In carrying out cost-benefit or cost-effective analysis, a discount rate should be applied to some kinds of future benefits and costs. It is controversial, though, whether future health is in this class. I argue that one of the standard arguments for discounting (from diminishing marginal returns) is inapplicable to the case of health, while another (favouring a pure rate of time preference) is unsound in any case. However, there are two other reasons that might support a positive discount rate for (...) future health: one relating to uncertainty, and the other relating to the instrumental benefits of improved health. While the latter considerations could be modelled via a discount rate, they could alternatively be modelled more explicitly, in other ways; I briefly discuss which modelling method is preferable. Finally, I argue against the common claims that failing to discount future health would lead to paradox, and/or to inconsistency with the way future cash flows are treated. (shrink)
According to influential view, using the criminal law against innocent actions or agents is wrong. In this paper, I consider four related arguments against this view: a debunking argument that suggests that the intuitive appeal of this view may be due to a conflation of different ideas; a counterexamples argument that points out that there are many cases in which using the criminal law against innocent actions ("non mala" actions that are not even "mala prohibita") or agents is justified; a (...) theoretical argument, according to which the force of the reasons for and against using the criminal law is a matter of degree and it is therefore implausible to hold that the latter always defeat the former; and an analogy argument, which holds that it is implausible to maintain that harming innocents is often justified in other contexts but (almost) never in the context of the criminal law. (shrink)
In this paper, I distinguish between two types of normative accounts of discrimination – general and special – and argue for the former and against the latter. General accounts consider the moral status of discrimination in light of all of the reasons that apply to discrimination, and hold that these reasons are not unique to discrimination (for example, the reasons to bring about the greater benefit or prevent the greater burden, to give priority for people who are worse off, and (...) to give people what they morally deserve). In contrast, special accounts argue that discrimination is objectionable due to factors that are especially salient in the context of discrimination (examples are the "deliberative" freedom of people to decide how to live without considering facts such as their race or sex, the message conveyed by discriminatory actions in terms of the moral status of people, and the mental states that accompany discriminatory actions). I argue that general accounts are more plausible than special ones, as foundational accounts of discrimination that determine its overall moral status (both types of accounts appear to suggest such accounts). One argument is that special accounts that suggest conclusions regarding the overall moral status of discrimination without considering all of the pertinent factors, especially general ones, are implausible. Another argument is that special accounts that claim that the factors that they highlight are basic are misguided since these factors are morally significant only if, and to the degree to which, they are derived from general ones. (shrink)
I develop three arguments in support of my contention that we should favor achievements over agents as objects of fitting moral admiration. The first argument impugns the epistemic standing with which characterological admiration is standardly issued. The second argument alleges that there is likely to be a difference between widely held folk concepts of character and traits, on the one hand, and an empirically supported view of the reality of those things, on the other. The final argument concerns one way (...) in which characterological admiration renders some aspects of our practices of admiring subject to undesirable revision. In each case I use an analogy to athletic admiration to show how achievement admiration avoids the problems of characterological admiration. I then suggest an alternative role for characterological considerations in fitting admiration, as a loose constraint on what is appropriate to admire rather than as an object of admiration. The upshot of the article is theoretical, inasmuch as it develops a tension between the conditions governing fitting admiration and an empirically informed view of character. But there is also practical upshot, especially in the context of public practices of admiring, as when we build statues of heroes or name buildings after them. (shrink)
