Memorials in the West: 5. Roadside Death – 15 Year Old Driving an Unregistered Car

Roadside death memorial for a 15 year old.

While the intimate nature of the graves of Weeroona suggest a very personal relationship with death, the environment itself offers a kind of serenity. Serenity is not possible with this little memorial. One encounters this memento mori, face to face. The visceral nature of the distress is unavoidable, breathtaking even. Domestic items, socks, footy jumper, fairy lights, the childish messages on the nearby wall, all … Continue reading Memorials in the West: 5. Roadside Death – 15 Year Old Driving an Unregistered Car »

Memorials in the West: 4. Weeroona Aboriginal Cemetery

Weeroona Cemetery.

When Mitchell gazed out over the land from Mount Macedon, he was not gazing out over vacant space. It was not terra nullius but a land fully occupied by a culture, the absence of which in the national narrative, is now acutely obvious. While we build monuments of European glorification, there are no moments to warriors of the frontier wars. Our national amnesia extends to … Continue reading Memorials in the West: 4. Weeroona Aboriginal Cemetery »

Memorials in the West: 3. The Great Cross

The Great Cross memorial at Mount Macedon.

Contrasted against the dry Western plains, Mount Macedon is wonderfully damp, all misty forests, moss covered trees and panoramic views. The panorama from Major Mitchell’s lookout (after surveyor general Major Thomas Mitchell) is spectacular, a glorious sweep of the plains below, the remains of volcanic caldera dotting the horizon and yes, in the distance Port Phillip Bay. Mitchell must have been reading the classics at … Continue reading Memorials in the West: 3. The Great Cross »

Memorials in the West: 2. Walking in Sunshine

Walking in Sunshine, past the Sunshine Vietnam Memorial.

If the West Gate Bridge memorial seems to suffer from a desire to downplay the significance of industrial deaths, the “Vietnamese War” memorial in Sunshine is testament to an Orwellian desire to re-write history completely. It is difficult to know where to begin. Trends in memorials to war dead have altered significantly over the decades. Increasingly, war memorials have moved away from triumphalism; glorifying statues … Continue reading Memorials in the West: 2. Walking in Sunshine »

Memorials in the West: 1. The Day the West Gate Fell

The Westgate Bridge.

I am old enough to remember the day the West Gate fell. Unlike the saccharine sorrow of today’s celebrity culture extracting tears for every trivial demise or faux grief for the anonymous victims of salacious crimes, the deaths of the thirty-five who died when the span fell were genuine tragedies. They went to work and were killed by the hubris of men who thought they … Continue reading Memorials in the West: 1. The Day the West Gate Fell »

Kant and Existentialism

Existentialism and Kantian ethics. Drawing parallels or distinctions between Kant and Sartre is nothing new. Lots of theorists have done this and anyone familiar with the work of Kant would find much that is familiar in the work of Sartre. Likewise anyone familiar with the work of Sartre will be aware of his criticisms of Kant. While I don’t want to suggest that there is … Continue reading Kant and Existentialism »

Problems with the WHO Definition of ‘Health’

This is a section of a larger paper discussing problems in health care distribution. The World Health Organisation [1] defines health as “…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” [2] In doing so it incorporates total well-being under the concept of health. This definition is not a relational claim between the various parameters of … Continue reading Problems with the WHO Definition of ‘Health’ »

Introduction to a Bioethical Analysis of the Film Gattaca

This paper was delivered at a Post-graduate seminar, Latrobe University, Melbourne 2003. Footnotes are missing. All fictions dealing with genetic “engineering” raise issues of identity and genetic essentialism/determinism. This film is often favoured as a representation of ‘real’ as opposed to ‘fictional’ problems in this regard because it extrapolates on the basis of known science and because it avoids the cruder, less plausible forms of … Continue reading Introduction to a Bioethical Analysis of the Film Gattaca »

Problems with the Biomedical Model of Health

AAP Conference, Adelaide. 2003. Introduction: Defining the concept of ‘health’ is a central problem in the field of Bioethics. It sits at the crossroads of multiple levels of theory, having implications for both metaphysics and normative ethics. Among the plethora of potential theories, the work of Christopher Boorse continues to be widely influential. Boorse argues that it is possible to give an objective, value-neutral account … Continue reading Problems with the Biomedical Model of Health »

The Ethics of I.V.F. – The Right to Reproduce

Burning Down the House Publications, Melbourne 1988. Introduction Parameters of Discussion In considering the ethical status of the human IVF programme, one is initially faced with an enormous range of ethical questions. Perhaps the most prominent of these , both in the community and on policy regulating bodies, has focused on the “sanctity-of-life” principle. Debate of this principle has itself concentrated on the moral status … Continue reading The Ethics of I.V.F. – The Right to Reproduce »