is a recurring theme in recent public discussions. In this section, I argue that the French Enlightenment, although not liberal in character, owes more to its own interpretation of Locke than to Montesquieu. Third, I relate the two brands of liberalism to the defense and attack of freedom of religion. The argument is that Montesquieu’s liberalism speaks to a defense of freedom of education in a pluralist state of selfgoverning citizens,while Locke’s liberalism endorses its rejection because it contradicts his vision of the bourgeois state, designed to pacify religious conflict and de-politicize cultural identities. (shrink)
The matter of considering popular music as a phenomenon that in the 20th century, along with the penetration of mass-media and recording into music, has caused a complete change in listening habits. Together with innovations in compositional techniques, or better approaches to music production and performing practice, the possibilities of modifying sound, not only in connection to the author and performer but also to the listener, have arisen. A new type of listener as well as a new kind of listening (...) demands scrutinization of issues connected to so-called adequate listening within adequate auditive situations. In the contribution the author, through historical connections, surveys developmental changes in listening. Parallelly, the author also takes into account issues of professional and lay participation in musical communication through current tendencies objectified in the deliberations of music aestheticians, scholars as well as authors. (shrink)
‘Aha! Zo zit het in elkaar! Nu begrijp ik het! Waarom heb ik dat niet eerder gezien?’ ‘Kwantummechanica is niet te begrijpen, het is onvoorstelbaar, maar je kunt er wel goed mee rekenen.’ Twee even herkenbare als spiegelbeeldige uitspraken over begrijpen in de wetenschap. Begrijpen lijkt een psychologische toestand te zijn die wordt opgeroepen als we door de dingen kunnen heen kijken. De metafoor van zien verwijst naar een invloedrijke Platonistische notie: het schouwen van een diepere, echtere realiteit. Wetenschappelijk begrijpen (...) is dan het ‘voor ogen krijgen’ van de wereld achter de verschijnselen. Deze voorstelling van zaken heeft verwantschap met gewone intuïties, maar er zitten toch een aantal haken en ogen aan. (shrink)
Symbolen, zo luidt de gemeenplaats, zijn een zaak van taal en kunst – van literatuur en plastische kunst, en ook wel van religie en spiritualiteit –, maar niet van politiek. Nochtans is de band tussen politiek en symboliek niet vreemd. Iedereen kent wel politieke symbolen of heeft het wel eens over symbooldossiers in de politiek. In wat volgt wil ik duidelijk maken dat dit te maken heeft met wat de politiek doet: het symboliseren van de gemeenschap.
Is geluk ‘denkbaar’? Zo onvermijdelijk als het adagium ‘Ik denk, dus ik ben’, zo onontkoombaar is ook de ingeschapen, fundamentele treurnis die dit denken voor de mens met zich meebrengt. In dit geestelijk testament, dat in Frankrijk en Duitsland in boekvorm al groot succes oogstte, presenteert George Steiner tien redenen voor de smarten van de geest die het denken impliceert, eine dem Leben anklebende Traurigkeit waartoe de mens veroordeeld is.
Zijn filosofen gek? Zo ja, waarom? En ligt dat dan aan de filosoof, aan de filosofie of aan de diagnostiek? Dat zijn de vragen die in 'Diagnose van de moderne filosoof' centraal staan. Nicole des Bouvrie neemt aan de hand van het diagnostische handboek van psychiaters en psychologen (de DSM-V) de situatie van de hedendaagse denker onder de loep. Autisme, psychoses, anorexia en andere aandoeningen passeren de revue, om aan de hand van een grondige anamnese van hedendaagse denkbeelden uit de (...) westerse filosofie een diagnose te stellen. ''Des Bouvrie laat als geen ander zien hoe filosofie en waanzin zich in elkaar kunnen verstrikken, maar ook hoe ze bij elkaar een zone van vrijheid vinden.'' Filosoof Wouter Kusters, winnaar Socratesbeker 2015. (shrink)
IntroductionIn May 2006, the small group of doctoral students working on ecophilosophy at the Higher Institute of Philosophy at K.U.Leuven invited the Dutch environmental philosopher Martin Drenthen to a workshop to discuss his writings on the concept of wilderness, its metaphysical and moral meaning, and the challenge social constructivism poses for ecophilosophy and environmental protection. Drenthen’s publications on these topics had already been the subject of intense discussions in the months preceding the workshop. His presentation on the workshop and the (...) three critical responses by Wim Bollen, Glenn Deliège, and Richard Kover are published here in a thoroughly revised form on the basis of further and ongoing discussions about the issues involved. Three further contributions to the discussion are added: one by Nathan Edward Kowalski, a young Canadian philosopher who studied in Leuven and wrote his as yet unpublished dissertation on “Evil in Nature,” a second one by Kingsley Goodwin who is currently writing a dissertation on deep ecology at University College in Dublin and, finally, my own unsystematic thoughts inspired by Martin Drenthen’s provocative and stimulating hermeneutics of our postmodern understanding of nature and wilderness, as well as the diverse critical responses to Drenthen’s views by the other contributors. I owe gratitude to all of them for enriching my own ecophilosophical thought and enlarging its horizon although as my fragmentary reflections