Bioethics, healthcare policy, and related issues.
So what’s all this, then, anyway?
“Sufficient Scruples” is a blog devoted to discussion of healthcare-related issues from a moral perspective. It addresses theoretical and practical issues in bioethics and healthcare policy, and a broader range of issues around the periphery of those subjects.
Health- and body-related issues central to human life, such as sexuality, LGBTQ issues, the politics of health and healthcare, and other subjects. Women’s issues more broadly are covered, in part because many “women’s issues” have a health- or reproduction-related component, and in part because much of the oppression of women is focused on, or comes through, their sexuality and biology. Because it is impossible to talk about women’s issues without talking about women’s biology, conversely we should be aware of the broader political context of health issues that affect women. General political issues are touched on because the political climate, and the ideologies of the major parties or political actors, influence healthcare issues significantly.
Who runs this thing?
“Sufficient Scruples” is blogged by Kevin T. Keith (“KTK”).
Kevin T. Keith is an aging graduate student who, when he began his advanced education in bioethics, confidently expected to finish his PhD by the turn of the millenium, and still does. [OK, truth be told, that’s essentially a moribund project. My utter inability to grapple with the demands of a PhD program has pretty much put the kibosh on dreams of doctoral glory, such as that is. Currently I’m nursing my bitterness and pursuing a project to convince the world that “independent scholar” isn’t really a euphemism for “pathetic loser”. It’s going well, I assure you.] He has taught bioethics and done clinical ethics work at two medical schools, and until recently taught ethics and related subjects in the adult night-school program of City College, City University of New York. He hopes some day to become a real boy.
Does he have a paper trail?
Kevin T. Keith blogged at Lean Left, a group political blog run by two cool guys from Tennessee, for more than a year before launching Sufficient Scruples. He still blogs there on non-healthcare-related issues.
There’s more here.
Does he look like anything?
Kind of like this, but not really:
Does Kevin T. Keith realize that it’s creepy, in a kind of Nixon/Kissinger way, to talk about himself in the third person?
Silly name for a blog.
Yeah, well . . .
I was trying to come up with something that referenced both healthcare and ethics, discarding – by popular request – numerous Latin puns (including, sadly, many clever variations on “ars longa”), when I happened on a description of Medieval apothecaries’ symbols. These notations, used in early medical prescriptions and formularies, were the foundation for the specialized symbols and abbreviations used by doctors and pharmacists today. Apothecaries used specialized weights and measures for the tiny amounts of material employed in medicine formulations. Apothecary weights included the “dram” (or “drachm”), “scruple”, and “grain” – representing, respectively, 1/8 troy ounce, 1/3 dram, and 1/20 scruple (thus, a scruple was also 1/24 troy ounce, and a grain was 1/60 dram or 1/480 troy ounce). Each of these weights was notated with a particular symbol; the symbol for the “scruple” is:
It occurred to me immediately that “scruple” has also taken on the meaning of “moral principle” or “moral reservation” – in the sense, apparently, of “a small thing that cannot be overlooked”. “Scruple” (expansively interpreted) thus refers both to prescribed medical care and to moral judgment. There was also a standard notation: “q.s.” – meaning “quantum sufficit” (“in sufficient quantity”). Thus, “Sufficient Scruples” may mean “healthcare properly prescribed” or “moral principles of appropriate kind and degree“. A blog was born.
It should be noted that the two symbols would never actually be used together in a Medieval formulation. “Scruple” was an exact weight, while “q.s.” indicated an inexact addition of some material, added “as necessary”. Either could be used to indicate the quantity of an ingredient in a medicine, but together they are meaningless. Make of that what you will.
Who chose the color scheme?
A highly-paid team of designers, psychologists, and typographers.
But it’s all shades of gray.
Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.
What about the content?
In addition to daily posts, there is some other content on the site that I hope visitors will find worthwhile.
UPDATE: The Stegosaurus of the Week Award was discontinued shortly after being instituted, because it seemed kind of mean-spirited and childish. It was fun, though.
What is your linking policy?
“Linking policies” are nonsense. The Web consists of links. That’s what it’s for. You cannot control people linking to your site any more than you can control them looking at you on the street. I do not acknowledge “linking policies” on other sites, and anyone is free to link to anything on this site.
As for blogrolling, I am delighted to add anyone to my blogroll, though I would ask that your blog have at least some consistent focus on at least one of the topics listed in the “Categories” box on this blog, or on the subjects described as topics of this blog at the top of this FAQ. If you find this site interesting, and often write on topics related to what you see here, drop me an e-mail and let me know – I’d like to see your site, and probably link to it. Similarly, anyone is welcome to blogroll this site, and thanks for the compliment!
What are your commenting and moderation policies?
As of the launching of this blog, commenting is unmoderated and does not require registration. It is conceivable that this could change, most likely in response to uncontrollable problems of one or the other of two kinds: “comment spam” and uncivil discourse to the point that productive discussion becomes impossible.
“Comment spam”, comments consisting primarily of links to other sites (in a way not obviously relevant to an ongoing discussion), or comments clearly made only for the purpose of promoting other sites or commercial activities, are prohibited. They will be deleted without warning. IP blocking may be implemented against spammers if the need arises.
As of the launching of this blog, there are no rules for language, discursive behavior in the comments sections, or other questions of civility. I have a wide tolerance for language and argumentation style myself (i.e., I’m an asshole, so I guess you can be one, too), but not everyone does. I will not intrude into commenters’ posting styles or behavior, for the most part, but I ask that commenters try to contribute to a cooperative and productive exchange on whatever topic is of interest. This requires, I think, a willingness to focus on facts and issues as much as possible (a challenge for me more than for most, I admit), to default in the direction of restraint rather than offense, to assume (often against contrary evidence – I know!) that one’s opponent in debate is both intelligent and sincere, and to keep a sense of perspective about what is, after all, only a communicative exercise, and rarely an actual threat to one’s well-being. I hope that the inherent maturity of most of the posters I have seen on most of the blogs I visit will be enough to keep even heated exchanges within the bounds of productive discourse, and without those of overt offense. At the same time, I expect adults engaged in intelligent discourse have both the ability and willingness to moderate their own behavior appropriately, and the fortitude to withstand the excesses of those who do not. If things get really out of hand, I reserve the right to develop, announce, and implement some sort of comment policy, but as yet the only policy is “Play Nicely”.
UPDATE: I have begun moderating posts by filtering keywords to deal with comment spam. I am also investigating spam-blocking plugins. If your comment is delayed in appearing on the blog, it may have conflicted with the spam-blocking measures. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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