Dance, as a mode of physical interaction, offers opportunities to care and be cared for, but this does not mean that dancers will, in fact, care. There may be no moral motivation underlying a lift, dip or intricate sequence of coordinated action. Choreographic scores may (knowingly or not) encourage merely perfunctory movements that are a poor simulacrum to care. Moreover, the caring that is expressed through dance need not transfer to other walks of life. I am not alone in knowing (...) spectacularly talented dancers whose behaviour off the dance floor is far from ethical – from the arrogant and petty to the flagrant abuse that plagues institutions of art and culture. This article considers how dance can illuminate both the acts and sentiments of care, conveying particular ethical orientations that trouble straightforward, absolute moral reasoning. The article frames an enquiry into the relation between ethics and aesthetics of care, drawn from feminist epistemologists Joan Tronto, Maurice Hamington, and Nel Noddings, as well as my own performance research on partnering. I frame a zone between technique and competence, foregrounding care in dance as both a technical and ethical issue. I will consider the necessary conditions by which dancing together can manifest care, rather than suggest blanketly that it always does or even that it should. To make this argument, I will describe and analyse Considered Care, a duet I created in the autumn of 2021 in collaboration with Boston Ballet. This performance research project provided the material from which to consider the concept of need, a condition of care in a dancing situation. I will conclude by considering the relationship between needs and trust in conceptualizing care within partnering. (shrink)
Andreas Schmidt and Neil Levy have recently defended nudging against the objection that nudges fail to treat nudgees as rational agents. Schmidt rejects two theses that have been taken to support the objection: that nudges harness irrational processes in the nudgee, and that they subvert the nudgee’s rationality. Levy rejects a third thesis that may support the objection: that nudges fail to give reasons. I argue that these defences can be extrapolated from nudges to some nonconsensual neurointerventions; if Schmidt’s and (...) Levy’s defences succeed, then some nonconsensual neurointerventions neither harness irrationality, nor subvert rationality, nor fail to give reasons. This, I claim, poses a challenge both to opponents of nonconsensual neurointerventions, and to defenders of nudging. (shrink)
In this paper I explore an epistemic asymmetry that sometimes occurs regarding the moral status of alternative actions. I argue that this asymmetry is significant and has ramifications for what it is morally permissible to do. I then show how this asymmetry often obtains regarding three moral issues: vegetarianism, abortion, and charitable giving. In doing so, I rely on the epistemic significance of disagreement and the existence of moral controversy about these issues.
The Olympic Games are a sporting event guided by philosophy. The modern Olympic Charter calls this philosophy “Olympism” and boldly states its goal as nothing less than “the harmonious development of humankind” and the promotion of “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” The ideas and ideals behind Olympism, however, are ancient—tracing their roots to archaic and classical Greece, just like the Games do. This collection of essays explores the ancient Hellenic roots of Olympic philosophy and explain (...) their application to modern sport. It examines the philosophical heritage of the Games, the ethics implied by Olympic values of sport, the educational goals of sport, the relations between justice and fair play, the political ideals of peace and world community, and modern challenge of multiculturalism as expressed in the philosophical contrasts between East and West. To understand the beauty, challenges, politics, and potential of the Olympic Games, we must first understand Olympic philosophy. (shrink)
A particularly important, pressing, philosophical question concerns whether Confederate monuments ought to be removed. More precisely, one may wonder whether a certain group, viz. the relevant government officials and members of the public who together can remove the Confederate monuments, are morally obligated to (of their own volition) remove them. Unfortunately, academic philosophers have largely ignored this question. This paper aims to help rectify this oversight by moral philosophers. In it, I argue that people have a moral obligation to remove (...) most, if not all, public Confederate monuments because of the unavoidable harm they inflict on undeserving persons. In the first section, I provide some relevant historical context. In the second section, I make my unique harm-based argument for the removal of Confederate monuments. In the third section, I consider and rebut five objections. (shrink)
This is a short reply to Dan Demetriou's "Ashes of Our Fathers: Racist Monuments and the Tribal Right." Both are included in Oxford University Press's Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues That Divide Us.
I claim that objective consequentialism faces a problem stemming from the existence in some situations of a plurality of chances relevant to the outcomes of an agent’s acts. I suggest that this phenomenon bears structural resemblance to the well-known Reference Class problem. I outline a few ways in which one could attempt to deal with the issue, suggesting that it is the higher-level chance that should be employed by OC.