show at the cost of yet greater uncertainty and more questions about the possibilities of arguing for a radical environmentalist position. Such a position would somehow connect or ground our moral obligation to preserve genuine non-human otherness, wild and free nature, in the non-human meaning of such nature and in our essential need to be in direct and concrete contact with that field of wild non-human meaning because we ourselves belong to nature, because we are not only and purely civilized but are also and most fundamentally wild and free. Three fundamental questions need to be distinguished: the question about our moral obligations regarding nature and its preservation, the metaphysical question about the nature of nature or the meaning of nature, and the question of the metaphysical grounding of our morals in general, and of our moral obligation regarding nature in particular, in the nature or meaning of nature. The complex intertwinement between these three questions is at the heart of Martin Drenthen’s reflections.The authors contributing to the present discussion approach the various issues from markedly different philosophical backgrounds and concerns: critical theory, anthropology, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deep ecology are all to some degree or other brought to bear on the question of what wilderness means for us, why we are fascinated by it and what it actually and in the first place is.Another interesting difference between the five respondents to Martin Drenthen’s wilderness-philosophy relates to the place from which they write: while the Canadians Richard Kover and Nathan Edward Kowalski have wilderness of some sort still close at hand, the Belgians Wim Bollen and Glenn Deliège write from a place which has been thoroughly domesticated, cultivated, and industrialised for a long time. Martin Drenthen himself, of course, writes from the same kind of place as these last two, which explains why he only refers to the wilderness that he has read about in novels, seen in movies, or experienced as recreated in the reserves of the Netherlands. The Irish Kingsley Goodwin writes perhaps from a third, intermediate place that is not wild anymore but still much more natural than Belgium or the Netherlands are.The differences in philosophical approach and concern combined with the difference of place generate a rich tapestry of perspectives and voices wrestling with the fundamental questions of our perceived homelessness and alienation from nature, our cultural discontent, our longing for and need for radical alterity, of immanence and transcendence, of who we are and where we belong, and more concretely of whether there is more to ground our efforts to preserve nature than enlightened self-interest and subjective preference. Martin Drenthen deserves praise for inaugurating this fruitful discussion with his intriguing and highly paradoxical effort to hybridize a postmodern deconstruction of the idea and ideal of wilderness as unspoilt and true nature on the one hand with a new metaphysics of wilderness on the other. Arne Naess, who is generally regarded as the founding father of deep ecology, pointed out the positive and stimulating role that vagueness in the expression of ideas can play in political and philosophical debate. Such general and vague but highly suggestive expressions as ‘all life is one’ are not empty at all, as is often claimed; they are rather full of possibilities of ‘precisation’ and differentiation. Drenthen’s wilderness-philosophy is certainly not vague to the degree of ‘all life is one,’ but his expositions are similarly pregnant with a wealth of further questions, precisations, distinctions, and conceptual clarifications. Good examples of different kinds are to be found in the contributions of Nathan Edward Kowalski and Richard Kover. Kowalski points out that Drenthen’s notions of culture and wilderness need to be made more precise by distinguishing them from the notions of civilization and wildness such that wild cultures become a conceptual possibility. Richard Kover takes the lead from Drenthen’s question about the reason for our postmodern fascination for wilderness to confront it with our primordial fascination in terms of the dependence in the evolution of our subjectivity and our consciousness on the focused perceptual attention on wild forms.Glenn Deliège situates Martin Drenthen’s wilderness-philosophy in its original context of the Dutch debate on the preservation of nature, in particular on the new wilderness paradigm. According to this paradigm, the nature to be preserved should be true and pure, truly natural and wild nature, that is nature outside of and free from the cultivating and domesticating influence of humans. In the Netherlands, however, such nature no longer exists; it can only be preserved after it has first been artificially recreated. Deliège gives an informative summary account of the highly charged three-cornered debate between the adepts of this wilderness-paradigm, the proponents of the more traditional form of conservation of remnants of the typical European landscapes created by pre-industrial farming practices and the modern technocratic functionalists. This debate makes obvious that there are quite different views of the nature of nature and its value. Enter social constructivism: the contested nature of nature is nothing more than a social construct, an idea in a collective mind. The contestation itself is a struggle for