The paper deals with conscientious objection in health care, addressing the problems of scope, verification and limitation of such refusal, paying attention to ideological agendas hidden behind the right of conscience where the claimed refusal can cause harm or where such a claim is an attempt to impose certain moral values on society or an excuse for not providing health care. The nature of conscientious objection will be investigated and an ethical analysis of conscientious objection will be conducted. Finally some suggestions for health care policy will be proposed.
The author discusses the rational argumentation of the values from a proposal defended by the legal philosopher Robert Alexy. The paper shows that discourse for Alexy is essentially a regulated activity. A model of certain rules ensure the rationality and correctness of practical discourse oriented towards resolving conflicts of value. Firstly, the types of rules responsible for the rationality of practical argumentation are described. Secondly, some open problems relating to the claim to correctness of reasoned practical discourse are posed, namely problems derived from the idea of consensus and that of a single correct answer to certain practical issues that include conflicts of values and raise basic disagreements.
This first part of a two-part series exploring implications of the natural differences between the sexes for the cultural evolution of marriage assesses whether Kant should be condemned as a sexist due to his various offensive claims about women. Being antithetical to modern-day assumptions regarding the equality of the sexes, Kant’s views seem to contradict his own egalitarian ethics. A philosophical framework for making cross-cultural ethical assessments requires one to assess those in other cultures by their own ethical standards. Sexism is inappropriate if it exhibits or reinforces a tendency to dominate the opposite sex. Kant’s theory of marriage, by contrast, illustrates how sexism can be egalitarian: given the natural differences between the sexes, different roles and cultural norms help to ensure that females and males are equal. Judged by the standards of his own day and in the context of his philosophical system, Kant’s sexism is not ethically inappropriate.
The paper focuses on some important philosophical issues of Kant’s philosophical legacy, especially on Kant’s thoughts on man and his acting in community with other human beings, his fellows, (Conjectural Beginning of Human History) from the aspect of morality based on moral-practical terms and categories. The field of Kant’s practical-critical thoughts is not only unusually broad but also full of ideological dynamics offered in a precise and modern linguistic form. The paper claims that Kant offers his own answer for the fourth question “Was ist der Mensch” (“What is man?”), introduced in Logic (Kant, 1992, p. 538) and at the same it also introduces a historical dimension to the issue of man, included in his short writings, in a compact form.
In this paper I give a short overview about the general implications of issues of human nature within the field of human enhancement. The first section of my contribution deals with a certain intertwining of human enhancement and the intrinsic claims of human nature, showing that a non-statistical concept of human nature can play a crucial role in the debate on human enhancement. After that, my aim is to validate that particular enhancements (e.g. neuro-enhancement) fall under the same normative criteria as “normal enhancement”, only requiring a special contextual awareness to co-exist with it ethically. Methodically, my intention is to draw on quasi-naturalist approaches, which argue that our nature as humans is not a “mixed bag”, but seems to be wholly constituted by its species-related characteristics. As a result, we can state that our evaluations of living beings or life forms, which are also evaluations of our methods of medical treatments and of our ethical attitudes, depend on our picture of human nature.
In Peter Singer’s article “The Challenge of Brain Death for the Sanctity of Life Ethic”, he articulates that ethics has always played an important role in defining death. He claims that the demand for redefining death spreads rather from new ethical challenges than from a new, scientifically improved understanding of the nature of death. As thorough as his plea for dismissal of the brain-death definition is, he does not avoid the depiction of the complementary relationship between science and ethics. Quite the opposite, he tends to formulate a stronger, philosophically more consistent argument to help science and medical practitioners to define life, death, and the quality of life. In my commentary, I would like to focus on two issues presented in Singer’s study. Firstly, I will critically analyze the relationship between science and ethics. Secondly, I will follow on from Singer’s arguments differentiating between end of life as an organism and end of life as a person. The latter case is necessarily linked with man’s participation in her/his life, setting life goals, and fulfilling her/his idea of good life. Through the consequential definition of the dignity in ethics of social consequences, I will try to support Singer’s idea.
Singer claims that there are two ways of challenging the fact that brain-dead patients, from whom organs are usually retrieved, are in fact biologically alive. By means of the first, the so called dead donor rule may be abandoned, opening the way to lethal organ donation. In the second, it might be posited that terms such as “life” and “death” do not have any primary biological meaning and are applicable to persons instead of organisms. This second possibility permits one to acknowledge that brain-dead patients are deceased because they are irreversibly unconscious. In the commentary which follows, I will argue that Singer’s second option is preferable since it (a) provides a higher amount of organs available for transplant, and (b) is better suited to the meaning of “death” which occurs in ordinary language. I will also defend such a concept of death against the objections raised by Michael Nair-Collins in the article Can the brain-dead be harmed or wronged? On the moral status of brain death and its implications for organ transplantation.