Recent debate regarding transgender persons’ bathroom-utilization prerogatives raises broader issues concerning current practices of sex segregation more generally. I argue that the only consistently Progressive position on bathroom access is an outright opposition to any form of bathroom segregation. This opposition, in turn, entails a thorough-going rejection of all types of sex- and gender-segregation. I then suggest that Progressives uncomfortable with such wide-ranging implications may wish to consider the merits of a certain Traditionalist position on such matters—one that counsels caution (...) and legislative forbearance when it comes to overturning long-standing customs (such as those embodied in current practices of sex-segregation). (shrink)
This chapter argues there are many hints in the dialogue, plot, and physics of the first season of Westworld that the events in the show do not take place within a theme park, but rather in a virtual reality (VR) world that people "visit" to escape the "real world." The philosophical implications I draw are several. First, to be simulated is to be real: simulated worlds are every bit as real as "the real world", and simulated people (hosts) are every (...) bit as real as "real" ones. Second, failure to appreciate this equivalence is already leading us to treat our simulated creations (artificially intelligent agents, videogame characters, etc.) in the same kinds of morally deplorable ways that humans in Westworld treat theirs. (shrink)
In general, it is morally wrong to joke about the suffering of a category of people while in front of a person who fits into this category. I argue that, when people play the game Cards Against Humanity, it is likely that they do this very action. Thus, I conclude that it is morally wrong to play Cards Against Humanity.
Religion is often singled out for special legal treatment in Western societies - which raises an important question: what, if anything, is special about religious conscience beliefs that warrants such special legal treatment? In this paper, I will offer an answer to this specialness question by investigating the relationship between religious conscientious objections and their insulation from relevant evidence. I will begin my analysis by looking at Brian Leiter’s arguments that religious beliefs are insulated from evidence and not worthy of (...) special legal treatment as a result. I will argue that he fails to show that religious conscience beliefs are both in principle responsive to empirical evidence and in practice typically more insulated from this evidence than secular conscience beliefs. If I am right about this, then Leiter fails to answer the “central puzzle” of his recent book and fails to sufficiently distinguish the religious conscience from the secular conscience. Second, I will look at whether or not it is plausible to understand the religious conscience as insulated from other forms of evidence. Following the research of social-psychologist Jonathan Haidt, I will argue that, typically, both forms of conscience seem to be similarly insulated from moral argumentation. I will also show that, while it seems as though the religious conscience usually draws from a larger set of moral values when compared to the secular conscience, this should make no legal difference overall. To conclude, I will explain that the arguments in this paper can be understood as evidence in support of an egalitarian response to religion’s specialness. (shrink)
The debate over whether brain death is death has focused on whether individuals who have sustained total brain failure have satisfied the biological definition of death as “the irreversible loss of the integration of the organism as a whole.” In this paper, I argue that what it means for an organism to be integrated “as a whole” is undefined and vague in the views of those who attempt to define death as the irreversible loss of the integration of the organism (...) as a whole. I show how what it means for a living thing to be integrated as a whole depends on the sortal concept by which it is identified. Since interests, values, and ontological considerations besides strictly biological ones affect the concepts by which we individuate and identify living things, those non-biological considerations have a bearing on what it means for a particular kind of living thing to exist as a whole and thus what it means for one of us to die. Even if our bodies may remain organically integrated in some sense despite total brain failure, this fact should not lead us to reject brain death as death. Artificially sustained brain-dead human bodies are not human beings, but the remains of them. While such bodies may be alive in some sense, they are not human beings or human persons. They are not one of us. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend brain death as a criterion for determining death against objections raised by Don Marquis, Michael Nair-Collins, Doyen Nguyen, and Laura Specker Sullivan. I argue that any definition of death for beings like us relies on some sortal concept by which we are individuated and identified and that the choice of that concept in a practical context is not determined by strictly biological considerations but involves metaphysical, moral, social, and cultural considerations. This view supports acceptance of (...) a more pluralistic legal definition of death as well as acceptance of brain death as death. (shrink)
John Lizza says that to define death well, we must go beyond biological considerations. Death is the absence of life in an entity that was once alive. Biology is the study of life. Therefore, the definition of death should not involve non-biological concerns.
Review of the book: Człowiek na granicy istnienia. Dyskusje o śmierci mózgowej i innych aspektach umierania, Grzegorz Hołub, Piotr Duchliński, Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2017.