authority and power between different such social constructs, any claim to scientific objectivity and objective truth for one’s image of nature is an arrogation of a truth which doesn’t exist and is potentially oppressive by silencing other views. Nature then is up for the grabs of politics, political negotiation, and compromise between various interest groups who all want to get some benefit from nature, some use-value.The problem with Drenthen’s effort to articulate a normative concept of nature which cannot be deconstructed in this way is the extreme formality and emptiness of his metaphysical concept of wilderness as that which is always ‘beyond’, always ‘more’ and which can never be exhausted by any image and construction of nature. Any more concrete determination is mere appearance; the thing in itself is a border concept of that which in fact cannot be grasped conceptually. Glenn Deliège is critical of this formality and emptiness from which it will be impossible to derive any concrete guidance for our conservation practices. He then goes on to defend the Arcadian tradition of our appreciation of nature as giving us a historically well-grounded orientation for those practices. Of course that Arcadian tradition is obviously a cultural construction but that doesn’t make it completely arbitrary and contingent since it is itself ultimately grounded in and open to modification by our concrete sensuous experiences of nature.Deliège here raises the very important issue of the relation between our concrete perceptual and bodily experiences in and with nature and our concepts and metaphysical images of nature. Drenthen himself approaches this issue from the hermeneutical perspective of our need to make sense of our experiences and to articulate their meaning. His confrontation with social constructivism and his effort to salvage something from its relativizing acid lead him, however, into the direction of a highly abstract and empty concept of wilderness.Richard Kover shows that perception is, indeed, the key to a radical critique of social constructivism. He does this with the help of the ecological anthropology of Paul Shepard, the structuralist anthropology of Claude Levi-Strauss and the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It needs to be said here that Kover takes his leave from an unpublished paper by Martin Drenthen with the title “How to appropriate wilderness appropriately?” – the paper is accessible though on Drenthen’s web-site - in which Drenthen comments and reflects upon three contemporary wilderness-tales, one of them being Werner Herzog’s much-discussed documentary on Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist drop-out who lived thirteen summers among wild grizzlies in the Alaskan wilderness before being killed together with his girlfriend by a grizzly bear.Kover tries to show that we are not imprisoned in the mirror-cabinet of our mind or of our human sociality. To make his case, he starts from Paul Shepard’s thoughtful observation that the evolutionary emergence of the mind did not remove us from the natural world but actually connected us deeper with it. Through our mind we evolved more fully into it because our mind is primordially in our senses and in the ability to articulate a perceptual world. The natural world in the form of the system of natural species and their relations is the primary model for perceptual discriminations, for the fundamental discovery of order with its twin-aspects of distinction and discontinuity on the one side and relations and continuity on the other side. Our cognition is essentially perceptually based, our subjectivity is primordially informed by our inherence in the sensible world. Perceptual cognition is inherently intentional and relational, it is not an autonomous mental construction, it is rather in the world and informed by that which is perceived. The other is always intertwined with the subject. We are always already hooked up with the world, with the others, before we start reflecting, thinking, and conceptualizing. This is one of the major themes in Shepard’s work: what this insight means with regard to our relations to non-human otherness, in particular to our perceptual encounter with wild animals. In our encounter with non-human otherness, we are confronted with an essentially ambiguous sense of both affinity and disjuncture. Wild animals demonstrate to us that we are not homeless or alien to this world, that we fundamentally belong to it and are part of it. Their difference, however, shows us that there are different perspectives and ways of being in the world. “Thus the encounter with non-human others inform humans that we are both of the world and simultaneously not the world and there are horizons of significance beyond our own perspective.”Nathan Edward Kowalski comes to a similar conclusion when he situates our morality in the larger moral order of wild nature. According to Kowalski it is indeed a moral order though not our own, an Other to our morality but not simply a negative one. It is, as Drenthen says, a highly paradoxical amoral morality. But what can it mean to speak of morality here? For Kowalski it means that the issue is not merely the theoretical recognition and acknowledgment of axiological transcendence, of non-human values out there, but whether we will appropriately conform to and comport ourselves towards that axiological transcendence so that we can find a human homeland in wild nature instead of turning