Et In Arcadia Ego

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Philosophy Now
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Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by Philosophy Now »

Vaitsa Giannouli asks philosophical questions about dementia and responsibility.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/138/Et_In_Arcadia_Ego
tbieter
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Re: Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by tbieter »

The article is fascinating and timely for me because I recently wound up in a nursing home (where I now reside) where most of the residents suffer from dementia.

A retired lawyer, I'm here because of diabetes, not dementia, or any other cognitive impairment, other than the normal slowdown in cognition experienced by the average seventy-eight year old lawyer.

Generally, what ethical duties do I owe to the other residents who suffer from dementia?

Consider this recent incident:

One morning I was in my wheelchair, carrying my dirty coffee cup, going to the coffee machine. As I approached, a female resident in a wheelchair said to me: "your cup is dirty. Can I wash it for you?" I replied : "No, I'm good."

I thought about this incident for several days in the context of my insensitivity to the woman's request. (Residents suffering from dementia have lucid cognitive moments)

When I related this incident to the head nurse, observing that I thought that men were more insensitive than women, she immediately replied: "Yes, everybody needs to feel useful."

What do you think? Did I violate an ethical duty to the woman? Do I have the ethical duties that the nurses owe to the residents?
Impenitent
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Re: Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by Impenitent »

you only have the ethical duties you choose to give yourself...

-Imp
tbieter
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Re: Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by tbieter »

May one ethically choose to have no ethical duties to any other being?

May one choose to torture another being, whether a human being or an animal such as your neighbor's dog?
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henry quirk
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hey, t...

Post by henry quirk »

The article is fascinating and timely for me because I recently wound up in a nursing home (where I now reside) where most of the residents suffer from dementia.

Me: I didn't read the piece.

Sorry to hear of your circumstance.


A retired lawyer, I'm here because of diabetes, not dementia, or any other cognitive impairment, other than the normal slowdown in cognition experienced by the average seventy-eight year old lawyer.

Your head seems spry enough: that's a good thing.


Generally, what ethical duties do I owe to the other residents who suffer from dementia?

You owe them what you owe anyone: each one, no matter how addled, belongs to himself. Respect that, don't infringe on that, and you're good.


One morning I was in my wheelchair, carrying my dirty coffee cup, going to the coffee machine. As I approached, a female resident in a wheelchair said to me: "your cup is dirty. Can I wash it for you?" I replied : "No, I'm good."

I thought about this incident for several days in the context of my insensitivity to the woman's request. (Residents suffering from dementia have lucid cognitive moments)


How were you insensitive? She made a request, you said no. Her desire, or need, doesn't equal obligation on your part.


When I related this incident to the head nurse, observing that I thought that men were more insensitive than women, she immediately replied: "Yes, everybody needs to feel useful."

The nurse may be right, but that still doesn't translate to an obligation. We may assist or feed the need out of compassion, but compassion, by definition, is volitional, never obligatory.


What do you think? Did I violate an ethical duty to the woman? Do I have the ethical duties that the nurses owe to the residents?

You did nuthin' wrong.

What exactly are the ethical obligations of the nurses, and are these ethical obligations synonymous with their work responsibilities?
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henry quirk
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imp

Post by henry quirk »

Impenitent wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:15 pm you only have the ethical duties you choose to give yourself...

-Imp
Not as I see it.

In my life I've run across dirty motherfuckers who deserve to be dead. Not because they done wrong but because of who and what they are.

Nuthin' woulda been better than to put an ice pick in thier ears then bury 'em in the woods, but I had, and have, no just cause. My compass, my conscience, my moral sense, my gut, sez no and I must abide.
Last edited by henry quirk on Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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henry quirk
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Re: Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by henry quirk »

May one ethically choose to have no ethical duties to any other being?

As I see it: your obligation is to not screw with other folks. You're restrained from certain acts, not obligated to perform certain acts.


May one choose to torture another being, whether a human being or an animal such as your neighbor's dog?

Don't use any person (without just cause); don't screw with another man's property (without just cause).
Impenitent
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Re: imp

Post by Impenitent »

henry quirk wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:40 pm
Impenitent wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:15 pm you only have the ethical duties you choose to give yourself...

-Imp
Not as I see it.

In my life I've run across dirty motherfuckers who deserve to be dead. Not because they done wrong but because of who and what they are.

Nuthin' woulda been better than to put an ice pick in thier ears then bury 'em in the woods, but I had, and have, no just cause. My compass, my conscience, my moral sense, my gut, sez no and I must abide.
"Deserve's got nothing to do with it..."

in the end, you made your choice

-Imp
Last edited by Impenitent on Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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henry quirk
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Re: imp

Post by henry quirk »

Impenitent wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:19 am
henry quirk wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:40 pm
Impenitent wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:15 pm you only have the ethical duties you choose to give yourself...

-Imp
Not as I see it.

In my life I've run across dirty motherfuckers who deserve to be dead. Not because they done wrong but because of who and what they are.

Nuthin' woulda been better than to put an ice pick in thier ears then bury 'em in the woods, but I had, and have, no just cause. My compass, my conscience, my moral sense, my gut, sez no and I must abide.
"Deserve's got to do with it..."

in the end, you made your choice

-Imp
in a broad sense: you're right
Impenitent
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Re: Et In Arcadia Ego

Post by Impenitent »

tbieter wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:58 pm May one ethically choose to have no ethical duties to any other being?

May one choose to torture another being, whether a human being or an animal such as your neighbor's dog?
people choose that all the time...

there may be legal consequences for some actions, but not ethical ones

-Imp
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