In his paper “The challenge of brain death for the sanctity of life ethic”, Peter Singer advocates two options for dealing with death criteria in a way that is compatible with efficient organ transplantation policy. He suggests that we should either (a) redefine death as cortical death or (b) go back to the old cardiopulmonary criterion and scrap the Dead Donor Rule. We welcome Singer’s line of argument but raise some concerns about the practicability of the two alternatives advocated by him. We propose adding a third alternative that also – as the two previous alternatives – preserves and extends the possibility of organ transplantation without using anyone without their consent. Namely, we would like to draw readers’ attention to a proposal by Robert Veatch, formulated 42 years ago in his 1976 book “Death, dying, and the biological revolution” and developed further in his later publications. Veatch argues for a conscience clause for the definition of death that would permit people to pick from a reasonable range of definitional options. This autonomy-based option, we believe, is more likely to be practicable than the two options advocated by Singer. Furthermore, we present data from a study with Lithuanian participants that suggest that there is quite pronounced variation of preferences concerning death determination.
Along with the rapid growth that the field of assisted reproduction has experienced over the last few years, numerous ethical issues have arisen and need to be discussed thoroughly. One of them is the limitation of access to assisted reproduction techniques. Because no one should be discriminated against, it is essential to substantiate every single refusal of access carefully. The criterion of welfare of the child is used most frequently. In this paper, we propose a thought experiment aiming at contributing to the discussion by demonstrating that this criterion, even in its strictest form, can easily allow access to assisted reproduction for legal persons as well.
The article deals with ethics of social consequences as a modern ethical theory and proposes some critical remarks based on various elaborations of the theory presented in the newly published edited volume Ethics of social consequences: Philosophical, applied and professional challenges. It confronts and challenges several of the presented concepts and ideas and tries to find a solution for the theory to become even more elaborated but still remain within the boundaries of its ontological framework.
Public and academic philosophical thinking in contemporary India provides evidence that philosophy and religion have never been truly separated, although there have been attempts to bring philosophy closer to science and, thus, create two autonomous systems. In light of these changes, P. V. Athavale, C. T. K. Chari, N. S. Prasad and some other authors have formed and are developing modern ethical and social theories. Moreover, feminism and gender studies have appeared in the panorama of changing philosophical and sociological thinking in India, embracing gender equality in contemporary Indian society. There has been increasing interest in sociological research and a critical interpretation of Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual message in the cause of India’s independence, whose thoughts authors engaged in contemporary ethical problems believe to be impractical and useless today. Existentialism as a philosophical stream earned broad public acceptance and played a significant role in the history of modern philosophical thinking in India in the second half of the 20th century.
Foucault is critical of the tendency to reduce all social and political problems according to predetermined ends and verifiable procedures. For Foucault, philosophical activity is a condition of possibility for the articulation of the question of the self. Inspired by his work on the desiring subject, Foucault begins to explore the ethical and political implications of self-care for modern day concerns. He presents an account of self-care that centres on developing an attitude that questions the personal relationship to truth, and puts to test those ideas and truths held most dearly. Processes of self-care evaluate the consistency between those truths a person regards as necessary and a person’s actions in the world. Interested in the ways in which people see themselves as subjects, Foucault directs his attention to the connection between systems of knowledge, power, and practices of the self. Crucial to Foucault’s process is the recognition that the self-subject is not given and does not have ontological precedence, and that subjectivity is transformable. By finding the lines and fractures in external and internal modes of objectification Foucault hopes to open up the space of freedom to bring about transformative events. The care of the self serves as a form of critique and resistance where it is both a way of living and acting in the world, and a critical response to a particular time and place.