it into a wasteland. The question then is, how to fit our own human morality into this larger order and greater reality, to subordinate it to that greater reality as a part of it and encompassed but not denied by it so that we can be moral and natural at the same time, tender carnivores hunting the sacred game. Indigenous people follow a moral protocol in their relationship with non-human others which acknowledge and respects their autonomy, their alterity, and the sacred mystery of their different ways of being. They are not befriended but some of them are hunted and eaten – as an exchange in the gift-economy of nature.The problem of the homelessness and alienation from nature is discussed by Wim Bollen from the radically different vantage point of critical theory. In Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment the human story unfolds as a tragic effort to liberate ourselves from nature and to become fully human through rational control when in the end this effort turns against ourselves and instead of liberation and human flourishing we get social domination and repression of our natural needs. The frustrations and mutilations imposed upon us by a repressive civilization give rise to the regressive desire for a return to a natural existence. Referring to the myth of Odysseus and Circe as interpreted by Adorno and Horkheimer, Wim Bollen equates such a natural existence with animal life. In the light of contemporary knowledge about primitive existence, however, this equation is highly problematic. Palaeolithic foragers were already fully human in all respects. A life without civilization need not be an animal-existence.According to Adorno/Horkheimer, our subjectivity and autonomy have to be wrested from animal-nature through an exertive struggle that cannot but proceed by a threefold strategy of domination: the domination of non-human otherness, of human others, and of our own inner nature. The siren song of nature consists in the temptation to give up that struggle for the promise of an unreflective, non-alienated natural existence without toil.When Odysseus’ men give in to Circe’s seduction they are, however, not transformed into wild animals but into swine. According to Bollen this signifies that we cannot re-wild ourselves, that we remain imprisoned in civilization, either as master-subjects or as domesticated animals. Bollen, by the way, like Drenthen, does not distinguish conceptually between civilization and culture. Since re-wilding for Bollen means the impossibility of returning to animal-existence, which is actually the impossibility of becoming another species since biologically we are animals already, to be imprisoned in civilisation means nothing else than to be imprisoned in our humanity. The fact that we cannot become wild animals again – according to Paul Shepard, however, we are still wild animals – is indeed, as Bollen stresses, a trivial form of alienation. A more meaningful concept of alienation which can be put to critical use must refer to a culturally and historically determined frustration and deficit inside the cultural order that is to be overcome not by an impossible regression but by progressive politics leading beyond the three intertwined forms of domination. Not back to nature but forward towards a reconciliation of culture with nature! Such a reconciliation would neither collapse culture into the immanence of nature nor submerge nature into the transcendence of culture. According with the three forms of domination it would be a three-dimensional form of reconciliation.Odysseus’ men did not got what they thought were promised them: the complete liberation from the burden of being autonomous subjects, of being civilized, but they got something worthwhile, namely a certain from of pleasure, a limited and provisional relief and escape. Bollen sees a critical potential in these piggish pleasures after all and consequently even in the siren song of nature since these pleasures were only experienced because Odysseus’ men gave in to it. But one has to give in to this siren song critically if it is to unfold its liberating potential. The problem with pleasure though in bourgeois society is that it is necessarily betrayed, instrumentalized and sold.Kingsley Goodwin’s paper starts by defending deep ecology against the charge of asserting a naïve and dogmatic metaphysics of nature. For convenience sake, but not quite unproblematically, he identifies deep ecology with the environmental thought of Arne Naess. A metaphysics of nature for Naess is always part of a personal worldview. Worldviews which are partly inspired by ecology Naess calls ecosophies. Naess always stresses the personal character of such a worldview and the irreducible plurality of them. It used to be a common misunderstanding of the platform of deep ecology which Naess conceived together with George Sessions that it expressed in a condensed form the metaphysical beliefs of deep ecology. Naess’ intention, however, was to try to articulate in a general fashion the basic viewpoints on which the supporters of the deep ecology movement agreed. It would be possible then to derive these viewpoints from quite different worldviews. In light of this, I think, that Goodwin’s characterisation of the platform as “pragmatic and activist” is not quite appropriate.Goodwin goes on to compare Drenthen’s conception of wilderness and wildness with the similar position developed by Neil Evernden in his book The Social Creation of