038. Others

A discussion on us and them, but mostly them.


Questions to ponder

  1. Who are you and why aren’t you any other?
  2. What is it about the existence/presence of “others” that compels us to act differently than we might otherwise?
  3. Why is hard to know what others know? Or to know that they know? Or to know that you know that they know?
  4. On average, are you a “better” person in the presence of “other” people?
  5. Should undocumented immigrants have access to a nation’s healthcare (system) to the same extent as citizens of that country do?
  6. Does one lose rights when incapacitated? What limitations of rights must/should be employed to deal with the “brain damaged” or those in vegetative states?
  7. Is there “someone” in there for other primates? Other mammals? Reptiles? Insects?
  8. How do you know “someone” is in there? How do you know when someone is “not”?
  9. What basic human rights ought to extend to treatment of human bodies? Human minds? Human souls?
  10. In the absence of all other information you might know about a particular person, how ought we treat a human being? What hard and fast limits exist? What etiquette so foundational it requires compulsion? That is, how should we treat others?
  11. Farah (2008) contends, “behavior is particularly unhelpful as a guide to mental status: severely brain-damaged patients who are incapable of intentional communicative behavior, and nonhuman animals whose behavioral repertoires are different from ours and who lack language”. What rights do severely brain-damaged patients have that they might otherwise lack? What rights do/should they have as compared to a nonhuman animal?
  12. How do children go from having virtually no rights but a lot of protections to adults with many rights (and possibly liberties!) but fewer protections?
  13. Thomasma (1997) proposes the following bioethical “rules” for international peace: peaceful dialogue, against xenophobia, respect for cultural pluralism rule of common good, cultural apprehension, respect for persons in context, existential a priori. To what degree do you believe such a list is necessary and sufficient to serve as an ethical foundation for bioethics (as opposed to a more “patient-centric” approach traditionally taken)?
  14. Ought we be “Against culturally sensitive bioethics” as Bracanovic posits?
  15. There is no “us” and “them”, but them, they do not think the same?

Essays to consider

  1. Neuroethics and the Problem of Other Minds: Implications of Neuroscience for the Moral Status of Brain-Damaged Patients and Nonhuman Animals
  2. Undocumented Patients: Undocumented Immigrants and Access to Health Care
  3. Bioethics and International Human Rights
  4. Against culturally sensitive bioethics