John P. Lizza has long been a major figure in the scholarly literature on criteria for death. His searching and penetrating critiques of the dominant biological paradigm, and his defense of a theory of death of the person as a psychophysical entity, have both significantly advanced the literature. In this special issue, Lizza reinforces his critiques of a strictly biological approach. In my commentary, I take up Lizza’s challenge regarding a biological concept of death. He is certainly right to point (...) out that science is not value-free; however, this does not imply that there cannot be a characterization of biological death that can be shown to be superior to other concepts. After characterizing and justifying such a theory of biological death, I show that patients who meet the diagnostic criteria for brain death are unequivocally biologically alive. However, with respect to concepts of personhood and related ideas, I urge the acceptance of a pluralism of such concepts for matters of public policy. (shrink)
Many historically-influential philosophers had profoundly wrong moral views or behaved very badly. Aristotle thought women were “deformed men” and that some people were slaves “by nature.” Descartes had disturbing views about non-human animals. Hume and Kant were racists. Hegel disparaged Africans. Nietzsche despised sick people. Mill condoned colonialism. Fanon was homophobic. Frege was anti-Semitic; Heidegger was a Nazi. Schopenhauer was sexist. Rousseau abandoned his children. Wittgenstein beat his young students. Unfortunately, these examples are just a start. -/- These philosophers are (...) famous for their intellectual accomplishments, yet they display serious moral or intellectual flaws in their beliefs or actions. At least, some of their views were false, ultimately unjustified and, perhaps, harmful. -/- How should we respond to brilliant-but-flawed philosophers from the past? Here we explore the issues, asking questions and offering few answers. Any insights gained here might be applicable to contemporary imperfect philosophers, scholars in other fields, and people in general. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that, under a speciﬁc set of circumstances, designing and employing certain kinds of virtual reality (VR) experiences can be unethical. After a general discussion of simulations and their ethical context, we begin our argu-ment by distinguishing between the experiences generated by diﬀerent media (text, ﬁlm, computer game simulation, and VR simulation), and argue that VR experiences oﬀer an unprecedented degree of what we call “perspectival ﬁdelity” that prior modes of simulation lack. Additionally, we argue that (...) when VR experiences couple this perspectival ﬁdelity with what we call “context realism,” VR experiences have the ability to produce “virtually real experiences.” We claim that virtually real experiences generate ethical issues for VR technologies that are unique to the medium. Because subjects of these experiences treat them as if they were real, a higher degree of ethical scrutiny should be applied to any VR scenario with the potential to generate virtually real experiences. To mitigate this unique moral hazard, we propose and defend what we call “The Equivalence Principle.” This principle states that “if it would be wrong to allow subjects to have a certain experience in reality, then it would be wrong to allow subjects to have that experience in a virtually real setting.” We argue that such a principle, although limited in scope, should be part of the risk analysis conducted by any Institutional Review Boards, psychologists, empirically oriented philosophers, or game designers who are using VR technology in their work. (shrink)
It seems obvious that phenomenally conscious experience is something of great value, and that this value maps onto a range of important ethical issues. For example, claims about the value of life for those in a permanent vegetative state, debates about treatment and study of disorders of consciousness, controversies about end-of-life care for those with advanced dementia, and arguments about the moral status of embryos, fetuses, and non-human animals arguably turn on the moral significance of various facts about consciousness. However, (...) though work has been done on the moral significance of elements of consciousness, such as pain and pleasure, little explicit attention has been devoted to the ethical significance of consciousness. In this book Joshua Shepherd presents a systematic account of the value present within conscious experience. This account emphasizes not only the nature of consciousness, but the importance of items within experience such as affect, valence, and the complex overall shape of particular valuable experiences. Shepherd also relates this account to difficult cases involving non-humans and those with disorders of consciousness, arguing that the value of consciousness influences and partially explains the degree of moral status a being possesses, without fully determining it. The upshot is a deeper understanding of both the moral importance of phenomenal consciousness and its relations to moral status. This book will be of great interest to philosophers and students of ethics, bioethics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
In Why Honor Matters, Tamler Sommers argues for reviving honor culture as a means to reduce many of the social ills we face today. A.C. Spivey’s review examines Sommers’s arguments, in particular how a revived honor culture might have an impact on the criminal justice system. Spivey finds several theoretical and practical problems in Sommers’s account, but argues that the book is still worth reading, at least in part, because of the case it makes for restorative justice.
