The Splendor of Truth in 2017

There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.” Those are strong words, written by the Czech activist Václav Havel in his essay “The Power of the Powerless,” one of the . . . . Continue Reading »

MacIntyre Against Morality

Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity:An Essay on Desire, Practical Reasoning, and Narrativeby alasdair macintyrecambridge, 332 pages, $49.99 I The dialogues of Plato provide the first sustained demonstration both of the depth and difficulty of philosophy, and of the fact that the beginnings of the . . . . Continue Reading »

After Planning

Thirty years ago, Lucy Suchman’s Plans and Situated Actions reminded us of the limits of our ability to control outcomes by careful, thoughtful planning. She analyzed the utter failure of early “smart” photocopiers to help people make copies. The designers and programmers of these “smart” . . . . Continue Reading »

A Grim Harvest

Upon learning of his son’s fatal heart disease, a father arranges to donate his own heart in order to save his son’s life. The surgery will result in his death; his son will learn of it only after the fact. Should the hospital administrators allow the surgery to proceed?Ethicist Paul Ramsey . . . . Continue Reading »

A “Merciless Assault on Human Dignity”

In Ontario today, doctors who decline to euthanize their patients are required to provide an “effective referral”: They are obliged, on pain of losing their license to practice, to send a troubled patient to a doctor of lighter conscience who will kill that patient. Cardinal Collins is fighting this abomination. Continue Reading »