Advanced Search

are we programed to respond favorably to those subjects that we consider

are we programed to respond favorably to those subjects that we consider beautiful, rather than considering them unappealing. I imagine if we did not have positive responses to things we consider beautiful, it would make our lives extremely unsatisfying and we would not strive to attain that which gives us emotional pleasure...Is this nature's way of having us adapt and assimilate to our natural surroundings....a joke played on us....making us turn away from the ugliness that truly exists all around us.......rn.

I don't think so. We often do not find the beautiful attractive. The ugly may attract us, there is something fascinating about a very ugly person or situation. I think you are right in thinking that aesthetic features make life more interesting, but it is too simple to think that beauty attracts and the reverse repels.

There is a wonderful phrase in French describing a certain sort of woman, une jolie laide, both pretty and ugly, which brings out the complexity of these terms. Models with a slight imperfection are often advised to keep it, since it makes their faces more interesting. On the other hand, there is obviously a limit to the number of imperfections we can accept before we are likely to be repelled.

Right now I have blisters all over my left arm from poison ivy, and it looks quite grotesque. They are also of course very painful. On the other hand, they are very interesting to look at, with a strange smooth surface and an uncanny yellow color since they are full of disgusting pus. They are also all over my body on the surface of the skin, and that is uncanny since that area of my body is usually quite smooth. It is difficult to say what is beautiful and what is ugly here, and I think that brings out that there is far more to the beauty/ugly dichotomy than we often suspect.

Are there universal principles in healthcare, or is ethics in health care

Are there universal principles in healthcare, or is ethics in health care relativistic?

I presume you're asking a normative or conceptual question, rather than a descriptive question about how healthcare systems are in fact viewed or implemented in various places. I'd answer, then, that whether ethical principles are objective or relative, universal or particular, doesn't depend on the subject matter at hand.

If ethical principles depend on the place or culture (like rules of etiquette), then it seems they must be relative no matter whether they concern the ethics of healthcare or (say) the ethics of meat-eating. On the other hand, if ethical principles are true or false objectively (like statements in chemistry), then it seems they must be true or false objectively regardless of the subject matter. I can't see how there could be objective principles concerning the ethical permissibility of eating meat but only culturally relative principles concerning the ethical permissibility of aborting a fetus or euthanizing a patient.

This isn't to say that objective and universal principles of healthcare ethics can't take account of local conditions. Just for example, any society might be morally required to provide free dental care to its members if, but only if, the society has attained a particular level of wealth: that principle would be universal in that it would apply to all societies that fit a given description.

Do I have an obligation to be healthy in virtue of the fact that my health

Do I have an obligation to be healthy in virtue of the fact that my health problems contribute to higher health care premiums for other people?

I'm not convinced that we gain a lot here by talking about obligation; more on that below. However it's true: if you are unhealthy, then this makes at least a marginal difference to other people's health care premiums. That's one reason why it would be a good thing to try to stay healthy, even it we don't want to use the stronger language of obligation. Of course, it's just one among many reasons for trying to stay healthy, and almost certainly not the most important. Indeed, some of the other reasons (being able to care for your children, could be an example) might move us a lot closer to saying that you're obliged to stay as healthy as you can.

Why the hesitation about call it an obligation? Though staying healthy is a good thing in general, there are many, many things that are each, considered one by one, possible for us, and that would make others better off if we did them. However, there are so many such things that it's not even remotely possible to do them all. This makes it pretty clear that just because doing something would make others better off isn't reason enough all by itself to say that you're obliged to do it. We may well, as Kant suggests, have a general duty of beneficence, but that doesn't amount to saying that we're obliged to do each beneficent thing that we're capable of doing.

Let's say when we measure the brainwaves of someone who is actually deluded and

Let's say when we measure the brainwaves of someone who is actually deluded and the brainwaves of someone who is fervently religious, they match up to an extraordinary degree. Are we justified to say that the religious person is deluded base on this observation of matching brainwaves alone? Can we judge the propositional content of a belief as to its truth value by brain activity? Can scientific neurological experiments determine the truth and falsity of propositional content or are arguments the only way to determine the truth and falsity of propositional content? Can we appeal to brainwave activity to invalidate theism? Galen O.

Interesting question(s)! I'm afraid that it will be very difficult to replace arguments and the different "tools" philosophers use with neurological data. First, I assume that in identifying a subject as "deluded" we would have to know the falsehood of her belief and perhaps identify which fallacies she has committed. We would also need to think through ideas of mental causation and the degree to which a person's beliefs may be linked to neurological events (are we going to assume a reductive account of the mental? or are we going to allow that propositions, mental acts such as 'believing' are irreducible to the physical, in particular, brain states and processes?. We also need more than neurology to identify and define what is a 'religion.' You seem particularly interested in theism, but some important religions are non-theistic (most forms of Buddhism), and some theists are not religious (Richard Taylor may have been a good case of this).

Still, there are some common sense ways in which philosophers have regularly assumed that certain physical and mental conditions are more or less conducive to production philosophical reflection. In ancient Greece, when wine was sometimes consumed during philosophical dialogues, they were careful to mix water and wine to insure that the philosophers remained fit for disciplined inquiry. And today, most of us are aware that philosophical acuity is not enhanced by sleep deprivation, starvation, extremely high heart racing, migrain headaches,organ failure, and (among other things) brain injury. But even in the midst of all these conditions, we still have to study the arguments and reasons that are relevant. Imagine a graduate student stumbles into a seminar. He has not slept in five days, he has not eaten in three days, his heart rate is off the charts, his organs are failing, he has a splitting headache and he sustained brain injury from a car crash, and yet he manages to say: "G.E. Moore's refutation of idealism is spurious." Even though we have some reason for thinking the fellow is not fit for clear philosophical reflection, the best thing for us as philosophers would (so long as the fellow is sufficiently stable to talk) be to hear his reasons rather than to rush him out to give him an MRI.