In his article, “Defining Death: Beyond Biology,” John Lizza argues in favor of a civil definition of death, according to which the potential for consciousness and social interaction marks us as the “kind of being that we are.” In this commentary, I critically discuss this approach to the bioethical debate on the definition of death. I question whether Lizza’s account is based on a full recognition of the “practical, moral, religious, philosophical, and cultural considerations” at play in this debate. I (...) further propose that a truly ethical debate on definitions of death ought to concentrate on how different definitions of death are used in diverse contexts – what definitions of death do – and focus less on who has the right definition of death for all situations. (shrink)
Starting January 1, 2017, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA, henceforth) made a sweeping decision that no elective surgery is to be performed for Medicaid recipients who smoke tobacco. The authors of this paper investigate the administrative procedures behind the OHA’s decision, explore some possible ethical arguments for and against the decision, and render our ethical verdict about the ban and our suggestion for the OHA. Meanwhile, since this issue involves the problems of smoking-related addiction, the agent’s autonomy which may be (...) understood in the light of moral freedom and rationality/irrationality, and our society’s perception about obesity and cigarette smoking; the paper engages in a deeper philosophical debate about the problems beyond the legal purview of the ban. (shrink)
Open Access: Appreciating the relationship of the living to our dead is an aspect of human life that seems to be neglected in philosophy. I argue that living individuals can have ongoing, non-imaginary, valuable relationships with deceased loved ones. This is important to establish because arguments for such relationships better generate claims in applied ethics about our conduct with respect to our dead. In the first half of the paper I advance the narrower claim that psychological literature affirmative of “imaginal (...) relationships” with the dead is relevant to philosophical literature on metaphysical arguments for the dead as relata. The relevance of those psychological insights to philosophers’ metaphysical insights matters for understanding the value of relationships with deceased loved ones. In the second half of the paper I advance the wider claim that the importance of one’s most dearly held relationships with living individuals is best explained in terms of imaginal content, as well; in other words, some interpersonal relationships between the living are personally important because of their imaginal content. Once we appreciate this, it is clearer why recognizably real, imaginally informed relationships with the living are not necessarily cut off on the day someone dies, and permit the possibilities for ethical activities including forgiving the dead, honoring the dead, and carrying out their wishes after they are gone. (shrink)
This chapter examines three approaches to applied political and legal philosophy: standard activism, extreme activism, and conceptual activism. They differ from one another in their target audiences, how directly the arguments seek to advance change in the world, and what they take as their measure(s) of success. Standard activism is primarily addressed to other philosophers, adopts an indirect and coincidental role in creating change, and counts articulating sound arguments as success. Extreme activism, in contrast, is a form of applied philosophy (...) directly addressed to policy‐makers, with the goal of bringing about a particular outcome, and measures success in terms of whether it makes a direct causal contribution to that goal. Finally, conceptual activism (like standard activism), primarily targets an audience of fellow philosophers, bears a distant, non‐direct, relation to a desired outcome, and counts success in terms of whether it encourages a particular understanding and adoption of the concepts under examination. (shrink)
In a critical intervention into the bioethics debate over human enhancement, philosopher Melinda Hall tackles the claim that the expansion and development of human capacities is a moral obligation. Hall draws on French philosopher Michel Foucault to reveal and challenge the ways disability is central to the conversation. The Bioethics of Enhancement includes a close reading and analysis of the last century of enhancement thinking and contemporary transhumanist thinkers, the strongest promoters of the obligation to pursue enhancement technology. With specific (...) attention to the work of bioethicists Nick Bostrom and Julian Savulescu, the book challenges the rhetoric and strategies of enhancement thinking. These include the desire to transcend the body and decide who should live in future generations through emerging technologies such as genetic selection. Hall provides new analyses rethinking both the philosophy of enhancement and disability, arguing that enhancement should be a matter of social and political interventions, not genetic and biological interventions. Hall concludes that human vulnerability and difference should be cherished rather than extinguished. -/- This book will be of interest to academics working in bioethics and disability studies, along with those working in Continental philosophy (especially on Foucault). (shrink)