The author studies the role of Christianity in two forms of 9th century political ethics in the history of Great Moravia, represented by the Great Moravian rulers Rastislav and Svatopluk. Rastislav’s conception predominantly uses the pre-Erasmian model of political ethics based on the pursuit of welfare for the country and its inhabitants by achieving the clerical-political independence of Great Moravia from the Frankish kingdom and, moreover, by utilising Christianity for the advancement of culture, education, literature, law and legality, as well as by spreading Christian ethics and morality in the form of the Christian code of ethics expressed in ethicallegal documents. Svatopluk’s political conception was a prototype of Machiavellian political ethics, according to which one is, in the interest of the country and its power and fame, allowed to be a lion and/or a fox. Svatopluk abused Christianity in the name of achieving his power-oriented goals. Great Moravia outlived Rastislav; it did not, however, outlive Svatopluk, as, shortly after his death, it broke up and ceased to exist. The author came to the conclusion that Rastislav’s conception was more viable, as its cultural heritage lives on in the form of works by Constantine and Methodius.
This paper focuses on the dynamics of ethical perspectives that embody the Golden Rule of Morality. Based on critical analysis of this rule in various cultural and religious contexts, but also from the perspective of humanism, the author presents its paradoxical character, the essence of which is interpreted here in terms of a pointer to metaphysical reality. It turns out that social conditionality, as well as the self-referential concept as a starting point of any ethical reasoning, are serious epistemological challenges for the application of the Golden Rule in the position of universal normativity that this study addresses. On the other hand, Judeo-Christian cosmology and the related basis for ethical foundations is presented here as an inspirational space of ethical reasoning in which the paradoxical character of the Golden Rule becomes rather an indicator of a deeper metaethical interpretation of one's own particular ethical attitudes and outcomes than a practical guide to the discovery of ethical universals.
The aim of the article is to examine and evaluate the social ethics aspects of the pamphlet Pro vindiciis contra tyrannos oratio by the scholar and rector of Prague University Jan Jesenský - Jessenius (1566-1621); first published in Frankfurt in 1614 and for the second time in Prague in 1620 during the Czech Estate Revolt. Therefore, the broader intellectual context of the time is introduced, specifically the conflict between two theories of ruling power correlating with that between the ruler and the Estates after the ideas of the Protestant reformation started to spread. The first theory supported the idea of a sovereign ruler whose authority would stand above the estates to be able to keep the kingdom under control. On the contrary, the so-called resistance theory strived to limit the monarch’s power and to justify a possible intervention against a malevolent ruler - the tyrant. I intend to show that Jessenius´ social ethics which refers to the latter resistance theory was of a premodern nature since its conception of State and its reign remained in a denominationally limited framework. Nevertheless; Jessenius’ polemics with the supporters of ruling sovereignty, which seem to be his original contribution, makes his writing a unique political work in Central Europe. Moreover, the second edition of Jessenius’ text (1620, Prague), which for a long time had disappeared from public view, can rightly be considered a remarkable projection of resistance theory toward actual political struggle at the very beginning of the Thirty Years War.
In this paper, I will argue that Patočka’s decision to become a signatory and one of the spokesperson of Charter 77 was both deeply informed, and in fact necessitated, by his whole philosophical understanding. I will suggest that the importance of Patočka’s contribution to Charter 77 goes beyond the original aim of the declaration, pointing to the broader significance of the moral and political crisis in a society reduced to the sphere of instrumental rationality. For Patočka, to think about humans and their existence in the world is irreducible to instrumental rationality.
The implementation of tools and techniques of the management of ethics in the academic environment has its own peculiarities arising from the nature of the expert, scientific, pedagogical, but also administrative work of university staff, requiring a considerable degree of autonomy and freedom. The aim of this case study is to present the views of university teachers and PhD students from a selected faculty of a public university in Slovakia on the implementation of tools and techniques for the management of ethics and to identify specific risks associated with the nature of the code of ethics and its introduction into practice. Qualitative research was conducted using focus groups during the implementation of the code of ethics, while quantitative research was subsequently conducted by an anonymous electronic questionnaire shortly after the introduction of the code into practice.