Do we have an interest in our survival as a species? Would it be a bad thing if

Do we have an interest in our survival as a species? Would it be a bad thing if humans went extinct? I can see why it would be bad if, say, all of the humans on earth were killed. But suppose instead that everyone simply decided not to have kids, so that our numbers eventually dwindled to zero. Would that be bad?

Do we have an interest in our survival as a species? Would it be a bad thing for whom if humans went extinct? Who are we? We humans as a species? Or just all living humans?

Why Nature selected only 2 genders through evolution, why not 3, 4 or any other

Why Nature selected only 2 genders through evolution, why not 3, 4 or any other number?

There are species with only female gender (parthenogenetic species such as some lizards), and species with three or more genders (some bacteria, insects and fish). An interesting and accessible book that explores gender and evolution is Evolution's Rainbow by Joan Roughgarden.

A frequent criticism of things like life extensionism or human genetic

A frequent criticism of things like life extensionism or human genetic modification is that, if successful, such technologies would cause us to be no longer human, or to lose our humanity. My question is, why is that a bad thing?

You got me! :-)

Only a strange kind of conservatism -- that things, that we, should never change -- would seem to support that view. Unless there really is something more to the view -- it's not the 'loss of humanity' per se that is 'bad' but the specific changes in question that would be bad ... e.g. extending life might make us all older but not healthier or better, might cause a massive drain on public resources, would promote quantity over quality of life, etc. ... re genetic modification, perhaps what's worrisome is the unpredictability of it all (once we tinker with genes who knows what mutant freaks we might create and what awful consequences might ensue) .... So I think an appropriate response to anyone making the claim you object to would be just that: just what precisely IS bad about the change i question .....

hope that's useful

ap

I'm against Designer Babies. Is there any rule in ethics that makes it wrong? We

I'm against Designer Babies. Is there any rule in ethics that makes it wrong? We can think of many problems with it, like kids who have better genes will bully others, and the parents get to choose talents that might not be enjoyable to the kid later in life. Any other problems that you can think of? Thank You for your time! Sincerely, Bailey

I don't see what is wrong with designer babies, anymore than with the ways that parents try to shape their children as they grow up. Why should someone with better genes, whatever they are, bully someone else? If it were possible for example to exclude certain illnesses, or make them less likely, by using technology what is wrong with it? Or if you want a boy, or a girl, to balance the rest of the family, as parents sometimes say, it is not obviously wrong to take measures to make it more likely, if it can be done.

Designing babies could be identified more with preventative healthcare, while the ordinary way of producing babies with taking medical efforts to change what nature has provided us with, perhaps. We are often told that prevention is better than cure, and it is difficult to see why this principle should not be applied to the production of children.

Look at what I just read in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "2. You could

Look at what I just read in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "2. You could not have been born of different parents. (Someone born of different parents wouldn't be you.) (...) Each of these claims appears to have a true reading." Do you all think this way? A son of my paternal twin-uncle and my maternal twin-aunt could easily (so to say) have exactly the same DNA as I have. He could have been born on the same day. He could have been told that his parents were my actual parents. He could have been given my name. My actual parents could have had no biological child. Things in the whole world could have been exactly as they actually were and are since then. So, in what reasonable sense wouldn't this person be me?

Interesting question. Can't we interpret the story you told as one in which you never exist but someone quite similar to you does instead? Why would such an interpretation be unreasonable?

You list six conditions that you seem to regard as jointly sufficient for someone's being you: (1) having exactly your DNA sequence; (2) being born on your birth-date; (3) being told that your parents are his parents; (4) being given your name; (5) your parents' having no biological child; (6) all else being equal.

None of those conditions is individually sufficient for someone's being you. (1) Given identical twinning or cloning, someone else (your twin or clone) could have exactly your DNA sequence; (2) plenty of other people share your birth-date; (3) someone else could be told that your parents are his parents (and has been if you have a brother); (4) someone else could (and may actually) share your name; (5) your parents' having no biological child is certainly not sufficient for someone's being you; (6) ditto for "all else being equal."

So why think that when we combine (1)-(6) we get you? What is it about the combination that forces us to regard the result as you?

Can Darwinian science explain the uncanny fact that a crow both looks and sounds

Can Darwinian science explain the uncanny fact that a crow both looks and sounds ugly whereas as a prettier bird makes a prettier song? What possible purpose could such an aesthetic unity serve and why would humans be able to recognize it?

The first question is whether there's a fact to be explained. Do "pretty" birds typically have "pretty" songs? And do "ugly" birds typically have "ugly" songs? I'm no expert, but I'm betting not. Peacocks are usually considered attractive; their songs not so much. Swans are (conventionally, at least) beautiful; their honking (at least to my ears) isn't. Many people like the cooing of pigeons. But pigeons aren't usually seen as "pretty." I'm sure a real bird aficianado could multiply examples.

Of course, there are also questions about whether "pretty" and "ugly" are objective notions. That's a big question, but you can no doubt see that it's relevant. But leave that aside. If your speculation were correct, it would be an interesting fact. What might explain it is something that it's very hard to say in the abstract. We'd need a lot more detail, but in any case there wouldn't be much reason to expect philosophers to come up with the best answer.

Pages