In this article, I argue that as a theoretical matter, a population's health-level is best quantified via averagism. Averagism asserts that the health of a population is the average of members’ health-levels. This model is better because it does not fall prey to a number of objections, including the repugnant conclusion, and because it is not arbitrary. I also argue that as a practical matter, population health-levels are best quantified via totalism. Totalism asserts that the health of a population is (...) the sum of members’ health-levels. Totalism is better here because it fits better with cost-benefit analysis and such an analysis is the best practical way to value healthcare outcomes. The two results are compatible because the theoretical and practical need not always align, whether in general or in the context of population health. (shrink)
Narrowly understood, veganism is the practice of excluding all animal products from one’s diet, with the exception of human milk. More broadly, veganism is not only a food ethics, but it encompasses all other areas of life. As defined by the Vegan Society when it became an established charity in the UK in 1979, veganism is best understood as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of (...) exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment”. There are two main moral justifications for veganism, both of which rely on a common assumption: that sentience, i.e., the capacity to feel pleasure and pain, is the necessary and sufficient trait to be morally considerable. In what follows, I present these two justifications and a third one which, although less popular, captures some core intuitions among vegans. I then present a challenge faced by veganism and two arguments that reject it as discriminatory, and briefly conclude. (shrink)
One of the signs of the rapid development of medical genetics is a gradual increase in the number of genetic tests available. Different aspects of this phenomenon have been addressed and debated in the source literature, but so far relatively little has been said about the obligation to provide equal access – in the social context – to selected kinds of tests. In this article, I attempt to reconstruct those few suggestions, dealing with the principles of funding genetic tests from (...) public resources, that can still be found in the source literature. Accordingly, I have analyzed the possibilities of identifying the criteria of selecting diagnostic and preventive tests to be eligible for refund, as well as of screening programmes. (shrink)
Ethics is an attempt to guide human conduct and it is also an attempt to help man in leading good life by applying moral principles. Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics is related to issues of propriety, rightness and wrongness. What is right is ethical and what is wrong is unethical. Value is an important conception (...) in ethical discussion. Values relate to the norms of a culture, but they are more global and abstract than norms. In certain cultures norms reflect the values of respect and support of friends and family. Different cultures reflect different values. Over the last three decades, traditional-age college students have shown an increased interest in personal well-being and a decreased interest in the welfare of others. Recently, the department of personnel and training has decided to change the pattern of the Civil Services Examination by stressing more on general studies and aptitude skills. A notification has been issued is this regard. From this year the Civil Services (Mains) will also have a separate paper on “ethics, integrity and aptitude”. The notification for the 2013 exam said the “paper (on ethics, integrity and aptitude) will include questions to test the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts in dealing with society”. There are six major sections (i) Ethics and Human Interfaith, (ii) Attitude, (iii) Emotional Intelligence, (iv) Contributions of Moral thinkers and philosophers of India and World, (v) Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration and (vi) Probity in Governance. In this paper an attempt is made to describe the values needed in public service sector and ethical principles might use in public administration and related to the V section of this syllabus. (shrink)
This article tries to analyze the meaning and relevance of the concept of solidarity as compared to the concept of justice. While ‘justice’ refers to rights and duties , the concept of solidarity refers to relations of personal commitment and recognition . The article wants to answer the question whether solidarity and liberal justice should be seen as mutually exclusive or whether both approaches should be regarded as complementary to each other. The paper starts with an analysis of liberal theories (...) of justice which are followed by an analysis of the descriptive and a moral understanding of the concept of solidarity. The importance of solidarity lies in its relational aspects, particularly its emphasis on cooperation and commonality. The paper argues that while solidarity is more fundamental than justice, both concepts are important for the arrangement of health care practices. The paper gives special attention to the concept of decent care, reflective solidarity and humanitarian solidarity which is seen as fundamental for all health care policies and care practices. (shrink)
Uncertainty, insufficient information or information of poor quality, limited cognitive capacity and time, along with value conflicts and ethical considerations, are all aspects thatmake risk managementand riskcommunication difficult. This paper provides a review of different risk concepts and describes how these influence risk management, communication and planning in relation to forest ecosystem services. Based on the review and results of empirical studies, we suggest that personal assessment of risk is decisive in the management of forest ecosystem services. The results are (...) used together with a reviewof different principles of the distribution of risk to propose an approach to risk communication that is effective aswell as ethically sound. Knowledge of heuristics and mutual information on both beliefs and desires are important in the proposed risk communication approach. Such knowledge provides an opportunity for relevant information exchange, so that gaps in personal knowledge maps can be filled in and effective risk communication can be promoted. (shrink)
