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There are many authors who consider the so-called “moral nose” a valid epistemological tool in the field of morality. The expression was used by George Orwell, following in Friedrich Nietzsche’s footsteps and was very clearly described by Leo Tolstoy. It has also been employed by authors such as Elisabeth Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Noam Chomsky, Stuart Hampshire, Mary Warnock, and Leon Kass. This article examines John Harris’ detailed criticism of what he ironically calls the “olfactory school of moral philosophy.” Harris’ criticism is contrasted with Jonathan Glover’s defense of the moral nose. Glover draws some useful distinctions between the various meanings that the notion of moral nose can assume. Finally, the notion of moral nose is compared with classic notions such as Aristotelian phronesis, Heideggerian aletheia, and the concept of “sentiment” proposed by the philosopher Thomas Reid. The conclusion reached is that morality cannot be based only on reason, or—as David Hume would have it—only on feelings.
The article analyzes the recent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court amending article 580 of the Italian Criminal Code, relating to aid and incitement to suicide. According to the first Assize Court of Milan, article 580, conceived in 1930, reflects the fascist culture of its author. The problem of the Constitutional Court was therefore to establish whether a democratic state can still place limits on aid for suicide and in what terms it can do so.
Is it possible to trace the contours of a bioethical reflection on nutrition? The present study tries to do so, relying on the metaphorical and symbolic value that food often takes. Indeed, eating does not mean just getting sufficient nutrition, because through the offer and exchange of food, people recognize and welcome each other. In this sense we are all, in some way, cannibals, because in eating, we eat the other, even if the introjection of the other is only symbolic and not literal, as in the case of actual cannibals. Eating habits are also very rooted in various cultures and sometimes resist migratory flows to a greater extent than language and religion do. Consequently, the disgust for, or the refusal of, other people’s food may be an indicator of a more general rejection of the diversity of other people. The conclusion reached by this study is that eating is taking care of the self and of the other and, therefore, as Jacques Derrida observes, it is necessary to “eat well” and also “eat the good.”
Starting from two paintings by Salvador Dalì (The Enigma of William Tell and Autumnal Cannibalism), the article explores Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung’s idea of erotic cannibalism. The fear of being eaten is an archetype of the collective unconscious, as fairy tales clearly reveal. Following Jacques Derrida’s reflections, the author suggests that the fear of being eaten is not limited to anthropophagic cultures, because there is a sort of symbolic cannibalism which has to do with the capacity for annihilation. The petrifying gaze of Medusa, described by Jean Paul Sartre, is a good example of this symbolic cannibalism. On the opposite side of the spectrum, compared to the petrifying gaze, we find the recognizing look of a mother toward her child. For the child, the mother embodies the good subject, which is reassuring and nonthreatening (the fairy who stands in contrast to the devouring ogre in fairy tales). Sara Ruddick explicitly refers to this motherhood model in her book Maternal Thinking, where she lays out the methodology for the ethics of care. The maternal, or recognizing gaze, as the opposite of Medusa’s gaze portrayed by Sartre, is well described in a compelling text by the Italian novelist Luigi Pirandello. At the same time, it plays an important role in Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s The Phenomenology of the Spirit. Finally, the article returns to Salvador Dalì, showing how in his life, the artist experienced the Other’s gaze in both forms: the objectifying one, represented by the artist’s father (portrayed in The Enigma of William Tell), and the recognizing one, embodied by his partner Gala (portrayed in Autumnal Cannibalism).
The principle of autonomy, through various court rulings, gradually became part of medical practice and tradition in the second half of the 1800s, notably when the emergence of surgical anaesthesia began to raise serious questions regarding informed consent. In fact, surgical anaesthesia was initially used not only to avoid pain but also to combat patients’ resistance to operations.
“Dissecting Bioethics,” edited by Tuija Takala and Matti Häyry, welcomes contributions on the conceptual and theoretical dimensions of bioethics.
The section is dedicated to the idea that words defined by bioethicists and others should not be allowed to imprison people's actual concerns, emotions, and thoughts. Papers that expose the many meanings of a concept, describe the different readings of a moral doctrine, or provide an alternative angle to seemingly self-evident issues are therefore particularly appreciated.
The themes covered in the section so far include dignity, naturalness, public interest, community, disability, autonomy, parity of reasoning, symbolic appeals, and toleration.
All submitted papers are peer reviewed. To submit a paper or to discuss a suitable topic, contact Tuija Takala at email@example.com.
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