Cover of The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy
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Displaying: 21-28 of 28 documents


21. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Thomas Platt Medicine, Metaphysics and Morals
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Moral decisions concerning what ought to be done always assume metaphysical presuppositions concerning the way the world is. In the field of biomedical ethics, some of the metaphysical presuppositions underlying many current discussions of issues of life and death seem particularly implausible. These include our assumption of the reality of social atomism and our beliefs relating to the possibility of autonomy. Given the implausibility of these two assumptions, many discussions have focused our attention on the wrong issues by reducing questions of alternative social practices to questions of individual preferences. Far from facilitating intelligent solutions to our problems, this merely clouds the issues involved.
22. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Jacob Dahl Rendtorff Basic Principles in Bioethics and Biolaw
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As a scientific Rapporteur on a European Union Commission Project in the framework of the Research Programme Bio-Med II, I am currently writing a large report on basic bioethical and biolegal principles in Europe. The principles that are investigated are autonomy, dignity, integrity and vulnerability. Against this background, this paper is a clarification of the foundation and significance of these basic principles in bioethics and biolaw. The task of this paper is to elaborate on the philosophical and conceptual framework of these principles. The point of departure is a discussion of the choice of exactly these principles in the context of the law of the human person as well as of the ethical and legal status of the principles. This leads to the definition and explication of each concept and their mutual relations. It is important to emphasize that the principles, rather than being mutually exclusive, are interdependent and imply each other in the protection of human beings in biomedical research and application. Finally, the definition of these principles will be set in relation to social solidarity and responsibility in the modern welfare state where we experience a transformation of the legal system towards an extended notion of state responsibility and a concern and protection of the vulnerable and weak in European societies.
23. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
James H. Rutherford An Ecological Organic Paradigm: A Framework of Analysis for Moral and Political Philosophy
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An organic framework of analysis is not a new or postmodern idea. There have been several versions of an organic paradigm, but the concept generally refers to some application of a classical Greek understanding of human nature as a composite whole. The organic paradigm has often referred to a model of human nature as being a composite of physical, social, mental and spiritual dimensions. This understanding of human nature has sometimes been described as a metaphor because it has been perceived to be like various aspects of the world in which we live. The organic model of human nature was eventually replaced in philosophy because, in an hierarchical Platonic form, it had been used to support hierarchical structures in the Church and the State. Metaphors suggesting organicism in society have also been avoided in our times in part because Hegel extended this to a metaphysical concept of Volkgeist which was subsequently used in part to support a totalitarian nationalism. In the last one hundred years the biological sciences and medicine, however, have not necessarily interpreted the several dimensions of human nature to be hierarchical or ideological. Current interpretation would emphasize a system of checks and balances for health and well-being. A modern ecological version of the organic paradigm, thus remains a very useful framework of analysis for understanding the dynamics of moral and political philosophy, and should be reconsidered.
24. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
William Soderberg Genetic Enhancement of a Child’s Memory: A Search for a Private and Public Morality
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Prospects of human genetic modification raise the question of genetic enhancement of memory. A moral framework that takes into account the tension between the roles of parent and citizen on the question of genetically enhancing a child’s memory is presented. Weaknesses of both moral liberalism and moral communitarianism are addressed: a tyranny of a powerful minority of liberalism, while a tyranny of orthodoxy and a tyranny of perfectionism plague different forms of communitarianism. A position is advanced that draws on the strengths of both a Rawlsian form of contractarianism and a moderate version of communitarianism. I argue that genetic enhancements of memory in children pose such serious wrongs and threats to general well-being that the practice should be decided from behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance. With the cards down, as Ronald Green describes the veil of ignorance, a basic right to nondiscrimination on the basis of genotype would be negotiated. With this right in place, conflicts between the parental role and the role of citizen would be managed by the negotiated prohibition of parental decisions genetically to enhance the memory of children.
25. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
William E. Stempsey Causation and Moral Responsibility for Death
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The distinction between killing and letting die has been a controversial element in arguments about the morality of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The killing/letting die distinction is based on causation of death. However, a number of causal factors come into play in any death; it is impossible to state a complete cause of death. I argue that John Mackie’s analysis of causation in terms of ‘inus factors,’ insufficient but nonredundant parts of unnecessary but sufficient conditions, helps us to see that moral responsibility for death cannot rest on causation alone. In specifying the cause of death, some factors can be considered alternatively as either causal factors or merely parts of the presupposed background conditions. If a factor is moved from the background field into the causal field, the result is a changed background field. Comparisons of cases of killing and letting die often do just this; hence, the cases depend on different presuppositions and the causation cannot be directly compared. Moral judgments determine how to apportion factors to the causal and background fields.
26. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Bonnelle Lewis Strickling A Moral Basis for the Helping Profession
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Our consideration of moral issues in the helping professions should go beyond decision-making in particular cases. We need a more basic set of moral attitudes that can provide the context for making these decisions, and which describe the sort of person the helping professional needs to be. The helping professional needs to be able to perform a large number of supererogatory actions. We can compare helping professionals to both saints and good parents. The work of Sarah Ruddick on the virtues that inform maternal practice can be of great help to us here. She characterizes the kind of emotional and moral attitudes that exemplify good mothers as preservative love. The attitudes that make up preservative love-humility, attentive love, holding and humor-share some common ground with the qualities of saints. The helping professional is in an unusual position in the sense that who he/she is has a strong influence on the efficacy of treatment. Morality in the helping professions needs to take this into account. To be a good helping professional involves a commitment to develop into the right sort of person.
27. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Peg Tittle Permitting Abortion and Prohibiting Prenatal Harm: Reconciling the Contradiction
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I argue that there are four solutions to the apparent contradiction of permitting abortion while prohibiting prenatal harm: there are other grounds both for condoning abortion and condemning prenatal harm which are not contradictory; there is a continuum of personhood or body; there is a continuum of rights; one can distinguish between the potentially born and the preborn on the sole basis of the woman’s intent to carry the fetus to term and give it birth. The fourth solution enables a consequentialist approach to assessing abortion and prenatal harm, such that permitting the former while prohibiting the latter is not contradictory.
28. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Tom Tomlinson Balancing Principles in Beauchamp and Childress
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In the latest edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Tom Beauchamp and James Childress provide an expanded discussion of the ethical theory underlying their treatment of issues in medical ethics. Balancing judgements remain central to their method, as does the contention that such judgements are more than intuitive. This theory is developed precisely in response to the common skepticism directed at "principlism" in medical ethics. Such skepticism includes the claim that moral reasoning comes to a dead halt when confronted by competing conflicts between moral norms in a given pluralistic situation. In this paper, I use examples from the text to show that despite the authors’s arguments to the contrary, balancing judgements are the product of unreasoned intuitions. Given the necessity of some such judgements in any principle-based system, my argument highlights the degree to which principled ethical reasoning rests upon an arational core.