In situations where anencephaly is diagnosed and where the mother's life or health is threatened Roman Catholic hospitals are faced with the dilemma of waiting until viability before inducing the fetus, thus potentially putting the mother at further risk. According to most Roman Catholic ethicists, induced delivery before viability is contrary to the Church's prohibition of direct killing of the innocent. The authors propose for discussion a reconsideration of this position in the case of the anencephalic fetus and conclude that taking the life of such a fetus does not constitute an attack on its personal dignity and therefore is morally permissible.
Comment In: Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 1994 Mar;4(1):47-5310134648
This paper explores the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Paul Feyerabend by examining their common criticisms of totalising accounts of human nature. Both complained that philosophical and scientific theories of human nature which were methodologically committed to objectivity and abstraction failed to capture the richness of human experience. Kierkegaard and Feyerabend argued that philosophy and the science were threatening to become obstacles to human development by imposing abstract theories of human nature and reality which denied the complexities of both. In both cases, this took the form of asserting an 'existential' criterion for the assessment of philosophical and scientific theories. Kierkegaard also made remarks upon the inappropriateness of applying natural scientific methods to human beings which Feyerabend later expanded and developed in his criticisms of the inability of the 'scientific world-view' to accommodate the values necessary to a flourishing human life. I conclude by noting some differences between Kierkegaard and Feyerabend's positions and by affirming the value of existential criticisms of scientific knowledge.
This article aims to shed preliminary empirical light on the assumptions underpinning a culturally relevant theoretical framework for the study of successful aging. On the basis of the Kluckhohnian theory of cultural variation, this framework suggests that congruence exists between value orientations concerned with man-nature, time, activity, and relationships, and the manner in which the construct of successful aging is understood. Methodologically speaking, the research project upon which this article is based started out by adapting and further developing the vignette-based instrument that Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck designed to test the theory of cultural variation. Vignette-based interviews were then conducted with 30 Iranian immigrants to Sweden as a preliminary test of the hypothesis of congruence. The results presented in this article suggest that, as posed in the framework in question, there is a relationship between the value orientations that people prefer and the various understandings of successful aging that they uphold. The results suggest also that there is a variety of ways in which the construct of successful aging can be understood, and that variety encompasses other ways of thinking about successful aging besides the master nature, future, productivity, and individuality-oriented views that characterize the gerontological debate. Although further research is necessary, these preliminary results do infer that this framework might offer a theoretically interesting approach to the study of individual, generational, and cross-cultural understandings of successful aging.