The dual-use problem is an ethical quandary sometimes faced by scientists and others in a position to influence the creation or dissemination of scientific knowledge. It arises when an agent is considering whether to pursue some project likely to result in the creation or dissemination of scientific knowledge, that knowledge could be used in both morally desirable and morally undesirable ways, and the risk of undesirable use is sufficiently high that it is not clear that the agent may permissibly pursue (...) the project or policy. Agents said to be faced with dual-use problems have frequently responded by appealing to a view that I call scientific isolationism. This is, roughly, the view that scientific decisions may be made without morally appraising the likely uses of the scientific knowledge whose production or dissemination is at stake. I consider whether scientific isolationism can be justified in a form that would indeed provide a way out of dual-use problems. I first argue for a presumption against a strong form of isolationism, and then examine four arguments that might be thought to override this presumption. The most promising of these arguments appeals to the idea of a division of moral labour, but I argue that even this argument can sustain at most a highly attenuated form of scientific isolationism and that this variant of isolationism has little practical import for discussions of the dual-use problem. (shrink)
The crisis of our times is that we have science without wisdom. Modern science and technology lead to modern industry and agriculture which in turn lead to all the great benefits of the modern world and to the global crises we face, from population growth to climate change. The fault lies, not with science, but with science dissociated from a more fundamental concern with problems of living. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in academia so that the fundamental (...) task becomes to help humanity learn how to tackle problems of living in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, so that we may gradually discover how to make progress towards a better, wiser world. (shrink)
Neste artigo defendo a tese de que o direito de não saber é independente do direito à privacidade. Há duas diferenças fundamentais entre esses dois direitos que os tornam independentes: (1) a direção da informação do direito de não saber é oposta a do direito à privacidade e (2) o âmbito do direito de não saber é maior do que o do direito à privacidade. Pretendo clarificar essas diferenças e fazer algumas qualificações sobre o direito de não saber, tal como (...) os requisitos para o seu exercício e os limites desse direito. Apesar de o foco da análise não ser sobre um direito jurídico de não saber, ela traz implicações relevantes para o tratamento jurídico tanto do direito de não saber, quanto para o direito à privacidade. (shrink)
Presently philosophers, social theorists, educationists and legal scholars are busy with issues of contemporary importance such as affirmative actions, animal’s rights, capital punishment, cloning, euthanasia, immigration, pornography, privacy in civil society, values in nature, human rights, cultural values and world hunger etc. Since ancient time ethics is one of the most important part of philosophical speculations and human development. The development of morality comes under three stages viz. intrinsic morality, customary morality and reflective morality. Intrinsic morality has traditionally been thought (...) to lie at the heart of ethics and this is the first stage of morality where the objective is to be moral is to lead one’s life according its basic needs. Customary morality is the second stage of morality, where customs of a particular group and tribe rule the life of the man living in this group and morals based on the customs and traditions of society. Members of the group are motivated to sacrifice their lives to save the culture and norms of the particular group or tribe. In the last reflective morality, man started thinking himself and started to do reflection on their life and contributed to the development of the nation or society where he/she lives. Here he/she is independent to think and follow the best for his life. Reflective morals are those that are based on what you believe to be right and not others. The ideas related to the development of art, values, human rights and quality education etc., all are because of man’s reflection. Reflective morality is the best stage of development of morality in human society. In this paper an attempt is made to draw an outline of development of morality in human life and its application of morality in public and personal life. (shrink)
I argue that women in traditional marriages are a vulnerable source for kidneys and this vulnerability gives rise to exploitative donation arrangements made within families. In so doing, I critique Alan Wertheimer’s account of the impact that emotional closeness between participants in an agreement has on the wrongfulness of exploitation. I propose a regulated market scheme that is not only less exploitative than our current donation scheme, but also resolves a variety of other moral problems that typically arise in real (...) and imagined kidney sale scenarios, problems that render markets “noxious,” according to Debra Satz. (shrink)
