Giubilini and Minerva argue that the permissibility of abortion entails the permissibility of infanticide. Proponents of what we refer to as the Birth Strategy claim that there is a morally significant difference brought about at birth that accounts for our strong intuition that killing newborns is morally impermissible. We argue that strategy does not account for the moral intuition that late-term, non-therapeutic abortions are morally impermissible. Advocates of the Birth Strategy must either judge non-therapeutic abortions as impermissible in the later (...) stages of pregnancy or conclude that they are permissible on the basis of premises that are far less intuitively plausible than the opposite conclusion and its supporting premises. (shrink)
Would the virtuous person eat animals? According to some ethicists, the answer is a resounding no, at least for the virtuous person living in an affluent society. The virtuous person cares about animal suffering, and so, she will not contribute to practices that involve animal suffering when she can easily adopt a strict plant-based diet. The virtuous person is temperate, and temperance involves not indulging in unhealthy diets, which include diets that incorporate animals. Moreover, it is unjust for an animal (...) to be killed for food when this is unnecessary. By contrast, I argue that the virtuous person in an affluent society would eat animals, at least sometimes. I explain how the very virtues thought to motivate “virtuous modest veganism”—compassion, temperance, and justice—motivate the virtuous person to consume some animals. (shrink)
There is a growing consensus among philosophers that hope is a moral virtue: the virtuously hopeful person experiences the right amount of hope for the right things. This moralization of hope presents us with a puzzle. The historical consensus is that hope is a passion and hope is a theological virtue, not a moral virtue. Thomas Aquinas, the philosopher who wrote most extensively on hope, offers an explanation for why hope is not a moral virtue. The aim of this paper (...) is argue that Aquinas is right in thinking that hope is not a moral virtue.1. (shrink)
Accounts of practical deliberation tend to overlook any possible role for hope. I offer an argument showing that hope sets the ends of our practical deliberations and is thereby necessary for practical deliberation. It is because I hope to summit the mountain by midday that I deliberate about how to do so. Absent this particular hope, I could not deliberate about how to summit the mountain by midday.
This paper offers a new argument against raising and killing sentient non-human animals for food. It is immoral to non-lethally impair sentient non-human animals for pleasure, and since raising and killing sentient animals for gustatory pleasure impairs them to a much greater degree, it also is wrong. This is because of the impairment principle: if it is immoral to impair an organism to some degree, then, ceteris paribus, it is immoral to impair it to a higher degree. This argument is (...) structurally analogous to Perry Hendricks’s impairment argument for the immorality of abortion. However, the argument is more defensible applied to the raising and killing of sentient nonhuman animals for food because of the sentience of the non-human animals involved. I explain how the argument is distinct from other pro-vegan, pro-vegetarian arguments. (shrink)
The Kalām cosmological argument deploys the following causal principle: whatever begins to exist has a cause. Yet, under what conditions does something ‘begin to exist’? What does it mean to say that ‘X begins to exist at t’? William Lane Craig has offered and defended various accounts that seek to establish the necessary and sufficient conditions for when something ‘begins to exist.’ I argue that all of the accounts that William Lane Craig has offered fail on the following grounds: either (...) they entail that God has a cause or they render the Kalām argument unsound. Part of the problem is due to Craig’s view of God’s relationship to time: that God exists timelessly without creation and temporarily with creation. The conclusion is that Craig must abandon either the Kalām argument or his view of God’s relationship to time; he cannot consistently hold both. (shrink)
Prabhpal Singh has defended a relational account of the difference in moral status between fetuses and newborns. Newborns stand in the parent-child relation while fetuses do not, and standing in the parent-child relationship brings with it higher moral status for newborns. Orphans pose a problem for this account because they do not stand in a parent-child relationship. I argue that Singh has not satisfactorily responded to the problem.
Hope is important in Thomas Aquinas’s account of the emotions: it is one of the four primary emotions and the first of the irascible emotions. Yet his account of hope as a movement of the sensory appetite toward a future possible good that is arduous to attain appears to be overly restrictive, for people often hope for things that are not cognized as arduous. This paper examines Aquinas’s reasons for limiting hope to arduous goods.
If non-human animals have high moral status, then we commit a grave moral error by eating them. Eating animals is thus morally risky, while many agree that it is morally permissible to not eat animals. According to some philosophers, then, non-animal ethicists should err on the side of caution and refrain from eating animals. I argue that this precautionary argument assumes a false dichotomy of dietary options: a diet that includes farm-raised animals or a diet that does not include animals (...) of any kind. There is a third dietary option, namely, a diet of plants and non-traditional animal protein, and there is evidence that such a diet results in the least amount of harm to animals. It follows therefore that moral uncertainty does not support the adoption of a vegetarian diet. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas divides the sensory appetite into two powers: the irascible and the concupiscible. The irascible power moves creatures toward arduous goods and away from arduous evils, while the concupiscible power moves creatures toward pleasant goods and away from non-arduous evils. Despite the importance of this distinction, it remains unclear what counts as an arduous good or evil, and why arduousness is the defining feature of the division. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I argue that an arduous (...) object is one that is difficult and important for the creature. Second, given this proper understanding of arduousness, I highlight the shortcomings of the standard interpretation of Aquinas’s argument for the irascible-concupiscible distinction and suggest an alternative. I argue that Aquinas grounds the distinction in the distinction between useful and pleasant goods. I explain how these distinct goods allow arduousness to be the defining feature of the irascible-concupiscible division. (shrink)
In ‘Dilemma for Appeals to the Moral Significance of Birth’, we argued that a dilemma is faced by those who believe that birth is the event at which infanticide is ruled out. Those who reject the moral permissibility of infanticide by appeal to the moral significance of birth must either accept the moral permissibility of a late-term abortion for a non-therapeutic reason or not. If they accept it, they need to account for the strong intuition that her decision is wrong (...) as well as deny the underlying normative principle that killing a viable fetus requires good reason, and not wanting to care for the child when the child could be easily placed for adoption is not a good enough reason to abort. If they reject the moral permissibility of the late-term abortion, they need to explain why her decision is wrong. Doing so, however, will undermine their own project of denying infanticide by appeal to birth. Walter Veit argues that the dilemma relies too much on intuition and does not live up to biological continuity. We explain why his criticisms are unconvincing. (shrink)
How to understand Saint Anselm of Canterbury on time and divine eternity is subject to debate. Katherin Rogers argues that Anselm is a four‐dimensionalist, whereas Brian Leftow argues that he is a presentist. Despite the disagreement, both scholars assume that Anselm has a positive account of time and divine eternity to offer. I challenge this assumption, arguing that Anselm is not interested in offering an account of the metaphysics of time and divine eternity. The reading defended here is deflationary in (...) the following sense: Anselm is trying to purify, so to speak, the notion of ‘divine eternity’ from creaturely imperfections that are suggested by our language. (shrink)
Marleen Eijkholt presents a new argument in healthcare ethics, the false hope harms (FHH) argument. In brief, false hope promotes a host of individual harms (e.g., financial, physical, and psychological harms) and system‐level harms (e.g., distrust of medical practitioners, increased complexity of care and the associated costs), all of which provide reason for healthcare providers to stop promoting false hope in medicine. The goal of this paper is to show that the FHH argument is unsuccessful.