Nature. He like Naess in his personal ecosophy stresses the crucial role of perceptual experience of wild otherness to find an antidote to the relativity and contingency of our interpretations of nature. Evernden refers to studies on child development to argue for a non-dualistic and relational conception of the self, similar to Naess’ relational ontology. According to Goodwin, Drenthen, in spite of his hermeneutical approach remains too much indebted to the Western subject/object-dualism. The object, in this case wild nature, is pure otherness.With regard to a compost heap, Goodwin shows that we are not separated from nature by an inseparable gulf, that nature is close at hand, and that we can experience and explore it, appreciate the complex play of identity and difference it consists of, the exchanges and transformations and that we can identify with the organisms involved in these exchanges.*The proceeding remarks only highlight some of the prominent themes and considerations in the various contributions to this topical issue of Ethical Perspectives. Hopefully the reader will feel invited and enticed to read the articles themselves, starting, preferably of course, with the essay by Martin Drenthen, who sparked off this lively discussion on the moral meaning of wild nature. I am honoured and pleased to be able to introduce these rich explorations by such talented young environmental philosophers who are eager to develop environmental philosophy further and lead it into new directions. They all have to wrestle with and find answers to the challenge postmodern deconstruction and social constructivism pose for environmental philosophy. In the face of that challenge, it is even more difficult than it already was to provide solid and convincing arguments for the defence of wild and free nature beyond merely pragmatic arguments in terms of its utilitarian value for us. The reason for that defence is not clear-cut and proves to be just as evasive as the moral meaning of nature itself. But neither that reason nor that meaning are mere phantoms and mirages that vanish when we approach them and try to grasp them. They are more substantial, even if they will never have the solidity of a mathematical proof or a scientific measurement. Their locale is the lifeworld which from the point of view of scientific and logical precision and clarity is a messy place where subject and object, reason and heart, fact and value, experience and thought and, yes, nature and culture cannot be clearly separated. This has important consequences for environmental philosophy and its methodology. Conceptual analysis and logical argumentation have to become sensitive to the richness of experience in the lifeworld and to the diverse efforts of its articulation: i.e., they have to open themselves up and maybe even to subordinate themselves to phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches. For me personally this is one of the most important conclusions I draw from the discussion presented here. (shrink)
De mens is in de afgelopen drie eeuwen vaak vergeleken met allerlei soorten machines. In de achttiende eeuw was de klokmetafoor tamelijk populair; psychologische termen als ‘drijfveer’, ‘van slag raken’ en ‘opgewonden zijn’ herinneren hier nog aan [Vroon and Draaisma, 1985]. In de negentiende eeuw overheerste de stoommachine-metafoor. De psychologie van Freud wordt wel als een uitgewerkte versie van deze metafoor beschouwd [Russelmann, 1983]. Ook uitdrukkingen als ‘uitlaatkleppen’, ‘stoom afblazen’ en ‘iemand opstoken’ zijn eraan te danken. De stoommachine-metafoor wordt nog (...) steeds serieus genomen. Zo pleegt men de menselijke geest in de nieuwe ‘dynamische’ school in de cognitieve wetenschappen bij voorkeur te vergelijken met James Watts centrifugale regulateur (1788), het apparaat dat ervoor zorgt dat een stoommachine op een constant snelheid werkt [van Gelder, 1995, 1998]. De laatste vijftig jaar komt men de metafoor van de seri¨ele digitale computer vaak tegen. Een PC is een voorbeeld van zo’n computer. Hij is serieel omdat de centrale processor slechts ´e´en berekening tegelijk kan uitvoeren; hij is digitaal omdat hij alleen met gehele getallen kan omgaan. Het voorbeeld bij uitstek van een seri¨ele digitale computer is de Turing-machine, waarover aanstonds meer. De seri¨ele digitale computer metafoor is op verschillende manieren op mensen toegepast. Zo beschouwen sommigen de gehele mens als een computer van dit type, terwijl anderen menen dat de afzonderlijke zenuwcellen op deze manier beschreven kunnen worden. In het onderstaande zal ik de vraag bespreken in hoeverre men de mens, of onderdelen van de mens, inderdaad als seri¨ele digitale computer mag opvatten. Ik zal laten zien dat deze vergelijking maar een beperkte waarde heeft. Het valt niet uit te sluiten dat de mens in computationeel opzicht een veel sterker of zwakker soort machine is dan de Turing-machine. (shrink)
Kunstmatige intelligentie (AI) en systemen die met machine learning (ML) werken, kunnen veel onderdelen van het medische besluitvormingsproces ondersteunen of vervangen. Ook zouden ze artsen kunnen helpen bij het omgaan met klinische, morele dilemma’s. AI/ML-beslissingen kunnen zo in de plaats komen van professionele beslissingen. We betogen dat dit belangrijke gevolgen heeft voor de relatie tussen een patiënt en de medische professie als instelling, en dat dit onvermijdelijk zal leiden tot uitholling van het institutionele vertrouwen in de geneeskunde.