Hur bör vi bete oss mot livsformer som är väldigt annorlunda än vi? Spelar det någon roll att de är annorlunda? Spelar det någon roll hur annorlunda? Etiken sysslar med många olika frågor som alla har att göra med hur vi bör hantera det faktum att det vi gör (eller inte gör) påverkar andra än oss själv. En fråga för etiken gäller vad som gör en handling rätt. Är det till exempel effekterna av handlingen, avsikten med handlingen, eller ligger det (...) i själva handlingen som sådan? En annan fråga för etiken är vad som har värde och ytterligare en är vilka olika slags värden det finns. Den fråga vi framför allt skall ägna oss åt här har att göra med vem man behöver ta etisk hänsyn till när man handlar eller fattar beslut, och varför. Man brukar fråga: ”Vad krävs för att vara ett moraliskt objekt” eller ”vad krävs för att ha moralisk status”? Det är två olika sätt att ställa samma fråga. I vårt fall skall vi försöka ta reda på om extrema livsformer kan ha moralisk status, det vill säga om vi måste ta hänsyn till dem när vi handlar eller fattar beslut som påverkar dem. (shrink)
The use of the term "applied ethics" to denote a particular field of moral inquiry (distinct from but related to both normative ethics and meta-ethics) is a relatively new phenomenon. The individuation of applied ethics as a special division of moral investigation gathered momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, largely as a response to early twentieth- century moral philosophy's overwhelming concentration on moral semantics and its apparent inattention to practical moral problems that arose in the wake of significant social and (...) technological transformations. The field of applied ethics is now a well established, professional domain sustained by institutional research centers, professional academic appointments, and devoted journals. As the field of applied ethics grew and developed, its contributors predominantly advocated consequentialist and deontological approaches to the problems they address; but lately a significant number of moral philosophers have begun to bring the resources of virtue ethics to bear upon the ever-evolving subject matters of applied ethics. (shrink)
Unfit for the Future argues that the future of our species depends on radical enhancement of the moral aspects of our nature. Population growth and technological advances are threatening to undermine the conditions of worthwhile life on earth forever. We need to modify the biological bases of human motivation to deal with this challenge.
Lorenzo Magnani’s Understanding Violence: The Intertwining of Morality, Religion and Violence is a big 23 book. Not big in the sense of page count or prepublication advertisement, but big in the sense of pregnant 24 with potential application. Professor Magnani is explicit in his intentions, “to show how violence is de facto 25 intertwined with morality, and how much violence is hidden, and invisibly or unintentionally performed" 26 (page 273) while confessing a personal motivation, “warning myself (and every reader) that (...) violence is 27 traceable back to my (our) own door.” (page 66) This is not an easy task, given the slippery expanse of his 28 subject, to drag violence out of the shadows, bringing it home to each personal purveyor. But Magnani 29 succeeds, and fruitfully. Understanding Violence deftly exposes violence in its myriad forms from individual 30 aggression to colliding global-historical narratives. It does this by detailing the processes whereby people act 31 from moralities of their own creation, adopting various moral frameworks including those specific to 32 religions, social and political groups, as well as personal constructs, and in terms of which "they engage and 33 disengage both intentionally and unintentionally, in a strict interplay between morality and violence." (page 34 184) Resolving these complex dynamics through simple models and illustrations, Understanding Violence 35 elevates the reader from the forest-for-the-trees perpetual-crisis-blindness symptomatic of the present era, to 36 a position from which personal moral commitments as practical, as necessary, and as the source of hidden 37 violence are clearly visible. Moreover, due to the practicality of Magnani’s demonstrations, it continues in 38 this work long after the text itself is laid back on the shelf. (shrink)
Stressing that the pronoun "I" picks out one and only one person in the world (i.e., me), I argue against Hunt (and other like-minded Rand commentators) that the supposed "hard case" of destructive people who do not care for their own lives poses no special difficulty for rational egoism. I conclude that the proper response to a terse objection like "What about suicide bombers?" is the equally terse assertion "But I don't want to get blown up.".
In this essay, we describe a form of civic engagement for ethics classes in which students identify a community problem and devise a project to address that need. Like traditional service learning, our civic engagement project improves critical thinking and expressive philosophical skills. It is especially effective in meeting pedagogical goals of engaging and expanding student agency and independence while connecting class materials with individual students’ interests. The project can be adapted to a variety of ethics classes and institutional settings. (...) We demonstrate its effectiveness by examining student projects and class evaluations, as well as reporting our own observations, with emphasis on the skills that students develop. We also address details of implementation and answers to theoretical and practical objections. Although students often find this project challenging, they also see it as deeply rewarding; they have been impressed with their own performance and the skills they develop. (shrink)