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Open Medicine
tom 3
nr 2
Traditionally, the average code of conduct within Western health care starts from the autonomy of the patient. In addition, medicine today is ‘evidence based’ and the patient is an ‘informed consent’. Yet, the individual autonomy of the patient in health care is not simply enhancing today. Quite a few fundamental changes have and are currently at work within health care, which I will summarize here with the paradigm of predictive medicine. One of the characteristics of this paradigm is the increase of medical consults which are not autonomously chosen by an individual. For reasons of public health and diminishing of health risks or for reasons of prevention, on one hand we are dealing with ethical codes centered around the autonomy of patients and the face-to-face relations with health care workers, on the other, we are dealing with a society that takes an increasingly greater medical initiatives. Therefore, the question arises if predictive medicine confronts us with the limits of an ethical code as we know it today. Is there not an urgent need for a political code of conduct in health care?
Metaphorizing the Holocaust: The Ethics of Comparison    This paper focuses on the ethics of metaphor and other forms of comparison that invoke National Socialism and the Holocaust. It seeks to answer the question: Are there criteria on the basis of which we can judge whether metaphors and associated tropes “use” the Holocaust appropriately? In analyzing the thrust and workings of such comparisons, the paper also seeks to identify and clarify the terminology and concepts that allow productive discussion. In line with its conception of metaphor that is also rhetorical praxis, the paper focuses on specific controversies involving the metaphorization of the Holocaust, primarily in Germany and Austria. The paper develops its argument through the following process. First, it examines the rhetorical/political contexts in which claims of the Holocaust’s comparability (or incomparability) have been raised. Second, it presents a review (and view) of the nature of metaphor, metonymy, and synecdoche. It applies this framework to (a) comparisons of Saddam Hussein with Hitler in Germany in 1991; (b) the controversies surrounding the 2004 poster exhibition “The Holocaust on Your Plate” in Germany and Austria, with particular emphasis on the arguments and decisions in cases before the courts in those countries; and (c) the invocation of “Auschwitz” as metonym and synecdoche. These examples provide the basis for a discussion of the ethics of comparison. In its third and final section the paper argues that metaphor is by nature duplicitous, but that ethical practice involving Holocaust comparisons is possible if one is self-aware and sensitive to the necessity of seeing the “other” as oneself. The ethical framework proposed by the paper provides the basis for evaluationg the specific cases adduced.
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