The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy

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Biological Ties and Biological Accounts of Moral Status

Sat, 2019-05-18 01:00
AbstractSpeciesist or biological accounts of moral status can be defended by showing that all members of Homo sapiens have a moral status conferring property. In this article, I argue that the most promising defense locates the moral status conferring property in the relational property of being biologically tied to other humans. This requires that biological ties ground moral obligations. I consider and reject the best defenses of that premise. Thus, we are left with compelling evidence that biological ties and membership in a biological category like “species” ground neither moral obligations nor moral status. Because it is crucial to account for the moral significance of family bonds, I conclude by describing the sense in which biological ties matter morally.
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Vulnerability and Obligation in Science and Medicine

Sat, 2019-05-18 01:00
AbstractThe vulnerability of a patient gives rise to special obligations to provide aid, but the extent of our obligations to those vulnerable is not always clear. How far we are obligated to provide aid raises profound questions over the balance of liberty, equality, utility, and other core values for which we ought to strive in modern society. This essay helps illustrate how such a balance must be worked out in relation to rich contexts and be responsive to continually evolving epistemic and social configurations.
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Temperance, Moral Friendship, and Smoking Cessation

Sat, 2019-05-18 01:00
AbstractThe predominant approach of public health experts to cigarette smoking might be described as behaviorist, for it aims to eliminate this behavior without attending to human agency and intention. The requirement that physicians address smoking cessation at every patient visit also constitutes physicians as “managers” who focus narrowly on technical means to achieve predetermined ends. In this paper, I contrast such an approach with the Aristotelian tradition, according to which physician and patient ought to develop the virtue of temperance that would allow the patient to quit smoking. Although this model could potentially mitigate medicine’s behaviorist-managerial tendencies, I follow Aristotle to argue that it requires a moral friendship in which participants share a conception of the human good and pursue that good together. Due to the intractable moral pluralism that characterizes contemporary life, physicians and patients are unlikely to achieve this sort of friendship, making Aristotelian medicine impracticable at present.
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A Philosophical View on the Experience of Dignity and Autonomy through the Phenomenology of Illness

Sat, 2019-05-18 01:00
AbstractIn the context of the end of life, many authors point out how the experience of identity is crucial for the well-being of patients with advanced disease. They define this identity in terms of autonomy, control, or dependence, associating these concepts with the sense of personal dignity. From the perspective of the phenomenology of embodiment, Kay Toombs and other authors have investigated the ways disease can impact on the subjective world of patients and have stressed that a consideration of this personal world can promote understanding and recognition of their experience. Based on the findings of qualitative studies of the perception of dignity and autonomy in patients at the end of life, this analysis assesses concepts such as being-in-the-world in illness, embodiment, lived body versus objective body or the gaze of the other from a Toombsian phenomenological perspective.
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Enhancing Equality

Fri, 2019-05-03 01:00
AbstractThe range of opportunities people enjoy in life largely depends on social, biological, and genetic factors for which individuals are not responsible. Philosophical debates about equality of opportunities have focussed mainly on addressing social determinants of inequalities. However, the introduction of human bioenhancement should make us reconsider what our commitment to equality entails. We propose a way of improving morally relevant equality that is centred on what we consider a fair distribution of bioenhancements. In the first part, we identify three main positions in the debate on bioenhancement and equality, and we show how each of them fails to meet the demands of a serious commitment to equality. In the second part, we formulate a new proposal that we think better promotes equality of opportunities: people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds should be given access to bioenhancements while people from privileged socio-economic background should be prohibited from using them. We argue that those who are concerned about the inequality implications of bioenhancement should embrace this solution, rather than reject bioenhancement.
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